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The history of Pradyumna.
Cupid’s body had formerly been burnt by Lord Shiva, and now he was born as the son of Krishna and Rukmini, named Pradyumna. There was a demon named Shambara, who knew that Pradyumna was destined to kill him, and so he kidnapped the baby by assuming the form of a woman. Taking Pradyumna from the maternity home just six days after his birth, Shambara threw him in the ocean and returned home.
A big fish then swallowed baby Pradyumna, and this fish, along with others, was caught in a net by a fisherman. The demon, Shambara, bought the fish and gave it to his cook. In the kitchen, when the cook cut the fish open, he was surprised to find the baby within. A maidservant named Mayavati was also working there, and the cook presented the child to her.
Narada Muni then came and explained to Mayavati how the baby had been taken by Shambara and thrown into the sea. Mayavati was formerly the wife of Cupid, named Rati. While waiting for her husband to get a new body, she was working in the demon Shambara’s kitchen, preparing rice and vegetables. Mayavati could understand that the child found in the fish’s stomach was actually Kamadeva, and so she began to feel love for him.
Miraculously, Pradyumna grew up within a very short time to become a handsome young man with broad eyes like lotus-petals, very long arms, and the most beautiful face among all males. Indeed, Pradyumna enchanted all women who gazed upon him. Mayavati also became captivated and lusty. With a bashful smile and playful gesture of the eyebrows, Mayavati lovingly approached her husband with the desire for union.
Pradyumna said, “O mother, you have changed. Formerly, you treated me just like a mother, and now you are behaving like a lusty woman who wants to be my lover.”
Mayavati replied, “You are actually Cupid, reborn as the son of Lord Narayana. As a baby, you were kidnapped from your home by Shambara. I am your legitimate wife, Rati. Now, kill this dreadful demon, Shambara. Although he knows many tricks by utilizing his mystic power, you can defeat him with a superior maya. Your poor mother, having lost her son, cries for you just like a cow that has lost her calf.”
After saying this, Mayavati taught Pradyumna the mystic powers called Maha-maya, that vanquish all other spells. Pradyumna then went to Shambara and challenged him to fight by speaking in an insulting manner. Offended by these harsh words, Shambara came upon the scene, agitated like a snake that had been kicked. The demon’s eyes were red with rage and he held a club in his hand.
As Shambara attacked him with his club, while making loud grunting sounds, Pradyumna defended himself with his own club. Then, when the opportunity arose, Pradyumna struck Shambara with a severe blow, making the demon resort to the powers of magic that he had learned from Maya Danava.
Appearing in the sky, Shambara released a downpour of weapons upon Krishna’s son. Being greatly harassed, Pradyumna made use of the mystic science, Maha-maya, which was created from the mode of goodness. Although Shambara retaliated by unleashing innumerable mystic weapons of the Guhyakas, Gandharvas, Pisachas, Uragas and Rakshasas- the son of Krishna neutralized them all.
At last, drawing his sword, Pradyumna forcefully cut off Shambara’s head, complete with red moustache, helmet and earrings. While the demigods showered flowers in appreciation, Mayavati suddenly appeared in the sky. Taking Pradyumna through the heavens, she quickly brought him to Dvaraka. When they descended into the inner quarters of Krishna’s palace, the many women there mistook Pradyumna to be Krishna Himself because of his dark complexion, yellow silk garments, long arms, red-tinged eyes, charming lotus-face adorned with a pleasing smile, and thick curly hair.
Overcome by shyness, the women hid themselves here and there. Gradually, however, they began to notice the slight difference between the visitor’s appearance and that of Krishna, and so they curiously approached Pradyumna and his consort.
Rukmini was present there, and when she saw Pradyumna, she was reminded of her lost son, so that her breasts became wet out of affection. Rukmini thought, “Who is this lotus-eyed jewel among men? Whose son is he, and who is this woman that appears to be his wife? If my lost son is still alive somewhere, he would be just the same age as this young man. How is it that he so much resembles my Lord, Krishna, both in bodily features and mannerisms? Yes, he must be my son, for I feel so much affection for him, and my left arm is trembling.”
While Rukmini was conjecturing in this way, Krishna came there, along with Vasudeva and Devaki. Although the Lord knew everything perfectly well, He remained silent. Then, by His will, the great sage Narada arrived there and explained the whole story in detail.
After hearing the wonderful narration, the women joyfully went and embraced Pradyumna and his wife, as did Balarama, Vasudeva, Devaki and of course, Queen Rukmini. They had given up all hope of seeing him again, and so now they felt as if Pradyumna had come back from the dead. When the citizens of Dvaraka received the news, they were also overjoyed and came to see Krishna’s son, whom they had given up for lost.
It is not astonishing that the palace women, who should have felt motherly affection for Pradyumna, privately felt a conjugal attraction. After all, the son exactly resembled his father, being a perfect reflection of Lord Krishna. Indeed, to all the women he appeared as Cupid himself. If even the older women on the level of his mother felt this way, then what to speak of the younger ones.