Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Krishna and Aghasura – XLV

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

Kamsa was very annoyed with his strong adversary who kept on destroying his people without too much effort. This time around he decided to choose someone who will not only obey his orders but would also have a personal agenda against Krishna. Hence he called for Agha, the brother of Putana and Baka – both killed by Krishna.

Life at Vrindavan continued to be simple and happy. Like any other day, Krishna had to go out with the herd. While the herd grazed, he played with his friends. They imitated the birds, played hide-and-seek, caught fish, danced and fooled around while the day whizzed by into evening. The simple gopas never guessed that divinity masked as a little child was always with them, playing and protecting them.

Agha took the form of an immense python as he waited for Krishna. It is believed that his mouth was so vast that the lower jaw touched the ground and the upper jaw reached the sky. Hence it looked like a huge cave and his fangs were like little peaks inside. The red tongue in the middle was hot. Agha had arranged himself so impeccably that he came across as a part of the natural setting.

The gopas were intrigued by this huge cave that lay in the middle of the road. Curiosity got the better of them as they decided to enter it and see what was inside. One even joked that with a stretch of the imagination this can look like the mouth of a huge python.

Krishna was observing all this from a distance. He saw all his friends walk into the mouth of the python. The snake was, however, waiting for him to enter the huge mouth. Not the one to leave his friends behind, Krishna was the last to enter the mouth of the evil snake. And at that very moment, the python shut his mouth.

Krishna’s friends who had entered the mouth of the python before him fainted with the poisonous air inside. But Krishna reached the throat of the python and then started growing bigger and bigger in size. The python was not ready for this sudden attack. He choked and tried his best to spit Krishna out. But Krishna was far stronger than him. He kept growing in size. Aghasura could do nothing to save himself; he lashed his tail in agony. Finally, the python burst out and Krishna and his friends emerged out of the mouth, unharmed.

It is believed that a glow emerged from the mouth of the python and entered the feet of Krishna. The life that was sucked out of Aghasura eventually merged into divinity as he got liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

Did the simple cowherds realise who was constantly giving them company? Perhaps, no; since life continued as usual…

[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.

©Nilanjana Dey

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