Srimad bhagavata by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyāsa

Chapter Seventeen The History of Kaliya


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Chapter Seventeen The History of Kaliya

1. [Having thus heard how Lord Krsna chastised Kaliya,] King Pariksit inquired: Why did Kaliya leave Ramanaka Island, the abode of the serpents, and why did Garuda become so antagonistic toward him alone?

2-3. Sukadeva Gosvami said: To avoid being eaten by Garuda, the serpents had previously made an arrangement with him whereby they would each make a monthly offering of tribute at the base of a tree. Thus every month on schedule, O mighty-armed King Pariksit, each serpent would duly make his offering to that powerful carrier of Visnu as a purchase of protection.

4. Although all the other serpents were dutifully making offerings to Garuda, one serpent—the arrogant Kaliya, son of Kadru—would eat all these offerings before Garuda could claim them. Thus Kaliya directly defied the carrier of Lord Visnu.

5. O King, the greatly powerful Garuda, who is very dear to the Supreme Lord, became angry when he heard of this. Desiring to kill Kaliya, he rushed toward the serpent with tremendous speed.

6. As Garuda swiftly fell upon him, Kaliya, who had the weapon of poison, raised his numerous heads to counterattack. Showing his ferocious tongues and expanding his horrible eyes, Kaliya then bit Garuda with the weapons of his fangs.

7. The angry son of Tarksya moved with overwhelming speed in repelling Kaliya’s attack. That terribly powerful carrier of Lord Madhusudana struck the son of Kadru with his left wing, which shone like gold.

8. Beaten by Garuda’s wing, Kaliya was extremely distraught, and thus he took shelter of a lake adjoining the river Yamuna. Garuda could not enter this lake. Indeed, he could not even approach it.

9. In that very lake Garuda had once desired to eat a fish—fish being, after all, his normal food. Although forbidden by the sage Saubhari, who was meditating there within the water, Garuda took courage and, feeling hungry, seized the fish.

10. Seeing how the unfortunate fish in that lake had become most unhappy at the death of their leader, Saubhari uttered the following curse under the impression that he was mercifully acting for the benefit of the lake’s residents.

11. If Garuda ever again enters this lake and eats the fish here, he will immediately lose his life. What I am saying is the truth.

12. Of all the serpents, only Kaliya came to know of this affair, and in fear of Garuda he took up residence in that Yamuna lake. Later Lord Krsna drove him out.

13-14. [Resuming his description of Krsna’s chastisement of Kaliya, Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] Krsna rose up out of the lake wearing divine garlands, fragrances and garments, covered with many fine jewels, and decorated with gold. When the cowherds saw Him they all stood up immediately, just like an unconscious person’s senses coming back to life. Filled with great joy, they affectionately embraced Him.

15. Having regained their vital functions, Yasoda, Rohini, Nanda and all the other cowherd women and men went up to Krsna. O descendant of Kuru, even the dried-up trees came back to life.

16. Lord Balarama embraced His infallible brother and laughed, knowing well the extent of Krsna’s potency. Out of great feelings of love, Balarama lifted Krsna up on His lap and repeatedly looked at Him. The cows, bulls and young female calves also achieved the highest pleasure.

17. All the respectable brahmanas, together with their wives, came forward to greet Nanda Maharaja. They said to him, “Your son was in the grips of Kaliya, but by the grace of Providence He is now free.”

18. The brahmanas then advised Nanda Maharaja, “To assure that your son Krsna will always be free from danger, you should give charity to the brahmanas.” With a satisfied mind, O King, Nanda Maharaja then very gladly gave them gifts of cows and gold.

19. The greatly fortunate mother Yasoda, having lost her son and then regained Him, placed Him on her lap. That chaste lady cried constant torrents of tears as she repeatedly embraced Him.

20. O best of kings [Pariksit], because the residents of Vrndavana were feeling very weak from hunger, thirst and fatigue, they and the cows spent the night where they were, lying down near the bank of the Kalindi.

21. During the night, while all the people of Vrndavana were asleep, a great fire blazed up within the dry summer forest. The fire surrounded the inhabitants of Vraja on all sides and began to scorch them.

22. Then the residents of Vrndavana woke up, extremely disturbed by the great fire threatening to burn them. Thus they took shelter of Krsna, the Supreme Lord, who by His spiritual potency appeared like an ordinary human being.

23. [Vrndavana’s residents said:] Krsna, Krsna, O Lord of all opulence! O Rama, possessor of unlimited power! This most terrible fire is about to devour us, Your devotees!

24. O Lord, we are Your true friends and devotees. Please protect us from this insurmountable fire of death. We can never give up Your lotus feet, which drive away all fear.

25. Seeing His devotees so disturbed, Sri Krsna, the infinite Lord of the universe and possessor of infinite power, then swallowed the terrible forest fire.

Chapter Eighteen Lord Balarama Slays the Demon Pralamba

1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Surrounded by His blissful companions, who constantly chanted His glories, Sri Krsna then entered the village of Vraja, which was decorated with herds of cows.

2. While Krsna and Balarama were thus enjoying life in Vrndavana in the guise of ordinary cowherd boys, the summer season gradually appeared. This season is not very pleasing to embodied souls.

3. Nevertheless, because the Supreme Personality of Godhead was personally staying in Vrndavana along with Balarama, summer manifested the qualities of spring. Such are the features of the land of Vrndavana.

