The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the brave deeds of krishna which is chapter 245 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the two hundred forty-fifth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 245 - The Brave Deeds of Kṛṣṇa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Pārvatī said:

1-2. O lord, you have told well the story of Rāma. Having

heard it through your grace, I am happy, O great god. O lord of gods, I desire to hear the great story removing sins, of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva.

Rudra said:

3-8a. O goddess, listen. I shall narrate (to you) the story giving all fruits to men, of the noble Kṛṣṇa, Vasudeva’s son. O goddess, in the family of Yadus was born the son of Devamidha, called Vasudeva, the best among those knowing Dharma. The prince duly married Devakī of a divine complexion, the daughter of Devaka (Ugrasena’s brother), in Mathura. Kaṃsa was the brave and very strong son of Ugrasena. With the two (Vasudeva and Devakī?) the charioteer was driving the excellent chariot (obscure). When they came on a charming path bringing on auspiciousness, a divine voice gravely spoke from the air:

The heavenly voice said:

8b. O Kaṃsa, her eighth embryo (i.e. child) will take away your life.

Rudra said:

9. Having heard it, Kaṃsa set about killing his sister, Vasudeva, with presence of mind, said to him who was very much enraged:

Vasudeva said:

10. O glorious one, do not kill your legitimate sister. O very mighty king, just kill the embryos (i.e. children) that will be born.

Rudra said:

11-13. Saying “All right”, Kaṃsa having arrested Vasudeva and Devakī, placed them in his charming house full of all pleasures. In the meanwhile, O goddess, goddess Dharaṇī (i.e. the Earth) very much troubled by the burden of sinners, suddenly went to Brahma. Having gone to Brahma, the lord of the world, Dharaṇī, the supporter of the people, said with a grave voice:

Dharaṇī said:

14-16. O Creator, O lord, I am unable to support these people. O you of a good vow, the sinful demons have put up on me. The very powerful ones destroy all good practices of the world. All men deriving their strength from unrighteousness are deluded by sin. In this world very little of religious merit is seen. O god, I have sustained (people) because of (their) religious merit, truth, purity and control. Therefore, I am unable to sustain the world springing from unrighteousness.

Rudra said:

17-18. Speaking like this goddess Dharaṇī vanished there only. Then all hosts of gods led by Brahmā and Rudra and great ascetics went to the lord of the world at the northern shore of the Milky Ocean, and praised him with divine eulogies. Then the lord who was pleased, said to all those best sages:

The lord (Viṣṇu) said:

19a. O hosts of gods, for what purpose have you come here?

Rudra said:

19b. Then the grandsire said to Viṣṇu, the god of gods:

Brahmā said:

20-22a. O god of gods, O lord of the world, the Earth is oppressed with burden. In the world many unconquerable demons are born, like Jarāsandha, Kaṃsa, Pralamba, Dhenuka and others. The wicked ones torment all old people. You are fit to take down the burden of the Earth.

Rudra said:

22bc. Thus addressed by Brahma, Viṣṇu, the immutable lord of the world, spoke with a grave voice:

The lord (Viṣṇu) said:

23. O very powerful gods, descending (i.e. being born) in the family of the Yadus, I shall cooly remove the burden of the Earth.

Rudra said:

24. Thus addressed, all gods, having saluted Viṣṇu, went to their respective worlds, and thought of that highest god. Then the highest lord said to the Nārāyaṇī Māyā:

The lord said:

25-28. Taking the six sons of Hiraṇyākṣa to the earth, put them into (the womb of) Devakī, the wife of Vasudeva. The seventh one, a portion of Śeṣa, has already entered (Devakī). Do not tarry. O you of an auspicious appearance, give it to Rohiṇī, her co-wife. Then in the eighth my portion will be born on Devakī. Then Mahānidrā, your ancient portion, will be born on Yaśodā, Nanda’s wife. She will go to the great mountain Vindhya, and there being worshipped by gods led by Indra would kill the very powerful demons led by the demon Śumbha.

Rudra said:

29-38. Saying, “All right” Mahāmayā put the sons of Hiraṇyākṣa as the six embryos in (the womb of) Devakī one by one. The very powerful Kaṃsa killed them as soon as they were born. The seventh embryo was infused by a portion of Śeṣa. (Mahāmayā) took the growing embryo into - (the womb of) Rohiṇī. Due to drawing out (saṃkarṣaṇāt) of the embryo, the immutable Saṃkarṣaṇa was born on her. On the eighth of the dark half of Bhādrapada (he was born) at an auspicious moment. Rohiṇī gave birth to a son, the lord Saṃkarṣaṇa. Then all hosts of gods seated in aeroplanes in the sky, and with their minds full of joy, praised Devakī. Then, O Pārvatī, in the tenth month (of her pregnancy) Viṣṇu was born on her at mid-night of the eighth of the dark half of Śrāvaṇa. He was dark like the petal of a blue lotus. His eyes were large like lotus-leaves. He had four arms. His body was handsome. He was graced with divine ornaments. On his chest were Śrīvatsa and Kaustubha (marks). He was adorned with a garland of wood-flowers. This ancient Vāsudeva (i.e. Viṣṇu) was born of Vasudeva. Seeing Kṛṣṇa, the lord of the worlds, Vasudeva with his palms joined saluted him, full of the world, and said:

Vasudeva said:

39-41. O lord, O desire-yielding tree to the devotees, O lord of the world, you are born of me (i.e. as my son). You, the highest being, are the one without a beginning or an end among the gods. O you inconceivable one, you are a great son. You are thought of by the meditating saints and are ancient. O you sustainer of the earth, you have become my son on the earth. The sinful demons, seeing this your wonderful majestic form will not bear the great vigour, O highest being.

