BALARAMA VASUDEVA (deceased)

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About BALARAMA VASUDEVA


Balarama Balarama is the elder brother of the divine being, Krishna in Hinduism. Within Vaishnavism and a number of South Indian, Hindu traditions Balarama is worshipped as an avatar of Vishnu, and he is also listed as such in the Bhagavata Purana. Within both the Vaishnava traditions and Hinduism generally he is acknowledged as being a manifestation of Shesha, the serpent on whom Vishnu rests. The Bhagavata Purana describes Krishna as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything else emanates. As part of this divine 'emanation', Krishna's very first expansion is Balarama, and from Balarama all other incarnations of God then appear. Of the three transcendental elements described in Sanskrit as sat, cit and ananda (eternity, knowledge and bliss), Balarama is in charge of eternity and knowledge. Hence he is worshipped as the supreme teacher or Adiguru. In Hinduism, Balarama (phonetically Balarma - his other names include Baladeva, Balabhadra and Halayudha) is the name of the elder brother of Sri Krishna. Most South Indian Hindu sects and some Vaishnava sects based in eastern India regard Balarama as being the ninth avatar of Vishnu. In either tradition, Balarama is acknowledged as being a manifestation of Shesha, the divine serpent on whom Vishnu rests. The sacred Hindu scripture Bhagavata Purana explains how Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything emanates. In doing so, his first expansion is Balarama. From Balarama all other incarnations of God appear. Of the three transcendental elements (sat, cit and ananda), Balarama is in charge of sat(Sanskrit: eternity or truth), cit (Sanskrit: knowledge or consciousness). Hence he worshiped as the supreme teacher or adiguru. (Note: Ananda (Sanskrit: happiness or bliss.) Balarama was conceived as a son of Vasudeva and Devaki. Kamsa, brother of Devaki and an evil king, was intent upon killing all the progeny of Devaki, because of a prediction that Kamsa would die at the hands of the eighth son of Devaki. Kamsa threw his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva into jail, and proceeded to kill each of their children as soon as they were born. In due course of time, Devaki bacame pregnant for the seventh time. However, this child was not destined to meet the fate of the six previous infants. The unborn child was miraculously transferred from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini, who had long been craving a child of her own. Thus Balarama's other name is also Sankarsana which describes the transfer of the child from the womb. The child was formally named Rama, but because of his great strength he was called Balarama (Strong Rama). Thus, Rohini actually gave birth to Balarama and raised him. Balarama spent his childhood as a cowherd boy with his brother Krishna and friends. He later married Revati, the daughter of King Raivata, ruler of the Anarta province. Balarama is almost always depicted as being fair skinned, especially in comparison to his brother, Krishna, who is shown as dark blue or black in hue. His weapons are the plough and the mace. Traditionally Balarama wears blue garments and a garland of forest flowers. His hair is tied in a topknot and He has earrings, bracelets and armlets. Balarama is described as being very physically strong, in fact 'bala' in Sanskrit refers to 'strength'. Sri Baladeva is famous as being Krishna's dearest friend. In the Bhagavata Purana it is described that after Balarama took part in the battle that caused the destruction of the rest of the Yadu dynasty, and after He witnessed the disappearance of Lord Krishna, He then sat down in a meditative state and departed from this world by producing a great white snake from His mouth, and thus He was carried by Sesha in the form of a serpent.

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BALARAMA VASUDEVA's Timeline

-3112
January -3112
- -3102
Gokul, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

SLAYING OF DEMONS SENT BY KAMSA--PUTANA, TRINAVARTA, DENUKA ,.BAKASUIRA, AGHASURA, VATSASURA,FIRE DEMON, ARISTASURA, KESHI AND VYOMASURA
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Putanā), the mistress of darkness, the female demon with powers to fly was an exp(Pert in snatching souls in excruciating torturous ways. She was sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna who was nothing more than a toddler at that time. As an expert in camouflaging which was much needed for she was an ugly demonic lady, she took the disguise of a celestial beauty and offered her services to Krishna's mother Yashoda for breastfeeding little Krishna with her poisoned breasts. Having underestimated Krishna's powers, her heinous motive met a gruesome end as Krishna while feeding sucked the life out of her.

Trinavarta (Tṛṇāvarta) the tornado demon was one of Kamsa's allies. His unprecedented power to create whirlwind for mass destruction made him one of the most fearsome evil force. Sent to destroy Krishna, he created a scary situation by uprooting and destroying everything that came in his path. Full of pride, Trinavarta twisted a vicious dark cloud of terror and gripped Krishna in his clutches. But Krishna ripped through the tornado crashing him down to his death.

Dhenukasura (Dhenukāsura) was the guardian of Kamsa's prized wine orchard and a terror for any trespasser. With his deafening bray and stampede there was no mercy for anyone. He had even dwarfed the king of the Gods Indra. With his unmatched strength he shook and split the earth into two almost about throwing Indra inside the deep crevice. He reigned supreme until Krishna and Balaram challenged his might. Threatening to shatter the boys, he engaged in a violent fight on land and in the sky. Earth trembled as finally Dhenukasura got slay in the hands of Balaram while Krishna overpowers rest of his evil gang of demonic donkey cronies.

Aghasura (Aghāsura) the giant deadly serpent demon had the powers to glide in the sky and change its forms. Summoned by his master Kamsa he turned himself into a ghostly cave to allure Krishna and his friends inside with the intention of swallowing them up. He managed to trick Krishna's friends inside and trapped them in his poisonous belly. Sensing the danger, Krishna came to their rescue as Aghasura sucked Krishna in as well. But just as he was about to crush Krishna inside him, Krishna tore open Aghasura's abdomen into pieces and brought an end to the great serpent demon.

