Chapter Twelve
The Killing of the Demon Aghāsura
This chapter describes in detail Kṛṣṇa’s pastime of killing Aghāsura.
One day Kṛṣṇa wanted to enjoy a picnic lunch within the forest, and therefore He went out early into the forest with the other cowherd boys, accompanied by their respective groups of calves. While they were enjoying their picnic, Aghāsura, the younger brother of Pūtanā and Bakāsura, appeared there, desiring to kill Kṛṣṇa and His companions. The demon, who had been sent by Kaṁsa, assumed the form of a python, expanding himself to a length of eight miles and the height of a mountain, his mouth seeming to extend from the surface of the earth to the heavenly planets. Having assumed this feature, Aghāsura lay on the road. Kṛṣṇa’s friends, the cowherd boys, thought that the demon’s form was one of the beautiful spots of Vṛndāvana. Thus they wanted to enter within the mouth of this gigantic python. The gigantic figure of the python became a subject for their sporting pleasure, and they began to laugh, confident that even if this figure were dangerous, Kṛṣṇa was there to protect them. In this way, they proceeded toward the mouth of the gigantic figure.
Kṛṣṇa knew everything about Aghāsura, and therefore He wanted to forbid His friends to enter the demon’s mouth, but in the meantime all the cowherd boys, along with their groups of calves, entered the mouth of that gigantic figure. Kṛṣṇa was waiting outside, and Aghāsura was waiting for Kṛṣṇa, thinking that as soon as Kṛṣṇa entered he would close his mouth so that everyone would die. While waiting for Kṛṣṇa, he refrained from swallowing the boys. In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa was thinking of how to save the boys and kill Aghāsura. Thus He entered the mouth of the gigantic asura, and when He was within the demon’s mouth along with His friends, He expanded His body to such an extent that the asura suffocated and died. After this, Kṛṣṇa, by casting His nectarean glance upon His friends, brought them back to life, and with pleasure they all came out unhurt. Thus Kṛṣṇa encouraged all the demigods, and they expressed their pleasure and happiness. For a crooked, sinful person there is no scope for sāyujya-mukti, or becoming one with the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa, but because the Supreme Personality of Godhead entered the body of Aghāsura, by His touch this demon got the opportunity to merge into the existence of the Brahman effulgence and thus attain sāyujya-mukti.
When this pastime was performed, Kṛṣṇa was only five years old. One year later, when He was six years old and He stepped into the paugaṇḍa age, this pastime was disclosed to the inhabitants of Vraja. Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquired, “Why is it that this pastime was disclosed only after one year and yet the inhabitants of Vraja thought that it had been performed that very day?” With this question, the Twelfth Chapter ends.
śrī-śuka uvāca
kvacid vanāśāya mano dadhad vrajāt
prātaḥ samutthāya vayasya-vatsapān
prabodhayañ chṛṅga-raveṇa cāruṇā
vinirgato vatsa-puraḥsaro hariḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; kvacit—one day; vana-āśāya—just to enjoy a picnic in the forest; manaḥ—mind; dadhat—gave attention; vrajāt—and went out of Vrajabhūmi; prātaḥ—early in the morning; samutthāya—waking up; vayasya-vatsa-pān—the cowherd boys and the calves; prabodhayan—to get everyone to rise, waking up and informing them; śṛṅga-raveṇa—by sounding the bugle made of horn; cāruṇā—very beautiful; vinirgataḥ—came out of Vrajabhūmi; vatsa-puraḥsaraḥ—keeping the respective groups of calves in front; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O King, one day Kṛṣṇa decided to take His breakfast as a picnic in the forest. Having risen early in the morning, He blew His bugle made of horn and woke all the cowherd boys and calves with its beautiful sound. Then Kṛṣṇa and the boys, keeping their respective groups of calves before them, proceeded from Vrajabhūmi to the forest.
tenaiva sākaṁ pṛthukāḥ sahasraśaḥ
snigdhāḥ suśig-vetra-viṣāṇa-veṇavaḥ
svān svān sahasropari-saṅkhyayānvitān
vatsān puraskṛtya viniryayur mudā
tena—Him; eva—indeed; sākam—accompanied by; pṛthukāḥ—the boys; sahasraśaḥ—by the thousands; snigdhāḥ—very attractive; su—beautiful; śik—lunch bags; vetra—sticks for controlling the calves; viṣāṇa—horn bugles; veṇavaḥ—flutes; svān svān—their own respective; sahasra-upari-saṅkhyayā anvitān—numbering over a thousand; vatsān—the calves; puraḥ-kṛtya—keeping in front; viniryayuḥ—they came out; mudā—with great pleasure.
At that time, hundreds and thousands of cowherd boys came out of their respective homes in Vrajabhūmi and joined Kṛṣṇa, keeping before them their hundreds and thousands of groups of calves. The boys were very beautiful, and they were equipped with lunch bags, bugles, flutes, and sticks for controlling the calves.
kṛṣṇa-vatsair asaṅkhyātair
yūthī-kṛtya sva-vatsakān
cārayanto ’rbha-līlābhir
vijahrus tatra tatra ha
kṛṣṇa—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; vatsaiḥ—along with the calves; asaṅkhyātaiḥ—unlimited; yūthī-kṛtya—assembled them; sva-vatsakān—personal calves; cārayantaḥ—executing; arbha-līlābhiḥ—by boyhood pastimes; vijahruḥ—enjoyed; tatra tatra—here and there; ha—indeed.
Along with the cowherd boys and their own groups of calves, Kṛṣṇa came out with an unlimited number of calves assembled. Then all the boys began to sport in the forest in a greatly playful spirit.
In this verse the words kṛṣṇa-vatsair asaṅkhyātaiḥ are significant. The word asaṅkhyāta means “unlimited.” Kṛṣṇa’s calves were unlimited. We may speak of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, billions, trillions, tens of trillions, and so on, but when we go further to speak of numbers impossible for us to count, we are speaking of unlimited numbers. Such unlimited numbers are indicated here by the word asaṅkhyātaiḥ. Kṛṣṇa is unlimited, His potency is unlimited, His cows and calves are unlimited, and His space is unlimited. Therefore He is described in Bhagavad-gītā as Parabrahman. The word brahman means “unlimited,” and Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Unlimited, Parabrahman. Therefore, we should not consider the statements of this verse to be mythological. They are factual, but inconceivable. Kṛṣṇa can accommodate an unlimited number of calves and an unlimited measurement of space. This is neither mythological nor false, but if we study Kṛṣṇa’s potency with our limited knowledge, that potency will never be possible to understand. Ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ [BRS.
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234)1.2.234]. Our senses cannot perceive how He could keep an unlimited number of calves and cows and have unlimited space in which to do so. But this is answered in the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta:
evaṁ prabhoḥ priyānāṁ ca
dhāmnaś ca samayasya ca
atra kiñcin na durghaṭam
Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, in the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, states that since everything about Kṛṣṇa is unlimited, nothing is impossible for Him. It is in this sense that we have to understand this verse.
bhūṣitā apy abhūṣayan
phala—fruits from the forest; prabāla—green leaves; stavaka—bunches; sumanaḥ—beautiful flowers; piccha—peacock feathers; dhātubhiḥ—very soft and colorful minerals; kāca—a kind of gem; guñjā—small conchshells; maṇi—pearls; svarṇa—gold; bhūṣitāḥ—although decorated; api abhūṣayan—in spite of being decorated by their mothers, the boys decorated themselves still more with the above-mentioned articles.
