SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 4 CHAPTER 24

THE FOURTH BOOK

Chapter XXIV

On the stealing away of Pradyumna

1-2. Vyāsa said:

On the other hand, there, at the house of Nanda, early in the next morning, commenced the grand birthday festivity. Kamsa came to know, afterwards, by his spies as will as by general rumour, that at Gokula, in the house of Nanda, a very joyous festival on a grand scale was being performed;

he also knew before that the other wives of Vāsudeva, his animals and his servants were all staying at Nanda’s residence in Gokula.

3-4. O Bharata! Thus all these gave reasons to Kamsa to suspect the place Gokula. Especially Nārada told him before that the residents, the cowherds at Gokula, Nanda and others, their wives, Devakī and Vāsudeva were all Devas incarnates; and consequently they were his enemies.

5-7. Thus being brought to more confidence by Nārada’s words, that vicious Kamsa, the disgrace to his family, was very angry and sent there his demons Pūtanā, Baka, Vatsa, the great Asura, the powerful Dhenuka, Pralamba.

They were all killed by Kṛṣṇa, of unsurpassable prowess. Śrī Kṛṣṇa held aloft also the hillock Gobardhana (to protect the cow herds and cows, etc.) Hearing all these, Kamsa became certain also of his own death.

8. Lastly when the evil minded Kamsa heard that the Daitya Keśi was also slain, then he made arrangements for a sacrifice, known as Dhanuryajña; and under this pretext wanted to bring over there at Mathurā the two brothers Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.

9. The evil minded Kamsa to effect the death of those two, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, of unsurpassable prowess, sent Akrūra to Gokula to bring them over to Mathurā.

10. Akrūra, the son of Gandinī, under the orders of Kamsa, went to Gokula and brought the two boys on a chariot to Mathurā.

11-12. On arriving at Mathurā, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa first broke the bow; killed Rājaka, the elephant Kubalaya, Chāṇūra, Muṣṭika, Śala, Tośala and other athletes and warriors.

Last of all, Hari, the Lord of the Devas, holding Kamsa by his hair, killed him with utmost ease.

13. The enemy-destroyer Kṛṣṇa removed the sorrows of his father and mother and released them from their prisons and gave over the kingdom of Mathurā to Ugrasena (the father of Kamsa).

14-15. The high minded Vāsudeva, then, with the triple girdle made of Munja grass, performed the Upanayana ceremonies (wearing the sacred thread round the body) of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa and made them accept the vow of Brahmacharya. They then departed to the hermitage of the holy Muni Śandīpana to acquire knowledge. Learning all the Vidyās (knowledges) there, they returned quickly to Mathurā.

16. The two sons of Ānakadundubhi stayed there and on attaining their twelfth year, became proficient in all the branches of learning and became very powerful.

17. That time Jārāsandha, being grieved at the killing of his son-in-law Kamsa, collected a strong and numerous army and marched to Mathurā.

18. Seventeen times Jārāsandha, the king of Magadha, attacked Mathurā and seventeen times he was defeated by the ingenuity of that highly intelligent Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who was of firm resolve and was then residing in Mathurā.

19. Lastly, Jārāsandha sent the Kālayavana (Black Yavana) to invade Mathurā. These Yavanas were brave and the lords of all Mlechchas (untouchables) and extremely terrific to the Yādavas.

Note: Kālayavana - A king of Yavanas and enemy of Kṛṣṇa and an invincible foe of the Yādavas. Kṛṣṇa finding it impossible to vanquish him in the field of battle, cunningly decoyed him to the cave where Muchukunda was sleeping who burnt him down.

Yavana means a Greek, an Ionian; then any foreigner, or barbarian (the word is applied at present to a Mahomedan or a European also).

20-21. Hearing that Kala Yavana was coming to attack the Yādavas, Kṛṣṇa the destroyer of Madhu, called all the Yādavas and Baladeva and addressed them thus “O blessed ones! Now a cause of great terror has appeared amongst us; Kala Yavana is being sent by our powerful enemy Jārāsandha to attack Mathurā. Now what to do? It is better to save one’s life by leaving aside all our homes, wealth and army.

