This is a wonderful ceremonial function of Lord Krishna's pastimes that reflects practically how we are to render service to the Lord for His pleasure.
At the time of the Jhulan Yatra festival it is Monsoon in India and the air is thick, heavy and humid with the heat and the rains. These festivals are not in any way mere rituals, as they all have practical service functionality to invoke loving servitude of the devotees for the Lord. Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme enjoyer and doesn't have to work hard like us in this world. Everything He does is pleasurable, and He organises many situation in which He can incorporate us, His separated parts and parcels into His loving service which is our natural condition in the spiritual realm.
When Sri Krishna had his pastimes in rural Vrindavan with His cowherd friends together they lovingly tended the cows, and wandered in the pastures playing, frolicking, and feasting. Throughout the various seasons they all continuously enjoyed being part of Sri Krishna's pastimes, and rendering loving service to Him as best they could.
Over the past few months as the climate had changed from Vasant Panchami (Spring festival) where everyone dresses in yellow and goes to the fields, performs fertility rites, and plants new crops, etc.) to Dola Purnima where scented powders and flowers are thrown on the body of the Lord playfully, and singing and dancing goes on for His pleasure. Similarly all the other different festivals were observed where the friends of Lord Krishna would look after His express comforts or pleasure, go to the forest with Him, serve Him and have fun.
As the temperature rises toward Summer the Chandan Yatra is performed where from the Akshaya Tritiya for a period of 21 days the body of the Lord is anointed with scented sandalwood mixed with camphor, musk, saffron. As the sandalwood is applied to the body it immediately cools, but then there is a natural cycle that also follows with the heat naturally there is some perspiration, and as the perspiration again mixes with the sandalwood it is dried and cooled by even the slightest breeze creating a pleasant feeling like being covered with Talcum powder.
However, as the temperature increases just to be anointed with something cooling is not enough therefore on (or from for some sampradayas or temples) the Snan Purnima in the month of Jyestha (Trivikram Vaishnava mase) there is the ceremonial bathing of the Lord called Snan Yatra. Although it has become especially festive in Jagannath Puri the actual event originates in Vrindavana with the devotees bathing Krishna, and Balaram for their pleasure and then taking bath themselves too. Actually at this time there is no other solace than to bathe in some kind of pleasing water. All the temples of Vrindavan follow this festival, and many devotees follow a trail of pilgrimage from one temple to the next from early morning to late evening when the temperature lowers to about 35-40 degrees centigrade absorbed in the Snan rasa.
The next major interactive event is Rathyatra where the devotees symbolically bring Lord Krishna (Jagannath) His brother Balaram and Subhadra maharani on high chariots, with beautiful flapping canopies, back to rural Vrindavan after their spell in Kurukshetra.
After this comes the Jhulan Yatra festival. Starting on the ekadasi of waxing moon of Sridhara month, many temples in Vrndavana celebrate Krsna's swing festival, some for one day, others for more days. Traditionally many of the Deities of the Lord wears various clothing with green in it over this period until the Balaram Purnima. Again it is a practical festive service that the devotees provide for the Lord. Monsoon is so humid, and the temperature is still so hot despite the cooling rains. With so much water coming from the sky, on the ground, and just about everywhere the last thing that anyone wants is more water to cool off. The opulence at this time is to find a breeze, as the air is heavy with the humidity of the rains. So the devotees arrange for the pleasure and satisfaction of Krishna, Balaram, and Srimati Radhika by placing them on a swing (Jhulan) and creating their own breeze from the motion.
It is a most pleasing and satisfying festival, with the swings often highly decorated with forest creepers, Jasmine (Malati) that has newly blossomed in the season, and streamers of garlands. Sometimes they use a fine spray of rose water and direct it toward the Divine couple of Radha and Krishna on the swing.
Today in Iskcon temples all over the world by the mercy of his Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad all the devotees and the congregational members get the opportunity to come forward after purifying their hands and remember these loving interactions of Sri Krishna with His devotees, and also assist in the direct personal service of the Lord by applying themselves to pushing the swing.
On the last day of the Jhulan, on the Purnima (full moon) this comes Lord Balaram's appearance day festival.
"Regarding Jhulanayatra Ceremony, during these five days the Deities' clothing should be changed everyday, and there should be nice Prasadam distribution and Sankirtana as far as possible. If you are able to do it, a nice throne may be constructed on which the Deities can be placed. This throne may be swung gently during Kirtana. That will be very good, and surely the Deities will enjoy the function." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.1st August. 1969. Letter to Jayapataka Swami. Letters book pg. 977.)
"So we have to practice this Krsna consciousness. Here, in this material world, we have to work. Without work, you cannot maintain even your family, your body. That is not possible. €ar'ra-yatrapi te na prasiddhyed akarmana-. Krsna says (to) Arjuna that without karma you cannot maintain even your body. So you have to work. €ar'ra-yatrapi te na prasiddhyed akarmana-. And this material world means you have to maintain by working. And spiritual world means na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate. There is nothing to work, as Krsna has nothing to work. He is simply enjoying What is called? Swing. So Krsna is enjoying, and Krsna's associates are enjoying. They have nothing to work. That is spiritual world. Cintamani prakara sadmasu kalpa vrksa: that is a different world. There is no material body. Therefore there is no need of the material body. That is a different world. But in this material world we have to work. Trt'ya-karma-samj<anya avidya-karma-samjanya trt'ya aktir isyate. This material world means you have to work and adjust things for your maintenance. That you cannot escape. But still, we have to become Krsna conscious" (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 10th August 1976. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:22:21. Tehran, Iran.)
"Radha and Krsna may be swung in
this way, but you may avoid swinging Lord Jagannatha like that."(A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada. 5th Jan. 1973. Letter to Jagdish. Letters book p.2220.)
On the purnima or full moon of the month of Sridhara month Balarama, the elder brother of Lord Krsna appeared. This day is celebrated in Vrndavana and Mathura region. Particularly at the Dauji Temple, where Balarama resides with Revati. One may perform worship with abhiseka as for Krsna Janmastami.
The following section is from "The Life and Legacy of Sripad Ananda Tirtha - Madhwacarya" © JTCd
Remembering Sri Sri Krsna - Balaram.
Sripad Madhwacarya, being in the mixed 'rasa' or mellows of devotional friendship and service, then meditated on his worshipful Friends and Lords, Krsna and Balarama.
As Hanuman, the 'avatar' of Mukhyaprana, perfectly performed
devotional service in the 'dasya rasa' or devotional service in servitude
and in the incarnation as Bhima, his mood was that of fraternal love. This
group is usually divided into four. (1) well wishers, (2) friends, (3)
confidential friends, (4) intimate friends, and the group is called 'vayasyas'
The fraternal 'rasa' has some light shed upon it, by the following statements: "When there is full knowledge of Krsna's superiority and yet in dealings with Him on friendly terms respectfulness in completely absent, that stage is called affection. There is one brilliant example of this affection. When the demigods, headed by Lord Shiva, were offering prayers to Krsna describing the glorious opulences of the Lord, Krsna's friend in Vrindavan stood before Him with his hand of His shoulders and brushed the dust from His peacock feather.
When the Pandavas were banished by Duryodhana and forced to live incognito in the forest, no-one could trace out where they were staying. At that time, the great sage Narada Muni met Lord Krsna and said, "My dear Mukunda, although You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the all powerful person, by making friendship with You the Pandavas have become bereft of their legitimate right to the kingdom of the world - and moreover, they are now living in the forest incognito. Sometimes they must work as ordinary laborers in someone else's house. These symptoms appear to be very inauspicious materially, but the beauty is that, the Pandavas have not lost their faith and love for You, in spite of all these tribulations. In fact, they are always thinking of You and chanting Your name in ecstatic friendship."
Another example of freidnship may be given again described by Narada Muni, who reminded Krsna thus: "When Arjuna was learning the art of shooting arrows, he could not see You for so many days. But when You arrived there, he stopped all his activities and immediately embrassed You."(Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu, Nectar of Devotion).
Mostly the 'rasa' or mood of Sripad Madhwacarya follows the 'dasya rasa'. The devotees of the Lord in servitude are divided into four classes: (1) appointed servants - (This is how the third incarnation of Vayu came to take up these wonderful pastimes.) Others such as Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, who are appointed to control over the material modes of passion and ignorance. (2) Devotees in servitude who are protected by the Lord. (3) Devotees who are always associates. (4) Devotees who are simply following in the footsteps of the Lord. To more or lesser degrees all these four apply to Madhwa but 'adhikrta-devata' - appointed servants specifically covers the pastimes of our hero.
In these moods of servitude and friendship Sripad Madhwacarya stood before his Friend and Lord and remembered the unlimited pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna. When He, the Original Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, appeared in Sri Vrndavan Dhama in His original form and expansion, Sri Sri Krsna and Balarama, the divine cowherd boys, Mukhyaprana was preparing to make his second incarnation into the Yadu dynasty as Bhima.
