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Vraja Vilasa 81: Kaliya Hrada

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I worship Kaliya’s lake (kāliya-hrada), where Sri Krishna punished Kaliya by dancing on him with the soles of his feet, kicking him for committing an offence to his friends, who are dearer to him than life.


priyāt priya-prāṇa-vayasya-varge
dhṛtāparādhaṁ kila kāliyaṁ tam
yatrārdayat pāda-talena nṛtyan
harir bhaje taṁ kila kāliyaṁ hradam

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Kaliya-hrada. When Sri Krishna’s dear friends drank the poisoned water of the this cove in the Yamuna, they left their bodies and lay dead on the lake’s shore. Sri Krishna revived them by casting his nectarean glance upon them. Therefore Raghunath here says : “Kaliya committed an offense to Sri Krishna’s dear friends.”

This event is described in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as follows:

atha gāvaś ca gopāś ca nidāghātapa-pīḍitāḥ;
duṣṭaṁ jalaṁ papus tasyās tṛṣārtā viṣa-dūṣitam
viṣāmbhas tad upaspṛśya daivopahata cetasaḥ;
nipetur vyasavaḥ sarve salilānte kurūdvaha
vīkṣa tān vai tathābhūtān kṛṣṇo yogeśvareśvaraḥ;
īkṣayāmṛta-varṣiṇyā sva-nāthān samajīvayat

Sri Śuka Muni told Maharaj Parīkṣita: “O King! Being thirsty and afflicted by the summer heat, the cows and cowherd boys came to drink the water of the Yamuna, which was polluted by the poison of the Kaliya snake. By the machinations of fate or of God’s will, upon sipping the poisonous water, the boys, who knew no other Lord but Krishna, fell lifeless at the water’s edge. Seeing them in this state, Krishna, the king of the kings of yoga, completely revived them by showering the ambrosia of his glance upon them. (Bhāgavata 10.15.49-51)

Kaliya_damana-181x300.jpgSeeing his friends and cows in this condition and considering this poisoned water to be a threat to the entire community, Krishna jumped from a tall kadamba tree standing on the bank of the lake and directly into the coils of the angry Kaliya snake, where he remained motionless for some time. But when he saw that his friends, cows, mother, father, the gopas and gopis, indeed all the Vrajavasis, were almost losing consciousness due to fears for his safety, Krishna came out of the grip of Kaliya’s coils, climbed on his hoods and began to kick him by dancing on them. This is described in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (10.16.25-30) as follows:

When Kaliya had become exhausted from whirling about for so long trying to throw Krishna off, Krishna pulled down his raised hood with his left hand and mounted his big head. Thus Sri Krishna, the teacher of all arts like singing and dancing, began to dance on Kaliya’s head, whose jewels illuminated the reddish soles of his feet.

Seeing him starting to dance like this, the Lord’s associates as well as the Gandharvas, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, gods and goddesses, all began to sing, play drums like the mridanga and kettle drum, shower flowers and offer praises.

Whichever head of the whirling 101-hooded Kaliya had not yet been lowered was kicked down by the dancing feet of Sri Krishna, the punisher of the wicked. Kaliya’s life force became depleted and blood began to vomit forth from his mouths and nostrils, which gave him great pain and put him into complete bewilderment.

Then Kaliya began to breath heavily in anger and issued streams of poison from his eyes. It was as if Sri Krishna, the Original Lord, was working for the benefit of the demigods, being pleased with the flowers they showered upon him, by kicking down with his feet any of Kaliya’s hoods that had not yet been lowered, on the pretext of dancing.

O King! Through this wonderful tāṇḍava dance of Sri Krishna, the thousand hoods of Kaliya, that served as an umbrella, were broken and each of his limbs were like crushed while blood forcefully rushed from his mouths. Then Kaliya remembered that the person who danced on his head was the ruler of all the worlds and the Original Person, and took shelter of his lotus feet.”

Raghunath Das Goswami thus says: “I worship Kaliya-hrada, the place where Kaliya was defeated by Sri Krishna, for the fulfillment of all my desires and for the destruction of all my anarthas.”

In his Stavamālā Śrīla Rūpa Goswamipāda used the pastime of the subjugation of Kaliya to praise Sri Krishna. At the end he wrote:

kāmaṁ dāmodara mama manaḥ pannagaḥ pīna-bhogo
duṣṭāśirbhiḥ kuṭila-valanaiḥ kṣobhayaty eṣa lokam
tad viklāntas tvam udita-pada-dvandva-paṅkeruhāṅkaṁ
kurvan darvīkara-damana he tāṇḍavair daṇḍayāmūm

O Damodar! In your pastime of defeating Kaliya, the evil snake has been justly subdued, that is for sure, but I do not think that this constitutes the end of your pastimes of defeating snakes! The great serpent of my mind that is dwelling in the broad lake of my heart is even more poisonous and frightening than Kaliya and is crawling around everywhere, extending its hundreds of thousands of desires, that are like its hoods. These hundreds of hoods of my sensual desires are not in any way less powerful, expansive and thick than this Kaliya-snake. Just as Kaliya did so much harm with his poisoned fangs and his naturally crooked gait, similarly my big snake-like mind has poisonous fangs in the form of its various desires for material enjoyment and a crooked gait in the form of thoughts about harming others, and is thus always engaged in causing mischief to others. Therefore, O most powerful Lord! Just as you have subdued the Kaliya-snake and have broken his 100 hoods by performing wonderful dances on them, you should also break the hundreds of thousands of hoods of material desires of the great snake of my mind and bless it forever by printing the marks of your footprints on its head!”

Raghunath Das Goswami says:

priyatama premāspada,prāṇādhika sakhā yoto,
tāhā prati aparādha hetu.
kṛṣṇa yethā nṛtya kori,kāliyera śiropari,
vimardita koilo dharma setu.
sei to kāliya hrada,sarva kāle sukhaprada,
jala yāra amṛta samāna.
kṛṣṇe sethā gocāraṇe, nitya pābo daraśane
bhaji nitya kori snāna pāna

By bathing there and drinking the water, I always worship Kaliya-hrada, where Krishna, the upholder of religious principles, danced on the heads of the Kaliya-serpent to punish him for committing an offense to his friends, who are dearer to him than life, and thus subdued him. May I always behold this ever-blissful Kaliya lake, whose water is like nectar, and there see Krishna engaged in herding his cows.





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