Although all these boys were already decorated by their mothers with ornaments of kāca, guñjā, pearls and gold, when they went into the forest they further decorated themselves with fruits, green leaves, bunches of flowers, peacock feathers and soft minerals.
muṣṇanto ’nyonya-śikyādīn
jñātān ārāc ca cikṣipuḥ
tatratyāś ca punar dūrād
dhasantaś ca punar daduḥ
muṣṇantaḥ—stealing; anyonya—from one another; śikya-ādīn—lunch bags and other belongings; jñātān—having been understood by the proprietor of the bag; ārāt ca—to a distant place; cikṣipuḥ—threw away; tatratyāḥ ca—those who were in that place also; punaḥ dūrāt—then again threw farther away; hasantaḥ ca punaḥ daduḥ—when they saw the proprietor, they threw it farther away and enjoyed laughing, and when the owner sometimes cried, his bag was given to him again.
All the cowherd boys used to steal one another’s lunch bags. When a boy came to understand that his bag had been taken away, the other boys would throw it farther away, to a more distant place, and those standing there would throw it still farther. When the proprietor of the bag became disappointed, the other boys would laugh, the proprietor would cry, and then the bag would be returned.
This kind of playing and stealing among boys still exists even in the material world because this kind of sporting pleasure is present in the spiritual world, from which this idea of enjoyment emanates. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1] (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.2). This same enjoyment is displayed by Kṛṣṇa and His associates in the spiritual world, but there the enjoyment is eternal, whereas here, on the material platform, it is temporary; there the enjoyment is brahman, whereas here the enjoyment is jaḍa. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant to train one how to transfer oneself from the jaḍa to the Brahman, because human life is meant for this purpose. Athāto brahma jijñāsā (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.1). Kṛṣṇa comes down to teach us how we can enjoy with Him on the spiritual platform, in the spiritual world. Not only does He come, but He personally displays His pastimes in Vṛndāvana and attracts people to spiritual enjoyment.
yadi dūraṁ gataḥ kṛṣṇo
vana-śobhekṣaṇāya tam
ahaṁ pūrvam ahaṁ pūrvam
iti saṁspṛśya remire
yadi—if; dūram—to a distant place; gataḥ—went; kṛṣṇaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vana-śobha—the beauty of the forest; īkṣaṇāya—for visiting and enjoying; tam—unto Kṛṣṇa; aham—I; pūrvam—first; aham—I; pūrvam—first; iti—in this way; saṁspṛśya—by touching Him; remire—they enjoyed life.
Sometimes Kṛṣṇa would go to a somewhat distant place to see the beauty of the forest. Then all the other boys would run to accompany Him, each one saying, “I shall be the first to run and touch Kṛṣṇa! I shall touch Kṛṣṇa first!” In this way they enjoyed life by repeatedly touching Kṛṣṇa.
TEXTS 7–11
kecid veṇūn vādayanto
dhmāntaḥ śṛṅgāṇi kecana
kecid bhṛṅgaiḥ pragāyantaḥ
kūjantaḥ kokilaiḥ pare
vicchāyābhiḥ pradhāvanto
gacchantaḥ sādhu-haṁsakaiḥ
bakair upaviśantaś ca
nṛtyantaś ca kalāpibhiḥ
vikarṣantaḥ kīśa-bālān
ārohantaś ca tair drumān
vikurvantaś ca taiḥ sākaṁ
plavantaś ca palāśiṣu
sākaṁ bhekair vilaṅghantaḥ
saritaḥ srava-samplutāḥ
vihasantaḥ praticchāyāḥ
śapantaś ca pratisvanān
itthaṁ satāṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā
dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena
māyāśritānāṁ nara-dārakeṇa
sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ
kecit—some of them; veṇūn—flutes; vādayantaḥ—blowing; dhmāntaḥ—bugling; śṛṅgāṇi—the horn bugles; kecana—someone else; kecit—someone; bhṛṅgaiḥ—with the bumblebees; pragāyantaḥ—singing along with; kūjantaḥ—imitating the sound of; kokilaiḥ—with the cuckoos; pare—others; vicchāyābhiḥ—with running shadows; pradhāvantaḥ—someone running on the ground after the birds; gacchantaḥ—going along; sādhu—beautiful; haṁsakaiḥ—with the swans; bakaiḥ—with the ducks sitting in one place; upaviśantaḥ ca—sitting silently like them; nṛtyantaḥ ca—and dancing with; kalāpibhiḥ—with the peacocks; vikarṣantaḥ—attracting; kīśa-bālān—the young monkeys; ārohantaḥ ca—gliding over; taiḥ—with the monkeys; drumān—the trees; vikurvantaḥ ca—exactly imitating them; taiḥ—with the monkeys; sākam—along with; plavantaḥ ca—gliding over; palāśiṣu—on the trees; sākam—along with; bhekaiḥ—with the frogs; vilaṅghantaḥ—jumping like them; saritaḥ—the water; srava-samplutāḥ—became wet in the water of the river; vihasantaḥ—laughing; praticchāyāḥ—at the shadows; śapantaḥ ca—condemned; pratisvanān—the sound of their echoes; ittham—in this way; satām—of the transcendentalists; brahma-sukha-anubhūtyā—with Kṛṣṇa, the source of brahma-sukha (Kṛṣṇa is Parabrahman, and from Him originates His personal effulgence); dāsyam—servitorship; gatānām—of the devotees who have accepted; para-daivatena—with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; māyā-āśritānām—for those in the clutches of material energy; nara-dārakeṇa—with Him who is like an ordinary child; sākam—along with; vijahruḥ—enjoyed; kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ—all these boys, who had accumulated the results of life after life of pious activities.
All the boys would be differently engaged. Some boys blew their flutes, and others blew bugles made of horn. Some imitated the buzzing of the bumblebees, and others imitated the voice of the cuckoo. Some boys imitated flying birds by running after the birds’ shadows on the ground, some imitated the beautiful movements and attractive postures of the swans, some sat down with the ducks, sitting silently, and others imitated the dancing of the peacocks. Some boys attracted young monkeys in the trees, some jumped into the trees, imitating the monkeys, some made faces as the monkeys were accustomed to do, and others jumped from one branch to another. Some boys went to the waterfalls and crossed over the river, jumping with the frogs, and when they saw their own reflections on the water they would laugh. They would also condemn the sounds of their own echoes. In this way, all the cowherd boys used to play with Kṛṣṇa, who is the source of the Brahman effulgence for jñānīs desiring to merge into that effulgence, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead for devotees who have accepted eternal servitorship, and who for ordinary persons is but another ordinary child. The cowherd boys, having accumulated the results of pious activities for many lives, were able to associate in this way with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How can one explain their great fortune?
