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Nanda, foster father of Krishna was the head of a society of cow-herders, and he settled in Gokul. Krishna meanwhile grew up in the middle of gopas and gopis, who are the cowherds and milkmaids of Gokul. Few alleged Krishna’s origins, since many doubted why the fair Nanda and Yashoda had given birth to a dark child. Perhaps Yashoda cleared their doubts by saying that their child was born after being childless for many years and it maybe the reason. The coming of Krishna changed the situations in Gokul. His life, right from his birth, was full of adventures.

Krishna killed the witch Putana, who was sent by Kamsa to kill all the newborn babies around Mathura. Putana took the form of a wet nurse and convinced Yashoda to feed milk to the baby. Putana had poison in her breasts. But when she feed the milk to Krishna, he suckled on her breasts; he sucked out her life air, killing her, without taking her poison. Kamsa then sent a whirlwind demon called Trinavarta, who took the form of whirlwind and tried to overturn the cradle in which Krishna slept. Krishna caught him by the neck and blocked him so tight that the wind turned into a mild breeze that lulled him to sleep. Another demon tried to kill Krishna by putting him under the hand-driven cart, but Krishna kicked him with his tiny feet and shattered him to smithereens. Yashoda, Nanda and all other gopis can’t see the demon as he was in invisible form and they wondered how the cart could have collapsed by itself. The incidents in Gokul with wet nurse, whirlwind and the cartwheel made the villagers frightened. Yashoda along with villagers decided to shift their residence from Gokul to more safety location on the banks of the river Yamuna at the base of the Govardhan hill.

The new settlement of cowherds later got the name Vrindavan, which is also near to the forest of Tulsi plants. Here Krishna grew up with a fondness for butter. The primary hobby of little Krishna is stealing the butter from unsuspecting Gopis. He climb towards the top of the rafter, where butter is stored in hanging pots and stole it from the houses of gopis. The angry milkmaids tried to stop him and get him punished, but he always gave them the slip. As Krishna grew up, he took the responsibility of grazing the cows. Krishna along with his brother, Balarama and other gopas grazed the cows. There he amused everyone with his flute and prevented the cows from many threats like forest fire, a huge heron, a wild bull and a starving python. He also prevented the villagers from a multi headed serpent called Kaliya, who had poisoned the waters of river Yamuna. Later he performed the kaliya mardan dance. Krishna’s brother, Balarama who engaged in grazing the cows also protected the toddy palm trees there from monkeys. Balarama is good farmer by birth. He is always seen with a plough in his hand. With his plough, he even pulled the Yamuna and made canals. Thus he made the water to flow towards the fields. Balarama even killed the demons, Dhenukasura and Pralambasura sent by Kamsa. As the years passed, Krishna and Balarama grew into a youth. Krishna then opposed the blind rituals of the sages. He preferred charity and devotion rather than rituals.

Every year, Kamsa is conducting a huge yagna to please Indra for rain in the earth. Krishna opposed this practice. He informed villagers to worship Govardhan, the mountain who has the ability to stop the rain clouds and brings rain in village. So villagers took the decision of not giving the ghee for Kamsa for performing the yagna. This irked Indra and he poured heavy rain to fall in the village which resulted in flood. It was then that Krishna picked up the Govardhan Mountain with his little finger and sheltered the whole villagers under the mountain. This sight was enough for Indra to recognize the power of Krishna. Indra realized that Krishna was not an ordinary man, but is god itself. The news reached the ears of Kamsa and he became nervous. Kamsa realized that Krishna was the eight child of his sister—his prophesied killer.
Krishna was born during turbulent times in Mathura, the city of Kunti’s birth. The Mother Earth, who was upset with the burden of sins committed by evil kings and rulers, requested Brahma (the creator) to do anything for mankind. Brahma urged Lord Vishnu (the preserver), who assured him that he would soon be born on earth to destroy harsh forces. One such evil force was Kamsa (or Kansa), the ruler of Mathura and his citizens were totally scared of him. Shortly after Surasena had given Kunti away in adoption, his nephew called Kamsa disbanded the Yadava ruling council. Kamsa then declared himself the ruler of Mathura with the support of his father-in-law, Jarasandha, the great king of Magadha. Jarasandha married his two daughters Asti and Prapti to Kamsa. All those who protested disband were either killed or imprisoned.

