The Killing of Kamsa

Krishna and Balarama were invited to a wrestling match in Mathura in Kamsa’s palace. Kamsa was getting everything ready. Waking at dawn, he inaugurated the festival of wrestling matches. The place was well decorated with garlands, banners and bunting. Melodious music was being played in the background. Benches were provided for all citizens. On the highest point was placed the royal throne for Kamsa, who was in a disturbed state because of all the nightmares and bad omens he got. Then champions like Chanura and Mushtika arrived in the arena one by one.

When Krishna and Balarama arrived at the site, they saw the elephant Kuvalayapeeda blocking the entrance. In a loud voice, Krishna called out, “O, mahout! Let us pass!” When there was no response, he raised his voice in anger. “Can’t you hear? Make way or I will send you and your elephant to death.” The mahout provoked Kuvalayapeeda to attack Krishna. The enraged elephant wrapped his trunk around Krishna. But he nimbly wriggled out of the elephant’s hold, gave a good blow and hid between the elephant’s legs. The elephant was furious at losing sight of his victim, and began to ferret him out with his trunk, but Krishna and Balarama took hold of his tail and dragged him back for quite a distance. For long, Krishna teased and taunted the elephant. Then with one hand he pulled at the trunk and floored him. Krishna then pulled out the tusks, and with them, he finished off both the elephant and his keeper.

Holding the tusks on his shoulder, Krishna and Balarama entered the arena. People of Mathura began to whisper among themselves. “He is the one who killed Pootana. Also Trinavarta, Keshi and Dhenuka. He is the one who conquered Kaliya.” Addressing Krishna and Balarama, Chanura, the ace wrestler said, “Welcome, Krishna and Balarama. Our king has invited you here to show your skill.” Then Krishna said, “Yes, Chanura, we would love to do so. But we are mere children. It would not be proper for you to compete with youngsters.” Chanura says, “Hah! You and Balarama are neither children nor youngsters. Why, only moments ago you playfully killed the mighty elephant Kuvalayapeeda. Come on Krishna, try your might on me, while Balarama fights Mushtika.” The challenge was accepted.

The fight began in earnest as the pair of wrestlers turned and twisted, rolled and jumped, pulled and pushed at each other. The audience, especially the women were disturbed as they saw what seemed an unequal combat. “How can King Kamsa allow this injustice? Let us go away. I can’t bear to see this. Yes. These poor young boys being pitted against expert wrestlers.” Vasudeva and Devaki overheard this conversation as their prison was very near the arena. Vasudeva said, “What will happen to our dear boys?” Devaki said, “Imagine fighting with those powerful men.” By now Chanura was beginning to regret his challenge to Krishna. In frustration, he attacked Krishna on the chest with his clenched fists. Unperturbed, Krishna caught hold of his arms and flung him on the ground after turning him seven times in the air. Meanwhile, Balarama had managed to defeat and kill not only Mushtika, but also Koota, who came to fight him. With a swift kick, Krishna beheaded Shala, and tore the body of Toshala, the two other wrestlers who came forward. Chanura, Mushtika, Koota, Shala and Toshala, the five strong men of Kamsa, all lay dead.

Kamsa could not bear to see this, and issued a series of orders to his men. “Drive these two sons of Vasudeva out of town. Capture Nanda. Take away all the belongings of the cowherds. Kill Vasudeva. Kill Ugrasena too.” Even as Kamsa was issuing these orders, Krishna leapt up to his high seat. Kamsa tried to defend himself, brandishing his sword. Catching Kamsa by his hair Krishna threw him down. Krishna then jumped on Kamsa, killing him that very instant. Krishna dragged Kamsa’s body on the floor of the arena amidst loud cries from the audience. Kamsa had eight younger brothers, who rushed at Krishna and Balarama to take revenge, but Balarama killed them all. After that the brothers left, and the people of Mathura rejoiced.

Krishnaprasad Nandakumar 11 years,
San Ramon CA


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