22. You should all know that is the place of our fathers and forefathers where we can safely and happily dwell; where there is a constant source of anxiety and uneasiness that, though the place of our fathers and forefathers, ought to be avoided; never ought anyone to dwell there.

23. If you want to dwell at ease and comfort, you ought to dwell in that country or place which is adjacent to a sea or a mountain; where there is no fear from an enemy, the sages will always remain there.

24. See! The Bhagavān Hari, being afraid, as it were, of his enemy has taken refuge on the body of the thousand headed Śeṣa serpent as his sleeping place and is sleeping at ease and comfort on the ocean. It seems likely that the enemy of Tripura, the great Śiva is also dwelling on the Kailāśa mountain.

25. We, too, are being constantly worried by our enemies here; therefore we ought not to live here any longer. We should all go to Dwārkā city with our friends, relatives and wealth.

26. Garuda, the king of the birds, has given us the detailed information of the city Dwārkā. That beautiful city is situated on the sea shore in the vicinity of the Raivataka mountain.”

27. Vyāsa said:

The Yādava chiefs, hearing Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s utterances fraught with their welfare, were ready to depart to that place Dwārkā, attended by their friends, relatives, and appurtenances.

28. They then collected their camels, mares, and buffaloes and filled their conveyances with wealth, gems and precious stones and marched out of their place.

29. Rāma and Kṛṣṇa went in front; the Yādavas and other subjects then marched in groups (several parties).

30. Marching some days, they all reached Dvārāvatī. Then the portions of the city that were dilapidated or destroyed, Śrī Kṛṣṇa had them repaired by engineers, artisans and craftsmen.

31. Placing the Yādavas there, Keśava and Baladeva quickly returned to Mathurā and began to stay in that desolated city.

32. The extremely powerful king of the Yavanas arrived then at Mathurā. Kṛṣṇa knowing that the Yavana chief had come there, went out of the city.

33. The Bhagavān Madhusūdana, the destroyer of the boastings of Asuras and other people, dressed in yellow robes, appeared on foot before the Kālayavana with smile on his lips.

34. Seeing the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa before him, the treacherous Lord of the Yavanas, pursued him on foot to catch hold of him.

35. Where the powerful Rājaṛṣī Muchukunda was sleeping soundly, the Bhagavān Hari led Kālayavana there.

36. There Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw Muchukunda and vanished away at once; the king of the Yavanas on arriving there found the Rājaṛṣī (the royal sage) there in deep sleep.

37. The wicked Yavana mistaking Muchukunda for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, gave him a good kick. The powerful king Muchukunda got up and was very angry; his eyes became red and reduced that vicious Yavana instantly into ashes.

38. When Muchukunda burnt the Yavana, he saw the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa; he bowed down to that Supreme Deva, Vāsudeva, and went to forest.

39. Śrī Kṛṣṇa then went back to the city Dwārkā with Rāma and made Ugrasena there the king and began to enjoy at his will.

40. At the marriage ceremony of Śiśupāla, at the palace of the king of Vidarbha, Janārdana Viṣṇu carried away by force Rukmiṇī, the bride elect from the Svayamvara assembly (where the husband is self-elected by the bride herself) and afterwards married her according to the rule called Rākhṣasa Vidhi (one of the eight forms of marriage in Hindu Law in which a girl is forcibly seized and carried away after the defeat or destruction of her relatives in battle).

41-42. Afterwards He brought also Jāmbavatī, Satyabhāmā, Mitravindā, Kālindī, Lakṣmanā, Bhadrā, and auspicious Nāgnajitī (the daughter of the king Nāgnajit) on various occasions and married them.

O Lord of the earth! These eight women were the best and most beautiful of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s wives.

43. Rukmiṇī first gave birth to the beautiful child Pradyumna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa performed the religious ceremony at the birth of his child.

44. Then the powerful Dānava named Śamvara stole away the little baby from the lying-in-chamber and carried him to his own city and made him over under the charge of Māyāvatī.

45. Coming to know that His son had been stolen away, Śrī Kṛṣṇa became very much overpowered with sorrow and took the shelter of the Supreme Goddess, the Devī, with a heart full of devotion.