Once Bhumidevi (the goddess of the earth) assumed the form of a cow and took shelter of Lord Brahma. She humbly begged for relief, the whole earth is in a mixed up condition. Everyone is distressed due to the presence of so many demoniac kings. Hearing the distressful condition, Lord Brahma, Mother Bhumi and many other demigods, approached Lord Visnu on His island Swetadvipa. Standing on the shore of the milk ocean they told their woeful tale. Lord Visnu instructed those devas there to go and take their births on earth in the Yadu dynasty. He said at that time I will come in My original two-armed form along with My transcendental brother and sister and will be knows as Krsna, Balarama and Yogamaya. In these forms We will kill the demons, protect the devotees, and have unlimited pastimes for the pleasure of the devotees.
In the Yadu dynasty at that time was the king named Surasena
who had a son named Vasudeva. Another Yadu king by the name Ugrasena had
a beautiful daughter called Devaki. After some time Vasudeva and Devaki
were married. Devaki had an evil brother by the name Kamsa, and that Kamsa,
after the wedding, drove Vasudeva's and Devaki's wedding chariot to their
home. However, in mid journey, suddenly from the sky came a prophetic voice
saying, "Kamsa you are a fool. The eighth son of your sister Devaki, whose
chariot you now drive, will kill you." Without a second thought Kamsa grabbed
Devaki by the hair and raised his sword to kill her. Vasudeva promising
that he personally would present any children they may have, first to Kamsa,
and so there is no need to worry for now, as we don't have any children,
and when we do we will give them to you. So don't kill your sister Devaki
on her wedding day.
Kamsa imprisoned his father, sister and brother-in-law to be sure of Vasudeva's promise being kept. The transcendental devotee Narada Muni then appeared before Kamsa at the arrival of the first child and told Kamsa that now Krsna's friends, the demigods, are lying in wait, taking births in the families of Nanda Maharaja, his wives, and the cowherd men of Vraja. In this was Narada escalated the advent of Krsna. As each child was born, the was presented to Kamsa who, with rage, smashed them one by one to the ground and killed them.
Formerly an 'asura' named Kalanemi had six sons, named Hamsa, Suikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahanta. They were known as 'sad-garbhas', or six 'garbhas', and they were all equally powerful and expert in military affairs. These 'sad-garbhas' gave up the association of Hiranyakasipu, their grandfather, and underwent great austerities to satisfy Lord Brahma, who, upon being satisfied, agreed to give them whatever benediction they might desire. When asked by Lord Brahma to state what they wanted, the sad-garbhas replied, "Dear Brahma, if you want to give us a benediction, give us the blessing that we will not be killed by any demigod, 'maha-roga', 'yaksa', 'gandharva-pati', 'siddha', 'carana' or human being, nor by great sages who are perfect in their penances and austerities." Brahma understood their purpose and fulfilled their desire. But when Hiranyakasipu came to know of these events, he was very angry at his grandsons. "You have given up my association and have gone to worship Brahma," he said, "....And therefore I no longer have any affection for you. You tried to save yourselves from the hands of demigods, but I curse you in this way; Your father will take birth as Kamsa and kill all of you because you will take birth as the sons of Devaki."(Sripad Vijayadhwaj Tirtha. Srimad Bhagavatam 10:1:69.).
The arrogant Kamsa then had himself installed as King.
Soon came the time of Devaki's seventh baby. This child was non other than
Lord Balarama, but as the child was born, Yogamaya took the child and placed
him safely with Rohini in the house of Nanda and Yasodamayi, and news spread
that Devaki has miscarried.
When news reached Kamsa's ears that Devaki was pregnant for the eighth time, Kamsa changed extraordinarily. He became completely paranoid for the child that would kill him was now in the womb. In an adverse way Kamsa performed devotional service, always being absorbed in thoughts of Krsna. When he slept he dreamt of Krsna, whilst eating, working, walking, talking, sitting, he couldn't spend a moment without thoughts of Krsna, but those thoughts were not at all favourable. Kamsa feared for his life, knowing his arch enemy was there, the child that would kill him.
Narada Muni reassured Devaki that Kamsa would not kill this child, and that Krsna is coming just to kill the demons so that the devotees may live in the world peacefully.
All kinds of auspicious omens were seen all around prior
to Krsna's appearance, and in the heavens the all-auspicious 'nakshatra'
of Rohini welcomed the Lord to begin His pastimes. Rivers ran clear and
full with pure water, lakes were full with full blown pink, blue and white
lotuses, all the birds and animals of the forests were singing in great
delight., and the soft breezes carried the fragrances of aromatic flowers
in all directions. 'Gandharvas' and 'Kinnaras' began to sing, and the 'Siddhas'
and 'Caranas' offered prayers in beautiful unison. The 'Apsaras' began
their heavenly dances and the great sages, 'Rshis' and all the demigods
showered flowers from the skies.
Them just after midnight as the constellation ('nakshatra') Rohini moved into position a great storm came. The four-armed form of Lord Visnu then appeared before the beautiful Devaki. Devaki, who for some time was covered by Krsna' internal potency, thought that this was like a normal birth, and thought that only due to the trauma of the birth she didn't remember the actual birth. But the Lord appeared fully adorned with jewels and looking very beautiful. Vasudeva saw his son first with four arms carrying conch, club, disc and lotus, surrounded by a glistening effulgence within the prison cell, with the Srivatsa mark of Laxmi devi on His chest and Kaustubha mani around His neck, and dressed in yellow silken cloth.
Krsna then told Vasudeva to take Him out of the prison and go to Gokul and exchange Krsna with the girl child just born to Mother Yashoda. Turning Himself into what seemed to be an ordinary baby, Vasudeva carried his newborn son out of the prison. The prison guards were unusually all sleeping and all the doors miraculously opened to allow baby Krsna, carried by Vasudeva, to go out.
The night was dark as it was the eighth day of the fortnight
of the waning moon (Krsna paksa) and the sky was full of rain clouds. Thunder
and rain of monsoon time made the Yamuna River fill it's banks with turbulent
water and the wind whipped up the waves. Thus due to the rainy season the
Yamuna was impossible to cross. But now effulgent baby Krsna suddenly manifested
his divine umbrella, Ananta Sesa, which, with His many snake like hoods,
gave shelter to Krsna and His devotee Vasudeva. As they approached the
Yamuna River again, suddenly miracles started to happen, and despite the
rough and deep waters, Vasudeva, carrying baby Krsna, walked across the
Yamuna and over to the house of Nanda Maharaja. Picking up her girl
child, he again crossed the Yamuna and back to the prison.
In the morning the guards told Kamsa about the sounds of a baby crying in the prison, and Kamsa came down to investigate. Devaki begged Kamsa not to kill her child, as it was a girl and the prediction was that her eighth son would kill him. The cruel demon Kamsa was just about the dash the child to the ground when the baby flew up into the air and manifested herself as Durga. In her eight arms she carried all kinds of weapons - a bow, spear, sword, club, shield, arrows, conch and disc. Dressed in fine ornaments and exquisite garments and surrounded by devas, Durga addressed Kamsa, "So you think you can kill me. You cannot. The child who will kill you however has already been born before me somewhere else. Now don't be cruel to your sister, Devaki," and disappeared. Kamsa was now petrified, and begged Vasudeva and Devaki for forgiveness for killing their six children, but by the next day his normal demoniac nature was back. Kamsa then ordered his men to kill every child born in the last ten days.
In the meantime in Nanda Maharaja's house, the 'Nandotsava'
(birthday ceremony) of Lord Krsna was performed. Nanda Maharaja and the
local cowherds people, the elderly 'gopis', and the young 'gopis', all
assembled there along with pure hearted 'brahmins' including Gargamuni.
After the 'abhisheka' bathing ceremony of baby Krsna, and after all the
well wishers had came and presented so many nice present for Krsna, Gargamuni
cast an astrological chart to see the nature of the child. Gargamuni was
astounded. This is no ordinary child. This is the Personality of Godhead,
Lord Visnu. But in their parental love, Nanda and Yasoda overlooked this
face and gave abundances of well decorated cows, grains and golden ornaments
to all who came to invoke their blessing upon the child.
Afterwards there was a sumptuous feast, for any 'samskara' is not complete without 'daksina' given to the 'Vaisnava brahmins', and distribution of 'prasadams'. The Nanda and Yasodamayi performed 'nyasa', touching Krsna's transcendental body and praying to the Supreme Personality of Godhead to protect each of His limbs and thus protect completely "their child".
At this time Lord Balarama was also growing up in the house of Nanda Maharaja but as the son of Mother Rohini. Nanda Maharaja then asked Garga muni to perform a secret 'nama karana' (name giving ceremony.) Garga muni told that Rohini's son, who has a whitish complexion will be called Rama because he is so pleasing, and he will be called Balarama because of his strength. The other boy who is actual the son of Devaki, will be known as Syama for His blackish complexion and Krsna for His all attractiveness, and by some he will be known as Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva. This child will grow in power, beauty and opulence, being the Personality of Godhead.
