The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 78 - Dhenuka and Pralamba are slain

Vyāsa said:

1. Once again, Bala and Keśava started tending the cows together. Wandering along the forest they came to the beautiful grove of palmyre trees.

2. The Asura Dhenuka occupied that palmyra grove after assuming the form of a donkey. Human flesh and beef constituted his diet.

3. On seeing the beautiful palm grove richly endowed with plenty of fruits, the cowherds became desirous of plucking those fruits. They said thus:

The cowherds said:

4-5. “O Rāma, O Kṛṣṇa, this spot of land is always guarded by Dhenuka. Hence, these fruits of palm trees had been avoided by us. These fruits have a joyous fragrance. We wish to let them be struck down if it pleases you.

6. On hearing these words of the cowherd lads, Saṃkarṣaṇa and Kṛṣṇa knocked down the palm fruits to the ground.

7. On hearing the sound of the falling palmyra fruits the evil-minded king of Asuras, a son of Diti who had assumed the form of a donkey came there in great fury.

8-9. With the pair of his hind legs the powerful asura kicked him in the chest. He was immediately seized by means of those two legs. After catching hold of him thus Kṛṣṇa whirled him in the sky. When he lost his life thus, he hurled him on a big palm tree.

10. As he fell down from the top of the palm tree the dead donkey brought with him many fruits on the Earth like a gust of wind bringing down clouds.

11. Kṛṣṇa and Balabhadra playfully seized other asuras too in the form of donkeys—this asura’s kinsmen came there (to attack them) and hurled them on to the top of the palm trees.

12. Within a short while, O sages, the Earth was adorned by the ripe palm fruits and the dead bodies of the asura donkeys. The whole area shone well.

13. O brahmins, thereafter without any obstruction the cows comfortably grazed fresh shoots of grass in that palm-grove where they had not been grazing before.

14. When that asura donkey had been struck down along with his younger brothers, the palm-grove appeared splendid and fearless to the cowherds and cowherdesses.

15. Then those two sons of Vasudeva much delighted after killing asura Dhenuka, went to the Bhāṇḍīra forest.

16. Jesting and shouting, singing and collecting the fruits of the trees those two noble boys shone splendidly like two bulls with tiny horns.

17-21. They grazed the cows in the forest. When they strayed far off (into the forests) they used to call them by their names. They kept a noose ready on their shoulders in order to bind the straying cows. They were adorned by garlands of sylvan flowers. They were clad in robes of golden colour or of the colour of collyrium. (i.e, yellow and blue). They resembled the weapon of lord Indra (i.e. the thunderbolt). They were like the black and white clouds. They moved about delighting each other by means of sports usually indulged in by the people. They were the lords of worlds. They were engrossed in human activities and they honoured human qualities. They roamed about in the forest with sports having human traits and attributes. They engaged themselves in various exercises through swings or through wrestling bouts or through hurling huge stones. Thus the powerful lords performed exercises.

22. An Asura named Pralamba, desirous of catching them, came there, even as both of them were sporting about thus. He was disguised as an ordinary cowherd.

23. That inhuman being, the excellent Dānava Pralamba, unhesitatingly entered the midst of those cowherds assuming a human form.

24. He considered ways and means to find about a vulnerable point in them very quickly. He desired to kill Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.

25-26. The boys were playing a children’s game called Hariṇa Krīḍana (Deer play). In this game the boys jumped in pairs, Govinda with Śrīdāman, Bala with Pralamba (the asura in disguise) and the other cowherds with similar other cowherds. Thus they jumped together.

27-28. Kṛṣṇa defeated Śrīdāman; the son of Rohiṇī defeated Pralamba. Other cowherds were defeated by those belonging to Kṛṣṇa’s side. (According to the rules) those who were defeated carried victors up to the stem of Bhāṇḍīra tree and returned to the starting place).

29. The Dānava carried Saṃkarṣaṇa on his shoulders and walked quickly. He did not stop (at the stipulated place). He appeared like the cloud carrying the moon.

30. Unable to bear the weight of Rauhṇeya the excellent asura increased in size with his body like a cloud in the rainy season.

31-32. On seeing him with a huge body comparable to a burnt mountain, with garlands suspended round the neck as his ornament, with a crown over his head Balarāma was dismayed. The asura was terrible. His eyes were like the wheels of a cart. When he walked, the Earth appeared to shake. As he was thus carried off Balarāma said to Kṛṣṇa:

Balarāma said:

33-34. O Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa, I am being carried off by a certain Asura with a terrible form like that of a mountain. See, he is disguised like a cowherd. O slayer of Madhu, what should be done now—please tell me. This wicked one is going at a rapid pace.

Vyāsa said:

35. The noble Kṛṣṇa who was aware of the magnitude of strength and prowess of Balarāma said to Rāma with a gentle smile splitting his lips apart:

Kṛṣṇa said:

36-39. Why is this human feeling resorted to so very specifically? O soul of all, you are the most worthy of being concealed among all concealable persons. O lord of the entire universe, O elder brother, remember the cause, the one Ātman and similarly that person who is in the universe turned into a vast sheet of water (i.e. supreme Being). You and I, O soul of the universe, are the only cause. For the sake of the universe, for the sake of Earth, we are stationed as separate ones. Let the Ātman be remembered O unmeasurable Ātman and kill the Asura. Resorting to human trait alone let what is conducive to the welfare of the kinsmen be carried out.

Vyāsa said:

40-42. O brahmins, reminded thus by Kṛṣṇa the great Ātman, the powerful Balarāma laughed and then began to injure pralamba; with his eyes turned red due to anger he bit him on his head with his fist. Due to this blow his eyes came out. The brain was expelled. Vomitting blood the excellent Asura fell down on the ground dead.

43-44. On seeing Pralamba killed by Balarāma of wonderful deeds the cowherds were delighted. They eulogised him saying “well done, well done. Pralamba.”.

When Pralamba the daitya was killed Rāma was eulogised by the cowherds and Kṛṣṇa. They then came back to the cowherds’ colony.

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