Aniruddha was a grandson of Kṛṣṇa (Krishna) and son of Pradyumna. He took training of martial arts from Arjuna, the third Pāṇḍava (Pandava) brother. When the Pāṇḍavas had scarcely got the kingdom of Indraprastha, along with many other kings and noblemen, Kṛṣṇa’s progeny also visited King Yudhiṣṭhira (Yudhishthira) there. Some of them stayed back at the city to receive tutelage of martial arts from Arjuna. Aniruddha was one of them.
He also visited svayamvara (swayamvara) of Draupadī, accompanying Kṛṣṇa and Pradyumna.
As an warrior Aniruddha was too formidable to scare Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Dhritarashtra) after the fall of Bhīṣma (Bhishma) in the battle of Kurukṣetra (Kurukshetra). Dhṛtarāṣṭra was frightened at the thought of Kṛṣṇa summoning Balarāma (Balarama), Pradyumna or Aniruddha of his family to join the battle on the Pāṇḍavas’ side, for that would bring calamity down on the Kauravas as Bhīṣma was no more there to save them.
The Vaishnavite sects like Pañcarātra (Pancharatra), Sāttvata (Sattwata) and Bhāgavata (Bhagavata) professes vyuhavāda (vyuhavada; an ideology principally focusing on the theory of ‘pure creation’ and centred around Kṛṣṇa), which speak of certain tattva (tattwa; matter) stemming out of the Sāṃkhya (Samkhya) school of philosophy. Aniruddha is one of the principal tattva of them. This theological concept identifies Kṛṣṇa Vāsudeva (Vasudeva; son of Vasudeva) as the soul of the universe, the Supreme Being, devoid of all possible attributes (nirguṇa; nirguna). Viṣṇu (Vishnu), whose incarnation Kṛṣṇa is, is regarded as nirguṇa and the very shelter of the cosmos. When the Supreme Being without attributes manifests in forms with specific masculine attributes (puruṣa; purusha) in order to create the universe, those manifestations are called namely Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa (Sankarshana; another name of Balarāma), Pradyumna and Aniruddha.
According to this school, Saṅkarṣaṇa, lying on the endless ocean of time, signifies the primary essence of life. The Sāṃkhya (Samkhya) school puts more emphasis on prakṛti (prakriti; the female energy) when She is unmanifested during pralaya ( complete destruction of the cosmos between two epochs). The philosophers professing vyuhavāda, however, attributes supremacy to Aniruddha-tattva which, according to them, is the unravelled, unmanifested Being encapsulating all the three elements (namely tamas, rajas and sattva) needed for it to manifest in perceptible forms. One line of thought also declares Aniruddha as mahān (mahan) or the first evolute. It says that it was in the lotus stemming out of the navel of Aniruddha that Brahmā (Brahma), the first evolute of the universe, was born. Vyuhavāda considers Kṛṣṇa’s son Pradyumna as the mind of the theory.
In Puranic texts we find the story of marriage of Aniruddha and Uṣā (Usha), daughter of Vāṇāsura (Vanasura). Uṣā had received a boon from goddess Pārvatī (Parvati) that she would have that man as her husband whose image would overwhelm her in her dream. One night, Uṣā dreamt of Aniruddha, an unknown man to her, and was smitten then and there. She related her infatuation to her best friend Citralekhā (Chitralekha) next morning. Citralekhā showed Uṣā portraits of a good many man, god and demigod and asked her friend to identify the image she had seen in her dream. Uṣā readily identified the image of Aniruddha and vowed to marry him. Then Citralekhā visited the city of Dvārakā (Dwaraka) herself and by transported Aniruddha to the capital of Vāṇāsura by means of magic, where circumstances led him to be imprisoned by Vāṇāsura’s guards. On the other hand, the sudden disappearance of Aniruddha created a stir in Dvārakā and Kṛṣṇa himself became worried. It was then that he was visited by Sage Nārada, who told him the peculiar love-story of Aniruddha and Uṣā and also informed him of Aniruddha’s unfortunate imprisonment. Having been so informed, Kṛṣṇa, taking Balarāma and a huge army of chosen Yadu warriors along with him, blockaded the capital of Vāṇāsura. In the ensuing battle Vāṇāsura was defeated. He liberated Aniruddha from imprisonment and gave him her daughter’s hand in marriage.