On his way (back to Gokula), Nanda pondered that the words of Vasudeva might not be untrue. Being apprehensive of impending calamities, (mentally) he sought refuge in Lord Hari.Deputed by Kamsa, the terrible, infant-killer Putan moved about, killing babes and infants in cities, towns, cow herd-settlements (on her way).Wherever, people, while attending to their duties, do not listen to (recite etc.) the names and deeds of the Lord of Sätvatas (Kṛṣṇa) which are capable of annihilating demons, there and there only, ogresses (and other evil spirits) prevail. 4. One day, that Putana who was capable of coursing through the sky, flew (through the sky) to the Gokula ruled by Nanda. Assuming the form of a young beautiful woman through her witchcraft, she entered the Gokula as the wanton ness was capable of assuming any guise, and moving into any house she pleased.
On seeing that beautiful damsel the braids of whose hair were adorned with jasmine flowers (interwoven therein), whose slender waist was (as if) crushed between her big buttocks and heavy breasts, who was clad in rich garments, whose face was beautified with the locks of hair lustrous with the radiance of the brilliant swaying ear-rings, who with her charming smiles and sidelong glances captivated the hearts of the inhabitants of Vraja (who hence failed to extern her), and whom, due to her wearing a blooming lotus in hand, the Gopa women thought to be goddess Lakṣmi incarnate, who had come to see her Lord (and they kept silent in awe and respect, instead of barring her entrance). Pūtana, that infant-killer evil spirit, roving in search for babies, came by chance to the house of Nanda, and saw the child Kṛṣṇa who was the exterminator of the wicked, but was lying in bed with his immeasurable innate glory veiled, like fire covered under ashes.
Recognizing her to be the evil spirit which kills infants, the Lord of the mobile and immobile creation lay quiet with his eyes closed¹. And she placed the Infinite Lord, her very death, on her lap, as a stupid person would do to a sleep ing serpent, mistaking it for a rope.Even though he was the Supreme Ruler of the universe the Lord, playing the part of a child, spoke nothing. But the fiendess was unaware that he was the lord Hari who by his very nature knows directly all the activities of the world.Finding suddenly within their house that superb accomplished lady behaving (externally) most affectionately and in a charming way, even though her heart was sharp (cruel like sword encased in a charming scabbard, both the mothers (Yasoda and Rohiņi) were stupefied with her effulgence and stood agazing (instead of preventing her).
The terrible demoness placed the child Kṛṣṇa on her lap and suckled him at her breast full of indigestible virulent poison. Thereupon, with indignation, the Lord squeezed hard her breast with his hands and sucked it along with her life.Being crushed in all her vital parts, she cried out “Let me go, enough of it, leave me”. With her body drenched in perspiration and with her hands and feet thrown in convulsions and with distended eyes, she wailed loudly.By her extremely loud and deep cry, the earth along with the mountains, and the heavens along with the planets, were shaken. The netherworld and all the cardinal points were reverberated with the Sound. People being afraid of the discharge of Vajra, fell down on the ground.
Oh King, the demoness who, being excruciatingly afflicted at the breast, thus fell dead, reverting to her original form with her mouth agape and her hair, hands and feet stretched near the cowpen even as Vṛtra fell when struck down with Vajra (thunderbolt). Even while it fell, her (giant) body crushed to powder trees within an area of twelve miles. It was the most astonishing sight, Oh king of kings.The cowherds-men and women-whose hearts, ears and heads were already rent asunder with the terrible roars and yells of the demoness, were struck with terror to see her fearful body with a mouth raged with a terrible set of tusks long like the poles of ploughs, with nostrils resembling mountain caverns; breasts huge like (a pair of hillocks, her reddish hair terribly dishevelled, her eyes deep like dark wells, her buttock terrifically big like sand dunes, her arms, legs and thighs resembling dams (around) her belly looking like a dried up, waterless pool.
Seeing the child playing fearlessly on her bosom, the cowherd-women, in their bewilderment, quickly came to him and picked him up.They, also with Yasoda and Rohini ensured the (future) safety of the child on all sides, against evil spirits (and such other mishaps) by performing the ceremony of waving of the cow’s tail round the child and other rites.They bathed the child with the urine of a cow and besmeared it with dust raised by her hoofs. And by applying cowdungs to twelve (different) parts of his body¹ pronouncing simultaneously twelve (different) names of the Lord, they ensured his safety (by this spiritual talisman). (The Gopa women, being bewildered, forgot that they have to get themselves so consecrated before applying the talisman to the child. When they recovered….) They performed the acamana (sipping of water uttering the names of God for self-purification), made the bija-nyāsa (assignment of the various parts of the body to deities accompanied with the uttering of some ‘seed-letters’ and corresponding gesticulations) first on both of their hands and parts of their body, and then followed the same procedure of the ‘placement of seed-letters’ on the body of the child (as follows :).
