PADMA PURANA

Padma

Krishna Leelas at Vraja, Mathura, Dwaraka and Kurukshetra

Vasudeva of Yadu Vamsa was married to Devaki, the daughter of King Ugrasena, who was dethroned by his son Kamsa who was vicious, inhuman and sadistic. Even at the time of the wedding of Vasudeva and Devaki, there was an ‘Akashavani’ (Voice from the Sky) addressing Kamsa that Devaki’s eighth son would kill him. While trying to kill Devaki at once, Vasudeva advised that she was after all she was his sister and could be imprisoned along with him and that the eighth son could be killed.

Kamsa then imprisoned the couple as also Ugrasena, his father.Meanwhile, Bhu Devi approached Lord Brahma and showed her great concern about the presence rapidly growing ‘Adharma’ in the form of Rakshasas and Evil Forces in the form of human beings like Kamsa, Jarasandha, Pralamba, Dhenuka and Sishupala and that she was no longer bear the brunt of the heavy weight. Brahma was convinced and came up to Narayana who agreed to take his ‘Avatar’ as Krishna; he suggested that Bhagavati Maya should plant Hiranyaksha’s six sons from Rasatala into Devaki’s garbha one after another, the seventh son would be of the ‘Amsa’ (Semi-Avatar) of Anantha Sesha Naga who should be drawn from Devaki’s garbha to that of her co-wife Rohini’s garbha and the eighth son would be Bhagavan himself. Devi Maya should be born to Nandagopa and Yashoda as a replacement to Bhagavan. Kamsa killed the six boys of Hiranyaksha, the seventh boy was drawn from Devaki’s garbha and planted into that of Rohini; as the child was drawn (Sankarshana) from one garbha to another Balarama was by that name too. The replaced boy from Rohini’s garbha to that of Devaki was also killed by Kamsa. As the time for the eighth delivery arrived, Kamsa was extra-cautious to grab the child as soon as he would be born and tightened the security of the prison. Just at midnight on Shravana Krishna Ashtami, there was a cover of Maya when Lord Narayana gave the vision to Vasudeva and Devaki with his four hands armed with Shankha, Chakra, Gada and Saranga; the prison gates were opened and the entire security system was illusioned; Bhagavan briefed the Couple of the course of action of quietly transferring Bhagavan to Nanda and Yashoda across River Yamuna in a basket kept on Vasudeva’s head as protected by Adi Sesha ensuring that the heavy rain would not trouble neither Bhagavan nor Vasudeva; the same cover of Maya was active at Gokula Village too and the swapping of children was a success. In the place of Bhagavan, Vasudeva brought Devi Maya from Yashoda’s bed and kept in Devaki’s bed. The cover of Maya was lifted, the prison gates were duly closed and the Gate Keepers were active again.  Kamsa sought to throw the child in the previous manner against a boulder, but the eight-armed Bhagavati Maya flew off into the sky and warned Kamsa that Bhagavan was since born and growing elsewhere and that his death was not far off! A few days later, the sons of Vasudeva were named as Balarama son of Rohini and Krishna the son of Devaki / Yashoda; Balarama was also known as Sankarshana, Rohineya, Balabhadra, Maha Bala and Rama, while Krishna was named Shridhara, Shrikara, Shri Krishna, Ananta, Jagatpati, Vaasudeva and Hrishikesha. The highly worried Kamsa took pains to locate Krishna and despatched the demoness Putana to Yashoda’s house in the form of a beautiful young woman who tricked Yashoda who let Putana into the house and sought to give milk from poisoned breasts. Krishna bit her nipples so violently that she died instantly taking her original for of a Rakshasi.The entire village was horrified and much more so were the couple Nandagopa and Yashoda. Another incident took place when both Balaram and Krishna were of a crawling stage they were attacked by a Rakshasa in the form of a chicken and Krishna snipped the bird’s head and after death the original form of the demon frightened the entire village. As the brothers grew they were inseparable and became naughty day by day, having collected friends of the same age group; the mischievous boys played pranks including stealing butter and teasing young girls.