As recommended by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, tasmāt kenāpy upāyena manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.4). Somehow or other, whether one thinks of Kṛṣṇa as an ordinary human child, as the source of the Brahman effulgence, as the origin of Paramātmā, or as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should concentrate one’s full attention upon the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. That is also the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the easiest way of directly approaching Kṛṣṇa. Īśvaraḥ sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt (Bhāg. 1.1.2). Diverting even a little of one’s attention toward Kṛṣṇa and activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately enables one to achieve the highest perfection of life. This is the purpose of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Lokasyājānato vidvāṁś cakre sātvata-saṁhitām (Bhāg. 1.7.6). The secret of success is unknown to people in general, and therefore Śrīla Vyāsadeva, being compassionate toward the poor souls in this material world, especially in this age of Kali, has given us the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānāṁ priyam (Bhāg. 12.13.18). For Vaiṣṇavas who are somewhat advanced, or who are fully aware of the glories and potencies of the Lord, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a beloved Vedic literature. After all, we have to change this body (tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ). If we do not care about Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we do not know what the next body will be. But if one adheres to these two books—Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam—one is sure to obtain the association of Kṛṣṇa in the next life (tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna [Bg. 4.9]). Therefore, distribution of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam all over the world is a great welfare activity for theologians, philosophers, transcendentalists and yogīs (yoginām api sarveṣām [Bg. 6.47]), as well as for people in general. Janma-lābhaḥ paraḥ puṁsām ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ (Bhāg. 2.1.6): if we can somehow or other remember Kṛṣṇa, Nārāyaṇa, at the end of life, our life will be successful.
yat-pāda-pāṁsur bahu-janma-kṛcchrato
dhṛtātmabhir yogibhir apy alabhyaḥ
sa eva yad-dṛg-viṣayaḥ svayaṁ sthitaḥ
kiṁ varṇyate diṣṭam ato vrajaukasām
yat—whose; pāda-pāṁsuḥ—dust of the lotus feet; bahu-janma—in many births; kṛcchrataḥ—from undergoing severe austerities and penances as a way of practicing yoga, meditation, etc.; dhṛta-ātmabhiḥ—by persons able to control the mind; yogibhiḥ—by such yogīs (jña-na-yogīs, rāja-yogīs, dhyāna-yogīs, etc.); api—indeed; alabhyaḥ—cannot be achieved; saḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva—indeed; yat-dṛk-viṣayaḥ—has become the object of direct vision, face to face; svayam—personally; sthitaḥ—present in front of them; kim—what; varṇyate—can be described; diṣṭam—about the fortune; ataḥ—therefore; vraja-okasām—of the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana.
Yogīs may undergo severe austerities and penances for many births by practicing yama, niyama, āsana and prāṇāyāma, none of which are easily performed. Yet in due course of time, when these yogīs attain the perfection of controlling the mind, they will still be unable to taste even a particle of dust from the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What then can we describe about the great fortune of the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana, with whom the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally lived and who saw the Lord face to face?
We can simply imagine the great fortune of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. It is impossible to describe how, after many, many births of pious activities, they have become so fortunate.
athāgha-nāmābhyapatan mahāsuras
teṣāṁ sukha-krīḍana-vīkṣaṇākṣamaḥ
nityaṁ yad-antar nija-jīvitepsubhiḥ
pītāmṛtair apy amaraiḥ pratīkṣyate
atha—thereafter; agha-nāma—a very powerful demon by the name Agha; abhyapatat—appeared on the spot; mahā-asuraḥ—a great, extremely powerful demon; teṣām—of the cowherd boys; sukha-krīḍana—the enjoyment of their transcendental pastimes; vīkṣaṇa-akṣamaḥ—being unable to see, he could not tolerate the transcendental happiness of the cowherd boys; nityam—perpetually; yat-antaḥ—the end of the life of Aghāsura; nija-jīvita-īpsubhiḥ—just to live undisturbed by Aghāsura; pīta-amṛtaiḥ api—although they drank nectar every day; amaraiḥ—by such demigods; pratīkṣyate—was also being awaited (the demigods were also awaiting the death of the great demon Aghāsura).
My dear King Parīkṣit, thereafter there appeared a great demon named Aghāsura, whose death was being awaited even by the demigods. The demigods drank nectar every day, but still they feared this great demon and awaited his death. This demon could not tolerate the transcendental pleasure being enjoyed in the forest by the cowherd boys.
One may ask how Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes could be interrupted by a demon. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura answers this question by saying that although the transcendental pleasure being enjoyed by the cowherd boys could not be stopped, unless they stopped the transcendental pleasure of their various activities they could not eat their lunch. Therefore at lunchtime Aghāsura appeared by the arrangement of yogamāyā, so that for the time being they could stop their activities and take lunch. Changing varieties are the mother of enjoyment. The cowherd boys would continuously play, then stop, and then again enjoy in a different way. Therefore every day a demon would come and interrupt their sporting pastimes. The demon would be killed, and then the boys would engage again in their transcendental pastimes.
dṛṣṭvārbhakān kṛṣṇa-mukhān aghāsuraḥ
kaṁsānuśiṣṭaḥ sa bakī-bakānujaḥ
ayaṁ tu me sodara-nāśa-kṛt tayor
dvayor mamainaṁ sa-balaṁ haniṣye
dṛṣṭvā—after seeing; arbhakān—all the cowherd boys; kṛṣṇa-mukhān—headed by Kṛṣṇa; aghāsuraḥ—the demon by the name Aghāsura; kaṁsa-anuśiṣṭaḥ—sent by Kaṁsa; saḥ—he (Aghāsura); bakī-baka-anujaḥ—the younger brother of Pūtanā and Bakāsura; ayam—this Kṛṣṇa; tu—indeed; me—my; sodara-nāśa-kṛt—the killer of my brother and sister; tayoḥ—for my brother and sister; dvayoḥ—for those two; mama—my; enamKṛṣṇa; sa-balam—along with His assistants, the cowherd boys; haniṣye—I shall kill.
Aghāsura, who had been sent by Kaṁsa, was the younger brother of Pūtanā and Bakāsura. Therefore when he came and saw Kṛṣṇa at the head of all the cowherd boys, he thought, “This Kṛṣṇa has killed my sister and brother, Pūtanā and Bakāsura. Therefore, in order to please them both, I shall kill this Kṛṣṇa, along with His assistants, the other cowherd boys.”
ete yadā mat-suhṛdos tilāpaḥ
kṛtās tadā naṣṭa-samā vrajaukasaḥ
prāṇe gate varṣmasu kā nu cintā
prajāsavaḥ prāṇa-bhṛto hi ye te
ete—this Kṛṣṇa and His associates, the cowherd boys; yadā—when; mat-suhṛdoḥ—of my brother and sister; tila-āpaḥ kṛtāḥ—become the last ritualistic ceremonial offering of sesame and water; tadā—at that time; naṣṭa-samāḥ—without life; vraja-okasaḥ—all the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana; prāṇe—when the vital force; gate—has been thrown out of the body; varṣmasu—as far as the body is concerned; —what; nu—indeed; cintā—consideration; prajā-asavaḥ—those whose love for their children is the same as their love for their own life; prāṇa-bhṛtaḥ—those living beings; hi—indeed; ye te—all the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi.
Aghāsura thought: If somehow or other I can make Kṛṣṇa and His associates serve as the last offering of sesame and water for the departed souls of my brother and sister, then the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, for whom these boys are the life and soul, will automatically die. If there is no life, there is no need for the body; consequently, when their sons are dead, naturally all the inhabitants of Vraja will die.
iti vyavasyājagaraṁ bṛhad vapuḥ
sa yojanāyāma-mahādri-pīvaram
dhṛtvādbhutaṁ vyātta-guhānanaṁ tadā
pathi vyaśeta grasanāśayā khalaḥ
iti—in this way; vyavasya—deciding; ājagaram—python; bṛhat vapuḥ—a very, very large body; saḥAghāsura; yojana-āyāma—occupying eight miles of land; mahā-adri-pīvaram—as thick as a great mountain; dhṛtvā—assuming this form; adbhutam—wonderful; vyātta—spread; guhā-ānanam—having a mouth resembling a big cave in a mountain; tadā—at that time; pathi—on the road; vyaśeta—occupied; grasana-āśayā—expecting to swallow all the cowherd boys; khalaḥ—the most crooked.
