Wednesday, 1 July 2020

THE DESTRUCTION OF KESHI | VISHNU PARVA SECTION - 79 - 024

CHAPTER LXXIX

(THE DESTRUCTION OF KESHI)


Krishna and Keshi

VAISHAMPAYANA said: - Hearing the words of Andhaka, Kansa's eyes were reddened with anger. Without giving vent to a single word he entered into his own house (1). Having their resolution thus frustrated, Yādavas, wellversed in Srutis, repaired to their respective habitations talking over the ill-conduct of Kansa (2).

Akrura too, as commanded, and desirous of seeing Krishna, set out for Mathura in an excellent car fleet like the mind (3). Many good signs appeared on Krishna's limbs bespeaking of his union with a father-like relative (4). Before Akrura's departure, Ugrasena's son king Kansa sent an emissary to Keshi for destroying Krishna (5). Hearing the words of the messenger, the irrepressible Keshi, always oppressing the people, at once went to Vrindavana and began to torture the Gopas (6). Feeding upon human flesh in anger that dreadful and wicked demon, in the shape of a horse, began to assail all greatly (7). Killing the cows and cow-herds, that irrepressible Dānava began to feed on beef of his own accord (8). Wherever in the forest the vicious- souled Dānava Keshi lived it was filled with the dead bodies of men and appeared like a cremation ground (9). He used to scratch the earth with his hoofs, weaken the trees with his velocity, leap up into the sky and trifle at the wind with his neighing (10). Thus shaking his manes and ranging in the forest, that highly proud, foolish and wicked demon, assuming the form of a horse, began to act there as desired by Kansa (11). Destroying the Gopas, that horse demon, of wicked deeds, made the forest empty (12). That wicked one so much vitiated the forest that the Gopas, who derive their sustenance through woods and the kine left it (13). With his mind worked up with pride he continually fed on human flesh so much so that the animals could not wend the forest roads (14).

Once during the day, following in anger the noise of men, that Daitya, as if urged on by Destiny, arrived at the settlement of the milk-men (15). As soon as they saw him the Gopa-women, with their children, and the Gopas, setting up Acry, fled away to their master Krishna, the lord of the universe (16). Hearing the cries of the Gopas and of their women Krishna promised them safety and went out to meet Keshi (17). Keshi, too, of powerful course, expanding his eyes and teeth and raising up his neck, ran towards Krishna with a great sound (18). Seeing the horse-demon Keshi fall on him Govinda confronted him as a cloud approaches the moon (19). 

Beholding Krishna at that time approach Keshi, the Gopas, endued with human sense, said to him for his well-being (20): "O child, Krishna, do thou not all on a sudden approach this wretch of a horse, for thou art a boy and that one of evil ways is beyond the power of all (21). This highly powerful Danava, peerless in battle, is born with Kansa, and is his life though ranging outward. He is a dread of the horses and soldiers, cannot be killed by any animal and the foremost of the sinful" (22-23).

Hearing these words given vent to by the Gopas, Madhusudana, the slayer of his eneinies cherished a desire of fighting with Keshi (24). Thereupon turning reversely to the southern direction in anger that horse-demon began to break down the trees with his two feet (25). Then from his long mouth, the thick manes on his neck and those falling on his forehead like streams of water began to trickle down drops of perspiration begotten by anger (26). As the moon pours down dews in the sky during the winter so from his mouth came out foams produced by the strokes of reins (27). With neighings coming out of his mouth and foams sent out by him like dews, he, as if, O Bharata, sprinkled Madhava (28). Covered with yellowish dust resembling powdered Madhuka (panic seed) raised up by his horns Krishna's locks became tawny (29). Trotting and leaping and riving the earth, Keshi, biting his teeth, ran towards Krishna (30). While engaged in fighting with Krishna, the powerful Dānava Keshi, the foremost of horses, struck him on the breast with his fore feet, and wounded him, of unmitigated profess, repeatedly with his hoofs (31-32). Thereupon in anger, with his sharpened teeth, forming the weapons of his dreadful mouth he bit the upper part of Vasudeva's arm (33) At that time fighting with Krishna, Keshi, with long manes, shone like the sun in sky united with clouds (34).