Vatsasura (Vatsāsura), the calf demon was one of Kamsa's favourite for his malicious nature and brutal force. He gleefully accepted the mission to execute Krishna. Vatsasura took the disguise of a demonic calf to trick Krishna into a duel. With his capabilities to manoeuvre his own shape and size, he grew into a fearsome large calf and attacked Krishna. While he could scare away the rest of Krishna's friends, Krishna stood his ground. Vatsasura with all his strength finally realised that he was no match for Krishna and finally met his end.

Fire Demon was a friend of Pralambasura and together they had the order to kill Krishna. Fire demon possessed the unique power of morphing his form into any simple burning object and emerge when needed as the monster, capable of turning everything into ashes while riding on his chariot of fire. In order to allure Krishna in his fiery trap, he set ablaze the Munjavana forest trapping Krishna's friends and their cattle. Krishna came to their rescue and extinguished the might of Fire Demon by sucking in the demon and all the fire inside him.

Aristasura (Ariṣṭāsura) the severe bull demon attacked Vrindavan confident of overpowering Krishna to fulfill his master Kamsa's wish. His demonic appearance and wild fury scared off the common people of Vrindavan. With his violent grunt and giant horns he shattered the dam and flooded everything around. But Krishna took him by his horns and flung him over. The earth trembled as they fought till Krishna swung him violently in the air and shattered his horns bringing an end to the bull demon.

Keshi the horse demon went mad in fury as Krishna was killing all his demons cronies. He approached Kamsa assuring him of his own atrocious powers seeking orders to face Krishna in a combat. With revenge in his mind and full of pride for his own strength, in his pursuit he created havoc. Earth trembled under his hoofs as Krishna matched his powers and a terrible battle followed. Severely smacked and battered by Krishna, Keshi finally met his end.

Vyomasura the bat demon was a vicious dark evil force hungry for destruction. He was sent by Kamsa to create disaster and kill Krishna. In his pursuit, Vyomasura had spread a veil of terror among people. Having found Krishna, Vyomasura kidnapped his friends in disguise thus trapping Krishna in a precarious situation. Sensing the opportunity, he took his real shape as Vyomasura and pounced on Krishna with vengeance. A fierce battle later Krishna crashed him down with an explosion, killing the vicious demon.

-3103
-3103
Gokul, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

Then remembering Himself, stroke the fearless Balarâma who was moving away from the company like He was being kidnapped, him angrily hard with His fist on the head as fast as the king of the gods would hit a mountain with his thunderbolt.

-3100
-3100
Gokul, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

Therefore should one, in keeping to one's duties performing effortlessly, exercise respect for the karma of one's own nature [see varnâs'rama]; by that karma one lives, it is that karma no doubt that is someone's worship able deity.
Let's therefore make a start with a sacrifice for the cows, the brahmins and the hill [Govardhana], and may this be carried out with the ingredients for Indra's sacrifice! [see also footnote 10.8*3]
'Indra then who realized that the worship of his person had been rejected, 'u o King, got angry with the gopas lead by Nanda who had taken to Krishna as their Lord.
Seeing the result of Krishna's mystic power was Lord Indra most amazed and stopped he the clouds, broken in his determination and with his false pride brought down.

-3100
Gokul, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

SB 10.16.4: Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Within the river Kalindi [Yamuna] was a lake inhabited by the serpent Kaliya, whose fiery poison constantly heated and boiled its waters. Indeed, the vapors thus created were so poisonous that birds flying over the contaminated lake would fall down into it.
SB 10.16.5: The wind blowing over that deadly lake carried droplets of water to the shore. Simply by coming in contact with that poisonous breeze, all vegetation and creatures on the shore died.
SB 10.16.6: Lord Krishna saw how the Kaliya serpent had polluted the Yamuna River with his terribly powerful poison. Since Krishna had descended from the spiritual world specifically to subdue envious demons, the Lord immediately climbed to the top of a very high kadamba tree and prepared Himself for battle. He tightened His belt, slapped His arms and then jumped into the poisonous water.
SB 10.16.28: My dear King, Kaliya had 101 prominent heads, and when one of them would not bow down, Lord Sri Krishna, who inflicts punishment on cruel wrong-doers, would smash that stubborn head by striking it with His feet. Then, as Kaliya entered his death throes, he began wheeling his heads around and vomiting ghastly blood from his mouths and nostrils. The serpent thus experienced extreme pain and misery.

SB 10.16.30: My dear King Parikshit, Lord Krishna's wonderful, powerful dancing trampled and broke all of Kaliya's one thousand hoods. Then the serpent, profusely vomiting blood from his mouths, finally recognized Sri Krishna to be the eternal Personality of Godhead, the supreme master of all moving and nonmoving beings, Sri Narayana. Thus within his mind Kaliya took shelter of the Lord.
our life and souSB 10.16.52: O Supreme Lord, please be merciful. It is proper for the saintly to feel compassion for women like us. This serpent is about to give up his life. Please give us back our husband, who is l.
SB 10.16.60: Sukadeva Gosvami said: After hearing Kaliya's words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was acting the role of a human being, replied: O serpent, you may not remain here any longer. Go back to the ocean immediately, accompanied by your retinue of children, wives, other relatives and friends. Let this river be enjoyed by the cows and humans.