After thus deciding, that crooked Aghāsura assumed the form of a huge python, as thick as a big mountain and as long as eight miles. Having assumed this wonderful python’s body, he spread his mouth like a big cave in the mountains and lay down on the road, expecting to swallow Kṛṣṇa and His associates the cowherd boys.
dharādharoṣṭho jaladottaroṣṭho
dary-ānanānto giri-śṛṅga-daṁṣṭraḥ
dhvāntāntar-āsyo vitatādhva-jihvaḥ
dharā—on the surface of the globe; adhara-oṣṭhaḥ—whose lower lip; jalada-uttara-oṣṭhaḥ—whose upper lip was touching the clouds; darī-ānana-antaḥ—whose mouth was expanded very widely like a mountain cave; giri-śṛṅga—like a mountain peak; daṁṣṭraḥ—whose teeth; dhvānta-antaḥ-āsyaḥ—within whose mouth the atmosphere was as dark as possible; vitata-adhva-jihvaḥ—whose tongue was like a broad way; paruṣa-anila-śvāsa—whose breath was like a warm wind; dava-īkṣaṇa-uṣṇaḥ—and whose glance was like flames of fire.
His lower lip rested on the surface of the earth, and his upper lip was touching the clouds in the sky. The borders of his mouth resembled the sides of a big cave in a mountain, and the middle of his mouth was as dark as possible. His tongue resembled a broad traffic-way, his breath was like a warm wind, and his eyes blazed like fire.
dṛṣṭvā taṁ tādṛśaṁ sarve
matvā vṛndāvana-śriyam
hy utprekṣante sma līlayā
dṛṣṭvā—seeing; tam—that Aghāsura; tādṛśam—in that posture; sarveKṛṣṇa and all the cowherd boys; matvā—thought it; vṛndāvana-śriyam—a beautiful statue of Vṛndāvana; vyātta—spread; ajagara-tuṇḍena—with the form of a python’s mouth; hi—indeed; utprekṣante—as if observing; sma—in the past; līlayā—as a matter of pastimes.
Upon seeing this demon’s wonderful form, which resembled a great python, the boys thought that it must be a beautiful scenic spot of Vṛndāvana. Thereafter, they imagined it to be similar to the mouth of a great python. In other words, the boys, unafraid, thought that it was a statue made in the shape of a great python for the enjoyment of their pastimes.
Some of the boys, upon seeing this wonderful phenomenon, thought that it was in fact a python, and they were fleeing from the spot. But others said, “Why are you fleeing? It is not possible that a python like this is staying here. This is a spot of beauty for sporting.” This is what they imagined.
aho mitrāṇi gadata
sattva-kūṭaṁ puraḥ sthitam
vyāla-tuṇḍāyate na vā
aho—oh; mitrāṇi—friends; gadata—just let us know; sattva-kūṭam—dead python; puraḥ sthitam—as it is just before us all; asmat—all of us; saṅgrasana—to devour us altogether; vyātta-vyāla-tuṇḍā-yate—the python has spread its mouth; na —whether it is a fact or not.
The boys said: Dear friends, is this creature dead, or is it actually a living python with its mouth spread wide just to swallow us all? Kindly clear up this doubt.
The friends began to discuss among themselves the reality of the wonderful creature laying before them. Was it dead, or was it actually a living python trying to swallow them up?
satyam arka-karāraktam
uttarā-hanuvad ghanam
adharā-hanuvad rodhas
satyam—now the boys decided that it was in fact a living python; arka-kara-āraktam—appearing like the sunshine; uttarā-hanuvat ghanam—on the cloud resembling the upper lips; adharā-hanuvat—resembling the lower lips; rodhaḥ—big bank; tat-praticchāyayā—by the reflection of sunshine; aruṇam—reddish.
Thereafter they decided: Dear friends, this is certainly an animal sitting here to swallow us all. Its upper lip resembles a cloud reddened by the sunshine, and its lower lip resembles the reddish shadows of a cloud.
pratispardhete sṛkkabhyāṁ
savyāsavye nagodare
tuṅga-śṛṅgālayo ’py etās
tad-daṁṣṭrābhiś ca paśyata
pratispardhete—just resembling; sṛkkabhyām—with the corners of the mouth; savya-asavye—left and right; naga-udare—caves of a mountain; tuṅga-śṛṅga-ālayaḥ—the high mountain peaks; api—although it is so; etāḥ tat-daṁṣṭrābhiḥ—they resemble the teeth of the animal; ca—and; paśyata—just see.
On the left and right, the two depressions resembling mountain caves are the corners of its mouth, and the high mountain peaks are its teeth.
āstṛtāyāma-mārgo ’yaṁ
rasanāṁ pratigarjati
eṣāṁ antar-gataṁ dhvāntam
etad apy antar-ānanam
āstṛta-āyāma—the length and breadth; mārgaḥ ayam—a broad way; rasanām—the tongue; pratigarjati—resembles; eṣām antaḥ-gatam—on the inside of the mountains; dhvāntam—darkness; etat—this; api—indeed; antaḥ-ānanam—the inside of the mouth.
In length and breadth the animal’s tongue resembles a broad traffic-way, and the inside of its mouth is very, very dark, like a cave in a mountain.
dāvoṣṇa-khara-vāto ’yaṁ
śvāsavad bhāti paśyata
’py antar-āmiṣa-gandhavat
dāva-uṣṇa-khara-vātaḥ ayam—hot breath coming out exactly like fire; śvāsa-vat bhāti paśyata—just see how it resembles his breath; tat-dagdha-sattva—of burning corpses; durgandhaḥ—the bad smell; api—indeed; antaḥ-āmiṣa-gandha-vat—is like the fleshy smell coming out from within.
The hot fiery wind is the breath coming out of his mouth, which is giving off the bad smell of burning flesh because of all the dead bodies he has eaten.
asmān kim atra grasitā niviṣṭān
ayaṁ tathā ced bakavad vinaṅkṣyati
kṣaṇād aneneti bakāry-uśan-mukhaṁ
vīkṣyoddhasantaḥ kara-tāḍanair yayuḥ
asmān—all of us; kim—whether; atra—here; grasitā—will swallow; niviṣṭān—who have attempted to enter; ayam—this animal; tathā—so; cet—if; baka-vat—like Bakāsura; vinaṅkṣyati—he will be vanquished; kṣaṇāt—immediately; anena—by this Kṛṣṇa; iti—in this way; baka-ari-uśat-mukham—the beautiful face of Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Bakāsura; vīkṣya—observing, looking at; uddhasantaḥ—loudly laughing; kara-tāḍanaiḥ—with clapping of hands; yayuḥ—entered the mouth.
Then the boys said, “Has this living creature come to swallow us? If he does so, he will immediately be killed like Bakāsura, without delay.” Thus they looked at the beautiful face of Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Bakāsura, and, laughing loudly and clapping their hands, they entered the mouth of the python.
