Balarama and Krishna were in the habit of taking the other cowherd boys with their cows for grazing in the forest near Gokulam. Once the Gopalas engaged in merry making, in dancing and singing, quite unconcerned about the time, while the cows were out grazing. Suddenly they found that the cows had disappeared and they went in different directions to search for them. They found the cows grazing at a distant place and saw a fire blazing all around. The cowherd boys could not approach the cows. They cried in desperation, “Krishna, Krishna”. When Krishna called the cows by their names, they responded, running towards Him, crying “Amma”. The cows could always recognise Krishna’s voice and understand His call. The cowherd lads were terribly shaken by the sight of the advancing fire. Balarama and Krishna told them: “Why fear when We are here?” Krishna asked them to close their eyes and not to open them until He gave the order. They always implicitly obeyed the command of Krishna, in whom they had full faith. When Krishna asked them to open their eyes they did so, and found themselves in the same place where they had been dancing, and it was cool all round. The fire had disappeared. Immediately they fell at the feet of Krishna and hailed Him as the Supreme Lord. When such miracles were performed they used to hail Him as God, but after some time they would revert to their old habit of calling Him their friend. Even now people consider the Avatar as God only when miracles happen, but at other times they consider Him an ordinary being.
“Immortal Devotees of the Lord: Krishna and the Gopalas”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 28, May 26, 1995, Brindavan
Narada told Krishna in advance about the impending visit of Akrura and mentioned that Akrura would perceive Him as Narayana and Balarama as Adishesha. Akrura arrived shortly afterwards with an invitation to Krishna and Balarama to attend the Dhanur-Yajna to be performed by Kamsa. Akrura was very devoted to Balarama and Krishna and so he informed them that Kamsa’s invitation was only a part of his nefarious scheme to lure them to Mathura and kill them.
The Gopikas and Gopalas tried their best to prevent Akrura from taking Krishna and Balarama in his chariot. They were not worried about any harm that might be caused by the evil-minded Kamsa. Their fear was that Krishna might not return from Mathura. Krishna told them, “We must go to Mathura to fulfill Our mission. You are not the body. The Indweller in the heart is directing the whole show. That is the Atma. You are in Me. I am in you. Understand this truth and you will know everything”.
After thus pacifying the Gopis and Gopikas, Krishna and Balarama left in the chariot driven by Akrura. In the evening Akrura alighted near a river to perform his ablutions. While having a dip in the river he had the vision of Lord Vishnu reclining on Adishesha, the hydra-headed Divine Serpent. On hurrying back he saw Krishna and Balarama sitting in the chariot unperturbed. Krishna asked Akrura what he had seen to make his face so radiant. Akrura was thrilled at the experience and praised them. He requested them both to stay at his house, but Krishna politely declined, promising to visit him after finishing His mission in Mathura.
The next day, while they were walking along the road, they spotted the royal washer-man and asked him for some royal clothes. The washer-man rudely replied that the royal clothes could not even be touched by low-born cowherds. Infuriated at this, Krishna struck the washer-man, who fell down. They took some of the royal clothes, and went on their way.
Later they met an old hunch-backed lady, Kubja, who was providing scents and perfumes for Kamsa. She had a beautiful face but an ugly body, bent over in three ways. Seeing the two brothers, she was overjoyed and gave away all the perfumes to them. Though God never asks anything from anyone, if someone offers something He returns it a hundredfold. Krishna planted His foot on her feet, caught hold of her chin and lifted it up. Lo and behold! Her crooked back was gone! She shed tears of gratitude to Krishna for restoring her beautiful shape and prayed to Him to visit her house to accept her prayerful offerings. Krishna promised to do so after finishing His mission.
Kamsa heard of these exploits of the young lads and tried to send an elephant in rut, to kill them, but it was the elephant that was killed. Next Kamsa had two of his best wrestlers challenge them in combat. The wrestlers met with their end and realised that the Divine had come in the form of Krishna and Balarama. Then Kamsa ordered his troops to close in on them. But Krishna, in a trice, jumped on the platform where Kamsa was seated and rained severe blows on him till he dropped dead.
After the death of Kamsa, Krishna and Balarama went to the prison where Devaki and Vasudeva were confined, and freed them. Krishna reinstated Kamsa’s father on the throne. Later Krishna went to Akrura’s house. Akrura referred to the inexplicable ways of the Lord in His various incarnations and said that he was greatly blessed by Krishna’s visit to his house. He hugged Krishna, who was well aware of Akrura’s boundless devotion.