-3097
-3097
Mathura, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

SRI KRISHNA

The Slaying Of Kamsa
Here in 'Mathura, Kamsa was beginning to feel more and more alarmed. Keshi, another rakshasa whom he sent, was also killed. Kamsa threw Vasudeva and Devaki into the prison and planned to invite Krishna to Mathura and kill him there. He, therefore, sent his cousin Akrura to Brindavan to bring Krishna. Akrura was a great devotee of Krishna. He told Krishna of Kamsa's evil intentions. Krishna rejoiced. He said, "Let us all go to Mathura." With him went Akrura, Balarama, Nanda and some other gopalakas.
The news of the visit of Krishna spread in Mathura. So everywhere there was curiosity, excitement and joy.
As Krishna and Balarama were approaching the palace a big elephant of the name Kuvalayapida rushed towards Krishna. Kamsa had deliberately stationed the elephant there to kill Krishna. Krishna cut off the trunk. The huge animal fell down and died.
As the brothers approached Kamsa's court two wrestlers, Mushtika and Chanura by name, stepped forward. They were famous all over the country for their wrestling. They were very strong. The spectators were filled with pity and murmured, "Poor boys! What can they do against these rocklike? Wrestlers!"
Krishna took on Chanura and Balarama took on Mushtika. And the two wrestlers were killed. When he saw his two formidable wrestlers killed by the boys, Kamsa was bewildered and filled with fear. Krishna pounced on Kamsa, caught hold of his hair and pushed him to the ground. Kamsa tried to get up to save himself. He tried to fight. But Krishna killed him. The people of Mathura sighed in relief. They celebrated Krishna's victory with great joy because Kamsa had been a tyrant. Krishna did not ascend the throne, but crowned Ugrasena, his grandfather.
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About Krishna

Krishna Kills Kamsa



This is Kamsa Tila, the place where Krsna killed Kamsa. Tila mean hill, and it was upon this hill that Kamsa was sitting when Krsna pulled him from his dias. Our temple, Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, is situated in part of Kamsa's wrestling arena, and it is also where Krsna and Balarama killed the elephant demon.
Kamsa was very, very cruel. He had invited all of Krsna's relatives -- Ugrasena, Vasudeva, Devaki, Nanda Baba, and some of the sakhas -- to the wrestling arena. He wanted Krsna killed in front of them, as this would add to his happiness. When Krsna dragged Kamsa from the dias, He was pulling him by the hair, because Kamsa had caught Devaki by the hair on her wedding day. Krsna then threw him on the ground and jumped onto his chest. Because Krsna' s body contains all of the universes, the weight of all of the universes was felt by Kamsa at that time. He specifically jumped on Kamsa's chest because Kamsa had struck Vasudeva on the chest with rocks during the time he was in prison.
Because Kamsa had the strength of one hundred thousand elephants, there was doubt that he was really dead. Some thought that perhaps he was just unconscious. Therefore, to show everyone that he was dead, Krsna pulled him around the wrestling arena. When Kamsa's body was later dragged down to the ghata, it made a gully called panca-pada which is now the sewage drain behind the Matha. After Krsna killed Kamsa, He went to the jail and unchained Devaki and Vasudeva. Vasudeva and Devaki offered prayers, addressing Krsna as Bhagavan. After this they asked Him, "What sinful activities could we have done that You left us for ten and a half years, and that we were put into chains in Kamsa's jail?" Krsna replied, "O Ta, father." Krsna called him 'Ta,' and at the same time He called Yogamaya to cover Vasudeva so that he would think Krsna his own son. Without doing this He could not continue His lila. Thus covered by Yogamaya, Vasudeva thought, "O my son", and he forgot about his previous question. When Yogamaya covers the devotees for lila, she is known as Samukha Mohini. When she covers the conditioned souls, however, she is called Bahirmukha Mohini, or Mahamaya. Vasudeva Krsna had appeared in the heart of Vasudeva, and Vasudeva had impregnated Devaki by mantra. This is called sambhanda-jnana. The guru gives his disciple a relationship with Krsna by mantra.
Ugrasena now called Krsna to make Him the King of Mathura, but Krsna said that He could not be King because the Yadus had been cursed never to become kings. Krsna told Ugrasena that he was in the Bhoja dynasty, and therefore he should be the King.
As these incidences transpired, Nanda Baba was waiting at the bank of the Yamuna. He was thinking that Devaki and Vasudeva must be showing Krsna and Balarama so much affection that They would not want to go back to Vrndavana with him. They came in the evening, and each sat on his knee. Krsna sat on his right side, and Baladeva sat on his left. He asked Them, "Why did you wait three days to come? Do You think You are the sons of Devaki and Vasudeva?" They replied, "No, father. As soon as We were born, Devaki and Vasudeva made us leave their house, whereas you have fed us from a young age". Whoever shows love and affection is the parent. Nanda Baba was so kind that he was thinking, "How can I take them from Devaki and Vasudeva? Maybe Baladeva can stay to pacify Devaki." When he suggested that, however, Baladeva said that He could not stay without Krsna.

-3095
-3095
- -3095
Mathura, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

