The Deliverance of the Demon Bhaumāsura
The story of Bhaumāsura – how he kidnapped and made captive sixteen thousand princesses by collecting them from the palaces of various kings and how he was killed by Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord of wonderful character – is all described by Śukadeva Gosvāmī to King Parīkṣit in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Generally, the demons are always against the demigods. This demon, Bhaumāsura, having become very powerful, took by force the umbrella from the throne of the demigod Varuṇa. He also took the earrings of Aditi, the mother of the demigods. He conquered the portion of heavenly Mount Meru known as Maṇi-parvata and occupied it. The king of the heavenly planets, Indra, therefore came to Dvārakā to complain about Bhaumāsura before Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Hearing this complaint by Indra, the king of heaven, Lord Kṛṣṇa, accompanied by His wife Satyabhāmā, immediately started for the abode of Bhaumāsura. The two of them rode on the back of Garuḍa, who flew them to Prāgjyotiṣa-pura, Bhaumāsura’s capital city. To enter the city of Prāgjyotiṣa-pura was not a very easy task, because it was very well fortified. First of all, there were four strongholds guarding the four directions of the city, which was well protected on all sides by formidable military strength. The next boundary was a water canal all around the city, and in addition the whole city was surrounded by electric wires. The next fortification was of anila, a gaseous substance. After this, there was a network of barbed wire constructed by a demon of the name Mura. The city appeared well protected even in terms of today’s scientific advancements.
When Kṛṣṇa arrived, He broke all the strongholds to pieces by the strokes of His club and scattered the military strength here and there by the constant onslaught of His arrows. With His celebrated Sudarśana cakra He counteracted the electrified boundary, annihilated the canals of water and the gaseous boundary, and cut to pieces the electrified network fabricated by the demon Mura. By the vibration of His conch shell, He broke the hearts of the great fighters and also broke the fighting machines that were there. Similarly, He broke the walls around the city with His invincible club.
The vibration of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s conch shell sounded like a thunderbolt at the time of the dissolution of the whole cosmic manifestation. The demon Mura heard the vibration of the conch shell, awakened from his sleep and came out to see what had happened. He had five heads and had long been living within the water. The Mura demon was as brilliant as the sun at the time of the dissolution of the cosmos, and his temper was like blazing fire. The effulgence of his body was so dazzling that he was difficult to see with open eyes. When he came out, he first took out his trident and rushed the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demon Mura in his onslaught was like a big snake attacking Garuḍa. His angry mood was very severe, and he appeared ready to devour the three worlds. First of all he attacked the carrier of Kṛṣṇa, Garuḍa, by whirling and then throwing his trident, and through his five mouths he vibrated sounds like the roaring of a lion. These roaring vibrations spread all over the atmosphere until they extended all over the world and into outer space, up and down and out to the ten directions, rumbling throughout the entire universe.
Lord Kṛṣṇa saw that the trident of the Mura demon was rushing toward His carrier, Garuḍa. Immediately, by a trick of His hand, He took two arrows and threw them toward the trident, cutting it to pieces. Simultaneously, using many arrows, He pierced the mouths of the demon Mura. When the Mura demon saw himself outmaneuvered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he immediately began to strike the Lord in great anger with his club. But Lord Kṛṣṇa, with His own club, broke the club of Mura to pieces before it could reach Him. The demon, bereft of his weapon, decided to attack Kṛṣṇa with his strong arms, but Kṛṣṇa, with the aid of His Sudarśana cakra, immediately separated the demon’s five heads from his body. The demon then fell into the water, just as the peak of a mountain falls into the ocean after being struck by the thunderbolt of Indra.
This demon Mura had seven sons, named Tāmra, Antarikṣa, Śravaṇa, Vibhāvasu, Vasu, Nabhasvān and Aruṇa. All of them became puffed up and vengeful because of the death of their father, and to retaliate they prepared in great anger to fight with Kṛṣṇa. They equipped themselves with the necessary weapons and situated Pīṭha, another demon, to act as commander in the battle. By the order of Bhaumāsura, all of them combinedly attacked Kṛṣṇa.
