Krishna Episode 25 – Expulsion of Kaliya

Kaliya nag


In the Yamuna, there was a certain pool, the haunt of Kaliya, the waters whereof were boiling with the serpent’s fiery poison and even the birds flying over it, fell dead due to poisonous vapours. Beings, mobile and immobile, on the banks of that river, succumbed to death at the touch of the wind charged with the poisonous spray, while blowing over the ripples of that deadly water. On one occasion, unaccompanied by Balarama, but in company of  his friends, he went to the Yamuna. There, being tormented with the heat of the summer and oppressed with thirst, the cows as well as cowherds drank the river water polluted due to the contamination of poison. Being deprived of their discretion and judgement by the Providence, immediately after sipping the poisonous water, they all fell dead, by the side of the water. Finding them verily reduced to that condition, Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the masters of Yoga, restored his proteges to life by his glance that as if showered nectar. Recovering their consciousness immediately, all of them rose up from the brink of the water and gazed at each other with amazement.They came to understand that their restoration to life after death by drinking poison was the result of the gracious look of Krishna (Govinda).


Krsna, whose incarnation was for the subjugation of the wicked, considered how the real power of the snake lay in its virulent venom and that it had polluted the river with its contamination. Climbing up a very tall Kadamba tree (on the bank of the Yamuna), he tightened his girdle and striking hist arms (as if challenging Kåliya to fight) jumped down into the poisonous water.The pool of the serpent, the voluminous waters of which were swelled with venom discharged by the serpent, extremely agitated by the vehemence of the plunge of the Supreme Man, dashed up overflowing on all sides to a distance of hundred bows (i.e. four hundred hastas or cubits) in terrible waves saturated and bitter with poison. But there is nothing miraculous in this in the case of the Almighty Lord (of infinite strength).


Hearing the thunderous sound of water agitated by the strokes of the mighty arms (of the Lord) who was sporting with the prowess of a supreme powerful elephant, and perceiving it as an attack on his abode, and unable to tolerate it, the serpent (whose eyes functioned also as ears) advanced rustling against Krsna, Oh dear King! Biting him in all tender parts, twisting himself, he enclosed completely in his coils the Lord who looked extremely beautiful, delicate and effulgent like a cloud; (who) was adorned with Srivatsa mark and was dressed in raiment of bright golden hue; who, with a bewitching, smiling face and with feet tender like the pericarp of a lotus, was sporting (in the water) with absolute fearlessness.


On seeing Krsna caught in the coils of the serpent and no movement of his being visible, his dearest chums, the cowherds, who had dedicated to him their own selves, their belongings, family and even desires, became extremely distressed, and dropped down with their minds maddened with grief, sorrow and fear in succession.Fixing their gaze at Krsna and extremely distressed cows, bulls and heifers began to bellow; they stood there as if weeping through fear. And at Vraja, very ominous and terrible portents of three-fold character indicating imminent danger appeared on the earth (e.g. seismic disturbance), in the sky (e.g. raining of meteors or blood), and to persons (throbbing of the left-side in the case of men and right side in the case of women).Noticing the evil omens and learning that Krsna unaccompanied by Balarama had left for grazing the cattle, the cowherds of whom Nanda was prominent, were overwhelmed with fear.


Being ignorant of the real (omnipotent) nature of Krsna, they concluded from the omens, the death (or fatal calamity) of Krsna. As they regarded him as their very life, and had set their hearts on him, they became submerged in grief, sorrow and fear.Young and old, men and women who followed the vocation of cowherds (or were extremely affectionate) being eager to have a look at Krsna, proceeded from Gokula in a sad melancholy mood. Perceiving them so nervous and terrified, the glorious Lord Balarama who knew the prowess of the younger brother, laughed heartily, but spoke nothing.


In search of their beloved Kṛṣṇa, they followed the track indicated by his foot-prints bearing the special marks of being the supreme Lord, and they reached the bank of the Yamuna.On the way, and in between the foot-prints of cows and others, they carefully observed the foot-prints of the Lord characterised by the marks of a lotus, a barley seed, a goad, the thunder bolt and a banner, and they proceeded quickly, dear Parikşit.Noticing from a distance Kṛṣṇa entwined in the coils of the serpent, and being merged motionless in water in the interior of the pool, and the cow-herds fallen in a swoon on the bank and the piteously lowing all around, they became sorely distressed, and lost their consciousness.