Canto 10: The Summum Bonum
Chapter 67: Lord Balarama Slays Dvivida Gorilla
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam
SB 10.67 Summary
SB 10.67.1: The glorious King Parikshit said: I wish to hear further about Sri Balarama, the unlimited and immeasurable Supreme Lord, whose activities are all astounding. What else did He do?
SB 10.67.2: Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: There was an ape named Dvivida who was a friend of Narakasura's. This powerful Dvivida, the brother of Mainda, had been instructed by King Sugriva.
SB 10.67.3: To avenge the death of his friend [Naraka], the ape Dvivida ravaged the land, setting fires that burned cities, villages, mines and cowherd dwellings.
SB 10.67.4: Once Dvivida tore up a number of mountains and used them to devastate all the neighboring kingdoms, especially the province of Anarta, wherein dwelt his friend's killer, LordHari.
SB 10.67.5: Another time he entered the ocean and, with the strength of ten thousand elephants, churned up its water with his arms and thus submerged the coastal regions.
SB 10.67.6: The wicked ape tore down the trees in the hermitages of exalted sages and contaminated their sacrificial fires with his feces and urine.
SB 10.67.7: Just as a wasp imprisons smaller insects, he arrogantly threw both men and women into caves in a mountain valley and sealed the caves shut with boulders.
SB 10.67.8: Once, while Dvivida was thus engaged in harassing the neighboring kingdoms and polluting women of respectable families, he heard very sweet singing coming from Raivataka Mountain. So he went there.
SB 10.67.9-10: There he saw Sri Balarama, the Lord of the Yadus, adorned with a garland of lotuses and appearing most attractive in every limb. He was singing amidst a crowd of young women, and since He had drunk varuni liquor, His eyes rolled as if He were intoxicated. His body shone brilliantly as He behaved like an elephant in rut.
SB 10.67.11: The mischievous ape climbed a tree branch and then revealed his presence by shaking the trees and making the sound kilakila.
SB 10.67.12: When Lord Baladeva's consorts saw the ape's impudence, they began to laugh. They were, after all, young girls who were fond of joking and prone to silliness.
SB 10.67.13: Even as Lord Balarama looked on, Dvivida insulted the girls by making odd gestures with his eyebrows, coming right in front of them, and showing them his anus.
SB 10.67.14-15: Angered, Lord Balarama, the best of fighters, hurled a rock at him, but the cunning ape dodged the rock and grabbed the Lord's pot of liquor. Further infuriating LordBalarama by laughing and by ridiculing Him, wicked Dvivida then broke the pot and offended the Lord even more by pulling at the girls' clothing. Thus the powerful ape, puffed up with false pride, continued to insult Sri Balarama.
SB 10.67.16: Lord Balarama saw the ape's rude behavior and thought of the disruptions he had created in the surrounding kingdoms. Thus the Lord angrily took up His club and His plow weapon, having decided to put His enemy to death.
SB 10.67.17: Mighty Dvivida also came forward to do battle. Uprooting a sala tree with one hand, he rushed toward Balarama and struck Him on the head with the tree trunk.
SB 10.67.18: But Lord Sankarshana remained as motionless as a mountain and simply grabbed the log as it fell upon His head. He then struck Dvivida with His club, named Sunanda.
SB 10.67.19-21: Struck on the skull by the Lord's club, Dvivida became brilliantly decorated by the outpour of blood, like a mountain beautified by red oxide. Ignoring the wound, Dvividauprooted another tree, stripped it of leaves by brute force and struck the Lord again. Now enraged, Lord Balarama shattered the tree into hundreds of pieces, upon which Dvivida grabbed yet another tree and furiously hit the Lord again. This tree, too, the Lord smashed into hundreds of pieces.
SB 10.67.22: Thus fighting the Lord, who again and again demolished the trees He was attacked with, Dvivida kept on uprooting trees from all sides until the forest was left treeless.
SB 10.67.23: The angry ape then released a rain of stones upon Lord Balarama, but the wielder of the club easily pulverized them all.
SB 10.67.24: Dvivida, the most powerful of apes, now clenched his fists at the end of his palm-tree-sized arms, came before Lord Balarama and beat his fists against the Lord's body.
SB 10.67.25: The furious Lord of the Yadavas then threw aside His club and plow and with His bare hands hammered a blow upon Dvivida's collarbone. The ape collapsed, vomiting blood.
SB 10.67.26: When he fell, O tiger among the Kurus, Raivataka Mountain shook, along with its cliffs and trees, like a wind-tossed boat at sea.
SB 10.67.27: In the heavens the demigods, perfect mystics and great sages cried out, "Victory to You! Obeisances to You! Excellent! Well done!" and showered flowers upon the Lord.
SB 10.67.28: Having thus killed Dvivida, who had disturbed the whole world, the Supreme Lord returned to His capital as the people along the way chanted His glories.