Rudra said:

42-55a. Thus requested by him the ancient Viṣṇu withdrew his form possessed of four arms. He shone as a human being only with two hands. All the demons, his bodyguards, that were there, were deluded by his Māyā, and were covered by mental darkness. In the meanwhile Vasudeva, praised by all gods, took the god, and quickly went from that city. The very strong king of serpents devoutly covered him with a thousand hoods, and accompanied him, when it was raining. At that time the town-gates were opened due to the touch of his feet. Being broken they were wide open; and those (people) that were there, became unconscious. That river Yamunā, that was full, flowed with her water knee-deep only, when the noble one entered her (water). Having crossed Yamunā, the best of the Yadus, being praised by gods, entered (Vraja—the station of cowherds) situated on her bank. There, that wife of Nanda, delivered in the auspicious cow-pen. She who was asleep was deluded by Māyā and covered with Tamas (darkness). That Yādava (i.e. Vasudeva) having placed on her bed the god (i.e. Kṛṣṇa), and taking that daughter again went (back) to Mathurā. Having given that daughter to his wife (Devakī), he remained well-composed. She who was on Devakī’s bed, wept due to her being a child. Having heard the voice of the girl in the house, the bodyguards informed Kaṃsa of the auspicious delivery of Devakī. Kaṃsa quickly came there, and seized the girl, and then threw her on a stone. She too quickly went to the sky. Placing her foot on his head, she stood with her full face (visible). The goddess with eight arms said to the lord of demons:

The goddess said:

55b-55. O dull one, what is the use of having thrown me? He who will kill you, is born. He, who is the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer of the world is born in this world. He will snatch your life.

Rudra said:

57-58. Having spoken like this, the goddess filling the sky with her lustre, and being praised by gods and gandharvas, suddenly went to the Himālaya mountain. Then Kaṃsa, with his mind dejected, and oppressed by fear, called his demons led by Pralamba, Cāṇūra, and said to them:

Kaṃsa said:

59-61. All hosts of gods, through our fear, have gone to the Milky Ocean, and have told everything about the destruction of the demons to Viṣṇu. Hearing their words, the supporter of the earth, the immutable one is born on the earth as a human being. So today, all you demons, taking any form as you desire, kill, without any fear children of excessive might.

Rudra said:

62-63. Having thus ordered (them), and having comforted and freed Vasudeva and Devakī, he entered his own house. Vasudeva then went to the excellent cow-pen (Vraja) of Nanda. Honoured by him, he gladly kept his son there. The descendant of Yadu said to Yaśodā, Nanda’s wife:

Vasudeva said:

64. O honoured mother, protect as your own son, this son of mine, born from Rohiṇī’s womb, who has come (i.e. been brought) here through fear of Kaṃsa.

Rudra said:

65-70. Nanda’s delicate wife, of a firm vow, said, “All right”. And having received a son of the pair, nourished him with joy. Having kept the sons in the house of the cowherd Nanda, Vasudeva being confident, went to Mathurā protected by Kaṃsa. Then on an auspicious day, Garga, impelled by Vasudeva, went to the cow-pen (Vraja) of the cowherd Nanda. The brāhmaṇa was honoured by the (people) residing there. Having duly performed their birth-rites in Gokula of the god, he gave divine names to Vasudeva’s sons. The brāhmaṇa gave the elder one such names as Saṃkarṣaṇa, Rauhiṇeya, Balabhadra, Mahābala, Rāma. (He named) the younger one as Śrīdhara, Śrīkara, Śrīmat, Kṛṣṇa, Ananta, Jagatpati, Vāsudeva, Hṛṣīkeśa etc.

71-87. “In this world they will be known by the names Rāma, Kṛṣṇa.” The best brāhmaṇa, having said so, and having worshipped the dead ancestors and deities, and being honoured by the cowherds again came (back) to Mathurā. At night Kaṃsa sent Pūtanā, the killer of children. She gave her breast smeared with poison to Kṛṣṇa of unlimited lustre (for being sucked by him). Knowing her to be a demoness, Kṛṣṇa the very lustrous, the best of the Yadus, drank (i.e. sucked) her breast deeply and profusely along with the life of the demoness. She with her body afflicted, and with her sinews suddenly cut off, fell down trembling and making a loud sound died. With her loud sound the sky was filled. Then all the cowherds seeing the demoness fallen on the ground, and Kṛṣṇa playing on her large breasts, were frightened. Being dejected, they quickly took the boy, and due to the fear of the demon, sprinkled with the cow’s tail cowdung on his head. O you beautiful lady, the cowherd Nanda came and took the son. Having sprinkled (water) on all the limbs of his body to the accompaniment of (the utterance of) the names of the lord, put that wicked, fearful (demoness) out of Vraja. The group of cowherds who were frightened burnt her in that Vraja. Once Madhusūdana, Viṣṇu, lying under a cart, and having spread out his feet wept. With the stroke of his foot, he turned over the cart. With the pitchers and pots scattered about, it fell upside down. Then the cowherds and cowherdesses, seeing that great cart, were very much amazed, being apprehensive of what it was. The amazed Yaśodā quickly took the boy. Within just a short time only the two boys, the best Yadus, nourished with Yaśodā’s milk, and growing, shone while crawling on their knees and hands. A fraudulent demon, disguised as a lad, set out to kill Kṛṣṇa, moved on the earth. Kṛṣṇa, knowing him to be a demon, struck him with his foot. In the form of the demon only he fell down and died. Then Kṛṣṇa roamed in the entire cowshed.

88-94. In every house of the cowherdesses, he took away butter. Then Yaśoda who was angry, tied him with a rope to a mortar and went to sell milk etc. Kṛṣṇa, the supporter of the earth, tied to the mortar with a rope, dragged it, and went between two arjuna trees. With the mortar Kṛṣṇa knocked down the two trees. With their trunks broken, they fell on the ground making a sound. Due to (i.e. on hearing) that loud sound, old, very vigorous cowherds went there, and seeing it were very much amazed. Yaśodā also being dejected freed the lord of the earth and taking him who was amazed gave the noble one her breast (i.e. breast-fed him). Since the lord of the world was tied with a rope (dāmnā) by his mother, therefore, he was called, Dāmodara by all the great sages. The two arjuna trees reached the status of kinnaras.