Kamsa sent all kinds of demons in many varieties of disguises
to try to kill Krsna, one in particular was the evil witch Putana. She
would take babies and smearing her motherly nipples with poison, would
push them into her victim's mouth and kill them. Assuming a very beautiful
form, Putana approached the house of Nanda Maharaja. Seeing baby Krsna,
she placed Him upon her lap and pushed her poisoned nipple into Krsna's
mouth. Krsna accepted this motherly service that she rendered, but as well
as sucking the witches breast milk, Krsna sucked out her very life air.
As Putana screaming gave up her life, she returned to her ugly and
huge form, but Krsna just played of her dead body. Because of her contact
with Krsna, when all the inhabitants of Vraja burned up her body, there
was a very pleasant smell.
Krsna and Balarama used to crawl and play with the cows, holding onto their tails until eventually the cows would run off with the boys holding the cow's tails. In this way they would enjoy a ride as they ran off through the cow dung. This used to amuse everyone watching the transcendental brothers playing just like cheeky, funny boys.
Kamsa would periodically send his friends who were all demons to try and cause harm to baby Krsna and Balarama. But Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even though appearing as a small baby, finished the demons easily.
Once a whirl wind demon Trnavarta came and tried to take
Krsna away by force, but little Krsna suddenly became heavier and heavier
until Trnavarta felt Krsna to be like a mountain. Krsna grabbed the demob
by the neck and choked him, and Trnavarta's eyes popped out of their sockets
as he screamed in agony his last breath.
When Krsna and Balarama had started walking around, they would go to the houses of the 'gopis' every morning before the cows had been milked and would release all the calves. Each calf would immediately run to their respective mother and drink all the milk. When the 'gopis' would come to milk the cows there was no milk, and so they would go to complain to Mother Yashoda. On other occasions Krsna and Balaram and some of their cowherd friends would go to the cool store room where the gopis would have their yogurt hanging ready to prepare into butter. Krsna and Balarama would take that yogurt and butter and sit and eat it directly from the pots. Other times they would feed their remnants to the monkeys and then break the pots. When the 'gopis' would catch them, They would just smile charmingly. These boys are so transcendentally cheeky.
Another time some of Krsna's friends headed by Balarama told Mother Yashoda that Krsna had eaten earth. Krsna complained that they were just trying to get him into trouble, but Mother Yashoda insisted on looking in Krsna's mouth. Opening his lotus mouth, Mother Yashoda saw the entire universe, planets, mountains, oceans, everything and even herself sitting with Krsna on her lap looking into his mouth. Stunned, by her parental love, she gave Krsna a big hug and a kiss.
Once the two sons of the demigod Kuvera, Nalakuvera and
Manigriva, were enjoying in Lord Shiva's garden next to the Mandakini River,
otherwise known as the Ganges. They were naked and intoxicated and playing
like elephants they splashed and frolicked in the waters accompanied by
naked women. Suddenly the great staunch devotee Narada Muni came by. The
intoxicated sons of Kuvera didn't even bother to try to cover themselves,
or pay any respect to Narada. To teach them a lesson Narada cursed them
to stand naked as trees in the garden of Nanda Maharaja for 36,000 years
until Krsna would free them.
It so happened that one day when Mother Yashoda was making butter in the kitchen, baby Krsna being hungry, climbed upon her lap to drink her breast milk. Remembering she had left the milk on the stove which by now was ready to boil, over, Mother Yashoda put Krsna down and ran off to the kitchen.
Krsna, who hadn't finished drinking, was so angry. He broke a pot of butter and started to eat the contents. When Mother Yashoda returned to find the broken pot, she took a stick and went to find her rascal son Krsna.
Here Mother Yashoda is going to bind Krsna. It is not that Krsna is unhappy, He is feeling happy. It is a pleasure for Krsna to be bound by the ropes of love by his pure devotee. It is not that anyone can chastize the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna but He is taking pleasure in being chastized by Mother Yashoda.
When she finally caught Krsna, she tried to bind him with rope, but every tope she tried to bind him with was two inches too short. Even all joined together it was two inches too short. Krsna, withholding His mercy, not allowing himself to be bound, was one inch and the other inch was the love and endeavour of His devotee, mother Yashoda. Finally when Mother Yashoda was at her wits end, in desperation she prayed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, then that same Supreme Person in the form of her child bestowed His mercy upon Mother Yashoda and allowed Himself to be bound by her ropes of love.
When Mother Yashoda left that place leaving Krsna tied to the grinding mortar, Krsna, to fulfil the curse of Narada, dragged the mortar into the garden and between the twin Arjuna trees. As Krsna crawled between the two trees the mortar became stuck. Krsna pulled harder and the trees came smashing down to the ground. As the trees broke, the two devas came out. Yes, it was the now repentant sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvera and Manigriva, and they offered prayers to Krsna.
Sometimes at the house of Nanda Maharaja different sales people would come by selling their wares as is the nature of village life. On one such occasion a fruit selling lady came by with a big basket of fruits. When Krsna saw her and the fruits, He took a handful of rice and approached the lady to purchase fruits. The fruit lady was so taken back by this beautifully decorated and charming boy that she gave him his required fruits. As she piled Krsna up with fruits, and watched the little boy waddle away dropping an occasional fruit here and there, she laughed. Looking back to her basket, she saw that the remaining fruits that she had turned into priceless jewels. Krsna had rewarded the fruit lady for her unmotivated, unexpectant service to Him.
On another day Krsna and Balarama were playing on the banks of the Yamuna when Mother Rohini (Balarama's mother) called them for their lunch. Nanda Maharaja was waiting to take, and wouldn't start without the whole family there. Mother Yashoda stayed, and Rohini went back to the house. Mother Yashoda scolded the and told them to get home immediately. Yashoda Mayi finally got the boys home. They were both covered in dust and dirt, so she gave them both a good bath, redressed them nicely with ornaments and jewels. Then the 'brahmins' came to receive charity for the occasion of Janmasthami (Krsna's birthday). As is Vedic culture, one should give in charity on one's birthday and not expect returns.
Sometimes Krsna and Balarama and their friends would play
near Govardhana Hill. They would go there on carts with all the residents
of Vrndavan in a very festive mood, blowing conches and horns. Krsna and
Balarama themselves would take care of small calves, and with their friends
and calves they would all play in the fields. Sometimes they played on
their flutes and other times they played ball with bitter tasting 'amalaki'
fruits, or covered themselves with the calves blankets and pretended to
be bulls. Whilst they were playing like this, one day a demon by the name
of Vatsasura came and turned himself into a calf and mingled with the other
calves, waiting to attack Krsna and Balarama, but the divine brothers had
their own plan. Instead they sneaked up on Vatsasura and Krsna caught the
calf-demon by it's back legs and threw him high into a tree, and the demon
fell down dead.
When once Krsna and Balarama and their friends were at the Yamuna River with the calves, they saw what looked like a huge duck. Yes, this was another demon sent by the evil Kamsa to kill Krsna. The demon attacked and even swallowed Krsna. Krsna became so hot like the sun in the throat of the demon that the demon released Him. Krsna then grabbed the demon's beak and as one would split a piece of grass, Krsna tore the demon Bakasura's beaks wide open and killed him.
One day the younger brother of Putana witch and the duck demon Baka came by with a plan to eat Krsna, Balarama and their friends. Assuming the form of a gigantic snake, he opened his mouth like a huge cave. At first the boys thought it was a statue, but they could see it moving and smell the fishy smell of it's liver on the demon's breath. This demon's name was Aghasura. Suddenly all the cowherd boys began to climb up over his big lips past his teeth and into the cave-like mouth to explore the inside. Krsna and Balaram also climbed in much to the dismay of the demigods who had gathered there to see the boys play. Then Krsna began to grow bigger and bigger until finally he choked the demon to death. After the death of Aghasura the boys used to play on the gigantic body without fear, knowing that Krsna had killed him.
One time Krsna and Balarama and their friends, being desirous
of enjoying the succulent fruits of the Talavana Forest, made plans to
go there. However, some of the boys tried to warn Krsna and Balarama that
there was a herd of donkey demons who stayed in that forest headed by Dhenukasura,
and so it is not safe to go there. Krsna and Balarama who had dealt with
so many demons, were not perturbed. The fruits in Talavana Forest were
all ripe and juicy but were all high up in the trees. When Dhenukasura
and his ass-like friends came, Krsna and Balarama caught hold of the demons
and began throwing them up into the trees, thus killing the demons, and
knocking down all the nice fruits.
