The Rare Occasion of a Full Solar Eclipse

 

Today all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun.  I wanted to get some reference from Srila Prabhupada’s books on some historical events that took place during the rare occasion of a full solar eclipse.  One such event took place some 5,000 years ago when Lord Krsna and Balarama meet with the inhabitiants of Vrndabana.

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Chapter Eighty-two

Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma Meet the Inhabitants of Vṛndāvana

Once upon a time while Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were living peacefully in Their great city of Dvārakā, there was the rare occasion of a full solar eclipse, such as takes place at the end of every kalpa, or day of Brahmā. At the end of every kalpa the sun is covered by a great cloud, and incessant rain covers the lower planetary systems up to Svargaloka. By astronomical calculation, people were informed about this great eclipse prior to its taking place, and therefore everyone, both men and women, decided to assemble at the holy place in Kurukṣetra known as Samanta-pañcaka.

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Krishna Janmastami

Joyous Celebration at Krishna’s Birth

Today we celebrate the birth of Lord Krsna, or Krishna Janmastami, with a full day fast and a feast after his appearance at Midnight tonight. We honor this auspicious day with a post from the Krsna Book.

The joyous vibrations at Krsna’s birth ceremony could be heard in all the pasturing grounds and houses.

 

KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 5, Meeting of Nanda and Vasudeva

Although Kṛṣṇa was the real son of Vasudeva and Devakī, because of Kaṁsa’s atrocious activities Vasudeva could not enjoy the birth ceremony of his son. But Nanda Mahārāja, the foster father, celebrated the birth ceremony of Kṛṣṇa very joyfully. The next day, it was declared that a male child was born of Yaśodā. According to Vedic custom, Nanda Mahārāja called for learned astrologers and brāhmaṇas to perform the birth ceremony. After the birth of a child, the astrologers calculate the moment of the birth and make a horoscope of the child’s future life. Another ceremony takes place after the birth of the child: the family members take baths, cleanse themselves and decorate themselves with ornaments and garlands; then they come before the child and the astrologer to hear of the future life of the child. Nanda Mahārāja and other members of the family dressed and sat down in front of the birthplace. All the brāhmaṇas who were assembled there on this occasion chanted auspicious mantras, according to the rituals, while the astrologers performed the birth ceremony. All the demigods are also worshiped on this occasion, as well as the forefathers of the family. Nanda Mahārāja distributed 200,000 well decorated, dressed and ornamented cows to the brāhmaṇas. He not only gave cows in charity, but hills of grains, decorated with golden-bordered garments and many ornaments.

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The Deliverance of Dvivida Gorilla

Today being the Appearance Day of Lord Balarama, we post this nice pastime of Lord Balarama delevering Dvivida gorilla.

…Dvivida was as powerful as 10,000 elephants. Sometimes he would go to the seashore, and with his powerful hands he would create so much disturbance in the sea that he would overflood the neighboring cities and villages. Often he would go to the hermitages of great saintly persons and sages and cause a great disturbance by smashing their beautiful gardens and orchards. Not only did he create disturbances in that way, but sometimes he would pass urine and stool on their sacred sacrificial arena. He would thus pollute the whole atmosphere.

While creating such great disturbance all over the country, sometimes he heard very sweet musical sounds from the Raivataka Mountain, and so he entered that mountainous region. There he saw that Lord Balarāma was present in the midst of many beautiful young girls, enjoying their company while engaged in singing and dancing. He became captivated by the beautiful features of Lord Balarāma’s body, each and every part of which was very beautiful, decorated as He was with a garland of lotus flowers. Similarly, all the young girls present, dressed and garlanded with flowers, exhibited much beauty. Lord Balarāma seemed to be fully intoxicated from drinking the vāruṇī beverage, and His eyes appeared to be rolling in a drunken state. Lord Balarāma appeared just like the king of the elephants in the midst of many she-elephants…

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter 67

The Deliverance of Dvivida Gorilla

While Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued to speak on the transcendental pastimes and characteristics of Lord Kṛṣṇa, King Parīkṣit, upon hearing him, became more and more enthusiastic and wanted to hear further. Śukadeva Gosvāmī next narrated the story of Dvivida, the gorilla who was killed by Lord Balarāma.

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Letter by Srila Prabhupada to George Harrision

 george-harrison-and-srila-prabhupada

 

February 16, 1970

My Dear George,

Please accept my blessings. I am so much obliged to you for your valued cooperation in spreading my movement of Krishna Consciousness throughout the whole world. I beg to acknowledge receipt herewith of your contribution of $19,000 (nineteen thousand dollars) for publication of my book, Krishna, now going to the press within the week.