95-100. Then all the old cowherds, led by the cowherd Nanda, regarding it to be a great portent, went to another place. In the charming Vṛndāvana on the auspicious bank of Yamunā, they made an abode for the cows and the cowherdesses. Then the growing, very strong Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, accompanied by keepers of calves, looked after the calves. A great demon, named Baka, endeavoured in the form of a crane to kill Kṛṣṇa, the best of the Yadus, who was with the cows and the calves. Seeing him, Viṣṇu also easily raised a clod and struck on his wing. The great demon fell on the earth. Then after a few days, he, looking after the cows and calves in the forest, slept on the earth on sprouts under the shade of a jambū tree.

101-107. In the meanwhile god Brahmā surrounded by hosts of gods came to see Kṛṣṇa, and seeing the two best Yadus (i.e. Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa) asleep, snatched the calves and the children of the cowherds, and again went (back) to heaven. When they got up they saw that the children and the calves were lost. They were amazed as to where the cows, calves, and children of the cowherds had gone. Knowing that it was the act done by the Creator, Kṛṣṇa, the ancient one, created the children, the cows and the calves just like that. Madhusūdana, the protector and the lord of the worlds, quickly created the calves and the cowherds of the same form. In the evening the cows—the mothers—seeing their own calves having come (back) behaved as before. When thus the period of a year was passed by the noble one, the creator again gave him (back) the calves and the children. Brahma, the lord of the three worlds, with his palms joined, taking himself round and saluting Govinda, spoke through fear:

Brahmā said:

108-113. Salutation to you, the soul of all; to you of the nature of true knowledge, of the nature of eternal joy; to the noble one, of a loving soul. You are minute, are of a big, gross form. You are omnipresent, immutable. O you, the beginning, the middle and the end, salutation to you. Salutation to you of eternal knowledge, power and supremacy; to you full of valour and lustre; to you, O you of a great power; to you of the form of six qualities. O brahman, you are the Supreme Being (described) of the Vedas; you are the great Puruṣa; you are the embodied Supreme Being; you are the Supreme Being of the sacred texts. You are the four (great) men; you are the best ancient man. O Brahman, the earth, fire, air are your powers. Due to your words the earth and fire sprang up, O lord of the world. With your life, O lord, the atmosphere and air were created.

114-118. O you immutable one, in the same way, from your eyes were created the sky and the sun; and O sinless one, from your ears were created the quarters and the moon. From your mind, O great god, were created the flow of water and Varuṇa. That Brahman which is manifested in the Mīmāṃsā that is proclaimed, is also (manifested) in sacrifices or in a great vow, in the hymns that are sung, in the sky, in the heaven. It is also the air. It is also in the sky, so also in the herbs. It is also in the stars, all planets, and the sun also. In the same way it is in the beings. The holy texts call it ‘Brahman’. That also is the highest Brahman, well known and immortal all round.

119-122. Hiraṇmaya, Avyaya (Immutable), Yajña, Śuci (Pure), Śucipād (of pure feet)—these are his epithets in the Vedas. Nowhere is his (likeness found). The holy text describes him as Cakṣurmaya (consisting of eyes), Śrotramaya (consisting of ears), Chandomaya (consisting of Vedas), Manomaya (consisting of mind), Vāṅmaya (consisting of speech), the highest soul, the highest god. O you lotus-eyed one, thus you are the (sole) aim of the Upaniṣads. This one is not able to praise you, who has mastered the entire Vedānta. It was a great offence that I snatched your calves. O you who are affectionate to those who seek your shelter, forgive me.

Maheśvara said:

123-130. The Creator, having thus praised Viṣṇu, and having repeatedly saluted him, gave him (back) the calves, and went home. He, delighted, nourished, and practising severe penance, always keeping in his mind Viṣṇu in the form of a child, lived with the gods, O goddess. Kṛṣṇa created the calves and children as before. They became one with him, when the gods were observing (i.e. in the presence of gods). With the keepers of the calves Kṛṣṇa went to Nandagokula. Then after a few days the best of Yadus, Acyuta, Madhusūdana, went with the cowherds to the pool of Yamunā, and there having injured easily with his one foot the thousand hoods of the very strong serpent, made him face the risk to his life. That Kāliya, regaining consciousness, sought his shelter. Then revered Kṛṣṇa protected the serpent who had given up his poison. Having made marks with his foot on the hoods of him who was afraid of Garuḍa, the best of the Yadus banished him from the pool of Yamunā.

131-137. Then that Kāliya, along with his sons and wife, quickly left that pool. Having saluted Govinda he went (elsewhere). The trees on the bank that were formerly scorched by (Kāliya’s) poison, on being seen by Kṛṣṇa quickly bore flowers and fruits. Madhusūdana, the lord, full of all gods, after having attained youth in (due) time, looked after the herd of cows. The best Yadu, with cowherds of his age and with Balarāma, moved in the charming Vṛndāvana. There having killed a very fierce demon of a huge body and of the form of a serpent and as big as Meru and Mandāra (mountains), he reached the forest of Dhenuka having the arbours of palm trees like tāla and hintāla; he entered that charming forest, full of fruits and having arbours of palm trees, and having lifted Dhenuka, of the size of a mountain, and always having the form of an ass (or a cruel form), by seizing his feet, he struck him against a palm tree. At that moment only his keepers rejoiced near him.

138-143. Quickly moving out from that forest they came to the Bhāṇḍīra forest. There they played children’s sports with Rāma and Kṛṣṇa. A demon named Pralamba came there in the guise of a cowherd. Putting Rāma on his back he quickly went to the sky. Knowing him to be a demon Rāma angrily struck his head with his fist; then he, with his body afflicted, fell (down). Roaring with a loud voice in his demonish form only, he, with his head and body broken, and smeared with blood, died. Then Nanda’s son (Kṛṣṇa) remained, in the evening, in Govraja (cow-pen), with the young cowherdesses, sporting in Kaumodavarcasa. The best demon Arista went there in the form of a bull; as he had come to kill Kṛṣṇa, he roared loudly.

