Krsna’s Vrindavan Pastimes with Demons

September 10, 2007 at 7:43 am Leave a comment

Krsna Kills the Kesi Demon


Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.

“Krsna’s age is considered in three periods: from His appearance day to the end of His fifth year is called kaumara, from the beginning of the sixth year up to the end of the tenth year is called pauganda, and from the eleventh to the end of the fifteenth year is called kaisora. After the beginning of the sixteenth year, Krsna is called a yauvana, or a youth, and this continues with no change.

As far as Krsna’s transcendental pastimes are concerned, they are mostly executed during the kaumara, pauganda and kaisora periods. His affectionate pastimes with His parents are executed during His kaumara age. His friendship with the cowherd boys is exhibited during the pauganda period. And His friendship with the gopis is exhibited during the age of kaisora. Krsna’s pastimes at Vrndavana are finished by the end of His fifteenth year, and then He is transferred to Mathura and Dvaraka, where all other pastimes are performed.”

Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 26

“One of them said, “My dear friends, considering His wonderful activities, how is it possible that such an uncommon boy would come and live with us in Vrndavana? It is really not possible. Just imagine! He is now only seven years old! How is it possible for Him to lift Govardhana Hill in one hand and hold it up just like the king of elephants holds a lotus flower? To lift a lotus flower is a most insignificant thing for an elephant, and similarly Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill without exertion. When He was simply a small baby and could not even see properly, He killed a great demon, Putana. While sucking her breast, He also sucked out her life-air. Krsna killed the Putana demon exactly as eternal time kills a living creature in due course. When He was only three months old, He was sleeping underneath a hand-driven cart. Being hungry for His mother’s breast, He began to cry and throw His legs upwards. And from the kicking of His small feet the cart immediately broke apart and fell to pieces. When He was only one year old, He was carried away by the Trnavarta demon disguised as a whirlwind, and although He was taken very high in the sky, He simply hung on the neck of the demon and forced him to fall from the sky and immediately die. Once His mother, being disturbed by His stealing butter, tied Him to a wooden mortar, and the child pushed it towards a pair of trees known as yamala-arjuna and caused them to fall. Once, when He was engaged in tending the calves in the forest along with His elder brother, Balarama, a demon named Bakasura appeared, and Krsna at once bifurcated the demon’s beak. When the demon known as Vatsasura entered among the calves tended by Krsna with a desire to kill Him, He immediately detected the demon, killed him, and threw him into a tree. When Krsna, along with His brother, Balarama, entered the Talavana forest, the demon known as Dhenukasura, in the shape of an ass, attacked Them and was immediately killed by Balarama, who caught his hind legs and threw him in a palm tree. Although the Dhenukasura demon was assisted by his cohorts, also in the shape of asses, all were killed, and the Talavana forest was then open for the use of the animals and inhabitants of Vrndavana. When Pralambasura entered amongst His cowherd boyfriends, He caused his death by Balarama. Thereafter, Krsna saved His friends and cows from the severe forest fire, and He chastised the Kaliya serpent in the lake of the Yamuna and forced him to leave the vicinity of the Yamuna River; He thereby made the water of the Yamuna poisonless.”

Krsna Book, Chapter 26

Below, and in the next several segments of Transcendental Demons, we will explore Krsna’s many pastimes with the demons through His three age periods in Vrindavan. During His kaumara period, he killed Putana, Sakatasura, and the Trnavarta demons. During His pauganda period, He killed or fought with Aghasura, Bakasura, Garbadhasura, Kaliya, Vatsasura, and Vidyadhara. And during His kaisora period, he killed or fought with Aristasura, Kesi demon, Sankhacuda, Vrasura, and Vyomasura.


The Demon Putana Krsna Kills Putana

“….Kamsa sent to the village of Gokula a Raksasi named Putana, who was wandering here and there killing small babies. Of course, wherever there is no Krsna consciousness, there is the danger of such Raksasis, but since the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself was in Gokula, Putana could accept nothing there but her own death.

One day, Putana arrived from outer space in Gokula, the home of Nanda Maharaja, and by displaying her mystic power, she assumed the disguise of a very beautiful woman. Taking courage, she immediately entered Krsna’s bedroom without anyone’s permission; by the grace of Krsna, no one forbade her to enter the house or the room, because that was Krsna’s desire. The baby Krsna, who resembled a fire covered by ashes, looked upon Putana and thought that He would have to kill this demon, the beautiful woman. Enchanted by the influence of yogamaya and the Personality of Godhead, Putana took Krsna upon her lap, and neither Rohini nor Yasoda objected. The demon Putana offered her breast for Krsna to suck, but her breast was smeared with poison. The child Krsna, therefore, squeezed Putana’s breast so severely that in unbearable pain she had to assume her original body and fell to the ground. Then Krsna began playing on her breast just like a small child. When Krsna was playing, the gopis were pacified and took the child away to their own laps. After this incident, the gopis took precautions because of the attack of the Raksasi. Mother Yasoda gave the child her breast to suck and then laid Him in bed.