Kamsa’s younger sister, Devaki had married Kunti’s elder brother, Vasudeva. On the wedding day, voice from the sky was heard with a prediction that Devaki's eighth son would be the destroyer of Kamsa. The terrified Kamsa immediately wanted to kill his sister by his sword but Vasudeva intervened and persuaded to let her live on condition that Vasudeva would hand over every new born child to him. Kamsa relented but jailed both Devaki and her husband Vasudeva.
When Devaki gave birth to her first child, Kamsa stormed into the prison and killed the newborn by smashing its head. In this way, he killed the first six sons of Devaki as soon as they were born. Devaki was beside herself. She did not want to bear any more children, but Vasudeva consoled Devaki that the sacrifice of seven children is necessary so that the eighth child would save the people of Mathura from Kamsa. The sages who visited Vasudeva and Devaki revealed them that the six children died at birth was a punishment for them as they angered sages with their misbehavior in their past life. Devaki suffered the pain of watching them die at birth, since in her past life; she angered sages by stealing their cows. They also revealed them that the seventh child would be the herald of God and the eighth would be God himself.

After several days, Devaki conceived the seventh child. A goddess called Yogamaya is created which is the Lord’s divine power. Yogamaya then magically transported the unborn child from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb. Rohini was Vasudeva’s first wife, who was now living in the house of Vasudeva’s brother, Nanda and his wife Yashoda in the village of cowherds, Gokul. The child thus conceived in one womb is transported to another. Thus Balarama was born as the seventh child of Devaki from Rohini’s womb. Vasudeva then informed Kamsa that fear had caused Devaki to miscarry and lose her seventh child. Again after several days, Devaki conceived the eighth child. He slipped out of his mother’s womb nine months later on a dark and stormy ashtami night. It is actually the eighth night of the waning moon. The wind and the rain blew out all the lights in Mathura. The child is dark as night and also attractive as the sun. Yogamaya caused the whole city to sleep and advised Vasudeva to carry him to the house of Nanda in Gokula right after his birth, where Nanda's wife Yashoda had given birth to a daughter. After that to exchange his child and bring the Yashoda’s daughter back to prison. The daughter born to Yashoda was none other than goddess Durga, who was reborn as Yogamaya.

Remembering the divine advice from Yogamaya, Vasudeva grasped the child to his bosom, but found that his legs were in chains. Suddenly the chains in his legs were automatically broken and the huge iron-barred doors of prison are opened. Vasudeva started to walk towards Gokula.  While crossing the river Yamuna, he grasped the child to his bosom. The rain fell and unbelievably a multi-mouthed snake followed him from behind and provided shelter over Vasudeva and the child. When Vasudeva reached Gokula, he found that the doors of Nanda's house were open. He exchanged his child with the Yashoda’s daughter and hurried back to prison with the baby girl.

