Faith

Krishna dances on Kaliya

Taking off from the Bhagavata Purana, the dance of Krishna on Kaliya is eulogised by Andal in Nachiyar Tirumozhi and by Vedanta Desika in his Yadavabhyudaya in glowing terms, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri Aravamudhachariar in a discourse.

The Bhagavata Purana describes how Krishna climbs up a lofty Kadamba tree nearby that stands bare because of the poisonous vapours emanating from the pool. It is said that tree springs to life on contact with His lotus feet that devotees deem sacred and as the sure solace to the ills of samsara. Krishna jumps into the pool causing great agitation in the waters. Kaliya is angry at being thus disturbed. He stings Krishna and then entwines His body with his coils. Yasodha, Nandagopa and the other Vraja folk are frightened and anxious for Krishna’s safety. Krishna allows Himself to be bound for some time and then seeing the anxiety of the people decides to gladden their hearts. He grows in size causing great pain to the serpent and draining it of all energy. Krishna finds a soft stage on its hoods and begins His famous dance that is symbolic of the Lord’s leela that pervades the entire creation and Vedanta Desika calls it “Aarabhati,” a particular dance form performed by males. This rare spectacle is witnessed by the celestial beings as well with wonder and astonishment. With the precious gems on the hood and the red eyes of Kaliya providing the lights, and the waters of the Yamuna giving the laya support or rhythm, Krishna steps on the each of the rising hoods of Kaliya. This indicates the effort needed to suppress the human senses that distract one from realising the purpose of life. Only with God’s grace and help can anyone hope to win over the senses. Krishna emerging from Kaliya’s grip is compared to the sun emerging out of Rahu. Krishna accepts Kaliya’s surrender, pardons him and sends him to the sea.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 10:54:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/krishna-dances-on-kaliya/article19562214.ece

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