Please note that every farthing of this money will be employed in the service of the Lord, and the Lord is so kind and grateful that He will bestow upon you benediction at least ten times more than that you have done for Him. It does not, however, mean that Lord Krishna is like a business man, and He bestows benediction when He is profited by our service. The Lord is full in Himself; He does not require our service, but if we render service unto Him in love and devotion, such action enriches our very existence.

 

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Govardhana Puja

govardan-hill

click on image to enlarge

Today we celebrate Govardhana-puja, when Krishna exhibited His transcendental pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill to protect the inhabitants of Vrndavan. In honor of this auspicious day, we are posting the entire chapter from the KRSNA Book entitled “Devastating Rainfall in Vrndavana”. Enjoy!

…Lord Kṛṣṇa immediately picked up Govardhana Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground. Thus He exhibited His transcendental pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. Lord Kṛṣṇa then began to address His devotees, “My dear brothers, My dear father, My dear inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, you can now safely enter under the umbrella of Govardhana Hill, which I have just lifted. Do not be afraid of the hill and think that it will fall from My hand. You have been too much afflicted from the heavy rain and strong wind; therefore I have lifted this hill, which will protect you exactly like a huge umbrella. I think this is a proper arrangement to relieve you from your immediate distress. Be happy along with your animals underneath this great umbrella.” Being assured by Lord Kṛṣṇa, all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana entered beneath the great hill and appeared to be safe along with their property and animals.

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Mother Yasoda Binds Lord Krsna

mother-yashoda-binds-lord-damodara

The beauty of Transcendental subject matter is that it never gets old, but rather, becomes more relishable with every reading. For instance, every year we celebrate the month of Damodara or Kartika, with the reading of “Mother Yasoda Binds Lord Krsna”, and singing the Damodarastka prayers, and every year, it becomes more enjoyable and spiritually enlivening. That is the nature of Spiritual Subject Matter.

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Nine

Mother Yaśodā Binds Lord Kṛṣṇa

Once upon a time, seeing that her maidservant was engaged in different household duties, mother Yaśodā personally took charge of churning butter. And while she churned butter, she sang the childhood pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and enjoyed thinking of her son.

The end of her sari was tightly wrapped while she churned, and on account of her intense love for her son, milk automatically dripped from her breasts which moved as she labored very hard, churning with two hands. The bangles and bracelets on her hands tinkled as they touched each other, and her earrings and breasts shook. There were drops of perspiration on her face, and the flower garland which was on her head scattered here and there. Before this picturesque sight, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as a child. He felt hungry, and out of love for His mother, He wanted her to stop churning. He indicated that her first business was to let Him suck her breast and then churn butter later.

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Description of Autumn

autumn

Today is the first day of Autumn. As is my custom, I like to read chapter 20 of the KRSNA Book, entitled “Description of Autumn”. Srila Prabhupada gives a very beautiful description of the Autumn season.

…Everything becomes naturally beautiful with the appearance of the autumn season. Similarly, when a materialistic person takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and spiritual life, he also becomes as clear as the sky and water in autumn. The autumn season takes away the rolling of dark clouds in the sky as well as the polluted water.

…Soon all the water reservoirs became very clean and pleasing, and refreshing air was blowing everywhere because of the appearance of autumn. The sky was completely cleared of all clouds, and it recovered its natural blue color. The blooming lotus flower in the clear water in the forest appeared like a person who has fallen down from yoga practice but again has become beautiful by resuming his spiritual life.

…Because of the appearance of the autumn season, the water of the ocean becomes calm and quiet, just as a person developed in self-realization is no longer disturbed by the three modes of material nature.

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The Birth Of Lord Krishna

Baby Krsna

As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord says that His appearance, birth, and activities, are all transcendental, and one who understands them factually becomes immediately eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. The Lord’s appearance or birth is not like that of an ordinary man who is forced to accept a material body according to his past deeds. The Lord’s appearance is explained in the Second Chapter: He appears out of His own sweet pleasure. When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the star known as Rohiṇī was also predominant because this star is considered to be very auspicious. Rohiṇī is under the direct supervision of Brahmā. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Kṛṣṇa’s birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious. (Krsna Book Chapter 3)

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KRSNA Book Vol. 1

Krsna Book Vol. 1

Today, being Krsna Janmastami, we are offering a free scanned copy of the original ISKCON Press 1970 Edition of KRSNA Book Vol. 1, which you can download. Just click on the following link to began downloading. This could take a while depending on the speed of your connection. This free scanned copy includes all the original art work as well.

