Krsna's Demon Pastimes in Mathura

BY: SUN STAFF - 31.8 2023

Krsna Slays Kuvalayapida


Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.



"After taking Their baths and finishing all other morning duties, Krsna and Balarama could hear the beating of the kettledrums in the wrestling camp. They immediately prepared Themselves to proceed to the spot to see the fun. When Krsna and Balarama reached the gate of the wrestling camp, They saw a big elephant of the name Kuvalayapida being tended by a caretaker riding on its head. The caretaker was deliberately blocking Their entrance by keeping the elephant in front of the gateway. Krsna could understand the purpose of the caretaker, and He prepared Himself by tightening His dress before combating the elephant.

He began to address the caretaker in a very grave voice, as resounding as a cloud: "You miscreant caretaker, give way and let Me pass through the gate. If you block My way, I shall send you and your elephant to the house of death personified."

The caretaker, being thus insulted by Krsna, became very angry, and in order to challenge Krsna, as was previously planned, he provoked the elephant to attack. The elephant then moved before Krsna like inevitable death. It rushed towards Him and tried to catch Him with its trunk, but Krsna very dexterously moved behind the elephant. Being able to see only to the end of its nose, the elephant could not see Krsna hiding behind its legs, but it tried to capture Him with its trunk. Krsna again very quickly escaped capture, and He again ran behind the elephant and caught its tail. Holding the elephant by its tail, Krsna began to pull it, and with very great strength He dragged it for at least twenty-five yards, just as Garuda drags an insignificant snake. Krsna pulled the elephant from this side to that, from right to left, just as He used to pull the tail of a calf in His childhood. After this, Krsna went in front of the elephant and gave it a strong slap. He then slipped away from the elephant's view and ran to its back. Then, falling down on the ground, Krsna placed Himself in front of the elephant's two legs and caused it to trip and fall. Krsna immediately got up, but the elephant, thinking that He was still lying down, tried to push an ivory tusk through the body of Krsna by forcibly stabbing it into the ground. Although the elephant was harassed and angry, the caretaker riding on its head tried to provoke it further. The elephant then rushed madly towards Krsna. As soon as it came within reach, Krsna caught hold of the trunk and pulled the elephant down. When the elephant and caretaker fell, Krsna jumped up on the elephant's back and broke it and killed the caretaker also. After killing the elephant, Krsna took the ivory tusk on His shoulder. Decorated with drops of perspiration and sprinkled with the blood of the elephant, He felt very blissful, and thus He began to proceed towards the wrestling camp. Lord Balarama took the other tusk of the elephant on His shoulder. Accompanied by Their cowherd boyfriends, They entered the arena.

When Krsna entered the wrestling arena with Balarama and Their friends, He appeared differently to different people according to their different relationships (rasas) with Him. Krsna is the reservoir of all pleasure and all kinds of rasas, both favorable and unfavorable. He appeared to the wrestlers exactly like a thunderbolt. To the people in general He appeared as the most beautiful personality. To the females He appeared to be the most attractive male, Cupid personified, and thus increased their lust. The cowherd men who were present there looked upon Krsna as their own kinsman, coming from the same village of Vrndavana. The ksatriya kings who were present saw Him as the strongest ruler. To the parents of Krsna, Nanda and Yasoda, He appeared to be the most loving child. To Kamsa, the king of the Bhoja dynasty, He appeared to be death personified. To the unintelligent, He appeared to be an incapable personality. To the yogis present, He appeared to be the Supersoul. To the members of the Vrsni dynasty He appeared to be the most celebrated descendant. Thus appreciated differently by different kinds of men present, Krsna entered the wrestling arena with Balarama and His cowherd boyfriends. Having heard that Krsna had already killed the elephant, Kuvalayapida, Kamsa knew beyond doubt that Krsna was formidable. He thus became very much afraid of Him. Krsna and Balarama had long arms. They were beautifully dressed, and They were attractive to all the people assembled there. They were dressed as if They were going to act on a dramatic stage, and They drew the attention of all people.

The citizens of Mathura City who saw Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, became very pleased and began to look on His face with insatiable glances, as if they were drinking the nectar of heaven. Seeing Krsna gave them so much pleasure that it appeared that they were not only drinking the nectar of seeing His face, but were smelling the aroma and licking up the taste of His body and were embracing Him and Balarama with their arms. They began to talk among themselves about the two transcendental brothers. For a long time they had heard of the beauty and activities of Krsna and Balarama, but now they were personally seeing Them face to face. They thought that Krsna and Balarama were two plenary incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, who had appeared in Vrndavana."

Krsna Book, Chapter 43



Krsna and Balarama Ask the Ocean Deity
to Return their Guru's Drowned Son


"After promising the inhabitants of Vrndavana that He would return very soon, Krsna underwent ritualistic ceremonies as a ksatriya. He took the vow of brahmacarya and lived in the guru-kula, where He studied regularly. By killing the demon named Pancajana, He received a conchshell named Pancajanya. Krishna rescued the son of His guru from the custody of Yamaraja and returned him. After thus offering guru-daksina to repay His teacher, Lord Krsna returned to Mathura-puri."

