Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Kāliya was a poisonous snake in the Yamuna river. Fear of Garuda the snake eater drove the snake to the Yamuna river and it poisoned it. No bird could eat the fish from the poisoned waters of Yamuna. No beast can drink the water. There were no trees in the banks of the river except for Kadamba (Neolamarckia cadamba = burflower-tree).

Kāliya was the princely son of Kadrū the daughter of Dakṣa and the wife of Kaśyapa coming from the Krodhavāsa tribe. (Kadrū went by another name Grahi (Seizer). She can assume a subtle form, enter the womb of a pregnant woman and transform the embryo into a snake. (The west is of the opinion the Nāgas of India are the indigenous Non-Āryan tribe.) Ṛṣi Kaśyapa had a thousand children with Kadrū and two children with Vinatā. These women did not bear live infants of human kind. They laid eggs. Kadrū’s eggs yielded 1000 tiny snakes. One of them was Śeṣa and the other was Vāsuki.

Śeṣa (= Remainder) the bed of Vishnu was a thousand-headed cosmic serpent, also named Ananta, the Endless or ‘Infinite One’. Vāsuki supports the world on its heads. The earthquakes occur when he moved his head or heads.

Vinata’s eggs did not hatch, so she opened them. The first one was the deformed Aruṇa, the reddish one. The second one was a beautiful youth with rudimentary nubs or absent feet. He was Garuda.

Krishna and the cowherd boys played ball by the river. No man, animal or bird dared to drink the water or eat the river fish because of contamination of the river with snake poison. The cows that drank the water fell ill and Krishna revived them. No one dunked in the river.

The ball fell in the poisonous waters of river Yamuna. The timorous boys were afraid to retrieve the ball. Krishna, unafraid, jumped into the waters. A hood popped up. Krishna ignored it. Then, one by one, other heads pierced through the surface of the water.   Where is Krishna? The gopis, the boys and herders came running to the river edge. The 110-hooded Kāliya wrapped its body around Krishna in the depths of the river. Krishna was a child (youth). What was he going to do? The coils of the snake squeezed his life breath away. Krishna’s brother Balarāma unconcerned watched him from the banks of the river and asked Krishna to use his divine power to defeat Kālia. None knew the divine nature of Krishna except his brother Balarāma.

Krishna transformed into an incredible hulk. The 'Incredible Hulk' TV series (1962-2013) in the US might have taken an inspiration from Krishna.) The snake could not stand the stretch and loosened its coiled grip. Krishna rose from the depths of Yamuna river and jumped on Kāliya's head. To keep the snake down he assumed the weight of the whole world and danced on its head (Nāg Nritya = Kālinga Nartana). The anxious spectators on the river bank were happy to see the dance of Krishna on the middle hood of the snake. The snake was spitting blood. The wives of Kāliya (Nāginis) were afraid they would become widows. They begged Krishna for mercy and spare the life of their husband. Krishna took pity of Kāliya and told him to leave the river forever and move to an Island Ramanaka Dwipa, now known as the Island of Fiji. Another version says that Krishna asked Kālia and his kind to leave the river for the ocean. Since Krishna subdued Kālia, he was called Kāliyadamna (tamer of Kālia).