144-149. Seeing him, all cowherds, oppressed by fear, ran away. Kṛṣṇa too, seeing the chief of demons to have come, uprooted a palm tree and hurt him with it between his horns. He, with his head and horns broken, and vomiting profuse blood, died while roaring. Thus having killed Ariṣṭa, the chief demon of a huge body, he called the young cowherds, and Jived there only in Govraja (cow-pen). Then after a few days a great demon named Keśin came to Vraja taking up the body of a horse, to kill Govinda. Having gone to that charming Govraja, he neighed loudly. Due to that neighing all the three worlds were filled. All the hosts of gods, thinking it to be the end of the age, were frightened.

150-154. All the cowherds and cowherdesses living there were confounded and disturbed. Coming to senses they all ran on all sides. Saying “Protect (us)”, the cowherdesses sought Kṛṣṇa’s shelter. He who loved his devotees, said, “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid.” Then he, the younger brother of Indra, having comforted them, easily and quickly struck with his fist on the head of the demon. With his teeth and eyes broken, he roared very loudly. He (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) lifting a great rock, dropped it on his body. The great demon with his entire body crushed, and roaring with a fierce sound, suddenly dropped on the ground and died.

155-156. Seeing Keśin killed, the hosts of gods in heaven profusely dropped showers of flowers and said, “Well (done), well (done).” Viṣṇu (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) having thus killed in his childhood very powerful demons, just happily rejoiced with Balarāma.

157-162. He was dark like the petals of a blue lotus. His eyes resembled lotus-petals. He wore a yellow garment. He had put on a garland. He was graced with a garland of wood-flowers. His chest shone with the Kaustubha (gem). He had a chaplet on his head, and smearing (of sandal etc.). He was (adorned) with lovely ornaments. He was graced with earrings. He had worn a tulasī-garland. He had put on the mark of musk. His very glossy, dark, curly hair was tied into a braid. He had the head ornaments of a peacock’s plumage with various kinds of flowers tied; the palms of his hands, the soles of his feet and his lips resembled red lotus. Between the sides (shone) his face with the eyebrows resembling the spot on the moon. He shone with necklaces, anklets, armlets and bracelets. The descendant of Yadu, sweetly playing upon the flute remained in the very charming Vṛndāvana, graced with fruits and flowers.

163-167. Seeing Viṣṇu who had despised the beauty of crores of Cupids, all the cowherdesses were tormented by Cupid's missile. Formerly all sages living in Daṇḍaka forest, seeing Rāma desired to enjoy Rāma of a beautiful body. All of them, turned into women, were born in Gokula. Having approached Viṣṇu with love, they were then freed from the ocean of the mundane existence. Since the demons angrily came to Kṛṣṇa, and met with death in the battle, they after being killed, obtained liberation. In the world lust and anger of people are the cause of (their falling into) hell. The cowherdesses, haters of gods (in their former existence), having devoutly approached him, were liberated.

168-173. Those who betake themselves to Viṣṇu (even) through lust, fear or hatred reach Vaikuṇṭha. Then what to say of those who do so through devotion! Having heard the sound of his flute at night the wives of the cowherds all got up from their beds with their garments and hair dishevelled. Tormented by Cupid’s arrows, they left their husbands, sons, relatives, so also sense of shame and their own family; they came to the lord of the world. All the cowherdesses, having approached Govinda, embraced him with their arms, and enjoyed (i.e. kissed) his lower lip as the gods enjoy nectar. With all those, the lord of the self sported in Govraja. All those fearless women also sported with him in Vraja. Thus day after day they sported with Keśava in the charming Vṛndāvana and the bank of Yamunā.

Pārvatī said:

174. How would he, Janārdana, who had descended on the earth for the protection of Dharma, approach others’ wives?

Rudra said:

175-177. O you of an auspicious face, he does not differentiate between his own body and those of others. The entire world is his body. There is nothing different from it. Due to his naturally being the lord, the master of the soul and the lord of the world, the noble one does not recognise the difference between a male and a female. So also due to his power of removing sins the (all-) pervading lord, the highest soul, the god, is not at a fault, O fortunate one.

Vasiṣṭha said:

178. Having thus spoken to Pārvatī, Rudra, the destroyer of Śrī Tripura, commenced telling the whole life of Kṛṣṇa.

Rudra said:

179-183. When autumn arrived, the cowherds led by the cowherd Nanda started celebrating the festival of the lord of gods (i.e. Indra). But Kṛṣṇa stopped that festival of Indra, and he, the powerful one, got celebrated the festival of Govardhana, the lord of mountains. Then the angry Indra, continuously poured down very heavy showers for seven nights in Govraja of Nanda. Kṛṣṇa, having uprooted the great mountain Govardhana, easily held it for the protection of the cows. O you of a good vow, having got the protection of the mountain, the cowherds and cowherdesses lived happily only as if they were in a mansion.

184-186. Then the thousand-eyed Indra who was afraid, with his mind confounded, stopped that shower, and went to that Vraja of Nanda. Kṛṣṇa too put the great mountain as before. All those old cowherds, led by the cowherd Nanda, worshipped Govinda (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) and were very much amazed. Then god Indra, having approached Kṛṣṇa, with his palms joined praised him with a voice faltering due to joy.

Indra said:

187-195. O lotus-eyed one, O omniscient one, O superior Viṣṇu, salutation to you. I salute you, O you who are beyond the three constituent qualities (of sattva, rajas and tamas), O lord of all, and the soul of the universe. You yourself are the sacrifice, the formula used on making an oblation to a deity; you are Oṃkāra, sacrifice (or power), oblation. O Keśava, you are the father and the mother of all gods. Before the creation you, Hiraṇyagarbha, existed. You alone are the lord, the Supreme Being, the Brahman. O god, you alone have supported this earth and heaven. O lord of the world, you thus give yourself (to your devotees) and give fruits (of devotion). O you, the lord of the worlds, gods have obtained light. O ancient one, your shadow is nectar as well as death. To that god, to you, we offer an oblation. From him these golden ones have come up. O Keśava, of him the oceans and the earth are the carrier. O you immutable one, these directions, intermediate directions and the air (Vāyu) belong to you. To that god, to you, who growing (in size) again got on the earth, we offer an oblation. O Brahman, O great lord, you supported heaven. In the atmosphere you remain in a mote of the sun-beam. You are omnipresent and immutable.

