Author Archives: Nirooshitha Sethuram, Yogaratna

Krishna Avatar Part 35

By Nirooshitha Sethuram, Yogaratna

Graphics by Sheralee (Shambhavi) Hancherow

After Jarasandha agreed to have a duel with Bhima, a fierce duel began. It attracted a large crowd of people. For thirteen days they remained engaged in a ferocious battle with no winner in sight. They both showed no signs of exhaustion. On the fourteenth day, Krishna addressed Bhima encouragingly, “The enemy looks very tired so don’t attack him with all your force, as it’s sure you would kill him if you did. Also don’t use your divine powers, with which you are so blessed by the Wind God.”  

Bhima got the message that it was time to put an end to Jarasandha’s life on earth. Bhima attacked Jarasandha in full fury, lifted him up in the air and tossed him down with a thud. Jarasandha was lying there for a moment, trying to regain his strength. Krishna caught Bhima’s attention by tearing a leaf into two. Bhima took this as a signal. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two in the same manner. As described earlier in the story, Jarasandha’s body was a vertical join of two halves of bodies, joined by the demoness Jara. So, Bhima could tear his body apart into two pieces without much difficulty. 

He threw the pieces, each on its own side, and turned towards Krishna and his brother with joy. But the happiness didn’t last long. When he turned back, he was horrified to see that the two parts of Jarasandha’s body drew closer and closer together and in no time joined again. Jarasandha was standing right in front of Bhima with a fierce look on his face.

Bhima fighting Jarasandha
https://www.4to40.com/stories-for-kids/stories-in-english/krishna-and-jarasandha

Again, the duel continued. Again and again, Bhima tried his best, tearing Jarasandha’s body apart a few times relentlessly. But each time the same thing happened. The two parts of Jarasandha’s body drew closer and closer and joined together, again and again. Bhima felt quite helpless seeing this. So, he turned his eyes towards Krishna with frustration. He saw Krishna tearing a leaf vertically and throwing the halves in opposite directions. 

Bhima was able to understand the hint. He fell upon Jarasandha, flung him down and tore his body into two pieces once again. Now he threw the right side of his body to the left and the left side to his right. To his astonishment, the torn pieces didn’t move from where they had been thrown. That was the end of Jarasandha. 

Krishna and freed kings
http://paninformation.blogspot.com/2014/07/

lord-krishna-blesses-liberated-kings.html

Krishna along with Bhima and Arjuna freed all the imprisoned kings. The kings expressed their heartiest gratitude to Krishna and the two Pandava brothers for freeing them. Accepting that with humility, they invited each one of them to take part in the Rajasuya Yajňa at Indraprastha. 

Krishna, along with Bhima and Arjuna, were cordially invited into the palace of Jarasandha by his son Sahadev. He apologized on behalf of his father for his behavior and his arrogance. The three of them decided to forgive Sahadev and crowned him as the next king of Magadha kingdom. He wore his father’s crown with humility and gratitude. All congratulated and blessed him whole heartedly. 

Bhima’s victory was celebrated at the uppermost level. He was praised highly for his skill in wrestling. Sahadev praised Bhima for his immense prowess. But Bhima remained modest and attributed the credit of his success to his cousin Krishna. Krishna was duly honored and respected too. Krishna and the Pandava brothers then said their farewells to all and departed to Indraprastha.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
File:Krishna_as_Chariot_Driver.jpg

As soon as the three of them returned to Indraprastha, they conveyed the successful news about Bhima slaying Jarasandha. Yudhishthira was very happy to hear the news of Jarasandha’s end. He was so pleased with Krishna that he celebrated him and, as a token of gratitude, presented a beautiful chariot to him. 

Yudhishthira was now cleared of all obstacles toward performing the Rajasuya Yajňa. Invitations were sent to saints and learned brahmins to participate in the yajňa. Invitations were also sent to all kings, respected merchants and other prominent citizens from all kingdoms to take part in the yajňa. Yudhishthira sent one of his brothers to Hastinapura in order to invite grandsire Bhishma, Vidura, Guru Drona, Kripacharya, Dhritarashtra and all the Kaurava princes. All of them came with valuable gifts for the Pandava King. 

