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Vraja Vilasa 95: Sarpa Sthali

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May Sarpasthalī, where the powerful conqueror of Mura rushed angrily into the sinful demon Aghasur’s belly to save his friends, who are dearer to him than life itself, who had entered into this severe poison that burned like a forest fire, protect me.

prāṇa-preṣṭha-vayasya-vargam udare pāpīyaso’ghāsura-
syāraṇyodbhaṭa-pāvakotkaṭa-viṣair duṣṭe praviṣṭaṁ puraḥ
vyagraḥ prekṣya ruṣā praviśya sahasā hatvā khalaṁ taṁ balī
yatrainaṁ nijam ārarakṣa murajit sā pātu sarpa-sthalī

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Sarpasthalī, the place where Sri Krishna entered into the mouth of Aghasur, who had assumed the mountainous form of a snake, to kill him and thus save his cowherdboyfriends, his cows and calves.

aghāsura vadhe kṛṣṇa – ei sarpasthalī;aghavana nāma loke kohoye ‘sapaulī’
ethā puṣpa varṣe deva jaya-dhvani kore;e hetu jayeta grāma kohoye ihāre
sabe kohe -aghāsura vadhe e ‘siyāna’;tei e soyāno grāma – sehonā ākhyāna

“At this Sarpasthalī Krishna killed Aghasur, but the people call this Aghavana also Sapaulī or Pasauli. Here the demigods showered flowers and sang Krishna’s glories, therefore this village is called Jayeta. Everyone says: “Aghasur was killed here, therefore this Soyāno-village is known as Sehonā.” (Bhakti Ratnākara)

After the Yadu dynasty vanished from the earth, Maharaj Yudhisthira installed Sri Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha on the throne of the Surasena kingdom or Mathura mandala. Once this had been done, the sages ordered him to recover and rename the lost holy places that were connected with Sri Krishna’s pastimes. Even now the places are named in the way Vajranabha did, according to the pastimes that took place there.

When the calves and cowherd boys saw the mountainous snake demon Aghasur they actually took him to be a mountain and entered into his mouth, that was filled with poisonous fumes that burned like a forest fire and whose severe heat made them faint. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam narrates how Sri Krishna also entered the demon’s mouth and destroyed him –

“Sri Krishna, who bestows fearlessness on all, had lost the cowherdboys, who have him as their sole shelter. When he saw them fallen like dry blades of grass into the gastric fire of Aghasur, who was like death personified, and therefore greatly distressed, he became overwhelmed with compassion and astonished that this was to be their fate. The Original Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, simply by pronouncing whose name one destroys the reactions to all activities that cannot even be destroyed by brahma-jñāna, was immersed in an ocean of fraternal love for his friends and thus astonished and plunged in an ocean of worries when he saw that they were in trouble, as anyone would be when seeing a beloved in this condition.

“What should I do? How can I kill this wicked Aghasur and save the lives of my calves and cowherdboys?” Thinking like this, the omniscient Sri Hari thought of a way to solve this problem and decided to Personally enter into Aghasur’s gaping mouth. Seeing this, the demigods in the clouds became afraid and exclaimed ‘alas! alas!’, and the demoniac friends of Kaṁṣa rejoiced when they heard the news.

When Lord Sri Krishna heard the lamentations of the demigods and the ecstatic shouts of the demons he proceeded to save his calves and his friends and to crush the demon, who had in the meantime closed his mouth, by expanding his body, thus Choking Aghasur’s throat. When the throat of the mountainous snake-demon Agha was thus Choked, his eyes came bulging out and he began to twist and move his large body here and there until his blocked life-airs suddenly came bursting out through the brahma-randhra-hole in his skull.

As soon as Aghasur’s life-airs had burst out he lost all his sensual power. Then the Lord, the bestower of liberation, revived his stupefied calves and cowherdboyfriends with his nectarean glances and came out of the Aghasur’s wide opened mouth with them. (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.12.27-32)

Of the place where the Lord performed the pastime of killing Aghasur, Raghunath Das Goswami says: “May that Sarpa-sthalī protect me!” In other words, just as Sri Krishna had mercifully saved his calves and cowherd friends from the mouth of Aghasur, may this playground similarly save me from the gaping mouth of the demon of separation from Sri Sri Radha Madhava and show me their divine lotus feet.

pāpiṣṭha aghāsurera udarera madhye;
prāṇa preṣṭha sakhāgaṇe śrī govinda dekhe
dāvāgnira jvālāmaya yāhāra udara;
kālakūṭa viṣa-duṣṭa tāhāra upara
sakhādera duḥka heri atiśaya krodhe;
udare praveśa kori sei khala vadhe
nimeṣete vadha kori ye sthānete khale;
śrī govinda rakṣā koilā vayasya sakale
sei sarpasthalī hoy mahimā apāra
sakhā tulya rakṣā koru āmā sabhākāra

‘When Sri Govinda saw his heart’s friends suffering in the belly of the sinful Aghasur, which was burning like a forestfire and was polluted by burning poison, he became very angry and entered into the demon’s belly to kill the wretCh. May that endlessly glorious Sarpasthalī, where Sri Govinda protected all his friends by instantly killing this demon, protect us all as if we are friends.”


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