Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Krishna tames Kaliya – LI

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Sukha continued narrating the tale of Krishna and Kaliya. Nilanjana retells the story from Bhagavatam, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

“However, Kaliya was enraged. Unaccustomed to be treated in this manner his arrogance made him wild. He opened his five hoods and pounced on Krishna to sting him. He kept on striking but Krishna managed to evade his strikes time and again. Krishna was here, he was there and Kaliya kept pursuing him endlessly with his hoods raised. Whenever Kaliya thought he caught hold of the boy, he would escape and would be seen somewhere else. Kaliya was spitting fire and poison to punish this boy who chose to defy his authority in front of a whole lot of people.  As he was striking madly all around the lake, Krishna leaped up into the sky and landed on the head of the snake. Kaliya’s one head would try to sting the boy standing on next hood but he would jump across to another one. Kaliya tried his best but could not pull himself out of the feet of the little one. Krishna began dancing on the five hoods of the snake and it is believed that the nature around created soft music to assist Krishna in dancing on the heads of the dreaded snake.

Gradually, Kaliya became tired. Instead of spitting poison, his five mouths began to spit blood. Kaliya realised who Krishna was. His wives came out of the water and asked for mercy.

Eventually, Krishna jumped off the heads of Kaliya as he lay down exhausted. Kaliya realised his mistake –he was smitten by ego and could not see anything beyond himself.

Krishna asked Kaliya to go back to the ocean and live with his kinsmen. The river and lake were natural resources that were to be used by human beings.

Kaliya did not speak for a while, but Krishna understood his dilemma. He assured Kaliya that if he goes to Ramanaka Island, Garuda will not bother them. As Krishna had danced on the hoods of Kaliya, his footsteps had got imprinted on the hoods. Hence he is safe from Garuda.

Lake Madu became free of the poison. Even the river Yamuna was free of the pollution. As Krishna reached the banks of the river his parents and the simple cowherds wanted to embrace the little one and welcome him back. But then Maya made them spellbound. Only Balarama remembered the whole episode. He strolled towards Krishna and they both embraced each other warmly.

The cowherds of Vrindavan did not forget to thank divine providence that saved the life of their beloved Krishna once again! They celebrated the happy night on the banks of river Yamuna.    

[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

Photos 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.