The next day, Kamsa came to know about the birth of eighth child. He rushed inside the prison and was surprised to see a baby girl. But it doesn’t stop him from killing the baby. When he intent on dashing her head to the ground, the baby skipped from his hand and flew into the sky. The baby then transformed into the goddess Yogamaya with eight arms each one bearing magnificent weapons. She announced that the killer of Kamsa was born somewhere else.  And that Kamsa would die as foretold.
Note: Balarama was an incarnation of Adi-Ananta-Sesha, the serpent who was the bed of Lord Vishnu. Balarama is also considered as the avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Balarama was conceived when God plucked a white hair from his chest and placed it in Devaki’s womb and Krishna was conceived when God plucked a black hair from his chest and placed it in Devaki’s womb. Thus Balarama and Krishna became the eighth and ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Dhaumya directed the Pandavas to the swayamvara of Drupada’s daughter disguised as Brahmans. On the way to the court of Drupada, Dhaumya added that if she was born to become the Arjuna’s bride, then nothing in the world can stop that from happening. Dhaumya along with Pandavas entered the Drupada’s court, where the contest is held. They sat in the pavillion meant for Brahmans and watched the Kshatriyas compete. Shri Krishna is also present in the event, but he did not participate in the contest. The participants were asked to string a bow and shoot only one arrow at the eye of a revolving fish which is suspended from the roof of the hall, while looking only at its reflection in a bowl. Drupada was confident that only Arjuna could accomplish this task. Many archers from around Bharata-varsha came and tried their luck. But nobody shot at the eye of the fish.

Duryodhana did not take part in the contest, since he was already married to Bhanumati, princess of Kalinga. The main reason for not participating in the event is that he had given a promise to Bhanumati that he would never marry again. So in his place, he sent his friend, Karna for participate the event. Karna was a suitor for Draupadi as he is able to shoot the target just like Arjuna. When Karna was about to try, Draupadi refused to allow him to take part. She rejected him for being the son of a charioteer. She humiliated Karna publicly and he withdrew from the contest. After the Karna’s withdrawal, all the Kshatriyas present in the contest had tried and failed. So Drupada invited the Brahmans to participate. Arjuna, who was now disguised as Brahman, immediately rose and picked up the bow. He then successfully tackled the target as Krishna saw it. The arrow hit its mark and the audience cheered. Everyone present in the event was surprised that a Brahman could do what Kshatriyas could not. Arjuna thus won the contest and married Draupadi. Arjuna along with his new wife, Draupadi and his four strong brothers then went to their mother, Kunti for taking bless from her.
Pandavas continued their voyage in the forest and they reach outside the border of Panchala, where they saw a sage called Dhaumya. Dhaumya after hearing their miseries advised the pandavas to marry a girl. since the household of Kunti is incomplete without a daughter-in-law. Dhaumya then directed them to the court of Drupada, where there is archery contest is being held. The person who wins the contest should be selected as husband for Drupada’s daughter, Draupadi.
Dhaumya then unwind the truth of how Draupadi became the daughter of Drupada to Pandavas.
Drupada who was defeated to the students of Drona, invoked lord Shiva (the destroyer) and begged shiva to give two sons and a daughter for the destruction of Drona and also the entire Kuru clan. His need was to kill Drona and Bhishma by each sons and his daughter want to marry into the Kuru household and divide the family. Shiva gave the boon and disappeared.

In due course, Drupada’s wife gave birth to a daughter. But her gender is transformed into a male. Thus the first son was born, who is considered to the rebirth of Amba. The oracles believed that he should be the reason for Bhishma’s death. Drupada was not satisfied with this child. He sought the help of sages, Yaja and Upayaja, who knew the secret art of producing a magic potion which when consumed, would give birth to a girl child. Both Yaja and Upayaja conducted a great yagna. Thus they obtained the magic potion and asked Drupada’s wife to come and drink it. But at that time, she was busy bathing. The two sages not want to wait as it results in the reduction of power of potion. So they threw the magic potion into the fire-pit. From the flames emerged twins, one is a son and other is a daughter. The son was later named Dhrishtadyumna, whom Drupada believed should be the reason for Drona’s death and the daughter was later named Draupadi, whom Drupada believed would marry into the Kuru family and divide them.

Shiva thus gave Drupada three children for his satisfaction of destruction of Kuru clan.  Drupada wanted to marry his daughter to Arjuna, who he thought as the greatest archer in the world. But everybody believed that Arjuna along with his brothers and Kunti were died in the palace fire. So Drupada had no choice, he then decided to conduct an archery contest and to find the next best archer for his daughter.


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