 There were several complaints from the neighbourhood and Yashoda tied up Krishna to a heavy grinding stone to two adjacent Arjuna Trees with strong strings and went away on her household chores. Fairly soon, the boy rolled over the grinder and both the trees came down crashing and two Gandharvas appeared and thanked him for releasing them of their curse from a Maharshi; meanwhile Yashoda and neighbours rushed to the spot to witness the havoc and as Krishna put on an innocent face, she untied the strings as a result of which there was a scar on his belly which gave him the name of Damodara.


As weird incidents were happening, Nandagopa and Yashoda shifted their home to Brindavan on the banks of River Yamuna.

Both Krishna and Balarama grew up gradually and along with their associate Gopas looked after the grazing cows during the day. While playing a ball game, the ball fell in a rotten pond known as ‘Kalindi Kund’which was forbidden by one and all as there were many cases of killings of human beings and animals like cows entering into it or even on its banks, since there was a family of huge and highly poisonous serpents living it. But Krishna entered into it despite heavy protests and the friends at play with the ball conveyed the information to the parents and by word of mouth the entire village got collected on the banks.The highly distressed and desperate Nandagopa wanted to enter the Kund and was stopped with difficulty. There was considerable suspense as to what was happening inside the Kund and suddenly Krishna emerged on the powerful hoods of the Kalia serpent holding its tail and dancing away with smiles. Krishna ordered Kalia to leave the Kund at once along with its family and instructed Garud (Kite) the Carrier of Vishnu to let Kalia and family move out of the Kund and provide safe passage to reach the Sea without problem.

There were also other instances of other Rakshasas under the request of Kamsa to somehow destroy Krishna and Balarama. There was the instance of Dhenukasura who joined the group of Cows and attempted to harm the brothers but got killed; a Sakatasura who raised a huge sand storm and sought to lift up the boys but got killed again; another Asura named Pralamba appeared in the disguise of a Gopa and sought to play a game of carrying his load on Balarama’s back and the latter threw him up on to the high sky as he fell down dead; yet another Asura named Arishta who was a bull and whose strength increased manifold during the ‘Asura Sandhya’ suddenly rushed to Krishna but the latter held the Asura by his powerful horns which were pulled up from his head and got killed. The demon Keshi who had the form of a horse tried to hurt Krishna by his powerful feet but Krishna gave a whack on the horse’s head and it died at once.

Lord Indra was angry that Bhagavan Krishna discontinued Indra Yagna by the residents of Vraja but instead resorted to the Puja of Govardhana Mountain. There were heavy rains non-stop for several days and nights and the entire Vraja was submerged putting to tremendous ordeal. Krishna uprooted the mountain and lifted it by his little finger providing excellent relief to the population of Vraja Bhumi and taught a lesson to Indra. The latter’s self-image was subdued and came down to apologise and extolled his Leelas, eversince he assumed the ‘Avatara’. The kind Krishna excused Indra’s indiscretion.

Sage Narada arrived at Mathura and described the various escapades of Krishna to Kamsa including the killings of various Rakshasas, Kalindi Mardana (punishment), lifting of Govarthana Mountain and so on to Kamsa who was already confused about his future. As though he was hastening his own end, he planned that both Balarama and Krishna be invited to Mathura under the pretext of Dhanush Yagna and sent Akrura to personally ensure their coming; his plan was that mighty wrestlers, horses and elephants should be utilized and somehow get rid of them for ever. On arrival at Mathura, the Krishna-Balarama brothers walked along on the main road leading to the Dhanush Yagna Area. On way Krishna encountered a woman called Kubja who was disfigured by birth and straightened her so that not only she became normal but also looked very beautiful and smart. Near the Yagna area, Krishna picked up the Dhanush and playfully broke it ; Kamsa heard the big sound of the Dhanush and came to know that this was one of the points that Kamsa had in mind to frighten Krishna! Next morning at the Rajmahal, Kamsa planned for a huge rouge elephant called Kuvalapeeda at the entrance with the intention of killing Balaram and Krishna, but they removed its tusks and knocked it down as though it was a goat kid! Then the brothers were to fight with Malla, Chanura and Mushtika wrestlers; all the spectators felt that it was unfair to pit the wrestlers against the boys. But the so-called invincible wrestlers were humbled and killed one after another. Many more wrestlers in the waiting fled away. Kamsa could not tolerate the situation and jumped from his throne into the wrestler pit to fight them with his sword; indeed Krishna and Balarama did not take much time to subdue and kill him. As soon as they killed Kamsa, they approached the prison to free Vasudeva and Devaki, knelt down to touch their feet with sincere devotion when the latter melted away with affection kissing their heads with pride even as Devatas sounded war drums along with showers of flowers from the sky, released their grand father Ugrasena who was restored as the King of Mathura, greeted with veneration the Elders of the Yadu clan especially Akrura,and endeared the public who were in rapture shouting victory slogans.

