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Krishna kills the elephant Kuvalayapida.
After bathing and performing other morning duties, when They heard the drums from the wrestling arena, Krishna and Balarama went there. When Krishna came to the arena’s main gate, He saw the gigantic elephant Kuvalayapida deliberately blocking the way, at the urging of his keeper.
Understanding the situation, Krishna first of all tightened His cloth and tied back His hair. Then, addressing the elephant’s keeper in a voice as grave as the rumbling of clouds, Krishna said, “O driver, move aside and let Us pass! If you do not, then I shall send both of you this very day to the abode of Yamaraja!”
Being thus threatened, the elephant’s keeper became angry and started goading the elephant to attack Lord Krishna. The elephant charged at Krishna, trying to seize Him with his trunk. Krishna deftly moved behind the elephant, however, thus disappearing from his view. Becoming infuriated at not being able to see Krishna, Kuvalayapida searched for Him with his sense of smell.
Lord Krishna then grabbed the powerful elephant by the tail and playfully dragged him twenty-five bow-lengths, while pulling him from side to side. Then, letting go of his tail, Krishna came in front of the elephant and gave him a strong slap, after which He retreated to a short distance. Kuvalayapida pursued the Lord, who then suddenly lay down, placing himself under the elephant’s legs, causing him to trip and fall.
As Krishna dodged about, sometimes playfully falling on the ground and then again standing up, the infuriated Kuvalayapida repeatedly tried to gore Him with his tusks. Becoming frustrated, Kuvalayapida became mad with rage, but the driver still goaded him to charge at Krishna once again.
Being thus confronted, Krishna grabbed the elephant by the trunk with one hand and pulled him to the ground, causing the caretaker to fall from his back. Krishna then pounced upon the elephant and pulled out a tusk, and with it He killed the beast along with his keeper.
Then, taking the elephant’s tusk on His shoulder, Krishna entered the wrestling arena, feeling very blissful. His body was sprinkled with the dead elephant’s blood, as well as His own perspiration, and in this way, the Lord shone with great beauty.
The various groups of people in the arena appreciated Krishna in different ways as He came there, along with His elder brother. The wrestlers saw Krishna as a bolt of lightning, the men of Mathura saw Him as the best of males, and the women saw Him as Cupid in person. The cowherd men saw Krishna as their kinsman, the impious rulers saw Him as a chastiser, and to His parents He appeared as their child. Kansa saw Krishna as Death personified, the unintelligent saw Him as an incapable person, and the yogis saw Him as the Paramatma. When Kansa saw how Kuvalayapida had been killed, he became overwhelmed with anxiety.
Very nicely dressed and decorated, the two mighty-armed Lords shone splendidly in the arena. While gazing upon Them from their seats, the people’s eyes opened wide and their faces blossomed. Indeed, they drank in the vision of the Lords’ faces without becoming satiated. The people seemed to be drinking Krishna and Balarama with their eyes, licking Them with their tongues, smelling Them with their nostrils, and embracing Them with their arms. Greatly appreciating the Lords’ beauty, character, charm and bravery, the people in the audience spoke to one another, describing what they had heard about Krishna and Balarama’s pastimes in Vrindavana.
The wrestler Chanura then said, “O son of Nanda, O Rama, You two are well respected by courageous men and You are both skilled at wrestling. Having heard of Your prowess, the King has called You here, wanting to see for himself. Subjects who try to please the king surely achieve good fortune, but those who fail to do so suffer the opposite fate. It is well known that the cowherd boys always wrestle with each other while grazing their animals in the forest. Now, let us begin to fight for the satisfaction of the King.”
Lord Krishna replied, “Although forest dwellers, We are subjects of the Bhoja king and so must certainly gratify his desires. But We are just young boys and should wrestle with those of equal strength. After all, this wrestling match must be conducted properly, so that irreligion does not taint the respectable members of the audience.”
Chanura said, “You are not really just a child, and neither is Balarama. After all, You playfully killed an elephant that had the strength of one thousand ordinary elephants. Therefore, You should fight with powerful wrestlers, and there is nothing unfair about that. You can now show Your prowess against me, and Balarama can fight with Mushtika.