15 / Killing of Dhenukasura
In this way, Sri Krsna, along with His elder brother Balarama, passed the childhood age known as kaumara and stepped into the age of pauganda, from the sixth year up to the tenth. At that time, all the cowherd men conferred and agreed to give those boys who had passed their fifth year charge of the cows in the pasturing ground. Given charge of the cows, Krsna and Balarama traversed Vrndavana, purifying the land with Their footprints.
Accompanied by the cowherd boys and Balarama, Krsna brought forward the cows and played on His flute through the forest of Vrndavana, which was full of flowers, vegetables, and pasturing grass. The Vrndavana forest was as sanctified as the clear mind of a devotee and was full of bees, flowers and fruits. There were chirping birds and clear water lakes with waters that could relieve one of all fatigues. Sweet flavored breezes blew always, refreshing the mind and body. Krsna, with His friends and Balarama, entered the forest and, seeing the favorable situation, enjoyed the atmosphere to the fullest extent. Krsna saw all the trees, overloaded with fruits and fresh twigs, coming down to touch the ground as if welcoming Him by touching His lotus feet. He was very pleased by the behavior of the trees, fruits and flowers, and He began to smile realizing their desires.
Krsna then spoke to His elder brother Balarama as follows: "My dear brother, You are superior to all of us, and Your lotus feet are worshiped by the demigods. Just see how these trees, full with fruits, have bent down to worship Your lotus feet. It appears that they are trying to get out of the darkness of being obliged to accept the form of trees. Actually, the trees born in the land of Vrndavana are not ordinary living entities. Having held the impersonal point of view in their past lives, they are now put into this stationary condition of life, but now they have the opportunity of seeing You in Vrndavana, and they are praying for further advancement in spiritual life through Your personal association. Generally the trees are living entities in the modes of darkness. The impersonalist philosophers are in that darkness, but they eradicate it by taking full advantage of Your presence. I think the drones that are buzzing all around You must have been Your devotees in their past lives. They cannot leave Your company because no one can be a better, more affectionate master than You. You are the supreme and original Personality of Godhead, and the drones are just trying to spread Your glories by chanting every moment. I think some of them must be great sages, devotees of Your Lordship, and they are disguising themselves in the form of drones because they are unable to give up Your company even for a moment. My dear brother, You are the supreme worshipable Godhead. Just see how the peacocks in great ecstasy are dancing before You. The deer, whose behavior is just like the gopis, are welcoming You with the same affection. And the cuckoos who are residing in this forest are receiving You with great joy because they consider that Your appearance is so auspicious in their home. Even though they are trees and animals, these residents of Vrndavana are glorifying You. They are prepared to welcome You to their best capacity, as is the practice of great souls in receiving another great soul at home. As for the land, it is so pious and fortunate that the footprints of Your lotus feet are marking its body.
"It is quite natural for these Vrndavana inhabitants to thus receive a great personality like You. The herbs, creepers and plants are also so fortunate to touch Your lotus feet. And by Your touching the twigs with Your hands, these small plants are also made glorious. As for the hills and the rivers, they too are now glorious because You are glancing at them. Above all, the damsels of Vraja, the gopis, attracted by Your beauty, are the most glorious, because You embrace them with Your strong arms."
In this way, both Lord Krsna and Balarama began to enjoy the residents of Vrndavana to Their full satisfaction, along with the calves and cows on the bank of the Yamuna. In some places both Krsna and Balarama were accompanied by Their friends. The boys were singing, imitating the humming sound of the drones and accompanying Krsna and Balarama, who were garlanded with forest flowers. While walking, the boys sometimes imitated the quacking sound of the swans in the lakes, or when they saw the peacocks dancing, they imitated them before Krsna. Krsna also moved His neck, imitating the dancing and making His friends laugh.
The cows taken care of by Krsna had different names, and Krsna would call them with love. After hearing Krsna calling, the cows would immediately respond by mooing, and the boys would enjoy this exchange to their hearts' content. They would all imitate the sound vibrations made by the different kinds of birds, especially the cakoras, peacocks, cuckoo and bharadvajas. Sometimes, when they would see the weaker animals fleeing out of fear of the sounds of tigers and lions, the boys, along with Krsna and Balarama, would imitate the animals and run away with them. When they felt some fatigue, they would sit down, and Balarama would put His head on the lap of one of the boys just to take rest, and Krsna would immediately come and begin massaging the legs of Balarama. And sometimes He would take a palm fan and fan the body of Balarama, causing a pleasing breeze to relieve Him of His fatigue. Other boys would sometimes dance or sing while Balarama took rest, and sometimes they would wrestle amongst themselves or jump. When the boys were thus engaged, Krsna would immediately join them, and catching their hands, He would enjoy their company and laugh and praise their activities. When Krsna would feel tired and fatigued, He would sometimes take shelter of the root of a big tree, or the lap of a cowherd boy, and lie down. When He would lie down with a boy or a root as His pillow, some of the boys would come and massage His legs, and some would fan His body with a fan made from leaves. Some of the more talented boys would sing in very sweet voices to please Him. Thus very soon His fatigue would go away. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, whose legs are tended by the goddess of fortune, shared Himself with the cowherd boys as one of them, expanding His internal potency to appear exactly like a village boy. But despite His appearing just like a village boy, there were occasions when He proved Himself to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes men pose themselves as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and cheat innocent people, but they can only cheat; they cannot exhibit the potency of God.