The Gopa women said “May Aja (the birthless Lord) protect your feet! May Maniman (the Indweller of the jiva.) guard your knees; Yajña, your thighs; Acyuta, your loins; Hayagriva (horse necked Lord), your abdomen; Kesava, your heart; Isa (the Supreme Ruler), your bosom; Ina (The Lord), your throat; Vişņu, your arms; Urukrama, your mouth; and Isvara (the Supreme Lord), your head.May the wielder of (Sudarsana) discus protect you at the front, and the Bearer of the (Kaumodaki) mace, at the back; May the slayer of Madhu and Ajana (the birthless Lord) each bearing a bow and a sword, protect you on both the sides; May Urugaya (the Lord sung by many) bearing the conch (Pañcajanya), at the four corners (points intervening between quarters); Upendra (Vämana), overhead; Tärkṣya, on the ground and the Spreme Man wielding a plough, on all sides.
May Hṛṣikeśa protect your senses; Nārāyaṇa, your vital breaths; the Lord of Svetadvipa, your heart (the seat of intellect); the Lord of Yoga, your mind. May the son of Prśni protect Your understanding; the Supreme Lord, Your ahamkara (ego); may Govinda protect you while You are playing; Madhava, while sleeping. May Vaikuntha guard You while walking; the Lord of Śri, while sitting. The enjoyer of sacrifices, the terror to all evil spirits, while (You are) eating. (All evil spirits like) Dakini, Yatudhani, Kūsmāṇḍas, the wicked spirits troubling young infants, Bhutas, Pretas, Pisacas, Yaksas, Raksasas and Vinayakas, Kotara, Revati, Jyestha, Pūtanā, Mātṛkās and others; Unmādas (spirits causing insanity,) and Apasmāras which trouble the body, senses and vital breaths; the evil spirits that frighten in dreams, the great calamitous portents, and those wicked spirits that seize the old and the young all these which are terrified at the mention of Visņu’s name-may all these wicked spirits be destroyed.”
When the safety of the child was secured in this way by performing the above-mentioned rites by the Gopa women, bound to him with ties of affection, the mother suckled him and put him to bed. In the meanwhile, Nanda and other Gopas (cow herds) reached Vraja from Mathura. They became extremely astonished to see the (enormous) body of Pūtanā. (They said to each other) “How wonderful! Cer tainly a veritable seer or a master of Yoga (in his previous incarnation) must have been born (in the form of Vasudeva). For that very calamity has been seen by us as was predicted by Vasudeva. (Then) the inhabitants of Vraja hacked down that (Pūtana’s) body with axes and threw the pieces at a distance and burnt it limb by limb on pyres of logs of wood.There arose (a column of) smoke fragrant like that of aguru sandle wood, out of that burning body, the sins of which were instantaneously annihilated, the moment Kṛṣṇa sucked (the life out of) it. (How wonderful !) Pūtanā, the blood-sucking demoness, the infant-killer in this world attained to Moksa by giving suck to him, despite her intention of killing him.
How much more would they who dedicate with faith and devotion their most beloved objects to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, attain to Moksa as did his deeply attached mothers.¹ When the Lord traversed Putana’s body with his feet which are enshrined in the hearts of his devotees, and are adorable to those (gods like Siva and Brahma) who are them selves worshipped by people, and sucked her breast, she, in spite of her being a demoness, attained to heaven, the desti nation (after death) of his mothers. What more need be said of those cows and mothers (Gopa women) the milk from whose breasts and udders was sucked (so fondly) by Kṛṣṇa? They must definitely attain to his abode. For the glorious Lord, the son of Devaki, the dispenser of Final Emancipation and all other blessings, drank to his heart’s content the milk flowing (out of their breasts) through maternal affection. They who have incessantly looked upon (and thus meditated upon) him as their own son, shall never revert to Samsara, the cause of which is ignorance.
Having smelt the fragrance of the smoke issuing from the funeral pyre (of Pūtana), the inhabitants of Vraja (who were then away from home) returned to Vraja enquiring, “What it is this (fragrance) due to? Whence is it coming?” Hearing from the cowherds the account of the arrival of Pūtană etc., her death and the safety of the child, they were extremely wonderstruck. Taking up the child (in his arms) as if he had returned from the jaws of death, the noble-minded Nanda smelt him on the crown of his head, and was overwhelmed with joy, Oh best of Kurus.
A man who will listen with faith this wonderful account of the liberation of Putana, a sportive achievement of Lord Kṛṣṇa in his childhood, will develop love and devotion to Govinda.