In the summertime the boys and the cows would go down to the Yamuna River and take a break from the heat of the day. But for some time now another demon of the name Kaliya had taken his residence just down stream from the area known as Raman Reti or shimmering sands. He was a big black snake with many many heads and hoods. Due to his presence, the waters of the Yamuna in that area had become dirty, black and poisonous. On these hot days the cow herd boys normally would go to the Yamuna and drink also, but upon drinking this time, they became sick and then died. Only Krsna could bring them back to life by His glance. Krsna didn't like his friends to be caused suffering in this way, so He climbed up a big Kadamba tree and in a fighting mood, jumped into the murky waters. After attracting the Kaliya serpent, Krsna sported with Him for some time. Finally Krsna made his transcendental body bigger and bigger, until finally He took hold of the demon's hoods and began to dance, pushing down with Supreme pleasure. Kaliya began to vomit all kinds of bad things and even his own blood. As Krsna danced, he kicked the demon with His lotus feet. Kaliya was now almost dead because of associating unfavourably with Krsna, the Nagapatnis (wives of Kaliya) appealed for the life of their husband. Krsna then sent the demon away from that place in the Yamuna to where he now resides, in the south Pacific Ocean near Fiji. Krsna said that Garuda will not bother you if you go there immediately.
The daily pastimes of Krsna and Balarama are too numerous to even comprehend, what to speak of tell. Even Sesa Naga (Ananta Deva), Who has unlimited heads, possessing ears and mouths, is still in a transcendentally frustrated condition, for even though with His unlimited eyes and mouths he is neither capable of hearing nor reciting the oh, too numerous, wonderful pastimes of the Lord.
Krsna and Balarama and the cowherd boys love to wrestle together. Sometimes they would pick sides, and on some days some of the boys were on Krsna's side and on some days they were on Balarama's side. One day while they played like this, the demon Pralambasura joined in. He took the disguise of a cowherd boy. Krsna, the knower of all activities and the performers thereof in the past, present and future, knew this cowherd boy was a demon in disguise. On this particular day Balarama's team were the winners and so Krsna's team had to carry them on their shoulders. As they walked in this way through the forest, Pralambasura who was carrying Lord Balarama, carried Balarama far away. Suddenly the ferocious demon assumed his normal horrific size and shape. Lord Balaram, who is known for his superhuman strength, with a couple of good punches from his fists which are soft like lotuses and powerful like thunder bolts, killed the demon, blood pouring from Pralamba's mouth.
Krsna, the transcendental cupid, always attracts the gopis
and teases them, in fact, he gets them in such a state that they can never
forget him for even a second. Their surrender to Krsna is completely selfless
as one can see by the incident of when Krsna said He had a headache. He
approached the 'brahmanas' and asked for the dust from their feet, for
Krsna told them by taking their foot dust his headache would be cured.
The 'brahmins' flatly refused, saying that they would go to hell never
to return for such an offence of allowing their foot dust to be placed
upon Krsna's head. However when the 'gopis' headed by Srimati Radharani
were asked for their foot dust without a second thought they gave, for
they didn't care even if they went to hell eternally, as long as Krsna
The 'brahmanas' over attachment to rules and regulation in this incident proved their reservation to be a limitation in actual service to the Lord. This is in the same way that other brahmanas who were worshipping the Lord within the sacrificial fire could not see the Lord directly before them asking for alms. But when Krsna and His cowherd friends approached the wives of the 'brahmanas', who were pure devotees they gave so much foodstuffs for the boys.
Too much attachment to rules and regulations becomes an
obstacle to approaching Lord Krsna, and neglectfulness to follow guidelines
for acknowledging who is the personality of Godhead, and what He looks
like are also a problem. One cannot whimsically speculate what Krsna wants
or how to please Him. Appearing as a small boy with His brother, cowherd
friends and girl friends, the 'gopis', many persons did not recognise Krsna
for who He is due to one reason or another. Those pure Vaisnavas who know
what He and His friends look like, how to recognise them are constantly
engaged in hearing, chanting, remembering Him, offering prayers, etc, and
serving him with their every action.
As we can see by Sripad Madhwacarya's life he is one of those pure unalloyed devotees of the Lord, for if he were not the, the incarnations and wonderful pastimes of Lord Krsna would not be manifesting themselves before his eyes. Nor would he be there before Srila Vyasadeva in the presence of Nara-Narayana Rshis.
Note: Sri Narayana Panditacarya in his Madhwa Vijaya (9:41-43.)
when Udupi Krsna came refers to Him as 'Gopikapranayinah Sripateh' and
'Nanadanandamatindrayakriam'. Madhwa's God is the Boy-Krishna and object
of all-affection. The lover conception of God as the lover of the 'Gopis'
although not held as their main object of devotion, seems to have been
present nonetheless, unlike today.
"This Darling conception of God has found its best expression in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraj states, 'All 'Gopis' help to enhance the pleasure of Lord Krishna's Sports with Sri Radha being the instruments of their (Radha and Krishna's) mutual enjoyment, Radha being the darling of Lord Krishna and His life's treasure, no maiden or Gopi conduces to His Pleasure with Radha'."(Caitanya Caritamrta. Adi lila. 4:217-218.; Sambidananda dasa. 1991. The History & Literature of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas and their relation to other medieval Vaishnava Schools.page 107-108.)
If one shows that, Krsna can put his faith in a person, knowing that the person will not exploit the situation for mundane sensual pleasures, either mental, bodily, or extended through family or national, humanitarian, etc, the Lord will give that pure devotee the three worlds for he will only use it for the Lord's pleasure.
Nanda Maharaja and the cowherds men were preparing to worship Indra the demigod in charge of distribution of rainfall. Being of the mercantile community for the growth of their crops, and grass for their cows, rain is very important. Krsna, however, was not impressed by the worship separately of demigods. He told Nanda Maharaja to instead worship the local brahmanas and Govardhana Hill and forget worshipping Indra. Agreeing to this, the cowherd men arranged for all kinds of fabulous foodstuffs to be cooked and offered to Govardhana Hill. There were many nice vegetable preparations, juicy, fried and dry cooked with spices, all kinds of rice, 'dahls', 'pakora', 'puris', 'chapattis' and other breads. There was 'sujika halavah', sweet balls, 'sandesh', 'barfi', sweets in syrups like 'gulab jamens', 'rasagulla', dry sweets like 'laddhus', 'methipak' etc., all kinds of nice preparations from scriptural recipes and local traditions.
The 'brahmins' chanted the glories of the Lord through
choice hymns from the scriptures. The cows were nicely decorated
with embroidered blankets, painted hoofs and horns, gold, silver, brass
and copper ornaments adorned their bodies, and they were fed with unlimited
juicy green grasses and other favourites of theirs.
'Daksina' was given to the 'brahmanas' comprising of gold coins, grains, cows and cloth, and every man, woman, child and animal was fed with nice 'prasadam'. The 'gopis' were all dressed nicely and decorated with nice ornaments, their long hair nicely plaited and bound at the end with flowers, so they looked very chaste and pure, sitting upon bullock carts chanting the glories of Lord Sri Krsna.
During all this Lord Krsna, who was about seven years
old, suddenly turned himself into a gigantic form of Govardhana Hill and
He firmly stated that he is non-different from that Govardhana Hill. The
Lord in His transcendental form, began to eat all of the foodstuffs offered
at that place. Who can understand the wonderful pastimes and forms of the
unlimited omnipotent Lord, Who has assumed the form of a small boy, though.
He is the origin of everything that be.
When Lord Indra found out what had happened, in foolish anger he ordered his 'samvartaka' clouds to rain over Vrndavan and flood everything and in this way punish the residents of Vrndavan for not supplying the regular yearly offering. Krsna out of compassion for his dear devotees, lifted the whole Govardhana Hill, which is very high and many miles around, just as though this huge hill was a mere frogs' umbrella (toadstool). Krsna held Govardhana Hill for seven days on the little (pinkie) finger of his left hand.
Indra could now understand that he had gotten carried away by the modes of passion and ignorance, and so he came before Krsna to beg forgiveness. After this King Indra, the demigods, and the Surabhi cows worshipped Krsna, bathing him with Ganges (Yamuna) water and fresh milk from the wish fulfilling Surabhi cows. Now Krsna is remembered as Giri Govardhana, and is worshipped in the form of Govardhana Hill.
Once, midway through the period of dusk, Krsna was about to engage in a 'rasa' dance with the cowherd girls when suddenly the Aristasura demon (bull demon) madly entered the village of Gokula, terrifying everyone. His roar was so frightening and tumultuous that pregnant mothers, cows and humans had miscarriages immediately. Krsna verbally chastised this bull demon, which made him more angry. Krsna stated that He was here just to punish wicked rascals like Aristasura. He provoked the demon into a charge, pointing the sharp tips of his horns straight ahead and gearing with anger from his bloodshot eyes, Aristasura tried to pierce Krsna. Krsna however grabbed the demon by the horns and threw him back eighteen paces. Enraged, the bull charged again, breathing heard and sweating. He was determined to finish the eternal Lord. As Aristasura attacked Krsna grabbed the demon by the horns and smashed Arista to the ground with His foot. The He thrashed him as a washerman thrashes the dirt out of a wet cloth. Finally Krsna broke off the demon's horns and pulverised Aristasura with them. Vomiting blood and passing stool and urine, kicking his legs in agony and rolling his eyes, Aristasura painfully gave up his life. Meanwhile the demigods showered flowers upon Lord Krsna.
