As children, we are often afraid of spotting a snake, even in our dreams. One of the Vrindavan pastimes of Boy-Krishna was the taming of one such hundred-hooded venomous serpent Kaliya.
Serpent Kaliya made his home in the happy realm of Braj in a lake in the deep sweet waters of river Yamuna and poisoned it. All the birds, trees and animals had withered by the contact of the lake.
Once Krishna’s friends wandered towards the lake on the river Yamuna in search of the cows. Being thirsty, they drank the poisonous water and fell down unconscious. Noticing that some of his companions had gone missing, Krishna immediately set out for search and arrived at the waters. Having seen his friends in such a state, the lord had revived them to senses with his grace.
Krishna looked at the deep waters and found the serpent sleeping. In a gusto to teach the serpent a lesson, he sported fearlessly into the waters even as all his friends were watching. As the sport began, Krishna initially let the serpent play around him. So, the serpent coiled around Krishna and tried to crush him. Krishna then began expanding his form and Kaliya was losing hold of Krishna. Kaliya got enraged and spread out his hood to hiss and eject venom. Krishna bent the enormously huge head of Kaliya and leaped up, landing right on its hoods. Krishna stood on one of the hoods while Kaliya tried to attack him with the fangs of the others. Krishna escaped from the fangs every time by jumping from hood to hood, dancing and bringing each of the serpent’s raised hood down till finally all hoods were bruised and the serpent gave up his pride and surrendered to Krishna.
The friends of Krishna watched all this from the banks of the river and thought – what a feast it is indeed to the eyes to see the dance of Krishna in myriad poses, sporting fearlessly on the hood of the dangerous serpent! The devas too showered flowers on Krishna from above.
The evil-natured Kaliya pleaded forgiveness to the Lord. The merciful Krishna told Kaliya to leave to the sea immediately. Ever since the waters of Yamuna have been free from the danger of the serpent, and once again, the blue waters are as sweet as nectar.