KRSNA_Book_Vol.1_1970_ISKCON_Press_edition_SCAN

Krsna Book

Balarama Rasayatra & Sri Krsna Vasanta Rasa

Rasa Lila

Last night I noticed that the moon was full, and it reminded me that this must be Balarama Rasayatra, or the night that Lord Balarama danced the Rasa dance with the Gopis. It was also Sri Krsna Vasanta Rasa, the Lord’s springtime rasa lila pastime. We honor these pastimes with a chapter from the Krsna Book, entitled “Lord Balarama Visits Vrndavana”.

…Lord Balarāma could, of course, understand the ecstatic feelings of the gopīs, and therefore He wanted to pacify them. He was expert in presenting an appeal, and thus, treating the gopīs very respectfully, He began to narrate the stories of Kṛṣṇa so tactfully that the gopīs became satisfied. In order to keep the gopīs in Vṛndāvana satisfied, Lord Balarāma stayed there continually for two months, namely the months of Caitra (March-April) and Vaiśākha (April-May). For those two months He kept Himself among the gopīs, and He passed every night with them in the forest of Vṛndāvana in order to satisfy their desire for conjugal love. Thus Balarāma also enjoyed the rāsa dance with the gopīs during those two months. Since the season was springtime, the breeze on the bank of the Yamunā was blowing very mildly, carrying the aroma of different flowers, especially of the flower known as kaumudī. Moonlight filled the sky and spread everywhere, and thus the banks of the Yamunā appeared to be very bright and pleasing, and Lord Balarāma enjoyed the company of the gopīs there.

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Description of Autumn

Autumn

Today is the first day of Autumn. As is my custom, I like to read chapter 20 of the KRSNA Book, entitled “Description of Autumn”. Srila Prabhupada gives a very beautiful description of the Autumn season.

…Everything becomes naturally beautiful with the appearance of the autumn season. Similarly, when a materialistic person takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and spiritual life, he also becomes as clear as the sky and water in autumn. The autumn season takes away the rolling of dark clouds in the sky as well as the polluted water.

…Soon all the water reservoirs became very clean and pleasing, and refreshing air was blowing everywhere because of the appearance of autumn. The sky was completely cleared of all clouds, and it recovered its natural blue color. The blooming lotus flower in the clear water in the forest appeared like a person who has fallen down from yoga practice but again has become beautiful by resuming his spiritual life.

…Because of the appearance of the autumn season, the water of the ocean becomes calm and quiet, just as a person developed in self-realization is no longer disturbed by the three modes of material nature.

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Subduing Kāliya

Krsna dancing on the heads of Kalia serpent
Krishna’s Punishment to the Serpant Kaliya was Actually a Benediction

I love the stories and pastimes in the Krsna Book, and never tiring of hearing them. I ran across the above image on the Internet, I found it so sweet, that I opened up the Krsna Book and re-read the story of Krsna Subduing the Kaliya Serpent.

…When this story was being narrated by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Mahārāja Parīkṣit became eager to hear more about Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes. He inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī how Kṛṣṇa chastised Kāliya, who was living in the water for many years. Actually, Mahārāja Parīkṣit was becoming more and more enthusiastic to hear the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, and his inquiry was made with great interest.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī narrated the story as follows.

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Krishna Janmastami

Mother Yashoda bathes Krishna

click on image to enlarge

Joyous Celebration at Krishna’s Birth

Today we celebrate the birth of Lord Krsna, or Krishna Janmastami, with a full day fast and a feast after his appearance at Midnight tonight. We honor this auspicious day with a post from the Krsna Book.

The joyous vibrations at Krsna’s birth ceremony could be heard in all the pasturing grounds and houses.

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The Gopīs’ Feelings of Separation

Gopis

Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Vol. 1, Chapter 34

The Gopīs’ Feelings of Separation

The gopīs of Vṛndāvana were so attached to Kṛṣṇa that they were not satisfied simply with the rāsa dance at night. They wanted to associate with Him and enjoy His company during the daytime also. When Kṛṣṇa went to the forest with His cowherd boy friends and cows, the gopīs did not physically take part, but their hearts went with Him. And because their hearts went, they were able to enjoy His company through strong feelings of separation. To acquire this strong feeling of separation is the teaching of Lord Caitanya and His direct disciplic succession of Gosvāmīs. When we are not in physical contact with Kṛṣṇa, we can associate with Him like the gopīs, through feelings of separation. Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental form, qualities, pastimes, and entourage are all identical with Him. There are nine different kinds of devotional service. Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa in feelings of separation elevates the devotee to the highest perfectional level, to the level of the gopīs.

