The Deliverance of Mucukunda
BY: SUN STAFF
The burning of Kalayavana
Illustration from Bhagavata Purana, c. 1775
Rajput Miniatpure painted at Malpura, Jaipur, in Gouache with gold Nagari text on reverse
Dec 25, 2016 CANADA (SUN) King Mucukunda incinerates Kalayavana, from Bhagavata Purana.
In the 51st Chapter of Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada describes the pastime wherein Maharaja Pariksit heard the story of the demon Kalayavana being burned to ashes by King Mucukunda. Pariksit Maharaja inquired about the sleeping man from Sukadeva Gosvami, asking who he was, why he was sleeping in the cave, and how he come to have so much power that he was able to incinerate Kalayavana to ashes simply by glancing at him. Sukadeva Gosvami answered as follows:
Sukadeva addressing Pariksit
"My dear King, this person was born in the very great family of King Iksvaku, in which Lord Ramacandra was also born, and he happened to be the son of a great king known as Mandhata. He himself was also a great soul and was known popularly as Mucukunda. King Mucukunda was a strict follower of the Vedic principles of brahminical culture, and he was truthful to his promise. He was so powerful that even demigods like Indra used to ask him to help in fighting the demons, and as such he often fought against the demons to protect the demigods."
The Deliverance of Mucukunda
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The commander in chief of the demigods, known as Karttikeya, was satisfied with the fighting of King Mucukunda, but once he asked that the King, having taken too much trouble in fighting the demons, retire from fighting and take rest. Karttikeya addressed King Mucukunda, "My dear King, you have sacrificed everything for the sake of the demigods. You had a very nice kingdom, undisturbed by any kind of enemy. But you left that kingdom, neglected your opulence and possessions, and never cared for fulfillment of your personal ambitions. Due to your long absence from your kingdom while fighting the demons on behalf of the demigods, your queen, your children, your relatives and your ministers have all passed away in due course of time. Time and tide wait for no man. Now even if you return to your home, you will find no one living there. The influence of time is very strong. Time is so powerful because it is a representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; time is therefore stronger than the strongest. The influence of time can effect changes in subtle things without difficulty. No one can check the process of time. As an animal tamer tames animals according to his will, time also adjusts things according to its own will. No one can supersede the arrangement made by supreme time."
Thus addressing Mucukunda, the demigods requested him to ask any kind of benediction he might be pleased with, excepting the benediction of liberation. Liberation cannot be awarded by any living entity except the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. Therefore another name of Lord Visnu or Krsna is Mukunda, "He who can award liberation."
King Mucukunda had not slept for many, many years. He was engaged in the duty of fighting, and therefore he was very tired. So when the demigod offered a benediction, Mucukunda simply thought of sleeping. He replied as follows: "My dear Karttikeya, best of the demigods, I want to sleep now, and I want from you the following benediction. Grant me the power to burn to ashes, by my mere glance, anyone who disturbs my sleeping and awakens me untimely. Please give me this benediction." The demigod agreed and also gave him the benediction that he would be able to take complete rest. Then King Mucukunda entered the cave of the mountain.
Kalayavana Disturbs Mucukunda
On the strength of the benediction of Karttikeya, Kalayavana was burnt into ashes simply by Mucukunda's glancing at him. When the incident was over, Krsna came before King Mucukunda. Krsna had actually entered the cave to deliver King Mucukunda from his austerity, but He did not first appear before him. He arranged that first Kalayavana should come before him. That is the way of the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; He does one thing in such a way that many other purposes are served. He wanted to deliver King Mucukunda, who was sleeping in the cave and at the same time He wanted to kill Kalayavana, who had attacked Mathura City. By His action He served all purposes.
Sri Krsna, Observing
When Lord Krsna appeared before Mucukunda, the King saw Him dressed in a yellow garment, His chest marked with the symbol of Srivatsa, and the Kaustubha-mani jewel hanging around His neck. Krsna appeared before him with four hands, as visnu-murti, with a garland called Vaijayanti hanging from His neck down to His knees. He looked lustrous, His face was beautifully smiling, and He had nice jeweled earrings in His ears. Krsna appeared more beautiful than a human can conceive. Not only did He appear in this feature, but He glanced over Mucukunda with great affection, attracting the King's mind. Although He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the oldest of all, He looked like a fresh young boy, and His movements were just like those of a free deer. Still, He appeared extremely powerful; His influence and vast power are so great that every human being should be afraid of Him.