- “Immortal Devotees of the Lord: Akrura’s Vision of the Lord”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 28, May 28, 1995, Brindavan
After Kamsa was killed, Nanda and Yashoda made arrangements for the education of Krishna and Balarama in the traditional manner, by sending them to a Gurukul. In those days, even princes had to go to the Ashram of a Guru to study, and no distinction was made between the rich and the poor or high and low among students. Even though Krishna and Balarama had exhibited superhuman powers in vanquishing Kamsa and other demons, they had to learn the regular lessons in Brahma Vidya from Sage Sandeepani, in his Ashram in the forest.
They had to go to the forest and gather firewood for the Guru’s household. All the students had to share the work in the Ashram among themselves equally without any distinction. At the end of the educational course the students used to give Guru Dakshina (offering to the preceptor). Krishna and Balarama asked their preceptor what he would like Them to give. The teacher, who was quite aware of the Divine powers of Krishna, told Him that since He was the incarnation of the Supreme, He could do anything, and so he would like to have his son, who had died some time earlier, restored to life, as his wife was very much attached to the son and was in great grief after his death. Krishna and Balarama chanted some Mantras and brought the Guru’s son back to life. The Guru was immensely pleased and expressed his gratitude to Krishna and Balarama.
After they returned to their kingdom from the forest, Jarasandha, the ruler of Magadha, who had given both his daughters in marriage to Kamsa, and bore a grudge against Krishna, invaded the Yadava kingdom and caused considerable destruction. Krishna’s strategy was to weaken Jarasandha after each encounter and finally destroy him. The followers of Jarasandha harboured hatred towards Balarama and Krishna and were harassing the Yadavas during Yajnas. Krishna wanted to settle His people in a secure place. He had an island city constructed by Vishvakarma, the architect of the Gods. That city was Dwaraka, a city of unmatched splendour and beauty. The Yadavas began to lead happy lives in the new place.
- “Immortal Devotees of the Lord: Creation of Dwaraka City by Lord Krishna”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, May 28, 1995, Brindavan
Krishna set out to kill Jarasandha. But whenever Jarasandha came out of his city to fight Krishna, the latter would flee from the battlefield. Was Krishna afraid of Jarasandha? Not at all. But Krishna wanted to find out the appropriate means of slaying Jarasandha. Krishna had a strategy.
Each time Krishna went to challenge Jarasandha, he would get enraged. He would come out to pursue Krishna. Krishna would go on retreating. By repeating these tactics several times, Jarasandha was made to expend his strength in futile rage.
A man’s strength is considerably reduced by his anger. A man’s life-span is cut to pieces by the shears of envy, anger and hatred. Envy is the main cause of shortening a man’s life; when a man gets angry, his whole body trembles. His blood gets heated. It takes three months for the blood to get cool again. One moment of anger may consume the energy got from six months of eating. This is the way anger debilitates a person. By systematically weakening Jarasandha in this way, ultimately Krishna managed to slay him.
There are deep inner meanings for the actions of the Lord. Kamsa tried every conceivable means to kill Krishna. But the Lord is beyond the grasp of anyone. Small-minded persons, consumed by hatred and jealousy, may entertain such designs. But these evil plans only recoil on the plotters and can cause no harm to God. They will only enhance His glory.
There were reasons for Kamsa’s hatred. An ethereal voice had declared that Kamsa would meet with his death at the hands of the eighth child of Devaki. Out of the selfish desire to save his own life, Kamsa sought to do away with Krishna by various means. All his efforts were of no avail.
Kamsa carried out a slaughter of the children in Repalle in the hope of killing Krishna. Krishna eluded his grasp. A man’s intellect turns crazy when he is facing destruction. Because of his wicked actions, Kamsa came to a disastrous end.
This, however, is not the end of the story. Two other wicked men, Shishupala and Dantavakra, rose against Krishna. After these two had been slain by Krishna, Jarasandha came forward. Many demons in human form sought to eliminate Krishna. They all failed utterly. They brought disaster upon themselves.
- “Inscrutable are the Ways of the Lord”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 26, August 10, 1993, Brindavan
Source: Krishna, Chapter 5, Sai Vani: Avatar on Avatar Purushas