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Wonderful Krsna

Krishna Balarama and friends and cows

click on image to enlarge

KRSNA, The Supreme Personality
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Volume 1, Chapter 26

Wonderful Krsna

Without understanding the intricacies of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and without knowing His uncommon spiritual opulences, the innocent cowherd boys and men of Vṛndāvana began to discuss the wonderful activities of Kṛṣṇa which surpass the activities of all men.

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Kṛṣṇa-kathā

Sukadeva Goswami and Parikshit

…The position of Mahārāja Parīkṣit and Śukadeva Gosvāmī is unique. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the right person to hear about the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī is the right person to describe them. If such a fortunate combination is made possible, then Kṛṣṇa-kathā immediately becomes revealed, and people may benefit to the highest possible degree from such a conversation.

This narration was presented by Śukadeva Gosvāmī when Mahārāja Parīkṣit was prepared to give up his body, fasting on the bank of the Ganges. In order to assure Śukadeva Gosvāmī that by hearing Kṛṣṇa-kathā he would not feel tired, Mahārāja Parīkṣit expressed himself very frankly: “Hunger and thirst may give trouble to ordinary persons or to me, but the topics of Kṛṣṇa are so nice that one can continue to hear about them without feeling tired because such hearing situates one in the transcendental position.” It is understood that one must be very fortunate to hear about Kṛṣṇa-kathā seriously, like Mahārāja Parīkṣit. He was especially intent on the subject matter because he was expecting death at any moment. Every one of us should be conscious of death at every moment. This life is not at all assured; at any time one can die. It does not matter whether one is a young man or an old man. So before death takes place, we must be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.

At the point of his death, King Parīkṣit was hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. When King Parīkṣit expressed his untiring desire to hear about Kṛṣṇa, Śukadeva Gosvāmī was very pleased. Śukadeva was the greatest of all Bhāgavata reciters, and thus he began to speak about Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, which destroy all inauspiciousness in this age of Kali. Śukadeva Gosvāmī thanked the King for his eagerness to hear about Kṛṣṇa, and he encouraged him by saying, “My dear King, your intelligence is very keen because you are so eager to hear about the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.” He informed Mahārāja Parīkṣit that hearing and chanting of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are so auspicious that the processes purifies the three varieties of men involved: he who recites the transcendental topics of Kṛṣṇa, he who hears such topics, and he who inquires about Him. These pastimes are just like the Ganges water which flows from the toe of Lord Viṣṇu: they purify the three worlds, the upper, middle and lower planetary systems.

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Sri Krsna Rasa-yatra

Rasa Lila

Today being Purnima (the Full Moon), is also the End of Kartika, Sri Krsna Rasa-yatra (the purnima or full moon of Damodara month is the second full moon of the autumn season, and rasa lila is again celebrated), Tulasi-Saligrama Vivaha (this is the celebration of the marriage ceremony of Srimati Tulsi Devi and Lord Sri Krishna), and the Last Day of Caturmasya.

In honor of this auspicious day, we are posting the Introduction to the Rasa Dance, Chapter 29 of the Krsna Book.

…The appearance of the moon increased Kṛṣṇa’s desire to dance with the gopīs. The forests were filled with fragrant flowers. The atmosphere was cooling and festive. When Lord Kṛṣṇa began to blow His flute, the gopīs all over Vṛndāvana became enchanted. Their attraction to the vibration of the flute increased a thousand times due to the rising full moon, the red horizon, the calm and cool atmosphere, and the blossoming flowers. All these gopīs were by nature very much attracted to Kṛṣṇa’s beauty, and when they heard the vibration of His flute, they became apparently lustful to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa.

