Basket of destiny

What could a tiny basket do? Turns out, quite a lot. It became the saviour’s saviour.

Published - August 22, 2019 11:17 am IST

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

“I wonder where I am going to be,” exclaimed a newly woven little basket. He was stacked outside a weaver’s house in Mathura.

“You will go to the fish market and carry stinking fish for the rest of your life,” replied a wheel lying nearby.

“I am sturdy and well woven. I can do much more,” said the basket.

The wheel sniggered, “Your size and shape are just right to stock fishes. You were born to be a fish basket.”

“I wish I could have a better life,” sighed the little basket.

Just then the weaver arrived and picked the little basket along with a dozen others. He was on the way to the market to sell the baskets when the monsoon clouds gathered above and a dust storm arose. People ran hither and thither looking for shelter. The weaver staggered and dropped the baskets on the ground.


Taking a chance, the little basket jumped and rolled through the streets till he reached a big gate, where a guard picked him and hurled him down a flight of steps. The little basket fell into a dimly lit room. A man was consoling a crying woman in the corner. The woman was about to deliver a baby.

“Hello! What’s a new basket like you doing in the palace prison?” asked a voice.

The little basket spotted a mat on the ground. In the cold room, he narrated his story.

The mat said, “If you would have stayed with the weaver, you would have been free and travelled to places far and near.”

“Who is this couple?” asked the little basket as the cries of the woman grew louder.

“This woman is Devaki, the sister of Mathura’s cruel ruler, Kans. Her husband, Vasudev, stands by her in this hour of need.”

The little basket was about to ask more questions when he heard the cry of a baby in the room. “Aha! My life can be cheerful with a baby around me.”

The mat sighed. “The baby will not live for long. His uncle, Kans, the cruel ruler of Mathura, will be here any minute and kill him.”

“Oh no! Why would someone want to slay an innocent child?”

“A wandering mendicant predicted that the eighth child of this couple will slay Kans. So, he imprisoned them,” replied the mat.

There was a loud clap of thunder. Rain poured like cats and dogs. The lamps went out.

A flash of light emerged from nowhere and a voice boomed across the prison. “Vasudev, carry your child to Gokul and exchange him with your sister’s child.”

While the little basket looked at the newborn baby, Devaki shook Vasudev.“Quick, save our child!”

“How? The door is locked. The palace grounds are heavily guarded!” Barely had the words gotten out of Vasudev’s mouth that the door creaked open mysteriously. Vasudev looked out. The guards were fast asleep.

He lifted the baby and wrapped him in rags. Then he placed the baby in the little basket. The little basket gasped.

“Good luck to you!” said the mat. “Looks like you were made for a bigger purpose.”

When Vasudev tiptoed out of the prison, no one stopped him. Everyone in the palace had fallen into a deep slumber. He ran through the palace grounds clutching the basket over his head.

Trees crashed and fell along the roads.

“Don’t fall on me,” begged the little basket.” I am carrying a special baby.”

“No harm will come to you,” whispered the trees.

Vasudev hurried to the banks of the Yamuna. The river was in spate. There were no boats or boatmen in sight.

The little basket cried to the river, “Help me carry the baby safely to Gokul!”

The river heard his pleas and parted into two. A seven-headed snake emerged from the river and fanned his hood to protect the baby and the basket from the torrent of rain. Vasudev took a deep breath and quickly crossed the foaming river.

A big surprise waited for Vasudev when he reached Gokul. His sister Yashoda’s house was unlocked. He crept inside and saw her fast asleep next to a baby girl and her husband, Nand. Vasudev placed his baby next to Yashoda and picked the baby girl, placed her in the basket and brought her back to Mathura.

“You are back in prison. It is a bad day!” muttered the mat when he saw the little basket back in the prison.

“It is a good day,” said the little basket. “I saved a child’s life.”

It was Lord Krishna that the little basket saved that day. Many years later, he returned to Mathura to kill the evil Kans. As for the baby girl who replaced Lord Krishna that night, she vanished into thin air before Kans could do her any harm. Kans released Vasudev and Devaki. A few months later, they carried some butter in the little basket when they went to see Yashoda. The little basket remained in Yashoda’s kitchen for the rest of his life enjoying all the antics of baby Lord Krishna.

(References to this story have been in The Adventures of Young Krishna by Diksha Dalal-Clayton)

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