Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Kuvalayapida and Krishna – LXXVIII

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Nilanjana retells the famous story from the Bhagavatam about how Krishna vanquished Kuvalayapida, the mighty elephant of Kamsa, in the weekly column. A Different Truths exclusive.

Sukha was narrating Krishna’s stay in Mathura to Parikshit. “The next morning, the entire city was dressed up for the festival. The great bow was already broken by Krishna and Kamsa now decided that his wrestlers would put up a show instead. An arena was specially created for this purpose.

The inhabitants of Mathura had assembled in the arena that was decorated with flowers and garlands. They would not have guessed that this seemingly innocent show of festivity was actually a ploy to kill Balarama and Krishna.

The buzzing arena was suddenly silent when Kamsa entered with his bodyguards. Eventually, the people cheered the king and his vassals bought him various gifts. Even Nanda, Krishna’s father, paid his homage to the king who gladly accepted all that was offered to him.

Meanwhile, the wrestlers had also arrived in the arena. Kamsa had chosen Mushtika, Chanura, Kuta, Shala, and Toshala for his purpose. They were all formidable to look at.

Balarama and Krishna were wandering around the streets of Mathura even before their father had left the encampment. They were followed by Kamsa’s chosen cronies, but both pretended that they did not notice it. As they tried to enter the arena of festivity, they noticed a huge elephant blocking the way. Krishna went to the mahout and asked him not to let the animal block the road to the festive arena. The mahout arrogantly refused to listen. Krishna then threatened to dispatch the mahout and the elephant to Yama’s (the god of death) abode.

The mahout was irritated with Krishna’s attitude, and he spurred the elephant to charge Krishna. The animal followed the given order and rushed to Krishna. He caught Krishna in his trunk and tried to dash him to the ground. Krishna punched the elephant with his fist. The animal, pained by this sudden blow, suddenly dropped the boy. Krishna then went and hid in between the four legs of the animal. The elephant struggled to find him. Finally, when he caught Krishna, he tried to hold him in his trunk, but the agile boy slipped out again. Krishna the caught the animal by his tail and began teasing him again. Angry and frustrated, the elephant went round and round to catch the boy from Vrindavan. Krishna continued having fun with the elephant. He would go in front of the elephant and punch it; then he would hide behind the huge animal. The elephant had to keep spinning round and round to catch hold of the agile boy. Finally, the elephant fell down. To deceive him, Krishna also pretended to fall down. The elephant tried to dig his tusks onto Krishna, but he slipped out. The tusks got buried in the ground. The elephant had a very difficult time extricating itself. He angrily dashed towards Krishna. Krishna grabbed the trunk easily and felled it to the ground. He then climbed on to the elephant and broke its tusk. With the same tusk, he killed Kuvalayapida and the mahout.”

“Krishna had killed many asuras so easily. He took so much time to kill an elephant!” Pariskshit could not help but wonder.

Sukha said, “He was entertaining the crowd. He was also infusing them with the hope that Kamsa and his evil ways were just about to end…”

 (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

Photo from the Internet

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A story-teller at heart, Nilanjana Dey is on a journey to experiment with fiction and poetry. Her first novel, largely aimed towards children, is titled ‘The Adventures of Puti – The Cheese Trail’. Her poems have been published at various prestigious portals. An alumni of English Literature from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), she is a marketing and communication professional based in Mumbai. She volunteers with a Mumbai based NGO working with the marginalised sections of the society.