Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: The Twin Trees – XXXIX

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Nilanjana retells a story of infant Krishna’s pranks and the divine grace in it, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.

Stories of Krishna’s childhood pranks not only delighted the people at Gokula, but King Pariksit also enjoyed hearing these stories from Sukha, the son of Ved Vyasa.

When Yashoda tied Krishna to the mortar (as we saw in last week’s post), little did she know that tying up divinity has its own repercussion.  Little Krishna sat on the mortar for a while and then got bored. He crawled out on all four with the mortar sliding behind him. There was nobody around apart from some children playing on their own. He crawled a little away from them towards the twin trees that grew not so far off. He squeezed himself and crawled in between the trees, but the mortar got stuck. As he pulled the mortar, the trees fell down with a huge thud. Two men, with a body of light, emerged from the uprooted trees. They expressed their gratitude to Krishna and disappeared.

King Parikshit apologetically stopped Sukha to question, “Who were these two men with a body of light?”

Sukha went on to narrate the story of these two of Kubera (the god of wealth) who were cursed by Narada. These two of Kubera are actually two gandharvas (celestial beings) called Nalakubera and Manigriva. These young men were young, handsome and . They had everything going for them and that made them very arrogant. Mada (arrogance) can be broadly classified into three types: Vidyamada (arrogance born out of knowledge), Dhanamada (arrogance owing to wealth) and Kulamada (arrogance of being high-born that is, being born into a well-established ). Now, these two sons of Kubera were playfully engaged in “water-sports” with their on the banks of river Ganga.

Rishi (sage) Narada happened to pass that way.  Ignoring the presence of such an enlightened sage, the gandharvas continued with their amorous games. The women, however, felt a little shy. They covered themselves up and acknowledged the presence of the sage. But Nalakubera and Manigriva were least interested in extending the same etiquette that was considered appropriate for that age. Narada decided to cure these two men of their arrogance and also grace them with a fortune of being saved by Krishna. Extending these dual benefits, he cursed them to be born as twin trees. They would have the memory of the previous life intact and they would have to wait to be rescued by when he chose to be born in the land of the mortals. So little Krishna, with all his playfulness, completed the “shapavimochana” (releasing the curse) task assigned to him and freed the gandharvas tied to the ground as trees.

Meanwhile, Yashoda and the rest of Gokula heard the huge thud and ran to the spot. They saw that the little one had just escaped being crushed by two huge trees. Yashoda was full of remorse having tied up her son to the mortar. She quickly untied him and took him away.

The children who were playing tried to explain the “truth” that Krishna himself had crawled out with the mortar and had uprooted the trees when the mortar got stuck. The two men of light even thanked him. The people of Gokula did not take these stories, which they thought was a result of the fertile imagination of naughty kids, seriously at all.

 [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.