Immediately upon hearing the vibration of the flute, they all left their respective engagements and proceeded to the spot where Kṛṣṇa was standing. While they ran very swiftly, all their earrings swung back and forth. They all rushed toward the place known as Vaṁśīvaṭa. Some of them were engaged in milking cows, but they left their milking business half finished and immediately went to Kṛṣṇa. One of them had just collected milk and put it in a milk pan on the oven to boil, but she did not care whether the milk overboiled and spilled–she immediately left to go see Kṛṣṇa. Some of them were breast feeding their small babies, and some were engaged in distributing food to the members of their families, but they left all such engagements and immediately rushed towards the spot where Kṛṣṇa was playing His flute. Some were engaged in serving their husbands, and some were themselves engaged in eating, but neither caring to serve their husbands nor eat, they immediately left. Some of them wanted to decorate their faces with cosmetic ointments and to dress themselves very nicely before going to Kṛṣṇa, but unfortunately they could not finish their cosmetic decorations nor put on their dresses in the right way because of their anxiety to meet Kṛṣṇa immediately. Their faces were decorated hurriedly and were haphazardly finished; some even put the lower part of their dresses on the upper part of their bodies and the upper part on the lower part.

While all the gopīs were hurriedly leaving their respective places, their husbands, brothers and fathers were all struck with wonder to know where they were going. Being young girls, they were protected either by husbands, elderly brothers or fathers. All their guardians forbade them to go to Kṛṣṇa, but they disregarded them. When a person becomes attracted by Kṛṣṇa and is in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he does not care for any worldly duties, even though very urgent. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so powerful that it gives everyone relief from all material activities. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has written a very nice verse wherein one gopī advises another, “My dear friend, if you desire to enjoy the company of material society, friendship and love, then please do not go to see this smiling boy Govinda, who is standing on the bank of the Yamunā and playing His flute, His lips brightened by the beams of the full moonlight.” Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī indirectly instructs that one who has been captivated by the beautiful smiling face of Kṛṣṇa has lost all attraction for material enjoyments. This is the test of advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness: a person advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness must lose interest in material activities and personal sense gratification.

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Krishna’s Childhood Pastimes

Krishna kicking cart

Continuining our month long attempt to stay focused on the childhood pastimes of Krsna, during this month of Damodara (Kartika), we bring you another exciting chapter from; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Today we are posting the chapter entitled “The Salvation of Tṛṇāvarta”.

…Baby Kṛṣṇa had been placed underneath a hand-driven cart, and while He was kicking His legs, He accidentally touched the wheel of the cart, and it collapsed. Various kinds of utensils and brass and metal dishes had been piled up in the handcart, and they all fell down with a great noise. The wheel of the cart separated from the axle, and the spokes of the wheel were all broken and scattered hither and thither. Mother Yaśodā and all the gopīs, as well as Mahārāja Nanda and the cowherd men, were astonished as to how the cart could have collapsed by itself.

…If someone takes advantage of hearing the pastimes of the Lord, the material contamination of dust, accumulated in the heart due to long association with material nature, can be immediately cleansed. Lord Caitanya also instructed that simply by hearing the transcendental name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one can cleanse the heart of all material contamination. There are different processes for self-realization, but this process of devotional service–of which hearing is the most important function–when adopted by any conditioned soul, will automatically cleanse him of the material contamination and enable him to realize his real constitutional position.  (Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead)

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Subduing Kaliya

Krsna dancing on head of Kali serpent

 

“O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon. My only prayer is that Your childhood pastimes may constantly appear in my mind. O Lord, I do not even want to know Your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that Your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.” (Damodarasatka prayers)

 

Continuining our month long attempt to stay focused on the childhood pastimes of Krsna, during this month of Damodara (Kartika), we bring you another exciting chapter from; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Today we are posting the chapter entitled  “Subduing Kāliya”

 

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Chapter Sixteen

Subduing Kāliya

When He understood that the water of the Yamunā was being polluted by the black serpent Kāliya, Lord Kṛṣṇa took action against him and made him leave the Yamunā and go elsewhere, and thus the water became purified.

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Krishna’s Childhood Pastimes

Krishna childhood pastimes

click on image to enlarge

“O Lord Damodara, in Your form as a baby, Mother Yasoda bound You to a grinding stone with a rope for tying cows, You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva, and Nalakuvera, who were cursed to stand as trees, and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees. Please bless me in this same way, I have no desire for liberation into Your effulgence.” (Damodarastka Prayers)

So…continuining our month long attempt to stay focused on the childhood pastimes of Krsna, during this month of Damodara (Kartika), we bring you another exciting chapter from; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Today we are posting the chapter entitled “The Deliverance of Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva”.

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Ten

The Deliverance of Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva

The story of the cursing of Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva and their deliverance by Kṛṣṇa, under the all-blissful desire of the great sage Nārada, is here described.

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