Meanwhile, Nanda and his associates the cowherd men returned from Mathura, and when they saw the great dead body of Putana, they were struck with wonder. Everyone was astonished that Vasudeva had foretold this mishap, and they praised Vasudeva for his power of foresight. The inhabitants of Vraja cut the gigantic body of Putana into pieces, but because Krsna had sucked her breast, she had been freed from all sins, and therefore when the cowherd men burned the pieces of her body in a fire, the smoke filled the air with a very pleasing fragrance. Ultimately, although Putana had desired to kill Krsna, she attained the Lord’s abode. From this incident we gain the instruction that if one is attached to Krsna somehow or other, even as an enemy, one ultimately attains success. What then is to be said of devotees who are naturally attached to Krsna in love? When the inhabitants of Vraja heard about the killing of Putana and the welfare of the child, they were very much satisfied. Nanda Maharaja took the baby Krsna on his lap and was filled with satisfaction.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10:6 Summary

“When Krsna was on the lap of His mother, the demon Putana appeared before His mother and prayed to nurture the child in her lap. Mother Yasoda agreed, and the child was transferred onto the lap of Putana, who was in the garb of a respectable lady. Putana wanted to kill the child by smearing poison on the nipple of her breast. But when everything was complete, the Lord sucked her breast along with her very air of life, and the demon’s gigantic body, said to be as long as six miles, fell down. But Lord Krsna did not need to expand Himself to the length of the she-demon Putana, although He was quite competent to extend Himself more than six miles long. In His Vamana incarnation He posed Himself as a dwarf brahmana, but when He took possession of His land, promised by Bali Maharaja, He expanded His footstep to the top of the universe, extending over thousands and millions of miles. So it was not very difficult for Krsna to perform a miracle by extending His bodily feature, but He had no desire to do it because of His deep filial love for His mother, Yasoda. If Yasoda had seen Krsna in her lap extending six miles to cope with the she-demon Putana, then the natural filial love of Yasoda would have been hurt because in that way Yasoda would have come to know that her so-called son, Krsna, was God Himself. And with the knowledge of the Godhood of Krsna, Yasodamayi would have lost the temper of her love for Krsna as a natural mother. But as far as Lord Krsna is concerned, He is God always, either as a child on the lap of His mother, or as the coverer of the universe, Vamanadeva. He does not require to become God by undergoing severe penances, although some men think of becoming God in that way. By undergoing severe austerities and penances, one cannot become one or equal with God, but one can attain most of the godly qualities. A living being can attain godly qualities to a large extent, but he cannot become God, whereas Krsna, without undergoing any type of penance, is God always, either in the lap of His mother or growing up or at any stage of growth.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:7:27 Purport

“When Putana was taking baby Krsna on her lap, both Yasoda and Rohini were present, but they did not forbid her because she was so beautifully dressed and because she showed motherly affection towards Krsna. They could not understand that she was a sword within a decorated case. Putana had smeared a very powerful poison on her breasts, and immediately after taking the baby on her lap, she pushed her breastly nipple within His mouth. She was hoping that as soon as He would suck her breast, He would die. But baby Krsna very quickly took the nipple in anger. He sucked the milk-poison along with the life air of the demon. In other words, Krsna simultaneously sucked the milk from her breast and killed her by sucking out her life. Krsna is so merciful that because the demon Putana came to offer her breast milk to Him, He fulfilled her desire and accepted her activity as motherly. But to stop her from further nefarious activities, He immediately killed her. And because the demon was killed by Krsna, she got liberation. When Krsna sucked out her very breath, Putana fell down on the ground, spread her arms and legs and began to cry, “Oh child, leave me, leave me!” She was crying loudly and perspiring, and her whole body became wet.

