The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon
1. Once, some of the cowherd boys—Sridama, the very close friend of Rama and Krsna, along with Subala, Stokakrsna and others—lovingly spoke the following words.
2. [The cowherd boys said:] O Rama, Rama, mighty-armed one! O Krsna, destroyer of the miscreants! Not far from here is a very great forest filled with rows of palm trees.
3. In that Talavana forest many fruits are falling from the trees, and many are already lying on the ground. But all the fruits are being guarded by the evil Dhenuka.
4. O Rama, O Krsna! Dhenuka is a most powerful demon and has assumed the form of an ass. He is surrounded by many friends who have assumed a similar shape and who are just as powerful as he.
5. The demon Dhenuka has eaten men alive, and therefore all people and animals are terrified of going to the Tala forest. O killer of the enemy, even the birds are afraid to fly there.
6. In the Tala forest are sweet-smelling fruits no one has ever tasted. Indeed, even now we can smell the fragrance of the tala fruits spreading all about.
7. O Krsna! Please get those fruits for us. Our minds are so attracted by their aroma! Dear Balarama, our desire to have those fruits is very great. If You think it’s a good idea, let’s go to that Tala forest.
8. Hearing the words of Their dear companions, Krsna and Balarama laughed and, desiring to please them, set off for the Talavana surrounded by Their cowherd boyfriends.
9. Lord Balarama entered the Tala forest first. Then with His two arms He began forcefully shaking the trees with the power of a maddened elephant, causing the tala fruits to fall to the ground.
10. Hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the ass demon Dhenuka ran forward to attack, making the earth and trees tremble.
11. The powerful demon rushed up to Lord Baladeva and sharply struck the Lord’s chest with the hooves of his hind legs. Then Dhenuka began to run about, braying loudly.
12. Moving again toward Lord Balarama, the furious ass situated himself with his back toward the Lord. Then, screaming in rage, the demon hurled his two hind legs at Him.
13. Lord Balarama seized Dhenuka by his hooves, whirled him about with one hand and threw him into the top of a palm tree. The violent wheeling motion killed the demon.
14. Lord Balarama threw the dead body of Dhenukasura into the tallest palm tree in the forest, and when the dead demon landed in the treetop, the tree began shaking. The great palm tree, causing a tree by its side also to shake, broke under the weight of the demon. The neighboring tree caused yet another tree to shake, and this one struck yet another tree, which also began shaking. In this way many trees in the forest shook and broke.
15. The other ass demons, close friends of Dhenukasura, were enraged upon seeing his death, and thus they all immediately ran to attack Krsna and Balarama.
16. As the demons attacked, Krsna and Balarama easily seized them one after another by their hind legs and threw them all into the tops of the palm trees.
17. The earth then appeared beautifully covered with heaps of fruits and with the dead bodies of the demons, which were entangled in the broken tops of the palm trees. Indeed, the earth shone like the sky decorated with clouds.
18. Hearing of this magnificent feat of the two brothers, the demigods and other elevated living beings rained down flowers and offered music and prayers in glorification.
19. People now felt free to return to the forest where Dhenuka had been killed, and without fear they ate the fruits of the palm trees. Also, the cows could now graze freely upon the grass there.
20. Then lotus-eyed Lord Sri Krsna, whose glories are most pious to hear and chant, returned home to Vraja with His elder brother, Balarama. Along the way, the cowherd boys, His faithful followers, chanted His glories.
21. Lord Krsna’s hair, powdered with the dust raised by the cows, was decorated with a peacock feather and forest flowers. The Lord glanced charmingly and smiled beautifully, playing upon His flute while His companions chanted His glories. The gopis, all together, came forward to meet Him, their eyes very eager to see Him.
22. With their beelike eyes, the women of Vrndavana drank the honey of the beautiful face of Lord Mukunda, and thus they gave up the distress they had felt during the day because of separation from Him. The young Vrndavana ladies cast sidelong glances at the Lord—glances filled with bashfulness, laughter and submission—and Sri Krsna completely accepting these glances as a proper offering of respect, entered the cowherd village.
23. Mother Yasoda and mother Rohini, acting most affectionately toward their two sons, offered all the best things to Them in response to Their every desire and at the various appropriate times.
24. By being bathed and massaged, the two young Lords were relieved of the weariness caused by walking on the country roads. Then They were dressed in attractive robes and decorated with transcendental garlands and fragrances.
25. After dining sumptuously on the delicious food given Them by Their mothers and being pampered in various ways, the two brothers lay down upon Their excellent beds and happily went to sleep in the village of Vraja.
26. The Supreme Lord Krsna thus wandered about the Vrndavana area, performing His pastimes.