Chapter XXXVIII - 139 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"Meanwhile, Gopala appeared above the waters, shaking the pool (as if an earthquake was rocking it) with the strokes of His swimming. Suddenly, they saw a huge serpent following Him, spitting poison and belching fire like a volcano, through its glowing eyes. The boys could not look on, at this dreadful scene, without bawling out, in uncontrollable anguish, 'Krishna! Come on, to the bank. Come this way. Come, to this bank.' Krishna swam about, as if He did not hear their prayers. He was happy in the pool, thrilled with excitement and joy. At last, the serpent succeeded in pursuing Krishna round the pool through the high tossing waves. It wound itself round His body, gradually tightening the grip. Seeing this, some boys ran as fast as they could to Gokul, and broke the news to Nanda and Yasoda, the father and the mother of Krishna. They wept aloud, while telling them what had happened."

"Immediately, Nanda and Yasoda, with all the Gopas and Gopis, the entire population of Gokul, ran towards the poison pool, urged on by fear that some dire calamity was about to overtake Krishna. Balarama, the elder brother too, was among them. He knew the strength and skill of Krishna. So, he calmed the anxiety of the parents; he assured them that no calamity can befall Krishna; He consoled and conferred confidence in many ways. Within a short time, the bank of the river was packed thick with people. On all sides, the cry of despair, 'Krishna! Krishna!' was resounding from every throat, steeped in grief. Many fainted and lost consciousness when they cast their looks at Krishna and the serpent. Oh, it was indeed a heart-rending sight!"

"Many Gopis could not bear to see Krishna caught in the coils of that mighty monster, dragged down the blood-red waters one moment, pulling Himself up the next, struggling valiantly with the serpent which was emitting fiery sparks of poison. Yasoda and many Gopis swooned and fell on the sands. They were nursed by others back into consciousness; when they came to, they wept plaintively and called out the name of their beloved Krishna. 'My dear child, where was this horrible serpent hiding all this while? Why did it emerge now?' lamented Yasoda, in despair."

"A few of His comrades sobbed, "Cannot the serpent strike its fangs on us, instead of wounding Krishna? Can it not release Gopala?" Some cowherd maidens prepared themselves to plunge into the pool so that the serpent may give up Krishna and attack them, instead. 'We shall give up our lives, so that Krishna may be saved,' they declared. But, Balarama stood in their way; he assured them that Krishna would come out unscathed, that no harm could approach Him; he called out to Krishna to come to them soon after triumphing over the monster."

"Many Gopis prayed ardently for victory to Krishna, for, 'The safety of Krishna is the safety of the worlds. Our Krishna is the sole sovereign of all the worlds. Therefore, may Krishna be released quickly, from the stranglehold of the serpent'. Their prayers were addressed to the very Krishna whom they wished to save by means of the prayer! They opened their eyes even while praying to find out whether He had released Himself already. The huge gathering on the riverbank was awaiting, with eyes that did not even wink, the release of Krishna, that may happen any moment. They were overpowered by fear and anxiety, hope and faith."