As she died, screaming, there was a tremendous vibration both on the earth and in the sky, in all directions, and people thought that thunderbolts were falling. Thus the nightmare of the Putana witch was over, and she assumed her real feature as a great demon. She opened her fierce mouth and spread her arms and legs all over. She fell exactly as Vrtrasura when struck by the thunderbolt of Indra. The long hair on her head was scattered all over her body. Her fallen body extended up to twelve miles and smashed all the trees to pieces, and everyone was struck with wonder upon seeing this gigantic body. Her teeth appeared just like plows, and her nostrils appeared just like mountain caves. Her breasts appeared like small hills, and her hair was a vast reddish bush. Her eye sockets appeared like blind wells, and her two thighs appeared like two banks of a river; her two hands appeared like two strongly constructed bridges, and her abdomen seemed like a dried-up lake. All the cowherd men and women became struck with awe and wonder upon seeing this. And the tumultuous sound of her falling shocked their brains and ears and made their hearts beat strongly.

When the gopis saw little Krsna fearlessly playing on Putana’s lap, they very quickly came and picked Him up. Mother Yasoda, Rohini and other elder gopis immediately performed the auspicious rituals by taking the tail of a cow and circumambulating His body. The child was completely washed with the urine of a cow, and the dust created by the hooves of the cows was thrown all over His body. This was all just to save little Krsna from future inauspicious accidents. This incident gives us a clear indication of how important the cow is to the family, society and to living beings in general. The transcendental body of Krsna did not require any protection, but to instruct us on the importance of the cow, the Lord was smeared over with cow dung, washed with the urine of a cow, and sprinkled with the dust upraised by the walking of the cows.

After this purificatory process, the gopis, headed by mother Yasoda and Rohini, chanted twelve names of Visnu to give Krsna’s body full protection from all evil influences. They washed their hands and feet and sipped water three times, as is the custom before chanting mantra. They chanted as follows: “My dear Krsna, may the Lord who is known as Maniman protect Your thighs; may Lord Visnu who is known as Yajna; protect Your legs; may Lord Acyuta protect Your arms; may Lord Hayagriva protect Your abdomen; may Lord Kesava protect Your heart; may Lord Visnu protect Your arms; may Lord Urukrama protect Your face; may Lord Isvara protect Your head; may Lord Cakradhara protect Your front; may Lord Gadadhara protect Your back; may Lord Madhusudana who carries a bow in His hand, protect Your right side; may Lord Visnu with His conchshell protect Your left side; may the Personality of Godhead Upendra protect You from above, and may Lord Tarksya protect You from below the earth; may Lord Haladhara protect You from all sides; may the Personality of Godhead known as Hrsikesa protect all Your senses; may Lord Narayana protect Your breath; and may the Lord of Svetadvipa, Narayana, protect Your heart; may Lord Yogesvara protect Your mind; may Lord Prsnigarbha protect Your intelligence, and may the Supreme Personality of Godhead protect Your soul. While You are playing, may Lord Govinda protect You from all sides, and when You are sleeping, may Lord Madhava protect You from all danger; when You are walking, may the Lord of Vaikuntha protect You from falling down; when You are sitting, may Lord Narayana give You all protection; and while You are eating, may the Lord of all sacrifices give You all protection.”

Thus mother Yasoda began to chant different names of Visnu to protect the child Krsna’s different bodily parts. Mother Yasoda was firmly convinced that she should protect her child from different kinds of evil spirits and ghosts–namely Dakinis, Yatudhanis, Kusmandas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Vinayakas, Kotaras, Revatis, Jyesthas, Putanas, Matrkas, Unmadas and similar other evil spirits, who cause persons to forget their own existence and give trouble to the life airs and the senses. Sometimes they appear in dreams and cause much perturbation; sometimes they appear as old women and suck the blood of small children. But all such ghosts and evil spirits cannot remain where there is chanting of the holy name of God. Mother Yasoda was firmly convinced of the Vedic injunctions about the importance of cows and the holy name of Visnu; therefore she took all shelter in the cows and the name of Visnu just to protect her child Krsna. She recited all the holy names of Visnu so that He might save the child. Vedic culture has taken advantage of keeping cows and chanting the holy name of Visnu since the beginning of history, and persons who are still following the Vedic ways, especially the householders, keep at least one dozen cows and worship the Deity of Lord Visnu, who is installed in their house. Persons who are advancing in Krsna consciousness should take instruction from this pastime and also be very much interested in cows and the holy name of Visnu.

The elder gopis of Vrndavana were so absorbed in affection for Krsna that they wanted to save Him, although there was no need to, for He had already protected Himself. They could not understand that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead playing as a child. After performing the formalities to protect the child, mother Yasoda took Krsna and let Him suck her breast. When the child was protected by visnu-mantra, mother Yasoda felt that He was safe. In the meantime, all the cowherd men who went to Mathura to pay tax returned home and were struck with wonder at seeing the gigantic dead body of Putana.

