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 81 - Ariṣṭa is slain

Vyāsa said:

1. When Indra went away, the cowherds who had witnessed Kṛṣṇa of unimpaired activities holding aloft the mountain Govardhana said to him lovingly.

The Cowherds said:

2. O highly blessed one, from this great danger all of us and the cows have been protected by you through this activity of holding up the mountain.

3. (If this is only) a childish play, it is (really) unrivalled. O dear one, tending of the cows is a profession viewed at with abhorrence. But your activities are divine. How is this? May it be explained to us.

4. Kāliya was suppressed in the water. Pralamba was struck down. (Now) this Govardhana has been lifted up. (Really) our minds are full of doubts.

5. Truth. It is the truth: O excessively valorous one, we swear by the feet of Hari, on observing your prowess we do not think that you are an ordinary person.

6. Whether you are a Deva or a Dānava, whether you are a Yakṣa or a Gandharva—You are our kinsman in our consideration. Obeisance be to you.

7. O Keśava, the love of the entire cowherds’ colony including women and children is heaped on you. This feat is impossible to Devas too.

8. Your boyhood and this excessive valour, your birth amidst us, not very splendid in itself—all this, on being considered, O Kṛṣṇa of immeasurable Soul, produces suspicion in us.

Vyāsa said:

9. On being addressed thus by the cowherds, O excellent brahmins, Kṛṣṇa remained silent for a while with feigned anger (in spite of his) love and said.

Śrīkṛṣṇa said:

10. O cowherds, if due to your relationship with me you are not ashamed and if I am worthy of being praised, of what avail is your pondering over other matters?

11. If you have any love for me, if I am worthy of being praised by you, O my kinsmen, let that venerable offering befitting a kinsman be made unto me.

12. I am neither a Deva nor a Gandharva, neither a Yakṣa nor a Dānava. I have become your kinsman. Hence, nothing other than this should be thought of me.

Vyāsa said:

13. On hearing these words of Hari and realizing that he had feigned anger due to love, the highly blessed cowherds kept quiet. They gained in strength thereby.

14-15. Kṛṣṇa observed that the sky was clear and devoid of impurities; that the bright light of the autumnal moon spread everywhere; that the cluster of lilies was full-blown rendering the quarters fragrant and that the forest region was charming due to the humming swarms of bees. He was therefore inclined to indulge in amorous sports with the cowherd lasses.

16. The lotus-footed lord sang sweet songs in the company of Rāma, pleasing to the womenfolk. He feigned that he was observing holy rites there.

17. On hearing the sweet and charming sound of the songs, the cowherd lasses left off their abodes and hurriedly came to the place where Kṛṣṇa stood.

18. A certain cowherd lass followed his footsteps and sang slowly. Another one listened to it attentively and mentally remembered him.

19. A certain lass uttered “O Kṛṣṇa O Kṛṣṇa” and became bashful. A certain lass who was blindly in love with him, went near him without shame.

20. A certain lass who was standing within her abode saw her father (father-in-law) standing outside. She closed her eyes and meditated on Govinda completely identifying herself with him.

21. Surrounded by the cowherd lasses and eager to begin the charming dance of Rāsa, Govinda approved of the night, charming with the autumnal moon.

22. The cowherdesses were fully engrossed in the activities of Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa went to a different spot those lasses walked about in the forests of Vṛndāvana in groups.

23. Eager to see Kṛṣṇa, the cowherdesses wandered here and there, O brahmins, on seeing the footprint of Kṛṣṇa during that night.

24. Thus in the course of different types of activities and sports of Kṛṣṇa, the cowherd lasses became agitated simultaneously and roamed about in the beautiful forest of Vṛndāvana.

25. From there the cowherd lasses losing their hopes of seeing Kṛṣṇa, came back to the banks of Yamunā and sang about his conduct.

26. Thereupon, the cowherdesses saw Kṛṣṇa of unimpaired activities, the saviour of the three worlds coming to them with his face beaming like a full-blown lotus.

27. A certain lass became extremely delighted on seeing Kṛṣṇa coming. With wide open eyes she shouted “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa”.

28. A certain lass looked at Hari with knit eyebrows over her broad forehead. She seemed to squeeze honey from his lotus face through her bee-like eyes.

29. A certain lass closed her eyes after seeing Govinda. Meditating on his own form she appeared to be in Yogic slumber.

30. Then Kṛṣṇa humoured, delighted and consoled some ladies with pleasing conversations, some by glances with knit eyebrows and some by gently touching them with hands.