After talking about the terrible animal this way and that way, they decided to enter the demon’s mouth. They had full faith in Kṛṣṇa because they had experienced how Kṛṣṇa had saved them from the mouth of Bakāsura. Now, here was another asura, Aghāsura. Therefore, they wanted to enjoy the sport of entering the demon’s mouth and being saved by Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Bakāsura.
itthaṁ mitho ’tathyam ataj-jña-bhāṣitaṁ
śrutvā vicintyety amṛṣā mṛṣāyate
rakṣo viditvākhila-bhūta-hṛt-sthitaḥ
svānāṁ niroddhuṁ bhagavān mano dadhe
ittham—in this way; mithaḥ—or another; atathyam—a subject matter that is not a fact; a-tat-jña—without knowledge; bhāṣitam—while they were talking; śrutvāKṛṣṇa hearing them; vicintya—thinking; iti—thus; amṛṣā—actually, truly; mṛṣāyate—who is trying to appear as a false thing (actually the animal was Aghāsura, but because of poor knowledge they were thinking him to be a dead python); rakṣaḥ—(Kṛṣṇa, however, could understand that) he was a demon; viditvā—knowing it; akhila-bhūta-hṛt-sthitaḥ—because He is antaryāmī, situated everywhere, in the core of everyone’s heart; svānām—of His own associates; niroddhum—just to forbid them; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; manaḥ dadhe—made up His mind.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is situated as antaryāmī, the Supersoul, in the core of everyone’s heart, heard the boys talking among themselves about the artificial python. Unknown to them, it was actually Aghāsura, a demon who had appeared as a python. Kṛṣṇa, knowing this, wanted to forbid His associates to enter the demon’s mouth.
tāvat praviṣṭās tv asurodarāntaraṁ
paraṁ na gīrṇāḥ śiśavaḥ sa-vatsāḥ
pratīkṣamāṇena bakāri-veśanaṁ
hata-sva-kānta-smaraṇena rakṣasā
tāvat—in the meantime; praviṣṭāḥ—all entered; tu—indeed; asura-udara-antaram—within the belly of the great demon; param—but; na gīrṇāḥ—they were not swallowed; śiśavaḥ—all the boys; sa-vatsāḥ—along with their calves; pratīkṣamāṇena—who was just waiting for; baka-ari—of the enemy of Bakāsura; veśanam—the entering; hata-sva-kānta-smaraṇena—the asura was thinking of his own dead relatives, who would not be satisfied unless Kṛṣṇa were dead; rakṣasā—by the demon.
In the meantime, while Kṛṣṇa was considering how to stop them, all the cowherd boys entered the mouth of the demon. The demon, however, did not swallow them, for he was thinking of his own relatives who had been killed by Kṛṣṇa and was just waiting for Kṛṣṇa to enter his mouth.
tān vīkṣya kṛṣṇaḥ sakalābhaya-prado
hy ananya-nāthān sva-karād avacyutān
dīnāṁś ca mṛtyor jaṭharāgni-ghāsān
ghṛṇārdito diṣṭa-kṛtena vismitaḥ
tān—all those boys; vīkṣya—seeing; kṛṣṇaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; sakala-abhaya-pradaḥ—who is the source of fearlessness for everyone; hi—indeed; ananya-nāthān—especially for the cowherd boys, who did not know anyone except Kṛṣṇa; sva-karāt—from the control of His hand; avacyutān—now gone out; dīnān ca—helpless; mṛtyoḥ jaṭhara-agni-ghāsān—who had all entered like straws into the fire of the abdomen of Aghāsura, who was very bold and hungry, like death personified (because the asura had assumed a big body, he must have had a very strong appetite); ghṛṇā-arditaḥ—therefore, being compassionate due to causeless mercy; diṣṭa-kṛtena—by things arranged by His internal potency; vismitaḥ—He also, for the time being, was astonished.
Kṛṣṇa saw that all the cowherd boys, who did not know anyone but Him as their Lord, had now gone out of His hand and were helpless, having entered like straws into the fire of the abdomen of Aghāsura, who was death personified. It was intolerable for Kṛṣṇa to be separated from His friends the cowherd boys. Therefore, as if seeing that this had been arranged by His internal potency, Kṛṣṇa was momentarily struck with wonder and unsure of what to do.
kṛtyaṁ kim atrāsya khalasya jīvanaṁ
na vā amīṣāṁ ca satāṁ vihiṁsanam
dvayaṁ kathaṁ syād iti saṁvicintya
jñātvāviśat tuṇḍam aśeṣa-dṛg ghariḥ
kṛtyam kim—what to do; atra—in this situation; asya khalasya—of this envious demon; jīvanam—the existence of life; na—there should not be; —either; amīṣām ca—and of those who are innocent; satām—of the devotees; vihiṁsanam—the death; dvayam—both actions (killing the demon and saving the boys); katham—how; syāt—can be possible; iti saṁvicintya—very perfectly thinking about the subject matter; jñātvā—and deciding what to do; aviśat—entered; tuṇḍam—within the mouth of the demon; aśeṣa-dṛk hariḥKṛṣṇa, who has unlimited potency, could understand past, future and present.
Now, what was to be done? How could both the killing of this demon and the saving of the devotees be performed simultaneously? Kṛṣṇa, being unlimitedly potent, decided to wait for an intelligent means by which He could simultaneously save the boys and kill the demon. Then He entered the mouth of Aghāsura.
Kṛṣṇa is known as ananta-vīrya-sarvajña because everything is known to Him. Because He knows everything perfectly well, it was not difficult for Him to find a means by which He could save the boys and at the same time kill the demon. Thus He also decided to enter the demon’s mouth.
tadā ghana-cchadā devā
bhayād dhā-heti cukruśuḥ
jahṛṣur ye ca kaṁsādyāḥ
kauṇapās tv agha-bāndhavāḥ
tadā—at that time; ghana-chadāḥ—behind the clouds; devāḥ—all the demigods; bhayāt—on account of feeling danger because Kṛṣṇa had entered the mouth of the demon; -hā—alas, alas; iti—in this way; cukruśuḥ—they exclaimed; jahṛṣuḥ—became jubilant; ye—those; ca—also; kaṁsa-ādyāḥKaṁsa and others; kauṇapāḥ—the demons; tu—indeed; agha-bāndhavāḥ—the friends of Aghāsura.
When Kṛṣṇa entered the mouth of Aghāsura, the demigods hidden behind the clouds exclaimed, “Alas! Alas!” But the friends of Aghāsura, like Kaṁsa and other demons, were jubilant.
tac chrutvā bhagavān kṛṣṇas
tv avyayaḥ sārbha-vatsakam
cūrṇī-cikīrṣor ātmānaṁ
tarasā vavṛdhe gale
tat—that exclamation of -hā; śrutvā—hearing; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kṛṣṇaḥ—Lord Kṛṣṇa; tu—indeed; avyayaḥ—never vanquishable; sa-arbha-vatsakam—along with the cowherd boys and the calves; cūrṇī-cikīrṣoḥ—of that demon, who desired to smash within the abdomen; ātmānam—personally, Himself; tarasā—very soon; vavṛdhe—enlarged; gale—within the throat.
When the invincible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, heard the demigods crying “Alas! Alas!” from behind the clouds, He immediately enlarged Himself within the demon’s throat, just to save Himself and the cowherd boys, His own associates, from the demon who wished to smash them.
Such are the acts of Kṛṣṇa. paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām (Bg. 4.8). By enlarging Himself within the throat of the demon, Kṛṣṇa suffocated and killed him and at the same time saved Himself and His associates from imminent death and also saved the demigods from lamentation.
tato ’tikāyasya niruddha-mārgiṇo
hy udgīrṇa-dṛṣṭer bhramatas tv itas tataḥ
pūrṇo ’ntar-aṅge pavano niruddho
mūrdhan vinirbhidya vinirgato bahiḥ
tataḥ—after Kṛṣṇa took action to kill the demon’s body from within the mouth; ati-kāyasya—of that great demon, who had expanded his body to a very large size; niruddha-mārgiṇaḥ—because of suffocating, all outlets being stopped up; hi udgīrṇa-dṛṣṭeḥ—whose eyes had popped out; bhramataḥ tu itaḥ tataḥ—the eyeballs, or the life air, moving here and there; pūrṇaḥ—completely filled; antaḥ-aṅge—within the body; pavanaḥ—the life air; niruddhaḥ—being stopped; mūrdhan—the hole in the top of the head; vinirbhidya—breaking; vinirgataḥ—went out; bahiḥ—externally.