Nanda Maharaja recalled the prophecy of Vasudeva and considered him a great sage and mystic yogi; otherwise, how could he have foretold an incident that happened during his absence from Vrndavana? After this, all the residents of Vraja cut the gigantic body of Putana into pieces and piled it up with wood for burning. When all the limbs of Putana’s body were burning, the smoke emanating from the fire created a good aroma. This aroma was due to her being killed by Krsna. This means that the demon Putana was washed of all her sinful activities and attained a celestial body. Here is an example of how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-good: Putana came to kill Krsna, but because He sucked her milk, she was immediately purified, and her dead body attained a transcendental quality. Her only business was to kill small children; she was only fond of blood. But in spite of being envious of Krsna, she attained salvation because she gave her milk to Him to drink. So what can be said of others who are affectionate to Krsna in the relationship of mother or father?”

Krsna Book, Chapter 6

“Krsna showed the nature of a small baby and closed His eyes, as if to avoid the face of Putana. This closing of the eyes is interpreted and studied in different ways by the devotees. Some say that Krsna closed His eyes because He did not like to see the face of Putana, who had killed so many children and who had now come to kill Him. Others say that something extraordinary was being dictated to her, and in order to give her assurance, Krsna closed His eyes so that she would not be frightened. And yet others interpret in this way: Krsna appeared to kill the demons and give protection to the devotees, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam. The first demon to be killed was a woman. According to Vedic rules, the killing of a woman, a brahmana, cows or of a child is forbidden. Krsna was obliged to kill the demon Putana, and because the killing of a woman is forbidden according to Vedic sastra, He could not help but close His eyes. Another interpretation is that Krsna closed His eyes because He simply took Putana to be His nurse. Putana came to Krsna just to offer her breast for the Lord to suck. Krsna is so merciful that even though He knew Putana was there to kill Him, He took her as His nurse or mother.”

Krsna Book, Chapter 6

“After the Putana witch had been killed, some friends of mother Yasoda inquired from her about the incident. Mother Yasoda at once requested her friends, “Please stop! Please stop! Don’t bring up the incident of Putana. I become distressed just by remembering this incident. The Putana witch came to devour my son, and she deceived me into letting her take the child on her lap. After that, she died and made a tumultuous sound with her gigantic body.”

Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 48


The Sakatasura Demon After the Killing of the Cart Demon

“The Sakatasura was a ghost who had taken shelter of the handcart and was looking for the opportunity to do mischief to Krsna. When Krsna kicked the cart with His small and very delicate legs, the ghost was immediately pushed down to the earth and his shelter dismantled…”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10:7:9 Purport

“Krsna had been placed underneath a household handcart, but this handcart was actually another form of the Sakatasura, a demon who had come there to kill the child. Now, on the plea of demanding to suck His mother’s breast, Krsna took this opportunity to kill the demon. Thus He kicked Sakatasura just to expose him. Although Krsna’s mother was engaged in receiving guests, Lord Krsna wanted to draw her attention by killing the Sakatasura, and therefore he kicked that cart-shaped demon. Such are the pastimes of Krsna. Krsna wanted to draw the attention of His mother, but while doing so He created a great havoc not understandable by ordinary persons. These narrations are wonderfully enjoyable, and those who are fortunate are struck with wonder upon hearing of these extraordinary activities of the Lord. Although the less intelligent regard them as mythological because a dull brain cannot understand them, they are real facts. These narrations are actually so enjoyable and enlightening that Maharaja Pariksit and Sukadeva Gosvami took pleasure in them, and other liberated persons, following in their footsteps, become fully jubilant by hearing about the wonderful activities of the Lord.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10:7:6 Purport

“When Sri Krsna was only three months old and was just trying to turn backside up, before He even attempted to crawl, mother Yasoda wanted to observe a ritualistic ceremony with her friends for the good fortune of the child. Such a ritualistic ceremony is generally performed with ladies who also have small children. When mother Yasoda saw that Krsna was falling asleep, because of other engagements she put the child underneath a household cart, called sakata, and while the child was sleeping, she engaged herself in other business pertaining to the auspicious ritualistic ceremony. Underneath the cart was a cradle, and mother Yasoda placed the child in that cradle. The child was sleeping, but suddenly He awakened and, as usual for a child, began to kick His small legs. This kicking shook the cart, which collapsed with a great sound, breaking completely and spilling all its contents. Children who were playing nearby immediately informed mother Yasoda that the cart had broken, and therefore she hastily arrived there in great anxiety with the other gopis. Mother Yasoda immediately took the child on her lap and allowed Him to suck her breast. Then various types of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies were performed with the help of the brahmanas. Not knowing the real identity of the child, the brahmanas showered the child with blessings.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10:7 Summary

