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The Killing of Putana
The Supreme Brahman, taking the form of a human being, descended on earth and assumed the mood of a village boy. Although He appeared like an ordinary human to the common people, Shri Krishna, who is famous as the beautiful form of supreme transcendence, has a completely pure spiritual body. Manifesting along with His divine consort, He fully satisfied the minds of everyone.
Once, Vrajaraja Nanda, having accepted the customs of ordinary people, followed the proper etiquette to protect his city, and went to Mathura with other senior men to pay taxes to King Kamsa for their yearly milk production. The Yadus and their faithful servants accompanied him. -In Mathura, King Kamsa had previously tried to kill the eighth child of Devaki, who appeared as the personification of Yogamaya. At that time Yogamaya severely rebuked Kamsa, who was known as Kalanemi in his previous life, saying, "You *ool! What benefit will you get by killing me? The one who will kill you has already taken birth somewhere else." Remembering his past enmity toward Lord Vishnu, that cruel and wicked Kamsa then tactfully sent Putana raksasi to Vrndavana to kill baby Krishna. She was as foreboding as an evil planet. Capable of assuming any form, Putana came to Nanda's capital disguised as the most beautiful woman in the three worlds. The villagers became attracted and bewildered by seeing such an exceptionally charming woman. In this way, Putana astonished the minds of everyone with her superbly enchanting form.Seeing the extraordinary elegance of Putana, the Vrajavasis openly mocked the famous society girls of heaven, saying, "O Urvasi! You are the best of the heavenly damsels, but in the presence of Putana you are no more than a beggar! O Alambuse! There is no use maintaining the high bamboos of your pride any longer, for it has now been crushed. O Rambhe! Very soon you will become the consort of a frog. O Ghitachi! Your fame, which can be compared to a line of melted butter, is now as valuable as a crematorium covered by water. O Menake! All my followers now laugh heartily at you. O Prambolche! A rushing current has now washed away the treasure of your beauty. O Citralekhe! Your captivating form appears now like lines in a painting. O Tilottame! Your glorious fame has dwindled to nil."
Everyone wondered about the identity of Putana. The Vrajavasis thought, "Is this lady the presiding demigoddess of Vrndavana? Is she the goddess of fortune of the three worlds? Is she a creeper of lightning appearing without a cloud? Is she a friend of the kumuda flowers blossoming under the moon?"
When Putana entered Yasoda's home, the Vrajavasis concluded that the goddess of the three worlds had favored that great soul, the King of Vrndavana, by personally coming to render all kinds of service. Like a thief executing his nefarious plan, that shameless woman Putana, her heart full of cruelty and ignorance, courageously entered the house. Putana saw baby Krishna as a spark of a powerful fire capable of burning the sum total of all misfortune to ashes. That boy shone like the transcendental flame of a lamp competent of subduing all enemies produced by the dense darkness of night. He was just like another Agastya Rsi who could easily swallow the deadly ocean of poison represented by material existence. Baby Krishna lay on a bed as white as the rays of the full moon, or the foam produced from churning the ocean of milk. The baby looked like a great emerald sprouting from a field of powdered camphor.
Putana played the part of the sweet deceiver who outwardly speaks pleasing words, but harbors cruelty within his vicious heart. She exactly resembled a well covered with grass in order to trap a wild elephant. Her attractive form rivaled the jeweled sheath of a deadly sword. Although assuming the form of a desire creeper, Putana posed as a poisonous plant. Displaying motherly affection, Putana held the baby in her lap. Yasoda and Rohini wondered, "Is this woman Bhagavati Gauri? Or is she the presiding deity of the material elements? Is she the consort of Indra, the queen of Varuna, or the consort of Agnideva? Has she appeared here to display affection toward my son?" Thinking thus, they did not prevent Putana from offering her breast milk to the baby.
At that time Vrajesvari Yasoda thought, "Am I the mother or is this woman the mother of my child?" Fearlessly, Putana picked up baby Krishna and cuddled Him in her lap. The compassionate Lord, who is absolute knowledge personified, acted unaware of the situation. Accepting Putana as His mother, Krishna immediately climbed up on her lap. Yasoda and Rohini watched attentively as Putana expressed motherly affection toward Krishna by pressing her poison covered nipple into His mouth. His soft, copper-colored lips resembled drinking cups made of the petals of a cluster of bandhuka flowers. Expert at performing pastimes, Krishna skillfully sucked out both Putana's milk and her very life, which left her helpless and stupefied. Feeling intense pain, Putana shrieked, "Please leave me, leave me!" as she forcefully tried to throw the baby off her breast. But Krishna held tightly with both hands and sucked her breast milk with the cup of His soft lips. Curiously, Krishna derived no satisfaction from drinking that milk. Then Putana assumed her raksasi form as a horrible demon. After accepting her poison milk, Krishna threw Putana's huge and hideous body out of town. If the body had fallen in the city it could have killed many residents.To everyone's amazement Krishna sat peacefully in Putana's lap. The Vrajavasis froze in fright upon seeing the gigantic body of that witch. Her visit resembled the tax collector who intimidates the people when collecting money. As Vibhisana manifested his glories in the white land of Lanka, similarly, Putana revealed a terrible body in Vrndavana. As clouds hover above mountaintops, the milk filled breasts of that demon looked like big clouds towering above her mountainous body.