Then, because Kṛṣṇa had increased the size of His body, the demon extended his own body to a very large size. Nonetheless, his breathing stopped, he suffocated, and his eyes rolled here and there and popped out. The demon’s life air, however, could not pass through any outlet, and therefore it finally burst out through a hole in the top of the demon’s head.
tenaiva sarveṣu bahir gateṣu
prāṇeṣu vatsān suhṛdaḥ paretān
dṛṣṭyā svayotthāpya tad-anvitaḥ punar
vaktrān mukundo bhagavān viniryayau
tena eva—through that brahma-randhra, or the hole in the top of the head; sarveṣu—all the air within the body; bahiḥ gateṣu—having gone out; prāṇeṣu—the life airs, along with the vital force; vatsān—the calves; suhṛdaḥ—the cowherd boy friends; paretān—who were all dead within; dṛṣṭyā svayā—by Kṛṣṇa’s glancing over; utthāpya—brought them back to life; tat-anvitaḥ—thus accompanied by them; punaḥ—again; vaktrāt—from the mouth; mukundaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhagavānKṛṣṇa; viniryayau—came out.
When all the demon’s life air had passed away through that hole in the top of his head, Kṛṣṇa glanced over the dead calves and cowherd boys and brought them back to life. Then Mukunda, who can give one liberation, came out from the demon’s mouth with His friends and the calves.
pīnāhi-bhogotthitam adbhutaṁ mahaj
jyotiḥ sva-dhāmnā jvalayad diśo daśa
pratīkṣya khe ’vasthitam īśa-nirgamaṁ
viveśa tasmin miṣatāṁ divaukasām
pīna—very great; ahi-bhoga-utthitam—issuing from the serpent’s body, which was meant for material enjoyment; adbhutam—very wonderful; mahat—great; jyotiḥ—effulgence; sva-dhāmnā—by his own illumination; jvalayat—making glaring; diśaḥ daśa—all the ten directions; pratīkṣya—waiting; khe—in the sky; avasthitam—individually staying; īśa-nirgamam—until the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, came out; viveśa—entered; tasmin—in the body of Kṛṣṇa; miṣatām—while observing; divaukasām—all the demigods.
From the body of the gigantic python, a glaring effulgence came out, illuminating all directions, and stayed individually in the sky until Kṛṣṇa came out from the corpse’s mouth. Then, as all the demigods looked on, this effulgence entered into Kṛṣṇa’s body.
Apparently the serpent named Aghāsura, because of having received association with Kṛṣṇa, attained mukti by entering Kṛṣṇa’s body. Entering the body of Kṛṣṇa is called sāyujya-mukti, but later verses prove that Aghāsura, like Dantavakra and others, received sārūpya-mukti. This has been broadly described by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura with references from the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. Aghāsura attained sārūpya-mukti, being promoted to the Vaikuṇṭha planets to live with the same four-armed bodily features as Viṣṇu. The explanation of how this is so may be summarized as follows.
The effulgence came out from the python’s body and became purified, attaining spiritual śuddha-sattva, freedom from material contamination, because Kṛṣṇa had stayed within the serpent’s body, even after the serpent’s death. One may doubt that such a demon, full of mischievous activities, could attain the liberation of sārūpya or sāyujya, and one may be astonished about this. But Kṛṣṇa is so kind that in order to drive away such doubts, He had the effulgence, the individual life of the python, wait for some time in its individuality, in the presence of all the demigods.
Kṛṣṇa is the full effulgence, and every living being is part and parcel of that effulgence. As proved here, the effulgence in every living being is individual. For some time, the effulgence remained outside the demon’s body, individually, and did not mix with the whole effulgence, the brahmajyoti. The Brahman effulgence is not visible to material eyes, but to prove that every living being is individual, Kṛṣṇa had this individual effulgence stay outside the demon’s body for some time, for everyone to see. Then Kṛṣṇa proved that anyone killed by Him attains liberation, whether sāyujya, sārūpya, sāmīpya or whatever.
But the liberation of those who are on the transcendental platform of love and affection is vimukti, special liberation. Thus the serpent first entered the body of Kṛṣṇa personally and mixed with the Brahman effulgence. This merging is called sāyujya-mukti. But from later verses we find that Aghāsura attained sārūpya-mukti. Text 38 explains that Aghāsura attained a body exactly like that of Viṣṇu, and the verse after that also clearly states that he attained a completely spiritual body like that of Nārāyaṇa. Therefore in two or three places the Bhāgavatam has confirmed that Aghāsura attained sārūpya-mukti. One may then argue, How is it that he mixed with the Brahman effulgence? The answer is that as Jaya and Vijaya, after three births, again attained sārūpya-mukti and association with the Lord, Aghāsura received a similar liberation.
tato ’tihṛṣṭāḥ sva-kṛto ’kṛtārhaṇaṁ
puṣpaiḥ sugā apsarasaś ca nartanaiḥ
gītaiḥ surā vādya-dharāś ca vādyakaiḥ
stavaiś ca viprā jaya-niḥsvanair gaṇāḥ
tataḥ—thereafter; ati-hṛṣṭāḥ—everyone becoming very much pleased; sva-kṛtaḥ—own respective duty; akṛta—executed; arhaṇam—in the shape of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead; puṣpaiḥ—by showering flowers grown in Nandana-kānana from the heavens; su-gāḥ—the celestial singers; apsarasaḥ ca—and the celestial dancing girls; nartanaiḥ—by dancing; gītaiḥ—by singing celestial songs; surāḥ—all the demigods; vādya-dharāḥ ca—those who played on musical drums; vādyakaiḥ—by playing respectively; stavaiḥ ca—and by offering prayers; viprāḥ—the brāhmaṇas; jaya-niḥsvanaiḥ—simply by glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead; gaṇāḥ—everyone.
Thereafter, everyone being pleased, the demigods began to shower flowers from Nandana-kānana, the celestial dancing girls began to dance, and the Gandharvas, who are famous for singing, offered songs of prayer. The drummers began to beat their kettledrums, and the brāhmaṇas offered Vedic hymns. In this way, both in the heavens and on earth, everyone began to perform his own duties, glorifying the Lord.
Everyone has some particular duty. The śāstra has concluded (nirūpitaḥ) that everyone should glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his own qualifications. If you are a singer, always glorify the Supreme Lord by singing very nicely. If you are a musician, glorify the Supreme Lord by playing musical instruments. Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (Bhāg. 1.2.13). The perfection of life is to satisfy the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, beginning from this earth up to the celestial kingdom, everyone engaged in glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The decision of all great saintly persons is that whatever qualifications one has acquired should be utilized to glorify the Supreme Lord.
idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya
sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
avicyuto ’rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
yad uttamaśloka-guṇānuvarṇanam
“Learned sages have definitely concluded that the infallible purpose of the advancement of knowledge, austerity, Vedic study, sacrifice, the chanting of hymns, and charity is found in the transcendental descriptions of the qualities of the Lord, who is defined in choice poetry.” (Bhāg. 1.5.22) This is the perfection of life. One should be trained how to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead by one’s respective qualities. Education, austerity, penance or, in the modern world, business, industry, education and so on—all should be engaged in glorifying the Lord. Then everyone in the world will be happy.
Kṛṣṇa comes, therefore, to exhibit His transcendental activities so that people may have the chance to glorify Him in every respect. To understand how to glorify the Lord is actual research work. It is not that everything should be understood without God. That is condemned.
(Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 3.11)
Without bhagavad-bhakti, without glorification of the Supreme Lord, whatever we have is simply a decoration of the dead body.