196-204. To that god we offer our oblation, to whom, shining, of a hot lustre and full of qualities, you cry.[1] Śrī would always necessarily see him mentally. In the highest place (i.e. in him) the sun, that has risen, shines. To you, that god, we offer an oblation. Your great water conceiving at the time of creation create the streams of water. Who, the immutable lord of gods (but you) stood before the demon? To you, that god, we offer our oblation. The water saw Dakṣa Prajāpati. Having a sacrifice they first produce the oblation. You are, among the gods, the superior god, the greatest of the great. To you, that god, we offer an oblation. You the immutable Man, the creator of the world, (please) do not harm us. He, the lord, of a pious act, created heaven. He created the moon, profuse water and the entire world. To you, that god, we offer our oblation. O lord, all these created objects have been around you.

205-211. O lord, beings have sprung from you. You are Acyuta. The future and the past are due to you. Let that, desiring which we offer a sacrifice, come to us wholly. Due to your kind gaze, may we be the lords of the three (worlds). You are the Supreme Being called Hiraṇmaya, having golden beard and moustache. From the point of the nail everything is gold. The sun shares gold. This is omnipresent Brahman that has settled as the sun. That is the excellent, best lustre of god Savitṛ. May we always think of the form of you who always illumine our minds. O you lotus-eyed one, O you lord of Śrī, O you lord of all, O Keśava, salutation to you. O you fit to be known through Vedanta, O lord of sacrifices, O you of the form of sacrifice, salutation to you. Salutation to you, to Vāsudeva, dressed as a cowherd. I have offended (you) by destroying all that. Forgive it, O lord of the world, O you ocean of compassion, O Supreme Being. In a short time kill Kaṃsa who is unassailable. Having done good to the gods, live in happiness, settling on the earth.

Mahādeva said:

212-221. Indra, the lord of all gods, having thus praised Kṛṣṇa, crowned him with nectar and divine garments and ornaments. Having worshipped the lord of gods, he went (back) to heaven. The old cowherds and cowherdesses saw Indra there. And being honoured by him, they were very much delighted. The very brave Rāma and Kṛṣṇa adorned with divine ornaments, remained happily in Nanda’s Govraja. O goddess, in the meanwhile, the best sage Nārada suddenly went to Mathurā, and entered Kaṃsa’s vicinity. Being honoured by the king there, he was seated on an auspicious seat. He informed him of the acts of Viṣṇu, the active exertion of the deities and the birth of Viṣṇu (as Kṛṣṇa). So also (he told him about) Vasudeva’s having put his son in Vraja, the death of the demons, and the expulsion of the king of the serpents; so also about (Kṛṛṇa’s) holding up the best mountain (i.e. Govardhana) and the meeting with Indra. Having told Kaṃsa everything fully he, honoured by the demon, went to Brahma’s abode. Kaṃsa, with his mind dejected and surrounded by his ministers, deliberated with them about his death. There the very powerful lord of demons, Kaṃsa, told about the mission for his good to Akrūra, the best among the intelligent ones and loving Dharma.

Kaṃsa said:

222-228. Due to my fear all gods led by Indra, overcome by fear, approached Viṣṇu and sought his shelter. He, Madhusūdana, the revered creator of the beings, granted them exemption from fear and was born from Devakī’s womb. The wicked-hearted Vasudeva also deceived me and at night he, the very wicked one, put his son in Nanda’s house. Even as a child he killed the unassailable great demons. There is no doubt that he is also ready to kill me. But even gods and demons along with Indra cannot kill him. So having brought him here, I must kill him with (some) stratagem. Through intoxicated elephants, wrestlers, or excellent horses—with this or that means he can be killed here. Therefore, O best of the Yadus, having gone to Govraja, fetch here to enjoy the ceremony of arrows, Kṛṣṇa, Rāma, so also all old cowherds led by Nanda, O descendant of Yadu.

Mahādeva said:

229-242. Saying “All right”, the best of the Yadus, the powerful one, eager to see Kṛṣṇa, go t into a chariot and went to the charming Gokula. Akrūra, the best among the great devotees of Viṣṇu possessed of politeness, saw the unafflicted Kṛṣṇa settled among the cows. (He was) like a dark cloud; (he was) adorned with all ornaments; his eyes (were large) like lotus-leaves; (he had) long arms, and (was) healthy. (He had) covered himself with a yellow garment; (he was) handsome in all limbs; (his) chest (was) shining with the Kaustubha; (he was) graced with jewelled earrings. (He possessed) the garland of tulasī (-leaves) and wood-flowers; (he had put on) ear-ornaments of wood-flowers. Seeing Kṛṣṇa surrounded by young cowherdesses, he, the descendant of Yadu, with his entire body horripilated and his eyes full of tears of joy, got down from the chariot and saluted him. Joyfully approaching Kṛṣṇa, taking himself round him, and saluting him, he put on his head (Kṛṣṇa’s) feet resembling red lotuses and marked with the signs of Vajra, and repeatedly saluted him. That descendant of Yadu then saw Balarāma resembling the full autumnal moon and decorated with pearl-necklaces, and saluted him. The two heroes, best of the Yadus, raised him with joy, and having embraced him, came home with that Akrūra, a descendant of Vṛṣṇi. The cowherd Nanda, of a great lustre, seeing the best of the Yadus to have arrived (there), approached him, and having seated him on an excellent seat, gladly, duly and devoutly honoured him with materials of worship, water for washing his feet, divine garments and adorations. Akrūra, a descendant of Yadu, gave garments and ornaments to Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, to the cowherd Nanda, and to Yaśodā. The intelligent one seated on a kuśa-seat asked the cool one about his well-being, and asked about all the state-affairs, said to him:

Akrūra said:

243-251. This Kṛṣṇa of great lustre, actually the immutable Viṣṇu, requested by the hosts of gods and magnanimous sages for the good of the deities and the protection of the good, so also for the destruction of those who were a burden to the earth, and for establishing righteousness, was born in (i.e. from) the belly (i.e. womb) of Devakī at midnight in rainy season. Through Kaṃsa’s fear Vasudeva brought the lord of gods, Viṣṇu, his son, and put him in your house in that night. At that time only, the glorious Yaśodā gave birth to a daughter of an auspicious face born from a portion of Māyā (of the lord). She had deluded this entire auspicious Vraja. (Vasudeva) having put the best Yadu (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) on the bed of unconscious Yaśodā took the daughter and went home. Having put her on Devakī’s bed, he came out. She (i.e. the daughter), remaining in Devakī’s bed then quickly cried. O you of a good vow, having heard it (i.e. her crying), Kaṃsa suddenly took the girl and the powerful one, having whirled her, dropped her on a stone. That girl, (then) got up; and she having eight hands and weapons, and remaining in the sky, angrily spoke to Kaṃsa in a grave voice:

The girl said:

252. O you mean demon, he who is the Supreme Being, the lord of all gods, the eternal one, has gone to Vraja (is born) to kill you.

Akrūra said:

253-261. Speaking like this that Mahāmayā (the Great Illusion) went to the Himālaya (mountain). Since then the wicked one, with his mind dejected through fear, sent demons to kill the noble (Kṛṣṇa). This intelligent boy alone easily killed them all. The highest god performed very wonderful acts. Having heard about (these acts like) holding the Govardhana (mountain), expulsion of the king of serpents, meeting with Indra, death of all demons, which were told to him by the divine sage (Nārada), he, tormented by fear is eager to take from here the unassailable Rāma and Kṛṣṇa of mighty arms and to get them killed by intoxicated great elephants or by wrestlers. He has sent me here to fetch Kṛṣṇa. The wicked one has imprisoned Vasudeva. (I have) told you all these acts of that very wicked one. To enjoy the -ceremony of arrows all you cowherds, inhabitants of Vraja please go tomorrow, taking with you curd, ghee etc., and with Rāma and Kṛṣṇa to him. There is no doubt that Kaṃsa will be killed by Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, giving up your fear go (to Mathurā) by the order of the king.

The lord said:

262-272. Speaking like this, that very intelligent Akrūra became silent. Hearing those fierce and awe-inspiring words of him all old cowherds led by the cowherd Nanda, stupefied by grief, were in an indescribable ocean of sorrow. Seeing them (like that) the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa cheered them. The powerful one said: “Do not entertain any fear from the demon. Accompanied by Rāma and you, I shall go to Mathurā to destroy this wicked Kaṃsa. Having killed there that wicked Kaṃsa, the chief of demons, so also having killed all demons, I shall protect the earth. Therefore, giving up your grief, go to Mathurā.” The cowherds led by the cowherd Nanda, who were thus addressed by Kṛṣṇa, repeatedly embraced him, and smelt his head. Having thought over the immeasurable acts of the very noble one, and on Akrūra’s words, all the cowherds, were free from affliction. Yasodā gave Akrūra many pure cooked foods—tasty, savoury, and sweet—so also sumptuous, agreeable meals. The best of the Yadus (i.e. Akrūra) enjoyed, along with Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, the best cowherds like Nanda, so also the young and the old people, the food given by Yasodā, which was tasteful, removed foulness, diseases, which was good, in her (house) that was well decorated.

273-279. Having properly fed them and having given them water to rinse their mouths with, she of a firm vow, gave him a tāmbūla with camphor. When the sun had set, the Yādava, having offered the evening prayer, and having, along with Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, enjoyed the excellent food of sweetened milk, went to sleep with them. Kṛṣṇa slept as Viṣṇu on the Śeṣa, in that best mansion that was charming, illumined with lamps, beautiful, that had lovely beds, and that was graced with various flowers. Seeing him, the excellent bliss, Akrūra, marked with tears of joy and horripilation, gave up his sleep of ignorance, and the best devotee of Viṣṇu shampooed the feet of Viṣṇu (i.e. Kṛṣṇa). “By (doing) this much my life is fruitful; I have lived well. This is the prosperity in the three worlds; this is the best happiness, this is the righteous kingdom; this is the best joy of liberation.

280-284. It is not possible to recollect it mentally by deities like Śiva, Brahmā, best sages like Sanaka, and great sages like Vasiṣṭha. That couple of feet of the lord of Śrī, bright like the autumnal lotuses, and touched by Indirā, Lakṣmī with her hands, gives great pleasure. Fortunately I have secured this auspicious lotus-like couple of feet of Viṣṇu.” Due to that great joy of (having secured) Brahman, the night passed as a moment. Then when the morning dawned Viṣṇu, being praised in heaven by the best hosts of gods, got up from the bed. Having properly rinsed his mouth, the intelligent one, along with Rāma, fell at the feet of his mother and made the departure agreeable.

285-287. Having raised them, Yaśodā, full of grief and joy, and with her face full of tears, affectionately embraced her sons. The respectable lady of a firm vow conferred a blessing (on them) and after repeatedly embracing the great heroes, she allowed them to go. Akrūra also saluted Yaśodā and with his palms joined, said:

Akrūra said:

288-289. O glorious one, I shall (now) leave. O sinless one. favour me. This Kṛṣṇa of great arms will, after killing the very powerful Kaṃsa, be the king of the entire world. There is no doubt about it. Therefore, O you of an excellent face, give up sorrow and be happy.