With his strength doubled by anger that powerful horse, with great motion, attempted to strike Krishna on the breast (35). Thereat, lengthening his arms, Krishna of great prowess, in anger caught hold of the mouth of that demon (36). Keshi could not therefore eat up or break down his arms. On the other hand, his teeth being uprooted and broken down he began to vomit foamy blood (37). His lips were shattered, his jaws were smashed, and his eyes were disfigured. They came out all being disjointed (38). His jaws were broken and his eyes were filled with blood. Raising up his ears in anger and having his mind agitated he set forth many an exertion (39). Jumping up again and again with his legs, he discharged urine and excreta, his hairs were soaked with perspiration and feet grew motionless (40). Thereupon Krishna's arm, thrown round Keshi's head, shone like a cloud stricken with the rays of the half-moon after the termination of the rainy season (41). With his limbs wearied out Keshi too, while engaged in a conflict with Krishna, appeared like the declining and exhausted moon on the mount Meru in the dawn (42). His teeth, uprooted by Krishna's hands, from his mouth fell down like white autumnal clouds shorn of water (43).

Thereupon when Keshi was greatly worn out with fatigue Krishna, stretching his hands a good deal, sundered him in twain (44). Thus smashed down by Krishna, the face of the Dānava Keshi became disfigured and he began to cry most plaintively (45). All his limbs were shaken and shattered and blood came out of his mouth. He appeared there, accordingly, disfigured like a mountain, with a half of it being chopped off (46). Thus smothered by Krishna's hands and with his mouth expanded that highly dreadful Asura fell down like an elephant cut into two halves (47). The dreadful figure of Kehsi, mutilated by Krishna's hand, appeared like a beast slain by Rudra, with trident in his hand (48). His body being sundered into two equal halves each portion bearing two legs, half of his back and tail, one eye and one nostril, remained on earth (49). Krishna's arms too, wounded by Keshi's teeth, shone like a growing palm tree in the forest scratched by an elephant's tusks (50). Having, in this wise, slain Keshi in the battle-field and divided his body into two parts the lotus-eyed Krishna stood there smiling (51). Beholding Keshi slain, the Gopas and their women, with all their troubles and weariness gone, were greatly delighted (52). And welcoming the beautiful Dāmodara according to their respective position and age they honored him again and again with sweet words (53).

THE GOPAS said :-"O child, O Krishna, having slain the Daitya, assuming the form of a horse and ranging on earth-the thorn of people, thou hast performed an arduous work (54). On this vicious horse being slain by thee Vrindāvana is now full of auspiciousness and men, animals and birds are at ease (55). This vicious-minded one has destroyed many of our milk-men, cows fond of calves and villages (56). Perhaps divesting the worlds of men this sinful (demon) is about to bring about a universal dissolution for ranging himself at ease (57). O Krishna, what to speak of mortal men, even amongst the celestials, one, desirous of living, cannot stand before him (58)."

Thereupon the Brahmana Narada, disappearing from view in the sky, said "O Vishnu, O god, O Krishna, I am pleased (59). The arduous work, that you have performed by destroying Krishna, is in thy power and in that of the three-eyed Deity (Siva) amongst the celestials (60). O my child, my mind is devoted to thee, and therefore desirous of witnessing this combat between a man and a horse I have come here from the celestial region (61). O Govinda, beholding thy deeds as the destruction of Putana &c., and this thy present feat I have been highly pleased (62). When this wicked-minded horse-demon Keshi used to increase his body, even Mahendra, the slayer of Bali, was stricken with fear (63). With thy outstretched hands thou hast sundered him. This death was ordained for him by Brahmā, the root of the universe (64). Listen now to my declaration, O Vishnu. Since thou hast slain Keshi, thou shalt pass by the name of Keshava in the world (65). May good betide thee, O Keshava, I shall soon depart. Thou hast many works still to accomplish and thou art capable of doing then. Do thou perform them therefore, without any delay (66). O god, thyself being engaged in another work, other deities, dependant on thy power, are sporting like men imitating thy feats (67). The time for the mighty deep of the Bharata war, the battle of the kings, who are about to repair to the celestial region, is near at hand (68). Because the kings will repair to the region of Sakra, houses are being built for them there, the etherial roads are being cleared off and the cars are being embellished with pendons (69). O Keshava, when Ugrasena's son will be killed and thou wilt be in thy position this terrible and all-destroying war of kings will commence (70). O Madhava, unparalled are thy deeds; therefore at the time of the war the Pandavas will seek refuge with thee and thou too shalt espouse their cause (71). When thou shalt be on the royal throne, undoubtedly the kings will renounce their most excellent and auspicious prosperity (72). O Krishna, O lord of the universe, thus I have communicated unto thee the intelligence of the gods living in the celestial region and of the universe. Although this history is recorded in Srutis it will become famous in the world (73). O lord, I have witnessed thy deeds and have seen thee. I now depart and shall return when Kansa will be slain" (74).

Saying this Nārada wended the etherial way. And hearing the words of Nārada, proficient in celestial music, the Gopas too, along with Krishna, repaired to Vraja (75-76).

Source: https://archive.org/details/AProseEnglishTranslationOfHarivamsh

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