When they came before Lord Kṛṣṇa, they began to shower Him with many kinds of weapons, like swords, clubs, lances, arrows and tridents. But they did not know that the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unlimited and invincible. Kṛṣṇa, with His arrows, cut all the weapons of the men of Bhaumāsura into pieces, like grains. Kṛṣṇa then threw His weapons, and Bhaumāsura’s commander in chief, Pīṭha, along with his assistants, fell down, their military dress cut off and their heads, legs, arms and thighs severed. All of them were sent to the superintendent of death, Yamarāja.
Bhaumāsura, who was also known as Narakāsura, happened to be the son of the earth personified. When he saw that all his soldiers, commanders and fighters had been killed on the battlefield by the strokes of the weapons of the Personality of Godhead, he became exceedingly angry at the Lord. He then came out of the city with a great number of elephants who had all been born and brought up on the seashore. All of them were highly intoxicated. When they came out, they saw that Lord Kṛṣṇa and His wife were beautifully situated high in outer space just like a blackish cloud about the sun, glittering with the light of electricity. The demon Bhaumāsura immediately released a weapon called Śataghnī, by which he could kill hundreds of warriors with one stroke, and all his assistants simultaneously threw their respective weapons at the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kṛṣṇa counteracted all these weapons by releasing His feathered arrows. The result of this fight was that all the soldiers and commanders of Bhaumāsura fell to the ground, their arms, legs and heads separated from their trunks, and all their horses and elephants also fell with them. In this way, all the weapons released by Bhaumāsura were cut to pieces by the Lord’s arrows.
The Lord was fighting on the back of Garuḍa, who was helping Him by striking the horses and elephants with his wings and scratching their heads with his nails and sharp beak. The elephants, feeling much pain from Garuḍa’s attack on them, all dispersed from the battlefield. Bhaumāsura alone remained on the battlefield, and he engaged himself in fighting with Kṛṣṇa. He saw that Kṛṣṇa’s carrier, Garuḍa, had caused great disturbance to his soldiers and elephants, and in great anger he struck Garuḍa with all his strength, which defied the strength of a thunderbolt. Fortunately, Garuḍa was not an ordinary bird, and he felt the strokes given by Bhaumāsura just as a great elephant feels the impact of a garland of flowers.
Bhaumāsura thus came to see that none of his tricks would act upon Kṛṣṇa, and he became aware that all his attempts to kill Kṛṣṇa would be frustrated. Yet he tried for the last time, taking a trident in his hand to strike Him. Kṛṣṇa was so dexterous that before Bhaumāsura could throw his trident, his head was cut off by the sharp Sudarśana cakra. His head, illuminated by earrings and a helmet, fell down on the battlefield. On the occasion of Bhaumāsura’s being killed by Lord Kṛṣṇa, all the demon’s relatives screamed in disappointment, and the saintly persons glorified the chivalrous activities of the Lord. Taking this opportunity, the denizens of the heavenly planets showered flowers on the Lord.
At this time, the earth personified appeared before Lord Kṛṣṇa and greeted Him with a Vaijayantī flower garland. She then returned the dazzling earrings of Aditi, bedecked with jewels and gold. She also returned the umbrella of Varuṇa, along with a valuable jewel, which she presented to Kṛṣṇa. After this, the earth personified offered her prayers to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality and master of the world, who is always worshiped by exalted demigods. She fell down in obeisances and, in great devotional ecstasy, began to speak.
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who is always present with four symbols, namely His conch shell, disc, lotus and club, and who is the Lord of all demigods. Please accept my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, You are the Supersoul, and in order to satisfy the aspirations of Your devotees, You descend to the earth in Your various transcendental incarnations, which are just appropriate to the devotees’ worshipful desire. Kindly accept my respectful obeisances.
“My dear Lord, the lotus flower grows out of Your navel, and You are always decorated with a garland of lotus flowers. Your eyes are always spread like the petals of the lotus flower, and therefore they are all-pleasing to the eyes of others. Your soft and delicate lotus feet are always worshiped by Your unalloyed devotees, and those lotus feet pacify their lotuslike hearts. I therefore repeatedly offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
“You possess all beauty, strength, fame, property, knowledge and renunciation; You are the shelter of all six opulences. Although You are all-pervading, You have appeared as the son of Vasudeva. Please, therefore, accept my respectful obeisances. You are the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and the supreme cause of all causes. Only Your Lordship is the reservoir of all knowledge. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Personally You are unborn; still, You are the father of the whole cosmic manifestation. You are the reservoir and shelter of all kinds of energies. The manifested appearance of this world is caused by You, and You are both the cause and effect of this cosmic manifestation. Please therefore accept my respectful obeisances.