The lord said:

290-297. Thus addressed she allowed Akrūra, the best of Yādus, to go. With Rāma and Kṛṣṇa he got into an excellent chariot. Being praised by groups of celestial nymphs he quickly went to Mathurā. All old cowherds led by the cowherd Nanda, followed him. Seeing that Kṛṣṇa going the cowherdesses again took curd, ghee, various fruits, and followed Kṛṣṇa going out, seated in a chariot. Kṛṣṇa sent back all the cowherdesses. With their minds tormented by grief, they wept for the lotus-eyed one. They repeatedly wept saying, “O Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa, O Govinda.” The helpless ones with their eyes full of tears, remained there weeping. Then Akrūra, the Yādava, along with Rāma and Kṛṣṇa drove that chariot from Govraja to Mathurā. Having quickly crossed Yamunā, and having placed the excellent chariot on the bank, having got down from the divine chariot, he set about to bathe there. Then to do the necessary (rites) he plunged in the auspicious water.

298-304. Muttering the expiatory hymn the best devotee of Viṣṇu saw in the water the bright Rāma and Kṛṣṇa. He saw Rāma like a crore of autumnal moons, the lord wearing a dark garment, with his body smeared with divine sandal, and having beauty due to ornaments of pearls, having eyes like red lotuses, and having ear-ornaments of white lotuses; and saw Kṛṣṇa like a dark cloud and wearing a divine yellow garment, having large lotus-like eyes with his body smeared with yellow sandal, and graced with various gems. Seeing (them) there the best Yadu was very much amazed. Getting up he saw the two very mighty ones in the chariot. Again plunging (in the water) and muttering the couple of hymns, he saw Viṣṇu in the ocean of nectar along with Lakṣmī being praised by Sanaka and others and waited upon by all gods. Seeing the god in the water there, he was highly amazed. The best of the Yadus praised the omnipresent god Viṣṇu.

Akrūra said:

305-315. Salutation to you of the nature of Kāla (time or death), to you without a beginning or an end; salutation to you who are unmanifest and unchanging. Salutation to you, the lord of beings; repeated salutations to you, O best being. Salutation to you, the controller of all beings and the highest soul. Salutation to you, the changing and the unchanging, the actual Highest Being; to the lord of qualities and to the restraining (one). Salutation to you who are without such differences as of place and time. Salutation to you, the endless one, and the unfailing one. Salutation to you, to Govinda, to the lord of the three (Vedas), to the holder of the Śārṅga bow, to Nārāyaṇa, Viśva and Vāsudeva. Salutation to you, to Viṣṇu, of many forms; repeated salutation to you, the eternal one; to you, having lotuslike eyes, to the eternal one, to the holder of the conch and the disc. Repeated salutations to you whose brilliance is graced with ornaments resembling crores of rising suns; to Hari; to the lord of all worlds. Salutations to Savitṛ (the generator), to the seed of the worlds, to the highest soul, to Saṃkarṣaṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Pradyumna. Salutation to you, Aniruddha, the supporter, the creator, the origin of everything, having a thousand forms, and having many heads, feet and hands. Salutation to you, having a thousand names, to the eternal one, to the Highest Being. Salutation to you shining on the bed of the serpent, to you of a pleasing form. Salutation to you, to Keśava, having put on a yellow garment, having a bright lustre while pressing in embrace the hard breasts of Lakṣmī, to you Śrīdhara, to the lord of Śrī, and to you having innumerable forms.

The lord said:

316-319. A man who at the time of bathing, meditating upon the ancient god, devoutly recites this hymn, is free from all sins. Having got the fruit of (visiting) all holy places, he would secure absorption in Viṣṇu. That best devotee of Viṣṇu thus praised the god (while remaining) in water and he, Akrūra, worshipped him with water and fragrant flowers. Being blessed, Akrūra then came out of the water of Yamunā and full of auspiciousness approached and saluted Rāma and Kṛṣṇa. Seeing him polite and amazed, Viṣṇu said to him:

Śrī Kṛṣṇa said:

320a. O Yādava, what wonder did you see in the water?

The lord said:

320b. Akrūra spoke to the greatest of the Yadus, Kṛṣṇa, of great lustre:

321-326. “What wonder is there, O lord, of the greatness of you, the omnipresent lord of the world? O Hṛṣīkesa, you yourself are the entire world. You are the water,the sky, the fire, the earth and the wind. You are this entire world of four kinds, the immobile and the mobile. O Vāsudeva, there is none other than you, as water from cloud only. You are the sacrifice, you are the exclamation on offering an oblation to a deity; you are the Oṃkāra; you are the oblation also. O lord of gods, you have taken up the form to protect righteousness. You obtained the grandeur (of the forms) of the Fish, the Tortoise, the Boar. O lord, you alone protect this entire world, full of you.”

The lord said:

327-330. Having thus praised Govinda, and having saluted him, the best of the Yadus got into the divine chariot along with them. Then having quickly reached Mathurā created by gods, he, having kept Rāma and Kṛṣṇa at the city-gate, went into the harem. Then having informed the king of their arrival, he, honoured by the king, entered his own house. Then in the evening Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, holding each other’s hands went into Mathura.

331-335. The two very powerful, noble, best Yadus, while passing along the royal path, saw a washerman dyeing garments. Kṛṣṇa, the powerful one, along with Rāma, seeing him wearing divine garments and coming to the palace, asked for those garments. The washerman did not give them to him, and remaining there on the path spoke to him many caustic words. With the palm of his hand only Kṛṣṇa beat him. On the way itself, he, vomiting much blood, was struck down. Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, the two heroes, along with their relatives, put on those charming garments.

336-342a. The two best Yadus reached the house of a garland-maker. Seeing them he honoured them with fragrant flowers. Being delighted, the two best Yadus granted him his desired boon. Then they came to the path. There they saw a humpbacked lady of a happy face, whose body and back were crooked, and who had held a pot containing sandal. Seeing her they asked for the sandal. She, smiling, gave them excellent sandal. They took that divine sandal, and smeared (their bodies) as they liked. Giving her a beautiful form, they came to the path. Being observed by ladies, the two delicate noble ones of charming faces entered the sacrificial chamber with their followers. Keśava, Madhusūdana, seeing there a decorated, divine bow, easily took it and broke it.