31. Hari of elegant conduct sported about and diverted himself with those cowherd lasses who were delighted in their minds by means of Rāsa dances enthusiastically pursued.

Extra Verses: (According to another reading)

[Women of the cowherds’ colony assembled together for the group dance of Rāsa. They tried to be by his side. They never stayed steadily in any single spot, Hari caught each of the cowherd lasses by her hand from the midst of group assembled for the Rāsa and made each close her eyes by gently stroking her with his hand.]

32. Then began to function a series of music with songs of autumn along with the sounds of the moving bangles.

33. Krṣṇa sang about the autumnal moon, the moonlight and the lily pond, but the womenfolk of the cowherds uttered the name of Kṛṣṇa alone again and again.

34. One (of those ladies) after dancing round and round became fatigued. The heat warmed up her moving bangles. That cowherd lass put her creeper-like arms on his shoulders.

35. A certain cowherd lass whose arms moved about gracefully and who was an expert in singing, eulogising found pretexts, embraced and kissed him emotionally.

36. Hari’s arms came into contact with the cheeks of cowherd lasses and acted like the clouds. The downpour from these clouds was the series of sweat drops and the plants issuing therefrom were the hairs standing on end.

37. When Kṛṣṇa sang the usual songs of Rāsa in highly shrill notes, the ladies shouted “Well done, Kṛṣṇa, O Krṣṇa” with notes twice as shrill.

38. When he went anywhere they followed him; when he moved in a circle they stood in front of him. The womenfolk of the cowherds’ colony resorted to Hari both directly and inversely.

39. At that time Kṛṣṇa sported himself together with the cowherd lasses. Even when he was away from them for a moment they felt that period of time equal to a crore of years.

40. Though prevented by their fathers, husbands and brothers the cowherdesses who were fond of sexual intercourse delighted Kṛṣṇa during the nights.

41. The slayer of Madhu, whose soul is immeasurable who had destroyed his enemies and who was in the prime of youth honoured them and sported together with them.

42. He was the lord in the form of Ātman. He permeated all living beings including them and their husbands. He stood pervading everything.

43. Just as Ether, Earth, fire, water, wind and Ātman are present in all living beings so also he stood pervading everything.

Vyāsa said:

44. Once in the evening when Kṛṣṇa was engrossed in Rāsa the asura Ariṣṭa came there, arrogantly terrifying the people of the cowherd colony.

45-50. The asura had assumed the form of a bull, with sharp horns. His eyes sparkled like the sun. His form was like that of a rain-bearing cloud. He was kicking and tearing up the surface of the Earth with his hoofs. With lips, often rubbing and striking them, in his fury he raised his tail. The muscles of his shoulders were hard and tough. The hump on his back was large and raised up. He could never be surpassed in majestic magnitude. Dung and urine stuck to his hind quarters. He was repulsive to the cows of that colony. The loose dewlap hang down from his neck. There were markings of his butting against trees in front of him. He appeared as though he would cause abortion among the cows. He hit and killed everything on his way with great force. He always roamed through the forest (?). His eyes were terrifying. On seeing him the cowherds and the cowherdesses were excessively frightened. They shouted “Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa.” Thereupon Kṛṣṇa roared like a lion and clapped hands to make a loud report.

51-56. On hearing that sound the bull ran towards Kṛṣṇa. With the tips of his horns pointed ahead and his eyes fixed to the belly of Kṛṣṇa, the evil-minded Daitya in the form of a bull rushed along. On seeing the demonaic bull of great strength rushing towards him Kṛṣṇa did not move from his seat. Smilingly and playfully he stood there with contempt towards the asura. But when he approached him, Kṛṣṇa seized him like a crocodile seizing his prey. Catching hold of his horns he made him incapable of moving. Then he hit his belly with his knee. After catching hold of him by his horns he dispelled his arrogance and strength. He seized and twisted the neck of Ariṣṭa in the manner as one does with a wet cloth (in order to squeeze out water). Thereafter Kṛṣṇa uprooted one of his horns and struck him with the same.

Thereat, the great asura vomited blood through his mouth and died. When the asura was killed the cowherds eulogised Kṛṣṇa like Devas who praised the thousand-eyed Indra formerly when Vṛtra was killed.[1]

Footnotes and references:


Refers to the Ṛgvedic legend (Ṛv 1.80) of Vṛtra and Indra. Vṛtra was more powerful than Indra but the latter killed him deceitfully.

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