After Krsna killed Aristasura, Narada Muni went to speak
to Kamsa, Krsna's evil demon uncle. Narada told Kamsa the real course of
events, how Krsna is really the son of Devaki, and that Yashoda Mayi really
had a girl and was swapped over by Vasudeva. Also that Balarama is the
son of Rohini, and that out of fear of Kamsa's vengeance Vasudeva entrusting
the transcendental boys to Nanda Maharaja. Thus accelerating the coming
pastimes of the Lord. Narada Muni emphasised that these are the same boys
who have killed all the demons that you Kamsa have sent.
Kamsa then sent the Keshi demon to try to kill both Krsna and Balarama. Arranging with the innocent devotee Akrura, Krsna sent Akrura to Vrndavan to fetch Krsna and Balaram to Mathura. Kamsa's plan was simply to arrange for his asuric friends to try to kill Krsna and Balaram, and then to rule the world. When the Keshi demon arrived in the form of a gigantic horse, his loud neighing terrified all the inhabitants of Vrindavana, who all took shelter of Krsna. The bold Keshi demon came and approached Krsna and tried to attack with his front legs, but in a fatal swoop, Krsna grabbed the demon's legs and whirled the demon around and around several times, and threw the horse demon three hundred metres or so. The demons lay half unconscious for some time, the Krsna, noticing the demon regaining consciousness, jumped on him, and thrust his left arm into the demons' mouth. The demon tried to bit it, but Krsna simply expanded it more and more, finally choking Keshi into an agonising death. Krsna then calmly removed His arm from the dead demon's mouth.
Soon after this Narada Muni, the sage among the demigods,
came and offered respects to Krsna, glorifying the Lord's future pastimes.
One day not long after, while Krsna and Balarama were tending the cows, a game of hide and seek came about in which all the boys were so absorbed. Some were playing sheep, some shepherds, and some as thieves who steal sheep. A demon called Vyomasura assumed the form of a boy and taking advantage of the game, stole away five of Krsna's friends. The demon then secured them in a mountain cave and blocked the entrance with a big rock. Lord Krsna saw what Vyomasura was doing, and just as a lion grabs a wolf, Krsna forcefully grabbed the demon as he tried to steal away more boys. The Vyomasura demon then changed into his normal terrifying ugly form, as big as a mountain. Krsna, being the strength of the strong, withdrew the strength of the demon as he held Vyomasura in a death grip. He then smashed him to the ground and strangled the foolish servant of Kamsa.
Krsna and Balarama then nicely received their uncle Akrura, and prepared to go to Mathura to take up the 'invitation' of Kamsa. All the young 'gopis' were extremely upset to hear that their life and soul, Sri Sri Krsna and Balaram, were going to leave Vrndavan. The 'gopis' condemned Lord Brahma for making eyes that blinked for during that blinking action the were without Krsna for a second. But now Akrura, which literally means 'not cruel' was the cause of Krsna and Balarama going away, and repeatedly they said Akrura was not worthy of such a name. As the 'gopis' wept pitifully, Krsna assured them that He would be back soon. With their minds fixed in thought of Krsna and Balarama, the 'gopis' stood and watched as the chariot given by Kamsa, the flag on top and the dust of the chariot's wheels on the road disappeared out of sight. Then in despondency they wandered back to their individual homes.
Krsna, Balarama and Akrura reached Mathura late in the afternoon. After Krsna and Balarama met with Nanda Maharaja. Akrura went home with Krsna's blessings. He then informed Kamsa of Krsna and Balarama's arrival in Mathura. The boys, wanting to see the opulent city of Mathura, then entered further into the city on the King's road. Festoons, full water pots, banana trees, gems of all sizes decorated the city. Grains were scattered here and there, flower garlands were hanging here and there, all kinds of natural opulence's auspiciously adorned the city. As the boys and their friends entered the city many women climbed to the roof tops to see Krsna and Balarama. The ladies were is such haste to see their Lordships that forgetting themselves, some of them put their clothes and ornaments on backwards, others forgot one of their earrings or ankle bells, while others applied make up to one eye forgetting the other one. Abandoning family gatherings, their meals and those breast feeding mothers even abandoned their suckling babes to see Krsna.
The Lord, smiling, walked like a bold bill elephant, dressed nicely. He was a festival for the eyes of the ladies of Mathura, who had gathered there with melting hearts to see Him. The women rained flowers upon the boys who, without a doubt, are the Supreme Lords of the three worlds.
Seeing a washerman approaching who had been dyeing clothes, Krsna asked the washerman to give some of these nice clothes in charity by which Krsna would bless the washerman with His mercy. But this washerman was the arrogant servant of King Kamsa, and was carrying the King's cloth. The washerman foolishly started to insult Krsna and Balarama, suggesting that they were being impudent for asking for the King's cloth. Krsna, with the greatest of ease, lopped off the sinful rascal washerman's head with the touch of his finger. Seeing this, the washerman's associates dropped their bundles and ran for their lives. Krsna and Balarama then dressed themselves nicely in the opulent clothes and then distributed the rest to all their friends, the cowherd from Vrindavan. Those that they had no need for, they simply left scattered on the ground.
As Krsna and Balarama and Their friends walked the streets, various person brought many auspicious items for their Lordships, such as garlands, perfumes, pan, etc, and thus received Krsna's benedictions.
Krsna enquired from the local people as to the whereabouts of the sacrificial arena where the bow sacrifice would take place. When Krsna walked into the arena and saw the most opulent bow given to Kamsa by Lord Shiva, even though it was huge and guarded by a large company of men, Krsna pushed His way forward and effortlessly picked it up, strung it, and broke it in a fraction of a second. Kamsa was struck with terror and instructed his men to grab Krsna and Balarama and kill them. Krsna and Balarama picked up the two halves of the mighty bow and started killing hundreds of the soldiers who tried to attack them. As the sun began to set on that day, Krsna and Balarama returned to the cowherd's wagons on the edge of town.
Kamsa couldn't sleep that night as all kinds of inauspicious omen were seen by him. Kamsa was terrified by the prospect of his own death which he knew was imminent.
The next day was the day of the wrestling match. Worshipping
the arena and giving special seats to himself and other provincial rulers,
Kamsa took his seat though his weakened heart trembled. Then the lavishly
dressed and extremely proud wrestlers entered the arena to the sound of
loud horns and drums, announcing their presence. The King's powerful wrestlers
Canura, Mustika, Kuta, Sala and Tosala sat down on the wrestling mats.
Kamsa called forward the leaders of the community of Vraja (Vrindavan)
to present their offerings before him now. Kamsa then spoke with Nanda
Maharaja and pointed out how Kamsa had arranged this whole wrestling match
because he had heard that the boys of Nanda Maharaja were supposed to be
powerful. But where are they now? Out of disrespect for Kamsa, Krsna and
Balarama had decided to neglect Kamsa's arrangements and go and do something
The next morning Krsna killed the elephant demon Kuvalayapida. That elephant, on the orders of the mahoot (keeper), grabbed Krsna in his trunk, but Krsna then disappeared from the demoniac elephant's sight and stood behind the animal's back legs. The elephant again tried to capture Krsna in playful torment, but Krsna escaped. Then Krsna seized the elephant, ripped out one of his tusks, and began to beat both the keeper and the elephant until they were dead. Then, sprinkled with the blood of the elephant and holding one tusk in His hand, Krsna appeared decorated in this unique way at the wrestling arena.
In different relationships, the different persons assembled there saw Krsna in different ways. The wrestlers in fury saw Krsna as a lightning bolt. The men of Mathura saw Krsna in wonder as the best of all males, the women folk saw Krsna as Cupid personified, and the cowherd men as their funny friend and relative. The Kings assembled there saw Krsna as the chivalrous chastiser, and His parents as their merciful child. Kamsa, the king of the Bhoja dynasty, saw Krsna as death personified. The unintelligent there saw in ghastliness, the Lord of His universal form, and the 'yogis', out of peaceful neutrality saw the Lord as the absolute truth. The Vrsnis, in love and devotion, saw Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, their Supreme worshipful Deity.
Out of envy and fury Canura challenged Krsna to a wrestling
match, not being able to bear the praises of the public upon the two transcendental
brothers. Canura revealed his envy for Krsna and Balarama when the boys
said that they are just young boys and should play with boys of their own
age. Many of the public also felt like this, that it was an uneven match,
but Canura revealed his hate for Krsna, saying, "You aren't really a child
or even a young man and neither is Balarama, the strongest of the strong.