In course of time, Vasudeva performed ‘Upanayana Samskar’ (Initiation of Gayatri Japa) to Balarama and Shri Krishna and subsequently met their Guru Samdipani to give ‘Guru Dakshina’. Meanwhile, King Jarasandha of Magadha who was the father-in-law of Kamsa came to know of the latter’s death and attacked Mathura with a huge army surrounding the City. Krishna recalled Daruka, the Sarathi of his Sugreevapushpak which was fully armed with Shankha, Chakra, Gada and various Astra-Shastras with Garud as the insignia on the Flag atop the Chariot. Bhagavan Krishna assumed his four arms and Balarama accompanied with his Halayudha as Apara Rudra. The two brothers massacred the Akshouhini- strong Sena of Jarasandha and held the latter as a hostage by Balarama but Krishna asked his brother not to kill Jarasandha who was still not destined to die yet!

The humiliated Jarasandha approached Kalayavana the Mlecchha King who surrounded Mathura with a sea-like army well-versed in war technology. Concerned about the safety of the citizens of Mathura, Krishna requested Bhu Devi for a three Yojana land on the western Sea shore and materialized a well planned and ideally located City of Dwaraka with best-furnished and comfortable homes; the entire population of Mathura got transferred overnight in their sleep and was awe-struck with the miracle. Having shifted the public of Mathura to their heavenly residences, Krishna and Balarama re-appeared at Mathura where there was none excepting themselves. Having fought a little, the intelligent Krishna gave an impression of a reverse-run to Kalayavana who chased the former into a mountain cave where Rajarshi Muchukunda was in long slumber from the previous Yuga. In that darkness Yavana mistook Muchukunda for Krishna and kicked him and Muchukunda’s red angry eyes opened and burnt Kalayavana into a heap of ash! Rajarshi Muchukunda recognized Bhagavan Shi Krishna and eulogized him and secured ‘Vishnu Paramapada’from the Lord. Realising that Kalayavana was dead, his huge army went helter-skelter but the re-humiliated Jarasandha continued sporadic attacks on Dwaraka without success. Meanwhile, Sudharma the son of Vishwakarma the Architect of Devas constructed a fabulous Conference Hall in the Court of King Ugrasena at Dwaraka where the citizens lived with pride and contentment.