As Saint Dhaumya was the Pandava’s royal priest, he was appointed as the chief priest to perform the yajňa. After all arrangements had been completed Yudhishthira inaugurated the yajňa. Sage Vyasa was there to supervise all rituals, making sure they were done according to the scriptures. By the grace of God, the yajňa was completed successfully without any interruption.

Honoring Krishna at Rajasuya Yajňa
https://www.reddit.com/r/mythologymemes/

comments/icquk6/the_fate_of_shishupala_
and_his_101_insults/

It was customary to select one guest as the special honored guest, to be honored before honoring everyone else who were present. Yudhishthira  chose to leave this choice to the assembly of kings who were gathered. He addressed the assembly, requesting them to choose the best participant so that the ritual of honoring can be initiated, then all the participants could be honored thereafter. Sahdev, the King of Magadha stood up and proposed Krishna’s name.  Bhishma seconded along with Guru Drona. 

Even though a large number of kings agreed with the decision, a small group of kings opposed the proposal.  They suggested either Bhishma or Drona should be honored as the best participant. The opposition group was led by Shishupala, a cousin of Krishna from his father’s side. He stood up and started attacking Sahadev verbally for proposing Krishna.  He went to the extent of insulting Bhishma and Drona for supporting the proposal. Then he demanded that Krishna refuse to accept the honor, as Shishupala thought that Krishna was not worthy of it. 

Shishupala kept launching abusive words towards Krishna who was standing quietly and patiently. Calling him a mere cowherd, Shishupala insisted that Krishna was worthless to be honored. The Kauravas were thoroughly enjoying all the verbal abuses, especially the ones targeted at Krishna and the Pandavas.

Krishna, Bhishma and kings
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/

File:Bhishma_talking_about_the_greatness_
of_Krishna.jpg

Bhishma stood up, asked Shishupala to calm down, then addressed the assembly. He said, “Among the kshatriyas the most valiant deserves this honor. In my opinion, Krishna stands above all of us in many ways. His courage, fame and his knowledge of Vedas and scriptures, as well as the wisdom and patience that he has, which he demonstrated at the moment when Shishupala used abusive words to insult him.”  

Shishupala was outraged by this praise of Krishna by Bhishma and burst into fury, now starting to use abusive and offensive language towards Grandsire Bhishma. Insulting Bhishma, Shishupala called his great vow to remain celibate throughout his life an act of cowardice. 

When Krishna heard the impolite words used against the elderly honorable Bhishma, he stood up and addressed the assembly. He said “Shishupala, my cousin, has repeatedly caused a lot of distress to me and my family. Every time when I tried to punish Shishupala for his misdeeds, his mother, my aunt came to me, begging to spare his life. So, I promised my aunt that I would pardon Shishupala for his first hundred offenses. I have been counting his misdeeds. They have already come to hundred. One more offence and I will have to punish him, as an example for all who don’t follow righteousness.”  

When Krishna said this, Shishupala laughed and again came out cursing and insulting Krishna using vulgar language. When these words were uttered by Shishupala, Krishna wielded his Sudarshana Chakra, which whirled around and went straight to targeting Shishupala. It chopped his head off his body, killing him on the spot.

Krishna beheading Shishupala
https://ritsin.com/the-story-of-shishupala.html/

All who were witnessing this stood frozen to their feet. Krishna consoled them all, then helped and guided Shishupala’s son to perform the last rites for his father. Krishna also crowned Shishupala’s son as the next king of Chedi. Shishupala was none other than Jaya, the gatekeeper of Vaikuntha. This was his third and last birth before his return to Vaikuntha. Thus, Jaya ended his three-birth curse on earth at Krishna’s hand, as promised by Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha.

As for Vijaya, he was born as Dantavakra, a cousin of Shishupala from his mother’s side, who was also a cousin of Krishna. He was very fond of Shishupala, thus hated Krishna. He refused to go to the Rajasuya Yajňa of Yudhishthira as he was furious about the death of his other friend, Jarasandha. To protest the killing of Jarasandha, he had not attended the Yajňa. 

