Krishna Dance on the Snake

Krishna Dance on the Snake
The rivers are always enchanting to look at, and especially in the evenings.   if one has a chance to sit on the river sand facing the running water with friends to talk about on interesting subjects, while munching ground nuts and baked peas, in the cool breeze, there is nothing equal to it, isn’t it?  In summer particularly, such an opportunity is pleasant,  quite enjoyable, and most welcome.

At one time, it was not so with the river Yamuna, because people considered it dangerous to enter the river or drink its water. Why so, because the Yamuna always had clean crystal clear waters with facilities for people to bathe and enjoy drinking its water?   The reason for fear of nearing the Yamuna was not very difficult to understand.  A  big poisonous snake had now taken the Yamuna as its refuge and turned the waters deadly poisonous and killed the animals, birds, and innocent beings entering the Yamuna.  Even plants too were not growing near the river!  This happened all of a sudden recently.  Heretofore it was a paradise for the children of  Vrindavan to swim and play in the Yamuna.

The snake which now occupied the Yamuna was known as Kaleeyan. He was in a fight with Garuda, the eagle king, his arch-enemy,   for long and escaped the attacks of Garuda by taking refuge in the deep Yamuna.  Why Kaleeyan chose the Yamuna because there was a curse by a Rishi on Garudan that if he entered Brindhavan he will meet with his death.  So Garudan cannot threaten the life of Kaleeyan if he is in the Yamuna in Brindhavan!!  But  Kaleeyan posed a threat to others in Brindhavan by his presence!

There was a big bamboo tree on the banks of Yamuna which was very old, Its branches were overhanging the river and the boys used to climb the tree and jump into the river from the low branches above the river.

Krishna and the boys were always playing there but were prevented by elders and others not to go near the river now because of Kaleeyan’s presence in the river.

That evening  Krishna and his friends were playing a stick game.  Everyone had a long stick with which they will have to hit the stick held high by the loser in the game.  The boy has to run and pick up his stick hit away by others, and touch the nearest one whose turn it will be to hold the stick to be hit by others.  The game was interesting for the boys and they were engrossed in it.  Suddenly Krishna lost the game and he had to hold the stick to be hit by others.  Balarama the strongest boy hit the stick held high above his head by Krishna.   The boys were playing on the river bank and Krishna was standing with his back to the river.  When Balarama hit the stick of Krishna, it fell deep into the river behind him.  Krishna has to chase the boys only after picking up his stick.  He did not hesitate even for a moment.  He immediately jumped into the river without caring for the warnings of others.

Other boys shouted  "Krishna don’t enter the water, it is poisonous. come ashore.  Remember  the huge snake in it which will kill you" 

Krishna did not care and jumped into the water and swam towards the floating stick which was carried away by the river’s current beyond his reach.  Krishna was swimming against the current which pushed him away from his target.  Krishna hesitated for a minute.  The stick was floating somewhere in the mid-river. He saw a low branch of the old jamboo tree above the water level. He caught hold of it and heaved himself up and climbed the tree.  He slowly moved through another branch to the exact place from where he could jump into the river to pick up his stick. 

Some of the boys in the meantime ran away to their homes and alerted the elders.  Within a few minutes, there were many on the banks wondering what do and how to save Krishna.  Kaleeya,  who was hungry that day with nothing to eat, was very happy to find a  boy in the river to be his lunch. 

Dear Children, I forgot to tell you that Kaleeyan was not an ordinary snake,  He had many heads with big hoods well spread like umbrellas. 
When Krishna jumped into the deep mid-river from the tree branch, Kaleeya was directly under him under the water.  In no time, he caught hold of Krishna, encircled and coiled him with his long tail, and began crushing him.  Krishna realized that he was in a fix now and had to act fast to get rid of the huge snake.   Kaleeyan was busy spitting the poison on Krishna to kill him and swallow him. 

Krishna suddenly began gaining strength and twisted the snake away and extricated from its clutches.  The grip with which he twisted it made Kaleeyan feel the pain and he began spitting the venom on Krishna. Krishna cleverly avoided the snake’s efforts and decided to press its head down and jump on its spreaded hoods atop its heads. 

Before long, Krishna was now on top of Kaleeyan’s heads thumping and jumping on the spreaded hoods applying crushing weight and pressure to break the skulls of the snake and damage the brains of  Kalyeeyan.  Those standing in awe looking at  Krishna imagined that Krishna was joyously jumping and dancing on Kaleeyan’s head, holding his tail in one hand and playing his flute which he always kept in the waist bound by a cloth. The impact of Krishna’s increased weight and force slowly made  Kayleen lose his consciousness and he was about to die.  His wives who heard the painful cries of Kaleeyan surfaced up from down the river and prayed to Krishna to spare the life of Kaleeyan showing mercy on him for their sake.

Kaleeyan also begged   "Krishna”, please forgive me for my stupid act done without knowing who you are and please show mercy on me. I will not do any harm to anyone hereafter”  Krishna took a pledge from him to leave the Yamuna river before night to some other place without harming anyone in future"

Krishna then jumped from Kaleeyan’s heads to the tree branch and landed ashore,  amidst the delightful shoutings of the boys and appreciation of the elders who were witness to this marvelous feat of Krishna.

I read somewhere  Kaleeyan thereafter moved to some river or ocean near Fiji islands.  But we have not heard any more about Kaleeyan and need not worry about entering the Yamuna for bathing and worshipping Krishna thanking him for the redemption of the beautiful and holy river for us.

Children! we all enjoy snake dance by young girls in groups in many dance programs, but whenever we see the picture of Krishna dancing on Kaleeya’s hooded heads, kept and worshipped in our Pooja rooms we can enjoy the beautify of his beaming face having no fear. Remember when Krishna is in our minds there will be no fear at all!

The rivers are always enchanting to look at and especially in the evenings if one has a chance to sit on the rivers and facing the running water with friends to talk about on interesting subjects, munching ground nuts and baked peas, enjoying the cool breeze, there is nothing equal to it, is n’t it?  In summer particularly, such an opportunity is heavenly.

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