Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Akrura visits Krishna – LXXIV

Nilanjana recounts the tale of Akrura and Krishna, from the Srimad Bhagavatam, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths. 

Parikshit asked, “So now Akrura was on his way to fetch Balarama and Krishna?” 

“Yes,” Sukhadeva responded, “but he had could not get any sleep the night before his journey. He was very excited to see Balarama and Krishna in person. He was one of the few who knew who Balarama and Krishna were. But after Narada spilled the beans to Kamsa, everybody seemed to know the truth. He wondered about the future of Mathura if Kamsa’s plan would succeed or fail. 

“Nevertheless, early in the morning, he set out to Vrindavan. He knew it was a long journey but he was impatient. He was amused observing his own restless mind. He wondered about the good deeds and penance that he must have done in his past lives to be blessed with such an opportunity to be meeting divinity in human form and having the unique opportunity to ride him back to Mathura. In his mind, he began anticipating how the meeting would be. 

“Meanwhile, Balarama and Krishna had returned home after grazing the cows. When Akrura met them in the house of Nanda at Vrindavan, his voice was choked. He could not speak at all. Both the brothers attended to Akrura and after he was well rested they enquired about the purpose of his visit. 

“Akrura began to speak softly. He narrated the story of Devaki and Vasudeva’s wedding, the divine prophecy, their imprisonment by Kamsa, the death of their children, Narada’s recent visit to Kamsa and Kamsa’s anger at being deceived. He informed them that Kamsa had sent him to fetch them. He has also planned how to kill them once they reach Mathura. He informed them about the invitation that was just an excuse to kill them. 

“Krishna was not baffled at all. In fact, he gladly accepted the invitation. 

“Meanwhile, the gopis got the news that a strange chariot from Mathura was seen at Nanda’s doorstep. They also found out that Balarama and Krishna were dressed to go out. They were not happy with this news. Krishna tried to reason with them, inform them about the royal command but they would not listen. Krishna leaving them and going away was as good as Vrindavan getting destroyed; they would have nothing to lose, anyway. 

Krishna then went to his playmates and pacified them. However, they were accompanying Krishna along with their respective fathers to Mathura and hoped that Krishna may come back with them. 

But Krishna knew the truth. He bade farewell to his beloved cows. Perhaps they knew the truth too! 

Krishna was aware that a new chapter in his life was about to begin. He would never come back to the happy days in Vrindavan, to the gopis, to the slopes of Govardhana, to the banks of Yamuna, to his bamboo flute. They were all going to be memories now, etched in the minds of people. 

As the chariot started moving, Krishna heard a wail from the gopis and the playmates left behind. He promised them that he would return…” 

 [To be continued]

 Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars(incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana. These stories are narrated by Ved Vyasa’s son Sukhadeva to King Parikshit.

©Nilanjana Dey

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