śrutvā sva-dhāmno ’nty aja āgato ’cirād
dṛṣṭvā mahīśasya jagāma vismayam
tat—that celebration performed by the demigods in the upper planetary system; adbhuta—wonderful; stotra—prayers; su-vādya—glorious musical sounds of drums and other instruments; gītikā—celestial songs; jaya-ādi—sounds of jaya, etc.; na-eka-utsava—celebrations simply for glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead; maṅgala-svanān—transcendental sounds auspicious for everyone; śrutvā—hearing such sounds; sva-dhāmnaḥ—from his abode; anti—nearby; ajaḥ—Lord Brahmā; āgataḥ—coming there; acirāt—very soon; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; mahi—the glorification; īśasya—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; jagāma vismayam—became astonished.
When Lord Brahmā heard the wonderful ceremony going on near his planet, accompanied by music and songs and sounds of “Jaya! Jaya!” he immediately came down to see the function. Upon seeing so much glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he was completely astonished.
Here the word anti means “near,” indicating that even in the higher planetary systems near Brahmaloka, like Maharloka, Janaloka and Tapoloka, the festival of glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa was going on.
rājann ājagaraṁ carma
śuṣkaṁ vṛndāvane ’dbhutam
vrajaukasāṁ bahu-tithaṁ
rājan—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit; ājagaram carma—the dry body of Aghāsura, which remained only a big skin; śuṣkam—when it completely dried up; vṛndāvane adbhutam—like a wonderful museum piece in Vṛndāvana; vraja-okasām—for the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana; bahu-titham—for many days, or for a long time; babhūva—became; ākrīḍa—sporting place; gahvaram—a cave.
O King Parīkṣit, when the python-shaped body of Aghāsura dried up into merely a big skin, it became a wonderful place for the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana to visit, and it remained so for a long, long time.
etat kaumārajaṁ karma
harer ātmāhi-mokṣaṇam
mṛtyoḥ paugaṇḍake bālā
dṛṣṭvocur vismitā vraje
etat—this incident of delivering both Aghāsura and Kṛṣṇa’s associates from death; kaumāra-jam karma—performed during their kaumāra age (the age of five years); hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātma—the devotees are the Lord’s heart and soul; ahi-mokṣaṇam—their deliverance and the deliverance of the python; mṛtyoḥ—from the path of repeated birth and death; paugaṇḍake—at the age of paugaṇḍa, beginning with the sixth year (one year later); bālāḥ—all the boys; dṛṣṭvā ūcuḥ—disclosed the fact after one year; vismitāḥ—as if it had happened on that very day; vraje—in Vṛndāvana.
This incident of Kṛṣṇa’s saving Himself and His associates from death and of giving deliverance to Aghāsura, who had assumed the form of a python, took place when Kṛṣṇa was five years old. It was disclosed in Vrajabhūmi after one year, as if it had taken place on that very day.
The word mokṣaṇam means “liberation.” For the associates of Kṛṣṇa and for Kṛṣṇa Himself, there is no question about liberation; they are already liberated, being in the spiritual world. In the material world there are birth, death, old age and disease, but in the spiritual world there are no such things because everything is eternal. As for the python, however, by the association of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees, Aghāsura also achieved the same facility of eternal life. Therefore, as indicated here by the word ātmāhi-mokṣaṇam, if the python Aghāsura could receive eternal association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, what is to be said of those who are already associates of the Lord? Sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ (Bhāg. 10.12.11). Here is proof that God is good for everyone. Even when He kills someone, the one who is killed attains liberation. What then is to be said of those who are already in the association of the Lord?
naitad vicitraṁ manujārbha-māyinaḥ
parāvarāṇāṁ paramasya vedhasaḥ
agho ’pi yat-sparśana-dhauta-pātakaḥ
prāpātma-sāmyaṁ tv asatāṁ sudurlabham
na—not; etat—this; vicitram—is wonderful; manuja-arbha-māyinaḥ—of Kṛṣṇa, who appeared as the son of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, being compassionate upon them; para-avarāṇām—of all causes and effects; paramasya vedhasaḥ—of the supreme creator; aghaḥ apiAghāsura also; yat-sparśana—simply by the slight association of whom; dhauta-pātakaḥ—became freed from all contamination of material existence; prāpa—became elevated; ātma-sāmyam—to a body exactly resembling that of Nārāyaṇa; tu—but; asatām sudurlabham—which is not at all possible to be obtained by contaminated souls (but everything can be possible by the mercy of the Supreme Lord).
Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes. The causes and effects of the material world, both higher and lower, are all created by the Supreme Lord, the original controller. When Kṛṣṇa appeared as the son of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, He did so by His causeless mercy. Consequently, for Him to exhibit His unlimited opulence was not at all wonderful. Indeed, He showed such great mercy that even Aghāsura, the most sinful miscreant, was elevated to being one of His associates and achieving sārūpya-mukti, which is actually impossible for materially contaminated persons to attain.
The word māyā is also used in connection with love. Out of māyā, love, a father has affection for his child. Therefore the word māyinaḥ indicates that Kṛṣṇa, out of love, appeared as the son of Nanda Mahārāja and assumed the form of a human child (manujārbha). Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes. He is the creator of cause and effect, and He is the supreme controller. Nothing is impossible for Him. Therefore, that He enabled even a living being like Aghāsura to attain the salvation of sārūpya-mukti was not at all wonderful for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa took pleasure in entering the mouth of Aghāsura in a sporting spirit along with His associates. Therefore, when Aghāsura, by that sporting association, as maintained in the spiritual world, was purified of all contamination, he attained sārūpya-mukti and vimukti by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. For Kṛṣṇa this was not at all wonderful.
sakṛd yad-aṅga-pratimāntar-āhitā
manomayī bhāgavatīṁ dadau gatim
sa eva nityātma-sukhānubhūty-abhi-
vyudasta-māyo ’ntar-gato hi kiṁ punaḥ
sakṛt—once only; yat—whose; aṅga-pratimā—the form of the Supreme Lord (there are many forms, but Kṛṣṇa is the original form); antaḥ-āhitā—placing within the core of the heart, somehow or other; manaḥ-mayī—thinking of Him even by force; bhāgavatīm—which is competent to offer devotional service to the Lord; dadauKṛṣṇa gave; gatim—the best destination; saḥ—He (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); eva—indeed; nitya—always; ātma—of all living entities; sukha-anubhūti—anyone thinking of Him immediately enjoys transcendental pleasure; abhivyudasta-māyaḥ—because all illusion is completely removed by Him; antaḥ-gataḥ—He is always present within the core of the heart; hi—indeed; kim punaḥ—what to speak.
If even only once or even by force one brings the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead into one’s mind, one can attain the supreme salvation by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, as did Aghāsura. What then is to be said of those whose hearts the Supreme Personality of Godhead enters when He appears as an incarnation, or those who always think of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the source of transcendental bliss for all living entities and by whom all illusion is completely removed?