When he heard about the death of Shishupala, he was outraged.  To avenge Shishupala’s death, Dantavakra attacked Krishna on his way home to Dwaraka after the Rajasuya Yajňa. Dantavakra was killed by Krishna in a duel with maces during this attack. Thus Vijaya, born as Dantavakra, also successfully completed his third lifetime on earth due to the curse.  He joined his brother Jaya, returning to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. Both Jaya and Vijaya were very thankful to Lord Vishnu, who was on earth as Krishna, for liberating them from their curse. They were delighted to be back in Vaikuntha, awaiting their Lord’s return.

More to come…

Krishna Avatar Part 34

By Nirooshitha Sethuram. Yogaratna

Graphics by Sheralee (Shambhavi) Hancherow

Jarasandha https://www.amarchitrakatha.com/
mythologies/krishna-and-jarasandha/

One fine day, while Krishna was in the assembly hall of the palace, one of his guards came in and announced the arrival of a stranger.  Krishna gave permission to admit this person to the royal court.  The stranger came in and bowed to Krishna, explaining he was sent by the kings imprisoned by Jarasandha, the mighty king of Magadha.  He said he came seeking help to save the kings from the tyrant Jarasandha.  He also said that Jarasandha was planning to capture as many kings as he could, to do a sacrifice to Rudra.  While Krishna was trying to console the stranger, and the stranger was praying to Krishna to save the kings, Sage Narada walked in.

Rajasuya Yaj~na
https://indus-meetindus.blogspot.com/

2016/08/rajasuya-yaga.html

Krishna welcomed the sage, offering due respect and a seat in the assembly.  Krishna said to Narada, “Honorable Sage, there is nothing you don’t know about.  You know all that happens in this manifestation of Ishvara (God).  So, we are delighted to hear about your visit to the Pandavas from you.” 

Narada was happy to share the details of his visit with the Pandavas. “I visited the Pandavas in Indraprastha.  I was duly received by Yudhishthira.  I was very much honored and warmly welcomed by them all.  Then I conveyed to them that I was going to tell them a wish their father King Pandu had.  Yudhishthira with respect immediately said that he will fulfill his father’s wish at any cost.

Then I disclosed the wish of Pandu by saying, ‘You must perform the Rajasuya Yaj~na to establish your superiority to all other kings. Yudhishthira immediately called his royal priest and conveyed his desire.  He also wanted to consult you, Krishna, about this matter.”

Krishna and Uddhava https://www.hindu-blog.com/2020/07/story-of-uddhava-friend-of-sri krishna.html

Hearing this, Krishna immediately started his journey to Indraprastha to advise Yudhishthira on the Rajasuya Yaj~na and the need to eliminate Jarasandha.  As soon as Krishna reached Indraprastha, he was lovingly welcomed by Yudhishthira and his brothers.  Krishna embraced them all with love and affection and gave his respects to Kunti, their mother and his aunt.  Draupadi received Krishna’s wives cordially and led them to their rooms.  

Yudhishthira begin to explain his plan about the yaj~na, also expressing his concerns about Jarasandha and Shishupala.  After listening to Yudhishthira Krishna started to devise a plan.  Yudhishthira then asked, “How can we accomplish the killing of Jarasandha?  He is gifted with inimitable strength by Lord Shiva and has thus become invincible.”

Krishna and Sages advising Yudhisthira
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki

Krishna assured Yudhishthira not to worry but to simply send Bhima and Arjuna with him.  He said that he would make sure Bhima kills Jarasandha.  Bhima defeating Jarasandha would establish Yudhishthira as the mightiest king, capable of performing the Rajasuya Yaj~na.  As Yudhishthira completely trusted Krishna,  he had no fear in sending Bhima and Arjuna with him.  Still knowing Jarasandha’s valor very well he had several doubts in his mind which disturbed his peace.

Krishna again assured Yudhishthira saying, “Bhima will challenge Jarasandha for a wrestling duel.  Knowing Jarasandha, he will be sure to accept it.  By dueling with him, mighty Bhima will get a chance to kill him.” Yudhishthira was satisfied as he knew that, with the help and guidance from Krishna, Bhima will be victorious.  Also, the invincible archer Arjuna will be there with them.  Krishna also pointed out that Jarasandha’s end is imminent because his misdeeds have crossed all limits.  Nature never spares a man whose excesses exceed the appropriate norms.  Yudhishthira was certain that the Gods would be on their side because, by killing Jarasandha, they would be rescuing the kings who were imprisoned by him for sacrifice.  