When King Mucukunda saw Krsna's magnificent features, he wondered about His identity, and with great humility he began to enquire from the Lord, "My dear Lord, may I inquire how it is that You happened to be in the cave of this mountain? Who are You? I can see that Your feet are just like soft lotus flowers. How could You walk in this forest full of thorns and hedges? I am simply surprised to see this! Are You not, therefore, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the most powerful amongst the powerful? Are You not the original source of all illumination and fire? Can I consider You one of the great demigods, like the sun, the moon, or Indra, King of heaven? Or are You the predominating deity of any other planet?"
Mucukunda knew well that every higher planetary system has a predominating deity. He was not ignorant like modern men who think that this planet earth is full of living entities and all others are vacant. The inquiry from Mucukunda about Krsna's being the predominating deity of a planet unknown to him is quite appropriate. Because he was a pure devotee of the Lord, King Mucukunda could immediately understand that Lord Krsna, who had appeared before him in such an opulent feature, could not be one of the predominating deities in the material planets. He must be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who has many Visnu forms. Mucukunda therefore took Him to be Purusottama, Lord Visnu. He could see also that the dense darkness within the mountain cave had been dissipated by the Lord's presence; therefore He could not be other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mucukunda knew very well that wherever the Lord is personally present by His transcendental name, qualities, form and so on, there cannot be any darkness of ignorance. He is like a lamp placed in the darkness; He immediately illuminates a dark place.
Worshipping the Lord
King Mucukunda became very much anxious to know about the identity of Lord Krsna, and therefore he said, "O best of human beings, if You think that I am fit to know Your identity, then kindly tell me who You are. What is Your parentage? What is Your occupational duty, and what is Your family tradition?" King Mucukunda thought it wise, however, to identify himself to the Lord; otherwise he had no right to ask the Lord's identity. Etiquette is such that a person of less importance cannot ask the identity of a person of higher importance without first disclosing his own identity.
King Mucukunda therefore informed Lord Krsna, "My dear Lord, I must inform You of my identity. I belong to the most celebrated dynasty of King Iksvaku, but personally I am not as great as my forefather. My name is Mucukunda. My father's name was Mandhata, and my grandfather's name was Yuvanasva, the great king. I was very much fatigued due to not resting for many thousands of years, and because of this all my bodily limbs were flattened and almost incapable of acting. In order to revive my energy, I was taking rest in this solitary cave, but I have been awakened by some unknown man who has forced me to wake up although I was not willing to do so. For such an offensive act, this person has been burned into ashes simply by my glancing over him. Fortunately, now I can see You in Your grand and beautiful features. I think, therefore, that You are the cause of killing my enemy. My dear Lord, I must admit that due to the effulgence of Your body, unbearable to my eyes, I cannot see You properly. I can fully realize that by the influence of Your effulgence my powerful potency has been diminished. I can understand that You are quite fit for being worshiped by all living entities."
Leaf from the Bhagavat Purani
Seeing King Mucukunda so anxious to know about His identity, Lord Krsna began to answer smilingly as follows: "My dear King, it is practically impossible to tell about My birth, appearance, disappearance and activities. Perhaps you know that My incarnation Anantadeva has unlimited mouths, and for an unlimited time He has been trying to narrate fully about My name, fame, qualities, activities, appearance, disappearance and incarnation, but still He has not been able to finish. Therefore, it is not possible to know exactly how many names and forms I possess. It may be possible for a material scientist to estimate the number of atomic particles which make up this earthly planet, but the scientist cannot enumerate My unlimited names, forms and activities. There are many great sages and saintly persons who are trying to make a list of My different forms and activities, yet they have failed to make a complete list. But since you are so anxious to know about Me, I may inform you that presently I have appeared on this planet just to annihilate the demoniac principles of the people in general and to reestablish the religious principles enjoined in the Vedas. I have been invited for this purpose by Brahma, the superintending deity of this universe, and thus I have now appeared in the dynasty of the Yadus as one of their family members.
I have specifically taken My birth as the son of Vasudeva in the Yadu dynasty, and people therefore know Me as Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva. You may also know that I have killed Kamsa, who was in a previous life was known as Kalanemi, as well as Pralambasura and many other demons. They have acted as My enemies and have been killed by Me. The demon who was present before you also acted as My enemy, and you have very kindly burned him into ashes by glancing over him. My dear King Mucukunda, you are My great devotee, and just to show you My causeless mercy, I have appeared in this form. I am very affectionately inclined toward My devotees, and in your previous life, before your present condition, you acted as My great devotee and prayed for My causeless mercy. I have, therefore, come to see you to fulfill your desire. Now you can see Me to your heart's content. My dear King, now you can ask from Me any benediction you wish, and I am prepared to fulfill your desire. It is My eternal principle that anyone who comes under My shelter must have all his desires fulfilled by My grace."
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Read the remainder of Chapter 51 of Krsna Book here.
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