4. In Vrndavana, the loud sound of waterfalls covered the crickets’ noise, and clusters of trees constantly moistened by spray from those waterfalls beautified the entire area.

5. The wind wafting over the waves of the lakes and flowing rivers carried away the pollen of many varieties of lotuses and water lilies and then cooled the entire Vrndavana area. Thus the residents there did not suffer from the heat generated by the blazing summer sun and seasonal forest fires. Indeed, Vrndavana was abundant with fresh green grass.

6. With their flowing waves the deep rivers drenched their banks, making them damp and muddy. Thus the rays of the sun, which were as fierce as poison, could not evaporate the earth’s sap or parch its green grass.

7. Flowers beautifully decorated the forest of Vrndavana, and many varieties of animals and birds filled it with sound. The peacocks and bees sang, and the cuckoos and cranes cooed.

8. Intending to engage in pastimes, Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, accompanied by Lord Balarama and surrounded by the cowherd boys and the cows, entered the forest of Vrndavana as He played His flute.

9. Decorating themselves with newly grown leaves, along with peacock feathers, garlands, clusters of flower buds, and colored minerals, Balarama, Krsna and Their cowherd friends danced, wrestled and sang.

10. As Krsna danced, some of the boys accompanied Him by singing, and others by playing flutes, hand cymbals and buffalo horns, while still others praised His dancing.

11. O King, demigods disguised themselves as members of the cowherd community and, just as dramatic dancers praise another dancer, worshiped Krsna and Balarama, who were also appearing as cowherd boys.

12. Krsna and Balarama played with their cowherd boyfriends by whirling about, leaping, hurling, slapping and fighting. Sometimes Krsna and Balarama would pull the hair on the boys’ heads.

13. While the other boys were dancing, O King, Krsna and Balarama would sometimes accompany them with song and instrumental music, and sometimes the two Lords would praise the boys, saying, “Very good! Very good!”

14. Sometimes the cowherd boys would play with bilva or kumbha fruits, and sometimes with handfuls of amalaka fruits. At other times they would play the games of trying to touch one another or of trying to identify somebody while one is blindfolded, and sometimes they would imitate animals and birds.

15. They would sometimes jump around like frogs, sometimes play various jokes, sometimes ride in swings and sometimes imitate monarchs.

16. In this way Krsna and Balarama played all sorts of well-known games as They wandered among the rivers, hills, valleys, bushes, trees and lakes of Vrndavana.

17. While Rama, Krsna and Their cowherd friends were thus tending the cows in that Vrndavana forest, the demon Pralamba entered their midst. He had assumed the form of a cowherd boy with the intention of kidnapping Krsna and Balarama.

18. Since the Supreme Lord Krsna, who had appeared in the Dasarha dynasty, sees everything, He understood who the demon was. Still, the Lord pretended to accept the demon as a friend, while at the same time seriously considering how to kill him.

19. Krsna, who knows all sports and games, then called together the cowherd boys and spoke as follows: “Hey cowherd boys! Let’s play now! We’ll divide ourselves into two even teams.”

20. The cowherd boys chose Krsna and Balarama as the leaders of the two parties. Some of the boys were on Krsna’s side, and others joined Balarama.

21. The boys played various games involving carriers and passengers. In these games the winners would climb up on the backs of the losers, who would have to carry them.

22. Thus carrying and being carried by one another, and at the same time tending the cows, the boys followed Krsna to a banyan tree known as Bhandiraka.

23. My dear King Pariksit, when Sridama, Vrsabha and the other members of Lord Balarama’s party were victorious in these games, Krsna and His followers had to carry them.

24. Defeated, the Supreme Lord Krsna carried Sridama. Bhadrasena carried Vrsabha, and Pralamba carried Balarama, the son of Rohini.

25. Considering Lord Krsna invincible, that foremost demon [Pralamba] quickly carried Balarama far beyond the spot where he was supposed to put his passenger down.

26. As the great demon carried Balarama, the Lord became as heavy as massive Mount Sumeru, and Pralamba had to slow down. He then resumed his actual form—an effulgent body that was covered with golden ornaments and that resembled a cloud flashing with lightning and carrying the moon.

27. When Lord Balarama, who carries the plow weapon, saw the gigantic body of the demon as he moved swiftly in the sky—with his blazing eyes, fiery hair, terrible teeth reaching toward his scowling brows, and an amazing effulgence generated by his armlets, crown and earrings—the Lord seemed to become a little frightened.

28. Remembering the actual situation, the fearless Balarama understood that the demon was trying to kidnap Him and take Him away from His companions. The Lord then became furious and struck the demon’s head with His hard fist, just as Indra, the king of the demigods, strikes a mountain with his thunderbolt weapon.

29. Thus smashed by Balarama’s fist, Pralamba’s head immediately cracked open. The demon vomited blood from his mouth and lost all consciousness, and then with a great noise he fell lifeless on the ground, like a mountain devastated by Indra.

30. The cowherd boys were most astonished to see how the powerful Balarama had killed the demon Pralamba, and they exclaimed, “Excellent! Excellent!”

31. They offered Balarama profuse benedictions and then glorified Him, who deserves all glorification. Their minds overwhelmed with ecstatic love, they embraced Him as if He had come back from the dead.

32. The sinful Pralamba having been killed, the demigods felt extremely happy, and they showered flower garlands upon Lord Balarama and praised the excellence of His deed.

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