Magadha Kingdom
https://www.indianetzone.com/

6/magadha.htm

As a first step towards this, Krishna advised Yudhishthira to send Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva on a journey in all four directions to conquer all the other neighboring kings.  They went as emissaries to all these other kings, demanding a vassal fee.  This showed their willingness to accord Yudhishthira the position of an Emperor.  This was done easily and all four of them returned in no time, with vassal fees sent to Yudhishthira willingly as he was loved by them all.  

Now only Jarasandha remained.  As planned earlier by Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna set out with Krishna to Magadha Kingdom, traveling in the guise of brahmins.  After a long journey they reached the capital city.  On their way, they destroyed the revered mountain of the Magadha kingdom.  The brahmins belonging to the mountain took this as an ill omen.  Right away, they informed Jarasandha about the mountain having been destroyed by some strangers.

Advised by his priests, Jarasandha started a Yaj~na to resolve the effect of the bad omen and to avert the misfortunes that looked to be looming large upon him and his kingdom.  This was a great opportunity that created a way for Krishna and the Pandava brothers to enter the venue of the Yaj~na and meet Jarasandha.  

They presented themselves before King Jarasandha and were cordially welcomed by him since he didn’t recognize who they were, because of their disguise.  According to Krishna’s plan, both Pandava brothers stayed silent without uttering a word.  Jarasandha was annoyed that the two men didn’t acknowledge his warm welcome.  Krishna addressed their silence saying that they were both on a silence fast and they will not speak until midnight.  Jarasandha requested them to rest and agreed to return after midnight to meet them.

Jarasandha with Brahmins https://www.indianetzone.com/
78/kings_magadha.htm

As agreed, Jarasandha came to the place where Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna were staying and offered his salutations to them again.  Arjuna blessed him and asked him to take a seat.  Jarasandha gazed carefully at both the Pandava brothers and got suspicious of them.  When they spoke, he recognized their voices to be familiar.  Even their appearance was recognizable, despite the clothing they were wearing.  And looking at their wrists confirmed his doubts that brahmins in front of him were not at all brahmins but kshatriyas (warriors).

Looking at them closely, he said to them, “You claim yourself to be brahmins.  Except for your clothing, your physique and all your deeds are like those of kshatriyas.  Upon your arrival, I am hearing about our revered mountain been destroyed.  Plus you refused to accept my honor this morning on the pretext of observing a silence vow.  So, I demand you disclose your true identity and the purpose of your visit, like true kshatriyas.” 

Krishna replied, saying they didn’t accept his honor that morning as they were then, and even now, in the presence of their enemy.  Jarasandha couldn’t quite understand what Krishna was saying and asked how they are enemies to him, demanding an explanation.  So, Krishna pointed out how he has imprisoned kings for no fault of theirs.  As kshatriyas, they came to Magadha for those who were imprisoned.  Therefore, they considered Jarasandha as an enemy.  Jarasandha argued, saying that he imprisoned them after defeating them in fierce battles.  As victor, it is his right to treat them as he wishes.

Jarasandha was an ardent devotee of the brahmins and followed the dharma of giving.  Due to his visitors’ brahmin attire, he decided to fulfill their wish, despite what consequences it might would bring.  So, he asked what their wish was.  

Bhima
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhima

Krishna said that they were not there to beg for food but to challenge him to a duel.  He then disclosed their identity, saying, “I am Krishna, the son of Vasudeva of the Yadava clan.  This is Arjuna, the greatest archer of all times and a Pandava prince.  And this is Bhima, his elder brother, destroyer of demons Hidimba and Bakasura.”  Then he threw out a challenge to duel, asking him to choose one of them for the duel.  

Jarasandha was furious at once.  Especially his arch enemy Krishna being right in front of him, he couldn’t refuse the challenge, because of his arrogance.  He then roared with laughter and exclaimed, “Hey Yadava! you are so afraid to fight with me that you deserted Mathura and took refuge in the city of Dwaraka.  So, I wouldn’t want to fight you.  Arjuna is youngest of you all and wouldn’t be a match for me in a duel either.

“The only one whom I can even consider is Bhima.  Even though he is incomparable to my valor, he is better than both of you.  So, I am willing to have a fight with him.”  So, the day was fixed for the ferocious fight between the two mighty men.  

More to come…