Hare Krsna

In Book X of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the epic story of Krsna's earthly life, comes a story from his infancy. Though only a baby, Krsna is all, and therefore held a relative-baby- and a universal -Ultimate- perspective. In Part 1, Chapter 7, V. 35-6, Krsna's adopted mother is suckling him at her breast when he yawns. When she peers down inside his tiny mouth, "she saw in there the sky, heaven and earth, the host of stars, space, the sun, the moon, fire, air, the oceans, the continents, the mountains, and their daughters [rivers], the forests, and the moving and the non-moving living things."
Throughout the beginning of the book, the demon Kamsa dreadfully awaits the birth of this powerful child. Fearful of his power, the demoness Putana, slaughterer of children is sent to kill the baby Krsna. She arrives in the village disguised as a one of the women and goes to baby Krsna like a mother offering her breast for milk. Krsna knows that this breast is tipped with poison and he suckles out not just the milk, but the very life from Putana.
When the villagers burned the demonic body of Putana, it did not have the horrid smell of thousands of murders and horrible deeds, but instead had the sweet smell of aloe, for in suckling Krsna had removed not only her life, but her sins as well. Even with murderous intent, Putana had approached Krsna as a mother with the gift of milk, and in the presence of such a being, she was sent to the land of saints, not demons. Surely she was surprised.
Upon reading this I felt a chill. Gone were the vengeful gods of old who demanded fire or blood or oaths or fealty at the consequence of external pain and suffering. Here was the earthly Krsna, who treats an assassin like a mother, and sends a demon to the land of saints. During a period of a brutal caste system, krnsa had an "untouchable" attendant. In a time when women were thought of as inferior, those women devoted to him attained the highest level of awareness. Too many great figures seem locked within the ideas of their time. Krsna seems to transcend them.

Bryant, Edwin Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God (Srimad Bhagavad Purana Book X) London: Penguin Books 2003



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