Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Subala, Part 7

BY: SUN STAFF

Vanquishing Dhenukasura
Bhagavata Purana, Kangra, c. 1840


Apr 09, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

One of the most famous pastimes of Krsna and Balarama in Vrindavan was the killing of the demon Dhenukasura. Several gopa friends were also in attendance at this event, including Krsna's dearmost friend, Subala, who along with Sridama and Stoka Krsna had come to implore Balarama and Krsna to drive the asura out of Talavana forest.

The story of the vanquishing of Dhenukasura is told by Srila Prabhupada in Chapter 15 of Krsna Book.

    "While Krsna was thus engaged in exhibiting His internal potency along with His supermost fortunate friends, there occurred another chance for Him to exhibit the superhuman powers of Godhead. His most intimate friends Sridama, Subala and Stoka Krsna began to address Krsna and Balarama with great love and affection thus: "Dear Balarama, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear Krsna, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Talavana. This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Some are falling down, and some of them are very ripe even in the trees. It is a very nice place, but because of a great demon, Dhenukasura, it is very difficult to go there. No one can reach the trees to collect the fruits. Dear Krsna and Balarama, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who assume the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, You are the only persons who can kill such demons. Other than You, no one can go there for fear of being killed. Not even animals go there, and no birds are sleeping there; they have all left. One can only appreciate the sweet aroma that is coming from that place. It appears that up until now, no one has tasted the sweet fruits there, either on the trees or on the ground. Dear Krsna, to tell You frankly, we are very attracted by this sweet aroma. Dear Balarama, let us all go there and enjoy these fruits. The aroma of the fruits is now spread everywhere. Don't You smell it from here?"

    When Balarama and Krsna were thus petitioned by Their smiling, intimate friends, They were inclined to please them, and They began to proceed towards the forest, surrounded by all Their friends. Immediately upon entering the Talavana, Balarama began to yank the trees with His arms, exhibiting the strength of an elephant. Because of this jerking, all the ripe fruits fell down on the ground. Upon hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the demon Dhenukasura, who was living there in the form of an ass, approached with great force, shaking the whole field so that all the trees began to move as if there were an earthquake. The demon appeared first before Balarama and kicked His chest with his hind legs. At first, Balarama did not say anything, but the demon with great anger began to kick Him again more vehemently. This time Balarama immediately caught hold of the legs of the ass with one hand and, wheeling him around, threw him into the treetops. While he was being wheeled around by Balarama, the demon lost his life. Balarama threw the demon into the biggest palm tree about, and the demon's body was so heavy that the palm tree fell upon other trees, and several fell down. It appeared as if a great hurricane had passed through the forest, and all the trees were falling down, one after another. This exhibition of extraordinary strength is not astonishing because Balarama is the Personality of Godhead known as Ananta Sesa Naga, who is holding all the planets on the hoods of His millions of heads. The whole cosmic manifestation is maintained by Him exactly as two threads hold the weaving of a cloth.

    After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukasura immediately assembled and attacked Balarama and Krsna with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Krsna and Balarama began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheeled them around. Thus They killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets began to shower flowers on Krsna and Balarama and beat their drums and offer devotional prayers.

    A few days after the killing of Dhenukasura, people began to come into the Talavana forest to collect the fruits, and animals began to return without fear to feed on the nice grasses grown there. Just by chanting or hearing these transcendental activities and pastimes of the brothers Krsna and Balarama, one can amass pious activities."

    Krsna Book, Chapter 15

    Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


Subala, Sridama and Stoka Krsna tell Krishna and Balarama about the Demon in the Palm Grove
Bhagavata Purana, Panjab Plains, c. 1880


While no details are found in the passage above about Subala's participation in the actual fight with Dhenuka demon, in the Garga Samhita we find the following verses:

Text 12

murdhni kritva catuh-sringam
dhritva rupam bhayankaram
gopan vidravayam asa
sringais tikshnair bhayankaraih

    Then Dheunka manifested a terrifying form with four horns. With his sharp and terrifying horns he made the gopas flee.

Text 13

agre palayitan gopan
dudravasu madotkatah
sridama tam ca dandena
subalo mushtina tatha

    When the boys fled, Dhenuka chased them. Angry Sridama hit Dhenuka with a stick, and Subala hit him with his fist.

    (Garga-samhita, Canto One, Volume Four, Chapter Eleven - Dhenukasura-moksha)


Krishna and Balarama Hear About the Demon in the Palm Grove


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