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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Canto-10 > Part-2 > The history of Kaliya



The history of Kaliya.



     Long ago, Garuda used to come to Nagalaya and kill many snakes, some for food, and some he killed needlessly. Vasuki approached Lord Brahma, who then arranged that twice a month, on the half-moon days, one snake would be offered to Garuda, who in return would not harm any of the other serpents. However, the arrogant Kaliya, who was the son of Kadru, began to eat all of the offerings before Garuda would come to claim them.

     When Garuda came to hear about this, he became very angry. Desiring to kill Kaliya, he rushed at the serpent with tremendous speed. As Garuda fell upon him, Kaliya, whose weapon is poison, raised his numerous heads to counterattack. While displaying his fangs and expanding his horrible eyes, Kaliya bit Garuda. Then, as Garuda swiftly moved to repel the attack, he struck Kaliya with his left wing, which shone like gold. This blow overpowered Kaliya, who then took shelter in a lake adjoining the River Yamuna, for Garuda could not go there.

     Shaubhari Muni was within the water of that lake, meditating, and he was sympathetic toward the fish. Once, Garuda came there to eat the fish, and so Shaubhari requested him not to do so. Garuda agreed, but because he was very hungry, he carried off the leader of the fish.

When Shaubhari saw how all the fish had become unhappy because of this, he uttered the following curse, under the impression that he was mercifully acting for the benefit of the lake’s residents:  “If Garuda ever comes to this lake again and eats the fish, he will immediately die!” (The results of this offense against a Vaishnava are described in the ninth Canto.)

     Only Kaliya knew of this curse, and so out of fear of Garuda, he went to live there.

     After chastising Kaliya, Krishna came out of the water, covered with jewels and decorated with gold. When the cowherd men saw Krishna, they immediately stood up, as if rising from the dead. Filled with great joy, they hurriedly went and embraced Krishna. Indeed, even the dried-up trees came back to life. Lord Balarama also went and embraced His brother, and while doing so, He laughed, knowing well Krishna’s infallible potency. Balarama placed Krishna upon His lap and looked at Him, again and again.

    All the brahmanas went to Nanda Maharaja and said, “Your son was in the grips of Kaliya, but by the grace of Providence He is now safe. To assure that your son will always be free from danger, you should give charity to the brahmanas.”

     After hearing this, Nanda Maharaja gladly gave the brahmanas gifts of cows and gold.

     When Mother Yashoda placed Krishna upon her lap, she cried constantly while repeatedly embracing Him. Because all the inhabitants of Vrindavana were feeling very weak and hungry, they spent the night where they were, lying down on the shore of the Kalindi. Then, during the night, as all were sleeping, a great fire blazed up within the dry forest and surrounded them. (Perhaps this fire was created by a friend of Kaliya’s, or a servant of Kansa’s.)

     Becoming scorched, everyone awoke, and upon seeing the calamity, they took shelter of Krishna, saying, “Krishna, Krishna, O Lord of all opulence! O Rama, possessor of unlimited power! This terrible fire is about to devour us, Your devotees! Please protect us, for we wish to never give up the shelter of Your lotus feet.”

     Upon seeing His devotees so disturbed, Shri Krishna immediately swallowed the terrible forest fire.