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Krishna establishes the city of Dvaraka.
After the death of Kansa, his two queens- Asti and Prapti, returned to their father, King Jarasandha of Magadha. After hearing about the killing of his son-in-law, Jarasandha became enraged and vowed to rid the earth of the Yadu dynasty in retaliation. With a force of 23 akshauhini (each consisting of 21,870 soldiers on elephants- 21,870 charioteers- 65,610 cavalry- and 109,350 infantry) Jarasandha attacked Mathura, surrounding it on all sides.
When Krishna saw how the citizens of Mathura had become very fearful, He considered what to do, according to time, place and the specific purpose of His having appeared as an incarnation. Krishna thus thought, “I will destroy Jarasandha’s army, which he had assembled from subservient kings, but I will not kill him. After all, Jarasandha will again and again try to defeat me, bringing all the demons to their destruction.”
While Krishna was thinking in this way, two chariots, as effulgent as the sun, suddenly appeared in the sky, fully equipped with driver and weapons. Krishna told Balarama, “My dear elder brother, just see the danger to the Yadus! And, see how Your chariot and favorite weapons have come before You. We have appeared for the welfare of Our devotees, so let Us now remove the burden of these attacking armies.”
After encasing Themselves in armor, Krishna and Balarama rode out of the city, accompanied only by a small army. With Daruka holding the reins of His chariot, Krishna blew His conch shell, causing the enemies’ hearts to tremble in fear.
When Jarasandha saw his grandsons, he became a little compassionate. Addressing Krishna, he said, “O Purushadhama, (lowest of men, because Krishna had killed His maternal uncle) it would be a great dishonor for me to fight with You, a mere boy who was not even raised as a kshatriya. O killer of Your relatives, go away!”
Addressing Balarama, Jarasandha said, “O Rama, if You have the courage, then You may fight with me. Either You will be cut to pieces by my arrows and thus attain heaven, or else You will kill me.”
Lord Krishna replied, “Real heroes do not boast so much, but instead display their prowess. We cannot take seriously the words of one who is full of anxiety and wants to die.”
Just as the wind covers the sun with clouds, Jarasandha proceeded to surround Krishna with his huge army. The women of Mathura had gone onto the roofs of their houses to watch the battle, and when they could no longer see Krishna and Balarama’s chariots, they became terrified, and many fainted.
Seeing how His army was being tormented by an incessant shower of arrows, Krishna twanged His Sharnga bow and then released an endless torrent of arrows that resembled a blazing arc of fire. Rivers of blood then began to flow from the limbs of humans, elephants and horses that had been cut to pieces. In these rivers, severed arms resembled snakes, human head resembled turtles, dead elephants looked like islands, and slain horses appeared to be crocodiles. Severed hands and legs looked like fish, human hair seemed to be the sea weed, jewels from the warriors’ smashed ornaments looked like multi-colored pebbles, bows resembled waves, and chariot wheels appeared to be whirlpools.
Although the combined forces of Jarasandha seemed unfathomable, by the attack of Krishna’s arrows and Balarama’s club, the battle seemed hardly more than child’s play. Even though, on Krishna’s side, not a single soldier died, Jarasandha lost all of his warriors, and his chariot was smashed.
Balarama then forcibly seized Jarasandha and began tying him up with the celestial rope of Varuna and other ordinary ropes. In light of future plans, however, Krishna requested His elder brother to release him. Jarasandha, who was considered a very great hero, felt ashamed because of this, and so he decided to undergo severe austerities, instead of return to his kingdom.
On the way, however, some of Jarasandha’s friends met him and convinced him to return home by saying, “Your defeat by the Yadus was not at all because of weakness. It was the unavoidable reaction of your past karma. Therefore, do not take your defeat seriously. Instead, prepare yourself and fight with Krishna again.”
As Jarasandha morosely returned to his kingdom, the demigods showered flowers upon Krishna and Balarama. The people of Mathura joyfully came out to congratulate the two Lords, while professional singers glorified Their victory. As Krishna and Balarama entered Mathura, musical instruments played in concert. The roads were sprinkled with water, and everywhere there were festive decorations. The citizens were elated, and the air was filled with the chanting of Vedic mantras. While gazing at the two Lords lovingly, the women threw flower petals, yogurt, parched rice and newly grown sprouts upon Them. Krishna and Balarama then went and presented to King Ugrasena the valuable ornaments that had fallen onto the battlefield.
In the same way, Jarasandha attacked Mathura seventeen times, and each and every time his entire army was annihilated. Each time, Jarasandha was arrested by the Yadu princes and then released in the same insulting manner. When Jarasandha attacked for the eighteenth time, however, a Yavana king named Kalayavana simultaneously came there to fight, along with his thirty million soldiers.
Once, when his brother-in-law taunted Garga Muni, the priest of the Yadus, calling him a eunuch, those Yadus present laughed heartily. Being infuriated, Garga left for the south with the intention of begetting a son who would bring terror to the Yadus. For this purpose, Garga Muni worshiped Lord Shiva for twelve years, at which time he received his desired boon. Garga Muni then returned home. Later on, when the childless king of the Yavanas requested a son from him, Garga Muni begot Kalayavana in the womb of the king’s wife. This child possessed the fury of Lord Shiva.
Once, finding no rival, Kalayavana asked Narada, “Who are now the strongest kings on earth?” Narada informed Kalayavana that the Yadus were strongest, and so he came to attack Mathura.
When Krishna saw the situation, he said to Balarama, “A great danger now threatens the Yadus from two sides. This Yavana king is already besieging Us, and Jarasandha will soon arrive. If Jarasandha comes while We are engaged in fighting with Kalayavana, he may take advantage of the situation by killing our relatives or else capturing them and taking them back to his capital. Therefore, We should immediately construct a fortress that no human being can penetrate. Let Us settle our family members there and then kill the barbarian king.”
Krishna then had a fortress, one hundred and fifty kilometers in circumference, built within the sea, and inside the walls, He had a city constructed. This city, Dvaraka, was planned and constructed by Vishvakarma.
There were wide avenues and splendid parks, laid out on ample land. There were gardens filled with trees and plants from the heavenly kingdom. The towers at the gates had golden turrets that touched the sky. The houses were covered with gold and the roofs were inlaid with valuable jewels. Beside the houses were stables and warehouses, built of silver and brass. Filled with citizens of the four varnas in their respective neighborhoods, the city was especially beautified by the palaces of Lord Krishna, the Lord of the Yadus.
Indra brought the Sudharma assembly hall and the parijata tree. Varuna presented horses as swift as the mind, some of which were dark and some were white. Kuvera gave his eight mystic treasures and other demigods made various presentations.
Krishna then transported all His subjects to Dvaraka, while they were sleeping at night, by the power of Yogamaya. Thus, when they awoke in the morning, they were amazed to find themselves within palaces made of gold. After consulting with Balarama, who had remained at Mathura to protect the citizens, Krishna installed him as the city father.
Thereafter, Krishna went out of Mathura through the main gate, wearing a garland of lotus flowers but carrying no weapons.