One day, intending to have his break-fast (first meal) in the woods, Hari got up early in the morning and woke up his fellow cowherd boys (tending the calves) by the charming sound of his horn, and proceeded from Vraja with calves going in front. Immediately, at that clarion-call rushed forth joyfully thousands of affectionate young boys simultaneously, equipping themselves with slings, sticks, horns and flutes, each driving his own herd of thousands of calves.
It is traditionally reported that making their own calves join the herd of innumerable calves of Kṛṣṇa, and grazing them, they diverted themselves in children’s games at various places. Although they were already adorned (by their mothers) with glass-beads, Guñja seeds, precious stones and gold ornaments, they decorated themselves with fruits, tender. foliage, bunches of flowers, feathers and coloured earths. They stole the slings and other objects belonging to each other, and when detected, they threw them at a distance. Boys who were sitting there threw them still further laughing all the while, returning them (to the respective owners when they were on the point of shedding tears).
If Kṛṣṇa had gone to a distance to observe the beauty of the forest, they vied with each other in touching Kṛṣṇa first and enjoyed themselves (in this competition). Some played on the flutes; some blew their horns, some sang humming (hummed) in tune with black-bees, some imitated the sweet notes of the cuckoo. Some ran with the shadows of the (flying) birds; some walked beautifully like royal swans; some sat down with the cranes, while others danced with peacocks. Some pulled monkey’s tails dangling down from branches of trees, while others climbed trees along with the tails in hand. Some were making wry faces at monkeys while others were jumping from one branch to another (like monkeys).
Hopping with frogs, some became drenched with the waters of the streams and waterfalls; some were laughing at their own shadows (while making faces at one’s own reflection), while others cursed their own echoes. In this way, the cowherd boys who amassed a vast fund of merits (in the past), played with Krsna who was to the knowers the veritable Brahman, with all the realization of the absolute bliss, the Supreme Deity to the devotees who dedicated themselves to his service, and a human child to those who are under the influence of Maya or Ignorance. Is it possible to describe the blessedness and good. fortune of the inhabitants of Vraja unto whose ken of perception he presented himself in person? The Lord, the dust of whose feet cannot be obtained (and attained to) by the self controlled yogis who have performed austerities for many past. Lives.
Now (on one occasion), a powerful demon named Agha who could not tolerate the sight of their happy games, attacked the demon whose vulnerable point i.e. death was eagerly watched over even by immortals who had been anxious to safeguard their lives (from him), even though they assimilated (drunk) nectar (and hence had no fear from death). Seeing the Gopa children of whom Kṛṣṇa was the leader, the demon Agha, the younger brother of Baki (Pūtană) and Baka (the demon killed by Krsna), who was deputed by Kamsa (to kill Kṛṣṇa) said to himself, “This is the slayer of my brother and sister. To avenge them both I shall now kill Krsna along with his army (of cowherd boys).
When these Krsna and his cowherd companions are killed and thus are made as if propitiatory libations of sesamum seeds and water to my departed brother and sister, all the residents of Vraja are as good as dead. Why worry about the Physical body when the vital breath (life) is departed? And all those who live as human beings consider their children as their very life.” Having made up his mind thus, wicked demon assumed a gigantic body of a boa-constrictor one yojana (eight miles) in length and stout like a big mountain, and with a desire to swallow them all, he lay motionless on their path, with his flabbergasting cave like mouth kept wide open.
His lower lip lay on the earth, while the upper lip touched the clouds; the mouth between them appeared like a vale; his fangs were like summits of mountains, and the interior Part of his mouth was full of darkness; his tongue was like a broad road; his breath was like a tempestuous blast, while his enraged red hot eyes were (scorching) like a forest- conflagration. Beholding him in that form, all regarded it as a beautiful landscape of Vṛndāvana. And in a sportive mood they fancied its semblance to the open mouth of a boa constrictor. The children began to talk about it as follows: “Ah! How wonderful! Tell us friends, if this animal like formation (living mountain) standing before us, does or does not resemble the open mouth of a gigantic wicked serpenta anxious to devour us all ?”