-3094
-3094
Mathura, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India




The King of Vidarbha, Maharaja Bhismaka, had five sons and a young daughter known as Rukmini. Many saintly persons used to visit the King’s palace, and from them Rukmini obtained information about Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Simply by hearing about the opulences of Krishna, she desired to surrender herself to His lotus feet and become His wife. All the relatives of King Bhismaka agreed that Rukmini should be given in marriage to Krishna, and after hearing how Rukmini was a reservoir of all transcendental qualities—intelligence, liberality, exquisite beauty, and righteous behavior—Krishna Himself decided that she was fit to be His wife.
However, Rukmini’s brother Rukmi arranged for her to be married to Sisupala, a determined enemy of Krishna. When the black-eyed, beautiful Rukmini heard of this settlement, she became very morose. But, being a king’s daughter, she could understand political diplomacy, and therefore she decided to take immediate steps to acquire Krishna as her husband. After some deliberation, she wrote a letter to Krishna and entrusted it to abrahmana messenger. Without delay, she sent him with her letter to Krishna’s capital city of Dvaraka.
Reaching the gate of Dvaraka, the brahmana informed the doorkeeper of his mission. and the doorkeeper led him to Lord Krishna, who was sitting on a golden throne. After the messenger was duly greeted according to his brahminical status, he carefully read Rukmini’s letter to the Supreme Lord:
“My dear Krishna, O infallible and most beautiful one, I have heard of Your transcendental qualities. I may be shameless in expressing myself so directly, but You have captivated me and taken my heart. I am an unmarried girl, young in age, and You may doubt the steadiness of my character. But my dear Krishna, since You are the supreme lion among human beings, the supreme person among persons, any girl not yet out of her home, or any woman of the highest chastity, would desire to marry You, being captivated by Your unprecedented character, knowledge, opulence and position.”
“I know that You are very kind toward Your devotees. Therefore I have decided to become Your eternal maidservant. My dear Lord, I dedicate mylife and soul unto Your lotus feet. I have selected Your Lordship as my husband, and I request You to accept me as Your wife. You are supremely powerful, O lotus-eyed one. Now I belong to You. It would be ludicrous if what is enjoyable for the lion is taken away by the jackal. Therefore I request You to immediately take care of me before I am taken away by Sisupala. Please come here and catch hold of my hand so that I may not be touched by Sisupala and his men.”
Lord Krishna was very pleased to hear Rukmini’s statement. He shook hands with the messenger and said, “My dear brahmana, I am very glad to hear that Rukmini is anxious to marry Me, since I am also anxious to get her hand. I can understand that Rukmini’s brother has arranged her marriage with Sisupala in a spirit of animosity toward Me. So I am determined to give him a good lesson. Just as one can bring forth fire from ordinary wood by proper manipulation, similarly, after dealing with the demoniac princes, I shall bring forth Rukmini like fire from their midst.”
When Krishna heard that Rukmini’s marriage was scheduled for the following day, He decided to leave for the kingdom of Vidarbha immediately. He ordered His driver to harness the horses to His chariot and prepare for the journey, and they started at once. Within a single night they rode one thousand miles to their destination, the town of Kundina.
Krishna’s elder brother, Lord Balarama, soon received the news that Krishna had left for Kundina accompanied only by a brahmana, and that Sisupala was there with his ally Jarasandha and a large number of soldiers. Suspecting that they would attack Krishna, Balarama took strong military divisions of chariots, infantry, horses and elephants and rode to the precinct of Kundina.
Meanwhile, inside the palace, Rukmini was expecting Krishna to arrive. But when neither He nor the brahmana messenger appeared, she became full of anxiety and began to think how unfortunate she was. She thought, “There is only one night before my marriage day, and still neither thebrahmana nor Krishna has returned. I cannot understand this.”
Being the Supersoul of all living beings, Krishna could understand Rukmini’s anxiety, so He sent the brahmana inside the palace to let her know that He had arrived. When Rukmini saw the brahmana, she was elated. She smiled and asked him whether or not Krishna had come. The brahmanareplied, “The son of the Yadu dynasty, Sri Krishna, has arrived!” He further encouraged her by saying that Krishna had promised to carry her away without fail. Rukmini was so thrilled by the brahmana’s message that she wanted to give him in charity everything she possessed. However, finding nothing at hand suitable for presentation, she simply bowed down and offered him her humble respects.
When King Bhismaka heard that Krishna and Balarama had come, he invited Them to see the marriage ceremony of his daughter. He arranged to receive Them and Their soldiers in a garden house. As was the Vedic custom, the King offered Krishna and Balarama honey and fresh washed cloth.
Meanwhile, Rukmini came out of the palace to visit the temple of the goddess Durga. Rukmini was dressed very beautifully, and as she proceeded toward the temple, she was very silent and grave. Her mother and girl friends were by her side, and she was surrounded by royal bodyguards. In this way she entered the temple and offered her prayers to the deity. Ordinary people pray to Durga for material wealth, fame, strength and so on. Rukmini, however, desired to have Krishna for her husband, and therefore she prayed to the deity to be pleased with her and bless her. Then she caught hold of the hand of one of her girl friends and left the temple, accompanied by the others.
All the princes and visitors who had come to Kundina for the marriage were assembled outside the temple to see Rukmini. When the princes, who were especially eager to see her, caught sight of Rukmini leaving the temple, they were struck with wonder. Indeed, they thought she had been especially manufactured by the Creator to bewilder them! She appeared to be just a youth not more than thirteen or fourteen years old. Her body was well constructed, the middle portion being thin. The beauty of her green eyes and pink lips was enhanced by her scattered hair and different kinds of earrings, and around her feet she wore jeweled lockets. All in all, the bodily luster and beauty of Rukmini, which was specifically intended to attract the attention of Krishna, appeared as if painted by an artist perfectly presenting beauty following the description of great poets.
Although the princes gazed upon her beautiful features, she was not at all proud. Her eyes moved restlessly, and when she smiled very innocently, her teeth appeared just like lotus flowers. Expecting Krishna to take her away at any moment, she proceeded very slowly toward her home. The motion of her legs was just like that of a full-grown swan’s body, and her ankle bells tinkled very mildly.
The princes assembled there were so overwhelmed by Rukmini’s beauty that they almost became unconscious, and they fell from the backs of their horses and elephants. Full of lust, they hopelessly desired Rukmini’s hand, comparing their own beauty to hers. Srimati Rukmini, however, was not interested in any of them. In her heart she was simply expecting Krishna to come and carry her away. As she adjusted the ornaments on the fingers of her left hand, she happened to look upon the princes. Suddenly she saw that Krishna was among them. Although Rukmini had never seen Krishna before, she was always thinking of Him, and thus she had no difficulty recognizing Him.
Ignoring the other princes, Krishna immediately took Rukmini and placed her on His chariot. He then proceeded slowly, without fear, taking Rukmini away exactly as a lion takes a deer from the midst of jackals. Meanwhile, Balarama appeared on the scene with the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty.
Jarasandha, who had previously been defeated many times by Krishna, began to roar, “How is this? Krishna is taking Rukmini away from us without any opposition! What is the use of our being chivalrous fighters? My dear princes, just look! We are losing our reputation by this action! It is just like a jackal’s taking booty from a lion!”
All the princes, led by Jarasandha, then became very angry at Krishna for kidnapping Rukmini. They stood up and properly armed themselves with their bows and arrows. However, as they began to chase after Krishna on their chariots, horses and elephants, the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty turned and faced them. Terrible fighting between the two belligerent groups ensued. The princes opposing Krishna were all very expert fighters, and they shot their arrows at the Yadu soldiers just as a cloud splashes the face of a mountain with torrents of rain. Determined to defeat Krishna and recapture Rukmini from His custody, Jarasandha and his companions fought with Krishna’s army as severely as possible. Rukmini was seated by Krishna’s side on His chariot. She became fearful when she saw the arrows of the opposing party raining onto the faces of the soldiers of Yadu, and she looked at Krishna, grateful that He had taken such a great risk alone. She felt very sorry. Krishna understood, and He encouraged her with these words: “My dear Rukmini, don’t worry. Please rest assured that the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty will kill all their opponents without delay.”
Lord Balarama and the commanders of the Yadu soldiers did not tolerate the defiant attitude of Jarasandha’s army. They started to strike them with their arrows. As the fighting progressed, the princes and soldiers of the enemy began to fall from their horses, elephants and chariots.

