Srimad bhagavata by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyāsa

Chapter Forty-Two The Breaking of the Sacrificial Bow


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Chapter Forty-Two The Breaking of the Sacrificial Bow

1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: As He walked down the King’s road, Lord Madhava then saw a young hunchback woman with an attractive face, who carried a tray of fragrant ointments as she walked along. The bestower of the ecstasy of love smiled and inquired from her as follows.

2. [Lord Krsna said:] Who are you, O beautiful-thighed one? Ah, ointment! Who is it for, my dear lady? Please tell Us truthfully. Give Us both some of your finest ointment and you will soon gain a great boon.

3. The maidservant replied: O handsome one, I am a servant of King Kamsa, who highly regards me for the ointments I make. My name is Trivakra. Who else but You two deserve my ointments, which the lord of the Bhojas likes so much?

4. Her mind overwhelmed by Krsna’s beauty, charm, sweetness, smiles, words and glances, Trivakra gave both Krsna and Balarama generous amounts of ointment.

5. Anointed with these most excellent cosmetics, which adorned Them with hues that contrasted with Their complexions, the two Lords appeared extremely beautiful.

6. Lord Krsna was pleased with Trivakra, so He decided to straighten that hunchbacked girl with the lovely face just to demonstrate the result of seeing Him.

7. Pressing down on her toes with both His feet, Lord Acyuta placed one upward-pointing finger of each hand under her chin and straightened up her body.

8. Simply by Lord Mukunda’s touch, Trivakra was suddenly transformed into an exquisitely beautiful woman with straight, evenly proportioned limbs and large hips and breasts.

9. Now endowed with beauty, character and generosity Trivakra began to feel lusty desires for Lord Kesava. Taking hold of the end of His upper cloth, she smiled and addressed Him as follows.

10. [Trivakra said:] Come, O hero, let us go to my house. I cannot bear to leave You here. O best of males, please take pity on me, since You have agitated my mind.

11. Thus entreated by the woman, Lord Krsna first glanced at the face of Balarama, who was watching the incident, and then at the faces of the cowherd boys. Then with a laugh Krsna replied to her as follows.

12. [Lord Krsna said:] O lady with beautiful eyebrows, as soon as I fulfill My purpose I will certainly visit your house, where men can relieve their anxiety. Indeed, you are the best refuge for Us homeless travelers.

13. Leaving her with these sweet words, Lord Krsna walked further down the road. The merchants along the way worshiped Him and His elder brother by presenting Them with various respectful offerings, including pan, garlands and fragrant substances.

14. The sight of Krsna aroused Cupid in the hearts of the city women. Thus agitated, they forgot themselves. Their clothes, braids and bangles became disheveled, and they stood as still as figures in a painting.

15. Lord Krsna then asked the local people where the arena was in which the bow sacrifice would take place. When He went there He saw the amazing bow, which resembled Lord Indra’s.

16. That most opulent bow was guarded by a large company of men, who were respectfully worshiping it. Krsna pushed His way forward and, despite the guards’ attempts to stop Him, picked it up.

17. Easily lifting the bow with His left hand, Lord Urukrama strung it in a fraction of a second as the King’s guards looked on. He then powerfully pulled the string and snapped the bow in half, just as an excited elephant might break a stalk of sugar cane.

18. The sound of the bow’s breaking filled the earth and sky in all directions. Upon hearing it, Kamsa was struck with terror.

19. The enraged guards then took up their weapons and, wanting to seize Krsna and His companions, surrounded them and shouted, “Grab Him! Kill Him!”

20. Seeing the guards coming upon Them with evil intent, Balarama and Kesava took up the two halves of the bow and began striking them down.

21. After also killing a contingent of soldiers sent by Kamsa, Krsna and Balarama left the sacrificial arena by its main gate and continued Their walk about the city, happily looking at the opulent sights.

22. Having witnessed the amazing deed Krsna and Balarama had performed, and seeing Their strength, boldness and beauty, the people of the city thought They must be two prominent demigods.

23. As They strolled about at will, the sun began to set, so They left the city with the cowherd boys and returned to the cowherds’ wagon encampment.

24. At the time of Mukunda’s [Krsna’s] departure from Vrndavana, the gopis had foretold that the residents of Mathura would enjoy many benedictions, and now the gopis’ predictions were coming true, for those residents were gazing upon the beauty of Krsna, the jewel among men. Indeed, the goddess of fortune desired the shelter of that beauty so much that she abandoned many other men, although they worshiped her.

25. After Krsna’s and Balarama’s feet were bathed, the two Lords ate rice with milk. Then, although knowing what Kamsa intended to do, They spent the night there comfortably.

26-27. Wicked King Kamsa, on the other hand, was terrified, having heard how Krsna and Balarama had broken the bow and killed his guards and soldiers, all simply as a game. He remained awake for a long time, and both while awake and while dreaming he saw many bad omens, messengers of death.

28-31. When he looked at his reflection he could not see his head; for no reason the moon and stars appeared double; he saw a hole in his shadow; he could not hear the sound of his life air; trees seemed covered with a golden hue; and he could not see his footprints. He dreamt that he was being embraced by ghosts, riding a donkey and drinking poison, and also that a naked man smeared with oil was passing by wearing a garland of nalada flowers. Seeing these and other such omens both while dreaming and while awake, Kamsa was terrified by the prospect of death, and out of anxiety he could not sleep.

32. When the night had finally passed and the sun rose up again from the water, Kamsa set about arranging for the grand wrestling festival.

33. The King’s men performed the ritual worship of the wrestling arena, sounded their drums and other instruments and decorated the viewing galleries with garlands, flags, ribbons and arches.

34. The city-dwellers and residents of the outlying districts, led by brahmanas and ksatriyas, came and sat down comfortably in the galleries. The royal guests received special seats.

35. Surrounded by his ministers, Kamsa took his seat on the imperial dais. But even as he sat amidst his various provincial rulers, his heart trembled.

36. While the musical instruments loudly played in the rhythmic meters appropriate for wrestling matches, the lavishly ornamented wrestlers proudly entered the arena with their coaches and sat down.

37. Enthused by the pleasing music, Canura, Mustika, Kuta, Sala and Tosala sat down on the wrestling mat.

38. Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherds, summoned by the King of the Bhojas, presented him with their offerings and then took their seats in one of the galleries.

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