Another boy said, “Really! The cloud reddened with rays of the sun looks like his upper lip, while the earth grown red through the reflection (of the cloud) looks like the lower lip.” The third boy said ,”Look here! The mountain Caverns on its right as well as on the left are as if competing with the jaws; and the rows of lofty mountain-summits as it were vie with its fangs. The broad and long road is vying with its tongue, while the darkness pent up in between the peaks, emulates the darkness in the internal part of its mouth. Look here! The fierce blast of wind heated by forest fire feels like its breath, and the bad odour of animals burnt in that forest fire stinks like the flesh of animals in the stomach of a serpent.
“Will he swallow us all if we enter his mouth ? In that case, like Bakasura, he will meet his death in a moment at the hands of Krsna”. Saying so, and looking at the fascinating face of Krsna, the slayer of Baka, they all entered (that mouth) laughing loudly and clapping their hands. Hearing the mutual discussion-which was far removed from reality-of his friends who were ignorant of the factual state of things, Kṛṣṇa knew that that was really a demon simulating the form of a serpent, as the Lord is present in the hearts of all creatures. The Lord made up his mind to prevent his companions from entering the demon’s mouth.
In the meanwhile, the children along with the calves entered into the bowels of that demon. But they were not swallowed up by that ogre who remembered the slaying of his dear ones, and was expecting the entry of the slayer of Baka viz. Krsna. Lord Krsna, who affords protection to all, was moved with compassion to see the helpless children and calves who had no other saviour, and who having slipped out of (the protective control of) his hands, had become the victims of the gastric fire of the demon. He was surprised at the working of Providence.
“What should be done now? How both the objects viz. the termination of the life of this wicked (demon) and averting the death of these pious innocents, can be achieved? pondering over this problem, and knowing the expedient, the omniscient Hari entered his (Aghäsura’s) mouth. At that instant, gods who were behind the curtain of clouds, shrieked in terror bewailing ‘Alas! Alas’, while the demonic friends of Aghasura of whom Kamsa was prominent, exulted in joy. Hearing those (cries and shouts of joy), the Imperishable glorious Lord Krsna instantly increased himself in huge dimensions into the throat of that demon who desired to crush to powder Krsna along with children and calves.
All the passage of breath of that huge-bodied monster was choked, and his eyes shot out of their sockets. He was writhing on all sides. His breath being completely obstructed in his lungs, forced its way out through an aperture in the crown of its head called Brahma randhra. When all the vital breaths of the demon passed out that way, Lord Kṛṣṇa revived to life with his nectarine look, all his friends and calves who were as good as dead, and came out of the mouth of the demon again, along with them.
A mysterious and powerful light setting ablaze (as) it were) all the ten directions, with its brilliant effulgence, rose from the huge body of the serpent. It waited in the firmament for the coming out of the Lord (from the serpent’s mouth) and (immediately) entered his person while all the residents of the celestial world simply looked on in amazement. Overjoyed at the accomplishment of their purpose by Kṛṣṇa, the jubilant gods offered their worship by showering flowers, the celestial damsels, through dancing, Gandharvas, experts in vocal music, with singing, those well-versed in instrumental music, by playing on their instruments, Brāhmaṇas (like Narada) through singing hymns of praise, and his attendants and followers (like Garuda and others) with shouts of victory.
Hearing in the vicinity of his abode (Satya Loka) the auspicious and joyous sounds of wonderful hymns of praise, instrumental and vocal music and shouts of victory, god Brahma, immediately came to the spot and was wonder-struck at the glorious feat of the Lord. Oh King! When the hide of that weird boa-constrictor became dry, it served for a long time as a hiding place in playing (like a big cave) to the residents of Vraja. Witnessing the exploit of Hari, as a child of five years, in rescuing them from death (from Aghasura) and the demon-serpent from death (involved in rebirth in Samsara), the cowherd boys of Vraja told to each other of it in his sixth year with equal astonishment.
That even a demon like Agha should get his sins absolved by his touch, and should get absorbed in, him-an attainment extremely difficult for the unrighteous, is not to be wondered at in the case of Hari who has assumed through his Mäyä, the form of a human child, but who is (really) the Creator of all beings, great and small. Even if the semblance of the personality of the Lord is once installed in one’s heart in meditation, it leads to the attainment of divine position. What indeed would he not give to Aghasura in whom he had actually entered, as he had warded off Mäyä by the eternal realization of the bliss of his Divine self.