The Demon Pralambasura And The Fire

“Once while they were engaged in their transcendental pastimes, a great demon of the name Pralambasura entered their company, desiring to kidnap both Balarama and Krsna. Although Krsna was playing the part of a cowherd boy, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead He could understand everything–past, present and future.So when Pralambasura entered their company, Krsna began to think how to kill the demon, but externally He received him as a friend.

“O My dear friend,” He said, “It is very good that you have come to take part in our pastimes.” Krsna then called all His friends and ordered them: “Now we shall play in pairs. We shall challenge one another in pairs.” With this proposal, all the boys assembled together. Some of them took the side of Krsna, and some of them took the side of Balarama, and they arranged to play in duel. The defeated members in duel fighting had to carry the victorious members on their backs. They began playing, and at the same time tended the cows as they proceeded through the Bhandiravana forest. The party of Balarama, accompanied by Sridama and Vrsabha, came out victorious, and Krsna’s party had to carry them on their backs through the Bhandiravana forest. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, being defeated, had to carry Sridama on His back, and Bhadrasena carried Vrsabha. Imitating their play, Pralambasura, who appeared there as a cowherd boy, carried Balarama on his back. Pralambasura was the greatest of the demons, and he had calculated that Krsna was the most powerful of the cowherd boys.

In order to avoid the company of Krsna, Pralambasura carried Balarama far away. The demon was undoubtedly very strong and powerful, but he began to feel the burden, and thus he assumed his real form. When he appeared in his real feature, he was decorated with a golden helmet and earrings and looked just like a cloud with lightning carrying the moon. Balarama observed the demon’s body expanding up to the limits of the clouds, his eyes dazzling like blazing fire and his mouth flashing with sharpened teeth. At first, Balarama was surprised by the demon’s appearance, and He began to wonder, “How is it that all of a sudden this carrier has changed in every way?” But with a clear mind He could quickly understand that He was being carried away from His friends by a demon who intended to kill Him. Immediately He struck the head of the demon with His strong fist, just as the King of the heavenly planets strikes a mountain with his thunderbolt. Being stricken by the fist of Balarama, the demon fell down dead, just like a snake with a smashed head, and blood poured from his mouth. When the demon fell, he made a tremendous sound, and it sounded as if a great hill were falling upon being struck by the thunderbolt of King Indra.

All the boys then rushed to the spot. Being astonished by the ghastly scene, they began to praise Balarama with the words “Well done, well done.” All of them began to embrace Balarama with great affection, thinking that He had returned from death and they offered their blessings and congratulations. All the demigods in the heavenly planets became very satisfied and showered flowers on the transcendental body of Balarama, and they also offered their blessings and congratulations for His having killed the great demon Pralambasura.”

While Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and Their friends were engaged in the pastimes described above, the cows, being unobserved, began to wander off on their own, entering farther and farther into the deepest part of the forest, allured by fresh grasses. The goats, cows and buffalo traveled from one forest to another and entered the forest known as Īṣīkāṭavī. This forest was full of green grass, and therefore they were allured; but when they entered, they saw that there was a forest fire, and they began to cry. On the other side Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, along with Their friends, could not find their animals, and they became very much aggrieved. They began to trace the cows by following their footprints, as well as the path of eaten grass. All of the boys were fearing that their very means of livelihood, the cows, were now lost. When searching out the cows in the forest, they themselves became very tired and thirsty. Soon, however, they heard the crying of their cows. Kṛṣṇa began to call the cows by their respective names, with great noise. Upon hearing Kṛṣṇa calling, the cows immediately replied with joy. But by this time the forest fire had surrounded all of them, and the situation appeared to be very fearful. The flames increased as the wind blew very quickly, and it appeared that everything movable and immovable would be devoured. All the cows and the boys became very frightened, and they looked toward Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa the way a dying man looks at the picture of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They said, “My dear Kṛṣṇa! My dear Kṛṣṇa! You and Balarāma are very powerful. We are now burning from the heat of this blazing fire. Let us take shelter of Your lotus feet. We know You can protect us from this great danger. Our dear friend Kṛṣṇa, we are Your intimate friends. It is not right that we should suffer in this way. We are all completely dependent on You, and You are the knower of all religious life. We do not know anyone except You.”

The Personality of Godhead heard the appealing voices of His friends, and casting a pleasing glance over them, He began to answer. By speaking through His eyes, He impressed upon His friends that there was no cause for fear, and He assured them, “Don’t worry.” Then Kṛṣṇa, the supreme mystic, the powerful Personality of Godhead, immediately swallowed up all the flames of the fire. The cows and boys were thus saved from imminent danger. Out of fear, the boys were almost unconscious, but when they regained their consciousness and opened their eyes, they saw that they were again in the Bhāṇḍīra forest with Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the cows. They were astonished to see that they were completely free from the attack of the blazing fire and that the cows were saved. They secretly thought that Kṛṣṇa must be not an ordinary boy but some demigod.

In the evening, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, along with the boys and cows, returned to Vṛndāvana, playing Their flutes. As they approached the village, all the gopīs became very joyous. Throughout the day the gopīs used to think of Kṛṣṇa while He was in the forest, and in His absence they were considering one moment to be like twelve years.

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Krsna Book, Chapter 18 and 19

Srila Prabhupada or by a full title His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krsna consciousness and the pioneer in introducing devotional service in the Western countries. He is a pure devotee of Lord Krsna coming in the Gaudiya Vaisnava disciplic succession of realized spiritual masters. His numerous translations of ancient Vedic texts are recognized by scholars from Harvard, Cambridge, Princeton, Oxford, La Sorbonne and other major universities. He initiates all sincere souls into the knowledge of bhakti-yoga through his teachings.

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