by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188
This page is entitled “trial of arms” and represents Chapter 30 of the second book (‘Vishnu Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.
1-4. Vaishampayana said:—Shaking the earth with the sound of the slapping of his arms Krishna, the lotus-eyed son of Devaki, entered the arena, with his elder brother before him. His raiment was being shaken by the wind, his body was wounded with the tusks of the elephant and his limbs were covered with must and blood; he was bounding like a lion and entered there quickly like a cloud for bringing about the destruction of Kamsa. He was very careful to find out the defects and his beautiful arms were adorned with the tusks of the elephant. Beholding him thus enter with great force the face of Ugrasena’s son grew pale and he began to eye them in anger.
6. While he ranged by leaps and bounds, that ocean-like arena shone there filled with the echoes of the crowd.
7. Thereupon with his eyes reddened in anger the highly wrathful Kamsa ordered the greatly powerful Chanura to fight with Krishna.
9-10. Chanura had already been ordered by Kamsa to fight with Krishna carefully. And again commanded thus, he, with his eyes reddened with ire, went forward to fight like a cloud surcharged with water.
11. Afterwards when the royal mandate "Be all silent" was announced on all sides and the entire crowd was hushed into silence the Yadavas, assembled together, said: "
12. This trial at arms was first introduced by the Creator as one in which no weapons should be used, in which skill and strength are necessary, in which there should be judges and no cowards should take part.
13. In it (the parties) should await the appointed hour and remove their toil with water. It is also laid down that wrestlers should besmear their body with cow-dung.
14. In it one standing should fight with another such, one lying on the ground should engage with another such; in whatever condition one may be one should fight with him in that order; such the judges say.
15. A boy, a youth, an old man, a strong man or a weak man, whoever he may be, they should be informed of the particulars of the trial waiting in their respective quarters.
16. Persons, conversant with the modes of wrestling, say that one, conversant with this mode, should not display his strength or skill while his antagonist is defeated.
17. Now Krishna and the wrestler Andhra will fight with each other in the arena. Krishna is a mere boy and Andhra is an elderly person. We should exercise our judgment in this matter."
18-19. Thereupon a great tumult arose in the midst of that assembly and Govinda, leaping up, said "I am a boy and though Andhra is of a huge body like a mountain I wish to fight with this wrestler of strong arms.
20. Though I am a boy I will commit no transgression of the rules of fight and will not at a stain on the opinions of the wrestlers.
21. Let all the rules, laid down by the cult of wrestlers regarding the use of cow-dung, water and other things for besmearing the body, be followed.
22. One attains to success in the arena by self-control, fortitude, manliness, exercise, good conduct and strength; such is the opinion of exerts.
23. Although I cherish no enmity this man is about to create this feeling in me. Vanquishing him I shall therefore please the world.
24. This wrestler Chanura of huge proportion is born in the province of Karusha. Although he is a wrestler his deeds ought to be considered.
25. This one, desirous of acquiring influence in the arena, has put a stigma on the ways of wrestlers by destroying many of them after their discomfiture.
26. Success, of those fighting with weapons in a battle, consists in cutting off those (of this antagonist). So the success of a wrestler lies in throwing down his antagonist.
27. By acquiring victory in battle one attains to eternal glory; and the slain depart to the land of the celestials.
28. The slayer and the slain, both of them, achieve the same end in a battle; so it is called a life-terminating match and is spoken highly of by the pious.
29. Besides this way of the wrestlers is beyond both strength and deed. Where is heaven for the dead and glory for the victorious?
30. By his folly a king, who is proud of his learning, for a display of his power, brings about the death of some wrestlers through his own men. (Herein both the agent and the engager) are visited by the sin of destruction."
31. No sooner had he said this than a highly terrible fight took place between them both like that of two elephants in the forest.
32. They wrestled with each other in various ways, by mutually entwining, laying hold of, letting go the adversary, throwing on earth and taking up in the air.
33. By mutually pulling to and casting back, stricking with fists, elbow, fore-arm and knees, interlacing the arms, kicking and striking blows as hard as stones and shaking their heads awry those two heroes, as if made of the essence of rocks, fought that dreadful contest without weapons.
36. Thereupon at witnessing that strength of arms of the heroes a rejoicing arose in that assembly. The mind of the people was drawn by that acclamation. The other people from the pavillions spoke highly (of this feat).
37. Casting his looks at Krishna and with his face soaked with perspiration Kamsa, with his right hand, prevented the blowing of the bugle.
39. Although his trumpets and bugles were not sounded the celestials in the sky began to blow their own. When the lotus-eyed Hrishikesha engaged in fight the sound of bugles arose of itself on all sides.
42. Wrestling with Chanura for a long time, Devaki’s son, who foresaw Kamsa’s death, stole away his strength.
45. Thereat the earth trembled, the pavillions rolled and the most excellent jewel slipped off from Kamsa’s crown.
44. Thereupon again throwing down the reviving Chanura by his arms Krishna pressed his breast with his knees and struck him on the head with his fist.
45. Thereat his eyes, covered with tears and blood, were driven out of their sockets. And hanging on his side they appeared like golden bells.
46. Thus with his eyes drawn out Chanura, shorn of his strength and life, lay in the arena.
47. With the body of the wrestler Chanura, deprived of his life, that big arena appeared is if to have been obstructed by a mountain.