With their hearts deeply attached to the infinite Glorious Lord Kṛṣṇa, and cherishing the memory of his warm hearted friendship, charming smile, meaningful glances and pleasing words, the Gopis (cowherdesses) were extremely tormented with grief to find their most beloved (Kṛṣṇa) trapped in the coils of the serpent, and looked upon the three worlds bereft of their beloved, as totally desolate and interestless.Shedding profusely tears of grief, the cowherdesses who were equally grieved like Yasoda, closely held her back (from following Krsna in the Pool as her heart followed her child. They were recounting the stories of Krsna so beloved in Vraja. With their eyes riveted on the face of Krsna, they stood there like lifeless bodies.


Noticing that Nanda and others whose very life was Krsna, entering the pool of water, glorious Lord Balarama who knew the prowess of Krapa, prevented them from doing so. Observing that the whole of his Gokula including women and children entirely depended on him for shelter and was extremely grieved for his sake, Krana who followed the role of mortals, stayed for about a muhurta a short while (about 48 minutes) in that entrapped condition, and emerged out of the coils of the serpent. His body being oppressed by the (internal) pressure of the expanding dimensions of Krsna’s body, the enraged serpent freed Krsna from his coils, and raised his hoods breathing out violently poison from his hissing nostrils, and was staring at him with eyes motionless yet hot like a fry ing pan, and mouth emitting flames of fire. Like Garuda, the king of birds, watching for an opportunity (to pounce on his prey), Lord Kṛṣṇa sported with the serpent which was constantly licking the corners of its mouth with its forked tongue, and whose eyes sending forth extremely virulent poisonous (flames of) fire, and wheeling round the serpent, he made it whirl around itself.


When all the energy (and prowess) of the serpent became exhausted in whirling round itself, Krsna, the First (Eternal) Person bent down its raised shoulders (i.e. neck, with his hands), and mounted on its broad hood. With his lotus feet extremely red and refulgent with their contact with the heaps of jewels on the heads of the serpent, the First Teacher of all arts began to dance.Observing that the Lord intends to dance and is about to commence it, all his (servants-celestial artists like) Gandharvas, Siddhas, gods, Caranas, heavenly damsels (apsarās) suddenly, promptly and with loving devotion presented themselves there with drums, tabors and musical instruments, flowers, singing the songs of his praise. Dear Pariksit! During the course of dancing (at every beat), the Lord who wields a rod to punish the wicked, struck down and scalped with the strokel (so that the next kick in the dancing beat should be more painful) the unbending hood of the hundred and one hooded serpent which was whirling round and round, and was on the point of death. Profusely vomitting blood through his nostrils and mouths, the serpent became utterly depressed in spirits.


During the course of his dance, Kṛṣṇa kicked and bent down whatever head (hood of the serpent) was raised by the serpent that was profusely emitting poison through its eyes, and was hissing (through nostrils) with rage, and thus subdued. it. Looking upon him as the Most Ancient Person (Lord Nārāyaṇa on the bed of the coiled body of Sesa), he was devoutly worshipped with (the showers of) flowers (by Gandharvas).With its umbrella-like hoods being crushed and wounded by the violent and unearthly dance, and vomitting blood profusely out of its mouth, the serpent, all the limbs of whose body were shattered, remembered the Ancient Person Narayana, the Father (Creator) of the mobile and immobile creation, and mentally resorted to him for refuge.


Finding their serpent-husband collapsing under the infinite weight of Krsna carrying (innumerable) worlds in his ab domen, and his umbrella-like hoods crushed and shattered under the strokes of his heels, its distressed wives with dishevelled hair and clothes and ornaments in disorder approached him. Being overwhelmed with anxiety (for their husband) the wives of Kaliya, holding their babies in their hands in front of them, prostrated themselves on the ground¹ before the Lord, the Creator of all beings. With an earnest desire to absolve their husband from sin, and to secure the deliverance of their sinning husband from the hands of the Supreme Lord (also), the pious ladies folded their palms, and sought asylum in him who affords protection to all.