While Krsna was thus engaged in exhibiting His internal potency along with the supermost fortunate friends, there occurred another chance for Him to exhibit the superhuman powers of Godhead. His most intimate friends Sridama, Subala and Stokakrsna began to address Krsna and Balarama with great love and affection thus: "Dear Balarama, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear Krsna, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Talavana. This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Some are falling down, and some of them are very ripe even in the trees. It is a very nice place, but because of a great demon, Dhenukasura, it is very difficult to go there. No one can reach the trees to collect the fruits. Dear Krsna and Balarama, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who assume the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, You are the only persons who can kill such demons. Other than You, no one can go there for fear of being killed. Not even animals go there, and no birds are sleeping there; they have all left. One can only appreciate the sweet aroma that is coming from that place. It appears that up until now, no one has tasted the sweet fruits there, either on the tree or on the ground. Dear Krsna, to tell You frankly, we are very attracted by this sweet aroma. Dear Balarama, let us all go there and enjoy these fruits. The aroma of the fruits is now spread everywhere. Don't You smell it from here?"
When Balarama and Krsna were thus petitioned by Their smiling, intimate friends, They were inclined to please them, and They began to proceed towards the forest, surrounded by all Their friends. Immediately upon entering the Talavana, Balarama began to yank the trees with His arms, exhibiting the strength of an elephant. Because of this jerking, all the ripe fruits fell down on the ground. Upon hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the demon Dhenukasura, who was living there in the form of an ass, began to approach with great force, shaking the whole field so that all the trees began to move as if there were an earthquake. The demon appeared first before Balarama and began to kick His chest with his hind legs. At first, Balarama did not say anything, but the demon with great anger began to kicked Him again more vehemently. This time Balarama immediately caught hold of the legs of the ass with one hand and, wheeling him around, threw him into the treetops. While he was being wheeled around by Balarama, the demon lost his life. Balarama threw the demon into the biggest palm tree about, and the demon's body was so heavy that the palm tree fell upon other trees, and several fell down. It appeared as if a great hurricane had passed through the forest, and all the trees were falling down, one after another. This exhibition of extraordinary strength is not astonishing because Balarama is the Personality of Godhead known as Ananta Sesanaga, who is holding all the planets on the hoods of His millions of heads. The whole cosmic manifestation is maintained by Him exactly as two threads hold the weaving of a cloth.
After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukasura immediately assembled and attacked Balarama and Krsna with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Krsna and Balarama began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheeled them around. Thus They killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets began to shower flowers on Krsna and Balarama and began to beat their drums and offer devotional prayers.
A few days after the killing of Dhenukasura, people began to come into the Talavana forest to collect the fruits, and animals began to return without fear to feed on the nice grasses grown there. Just by chanting or hearing these transcendental activities and pastimes of the brothers Krsna and Balarama, one can amass pious activities.
When Krsna, Balarama and Their friends entered the village of Vrndavana, They played Their flutes, and the boys praised Their uncommon activities in the forest. Their faces were decorated with tilaka and smeared with the dust raised by the cows, and Krsna's head was decorated with a peacock feather. Both He and Balarama played Their flutes, and the young gopis were joyous to see Krsna returning home. All the gopis in Vrndavana remained very morose on account of Krsna's absence. All day they were thinking of Krsna in the forest or of Him herding cows in the pasture. When they saw Krsna returning, all their anxieties were immediately relieved, and they began to look at His face the way drones hover over the honey of the lotus flower. When Krsna entered the village, the young gopis smiled and laughed. Krsna, while playing the flute, enjoyed the beautiful smiling faces of the gopis.
Then Krsna and Balarama were immediately received by Their affectionate mothers, Yasoda and Rohini, and, according to the time's demands, they began to fulfill the desires of their affectionate sons. Simultaneously, the mothers rendered service and bestowed benediction upon their transcendental sons. They very nicely took care of their children by bathing and dressing Them. Krsna was dressed in bluish garments, and Balarama was dressed in yellowish garments, and They were given all sorts of ornaments and flower garlands. Being relieved of the fatigue of Their day's work in the pasturing ground, They looked refreshed and very beautiful.
They were given palatable dishes by Their mothers, and They pleasantly ate everything. After eating, They were seated nicely on clean bedding, and the mothers began to sing various songs of Their activities. As soon as They sat down on the bedding, They very quickly fell fast asleep. In this way, Krsna and Balarama used to enjoy Vrndavana life as cowherd boys.
Sometimes Krsna used to go with His boy friends and with Balarama, and sometimes He used to go alone with His friends to the bank of the Yamuna and tend the cows. Gradually, the summer season arrived, and one day, while in the field, the boys and cows became very thirsty and began to drink the water of the Yamuna. The river, however, was made poisonous by the venom of the great serpent known as Kaliya.
Because the water was so poisonous, the boys and cows became visibly affected immediately after drinking. They suddenly fell down on the ground, apparently dead. Then Krsna, who is the life of all lives, simply cast His merciful glance over them, and all the boys and cows regained consciousness and began to look at one another with great astonishment. They could understand that by drinking the water of Yamuna they had died and that the merciful glance of Krsna restored their life. Thus they appreciated the mystic power of Krsna, who is known as Yogesvara, the master of all mystic yogis.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Fifteenth Chapter of Krsna, "Killing of Dhenukasura."
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