Monday, 4 July 2011

Krishna Kills the Witch Putana

Kamsa enlisted a demon named Putana to kill newborn babies. The demon dressed as a beautiful woman and flew on her broom to Krishna's nursery, hoping to kill Him with the poison she had smeared on her nipples. Krishna's mother innocently let Putana pick the baby up and put it to her breast. Krishna closed His eyes and sucked out her life air, killing her, without taking her poison. When Putana's soul departed, her body returned to its real form: a gigantic witch that smashed trees as it fell, stretching twelve miles across the landscape. Putana's soul attained liberation due to the benevolent act of offering her breast milk to Krishna and the inhabitants of Vrindavana cremated the body.

After Krishna killed Putana, the elder gopis (women of the village) picked Him up and performed auspicious rites for His protection and purification. They bathed Him and chanted religious mantras to prevent further attacks. Srila Prabhuapda explains in Krishna Book: "The elderly gopis of Vrindavana were so absorbed in affection for Krishna that they wanted to save Him, although there was no need to, for He had already protected Himself. They could not understand that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead playing as a child." (p. 47)

Krishna's parents treated children lovingly, celebrating their birthdays and other rites of passage. They acted in a kindly way to correct their children when they got into mischief, for example sometimes Krishna and Balarama would get into the cow shed, catch the tail of a calf and stand up. The calves would drag them around and they would be covered with mud. Rather than become angry, the mothers would call their friends to watch the fun. Mother Yasoda never hit Krishna, but once tied Him to a grinding mortar when He stole butter and fed it to the monkeys. The scriptures explain that as she tried to tie him, the rope was too short. She kept using a longer rope, but it always came up too short. Srila Prabhupada explains that "Krishna appreciated the hard labor of His mother, and being compassionate upon her, He agreed to be bound up by the ropes." (Krishna Book, p. 66)

Krishna tried to crawl and the mortar stuck between two Arjuna trees in the courtyard. The trees fell and two splendorous demigods emerged and offered prayers to Krishna. Narada Muni cursed had the souls to stand as trees for one hundred years and Krishna freed them.

When the boys got a little older, they spent their days playing with the calves in a nearby field. Their mothers cooked the noon meal and called them from the fields, or they would pack lunches for them. Children were considered the wealth of the family and were protected from abuse. However, rather than the parents protecting Krishna, it is the child who protects the village and all the people in it.

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