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The breaking of the sacrificial bow.
While continuing on the King’s road, Krishna saw a young hunchback woman with an attractive face, carrying a tray of sandalwood paste. With a desire to entertain His companions, Krishna spoke to her: “Who are you, O tall one, with beautiful thighs? Who is this sandalwood paste for? Please tell Us truthfully. If you give Us your finest sandalwood paste, you will gain great benefit.”
The maidservant replied, “O handsome one, I am a servant of King Kansa, who very much appreciates the sandalwood I supply to him daily. My name is Kubja, as well as Trivakra (bent in three places). Who else but You two deserve my sandalwood paste, which the king of the Bhojas likes so much?”
Her mind overwhelmed by Krishna’s beauty, charm, sweetness, smiles, words and glances, Kubja began to smear the sandalwood paste over Krishna and Balarama’s bodies with great devotion, so that the two Lords appeared even more attractive.
Being very pleased and desiring to reward her, Krishna pressed down her toes with His feet, while He placed his fingers on her cheeks. Then, with a jerk, the Lord straightened her body. Thus, in an instant, the hunchbacked girl was transformed into an exquisitely beautiful woman with straight body and nicely proportioned limbs, slim waist, large hips and breasts.
Being very grateful, and feeling lusty desires for Lord Keshava, the girl caught hold of the end of His cloth. Smiling flirtatiously, she frankly spoke as follows, completely forgetting that she was in the street and surrounded by Krishna’s friends: “O hero, let us go to my house. I cannot bear to leave You here. O best of males, take pity on me, for You have greatly agitated my mind.”
Krishna felt a little embarrassed, and so He first glanced at the faces of Balarama and the cowherd boys. But, knowing the girl to be simple and attracted, He laughed a little and replied, “O beautiful lady, I am pleased by your invitation, and so as soon as my purpose is fulfilled, I shall come to your house. Such a girl like you is the only solace for one like Me, who is away from home and not yet married. As a suitable girlfriend, you can relieve Us of all kinds of anxiety.”
Leaving the girl with these sweet words, Krishna proceeded to the marketplace, where the merchants presented Him and His elder brother with various offerings, while worshiping Them. At this time, the women gathered around, being agitated with feelings of conjugal love, and captivated by the Lord’s beauty.
Krishna then asked the local people how to find the arena where the bow sacrifice would take place. Upon His arrival, Krishna saw the remarkable bow, which resembled that of King Indra. This most opulent bow was being guarded by many men, who were engaged in respectfully worshiping it. But, after pushing His way through the crowd, Krishna picked up the bow, while ignoring the guards who were trying to forbid Him.
After holding the bow momentarily in His left hand, Krishna strung it in a fraction of a second, while the guards looked on helplessly. He then powerfully pulled the string, snapping the bow in the middle, just as an elephant breaks a stalk of sugarcane.
The great cracking sound of the bow breaking filled all directions, and upon hearing it, Kansa began to fear for his life. The enraged caretaker of the bow ordered the guards to pick up their weapons and seize Krishna and His companions. As the guards surrounded Krishna and Balarama shouting “Grab Them! Kill Them!” They picked up the two halves of the bow and struck them down.
Kansa sent a small contingent of soldiers to assist the guards. After killing them all, Krishna and Balarama left the arena by the main gate and continued Their walk around the city. Seeing the great prowess of the two brothers, the people of Mathura concluded that They must be two prominent demigods. After some time, the sun began to set, and so Krishna and Balarama returned to the cowherds’ wagon camp.
After servants washed Their feet and fed Them milk with rice, Krishna and Balarama passed the night resting comfortably, although knowing well of Kansa’s intentions.
On the other hand, the wicked King Kansa was terrified, having heard how Krishna and Balarama had broken the sacrificial bow and killed his guards and soldiers, as if in sport. He began to understand the prowess of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he realized that the eighth son of Devaki had now appeared to kill him. For a long time, he could not sleep, seeing many bad omens that are messengers of death.
When Kansa looked in the mirror, he could not see his face. When he gazed at the sky, the moon and stars appeared as double images. He could see a hole in his shadow, he could not hear the sound of his breathing, trees seemed to have a golden hue, there was a buzzing in his head, and he could not see his footprints on the ground.
After finally falling asleep, Kansa dreamt that he saw ghosts riding in a chariot drawn by donkeys. Then, he saw that someone gave him poison and he was drinking it, and he saw himself going naked with a flower garland around his neck and oil smeared over his body. Seeing all of these omens, both while dreaming and while awake, Kansa became terrified at the thought of death and could hardly sleep.
After the night finally passed, Kansa busied himself arranging for the grand wrestling festival. The King’s men performed the ritualistic worship of the wrestling arena, and the whole area was nicely decorated with flags, ribbons, arches and flowers. The residents of Mathura, as well as people from the outlying districts, came and sat down in the galleries. The royal guests sat in a special section reserved for them.
Then, surrounded by his ministers, Kansa took his seat on the imperial platform, specially constructed for him, and yet still, his heart trembled. While the musical accompaniment commenced, the lavishly ornamented wrestlers proudly entered the arena with their trainers and sat down.
At this time, Kansa welcomed Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men, and in turn, they presented the king with their offerings and took their seats.