The Vishnu Purana (abridged)

27,616 words

The Vishnu Purana (Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is a religious Hindu text and one of the (most important) eighteen Mahapuranas. It is also known as Puranaratna ("gem of Puranas"). Presented as a dialogue between Parashara and his disciple Maitreya, the major topics discussed include creation, stories of battles fought between asuras and devas, the Avat...

The Death of Putana and Other Incidents

Nanda and the other cowherds had come to Mathura to pay taxes to the king. Upon his release, Vasudeva congratulated Nanda for the birth of Nanda’s son. He did not tell Nanda that the son was really his. He told Nanda to quickly return to Gokula and take care of Nanda’s own son as well as Vasudeva’s other son who was with Rohini.

The cowherds returned to Gokula. One night in Gokula, Putana came to feed the young Krishna. Putana was evil. The limbs of any child she fed at night got destroyed. But Krishna grasped Putana and began to drink her life out of her. With a thunderous noise Putana fell down and died.

Another time, the baby Krishna was lying down under a cart. He felt very hungry and was crying and kicking his legs up in the air. As a result of his kicking, the cart got overturneed and all the pots and vats that were on the cart got broken. Everyone came running to see what had happened. They were very surpised to find tha such a small baby had over turned a huge cart. Yoshada worshipped the cart with curds, flowers and fruit.

The sage Garga came to Gokula and named the two sons. Rohini’s son was named Rama and Yoshada’s son was named Krishna. Soon the babies learnt to crawl, and smeared with cowdung, roamed around everywhere. They went into the cowsheds and pulled the tails of calves.

On one particular day Yoshada got tired of all this. She got hold of some ropes and tied up Krishna to a thresher. Then she went away to do her housework. Krishna pulled and tugged at the thresher. There were two big arjuna trees that grew not very far away. Krishna dragged the thresher to these trees and tried to pass through the space between them. But the thresher got stuck in the space between the two arjuna trees. And as Krishna pulled and tugged, the huge trees were uprooted trees on the ground. And Krishna sat there amongst the wreckage, smiling. The rope that Yoshada had tied around his stomach was still there. Because a rope is called dama, Krishna came to be known as Damodara.

But the cowherds of Gokula were worried at what they thought were bad omens. First there was the death of Putana, next there was the overturning of the huge cart and finally there was the uprooting of the trees. They were not aware that Krishna was responsible for all this. They thought that some terrible danger was about to befall Gokula. So with hteir carts and their cattle, they left for Vrindavana.

Rama and Krishna grew up there. They looked after the calves,they played in the fields, they wore peacock feathers on their heads and they played the flute. Amongst their close firends were Shakha and Vishakha.

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