342b-343. Kaṃsa, the chief of demons, seeing that bow being broken, was very much perturbed, called the principal, preeminent wrestlers and charioteers, and having deliberated with his ministers said to Cāṇūra:

Kaṃsa said:

344-345. Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, the destroyers of all demons, have come. In the morning kill them in wrestling without hesitation. With this or that means the two, proud of their strength, should be killed with endeavour by intoxicated elephants or chief wrestlers.

The lord said:

346-350. Having directed like this, the king with his younger brother and ministers, mounted, through fear, on the top of his divine palace. He put at all gates and on all paths intoxicated elephants. Everywhere he put wrestlers and intoxicated elephants. Knowing all that the intelligent Kṛṣṇa also, along with Rāma, stayed, with his followers, in the sacrificial chamber in the night. When at the end of the night, the day broke, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa got up from the bed, offered water, were well adorned, and having eaten (something) were eager and ready to fight. They went out of the house as two lions from a cave.

351-354. Kṛṣṇa saw at the gate of Kaṃsa’s palace his elephant named Kuvalayāpīḍa who resembled the peak of the Himālaya mountain, bestowed prosperity on Kaṃsa, removed the pride of the elephant of god (Indra), whose body was huge, who was intoxicated. Seeing that great elephant, Kṛṣṇa the supporter of the earth, held his trunk with his hand, and jumping properly, easily whirled him round and threw him on the ground. That great elephant, with his entire body crushed, and crying with a fierce sound, suddenly fell on the ground, and died.

355-361. Having killed him, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa drew out his tusks, seized them and then entered the arena to fight with the wrestlers. The demons that were there, on seeing the valour of Kṛṣṇa were frightened; they fled and came to the harem. Having very securely closed the doors they remained there in thousands. Seeing the doors firmly closed, the mighty Kṛṣṇa easily struck them with his foot and caused them to fall down. The two being broken were knocked down. The army and the troop were arranged. All remaining there were killed with bodies and necks crushed. O you noble one, then the two very strong, magnanimous fleshy ones, eager to fight, whirling the tusks, saw the wrestlers, Cāṇūra and Muṣṭika. Kaṃsa also, seeing the very strong Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, was frightened, and then said to his best wrestler, Cāṇūra:

Kaṃsa said:

362. O wrestler, kill the two young cowherds at this time (i.e. now). Dividing my kingdom I shall readily give you half of it.

The lord said:

363-370. At that time Kṛṣṇa appeared to be great to the wrestlers, like another great Meru mountain in the house and the battle. He, Acyuta, was another fire of destruction in the eyes of Kaṃsa. To women he actually appeared like Cupid, and to his parents like a child. He appeared like Viṣṇu to the gods, and to cowherds like their friend. They there saw the omnipresent Viṣṇu in many forms. Vasudeva, Akrūra, so also the very intelligent cowherd Nanda climbed upon another palace, and saw the great destruction. Devakī, along with ladies staying in the harem, remained there; and all the auspicious ones with their eyes full of tears saw the boy’s face. The queen consoled by them entered the house. Then all the hosts of gods, seated in aeroplanes in the sky, praised the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa with shouts of victory. The gods, and hosts of Maruts loudly said, “Kill Kaṃsa.” In the meanwhile, when the musical instruments were sounded, the very strong, best Yadus attacked the two great wrestlers.

371-376. The magnanimous ones, resembling dark and white mountains fought with them—Kṛṣṇa with Cāṇūra, and Balarāma with Muṣṭika. Due to the fight between the wrestlers, so also to (strokes of) fists and kicks, there was a great havoc, causing fear (even) to gods. Kṛṣṇa, having sported with Cāṇūra for a long time, having crushed the body of the wrestler, easily knocked him down. That great wrestler who caused great unhappiness to gods and demons, vomiting profuse blood, fell on the ground and died. Similarly Rāma fought with Muṣṭika for a long time. The powerful one struck him on his chest with fists. With his bones and sinews broken he fell on the ground. Then all the wrestlers seeing the valour (of Balarāma) ran away.

377-387. Kaṃsa suffering from agony, was very much frightened. In the meanwhile the invincible, magnanimous heroes, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa got upon the high palatial seat. Kṛṣṇa, Hari, striking with one foot Kaṃsa on his head knocked him down on the ground from the top of the palace. He, with all his limbs broken, (fell) dead on the ground. When Kṛṣṇa had killed Kaṃsa, very strong Rāma also struck his (Kaṃsa’s) younger brother Sunāman with the fist only. The supporter of the earth (i.e. Balarāma) knocked him down on the ground. Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, having killed the wicked Kaṃsa along with his younger brother, approached their parents, and saluted them devoutly. Devakī and Vasudeva repeatedly embraced them and longing for sons, smelled the two affectionately on their heads. Over them the breasts of Devakī showered milk. Then having cheered up their parents, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa went out. O goddess, in the meanwhile divine drums were beaten, and the chief gods dropped showers of flowers. The divine hosts of gods having praised and saluted Kṛṣṇa, and being very highly pleased, went to their respective worlds. Kṛṣṇa, the pious one, along with Rāma saluted the cowherd Nanda and the old cowherds, and joyfully embraced them. He gladly gave them wealth with many gems.

388-392. Kṛṣṇa honoured all those old cowherds with garments, ornaments etc. and with much wealth and corn. Dismissed by that Kṛṣṇa, they, led by the cowherd Nanda, and full of joy and sorrow, went to the divine Vraja. Having approached their maternal grandfather, the invincible Rāma and Kṛṣṇa freed him from imprisonment, and having repeatedly consoled him, Kṛṣṇa consecrated him on the kingdom (i.e. as the king). Through best brāhmaṇas he got performed the obsequies of Kaṃsa. Having installed the chief Yadus like Akrūra on the kingdom (i.e. as kings) he made Ugrasena the (chief) king, and Kṛṣṇa, Vasudeva’s pious son, ruled the kingdom righteously.

Footnotes and references:


Vv. 196, 198, 199, 200, 201 etc. are not clear.

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