The process for receiving the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described here. Yat-pāda-paṅkaja-palāśa-vilāsa-bhaktyā (Bhāg. 4.22.39). Simply by thinking of Kṛṣṇa, one can attain Him very easily. Kṛṣṇa is also described as having His lotus feet always within the hearts of His devotees (bhagavān bhakta-hṛdi sthitaḥ). In the case of Aghāsura, one may argue that he was not a devotee. The answer to this is that he thought of Kṛṣṇa for a moment with devotion. Bhaktyāham ekayā grāhyaḥ. Without devotion, one cannot think of Kṛṣṇa; and, conversely, whenever one thinks of Kṛṣṇa, one undoubtedly has devotion. Although Aghāsura’s purpose was to kill Kṛṣṇa, for a moment Aghāsura thought of Kṛṣṇa with devotion, and Kṛṣṇa and His associates wanted to sport within Aghāsura’s mouth. Similarly, Pūtanā wanted to kill Kṛṣṇa by poisoning Him, but Kṛṣṇa took her as His mother because He had accepted the milk of her breast. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (Bg. 2.40). Especially when Kṛṣṇa appears as an avatāra, anyone who thinks of Kṛṣṇa in His different incarnations (rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan [Bs. 5.39]), and especially in His original form as Kṛṣṇa, attains salvation. There are many instances of this, and among them is Aghāsura, who attained the salvation of sārūpya-mukti. Therefore the process is satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ (Bg. 9.14). Those who are devotees always engage in glorifying Kṛṣṇa. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam: [Bs 5.33] when we speak of Kṛṣṇa, we refer to all His avatāras, such as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda, Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, Lord Caitanya, Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and Śyāmasundara. One who always thinks of Kṛṣṇa must attain vimukti, special salvation as the Lord’s personal associate, not necessarily in Vṛndāvana, but at least in Vaikuṇṭha. This is called sārūpya-mukti.
śrī-sūta uvāca
itthaṁ dvijā yādavadeva-dattaḥ
śrutvā sva-rātuś caritaṁ vicitram
papraccha bhūyo ’pi tad eva puṇyaṁ
vaiyāsakiṁ yan nigṛhīta-cetāḥ
śrī-sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī spoke to the assembled saints at Naimiṣāraṇya; ittham—in this way; dvijāḥ—O learned brāhmaṇas; yādava-deva-dattaḥMahārāja Parīkṣit (or Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira), who was protected by Yādavadeva, Kṛṣṇa; śrutvā—hearing; sva-rātuḥ—of Kṛṣṇa, who was his savior within the womb of his mother, Uttarā; caritam—the activities; vicitram—all wonderful; papraccha—inquired; bhūyaḥ api—even again; tat eva—such activities; puṇyam—which are always full of pious activities (śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ: [SB 1.2.17] to hear about Kṛṣṇa is always pious); vaiyāsakim—unto Śukadeva Gosvāmī; yat—because; nigṛhīta-cetāḥParīkṣit Mahārāja had already become steady in hearing about Kṛṣṇa.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: O learned saints, the childhood pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are very wonderful. Mahārāja Parīkṣit, after hearing about those pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, who had saved him in the womb of his mother, became steady in his mind and again inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī to hear about those pious activities.
brahman kālāntara-kṛtaṁ
tat-kālīnaṁ kathaṁ bhavet
yat kaumāre hari-kṛtaṁ
jaguḥ paugaṇḍake ’rbhakāḥ
śrī-rājā uvācaMahārāja Parīkṣit inquired; brahman—O learned brāhmaṇa (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); kāla-antara-kṛtam—things done in the past, at a different time (in the kaumāra age); tat-kālīnam—described as happening now (in the paugaṇḍa age); katham bhavet—how could it be so; yat—which pastime; kaumāre—in the kaumāra age; hari-kṛtam—was done by Kṛṣṇa; jaguḥ—they described; paugaṇḍake—in the paugaṇḍa age (after one year); arbhakāḥ—all the boys.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired: O great sage, how could things done in the past have been described as being done at the present? Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa performed this pastime of killing Aghāsura during His kaumāra age. How then, during His paugaṇḍa age, could the boys have described this incident as having happened recently?
tad brūhi me mahā-yogin
paraṁ kautūhalaṁ guro
nūnam etad dharer eva
māyā bhavati nānyathā
tat brūhi—therefore please explain that; me—unto me; mahā-yogin—O great yogī; param—very much; kautūhalam—curiosity; guro—O my lord, my spiritual master; nūnam—otherwise; etat—this incident; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva—indeed; māyā—the illusion; bhavati—becomes; na anyathā—nothing more.
O greatest yogī, my spiritual master, kindly describe why this happened. I am very much curious to know about it. I think that it was nothing but another illusion due to Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa has many potencies: parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8). The description of Aghāsura was disclosed after one year. Some act of Kṛṣṇa’s potency must have been involved. Therefore Mahārāja Parīkṣit was very curious to know about this, and he requested Śukadeva Gosvāmī to explain it.
vayaṁ dhanyatamā loke
guro ’pi kṣatra-bandhavaḥ
vayaṁ pibāmo muhus tvattaḥ
puṇyaṁ kṛṣṇa-kathāmṛtam
vayam—we are; dhanya-tamāḥ—most glorified; loke—in this world; guro—O my lord, my spiritual master; api—although; kṣatra-bandhavaḥ—the lowest of the kṣatriyas (because we did not act like kṣatriyas); vayam—we are; pibāmaḥ—drinking; muhuḥ—always; tvattaḥ—from you; puṇyam—pious; kṛṣṇa-kathā-amṛtam—the nectar of kṛṣṇa-kathā.
O my lord, my spiritual master, although we are the lowest of kṣatriyas, we are glorified and benefited because we have the opportunity of always hearing from you the nectar of the pious activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The pious activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are very confidential. It is not ordinarily possible to hear such activities unless one is very, very fortunate. Parīkṣit Mahārāja placed himself as kṣatra-bandhavaḥ, which means “the lowest of the kṣatriyas.” The qualities of the kṣatriya are described in Bhagavad-gītā, and although the general quality of the kṣatriya is īśvara-bhāva, the tendency to rule, a kṣatriya is not supposed to rule over a brāhmaṇa. Thus Mahārāja Parīkṣit regretted that he had wanted to rule over the brāhmaṇas and had therefore been cursed. He considered himself the lowest of the kṣatriyas. Dānam īśvara-bhāvaś ca kṣātraṁ karma svabhāvajam (Bg. 18.43). There was no doubt that Mahārāja Parīkṣit had the good qualities of a kṣatriya, but as a devotee he presented himself, with submissiveness and humility, as the lowest of the kṣatriyas, remembering his act of wrapping a dead serpent around the neck of a brāhmaṇa. A student and disciple has the right to ask the guru about any confidential service, and it is the duty of the guru to explain these confidential matters to his disciple.
śrī-sūta uvāca
itthaṁ sma pṛṣṭaḥ sa tu bādarāyaṇis
kṛcchrāt punar labdha-bahir-dṛśiḥ śanaiḥ
pratyāha taṁ bhāgavatottamottama
śrī-sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said; ittham—in this way; sma—in the past; pṛṣṭaḥ—being inquired from; saḥ—he; tu—indeed; bādarāyaṇiḥ—Śukadeva Gosvāmī; tat—by him (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); smārita-ananta—as soon as Lord Kṛṣṇa was remembered; hṛta—lost in ecstasy; akhila-indriyaḥ—all actions of the external senses; kṛcchrāt—with great difficulty; punaḥ—again; labdha-bahiḥ-dṛśiḥ—having revived his external sensory perception; śanaiḥ—slowly; pratyāha—replied; tam—unto Mahārāja Parīkṣit; bhāgavata-uttama-uttama—O great saintly person, greatest of all devotees (Śaunaka).
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O Śaunaka, greatest of saints and devotees, when Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī in this way, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, immediately remembering subject matters about Kṛṣṇa within the core of his heart, externally lost contact with the actions of his senses. Thereafter, with great difficulty, he revived his external sensory perception and began to speak to Mahārāja Parīkṣit about kṛṣṇa-kathā.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, Twelfth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled, “The Killing of the Demon Aghāsura.”

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