After all, playfully You have killed so many of our men, including the
elephant who had the strength of a thousand elephants. Therefore
I, Canura, will fight with You and Balaram with Mustika."
Krsna fought with Canura, seizing each other's hands, locking legs, Canura struggled for victory. Fist against fist, knee to knee, the fight went on, running, dragging in circles, shoving, throwing this way and that, until finally Krsna had played enough. He then grabbed Canura's arms and whirled the demon around several times before smashing him to the ground dead. Mustika found himself in a similar situation. After bring stuck repeatedly by the supreme powerful palm of Lord Balarama, Mustika vomited blood, and fell down dead. The remaining wrestlers fled for their lives.
To congratulate the victorious Krsna and Balarama, all their friends came and joined them. Everyone was chanting and dancing, and their ankle bells made a wonderful musical accompaniment. Everyone except Kamsa that is rejoiced at the killing of the wrestlers. Kamsa told his remaining men to, "Drive the two wicked sons of Vasudeva out of Mathura, confiscate the cowherd's property and arrest Nanda Maharaja. Kill Vasudeva and his father and their followers, our enemies." Hearing this nonsense, Krsna approached Kamsa as death personified. Kamsa took up a shield and sword but was disarmed by Krsna, Who was unarmed Himself, in seconds. Then, as Garuda might capture an insignificant snake, Krsna grabbed Kamsa by the hair, knocked off his crown, and dragged him by the hair into the arena. Straddling Kamsa's chest as one straddles a horse. Krsna then repeatedly pounded Kamsa again and again until Kamsa finally gave up his miserable life.
Witnessing Kamsa's death, his eight younger brothers then attacked Krsna, but Balarama killed them one after another with Kuvalayapida's broken elephant tusk. Kettle drums resounded and the 'devas' rained flower petals upon the Lord.
As part of the celebrations Vasudeva arranged for his boys to be given Their sacred threads in the 'Upanayana' ceremony which was conducted by the saintly 'brahmana' Gargamuni. Soon after this Krsna and Balarama went to Avantipur to the place of Their spiritual master, Sandipani Mani.
Krsna and Balarama themselves are the origins of all branches of knowledge, yet they concealed their perfect knowledge by performing their wonderful pastimes with Their human-like forms and activities. They resided with Sandipani Muni, Their spiritual master, in the 'Guru-Kula', and under the care of Their 'guru', Krsna and Balarama studied just like ordinary boys the Vedas and Upanishad's. In fact, sixty four arts in as many days all were perfected and understood by the boys, and after this They gave 'guru daksina' to Sandipani Muni.
Traditionally when one's education is complete, one gives charity in the form of 'daksina', remuneration for all that was taught. Sandipani Muni's son had died earlier, so Sandipani Muni asked as his 'daksina' that his son be returned to him. Bringing him from the place of Yamaraja, the 'gurus' son was returned by Krsna, fulfilling the 'guru daksina' as requested. Thus receiving the permission of Sandipani Muni, the 'boys' Krsna and Balarama, graduated and returned to Mathura.
Around this time and after the disappearance of Maharaja Pandu, Dhrtarastra assumed the royal throne. Krsna and Balarama sent messages to Dhrtarastra asking him to remain fair to the sons of Pandu or face hell as the consequences.
Shortly after this Krsna and Balarama went to see Jarasandha
and they defeated the demoniac brother-in-law of Kamsa seventeen times.
After all, it was not that Krsna and Balarama had done any wrong to this
demon, but Jarasandha had attacked Mathura repeatedly with the intent of
killing every last man there. One night Lord Sri Krsna suddenly removed,
unnoticed, all the citizens of Mathura in their sleep. When they awoke
in the morning they were surprised to find that they were sitting with
their wives and families in golden palaces in the city of Dwaraka. Krsna
then returned to Mathura to find the city under siege by another demon.
Krsna killed the army and made off back to Dwaraka with all of the booty
the army had collected in the form of gold and jewels. Then Jarasandha
arrived. Krsna and Balarama left the booty and acting as if afraid,
ran to the big Pravarsana mountain and climbed to the top. Jarasandha,
thinking they had hidden in a cave, set fire to the whole mountain, but
with ease Krsna and Balarama jumped ninety miles from the top of the mountain
to the ground unharmed. Then they returned to Dwaraka, and Jarasandha though
he had burned the boys to death. So thinking, he happily returned to his
Dwaraka, before the advent of Krsna and Balarama, was known as Kusasthali, and was ruled over by one great king of the name Revata. Maharaja Revata had one hundred sons and a beautiful daughter named Revati. When this beautiful girl came of age, Revata, being anxious to find a good husband for her, approached Lord Brahma, who presides over sacred vivahas (marriage ceremonies), for advice, along with Revati. Lord Brahma told Revata that there was only one person befitting his daughter and that was the son of Vasudeva, the Personality of Godhead, Lord Balarama. The king, on the good advice of Lord Brahma, returned to Dwaraka and married his daughter to Balarama. Also at this time Krsna married Maharaja Bhismaka's daughter Rukmini. Maharaj Bhismaka had five sons and one daughter of lovely countenance. One of these sons felt envy towards Krsna. This was Rukmi. He was opposed to the marriage of Rukmini and Krsna as he preferred her to marry the envious demon Sisupala.
Rukmini devi also wanted to marry Krsna. Sometimes she would send letters to Krsna saying how he and only He (Krsna) was the one for her. Rukmini planned how she would get her Lord, and in her letters she told Krsna how and when to kidnap her, as was the tradition in many a royal wedding.
All of those kings who envied Krsna were to be there for the wedding of Sisupala and Rukmini, as arranged by Rukmi. Sisupala, Dantavakra, Jarasandha, Salva and other demons were all present. Much politics there ensued. Sisupala wanted Rukmini and so had brought his friends to guarantee getting his bride. Lord Balarama, hearing of this, had his whole army move into position at Kundinapur.
The night before the wedding, Rukmini felt auspicious twitching in her left side, giving her solace not to be in anxiety. The next day, as she approached the Durga temple surrounded by guards and her suitors, Rukmini paid respects to Durga devi, turned, and there she noticed Krsna. Krsna then took her away from that place as a lion takes his rightful share from a pack of jackals. All the low class demoniac kings had no chance of coming within so much as a hope of stopping Krsna. Thus physically and morally defeated, they all condemned themselves. Rukmi alone attacked Krsna, but was defeated. Instead of killing Rukmi, Krsna cut off half of Rukmi's moustache and a bit here and there from his hair. He looked a sight. This was worse than death. Lord Balarama then allowed Rukmi to be set free. Krsna and Rukmini returned to his capital of Dwaraka, and married with great pomp. Everyone is Dwaraka was very happy to see Krsna with his new Queen, Rukmini.
There too, was a king of the name Satrajit, who had received
the 'Syamantaka' gem from the sun god. He used to wear that gem in a locket
around his neck. By the worship of that gem daily, the 'Syamantaka' gem
produced one hundred and seventy pounds of gold every day. being so opulent
with gold, and engulfed with the shining effulgence from the gem, the local
inhabitants of Dwaraka mistook Satrajit for the sun god himself.
On one occasion Krsna requested Satrajit to give the gem to King Ugrasena, but Satrajit refused, obsessed with greed. Not long after, Prasena, Satrajit's brother, went out hunting on horse back wearing the jewel around his neck. Unfortunately for him he was killed by a lion who took the effulgent jewel up into a mountain cave where Jambavan, the devotee of Lord Rama, was living with his family. Jambavan killed the lion and gave the precious gem to his son to play with.
When Satrajit's brother didn't come back from the hunt, Satrajit presumed that Krsna had killed him for the jewel. Krsna heard this rumour that was going around and decided to clear it up. Going with some of the citizens of Dwaraka, they went in search of Prasena in the forest. After a short time they found his half eaten body and his dead horse lying nearby. It was obvious he was killed by a lion. Next they found the body of the lion killed by Jambavan. Krsna decided to go into the cave while all the others waited outside. He very soon saw the 'Syamantaka' jewel in the hands of Jambavan's son, but when He tried to take the jewel, the child's nurse gave out a scream that brought Jambavan running. Jambavan and Krsna fought for twenty eight days continuously until Jambavan, knowing that no ordinary man could fight with him like that, realised that this must be the same Lord Rama who is his worshipful Lord.
With intense devotion Jambavan gave Lord Krsna not only the 'Syamantaka' jewel but also his beautiful unmarried daughter Jambavati. Along with his new bride, Krsna returned to Dwaraka. Rumours had gone around due to the townsfolk leaving that cave entrance after twelve days, and returning to Dwaraka despondent, they were thinking Krsna too had been killed. But now, Krsna entered the city of Dwaraka with Jambavati and the 'Symantaka' jewel. Calling for Satrajit, Krsna told the whole story and gave the jewel to him, who accepted it back with great shame.
