top of page

The Serpent Kaliya is Tamed

In the land of Vrindavan, there was a place in the Yamuna River where the water was full of poison. No fish could live there, no birds could fly over it, and no people could swim there. This was because a huge, ferocious serpent with many hoods named Kaliya lived under the water. So terrible was its poison that the water of the Yamuna would boil at that place. The trees on the banks had all withered away—all except one Kadamba tree. When the heavenly bird Garuda had flown by with the pot of Amrita, the nectar collected from the churning of the ocean, he had perched on one branch of that Kadamba tree, and a few drops of nectar had fallen on it. That’s why that tree had not dried up.

One day, Krishna, who was born for the destruction of the wicked, climbed that Kadamba tree unnoticed by his friends, and went out on the branches overhanging the river. Then he jumped into the river and swam fearlessly around. Hearing the sound of water splashing, the terrible snake came out of its hole in anger. He bit Krishna all over his body and then wrapped itself around him. At that moment terrible omens appeared in Vraja, and the gopas and gopis became very frightened. Not seeing Krishna anywhere around, they desperately began tracing his footprints and were led to the Yamuna where he was being held by Kaliya. Some of Krishna’s young friends were lying unconscious on the river bank, while Krishna was motionless, in the grip of Kaliya. All the rest of the gopas and gopis began shouting and wailing for their beloved Krishna. They thought he was surely going to be killed. Only Balarama knew his brother’s power, and he advised the others to be patient.

Krishna, still in the grip of the snake, began to expand his body, forcing the snake to release him. Then he swam around and around the snake till the snake became exhausted. After that, he jumped on the snake’s hoods and began to dance. Seeing this wonderful scene, the devas showered flowers on him from the heavens. Whenever Kaliya tried to raise any of his hoods, Krishna would trample or dance on it. The great snake had many mouths, and blood started spewing from them all.

At last Kaliya began to think of the Lord, the Master of all beings, and mentally took refuge in him. Meanwhile, Kaliya’s wives hurriedly came to Krishna and humbly prayed, ‘O Lord! We don’t understand what meritorious deed our husband performed to get the privilege of having the dust of your feet on his head. Salutations to thee, the Indweller of all! May you be pleased with us and spare the life of our husband.’ Krishna was moved by their prayer and granted the snake’s life.

After Kaliya regained consciousness, he also prayed to Krishna, ‘O Lord, please forgive me. We snakes are evil-natured by birth. What one is by nature cannot be changed. This is but your own maya. Now do with me what you think best.’ Krishna said, ‘Leave this place immediately and go to the sea with your wives, your family, and friends.’ Knowing that Kaliya had left the sea out of fear of the great bird Garuda, Vishnu’s carrier, Krishna assured the snake: ‘Now that you bear the marks of my feet on your head, Garuda will not harm you.’

Then Kaliya and his wives bowed before Krishna, offered him many gifts, and left the Yamuna to go to the ocean. Ever since, The villagers of Vraja were filled with joy and amazement when they saw Krishna safely return from his battle with Kaliya. They celebrated his victory with singing and dancing, and showered him with love and admiration. From that day on, Krishna was hailed as a great hero and savior, and his reputation spread far and wide.

As Krishna grew up, he continued to perform many miraculous feats and display his divine powers. He lifted the mighty Govardhan Hill on his little finger, defeated the evil demon king Kamsa, and protected his beloved cows and friends from all danger. He also taught people about the importance of love, compassion, and devotion, and inspired them to lead virtuous lives.

Krishna's teachings and exploits were recorded in many ancient texts and stories, including the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana. He is revered as a supreme deity and an embodiment of love and joy by millions of Hindus around the world. His life and message continue to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to seek spiritual enlightenment and cultivate kindness, wisdom, and inner peace.

2 views0 comments


bottom of page