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 Taking of Parijata

Krishna arrived at the gates of heaven and blew upon his conch shell. The gods came out to worship Krishna. Krishna first went to Aditi’s house and returned her earrings. Aditi blessed Satyabhama and gave her the boon that Satyabhama would never grow old or ugly, she would be in a state of perpetual youth.

Aditi also told Indra to worship Krishna. But Indra’s wife Shachi thought that Satyabhama was a mere human, so she did not give Satyabhama any parijata flowers, although she wore them herself.

Krishna and Satyabhama went for a stroll in the gardens and there they saw the parijata tree. The leaves of the tree were of copper colour and the bark was of gold. Satyabhama said, “Why don’t you take this tree to Dvaraka?” And she persisted, “If you really love me, please take this tree to our house. I will wear the flowers on my hair.”

Krishna laughed. He uprooted the tree and placed it on Garuda’s back. The guards said, “Please don’t take this tree. It belongs to Shachi, the wife of Indra.” They also pointed out that the taking of the tree would arouse the wrath of the gods.

At this, Satyabhama grew angry. “Who is Indra and who is Shachi?”, she said. “This tree came out of the churning of the ocean, so it belongs to everyone. Why should Indra alone enjoy it? My husband is taking away this tree, go and tell Shachi this. Let me see if her husband can prevent it from happening. Go and tell Shachi that a mere human is taking the tree away.”

The guards went and told Shachi what was happening. Incited by Shachi, Indra attacked Krishna with all the soldiers that the gods could muster. Indra had his vajra for a weapon, the other devas had clubs, swords, maces and spears. On seeing Indra on Airavata, Krishna blew on his conch shell and let loose thosuands and thousands arrows. The gods flung many weapons at him, but Krishna repelled all these weapons. Garuda also helped in the fight. With a mace Krishna destroyed Yama’s weapon. With his chakra he destroyed Kubera’s palanquin. With a glance he robbed the sun of all energy. Agni was defeated with Krishna’s arrows. The vasus, the rudras, the maruts and the gandharvas had to flee.

Indra and Krishna fought with each other while Garuda fought with Airavata. Indra finally took up his vajra and Krishna took up his chakra. Everyone in the worlds was frightened because the worlds might be annihilated. But when Indra hurled his vajra, Krishna simply caught the weapon in his hand. He did not fling the chakra. Indra started to run away.

Satyabhama taunted him. “Indra, king of the gods, why are you running away?”, she said. “Aren’t you Shachi’s husband? Fleeing does not become you! Don’t run away. Here , take the parijata tree. Let the minds of the gods be at rest.”

Indra then apologised for all that had happened. He also said that there was no shame in losing to Krishna. For Krishna was, after all, nothing but Vishnu.

Krishna smiled and returned the parijata tree, as well as Indra’s vajra. But Indra refused to take the tree back. He requested Krishna to take the tree to Dvaraka. Once Krishna died, the tree would return on its own to heaven. This Krishna agreed to do and the tree got the pride of place in Krishna’s garden in Dvaraka. All the Yadavas came to see it.

Narakasura’s elephants, horses and other wealth had also been brought to Dvaraka. The sixteen thousand and one hundred women that Narakasura had imprisoned had come to Dvaraka. Krishna married all of them.

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