Monday, December 17, 2012

57 Bhagavatha - the slaying of Kamsa

Even as the jubilation on Krishna's triumph thundered on in the arena, Chaanura, foremost of the king's wrestlers, accosts Krishna and Balarama: "You are esteemed by the people as heroes. You have been invited by the king to prove your well-known prowess in wrestling. The cowherds who pasture their cattle in the woodlands, are known to engage themselves in wrestling to relieve themselves of monotony. Let's wrestle, to honour the words of the king."
Krishna agrees: "Of course, let's do what pleases the king. We are youngsters, so let's sport with those who are equal in strength." Chaanura replied: "You, nor Bala are young lads -- you could dispose off the mighty Kuvalayapida as a mere sport. Therefore you both should contend with powerful rivals. Show your strength with me, O Krishna, and let Balarama fight Mushtika."
Challenged thus, the brothers locked into a combat with the most powerful wrestlers of the king. They tugged against one another vehemently intending to topple their opponent. They struck with their fists and elbows, knees with the knees, head with head, and chest against chest. They lifted one another and threw their opponent down. They fixed one another to a spot until the other escapes from the hold. The fight was severe and the pulse of the audience raised.
The people conversed amongst themselves that this ill-matched fight was grossly unrighteous and should never be supported. They sympathised with the glorious brothers fighting strong giants like Mushtika and Chaanura. They were overawed by the blessings the people of Vraja had to witness their exploits and also be charmed by their presence on a daily basis.
The fight continued -- Chaanura, unable to bear the swift and hard strokes of Krishna's fists fainted again and again. Chaanura strikes back on the Lord's chest with clenched fists, but Krishna stood like a rock. He lifts Chaanura, swirls him around and dashes him against the ground, killing him instantly. Similarly, Balarama, not wanting to prolong the fight, strikes Mushtika with the palm with the force of a thunderbolt, rendering him lifeless. Many other wrestlers - Koota, Sala, Toshala, challenge them one after another, but they were no match for the strength and skill of the two brothers. The remaining wrestlers ran away to save their lives.
The brothers close-in with their cowherd mates and celebrate the victory. They danced to the screaming trumpets and resounding beats of the kettledrums. With the exception of Kamsa, all rejoiced.
Kamsa gets up and stops all cheering with his terrible injunction: "Let the ill-behaved sons of Vasudeva be driven out of the city. Confiscate the wealth of the cowherds and put Nanda in chains. Let Vasudeva, of vile and evil mind, be done away with -- so also my father Ugrasena and his followers, who have always been on the side of my enemy."
While Kamsa spoke thus, Krishna flew into a rage. Springing with agility, he ascends the royal dais of Kamsa. Kamsa instinctively drew out his sword and shield and moved about swiftly like a hawk in the air. Krishna catches hold of Kamsa firmly, as Garuda would snatch a serpent. Kamsa's diadem slips away. Grasping him tightly by the hair, Krishna tosses him from the lofty dais down to the floor of the arena. He jumps down and in a trice was on top of Kamsa. Kamsa was already dead. Krishna drags Kamsa's body along the ground as the world witnessed. Kamsa always thought about Krishna, out of fear -- when walking, eating, drinking, speaking or even when asleep. Hence he attains that supreme goal, difficult to attain even for great yogis and rishis who have performed great austerities.
The eight younger brothers of Kamsa rush towards Krishna to avenge the death of their brother. But Balarama deals with them, with deadly blows of his bludgeon. Krishna consoles the queens of Kamsa and causes the obsequies of the dead to be performed.
Krishna, then secures the release of Devaki and Vasudeva from prison. Krishna and Balarama bow to their parents by touching their feet with their head. But knowing their sons to be the Rulers of the Universe, they were hesitant to embrace Balarama and Krishna.

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Srimad Bhagavatham