“My dear Lord, as for the three gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, they are not independent of You. When there is a necessity of creating this cosmic manifestation, You create Your passionate appearance of Brahmā, and when You want to maintain this cosmic manifestation You expand Yourself as Lord Viṣṇu, the reservoir of all goodness. Similarly, You appear as Lord Śiva, master of the mode of ignorance, and thus dissolve the whole creation. You always maintain Your transcendental position, in spite of creating these three modes of material nature. You are never entangled in these modes of nature, as the ordinary living entities are.
“Actually, my Lord, You are the material nature, You are the father of the universe, and You are eternal time, which has caused the combination of the elements of nature and the manifestation of the material creation. Still, You are always transcendental to all these material activities. My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know that earth, water, fire, air, sky, the five sense objects, mind, the senses and their deities, egotism, and the total material energy – all things animate and inanimate in this phenomenal world – rests upon You. Since everything is produced of You, nothing can be separate from You. Yet since You are transcendentally situated, nothing material can be identified with Your personality. Everything is therefore simultaneously one with You and different from You, and the philosophers who try to separate everything from You are certainly mistaken in their viewpoint.
“My dear Lord, may I inform You that this boy, whose name is Bhagadatta, is the son of my son, Bhaumāsura. He has been very much affected by the ghastly situation created by the death of his father and has become very much confused and afraid. I have therefore brought him to surrender unto Your lotus feet. I request Your Lordship to give shelter to this boy and bless him with Your lotus feet. I bring him to You so that he may be relieved of the reactions of all the sinful activities of his father.”
After Lord Kṛṣṇa had heard the prayers of Mother Earth, He immediately assured her of immunity from all fearful situations. He said to Bhagadatta, “Don’t be afraid.” Then He entered the palace of Bhaumāsura, which was equipped with all kinds of opulences. In the palace of Bhaumāsura, Lord Kṛṣṇa saw 16,100 young princesses, who had been kidnapped and held captive there. When the princesses saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, enter the palace, they immediately became captivated by the beauty of the Lord and prayed for His causeless mercy. Within their minds, they decided to accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as their husband without hesitation. Each one of them prayed to Providence that Kṛṣṇa might become her husband. Sincerely and seriously, they offered their hearts to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa with an unalloyed devotional attitude. As the Supersoul in everyone’s heart, Kṛṣṇa could understand their uncontaminated desire, and He agreed to accept them as His wives. Thus He arranged for suitable garments and ornaments for them, and each of them, seated on a palanquin, was dispatched to Dvārakā City. Kṛṣṇa also collected unlimited wealth from the palace, a treasure of chariots, horses, jewels and so on. He took from the palace fifty white elephants, each with four tusks, and all of them were dispatched to Dvārakā.
After this incident, Lord Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā entered Amarāvatī, the capital city of the heavenly planets, and they immediately entered the palace of King Indra and his wife, Śacīdevī, who welcomed them. Kṛṣṇa then presented Indra with the earrings of Aditi.
When Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā were returning from the capital city of Indra, Satyabhāmā remembered Kṛṣṇa’s promise to give her a pārijāta tree. Taking the opportunity of having come to the heavenly kingdom, she uprooted a pārijāta tree and placed it on the back of Garuḍa. Once Nārada had taken a pārijāta flower and presented it to Kṛṣṇa’s senior wife, Śrī Rukmiṇī-devī. On account of this, Satyabhāmā had developed an inferiority complex; she also wanted such a flower from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa could understand the competitive womanly nature of His co-wives, and He had smiled. He had immediately asked Satyabhāmā, “Why are you asking for only one flower? I would like to give you a whole tree of pārijāta flowers.”