The serpent’s wives submitted: “As your incarnation is intended for the chastisement of the wicked (and for showering Grace on the righteous”), the punishment meted out to this (Kaliya) who has committed sinful acts, is quite just. You entertain equal impartial outlook and attitude towards your enemy as well as to your sons. It is with a view to confer good fruit (or your Grace, or Eternal Happiness) that you inflict punishment (proportionate to the nature of the offence.)As a matter of fact, the punishment inflicted (on Kaliya) is a blessing and a favour (in disguise), conferred on us all, for your chastisement of the wicked absolves them of their sins. Your wrath is regarded (by us) as a blessing and a favour bestowed (by you), as it destroyed all the sins of this embodied being (Kaliya) whose state of being a serpent was due to those sins.We really marvel how great austere penance (as per correct procedure) must have been practised in former life. by Kaliya, himself remaining free from pride, and giving due respect to others, or what righteous acts out of compassion to all beings, must have been performed by him then, that you, who support the life of all, have been pleased with him.


We simply cannot understand what meritorious acts entitled him to the privilege of touching the dust of your feet, with a desire to receive which, the most charming goddess. Laksmi, giving up all pleasures, performed austere penance for a long time, observing strict vows, Oh Gracious Lord!Those who have attained the dust at his (the Lord’s) feet, do not covet for (a life in) the celestial regions, or the position of the sovereignty over the whole of this world, or the post of god Brahmå, or the rulership of the subterranean regions, or mastery over the mystic powers secured through yoga, or the Liberation from samsara whence there is no return (to samsara).Oh Lord! Though this serpent-king is born of tamas (viz. of the ignorant race of serpents), and is of wrathful nature, he could attain (‘the bliss of being favoured with the dust of your feet’ ‘the touch of your feet’ ‘the direct visualization of your person’) that which is attainable to others only with great difficulty and by desiring to secure which, corporeal beings whirling on the wheel of samsara, realize all desirable prosperity including liberation from samsara.


Salutations to You, the Almighty Lord of incompre hensible excellences, the dweller in the bodies of all beings (as Their Inner Controller), yet undiscernible (or All-pervader). You are the support of all elements like the sky (the wind, water etc.), or the abode of all beings. You are eternally exis tent as cause of all, but are transcendental to causal relation. As the treasure house (or the source) of all knowledge and consciousness, you are perfectly full of them. You are the Brahman of infinite power, devoid of (and transcendental to) all attributes and immutable, the regulator and motivator of Prakriti (or possessor of Supernatural Potencies). We bow to you. We pay obeisance to you who are the (very embodiment of) Time-Spirit’, the support of (the potencies of) Time, the witness to different divisions of Time; you are the universe itself as well as its Director, creator as well as its (material and instrumental) cause.


Hail to you who constitute all the elements (both gross and subtle), all the (ten) cognitive and cognitive sense organs, the (five) vital breaths, the mind, the intellect and the heart. You keep yourself shrouded from the jivas due to their ego (ahamkara) comprising of three gunas.We bow to you who are infinite, subtle (and hence beyond the ken of perception and therefore) not subject to changes or modifications, and the Omniscient. (Due to your Maya) You are the subject of various theories (such as you exist, do not exist, are Omniscient, non-omniscient, bound in samsara, absolutely free, one, many). You are the power that is described in the words as also the power of description inhe rent in words.


Salutations to you who are the Source of the means or instruments to arrive at correct knowledge¹; Absolute Wis dom (independent of any source of knowledge); the source of Scriptures (i.e. whose breath are the Vedas). We salute again and again to you who are both participation in and withdrawal from the worldly activities, and the Veda itself (which pres cribes both types of injunctions).We bow to you Krsna, the embodiment of the high est bliss, whose nature is to draw away (i.e. to absolve) the sins of his devotees, whose fourfold forms or manifestations (has) are Rama i.e, Sankarsana, Väsudeva (of pure sattva), Pradyu mna, of the highest splendour (and possessor of Supreme afflu ence), and Aniruddha, comprehensible only to the wise-you who protect your votaries bestowing them with grades of liberation such as Sayuiyat etc.


Obeisance to you who illuminate the internal organ by presiding over its four aspects-mind, reason, the intellect and the ego, in the form of four manifestations-has (mentioned above); who shroud yourself under those gunas and shine forth as many; who are indicated and perceived through the functions of the internal organ (mentioned above), who are merely the witness to the mental faculties or aspects (referred to above), yourself remaining self-knowing yet beyond the ken of perception.Oh Lord! The Prompter of Senses May our obeisance be paid to you whose greatness and working are beyond. the comprehension (of our intellectual capacity), but are implicit as the cause of every phenomenon. You are the silent sage revelling in your own blissful self.


