Chapter 15: The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon and Poison in the River
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2019-07-19, 11:35 AM
    Chapter 15: The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon and Poison in the River 

    (1) S'rî S'uka said: 'When They [Râma and Krishna] in Vraja attained the age of boyhood [six to ten years old],  the two who rendered Vrindâvana most pleasurable with Their footprints, were old enough to be cowherds. Together with Their friends they thereupon were commissioned to tend the cows [*]. (2) Mâdhava ['the Sweet Lord'], eager to play, surrounded by the gopas who were chanting His fame, sounding His flute and keeping the animals together with Balarâma in front of Him, entered the forest that had many flowers and a lot of nourishment for the cows.  (3) The most enchanting forest was filled with the sounds of bees, animals and birds. There was a lake with water as clear as the minds of the great [sages] and it had a fragrance originating from hundred-petalled lotuses that was carried by the wind. When the Supreme Lord saw this He decided to play there. (4) The moment the Original Personality saw the beauty everywhere of the stately trees that with the tips of their branches touched His feet with their heavy load of fruits, flowers and reddish buds, He joyfully, almost laughing, spoke to His elder brother. (5) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh Best of the Gods, these trees at Your lotus feet that are worshiped by the demigods, with their heads bowing down are presenting offerings of flowers and fruits to put an end to the ignorance because of which they were born in their form. (6) Oh Original Personality, these bees following You, as the most intimate great sages among Your devotees, do - despite of Your hiding in the forest - not abandon You as their personal deity oh Sinless One while singing their worship of You, the place of pilgrimage for all the worlds! (7) These peacocks oh Worshipable One, are dancing with joy. These doe are pleasing You with their glances as if they were the gopîs and the cuckoos do Vedic prayers. They as residents of the forest being blessed with such a saintly nature, are all as fortunate as to see You who now arrives at their place. (8) Blessed is now this earth, her grasses and bushes that receive the touch of Your feet. Blessed are the trees and creepers struck by Your fingernails. The rivers, mountains, birds and animals are blessed with the mercy of Your glances and blessed are the gopîs in Your arms that are constantly craved by the Goddess of Fortune.'

    (9) S'rî S'uka said: 'Lord Krishna this way being satisfied by all of Vrindâvana's beauty, took delight in pasturing together with His companions the animals on the river banks at the foot of the mountain [Govardhana]. (10-12) Sometimes, when His companions together with Balarâma on their way sang about His glories, He sang along with the humming bees that were blind under His influence. He sometimes imitated the chattering broken speech of the parrots and then cuckooed with the charming cuckooing of the cuckoos. Sometimes He cooed along with the swans and sometimes He danced hilariously in front of a peacock. With a voice [rumbling] like the clouds He sometimes affectionately called the animals that wandered off by their names and spoke endearingly with the cows and their protectors. (13) He cried out in imitation of the cakora birds, the curlews, the ruddy geese, the skylarks and the peacocks and then again acted with the smaller creatures as if He [also] was afraid of the tigers and lions. (14) Sometimes when His elder brother being tired of playing used the lap of a gopa for a pillow, He would personally relieve Him by massaging His feet and performing other services. (15) When the cowherd boys so now and then danced, sang, moved about and wrestled, They stood hand in hand laughing and praised them. (16) At times when He was tired of the wrestling He sought His refuge at the foot of a tree to lay on a bed of twigs and leaves and use the lap of a gopa for a pillow. (17) Some of them, who were all great souls, massaged His feet while others, free from all sin, fanned Him nicely with fans. (18) Others befitting the occasion oh great King, would sing [songs] reflecting the spirit of the Great Soul while their hearts slowly melted of love. (19) He in His activities pretending to be a cowherd, concealed His personal opulence with the help of His mystic potency. He whose tender feet are served by the Goddess of Fortune, enjoyed like a villager with the villagers, even though He with His heroic deeds had proven Himself to be the Master and Controller.

    (20) The gopa S'rîdâmâ, a friend of Râma and Kes'ava, together with others like Subala and Stokakrishna [one day] lovingly said the following: (21) 'Râma, oh Râma, oh Mighty-armed One, oh Krishna, Destroyer of the Wicked Ones, not far away from here there is a very great forest full of palm trees [called Tâlavana]. (22) Many fruits there have fallen from the trees, but they are checked by Dhenuka, the evil one. (23) Oh Râma, oh Krishna, he is a very powerful demon who has assumed the form of an ass and he is surrounded by other companions that are as strong as he is. (24) He has killed human beings, everyone is afraid to go there oh Killer of the Enemies. All kinds of animals and flocks of birds have abandoned it. (25) There are fragrant fruits that we have never tasted. The aroma they spread is noticed everywhere. (26) Please oh Krishna give them to us whose hearts are craving because of the fragrance. The desire is so strong oh Râma, let us go there if You consider it a good idea.'

