Nilanjana retells the story of Krishna and Bakasura, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Adept in concealing their divinity and prowess, Balarama and Krishna continued walking around Vrindavan as ordinary cowherds. Like the rest of the boys, they would leave their home early every morning with the cattle, graze them, play pranks with each other and come back home around sunset.
Kamsa’s loyalists were equally busy trying to conspire the next possible way to kill Krishna. After all, it was not a happy situation. So many of the king’s loyalists had been killed by Krishna and yet there was no sign of winning over him. This time around, Kamsa asked Baka to make sure that he came back with the good news of Krishna’s death. Baka was ready to lay down his life for his king. He promised to come back soon with wonderful news.
On another regular day on the banks of river Yamuna, the cattle grazed and went for their fill of water from Yamuna. Once the cattle had their fill and the cowherds had quenched their thirst, they turned around to a strange sight. A huge creature occupied most of the river’s bank. It looked like a huge bird with a frightening beak and it lay on the bank of the river looking at all of them quite menacingly. The asura (demon) Baka had assumed the form of a huge crane as he waited on the banks of the river Yamuna to fulfill his promise to his king.
Before the gopas realised what was happening, Baka suddenly opened his huge beak and swallowed Krishna. While the gopas were too shocked to figure out the next course of action, Baka felt a ball of fire travelling down his long neck. The burning sensation was very painful for him and he spat out the child whom he had swallowed.
Not willing to give up so easily, he rushed to peck Krishna with his iron-like-sturdy beak. Krishna waited for the demon to approach him. When Baka was close enough, Krishna held both the halves of the open beak and tore up the bird into two. The asura lay on the ground, dead.
Balarama and the other gopas rushed to Krishna and hugged them. For them, everything happened too fast. The huge crane gulped Krishna, spat him out, attacked him and was now dead. And the bird was not even a bird! He was an asura in disguise.
As flowers rained from heaven, the boys went home to tell their parents about the wonderful feat of Krishna. The parents, like many parents of little children, dismissed these fanciful stories as sheer imagination of children but did not forget to thank Narayana for constantly protecting their children.
[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.
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