Later Satrajit on reflection, came back to Krsna and not only presented the 'Syamantaka' jewel, but also his daughter Satyabhama, who was endowed with all wonderfully divine qualities.
Acarya Madhwa remembered that it was around this time
also, in Hastinpura, the Kauravas were harassing the Pandavas and tried
to burn them all to death in the house of lac, and he in the form of Bhimasena
carried them to a safe place.
Meanwhile, back in Dwaraka, Satyabhama's father, Satrajit, was killed and she felt her very life taken. Putting her departed father's body in a vat of oil, Satyabhama went to Hastinapura to meet with her husband, Krsna, Who had just gone there to be with the Pandavas. Krsna then returned to Dwaraka and killed the killer of his father-in-law (Satadhanva) and take back the 'syamantaka' jewel. When the greedy rascal Satadhanva's horse collapsed, terrified by the speed at which Krsna and Balarama approached him, Krsna took off Satadhanva's head with His Sudarshana disc.
Although technically Satyabhama's son to be was the heir to the jewel, Lord Krsna gave it to Akrura, who was performing religious sacrifices with the jewel. Krsna then went to stay for some time with the Pandavas, during which time he married five more princesses who were Kalindi, the daughter of the sun-god who lived in the Yamuna River, the king of Avanti's sister Mitravinda, and from the kingdom of Ayodhya from King Nagnajit, Krsna accepted his extraordinarily beautiful daughter Satya (Nagnajiti). Subsequently Krsna married Bhadra, kidnapping her from her own 'swayamvara' ceremony, and also the royal daughter of the King of Madra known as Laksmana, again it was from her 'syawamvara' just as Garuda once stole the nectar of the demigods.
Bhumi, the goddess of the earth, had a son of the name
Narak. He was born from the contact of Hiranyaksa (the demon killed by
Lord Varaha), and Bhumidevi, who had to bear this son. After Narakasura
stole Lord Varaha's umbrella, Mother Aditi's earrings, and the playground
of the demigods called Mani-Parvata, Lord Indra went to Dwaraka and described
the demon's activities to Lord Krsna. Together with His queen, Satyabhama,
Krsna mounted Garuda His carrier and went to Narakasura's capital, Pragjyotisa.
At that place Lord Sri Krsna killed the Mura demon and Mura's seven sons.
Then the audacious demon Narakasura challenged Krsna and threw his lance
at Him. The 'shakti' weapon (lance) of Naraksura proved totally ineffective
on Krsna, who destroyed it and then went on to kill all of Narakasura's
armies, finally killing Narakasura with that best of weapons, the Sudarsana
Then mother Earth, Bhumi devi, returned all the items that her son Narakasura had stolen. Bhumi also presented Narakasura's son to the Lord, and the Lord pacified him for he was so frightened.
On entering the demon's palace Krsna found in the maiden's quarters 16,100 princesses which were the unmarried daughters of the demigods, kings and demons. As soon as they saw Lord Krsna they all without hesitation accepted the Lord as their husband. Narakasura had imprisoned them in his palace after kidnapping them. Krsna had all the princesses dressed nicely and sent on palanquins to Dwaraka along with all kinds of wealth.
Krsna and Satyabhama then went to Indra's palace and returned Aditi's earrings, and Indra and his wife worshipped nicely Krsna and Satyabhama. On Satyabhama's request Krsna uprooted the beautifully fragrant Parijata tree and brought it to Dwaraka after a bit of a tussle with Indra and the 'devas'. Once planted in the grounds of Queen Satyabhama's palace, intoxicated bumble bees followed the fragrance of the Parijata from the heavenly planets, hungry and greedy for the taste of Parijata's sweet fragrance and sap.
Now in Dwaraka, the Lord lived happily with all of his 16,100 wives in as many palaces, simultaneously at once, and yet receiving service from them all individually in each of the 16,100 palaces, where he manifested Himself in full to each wife. After some time, each of Krsna's wives had ten sons who in turn had many sons, so including Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajit, Kalindi, Laxmana, Mitravinda and Bhadra, who are Krsna's principle queens in Dwaraka, He had a total of 16,108 queens with as many palaces.
Around this time Lord Balarama took permission to go back
to Vraja (Vrindavana). Remembering the deep friendship he once enjoyed
with the cowherd folk of Vrindavan, Lord Balarama went alone to Vraja.
In Vrindavan the 'gopis' quizzed Balarama to see if Krsna still remembered
them. Lord Balarama stayed for two months in Vrindavan during which he
enjoyed his own pastimes with his own 'gopis' on the banks of the Yamuna
known as Sri Rama Ghat. Intoxicated with joy, Balarama wore beautiful flower
garlands and a single earring. Beads of perspiration decorated his pure
white smiling face, which was gentle like snow flakes. Wanting to play
in the waters of the Yamuna River, He summoned Yamuna near, but she disregarded
His command, thinking He was drunk from drinking honey. So angered, Lord
Balarama began to drag the river to him with the tip of His plough. Threatening
to split the river into one hundred rivulets and in that way bring her
close, Lord Balarama chastised Yamuna for not coming when He had told her
to. Trembling in fear, the river Goddess approached Lord Balarama. With
her hair loose and forward in a seductive way, covering her breasts,
she tried to pacify the Lord, though her thoughts were conjugally based.
After releasing Yamuna Mayi from His plough, Lord Balarama along with His 'gopis' entered the Yamuna River to play in those waters. Coming out, the goddess Kani (Laxmidevi) presented Him with blue garments, ornaments and a brilliant necklace.
Narakasura, the demon that Krsna killed, had a friend
who was an ape, Dvivida. After Krsna killed Narakasura, Dvivida, seeking
vengeance, caused all kinds of disturbances, flooding the coastal lands
by splashing water with his mighty arms. He would also tear down trees
in the ashrams of the sages who lived in seclusion, and would even pass
stool and urine on the sacrificial fires and arena. This devious rascal
would even kidnap innocent men and women and imprison them in mountain
caves, and he would try to pollute the chaste and modest women of respectable
families with his own materialistic ways.
Previously Dvivida was an associate of Lord Ramacandra, but due to his disrespect to Rama and Laxman, he was sent away. Due to his pride and offensive mentality, even though he was an attendant of Lord Rama for some time and fought against Ravana's army, he was sent away. Lord Rama sometimes chants hymns addressed to His devotees Mainda and Dvivida.
One day this delinquent Dvivida came to Vrajabhumi where he found Lord Balarama dancing in the forest with his 'gopis'. Balarama was rather intoxicated from drinking varuni liquor and enjoying the gopis' company. At that time Dvivida came into the clearing and in an uncouth way, displayed his anus to the 'gopis' right in front of the Lord. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, began to make all kinds of crude gestures, and moved his eyebrows this way and that. Then he passed stool and urine in front of everyone. Dvivida's outrageous behaviour angered Lord Balarama, and to get rid of the ape he threw a stone at him. To add further insult, the demoniac ape started to tug at the clothes of the 'gopis'. Lord Balarama decided that He didn't have to put up with this. Taking his plough and club in hand, he neared Dvivida, who in turn took up a tree. When Balarama smashed the tree to tiny pieces, Dvivida picked up another. Balarama repeated the action. Dvivida picked up another and another, until the forest was bare. Balarama smashed them all to splinters. Dvivida then foolishly tried his luck with rocks, but Balarama turned them to powder. In desperation Dvivida charged Balaram and pounded on Balarama's chest with his fists. Lord Balarama had decided the playing had come to an end. Infuriated, Lord Balaram put down His plough and club and approached the ape and smashed his collar bone and neck instantly with one swipe. Vomiting blood, Dvivida fell down dead.
Lord Balarama then returned to Dwaraka as the demigods and sages showered flowers, and glorified him with prayers and obeisances.
During the great Mahabharata war, Krsna helped Arjuna
and spoke (sung) the Gita-Upanisad for the benefit of all humanity. Madhwa
remembered how in these wonderful arrangements of Krsna's pastimes, Vayu
(Mukhyapran) incarnates as Bhima, Sugriva as Karna, and Vali as Arjuna.(Mahabharat
Lord Balarama, to avoid conflict, went on a pilgrimage to all the holy places and returned after the war was over. During this time Madhwa remembered his own pastimes with the Lord as this expansion of Lord Vayu, Mukhyaprana, played out his part of Bhima in the Lord's association.
By the grace of Lord Sri Krsna, the Kauravas were completely
destroyed and Arjuna and his brothers were victorious.
Madhwa, of course, relished the meeting of Bhima and Hanuman, where Bhimasena tried to lift the outstretched tail of Hanuman that was blocking the path. Simultaneously they are one and yet different expansions of Vayu Deva, Mukhyaprana.