At Rukmini’s request, Lord Krishna grew compassionate and agreed not to kill the foolish Rukmi. At the same time, He wanted to give him some slight punishment.
When the enemy found that they were gradually being defeated, they thought it unwise to risk losing men for the sake of Sisupala. They felt that Sisupala himself should have fought to rescue Rukmini from the hands of Krishna, but when they saw that Sisupala was not competent enough to fight with Krishna, they decided not to lose their strength unnecessarily. Therefore they ceased fighting and dispersed.
Rukmini’s brother Rukmi, however, was very agitated. He was determined to personally teach Krishna a lesson. He drew his bow and forcefully shot three arrows directly against Krishna’s body. Then he condemned Krishna, saying, “You are the most abominable descendant of the Yadu dynasty. Stand before me for a minute so I can teach You a good lesson! You are carrying away my sister just like a crow stealing clarified butter meant for use in a sacrifice. You are proud of Your military strength, but You cannot fight according to regulative principles. You have stolen my sister, so now I shall relieve You of Your false prestige. You can keep my sister in Your possession only as long as I do not pin You to the ground with my arrows.”
Upon hearing all these crazy words from Rukmi, Lord Krishna immediately shot an arrow and severed Rukmi’s bowstring. Rukmi then took up another bow and shot another five arrows at Krishna. Attacked for a second time by Rukmi, Krishna again severed his bowstring. Again Rukmi took up a bow, and yet again Krishna cut its string. Having run out of bows, Rukmi took the assistance of swords, shields, tridents, lances, and similar other weapons used in hand-to-hand combat. But Krishna destroyed them all in the same way as before. Repeatedly baffled in his attempts, Rukmi finally took his sword and ran very swiftly toward Krishna, just as a fly hurtles toward a fire. As soon as Rukmi reached Him, Krishna cut his weapon to pieces, took out His own sharp sword, and prepared to kill him. But Rukmini, understanding that Krishna was not going to excuse her brother, fell down at the Lord’s lotus feet. In a very grievous tone, trembling with great fear, she began to plead with Him: “Please do not kill my brother just before the auspicious time of our marriage. I am happy to get You as my husband right at the last moment before my marriage to Sisupala, but I do not want our marriage to cost my elder brother’s life. After all, he loves me, and he simply wants me to marry someone who, according to his calculations, is a better man than You.”
At Rukmini’s request, Lord Krishna grew compassionate and agreed not to kill the foolish Rukmi. At the same time, He wanted to give him some slight punishment. So He tied Rukmi up with a piece of cloth and snipped at his mustache, beard, and hair, leaving some spots here and there.
Krishna then brought Rukmini to Dvaraka and married her according to the Vedic rituals. All the inhabitants were happy on this occasion, and in every house there were great ceremonies. The citizens of Dvaraka were so pleased that they dressed themselves with the nicest possible ornaments and garments and presented gifts to the newly married couple. The story of how Krishna kidnapped Rukmini was poeticized, and the professional readers recited it everywhere. In this way, all the inhabitants of Dvaraka were extremely jubilant, seeing Krishna, goddess of fortune, peacefully united.
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-3092
-3092
- -3030
Dwarka, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
-3091
April -3091
Panchala, Junagadh, Gujarat, India

1) THE SWAYAMWARA ASSESSBLY

2) KARNA REJECTED BY DROUPADIAS SOOTA

3) ARJUNA'S FEAT

4) THE SUSEQUENT FIGHT & WIN

5) PANDAVA INDENTIFIED

6) DRAUPADI'S WEDDING

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Arjuna Wins Draupadi Translated from Sanskrit
by Hridayananda Dasa Goswami
Disguised as a brahmana,
Arjuna steps forward to meet the challenge
that has humiliated the powerful young kings.

The sage Vaisampayana is telling the history of the Pandavas to their great-grandson, King Janamejaya. As the Mahabharata continues, the Pandavas, disguised as brahmanas, are attending a ceremony in which Princess Draupadi will choose a husband from among many young kings. Draupadi's father set up a challenge for her suitors: They must string a mighty bow and pierce a difficult target. The other kings having failed, the Pandava Arjuna now steps forward.

THEREUPON, WHEN ALL the kings had given up their attempt to string the bow, the wise Arjuna rose up from the midst of the brahmanas. Seeing that Arjuna, Prtha's son, shining like the flag of Indra, had set out for the center of the arena, the leading brahmanas cried out and shook their deerskins. Some were unhappy to see a brahmana going to compete with warriors, and others were filled with joy.

The sages were considered experts, and they lived by their intelligence. Some of them said to one another, "The kings of the earth, led by Karna and Salya, mighty monarchs renowned in all the world as masters of the military science, could not bend the bow. How then can a mere brahminical student, frail, lacking stamina, and untrained in weapons, string the bow? The kings will ridicule us brahmanas when this whimsical and thoughtless act comes to nothing.

"Whether out of pride or impulsiveness or unsteadiness in his life as a religious student, he has gone out to string the bow. He must be stopped! For God's sake, don't let him go! We shall not be ridiculed in public so that we are no longer taken seriously. And we shall not risk a conflict with all the kings of the world."