Eventually, Balarama was wedded to Revati the daughter of King Raivata of Ikshvaku Vamsa. Shri Krishna had a soft corner for Rukmini the pious daughter of the King of Vidarbha Bhishmak who had the ‘Amsa’ of Devi Maha Lakshmi and she too was inclined on Krishna, but her brother Rukmi was bent on her wedding with Sishupala of Cheda Vamsha; Sishupala and Dantavaktra were the two vicious persons destined to take birth in Dwapara Yuga while their predecessors in Treta Yuga were Ravana and Kumbhakarna and Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu in Satya Yuga. As Rukmini’s wedding was planned with Sishupala with the active support of Rukmi despite her protest, Rukmini despatched a confidential Purohita of Vidarbha Court to Krishna and Balarama suggesting a plan of her elopement at the ‘Muhurta’ of the wedding with Sishupala. Jarasandha, Dantavaktra and other Kings and associates of Sishupala attended the wedding even along with their armies nearby, lest Krishna and Balarama might create some trouble. Krishna and Balarama too attended by invitation by Daruka and his chariot. Soon after a traditional worship of Bhagavati before the wedding, Rukmini entered the Hall of the Wedding and in a swift pick-up Krishna carried away Rukmini by the chariot of Daruka, while Balarama restrained the armies of Sishupala, Jarasandha and asscociate Kings. Rukmi took a vow that he would not enter Vidarbha without defeating Krishna and along with Rukmini. In a fight with Krishna, a humiliated Rukmi was tied up to the former’s chariot and released on way after shaving him at the request of Rukmini who said that the head-shave was worse than death to a Kshatriya warrior. Indeed, Rukmi never returned to his Kingdom, but the Vidrabha King did ‘Kanyadaan’ at an auspicious time to Shri Krishna in the presence of elders like Vasudeva, Nanda, Ugrasena, Akrura, and Balabhadra along with Devaki, Yashoda, Revati, Rohini and others, when Devas sounded dundhubhis (drums) and showered flowers.
 
Lord Krishna’s second wife was Devi Satyabhama-of the Amsa of Bhu Devi- the daughter of Satrajit who secured a ‘Shamantaka Mani’ from Surya Deva which yielded eight maunds (38 kg per maund) of gold daily! Krishna found Prasena the brother of Satrajit wearing the jewel and desired to wear it but was declined. Later on he sported the ‘Mani’when he was on a hunting spree and unfortunately got killed by a lion, which took fancy to the Mani and carried it. Jambavan the bear- and an active associate of Shri Rama of the earlier Yuga-killed the lion and took the ‘Mani’to his cave. Shatrajit alleged that Krishna must have killed his brother to take away the Mani. Desirous of disproving the allegation, Krishna traced the deadbody of Prasena and following the footsteps of a lion and of a bear entered the cave of Jambavan and fought the latter for many days; finally Jambavan realized that Krishna was Rama himself, apologized to him and not only returned the Shamantika but also requested Krishna to accept his daughter Jambavati in wedding. Shatrajit was profusely apologetic for the baseless allegation that he made against Krishna and offered not only the Shamantaka Mani but also his daughter Satyabhama in wedding.The unnecessary blame that Krishna was subjected to was due to the fact that he did not worship Ganesha on Bhadrapada Shukla Paksha Chaturthi as it was strongly believed by the Public of all Varnas ought to observe the Vinayaka Vrata that day formally and reverentially!

Besides Rukmini, Satyabhama and Jambavati, Lord Krishna was married to Surya Kanya Kalindi; Mitravinda the daughter of Vindanuvindi in a Swayamvara by restraining seven bulls tied to a single chain and accepting Prize money besides  the bride; Devi Nagnajiti, Sulakshana and Susheela. Satyabhama accompanied Krishna to kill the most dreaded Narakasura by Garuda as also killed the demon by herself when Krishna fainted in the battle; all the belongings of Devas including the earrings of Deva Mata Aditi, the Ucchhaiswarya horse, the Iravata elephant and Mani Parvata were returned. Also thousand Kanyas imprisoned by Narakasura who were the daughters of the defeated Kings fell madly in love with Bhagavan Krishna and he accepted these brides also as his wives thus making the total of of sixteen thousand and eight wives including the eight principal ‘Patranis’ mentioned above! In all he had a crore sons!

