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The meeting of Usha and Aniruddha.
Bana was the eldest of Bali Maharaja’s one hundred sons. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and he was generous, intelligent, truthful and firm in his vows.
Long ago, when Lord Shiva was dancing his tandava-nritya, Banasura greatly pleased him by accompanying him with drums that he beat with his one thousand hands. When Lord Shiva offered him a benediction, Banasura asked him to personally become the guardian of his city, Shonitapura. Because Lord Shiva thus favored Banasura, even the demigods, headed by Indra, waited upon him like a menial servant.
Banasura became very proud of his strength and position, however. One day, after coming to offer his respects to Lord Shiva, by touching his helmet to his feet, Banasura said, “Lord Mahadeva, I don’t know what to do with the one thousand arms that you have give me. Once, just to satisfy their itching, I desired to fight with the dig-gaja (elephants who rule the four directions), and for that purpose, I smashed many mountains. But, even these great elephants fled in fear. Besides you, I can find no one in the three worlds worthy of fighting with.”
When he heard this, Lord Shiva became angry, considering the benediction that he gave his devotee to be troublesome. He therefore replied, “You rascal, you will soon enough meet someone equal to me in prowess, and He will smash your false pride to pieces!”
The foolish Banasura was delighted to hear this, and thereafter, he always waited for the day to come when he would meet a suitable opponent.
Banasura had a beautiful daughter named Usha, who was of marriageable age. Once, as Usha was sleeping, in the midst of her many girlfriends, she dreamt that Aniruddha was by her side, and they were enjoying a conjugal relationship- although in real life, she had never seen or heard of him. Then, suddenly losing sight of Aniruddha in her dream, Usha awoke with a start and cried out, “My dear lover, where are you?”
Banasura had a minister named Kumbhanda, whose daughter, Chitralekha, was resting nearby. Being very curious, she inquired from her disturbed and embarrassed friend, “O Usha, who are you searching for?”
Usha replied, “In my dream, I saw a man of dark complexion, having lotus eyes and mighty arms. He was so handsome that he would captivate any woman’s heart. After having me taste the nectar of his kisses, he went away, and thus I have been thrown into the ocean of distress.”
Chitralekha then said, “Do not worry, for I shall remove your distress. If the one you love can be found anywhere in the three worlds, I will bring him here. Now, please show me who he is.”
After saying this, Chitralekha began to draw portraits of various demigods, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Yakshas, Daityas, and human beings. (The name Chitralekha literally means “one who can draw very well.”). Chitralekha at last drew pictures of Shurasena, Vasudeva, Balarama and Krishna. Then, when she drew a picture of Pradyumna, Usha became a little bashful. When Chitralekha next drew a picture of Aniruddha, Usha lowered her head and smilingly said, “He is the one! It is him!”
Chitralekha was a great yogini, and she could understand the identity of Usha’s beloved. That very night, she travelled through the sky by utilizing her mystic power and came to Dvaraka. There, she found Pradyumna’s son, Aniruddha, sleeping on a fine bed. Once again employing her mystic powers, Chitralekha brought the sleeping Aniruddha to Shonitapura and presented him to Usha.
When Usha saw Aniruddha, the most handsome of men, her face blossomed in happiness. She took him to her private quarters, which men were forbidden to even see, and began to enjoy with him in great happiness. Usha worshiped Aniruddha with great affection and reverence, offering him priceless garments and all kinds of paraphernalia, as well as very nice food and drink.
By her sweet words and service, Usha was able to draw Aniruddha’s love and attention to her without deviation. Indeed, he did not notice how the days were passing, for his mind and senses had been captivated by Usha, whose love for Him also increased more and more.
After some time, however, Usha began to show bodily symptoms indicating that she was having sexual relations with a man, and her cheerfulness could not be concealed. Because of this, the guards and servants could guess that she had a boyfriend, and so they went to Banasura and very cautiously informed him of the situation.
They said, “O King, we have understood that your daughter is engaging in the kind of improper behavior that spoils the reputation of her family. We have been very carefully watching her, and so we are perplexed as to how she could have been spoiled in this way, since no man can even see her.”
Banasura was shocked to hear this and he hurried to Usha’s quarters. There, he saw the pride of the Yadus, Aniruddha, sitting with Usha and playing dice. With his unrivalled beauty, lotus-eyes, formidable arms and attractive mannerisms, Banasura could see that he was a suitable match for his daughter, but at the same time, he became very angry, for the sake of his family prestige. Banasura was also astonished at how calmly Aniruddha just sat there, even while knowing that the demon was displeased and gathering his soldiers.
When Banasura entered with many armed guards, Aniruddha picked up an iron rod and stood resolute, appearing just like Yamaraja. As the guards surrounded Aniruddha, attempting to capture him, he struck at them viciously, shattering their heads and limbs. But, as the remaining guards were fleeing, Banasura angrily captured Aniruddha with the mystic naga-pasha ropes (snakenoose), as he was coming out of the palace.
When Usha heard of Aniruddha’s capture, she became terribly aggrieved, and in her confusion, she loudly cried.