But others disagreed.

"This young man looks very good. He's built like the trunk of the king of elephants. His thighs, arms, and shoulders are bulging with muscles, and he seems as steady and hard to move as the Himalayan mountains.

"We can infer from his bold confidence that the task of stringing the bow and piercing the target is actually possible for him. He has power and great daring. A weak man could not go out there alone as he is doing. And after all, whether among gods, human beings, or lower life the brahmanas can accomplish any task. Eating only water or living on air or collecting fruits in the forest, brahmanas are fixed in their vows. And though apparently weak, by their spiritual power they are very strong. Abrahmana should never be scorned, whether he behaves properly or has committed some fault, whether his work in this world is great or small, and whether his work brings apparent joy or sorrow."

An Easy Task For Arjuna

Coming to the center of the arena, Arjuna, as unmoving as a mountain, simply stood by the bow. Then he respectfully walked around the bow, keeping it to his right, and bowed down, touching his head to the ground.

Then that fiery warrior happily took the bow in his hands. In the wink of an eye Arjuna fastened the cord, took the five arrows in his hands, and shot the target. Pierced by Arjuna's shafts, the target fell suddenly onto the earth.

The heavens burst into sound, and a great roar filled the stadium. Indra, the lord of heaven, showered flowers on the head of Arjuna, the slayer of the wicked. Throughout the stadium people waved their cloths in jubilation. Some cried out in wonder, and others shouted their disapproval, while showers of flowers fell from the sky, covering the land with celestial blossoms. Hundred-piece bands broke into song, reciters began to recite, and bards and historical chroniclers praised the astonishing event with elegant voices and language.

Seeing Arjuna's feat, Drupada, destroyer of the enemy, was well pleased, and he stood ready with his army to help Arjuna.

As the great uproar continued unabated, the most virtuous Yudhisthira quickly returned to his residence with his twin brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, the finest of men.

Seeing the target pierced, and seeing Arjuna shining with the brilliance of Indra, Draupadi took the white garland meant for the groom and went broadly smiling to Arjuna, the son of Kunti. As the brahmanas praised and honored Arjuna for he had performed an inconceivable deed he took the woman he had won in the arena of heroes. Followed by his new wife, he walked out of the stadium.

The Kings Protest

When King Drupada desired to give his daughter to the great-spirited brahmana who had won her, fury rose among the assembled kings, and they began to look at one another.

"This king passes over all of us, treating the assembled warriors like straw in the gutter, and instead he wants to give Draupadi, the best of women, to a simple brahmana. Let us kill this wicked king who thinks so little of us. He shows by his qualities that he is unworthy of respect or the consideration offered to the elderly. Let us kill this evil-doer and hater of kings, along with his son. First he calls all the rulers to his city and honors them and feeds them sumptuously, and finally he humiliates them.

"Are we to believe that in this gathering of royalty, like unto a council of the gods, he has not found a single ruler worthy of his family? Sages are not entitled to the privilege of choosing a princess. The Vedas declare that a svayamvara is for men of the royal order. On the other hand, if this fair maiden finds not a single one of us worthy of her, then, fellow kings, let us throw her into the fire and go back to our kingdoms.

"Even though the brahmana, out of immaturity or greed, has so displeased us, in no way is he to be killed. Indeed, we rule our kingdoms, spend our wealth, raise our sons and grandsons,' and live our very lives for the sake of the saintly brahmanas. Still, we must avoid the danger that kings henceforth be regularly insulted. We must protect the sacred principles of warriors so that other svayamvaras do not end like this one."

Bhima And Arjuna Protect Drupada

Having thus spoken, those tigerlike kings, bludgeons in hand and bristling with anger, rushed upon Drupada to arrest him. Seeing the furious kings rushing to attack him with bows and arrows at the ready, Drupada fled in terror and sought shelter of thebrahmanas. The kings charged forward in pursuit like maddened elephants. But then two greatly powerful sons of Pandu Bhima and Arjuna, subduers of enemies went forward against them.

The kings could tolerate no more. Weapons raised with armored hands, their only aim now to kill, they flew forward upon Arjuna and Bhimasena, the two sons of the old Kuru king. Bhima, however, was a warrior of astonishing power and deeds. With his great strength he struck with the shock of a thunderbolt. With his bare arms that unique fighter jerked a large tree out of the ground, and like a lordly elephant he clipped off its leaves [so that the foliage would not soften his blow]. Staying close to Arjuna and brandishing his new weapon in his long, wide arms, Bhima, pain of his enemies, stood like the fearsome lord of death wielding his death-dealing rod.

Having first witnessed Arjuna's feat, which required more than human intelligence, and seeing now the inconceivable prowess of Arjuna's brother Bhima, Lord Krsna, known as Damodara, turned and spoke to His fiercely potent brother, Balarama, who was armed with His plow weapon. Lord Krsna said: "My dear Sankarsana, My brother, that one there who moves with the bearing of a maddened bull and who bent the mighty bow that stood as tall as a palm tree he is Arjuna, as indisputably as I am all-pervading Vasudeva. And that one who returned at once when the kings became wild and who so easily tore out a tree he is Bhimasena, playing the part of a human being, for no man on earth has the power to do what he just did here.

"That other one who left earlier fair-skinned, with large eyes like lotus petals, a more slender physique, the gait of a great lion yet a humble demeanor, and a prominent and handsome nose that enhances his face he, O infallible one, is surely the king of virtue, Yudhisthira.

"Those twins who seem like two young gods of war I reckon to be the sons of the Asvin gods. I have heard that the sons of Pandu and their mother Prtha were saved from the burning house of lac."