Srimad Bhagavatam, 10th Canto Summary

"Lord Krsna and Balarama, the reservoir of all knowledge of arts and sciences, exhibited Their perfect understanding when They offered to serve Their teacher by awarding him anything he desired. This offering by the student to the teacher or spiritual master is called guru-daksina. It is essential that a student satisfy the teacher in return for any learning received, either material or spiritual. When Krsna and Balarama offered Their service in this way, the teacher, Sandipani Muni, thought it wise to ask Them for something extraordinary, something which no common student could offer. He therefore consulted with his wife about what to ask from Them. They had already seen the extraordinary potencies of Krsna and Balarama and could understand that these two boys were the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They decided to ask for the return of their son, who had drowned in the ocean on the bank of Prabhasaksetra.

When Krsna and Balarama heard from Their teacher about the death of his son on the bank of Prabhasaksetra, They immediately started for the ocean on Their chariot. Reaching the beach, They asked the controlling deity of the ocean to return the son of Their teacher. The ocean deity immediately appeared before the Lord and offered Him all respectful obeisances with great humility.

The Lord said, "Some time back you caused the drowning of the son of Our teacher. I order you to return him."

The ocean deity replied, "The boy was not actually taken by me but was captured by a demon named Pancajana. This great demon generally remains deep in the water in the shape of a conchshell. The son of Your teacher might be within the belly of the demon, having been devoured by him."

On hearing this, Krsna dove deep into the water and caught hold of the demon Pancajana. He killed him on the spot, but could not find the son of His teacher within his belly. Therefore He took the demon's dead body (in the shape of a conchshell) and returned to His chariot on the beach of Prabhasaksetra. From there He started for Samyamani, the residence of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death. Accompanied by His elder brother Balarama, who is also known as Halayudha, Krsna arrived there and blew on His conchshell.

Hearing the vibration, Yamaraja appeared and received Sri Krsna with all respectful obeisances. Yamaraja could understand who Krsna and Balarama were, and therefore he immediately offered his humble service to the Lord. Krsna had appeared on the surface of the earth as an ordinary human being, but actually Krsna and Balarama are the Supersoul living within the heart of every living entity. They are Visnu Himself, but were playing just like ordinary human boys. As Yamaraja offered his services to the Lord, Sri Krsna asked him to return His teacher's son, who had come to him as a result of his work. "Considering My ruling as supreme," said Krsna, "you should immediately return the son of My teacher."

Yamaraja returned the boy to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Krsna and Balarama brought him to his father. The brothers asked if Their teacher had anything more to ask from Them, but he replied, "My dear sons, You have done enough for me. I am now completely satisfied. What further want can there be for a man who has disciples like You? My dear boys, You can go home. These glorious acts of Yours will always be renowned all over the world. You are above all blessing, yet it is my duty to bless You. I give You the benediction that whatever You speak will remain as eternally fresh as the instruction of the Vedas. Your teachings will not only be honored within this universe or in this millennium but in all places and ages and will remain increasingly new and important." Due to this benediction from His teacher, Lord Krsna's Bhagavad-gita is ever increasingly fresh and is not only renowned within this universe but in other planets and in other universes also."

Krsna Book, Chapter 45


The Washerman

Krsna Beheads the Washerman


"While Krsna and Balarama were passing in this way, They saw a washerman and dyer of clothing. Krsna was pleased to ask him for some nice clothing. He also promised that if the washerman would deliver the nicest dyed cloth to Him, he would be very happy, and all good fortune would be his. Krsna was neither a beggar, nor was He in need of clothing, but by this request He indicated that everyone should be ready to offer Krsna whatever He wants. That is the purpose of Krsna consciousness.

Unfortunately this washerman was a servant of Kamsa and therefore could not appreciate the demand of Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the effect of bad association. He could have immediately delivered the clothing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who promised him all good fortune, but being a servant of Kamsa, the sinful demon could not accept the offer. Instead of being pleased, he was very angry and refused the Lord's request saying, "How is it that You are asking clothing which is meant for the King?" The washerman then began to instruct Krsna and Balarama: "My dear boys, in the future don't be so impudent as to ask for things which belong to the King. Otherwise, You will be punished by the government men. They will arrest You and punish You, and You will be in difficulty. I have practical experience of this fact. Anyone who unlawfully wants to use the King's property is very severely punished."

On hearing this, Lord Krsna, the son of Devaki, became very angry at the washerman, and striking him with the upper portion of His hand, He separated the man's head from his body. The washerman fell down dead on the ground. In this way Lord Krsna confirmed the statement that every limb of His body is capable of doing everything He likes. Without a sword, but simply with His hand, He cut off the head of the washerman. This is proof that the Supreme Lord is omnipotent. If He wants to do something, He can do it without extraneous help."

Krsna Book, Chapter 41

 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from various texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.