Being aware of Jarasandha’s long-standing hatred of Shri Krishna eversince Kamsa’s death, Krishna called Bhima and Arjuna and suggested that all the three of them should assume the forms of Brahmanas to gain entry into the Court of Jarasandha and challenge him into a duel with any of the three of his choice. Jarasandha selected Bhima and fought for twenty seven days without any tangible result. Ultimately, Krishna picked up a twig from the ground, broke it in two halves and threw the two halves far away from each other in upside positions. Bhima got the hint, threw Jarasandha down to the ground, held his legs and split his body into two, threw away the two halves of Jarasandha from each other in upside down positions so that they might not join again.That was thus the end of Jarasandha, one of the most frightful evil forces on Earth. He was difficult to kill except by trick since his birth was complicated too: King Brihadratha of Magadha had two dutiful wives but did not obtain progeny. A Sage gifted one ripe mango fruit to the King and asked him to give to one of his wives considered dearer by him. Since the King felt that both his wives were equally dear to him, he cut the fruit into two halves and gave to the wives. After nine months, the queens delivered half piece each of a boy and they discarded both the pieces in a jungle. A demoness called Jara kept the pieces of flesh in a pot. Meanwhile, the two pieces got joined and a boy was crying loudly from the pot. Jara gave the child to the King and that was Jara+Sandha.

At the time of Rajasuya Yagna performed by Pandavas at Indraprastha, Yudhishtara took Bhishma’s advice to declare Shri Krishna as the Chief Guest and initiated the task of honouring Vaasudava. Sishupala who was also present objected to confer the honour to Krishna.The former was his arch-enemy who desired to marry Rukmini.He was the son of King Damaghosha of Chedi and Sutadeva, sister of Vasudeva, thus Krishna’s cousin. He was born ugly with three eyes and four arms.A celestial voice said that whosoever would keep the boy on his lap would kill him too. Krishna promised his sister that he would tolerate hundred mistakes of the child and terminate him thereafter. Krishna waited patiently for the hundredth accusation and got his head snipped by his chakra.

As soon as he learnt of his great friend Sishupal’s death was known, Dantavaktra reached Mathura on hearing that Shri Krishna left Indraprastha for Mathura. With seething anger against him, he chased Krishna to avenge his friend’s sad demise. On the banks of River Yamuna, there was a fierce duel of maces and Krishna over powered Dantavaktra and dropped him dead on the ground, thus ending the three birth episode of Hiranya Brothers, Ravana Kumbhakarnas and Sishupala Dantavaktras as a result of the curse of Sanaka brothers to Jaya and Vijaya the doormen of Vaikuntha covering four ‘Avataras’ of Vishnu as Varaha Deva, Nrisimha Deva, Shri Rama and Shri Krishna.
 
After Dantavaktra’s assassination, Bhagavan Krishna crossed Yamuna to visit the Vraja Bhumi where he displayed endless ‘Leelas’ terminating endless number of Rakshasas, subduing the poisonous and arrogant Kalia serpent, suppressing the self-image of Indra by lifting Govardhana, relieving the curse of Gandharvas as Arjuna Trees, enjoining the pranks of friends to steal butter, teasing Gopikas and enrapturing them with Rasa Leelas, enriching the wisdom of elder villagers, and most of all spell-binding the parents  with pure love and ecstasy! The Vrajavaasis reflected their own innermost feelings as soon as Krishna and Balarama reached there, some with awe, some with friendship, many of them with affection and respect, a few with sheer bliss but none with arrogance, or jealousy or fear! Nandagopa and Yashoda were speechless with overflowing tears emerging from their heart and soul; the elders were in a daze; their contemporaries were full of sweet memories and the Gopikas had feelings of Bhakti and Nirvana. Even the cows, other animals, birds and worms were all reminiscent of the Lord’s playful activities at the Vraja. Bhagavan was kind enough to bless them all from Nandagopa and Yashoda downward to attain salvation!