As Bali Maharaja resides in Patala, the cavernous mouth of Putana challenged the depth of Patalaloka. Her nostrils resembled the dangerous ravine of a mountain, her powerful set of teeth looked like a plowshare, and her arms resembled two palm trees. As soldiers precede the commander, her extended tongue formed a royal road leading to the dreadful kingdom of her body. Putana's abdomen appeared like a large lake containing varieties of aquatics. In the jungle the banyan and bahera trees grow very tall, similarly, her eyes looked like tala trees.The ugly body of Putana extended for twelve miles. When the body of Putana fell to the ground, it smashed all the mango trees in King Kamsa's fruit orchard. The affection that Putana had shown toward Krishna left Yasodarani in a state of bewilderment. Not seeing her son, Yasoda cried like a cow lamenting over the death of her calf, and then fainted while sighing, "Alas! How painful, what happened to my son? Where is He?" With tender care the elderly gopis tried to revive Yasoda.
Although still stunned, Yasoda spoke, "Alas, how painful! Seeing that my son is more beautiful than a blue lotus, the heavenly damsels kidnapped Him in order to decorate their ears. Considering my son to be a priceless blue sapphire, the Nagapatnis took Him to adorn their foreheads. Thinking Him to be a fragrant flower of the tamala tree, the Gandharvas abducted Him to decorate their braids with Him. Seeing my son as the personification of perfection (siddhi), have the yoginis snatched Him to help achieve some siddhisl Mistaking my son for the moon has Siva put Him in his matted locks? Are the activities of this wicked lady the results of my bad karma, or is it just a freak play of destiny? Considering me unworthy, has my son gone to another mother?"
While thus lamenting, Yasoda staggered a few steps and fell senseless. But the moment she heard that her son had returned, Vrajesvari Yasoda regained her consciousness. Upon waking, she said, "Please tell me, has someone kidnapped my son? Where can I find him?" As she stumbled forward, Yasoda's hair came undone and her dress got covered with dirt. In such a distressed condition, she resembled a lavali creeper blown about by a strong wind. Although the Vraja gopis tried to restrain her, Yasoda continued to wail and strike her breasts. She appeared like compassion personified as she passed through the town gate.
Meanwhile the gopas frantically ran in all directions crying, "Has a mountain peak, without being driven by a high wind, suddenly crashed down in Vrndavana? Is it the dead womb of the earth? Is it some melted flesh fallen from the sky? Is it a heap of bones collected from the ten directions? Is it the body of a demon?"
Krishna's relatives saw all the townspeople running fearfully to the east. Out of compassion for His family and friends, Krishna crawled up on Putana's chest so that they could see Him playing there freely. Thinking thus, Krishna arranged for Putana to fall down outside of town. The gopas saw that child, who ever relishes blissful pastimes, as a small cloud sitting on a beautiful mountain peak. Upon seeing Krishna, the gopas cried out, "O look! That woman came to kill the son of Nanda, but she died as a result of her grave offense. O how fortunate we are!" Then the gopas climbed up on Putana's body that seemed like the base of a mountain. Beholding that gentle yet fearless, beautiful boy with a sweet smile, the cowherd men picked Him up and handed Him from one to another. Then the gopis told Yasoda, "O pious one, here is your son, please embrace Him." Thinking their words like those heard in a dream, Yasoda said, "Are you tricking me?" Like a person suffering under the spell of an evil planet, Yasoda could not believe them. However, she regained conviction when Krishna was placed in her lap. Vrajesvari Yasoda appeared like a woman awaking from a deep sleep of lamentation, or a dead body coming back to life, or an unconscious person returning to his senses.Yasoda swelled with joy upon seeing her sob's face. Thereafter, Yasoda and Rohini, along with the other elderly gopis, waved about the switch of a cow, bathed the beautiful child with cow's urine, and performed other purifying acts to create auspiciousness. To further protect the child they chanted the holy names of the Lord.
Meanwhile, the Vrajavasis chopped up the gigantic body of Putana, took it away, and burned it. From a distance that burning body, spewing forth deep black smoke and many sparks, looked like a monsoon cloud illuminated by streaks of lightning. Because Krishna had touched Putana the smoke rising from her_burning body filled every planet up to Vaikuntha with a sweet aroma. Everyone enjoyed that fragrance which smelled like incense of aguru and sandalwood. The rain falling through that fragrant smoke saturated the earth with a sweet smell. Vrajaraja Nanda returned from Mathura amidst all this commotion. Observing the smoke and feeling apprehensive, the associates of Nanda said, "O King of Vrndavana, is this a blue veil blowing in the wind and reaching up to touch the feet of a celestial lady? Is it the tips of tall grasses, or the rays emanating from the jewels on the hoods of the huge serpents from Rasatala trying to pierce the coverings of the universe? Is it the running back and forth of the elephants that hold up the four directions? Is it clouds falling on the ground and again rising up to pollute the entire sky? Is it the mood of the goddess earth during her monthly contamination period ascending to heaven? Or has a dense cloud of darkness suddenly spread throughout the universe?"
Moving closer to Putana, the elderly gopas wondered, "Where has all this aromatic smoke suddenly come from? Has the fragrance of the earth, expressing its desire to conquer the sky, taken the form of smoke to spread throughout the world?"
Thus, the gopas argued amongst themselves about the amazing event. Feeling disturbed, Vrajaraja Nanda said, "What happened? What is wrong?" Within minutes the Vrajavasis assembled before Nanda Maharaja and told him about Putana's demoniac deeds. Then to purify His son, Nanda Baba attentively observed all the proper Vedic rites, which included bathing Him with cow's urine and other auspicious substances. Gazing at his beloved child, Nanda relished unlimited paternal affection.After the joyous sounds subsided, Vrajaraja Nanda picked up his son and affectionately smelled His head. He felt as if the seeds of bliss had sprouted within his heart. Overwhelmed with unlimited pleasure, his mind melted with ecstatic feelings and his eyes streamed tears of happiness.
Who can describe the mercy of the Lord? Even though Putana raksasi came disguised as a mother to kill Krishna with her poisonous breast milk, the compassionate Lord gave her the position of a mother in the spiritual world.