Trusting in the words of His younger brother Krsna, Lord Balarama, whose complexion is as white as the purest cloud, said to Him, "I am so happy that by the grace of Providence Our father's sister Prtha and her sons, the best of the Kurus, have all been saved."

The powerful brahmanas, shaking their deerskins and water vessels, said to King Drupada, "You have nothing to fear! We shall fight the enemy!"

When the sages spoke thus, Arjuna smiled and said to them, "Please, be spectators and stand to the side. Just as one can ward off poisonous snakes with mantras, so I shall stop these furious ksatriyas, dispersing them with hundreds of straight-shooting arrows."

Taking his prize bow, Arjuna stood with his brother Bhima like an unmoving mountain, for he was a maharatha, one who can fight alone against thousands of soldiers. Like fearless bull elephants rushing against a hostile herd, the two courageous brothers flew at the angry warriors, headed by Karna, who had now been roused to full fury.

The monarchs and their men declared, "Even a brahmana may be killed in battle if he desires to fight. So says the law."

Karna Fights With Arjuna

Karna went after Arjuna with tremendous power, like a battle-hungry elephant fighting another bull for the sake of his mate. Salya, the mighty lord of the Madras, attacked Bhimasena. Duryodhana and other kings battled the brahmanas, but gently and without effort.

Strongly bending his bow, Arjuna struck the attacking Karna with three arrows. Radheya [Karna] was stunned by the force of the sharp, sizzling arrows and approached with much caution. As Arjuna and Karna furiously battled each other, the skill and speed of the two fighters was incomparable, and each fought hard for victory. They addressed each other in words meaningful to heroes: "Just see how I countered your move!" and "See the strength of my arms!"

Realizing that the power of Arjuna's bow-wielding arms was unmatched on earth prompted Karna to fight with even greater fury. Counteracting the swift shafts fired off by Arjuna, he roared his battle sound, and his fellow warriors shouted with admiration.

Karna said, "I am satisfied by your performance in battle, O brahmana chief. There is great prowess in your arms, you have learned all the weapons, and you do not become discouraged. O noble sage, are you Dhanur Veda himself, or perhaps even Lord Parasurama? Are you Lord Indra, or possibly the infallible Visnu? To disguise yourself you have assumed the appearance of a brahmana, and using the might of your arms you now fight with me. Once I become angry, no one save Indra himself or the Pandava Arjuna can fight me."

Hearing Karna speak to him thus, Phalguna Arjuna replied, "I am not Dhanur Veda, O Karna, nor am I the powerful Parasurama. Quite simply, I am the best of fighting brahmanas, and I am the most skillful in the use of weapons. By the instructions of my guru I am expert in the brahma weapon and in the device of Purandara Indra. I therefore stand here in battle to conquer you, O heroic warrior. Be resolved!"

At these words Radheya Karna, the great chariot fighter, withdrew from the battle, having decided that the power of a brahmana could not be defeated.

At that very moment, O king, the two mighty warriors Salya and Vrkodara Bhima began to fight one another, each maddened with strength and hungry for victory. Like huge enraged bull elephants they taunted one another. With fist colliding against fist, knee smashing against knee, they dragged each other around the fighting ring. Then, in the midst of their battle, Bhima seized Salya in his arms, lifted him high, and slammed him against the ground. The brahmanas broke into smiles. Having brought down powerful Salya, the mighty Bhimasena, best among men, astonished everyone, for he did not strike and kill his foe.

With Salya now brought down and Karna hesitant, the ksatriyas grew doubtful and surrounded Bhimasena.

"These bull-like brahmanas have done very well indeed!" they said. "We should learn where they were born and where they reside, for who has the power to oppose Karna in battle if not Parasurama or Drona or Krpa, the son of Saradvan? Who has the power to meet Duryodhana in battle but Krsna, the son of Devaki, or the fiery Phalguna Arjuna? Salya, king of the Madras, is the strongest of men. Who could fight him but the heroic Lord Baladeva or the Pandava Vrkodara Bhima? Let us forge a truce and suspend fighting with these brahmanas. After we discover who they are, we shall fight again later."

Carefully watching the activities of Bhima, Sri Krsna believed that Bhima and Arjuna were the sons of Kunti. He therefore convinced all the warriors that Draupadi had indeed been fairly won, and thus He restrained them from fighting on. The noble kings were experienced warriors, and on hearing Lord Krsna's remarks they desisted from battle and returned to their kingdoms in utter amazement.

"The competition was dominated by brahmanas. The princess of Pancala now lives with the brahmanas, for they have chosen her." Thus spoke the kings who had gathered for the festival as they journeyed to their homes.

Meanwhile, surrounded by brahmanas clad in deerskins, Bhimasena and Arjuna could hardly move. Those two heroes of mankind at last broke free of the pressing crowd. While their enemies studied and stared at them, and as Draupadi faithfully followed them, they shone beautifully amid the tumultuous scene.

April -3091
Panchal, Bankura, West Bengal, India

WHILE the Pandavas were living in disguise as brahmanas at Ekachakrapura, news of the Swayamvara of Draupadi, the daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala, reached them.
Many brahmanas of Ekachakrapura planned to go to Panchala in the hope of receiving the customary gifts and to see the festivities and pageant of a royal wedding. Kunti, with her motherly instinct, read her sons' desire to go to Panchala and win Draupadi.
So she told Yudhishthira: "We have been in this city so long that it is time to think of going somewhere else. We have seen these hills and dales till we are tired of them.
The alms doled out to us are diminishing and it is not good to outstay your entertain- ment. Let us therefore go to Drupada's kingdom which is reputed to be fair and prosperous." Kunti was second to none in worldly wisdom and sagacity and could gracefully divine her sons' thoughts and spare them the awkwardness of expressing them.