In the context of the Great Battle of Kurukshetra, Bhagavan Krishna’s role was indeed unique and unparalleled. Following the vicious and nasty game of chess between Yudhishtara and Shakuni-the wicked brother of Gandhari the wife of the blind King Dhritarashtra and the uncle of Kaurava sons headed by Duryodhana-Pandavas had to serve twelve years of ‘Aranya vaasa’(forest life) and one year of ‘Agnaata vaasa’ (life in-cognito). Pandavas deputed Shi Krishna to request the ‘Dushta Chatushtaya’ (the ill-famed and vicious foursome of Duryodhana, Dussasana, Karna and Shakuni) to allot at least five townships for the Five Pandavas but the deft Krishna failed in the peace negotiations and Maha Bharata Battle became inevitable. Lord Krishna opted to be the Sarathi (charioteer) of Arjuna who would not take up arms but was the unfailing guiding star and supreme Advisor of Pandavas at each and every stage of the Battle involving eleven ‘Akshouhinis’ of Kauravas and seven Akshouhinis of Pandavas over a period of eighteen long days of the historic event of Dwapara Yuga! He provided courage and conviction to Arjuna to kill cousins, uncles, Gurus, grand fathers, relatives and life-long associates by a long Sermon of Bhagavad Gita stating that He (Bhagavan) was the ‘Karanam-Kaaranam-Karta’ (The Action-The Act- The Actor) and that Arjuna and the like of him involved in the Battle were just the pawns on the Chess Board; he made ‘Sikhandi’ the eunuch stand before Bhishma-the Grand Father figure- so that the latter would cease to fight and Arjuna could pierce arrows into him; he named an elephant as Aswatthama the same name of Guru Drona’s son and when the latter stopped fighting rained arrows and killed him; he advised Arjuna to kill Karna when his chariot fell in a ditch and he lost his memory of the Arrow Mantras; he advised Duryodhana not to disrobe fully when Gandhari could make his body invincible and the vulnerable thighs were broken by Bhima as they did not secure the powerful shield of her vision; he saved Bhima in anticipation of pushing an iron replica of Bhima before Dhritarashtra which was embraced and squeezed into pulp and so on!
   
The end of Yadu Vamsha happened as a result of Kanva Mahashri’s curse. When a few of Yadava Kumars were playful on Narmada River banks, Samba a son of Jambavati was dressed like a pregnant woman and asked the Maharshi whether she would beget a boy or a girl, he gave a reply that she would give birth to a ‘musal’ (a mace) and further said angrily that you all in the Vamsa would be killed by it! The frightened Yadu youth conveyed this to Krishna. Samba did deliver a musala after a surgery and Krishna got the musala into powder and still one metallic rod of the size of a little finger remained which was thrown into the sea water. The rod was devoured by a fish which was caught by a fisherman and he used it as an arrow top. The powder germinated into big grass stems. All the Yadavas started abusing each other suddenly and using the grass stalks which came up on the sea coast killed each other. Krishna Bhagavan was resting under a tree shade and a hunter mistaking the Lord’s crossed leg as a deer shot at it with the arrow- top fixed with the finger like musala part there on hurting him badly. Krishna recalled Daruka with his chariot and asked Arjuna to be brought at once; on the latter’s arrival, the Lord instructed Arjuna to bring the eight ‘Patranis’ from Dwaraka and also intimate Vasudeva, Ugrasena, Balarama, Akrura and all other Yadu elders to resort to ‘Atmaarpana’; the Devis too did the same and all other remaining men and women followed suit.

Whosoever reads or hears or thinks of Shri Krishna’s memorable episodes shall be bestowed with multiple blessings as per the usual wish-list viz.: any desire or objective to be realized; even insurmountable difficulties to be overcome; small or big wishes in the course of daily chores to be fulfilled; success and victory of any task taken up to be accomplished; opponents or enemies to be vanquished; sins of any magnitude which are known or unnoticed to be pardoned; small or significant achievements secured by a person to be recognised in contemporary and subsequent societies; predicaments of physical, mental or psychological nature to be dissolved at once; quality of life to be guaranteed; final end to life to be peaceful without problems to the Self and persons around; and finally salvation to be secured.
 
Kimatra bahunoktena Sarva kaama phalaspruhah,
Krishnaaya nama iteyvam mantramuccharayed Budhhah/
Krishnaaya Vaasudevaaya Haraye Paramatmaney,
Pranatakleshanaashaaya Govindaaya Namo Namah/

(Is there an over-emphasis needed to assure that those desirous of fulfilling wishes should recite Krishnaya namah Mantra; Salutations to Krishna, Vaasudeva, Hara (Destroyer of Sins), Paramaatma (Resider of every heart), Pranatajana kasha naashaaya (Remover of the difficulties of devotees) and Govinda!) 

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