We bow to you who are conversant with the ways (courses) of the high and low (or the gross and the subtle) and preside over them all; who are both transcendental to and im manent in the Universe, and its witness as well as the cause.” Beings are under your control. How can you hold them responsible for their nature or behaviour) Oh Lord! Though perfectly detached, you wield the eternal power called Time, and bring about the creation, preservation and destruction of this universe by means of gusar (of Prakṛti). You carry on your fruitful sportive activity by awakening with your glance the various (latent) propensities in the nature of all creatures.


All these forms of quiet, turbulent and stupid natures found in all the three worlds, are the toys in your sports. Now the gentle-natured are dear to you, as you have incarnated for the establishment of righteousness, and you are present here to protect the saintly, righteous people (or your forms which desire to protect the righteous are gentle and dear).The first offence of one’s child (or subject) deserves to be condoned (and tolerated) by the Lord. Oh tranquil minded Lord! Be pleased to pardon this stupid creature who has not recognised you (your divine nature). Be gracious to him, Oh Lord. The serpent is on the point of death. We, women, deserve to be pitied by the good and the righteous. Be pleased to grant unto us our life in the form of our husband. May you be pleased to ordain us, your maid-servants,what we should do for you; for one who faithfully abides by your command, becomes free from fear of all kinds (or liberation from samsara).”


The glorious Lord who was thus fervidly appealed to and praised by the wives of the serpent, left the swooning serpent whose hoods were badly smashed with his kicking (with heels).Regaining gradually his senses and vitality, Kaliya began to breathe slowly with difficulty. The miserable creature folded its palms, addressed to Lord Krsna (as follows). Kaliya said:  Dominated as we are by tamas, we are wicked-mind It behoves you to be gracious unto all gentle-natured (Sätt vika), ferocious-tempered (rajasic) and dull-natured (tämasika) forms, teeming in the three worlds. You have, however, incarnated for the protection of righteousness. Hence the protection to the gentle is dear to you and equally so are those who wish to renounce their offensive natureed since our very birth, and entertain wrath for a long time. It is difficult, Oh Lord, to relinquish one’s natural disposition (whereby one identifies one’s body with the soul and feels attachment to body and its belongings), as it exercises a power ful hold on people like an evil spirit.


By you has been created this universe as the outcome of the three gunas and is replete with various natures, prowess, energy, hereditary or class differences (seeds), latent desires and bodily shapes of forms, Oh Creator of the Universe.Oh glorious Lord ! In this world, we, serpents, are by nature deeply wrathful. Deluded by nature as we are, how can we escape from (the clutches of) your Maya which is so difficult to shake off. You, Omniscient Lord of the world, are the cause of relieving us from the influence of Mayà; therefore, be pleased to confer your grace or punishment on us as you deem it proper.


Hearing his speech, the Lord who assumed the human form for a specific purpose (of helping gods) ordered : “You must not stay here, Oh serpent. Hurry up and go to the sea along with your wives, children and kinsmen. Let this river be used by cows and men.Whatever mortal being remembers this command ofmine to you, and recites it both in the morning and in the evening, shall have no fear from you (serpents). Whoever, after taking bath in this pool, the scene of my sport, propitiates gods (and maner) by offering water-libations, and observing a fast, worships Me meditating on Me all the while, is absolved of all sins.That Garuda of beautiful wings, in terror of whom, you fled (abandoned) the island Ramanaka and resorted to this pool, shall not now devour you, as you bear my foot-prints.”


Thus addressed by Lord Krsna of miraculous feats, Kaliya and his wives devoutly worshipped him with delight (at the assurance of safety from Garuda). They worshipped the Lord of the Universe with celestial clothes, necklaces and gems and ornaments of superb quality, with heavenly perfumes and ointments and a grand wreath of blue lotuses. Having propitiated the Lord whose banner is Garuda, they, with great pleasure, circumambulated him and bowed to him and were duly permitted by the Lord. Accompanied by his wives, friends and children, Kaliya went to the Ramanaka island in the sea. The Yamuna of nectar-like water became instantly rid of poison through the grace of the Lord, who out of sport has assumed a human form.

Categories: Bhagwat Puran, Krishna Avataar, Lord Krishna

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2 replies


  1. Krishna Episode 26 – Story of Kaliya Coming to Haunt of Kaliya – Dialoguewala

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