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...

Mathura and Kamsa

They reached Mathura in the evening. Akrura went ahead to the palace in the chariot, while Balarama and Krishna entered the city on foot. On the street they met a washerman. They asked the washerman for some nice clothes. But the washerman was Kamsa’s servant. Not only did he refuse them the clothes, he also abused that two brothers. So Krishna hit the evil washerman with his palm and split his head in two. Balarama and Krishna then took away whatever clothes they wanted. Balarama dressed in blue and Krishna dressed in yellow. They then went to the house of a garland-seller. The garland-seller thought that these two were gods. And when Balarama and Krishna asked for flowers, not only did he give them many flowers, he also worshipped them. Krishna blessed the garland-seller.

On the streets they also met a young woman. The woman was pretty, but had a hump on her back. Her name was Kubja. She carried a salver of sandalwood paste in her hands.

“For whom is the paste?”, asked Krishna.

“This is for Kamsa,” was the reply. “He has appointed me to make fragrant paste for him.”

“Please give us the paste,” said Krishna. “This paste is fit for our bodies.”

Kubja complied and Balarama and Krishna rubbed the paste on their bodies. Then Krishna grasped Kubja’s chin with his index and middle fingers.. He pressed down her feet with his own so that they did not move. As he exerted pressure upwards, Kubja’s body straightened and the hump disappeared. Kubja became a beautiful woman.

At the yajna that Kamsa had arranged, a bow was to be worshipped. Krishna and Balarama asked various guards where this bow was being kept. They arrived at that room and Krishna proceeded to tie a string to the bow. But the bow snapped and the sound of the bow snapping was heard throughout the palace. The guards came and attacked Krishna and Balarama, but the two brothers killed all the guards.

By then, Kamsa had got to know that Krishna and Balarama had come to Mathura. So he called Chanura and Mushtika and told them to go and wrestle with the two brothers and kill them. He also called the servant who was in charge of his elephant known as Kubalayapida at the main gate to the palace. It was night. After issuing these instructions, Kamsa waited for morning.

When it was morning, arrangements were made for the wrestling match. There were ordinary seats for ordinary citizens around the arena where the match was to take palace. Kings and special guests had special seats reserved for them. Kamsa sat on the highest seat of all. The women sat behind a partition. Amongst the spectators were Nanda and the cowherds, Vasudeva, Akrura and Devaki.

Marital music started to be played. Chanura and Mushtika stood in the middle of the arena, exhibiting their strength. Krishna and Balarama entered the arena. At the main gate they had killed the elephant Kubalayuapida and they carried the bloody tusks in their hands.

The schedule was that Krishna would fight with Chanura and Balarama would fight with Mushtika. The first wrestling match between Krishna and Chanura began. It was a terrible bout to behold. Both were strong fighters. But eventually, Krishna raised Chanura’s body aloft and whirled it around a hundred times before throwing Chandura down on the ground. Chanura died. Meanwhile Balarama had started to fight with Mushtika. He hit Mushtika’s head and chest with his fists and thighs. And he grasped Mushtika so hard that the breath of life went out of Mushtika’s body. Krishna also killed another wrestler whose name was Toshalaka.

Kamsa was very angry. He instructed his guards to capture Krishna and Balarama and tie them up in iron chains. The guards were also to chain up Vasudeva and the cowherds.

But Krishna merely laughed. He jumped up on the stage where Kamsa was sitting and caught hold of Kamsa’s hair. He threw Kamsa down on the ground and Kamsa, the son of Ugrasena, died. Krishna pulled the dead body down to the arena. Kamsa’s body was so heavy that a huge pit was created where the dead body was placed.

Kamsa had a brother called Sumali and Sumali attacked Krishna and Balarama. But Balarama killed Sumali very easily. Krishna and Balarama then ent and met Vasudeva and Devaki.

Kamsa had imprisoned his own father Ugrasena. Krishna released Ugrasena from the prison and made him king. Krishna also obtained a beautiful assembly hall named Sudharma from Indra. This he repesented to King Ugrasena.

Since Kamsa was now dead, it was time for Krishna and Balarama to go to their guru’s house for studying. Their guru was a sage named Sandipani, who lived in Kashi. There Krishna and Balarama went to learn amongst other things, the art of fighting. It took them only sixty-four days to learn all this. After the shishya’s studies are completed he has to give a dakshina to his guru. Sandipani’s son had died and as a guru dakshina, Sandipani desired that his dead son might be brought back to life.

After death, the sage Sandipani’s son had gone to the great ocean. Krishna and Balarma took up their weapons and went to the ocean to demand the son. The ocean told them that the son was actually with a daitya named Panchajana who had the form of a conch-shell. Krishna entered the ocean and killed it. From the skeleton of the daitya was made the conch-shell Panchajanya that Krishna blows. To get back the dead son, Krishna and Balarama also had to go to Yama’s world and defeat Yama. They did that and returned the son to the sage Sandipani.

They then returned to Mathura.

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