50. Thrown down by a gust of wind they began to leap and bound in the arena. Taking up Toshala, huge as a mountain summit and whirling him for a hundred times the powerful Krishna grinded him on the earth.
51. Then profuse blood gushed out of the mouth of that powerful wrestler attacked and assailed by Krishna. And he was on the point of death.
52-53. Displaying various circular feats and fighting for a long time with Mushthika, and the wrestler Andhra the energetic and powerful athlete Baladeva struck his head with his fist resembling a cloud accompanied by a thunderbolt.
54. Thereat his brain came out and his eyes were displaced. When he fell down slain on earth the multitude sent up a great shout.
55. Having thus slain Toshala and Andhra, Krishna and Sangkarshana, with eyes reddened in anger, began to move about with leaps and bounds in the arena.
56. At that time the great wrestlers Andhra and Chanura being slain that grim looking arena grew void of wrestlers.
58. With her limbs trembling, her breast pained with the discharge of milk and eyes bathed in tears of joy Devaki began to see Krishna.
59. Vasudeva, who had his eyes agitated by tears on seeing Krisana, became youthful as if casting off his decrepitude.
60. As if through the black-bees of their respective glances, the courtesans drank the lotus countenance of Krishna.
61. There were seen drops of perspiration on Kamsa’s face for seeing Krishna and of anger between his eye-brows.
62. His heart was fanned by the breaths of anger accompanied by smoke-like thoughts of Keshava’s destruction and was consumed by the fire of mental anxiety.
63. His lips trembling in anger and the painted lines on his forehead being washed off by perspiration his body appeared like the crimson-coloured sun.
64. As dew-drops, falling from a tree, appear when smitten by the rays of the sun so appeared the drops of perspiration falling from his face reddened with anger.
65-66. Thereupon greatly worked up with anger Kamsa issued a mandate to dreadful persons, saying:—"Turn out of the arena these two sinful, grim-visaged and forest-ranging young cow-herds. I do not wish to see them. Amongst the Gopas none deserves residence in my territory.
67. This Nanda Gopa is wicked and is bent upon committing injury to me. Therefore assail him with iron chains and spikes.
68. Although Vasudeva is my kinsman he is highly wicked. Therefore punish him even today in such a way which persons not, aged, deserve.
69. The other inferior Gopas, whom you see, are all devoted to Krishna. Therefore take away from them their kine and other riches".
70. Whilst the harsh-speeched Kamsa thus issued the mandate, Vasudeva, having truth for his prowess, eyed him with eyes expanded in anger.
71. Beholding his father Vasudeva and Nanda insulted, his kinsmen distressed and Devaki unconscious he was greatly worked up with anger.
72-73. Desirous of ascending Kamsa’s pavillion in order to kill him, the powerful, large-armed and eternal Krishna, with the velocity of a lion, began to leap in the arena before him like a cloud driven by the wind.
74. Only the citizens, seated on the side of Kamsa, saw him when he leaped in the arena.
75. Kamsa was completely possessed by Destiny and so he considered Govinda coming down from the sky.
76. There upon stretching his own Parigha-like arms Krishna drew Kamsa by the hair in the arena.
77. Assailed by Krishna’s hands his golden crown, set with diamonds, fell down on earth from his head.
78. When Vasudeva held Kamsa by the hair he became motionless, overwhelmed and agitated and began to breath like one lifeless. He was not capable of seeing even Krishna’s face.
80. His ears were divested of Kundalas, his necklace was torn off, his arms grew lengthened and his body was shorn of ornaments and body-cloth.
81. Thus possessed by divine effulgence Kamsa’s face grew bewildered and he set forth many an exertion.
82. Coming down from the pavillion and holding Kamsa, deserving of pain, by the hair with force Keshava began to drag him in the arena.
83. The highly effulgent king of Bhoja being thus dragged by Krishna, a ditch was made by his body in the arena.
84. Thus sporting in the arena when Kamsa breathed his last Krishna threw away his body at no distance.
85. Thus struck Kamsa’s body, used to luxuries, was grinded on the ground and covered with dust.
86. His closed eyes and dark face, without the crown, were shorn of beauty like a lotus without leaves.
87. Slain not in a battle and his body not wounded with shafts and killed by being dragged by the hair Kamsa was driven away from the path of heroes.
88. But on his body were all on a sudden seen marks of nails set by Keshava, which mutilated his flesh and destroyed his life.
89-90. Having thus slain Kamsa and removed his thorns and being endued with twofold effulgence in delight the lotus-eyed Krishna first touched Vasudeva’s feet. And afterwards the descendant of Yadu bowed at the feet of his mother. She too sprinkled him with torrents of tear begotten by joy.
91. Thereupon shining in his own effulgence Madhava, according to rank and age, enquired after the well-being of all other Yadavas.
92. Holding powerfully by his hands the proud brother of Kamsa, by name Urgita, the virtuous-souled Baladeva killed him.
93. Thus having conquered their enemies and subdued their anger, those two heroes, brought up in Vraja, went delightedly to their father’s house.
Footnotes and references:
The meaning is:—In a wrestling match one gives no proof of his power and performs no good deed because it is mere an idle amusement. And so the one slain does not go to heaven and the one successful secures no glory.