- 15. The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon
SB 10.15 Summary
This chapter describes how Lord Balarama and Lord Krsna, while tending Their cows in the pastures of Vrndavana, killed Dhenukasura, enabled the residents of Vrndavana to eat the fruits of the tala trees and saved the young cowherds from Kaliya's poison.
Revealing Their boyhood (pauganda) phase of pastimes, Rama and Krsna were one day bringing the cows to pasture when They entered an attractive forest decorated with a clear lake. There They began playing forest sports along with Their friends. Pretending to tire, Lord Baladeva laid His head upon the lap of a cowherd boy and rested as Lord Krsna helped relieve His elder brother's fatigue by massaging His feet. Then Krsna also placed His head on the lap of a cowherd boy to rest, and another cowherd boy massaged His feet. In this way Krsna, Balarama and Their cowherd friends enjoyed various pastimes.
During this play, Sridama, Subala, Stoka-krsna and other cowherd boys described to Rama and Krsna a wicked and irrepressible demon named Dhenuka, who had assumed the form of a jackass and was living in the Talavana forest near Govardhana Hill. This forest was full of many varieties of sweet fruits. But fearing this demon, no one dared try to relish the taste of those fruits, and thus someone had to kill the demon and all his associates. Lord Rama and Lord Krsna, hearing of the situation, set off for this forest to fulfill the desire of Their companions.
Arriving at the Talavana, Lord Balarama shook many fruits out of the palm trees, and as soon as He did so the jackass demon, Dhenuka, ran swiftly to attack Him. But Balarama grabbed his hind legs with one hand, whirled him around and threw him into the top of a tree, thus slaying him. All of Dhenukasura's friends, overcome by fury, then rushed to attack, but Rama and Krsna took hold of them one by one, swung them around and killed them, until the disturbance was finally finished. When Krsna and Balarama returned to the cowherd community, Yasoda and Rohini placed Them on their respective laps. They kissed Their faces, fed Them with finely prepared food and then put Them to bed.
Some days later Lord Krsna went with His friends, but without His older brother, to the banks of the Kalindi in order to tend the cows. The cows and cowherd boys became very thirsty and drank some water from the Kalindi. But it had been contaminated with poison, and they all fell unconscious on the riverbank. Krsna then brought them back to life by the merciful rain of His glance, and all of them, regaining their consciousness, appreciated His great mercy.>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.15 Summary