“While churning the butter, mother Yasoda was singing about the childhood activities of Krsna. It was formerly a custom that if one wanted to remember something constantly, he would transform it into poetry or have this done by a professional poet. It appears that mother Yasoda did not want to forget Krsna’s activities at any time. Therefore she poeticized all of Krsna’s childhood activities, such as the killing of Putana, Aghasura, Sakatasura and Trnavarta, and while churning the butter, she sang about these activities in poetical form. This should be the practice of persons eager to remain Krsna conscious twenty-four hours a day. This incident shows how Krsna conscious mother Yasoda was. To stay in Krsna consciousness, we should follow such persons.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10:9:1-2 Purport


The Trnavarta Demon Krsna Kills the Trnavarta Demon

“Another day, when mother Yasoda was sitting with her child on her lap, she suddenly observed that he had assumed the weight of the entire universe. She was so astonished that she had to put the child down, and in the meantime Trnavarta, one of the servants of Kamsa, appeared there as a whirlwind and took the child away. The whole tract of land known as Gokula became surcharged with dust, no one could see where the child had been taken, and all the gopis were overwhelmed because He had been taken away in the dust storm. But up in the sky, the asura, being overburdened by the child, could not carry the child far away, although he also could not drop the child because the child had caught him so tightly that it was difficult for him to separate the child from his body. Thus Trnavarta himself fell down from a very great height, the child grasping him tightly by the shoulder, and immediately died. The demon having fallen, the gopis picked the child up and delivered Him to the lap of mother Yasoda. Thus mother Yasoda was struck with wonder, but because of yogamaya’s influence, no one could understand who Krsna was and what had actually happened. Rather, everyone began to praise fortune for the child’s having been saved from such a calamity. Nanda Maharaja, of course, was thinking of the wonderful foretelling of Vasudeva and began to praise him as a great yogi. Later, when the child was on the lap of mother Yasoda, the child yawned, and mother Yasoda could see within His mouth the entire universal manifestation.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10:7 Summary

“One day, shortly after this ceremony, when mother Yasoda was patting her baby on her lap, the baby felt too heavy, and being unable to carry Him, she unwillingly placed Him on the ground. After a while, she became engaged in household affairs. At that time, one of the servants of Kamsa, known as Trnavarta, as instructed by Kamsa, appeared there in the shape of a whirlwind. He picked the child up on his shoulders and raised a great dust storm all over Vrndavana. Because of this, everyone’s eyes became covered within a few moments, and the whole area of Vrndavana became densely dark so that no one could see himself or anyone else. During this great catastrophe, mother Yasoda could not see her baby, who was taken away by the whirlwind, and she began to cry very piteously. She fell down on the ground exactly like a cow who has just lost her calf. When mother Yasoda was so piteously crying, all the cowherd women immediately came and began to look for the baby, but they were disappointed and could not find Him. The Trnavarta demon who took baby Krsna on his shoulder went high in the sky, but the baby assumed such a weight that suddenly he could not go any further, and he had to stop his whirlwind activities. Baby Krsna made Himself heavy and began to weigh down the demon. The Lord caught hold of his neck. Trnavarta felt the baby to be as heavy as a big mountain, and he tried to get out of His clutches, but he was unable to do so, and his eyes popped out from their sockets. Crying very fiercely, he fell down to the ground of Vrndavana and died. The demon fell exactly like Tripurasura, who was pierced by the arrow of Lord Siva. He hit the stone ground, and his limbs were smashed. His body became visible to all the inhabitants of Vrndavana.

When the gopis saw the demon killed and child Krsna very happily playing on his body, they immediately picked Krsna up with great affection. The cowherd men and women became very happy to get back their beloved child Krsna. At that time they began to talk about how wonderful it was that the demon took away the child to devour Him but could not do so; instead he fell down dead. Some of them supported the situation: “This is proper because those who are too sinful die from their sinful reactions, and child Krsna is pious; therefore He is saved from all kinds of fearful situations. And we too must have performed great sacrifices in our previous lives, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, giving great wealth in charity and acting philanthropically for the general welfare of men. Because of such pious activities, the child is saved from all danger.”

Krsna Book, Chapter 7

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from various texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


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The Classes of Demons, Part 3 The Jaladuta Diary – September 10

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