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Krsna and Balarama Challenge the Four Wrestlers

"After Kamsa's wrestlers expressed their determination, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the killer of Madhu, confronted Canura, and Lord Balarama, the son of Rohini, confronted Mustika. Krishna and Canura and then Balarama and Mustika locked themselves hand to hand, leg to leg. The fighting increased as they pushed one another from one place to another. One captured another and threw him down on the ground, and another rushed from the back to the front of another and tried to overcome him with a hold. The fighting increased step by step. All the arts of wrestling were perfectly exhibited by the parties, as each tried his best to defeat his opponent."

....When Lord Krsna, the Supersoul of every living being, understood that the ladies in the assembly were anxious for Him, He decided not to continue wrestling but to kill the wrestlers immediately. The parents of Krsna and Balarama, namely Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda, Vasudeva and Devaki, were also very anxious because they did not know the unlimited strength of their children. Lord Balarama was fighting with the wrestler Mustika in the same way that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was fighting and wrestling with Canura. Lord Krsna appeared to be cruel to Canura, and He immediately struck him thrice with His fist. The great wrestler was jolted, to the astonishment of the audience. Canura then took his last chance and attacked Krsna, just as one hawk swoops upon another. Folding his two hands, he began to strike the chest of Krsna, but Lord Krsna was not even slightly disturbed, no more than an elephant that is hit by a flower garland. Krsna quickly caught the two hands of Canura and began to wheel him around, and simply by this centrifugal action, Canura lost his life. Krsna then threw him to the ground. Canura fell just like the flag of Indra, and all his nicely decorated ornaments were scattered hither and thither.

Mustika also struck Balarama, and Balarama returned the stroke with great force. Mustika began to tremble and blood and vomit flowed from his mouth. Distressed, he gave up his vital force and fell down just as a tree falls down in a hurricane. After the two wrestlers were killed, a wrestler named Kuta came forward. Lord Balarama immediately caught him in His left hand and killed him nonchalantly. Another wrestler of the name Sala came forward, and Krsna immediately kicked him and cracked his head. Another wrestler named Tosala came forward and was killed in the same way. Thus all the great wrestlers were killed by Krsna and Balarama, and the remaining wrestlers began to flee from the assembly out of fear for their lives. All the cowherd boyfriends of Krsna and Balarama approached Them and congratulated Them with great pleasure. While trumpets resounded and drums were beaten, the leg bells on the feet of Krsna and Balarama tinkled.

All the people gathered there began to clap in great ecstasy, and no one could estimate the bounds of their pleasure. The brahmanas present began to praise Krsna and Balarama ecstatically. Only Kamsa was morose; he neither clapped nor offered benediction to Krsna. Kamsa resented the drums' being beaten for Krsna's victory, and he was very sorry that the wrestlers had been killed and had fled the assembly. He therefore immediately ordered the drum playing to stop and addressed his men as follows: "I order that these two sons of Vasudeva be immediately driven out of Mathura. The cowherd boys who have come with Them should be plundered and all their riches taken away. Nanda Maharaja should immediately be arrested and killed for his cunning behavior, and that rascal Vasudeva should also be killed without delay. Also my father, Ugrasena, who has always supported my enemies against my will, should be killed."

When Kamsa spoke in this way, Lord Krsna became very angry with him, and within a second He jumped over the high guards of King Kamsa. Kamsa was prepared for Krsna's attack, for he knew from the beginning that He was to be the cause of his death. He immediately unsheathed his sword and prepared to answer the challenge of Krsna with sword and shield. As Kamsa wielded his sword up and down, hither and thither, Lord Krsna, the supreme powerful Lord, caught hold of him with great force. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the shelter of the complete creation and from whose lotus navel the whole creation is manifested, immediately knocked the crown from the head of Kamsa and grabbed his long hair in His hand. He then dragged Kamsa from his seat to the wrestling dais and threw him down. Then Krsna at once straddled his chest and began to strike him over and over again. Simply from the strokes of His fist, Kamsa lost his vital force.

In order to assure His parents that Kamsa was dead, Lord Krsna dragged him just as a lion drags an elephant after killing it. On sight of this, there was a great roaring sound from all sides, as some spectators expressed their jubilation and others cried in lamentation. From the day Kamsa heard he would be killed by the eighth son of Devaki, he was always thinking of Krsna twenty-four hours a day without any stopping--even while he was eating, while he was walking, while breathing--and naturally he got the blessing of liberation."

Krsna Book, Chapter 44

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from text and purport of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.