Sri Krsna and Balarama's transcendental 'lila' was about the wind up. After one hundred and twenty five years, the eternal youths had decided to return with all Their paraphernalia to Their eternal abode. Greatly fearing separation from the Lord, Uddhava, Krsna's dear devotee, was distraught for he could not give up the Lord's company. Finally, feeling great pain and offering obeisances again and again, and placing the Lord's slippers on his head, Uddhava departed for Badrikasrama. On route to that place he heard of the Lord going to Prabhasaksetra. Uddhava then returned to the Dwaraka in the spiritual sky via Badrikashrama.
Lord Krsna took note of many bad omens that announced
that soon the Kali Yuga would appear. There was a halo around the sun,
and on earth there were small earthquakes. In outer space there was an
unnatural redness on the horizon. All this announced like flags of death
in Dwaraka, the end of the Dwapara Yuga. Krsna advised the Yadavas to abandon
Dwaraka and go to Prabhasaksetra on the bank of the Saraswati. At that
place the heroes of the Yadu dynasty, covered by the Lord's internal potency,
became intoxicated from their extravagant drinking and began to feel arrogant.
When they were thus bewildered by the Lord's personal potency, Krsna Maya,
a terrible quarrel arose among them. Infuriated, they seized their bows
and arrows, swords, lances, clubs and spears, and attacked one another
on the shore of the ocean. Riding on elephants and chariots, with their
battle flags flying, some rode on donkeys, camels, bulls, buffaloes, mules
and even human beings, the extremely enraged warriors came together and
violently attacked on another with arrows, just as elephants in the forest
attack one another with their tusks.
Thus bewildered, sons fought with fathers, brothers with brothers, nephews with paternal and maternal uncles, grandsons with grandfather. Friends fought with friends and other well-wishers fought with well wishers. In this way, the intimate friends and relatives killed one another. When all their bows were broken and their arrows, lances and missiles spent, they fought with stalks of cane with their bare hands. These stalks in their powerful fists were like iron rods. With these weapons the warriors attacked each other again and again, and when Lord Krsna tried to stop them they attacked Him also. Mistaking Lord Balarama for an enemy they attacked Him also.
Now the Supreme Lords were angry, and taking up cane stalks, they began to kill everyone with these mighty cane clubs. When every last member of the Yadu dynasty were killed, Krsna thought to Himself that now the burden of the earth had been removed. 560 million warriors died in this fratricidal battle of the Yadu dynasty.
Lord Balarama then sat down on the shore of the ocean
and fixed Himself in mediation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Merging Himself within Himself, He gave up this world in a rather unique
way. Lord Balarama manifested a pure white snake from His own mouth, climbed
upon it's back, and rode off back to His eternal abode.
Lord Krsna, the son of Devaki, having watched the disappearance pastime of Lord Balarama, seated Himself under a nearby pippala tree. then by the Lord's arrangement a hunter named Jara approached that place. Mistaking the Lord's lotus foot for the soft pinkness of a deer's face and thinking he had found his prey, Jara touched the foot with his arrow thinking he had pierced it.
In Madhwacarya's Mahabharata-Tatparya-Nirnaya, he states that all this has taken place to bewilder the demoniac class of men. The four armed form of the Lord was never harmed by the arrows of Jara, who is actually the devotee Bhrgu Muni, who previously placed his foot on the chest of Lord Visnu to find out who was the Supreme Person, after first approaching Lord Brahma and then Lord Shiva. Anyway, Brghu Muni, in the guise of a hunter, concluded the Lord's pastimes as previously arranged.
Covered by the Lord's internal potency into thinking that he had shot the arrow into Krsna, humbly and ashamed in this way, Jara begged forgiveness saying, "I am the most sinful person. I have committed this act out of ignorance. O purest Lord, please forgive this sinner!" Krsna then explained that everything was actually going according to His plan and that the hunter Jara was only playing his part. "Now hunter, go to the spiritual world upon this aeroplane and reside there with Me." Circumambulating the Lord three times and offering obeisances, bowing before the Lord the hunter ascended onto the aeroplane. Then while Daruka (Krsna's chariot driver) was looking for his Lord, he suddenly found an unusually strong aroma of Tulasi. Following that aroma he found Krsna resting at the foot of a banyan tree. Right before Daruka's tearful eyes, and as Daruka was still speaking to the Lord, Krsna and His chariot suddenly rose in the sky along with it's horses and flag marked with Garuda. All the weapons of the Lord, personified, rose up and followed the chariot. Krsna then spoke to the astonished Daruka, and instructed him to go to Dwaraka and tell all His family how all their family members had destroyed one another. Tell them of the disappearance of My Sankarsana (Balarama) and of My present condition. Both you and your relatives should not stay in Dwaraka any longer. Myself (Krsna), having abandoned that place, it will soon become unmanifest by becoming inundated by the great ocean. Go and seek Arjuna's shelter and protection at Indraprastha.
Then after circumambulating Krsna and taking Krsna's lotus
feet on his head, Daruka returned with the Lord's message to Dwaraka. Upon
hearing from Daruka the news that Krsna had wound up His pastimes and had
returned to His abode, Vasudeva and all of Krsna's family and associates
remaining in Dwaraka became disturbed by lamentation and left Dwaraka in
search of the Lord. Though Devaki, Rohini and many others actually remained
in Dwaraka as they do today, invisible to material eyes, their partial
expansions went to Prabhasaksetra to see their dead relatives. They then
entered into fire.
tatah katipayair masair
yayuh prabhasam samhrsta
"A few months passed, and then, bewildered by Krsnamaya, all the descendants of Vrsni, Bhoja, Andhaka who were incarnations of various demigods went to Prabhasa, while those who were eternal devotees of the Lord did not leave but remained in Dwaraka."(Srimad Bhagavatam 3:3:25.)
Even though the Pandavas were also demigods, they, as eternal associates of the Lord, also went to Dwaraka. The 'niskarma bhaktas' or 'nitya-suri' devotees without any material desires are always the Lord's intimate associates, whereas the 'sakarma bhaktas', though still devotees ('nitya-samsarins'), have the tendency to try to fulfil their own desires. Thus it was the 'sakarma devas' who went to the Prabhasksetra and not the unalloyed devotees. Madhwa confirms this in his Sutra Bhasya (3:3:27.), that they Lord is best served by those who are "released souls'. Released from what? The desires of the material world. Therefore he is talking about the 'nitya suris' who are cent percent only dedicated to fulfilling the desires of the Lord.
Arjuna kept a cool head by remembering the many instructions
Krsna had personally given to him. Arjuna deposited Rukmini Devi's own
personal deities of Krsna and Balarama as small boys in the Rukmini Vana
of Dwaraka, and then carried out the 'antyesthi', funeral rites and offerings
of 'pinda' for all his dead relatives. Then the ocean engulfed and swallowed
up Dwaraka Puri, all except for the Lord's own residence.
Although Dwaraka had been created by the empowered devotee of the Lord, Vishvakarma, the architect of the demigods, and even parts of Dwaraka were brought direct from the heavenly planets like the Sudharma assembly hall, that Dwaraka Puri had now become unmanifest, though it is eternally there for those who are not covered by Krsna's deluding potency, 'maya'.
Remembering these pastimes of the Supreme Lord brings
about devotional service and the same destination of being able to return
to the Lord's abode to eternally reside with Him.
Srimad Bhagavatam Day
dadati yo bhagavatam
sa yati paramam gatim
"If on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra one places Srimad Bhagavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination".
One should place Srimad-Bhagavatam on a golden throne because it is the king of all literature. On the full-moon day of the month of Bhadra, the sun, which is compared to this king of literatures, is present in the constellation Leo and looks as if raised up on a royal throne. (According to astrology, the sun is said to be exalted in the sign of Leo.) Thus one may unreservedly worship Srimad-Bhagavatam, the supreme divine scripture.
Lunar Months and when they change:
|Chaitra||Visnu||Gaura Purnima||1||Chaitra||April||Chitra||Aries - Mesha|
|Vaisakha||Madhusudan||April||2||Vaisakha||May||Visakha||Taurus - Vrishabha|
|Jyestha||Trivikram||May||3||Jyestha||June||Jyestha||Gemini - Mithuna|
|Ashadha||Vamana||June||4||Ashadha||July||P.Asadha||Cancer - Kataka|
|Shravan||Sridhara||July||5||Shravan||August||Shravan||Leo - Simha|
|Bhadra||Hrsikesh||August||6||Bhadra||Sept.||P.Bhadra||Virgo - Kanya|
|Ashwina||Padmanabha||September||7||Ashwina||Oct.||Aswini||Libra - Thula (Tula)|
|Kartika||Damodar||October||8||Kartika||Nov.||Krttika||Scorpio - Vrschika|
|Mrgasir||Keshava||November||9||Agrhay'n||Dec.||Mrgasirs||Sagittarius - Dhaus|
|Phalgun||Govinda||February||12||Phalgun||Gaura P||U.Phalg||Pisces - Meena|