Sunday, December 16, 2012

55 Bhagavatha - Bow sacrifice and slaying of Kuvalayapidam
Krishna enquires from the citizens the way to the amphitheatre where the bow-sacrifice was being held. He enters the sacrificial hall and looks at the wonderful and gigantic bow, studded with jewels and as picturesque as the rainbow. After due worship, it was being guarded by many men. Krishna seizes the bow with his left hand, although attempts were made by the guards to stop him. Within the twinkling of an eye, he strung the bow to its utmost capacity, thereby breaking the bow in the middle. The guards just looked on, as the bow broke with a loud crash.
The noise echoed all around, and Kamsa also heard it. He was seized with consternation. The guards, full of wrath and anger close in on Krishna with their bows drawn to apprehend him. Balarama and Krishna took the broken parts of the massive bow and make short work of them. After destroying their other challengers, the brothers came away through the entrance of the amphitheatre and roamed about in the city, thrilled by its amazing wealth and progress. By evening Krishna and the other cowherds return to their carts, parked in the outskirts of the city. After a wash, they had their dinner and had a good night's sleep.
Meanwhile, Kamsa was shaken by the events at the amphitheatre. He could not sleep. He had nightmares of evil portents even while he was awake. He awaited the grand festival of wrestling bouts to be celebrated next morning.
The arena was swept and sprinkled with water. The galleries were decorated with festoons, flags and tapestries. Flower garlands adorned the temporary arches put up for the occasion. People flocked to see the grand event. Kamsa, surrounded by his royal ministers, took his seat on the royal dais in the midst of feudal lords. The wrestlers make a grand appearance, cheered by trumpets and drums and clapping of the audience which echoed throughout the arena. Specially invited by Kamsa, Nanda and the cowherds offer presents and take their seats on a separate dais meant for them.
After their morning ablutions, Balarama and Krishna leave for the tournament, energized by the loud rhythms of the kettledrums and cheering of the citizens of Mathura. When they reach the amphitheatre, they see the mighty elephant, Kuvalayapida, blocking his way at the entrance.
Krishna tightens the cloth around his waist and ties up his curly locks of hair preparing for a fight. In a thundering voice, he challenges the keeper of the elephant to give way, or face death. The driver goads the elephant to attack Krishna. Running towards him, the elephant seizes Krishna with his trunk. Krishna slips away after striking it with his fists and disappears in the midst of the elephant's legs. The elephant with its keen sense of smell holds Krishna by the trunk again. Krishna forcibly escapes the hold. Tightly seizing the elephant's tail, Krishna drags it violently to a long distance. The elephant whirls left and right to catch him with its trunk. But Krishna, swings in opposite directions alternatively without letting go of his grip. He then advances to the front of the elephant and swiftly strikes it with his hand. Krishna runs ahead, closely followed by Kuvalayapida, almost touching him at every step. Krishna topples while running, but gets away in a trice before the elephant attempts to pin him down with its tusks. As the elephant rushes at him, Krishna catches hold of its trunk and hurls the colossal elephant down. Treading on it with his foot, he forcibly extracts its tusks as a mere sport. Using the tusks as a weapon, Krishna kills both the elephant and its keeper.  Leaving the dead elephant, Krishna enters the amphitheatre, tusk in hand, smeared with the animal's blood. With sweat drops on his face, and the tusk on his shoulder, Krishna looked charming.  He was surrounded by Balarama and a few cowherds. The audience drank unsated, the beauty of the two brothers. They spoke to one another: "They have descended on earth in the house of Vasudeva, as a manifestation of Hari himself." Amazed, they also spoke admiringly of the various other exploits of Krishna and Balarama at Gokula.
Seeing the mighty elephant killed, the self-obsessed Kamsa was equally terrified. 

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Srimad Bhagavatham