Actually, Kṛṣṇa had purposely taken His wife Satyabhāmā with Him so that she could collect the pārijāta with her own hand. But the denizens of the heavenly planets, including Indra, were very irritated. Without their permission, Satyabhāmā had uprooted a pārijāta tree, which is not to be found on the earth planet. Indra, along with other demigods, offered opposition to Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā for taking away the tree, but in order to please His favorite wife Satyabhāmā, Kṛṣṇa became determined and adamant, so there was a fight between the demigods and Kṛṣṇa. As usual, Kṛṣṇa came out victorious, and He triumphantly brought the pārijāta tree chosen by His wife to this earth planet, to Dvārakā. After this, the tree was installed in the palace garden of Satyabhāmā. On account of this extraordinary tree, the garden house of Satyabhāmā became extraordinarily beautiful. As the pārijāta tree came down to the earthly planet, the fragrance of its flowers also came down, and the celestial drones migrated to this earth in search of their fragrance and honey.
King Indra’s behavior toward Kṛṣṇa was not very much appreciated by great sages like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Out of His causeless mercy, Kṛṣṇa had gone to the heavenly kingdom, Amarāvatī, to present King Indra with his mother’s earrings, which had been lost to Bhaumāsura, and Indra had been very glad to receive them. But when a pārijāta tree from the heavenly kingdom was taken by Kṛṣṇa, Indra had fought with Him. This was self-interest on the part of Indra. He had offered his prayer, tipping down his head to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but as soon as his purpose had been served, he became a different creature. That is the way of the dealings of materialistic men. Materialistic men are always interested in their own profit. For this purpose they can offer any kind of respect to anyone, but when their personal interest is over, they are no longer friends. This selfish nature is found not only among the richer class of men on this planet but even in personalities like Indra and other demigods. Too much wealth makes a man selfish. A selfish man is not prepared to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and is condemned by great devotees like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. In other words, possession of too many worldly riches is a disqualification for advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
After defeating Indra, Kṛṣṇa arranged to marry the 16,100 girls brought from the custody of Bhaumāsura. By expanding Himself into 16,100 forms, He simultaneously married them all in different palaces at the same auspicious moment. He thus established the truth that Kṛṣṇa and no one else is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is nothing impossible for Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; He is all-powerful, omnipresent and imperishable, and so there is nothing wonderful in this pastime. All the palaces of the more than 16,000 queens of Kṛṣṇa were filled with suitable gardens, furniture and other paraphernalia, to which there is no parallel in this world. There is no exaggeration in this story from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The queens of Kṛṣṇa were all expansions of the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmījī. Kṛṣṇa lived with them in different palaces, and He treated them exactly the same way an ordinary man treats his wife.
We should always remember that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, was playing exactly like a human being; although He showed His extraordinary opulences by simultaneously marrying more than sixteen thousand wives in more than sixteen thousand palaces, He behaved with them just like an ordinary man, and He strictly followed the relationship between husband and wife required in ordinary homes. Therefore, it is very difficult to understand the characteristics of the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead. Even demigods like Brahmā are unable to probe into the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. The wives of Kṛṣṇa were so fortunate that they got the Supreme Personality of Godhead as their husband, although their husband’s personality was unknown even to Brahmā and the other demigods.
In their dealings as husband and wife, Kṛṣṇa and His queens would smile, talk, joke, embrace and so on, and their conjugal relationship ever-increasingly developed. In this way, Kṛṣṇa and the queens enjoyed transcendental happiness in their household life. Although each and every queen had thousands of maidservants engaged for her service, the queens were all personally attentive to serving Kṛṣṇa. Each one of them used to receive Kṛṣṇa personally when He entered the palace. They engaged in seating Him on a nice couch, worshiping Him with all kinds of paraphernalia, washing His lotus feet with Ganges water, offering Him betel nuts and massaging His legs. In this way, they gave Him relief from the fatigue He felt after being away from home. They fanned Him nicely, offered Him fragrant essential floral oil, decorated Him with flower garlands, dressed His hair, asked Him to lie down to take rest, bathed Him personally and fed Him palatable dishes. Each queen did all these things herself and did not wait for the maidservants. In other words, Kṛṣṇa and His different queens displayed on this earth an ideal household life.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the fifty-ninth chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “The Deliverance of the Demon Bhaumāsura.”