46-47. Śrī Kṛṣṇa then began, to chant, in sweet auspicious tone, hymns in alphabets, conveying the highest meanings, in adoration of the Yoga Māyā, Who slew Vritrāsura and other Daityas with ease and alacrity.

48. O Mother! I, in my former birth as the son of Dharma, appeased You by my ascetic practices in the hermitage of Badari and worshipped You with various offerings; O Mother! Have you now forgotten all my devotion to You?

49. O Mother! Has any evil minded enemy stolen away my son from the lying-in chamber? Or have You Yourself done this to make a fun and see the amusement? It seems that some one of my enemies has done so to insult me; however, You, O Mother! ought not to put your devotee under this shameful condition.

50. O Mother! This Dvārakā city is well guarded; a very strong fort is built in its middle and my place is in the midst of that again; and the lying in-chamber is again in the middle; I therefore must say that it is due to my bad luck that the child is stolen away!

51. O Mother! I did not go to the house of my enemy; the Yādavas also did not go there; this city is guarded by valiant soldiers; then how is it, under what charm, the baby has been stolen?

O Mother! Now I come to know that it is due to Your Māyā; such things are common due to Your Māyā in the three worlds.

52. O Mother! When I am ignorant of your deepest mysteries, how can there exist anyone among the little minded Jīvas that can know your doings? My watchmen could not see anything, where my child was taken away and who has stolen it. O Mother! I come to the conclusion that it is hidden behind the screen of Your Māyā.

53. O Mother! It is not strange with You; to the chaste woman, Rohiṇī Devī, though situated at a great distance and not connected with any male persons, You, in the fifth

month, moved away the son to my knowledge from the womb of my mother; and thus Baladeva was born to Rohiṇī. This is now known to all.

54. Mother! You are incessantly creating, preserving, and destroying this whole universe by the mixture of the three qualities. Who can know Your sin-destroying doings? Mother! There is no need of dwelling at length. Suffice it to say that You, no doubt, are doing all that are being done in this whole universe.

55. You first create the joy at the birth of a child; again You load us with heavy burdens of sorrows due to the separation from that child; thus you are always sporting; otherwise how my joy at the birth of my child would thus be rendered quite useless?

56. The mother of that child is always weeping like an ewe, straying from a flock; she is giving vent to her sorrows always to me; O Kind-hearted! Being thus endowed with illimitable prowess and understanding, do You not know my troubles!

O Mother! You are the only source of consolation to one, suffering from the sorrows of this world. There is no doubt in this.

57. O Goddess! The wise seers say that the birth of a child in any house is the highest bliss there, and the death of a child is the greatest sorrow that can befall to any house. Therefore, O Mother! What shall I do in this? What shall I say more than that my heart is going to burst, due to the disappearance of my child.

58. O Mother! I will perform all the necessary sacrifices, take up vows, perform all sorts of worship to the entire satisfaction of the Great Fate (Ordainer of things); You be pleased to remove my sorrow. O Mother! If my son be alive, kindly show him once to me. Mother! There is no other than You Who is fully capable to destroy this my pain and sorrow, raging in my heart.

59. Vyāsa said:

He who brings into practice, things that are considered impracticable for the Devas and removes the load of the Goddess Earth with ease and alacrity, the same Saviour of world, Śrī Kṛṣṇa thus chanted hymns in adoration of the Great Goddess.

The Devī then became visible to him and said:

60. O Lord of the Devas! Do not any longer be sorrowful and miserable; there had been a curse on you before; and for that reason, the Daitya Śambara has stolen away your son by his demonic magic.

61. Therefore, when your son will grow sixteen years old, then he will, by My Grace, kill the Daitya perforce and will return to you. There is no doubt in this.

62. O king! Thus saying these words full of hope and confidence, the Great Goddess Chandikā, of formidable prowess, disappeared.

Kṛṣṇa too, quitted his sorrows, due to the bereavement of his child, and began to spend his time in happiness and peace.

Here ends the Twenty-fourth Chapter of the Fourth Book of Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, the Mahā Purāṇam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa on the stealing away of Pradyumna.