    (27) Having heard these words from Their friends, the two masters laughed and went, wishing to please Their comrades, surrounded by the gopas [compare 3.28: 31-33] to the Tâlavana forest. (28) Balarâma having arrived there, employed His great strength and shook with His two arms the trees to all sides like a mad elephant so that the fruits fell down. (29) When he heard the fruits falling the donkey demon ran hither with a heavy gallop that made the earth and the trees tremble. (30) Meeting Him the powerful demon struck Balarâma's chest quickly with his two hind legs and then ran about producing an ugly ass bray. (31) The furious, screaming beast approached Him again and angrily hurled with his back turned forward, his two legs at Balarâma oh King. (32) [But] He seized him by the hooves, whirled him around with one hand and threw him, [being dashed against a palmyra] with his life spun out of him, in the top of a palm tree. (33) The big palm tree shook heavily with its large crown because of that blow and next broke down along with another one that started to shake next to it. That tree on its turn took down another one and so it went further. (34) Balarâma with His game of donkey corpse throwing made all the palm trees [of the forest] shake and hit each other as if they were blown about by a hurricane. (35) This feat of war of the Fortunate One is not that surprising at all, for He is the Unlimited, One Controller of the Universe in whom the length and width of the world[s] is [woven] like the threads of [the warp and woof] of a piece of cloth. (36) Then, enraged about the death of their friend, all the asses that were Dhenuka's intimates attacked Krishna and Râma. (37) But attacking Krishna and Râma oh King, one after the other was easily seized by the hind legs and dashed against the stately palm trees. (38) The earth being covered with heaps of fruits, palm treetops and lifeless daitya bodies, offered a view as radiating as the sky decorated with clouds. (39) When the demigods and other transcendentalists heard about that immense triumph of the Two, they showered a rain of flowers, played music and offered prayers. (40) With Dhenuka being killed the fruits of the palm trees could be eaten by the people who were no longer afraid and the animals could graze in the forest.

    (41) Krishna the Lord with the lotus petal eyes about whom it is so auspicious to hear and chant, returned with His elder brother to Vraja, glorified by the gopas who followed Them. (42) All the gopîs with eyes hungry to see Him came to meet Him who still had the dust in His hair that was thrown up by the cows, He with His peacock feather, forest flowers, charming eyes and beautiful smile who played His flute and whose glories were sung by the gopas. (43) Entering the cowherd village He heartily welcomed the ladies of Vraja who in their veneration being bashful, humble and laughing, like bees searching for honey, with sidelong glances were drinking in the face of Mukunda, He who constituted their liberation. And therewith they gave up the grief they had suffered during the day because they had been separated from Him. (44) Mother Yas'odâ and Rohinî most lovingly catered to the desires of their two sons by presenting Them at the right time the finest offerings. (45) The weariness of the road vanished with a bath and a massage and such, after which They were dressed with a charming cloth around Their waist and were decorated with divine garlands and fragrances. (46) With the delicious preparations offered to Them They ate Their fill and thus being pampered by Their mothers They fell happily asleep in Their fine beds in Vraja.

    (47) Oh King, Krishna, the Supreme Lord who thus operated in Vrindâvana, went one day, without Balarâma and in the company of His friends, to the Kâlindi [the Yamunâ, see also **]. (48) The cows who together with the gopas suffered from the glaring summer sun, tormented by thirst drank from the water of the river, but it was polluted, it was spoiled by poison. (49-50) Because they got in touch with that poisoned water they lost their consciousness and all fell lifeless down at the waterside oh best of the Kurus. Lord Krishna, the Master of all Masters of Yoga who saw them in that state, thereupon brought them back to life by casting His glance - which is as a shower of nectar - on them who had accepted Him as their master. (51) Regaining their senses [their 'memory'], they got up at the waterside and all stood most surprised looking at each other. (52) They came to the conclusion that they, after having drunk the poison and had fallen dead oh King, by the grace of Govinda's merciful glance had risen again.'