Nilanjana recounts the tale of Balarama and Krishna in Mathura from the Bhagavatam, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
“A city must be very new for Balarama, Krishna and his friends. Till now they were just living amidst nature.” Parikshit reflected.
“Oh, yes,” Sukadeva said, “it was all very new to them. And Mathura was a beautiful city. It was surrounded by a moat that was large and deep. Gardens adorned the city and most of them had beautiful flowers. The air carried the natural perfume of the flowers. The wide roads were sprinkled with water and shops were filled with wares from all over the world. Most of the houses looked affluent and had beautifully carved doorways. Peacocks were strutting about in every house and the cooing of pigeons could be heard everywhere. Vendors were selling their silks and silverware. This was their first time in a city and Krishna and his friends were really thrilled at the new sights and sounds.
The inhabitants of Mathura were also quite struck with the teenagers. Balarama and Krishna did not look like ordinary teenagers and the people began guessing their identity. The city was abuzz with word-of-mouth news that Balarama and Krishna were actually the sons of Nanda. They were also known to have killed a lot of asuras and performed many miracles. Curiosity got the better of residents of Mathura as they flocked around Krishna and his friends.
Meanwhile, Kamsa’s washer-man was hurrying down the streets with clothes that had to be handed over to the King. Krishna enquired his whereabouts. But he seemed to be as arrogant as his King and tried to shoo them off. Krishna asked for a few clothes for him and his friends and assured the washer-man that a few missing clothes from the big bundle wouldn’t be even be noticed. The washer-man laughed at Krishna’s audacity and refused to part with any of the royal clothes. Krishna punched him in the face and took away the clothes. Then he chose his outfit and allowed his friends their choice. They then went around the city.
A weaver in the city brought some embroidered shawls for Krishna and his friends. Happy with him, Krishna granted him riches and also revealed his true self. Then they met a flower-seller. Krishna visited his house and allowed him to request any boon. The flower-seller, Sudama, said that after meeting divinity personified and hearing the divine voice, he had no further desires. He just desired compassion for all human beings. Krishna granted him that and much more.
Then they met a lady called Trivakra. She was young and lovely, but she had three bends in her body that made her a hunchback. She worked at the royal palace and made a living by mixing sandal paste and perfume. In fact, the king used her perfume only. She gifted the perfumes to Balarama and Krishna.
Happy with her, Krishna decided to reward her immediately. He went closer to her, looked into her eyes and smiled. He then placed both his feet on her feet. He placed his two fingers on her chin and gently lifted it. Her face and neck got raised gently and firmly. Immediately healed of her deformity, Trivakra was now a beautiful young lady.
Krishna asked her if she’d like something else. Very shyly, she said that she desired him.
Krishna said that he had a pressing task at hand but he would definitely grant her wish sometime later…”
(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.
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