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The Youth Pastimes of Lord Balarama
Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama accompanied Akura to the city of Mathura to kill the evil King Kamsa and to be reunited with Their parents Devaki and Vasudeva. After revealing to Akura Their other forms of Lord Vishnu and Ananta Sesa respectively Krishna and Balarama went to the city to dispose of the evil king. Upon Their arrival in the city the evil King Kamsa tried several unsuccessful attempts to bar Krishna and Balarama from fulfilling the inevitable prophecy that They would kill him. Finally Krishna and Balarama were with Kamsa in a great wrestling arena. Kamsa had his greatest wrestlers challenge Their Lordships to a fight. The wrestler Canura addressed Krishna and Balarama with the following words:
"O Krishna and Balarama, You two are well respected by courageous men and are both skillful at wrestling. Having heard of Your prowess, the king has called You here, wanting to see for himself. You, Krishna, aren't really a child or even a young man, and neither is Balarama, the strongest of the strong. Therefore You two should fight powerful wrestlers like us. Accepting the challenge, Krishna paired off with Canura, and Balarama fought with Mustika. Seizing each other's hands and locking legs with each other, the opponents struggled powerfully, eager for victory. They each struck fist against fist, knees against knees, head against head, and chest against chest. Each fighter contended with his opponent by dragging him about in circles, shoving him and crushing him, throwing him down, and running before and behind him. Forcefully lifting and carrying each other, pushing each other away, and holding each other down, the fighters appeared to be hurting even their own bodies in their great eagerness for victory.
As Krishna and Balarama fought the huge wrestlers, the women present gazed upon the two Lords and became enthralled by Their beauty. The ladies said, 'Just see the lotus face of Krishna as he darts around His foe! That face, covered with drops of perspiration brought on by the strenuous fight, resembles the whorl of a lotus covered with dew. What austerities the gopis must have performed to be able to always see His beautiful form!'
'Don't you see the face of Lord Balarama, with his eyes copper-red from His anger toward Mustika and its beauty enhanced by His laughter and His absorption in the fight?' As the women spoke, Krishna powerfully struck Canura and began to break every part of his body. Furious, Canura violently pounded the Lord's chest with both fists. No more shaken by the demon's mighty blows than an elephant struck with a flower garland, Lord Krishna grabbed Canura by his arms, swung him around several times, and hurled him onto the ground with great force. His clothes, hair, and garland scattering, the wrestler fell down dead like a huge festival column collapsing. Mustika also struck Balarama, and Balarama returned the blow with great force.
Mustika began to tremble, and blood and vomit flowed from his mouth.
Distressed, he gave up his vital force and fell down just as a tree falls down during a hurricane. After the two wrestlers were killed, a wrestler named Kuta came forward. Lord Balarama immediately caught him in His left hand and killed him nonchalantly. Another wrestler named Sala came forward, and Krishna immediately kicked him and cracked his head.
Shortly thereafter Kamsa was killed by Krishna. Kamsa's eight brothers headed by Kanka were killed by Lord Balarama with the tusk of the elephant Kuvalayapida.(Krishna Book Vol. I,pg. 273- 280) The rasas Madhurya and aisvarya are in equal degrees in Mathura. Lord Krishna and Balarama's killing of Kamsa and his associates illustrates this point. After killing these demons in the wrestling arena at Mathura, Krishna approached His parents Devaki and Vasudeva, who just stood looking awestruck in a mood of total reverence. Since Krishna hadn't seen His parents since the day He was born (about eleven years), Krishna was expecting some heartfelt reciprocation of emotions. But Devaki and Vasudeva, seeing Krishna as the Supreme Lord and not as their son, remained firm in their mood of aisvarya. Krishna who is always hankering for his devotees' love, began to cry upon seeing His parents relating to Him in awe and reverence, This immediately opened Mother Devaki's heart, which flooded with vatsalya rasa.
She took Krishna on her lap, covered His head with her sari and tried to breast-feed Him. Meanwhile Lord Balarama threw Himself at the feet of His father. And Vasudeva, overcome with vatsalya rasa, picked up Balarama, sat Him on his lap, smelled His head and treated Him in a very loving fatherly way.(Appreciating Shri Vrndavana Dhama, pg. 120)
Concealing Their innately perfect knowledge by Their human-like activities, Krishna and Balarama went to Avanti to reside at the school of the learned spiritual master Sandipani Muni. Sandipani thought very highly of these two self-controlled disciples, whom he felt so fortunate to have obtained.
Krishna and Balarama served him as devotedly as one would serve the Supreme Lord Himself, thus showing others an irreproachable example of how to worship the spiritual master. Satisfied with Their submissive behavior, Sandipani Muni taught the two Lords the entire Vedas, together with their six corollaries and the Upanishads. He also taught Them the Dhanur-veda, with it's most confidential secrets; the standard book of law: the methods of logical reasoning and philosophical debate: and the sixfold science of politics.
Krishna and Balarama immediately assimilated each and every subject after hearing it explained just once. Thus with fixed concentration They learned the sixty-four arts and skills in as many days and nights. Thereafter They satisfied Their spiritual master by offering him guru-daksina, the traditional token of remuneration a disciple gives his spiritual master.
When Krishna and Balarama offered Their teacher, Sandipani Muni, anything he desired, he asked for the return of his son, who had drowned in the ocean at Prabhasa. The two Lords at once traveled there on Their chariot and ordered the ocean to return Their guru's son. The ocean explained that he had been captured and slain by the demon Pancajanya. Krishna in turn slew the demon.
The Lords then went to Samyamani, the abode of Yamaraja., who immediately returned the child.(Krishna Book Vol. I, pg 281-289)