“Thus the nightmare of the Putana witch was over, and she assumed her real feature as a great demon. She opened her fierce mouth and spread her arms and legs all over. She fell exactly as Vritrasura when struck by the thunderbolt of Indra. The long hair on her head was scattered all over her body. Her fallen body extended up to twelve miles and smashed all the trees to pieces, and everyone was struck with wonder upon seeing this gigantic body.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 6)
1. Looked to Vishnu for protection
It was not an accident. It was not a random occurrence. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, did not happen to land there. He was not roaming about the universe and suddenly lost His place. This was not like mustard seeds being dropped on the blade of a sword, where there is no way to predict on which side they will fall.
Rather, that is the explanation of the tatashta-shakti. The living entities belong to this energy, where every shakti originates from the original person, the adi-purusha. Tatastha is the marginal potency. Though we are part of the spiritual energy, we are considered marginal because sometimes we are with the Supreme Lord and sometimes we are in illusion, thinking that we have fallen to the land of birth and death, mrityu-loka.
When God the person appears before us, it is through intelligence. It is through a personal choice. The travel is in the category of a descent. The word “avatara” refers to someone who leaves from a higher place for a lower one.
God is not affected by the change, but the people with whom He associates certainly are. As Shri Krishna, He intentionally chooses the land-area of Gokula-Vrindavana to spend the early years of the typical life-cycle of a human being.
The residents are qualified for His visit due in part to their strong devotion to Vishnu. This is the personal God, non-different from Krishna. In common conversation, a person may think that Hinduism, which is actually sanatana-dharma, features many gods, but in truth there is only one Supreme. He appears differently to different people, but He is always the same person.
Vishnu and Krishna are one, though in Gokula the people did not know. They were innocently devoted to the deity aligned with the mode of goodness. Vishnu maintains everyone, and in Vrindavana the people looked to Vishnu to protect them.
This was evident one time when Yashoda’s child escaped grave danger. He happened to be crawling on top of the dead body of a large witch named Putana. That female asura had arrived in town not long before, but in the form of a beautiful nurse. No one suspected her wicked intent.
She was there to try to kill baby Krishna, but instead He sucked the very life out of her. Amazed that Krishna had survived the encounter with the hideous witch, mother Yashoda immediately invoked several names of Vishnu as a call to protection for her boy.
2. Protected cows
Vishnu is associated with cows. That particular animal is very dear to Him. There is no use in trying to logically understand the cause. It is simply the way things are. The cow gives life through milk and the associated products. She gives fuel in the form of dung and the urine has great healing properties.
The only requirement on the other end is protection. In other words, don’t kill it unnecessarily. Certainly do not draw up a scheme whereby cows are taken to a single place and slaughtered in large numbers, all for the purpose of satisfying the tongue.
In Gokula, Nanda Maharaja had so many cows under his care. When Krishna became a little older, He was in charge of the calves. He and the other cowherd boys would head out to the fields every day and have fun taking care of the animals so dear to Vishnu.
3. Invited brahmanas to their homes
Krishna arrived in town in the most amazing way. He was dropped off by the birth-father, who is named Vasudeva. The father braved the elements in the middle of the night to bring the child to safety. Krishna appeared in Mathura, but there was imminent danger in the form of the wicked king named Kamsa. Krishna would be safer in Gokula, under the care of Nanda Maharaja and his wife Yashoda.
One of the first things Nanda did was call a brahmana to the home. This was both tradition and a way to bring auspiciousness. Like cows, brahmanas are very dear to Vishnu. Garga Muni noted the signs of Divinity in Shri Krishna and His brother Balarama. He drew up their horoscopes and also gave names to them.
4. Were not amazed by asuras
If someone were to come to town today and suddenly transform into a witch the size of a skyscraper building, people would be amazed. The same for someone transforming into a whirlwind or a giant serpent.
These were some of the displays put on by the asuras sent by King Kamsa to kill Krishna. As God cannot be killed, none of the attempts were successful. The people were neither surprised nor impressed. Since they were devoted to Vishnu, they knew that in the material world someone is able to acquire great powers and use them in wicked ways. This, by no means, should be mistaken as Divinity.
5. Trusted in Krishna
Their devotion in Vishnu naturally extended to Krishna. They trusted Him, like the time Nanda’s child suggested worshiping Govardhana Hill instead of Indra, the king of heaven. This was a peculiar request, but the people went along.
It looked like they had made a mistake, at first, since Indra retaliated with a devastating rainstorm. In that emergency situation, they further trusted Krishna by remaining under the massive umbrella He created by lifting the just-worshiped Govardhana Hill.
People kind, fair and just,
And in Vishnu to trust.
So not the residents to astound,
When that fall creating sound.
Of super-form death bound,
Of Putana-witch hitting the ground.
Because the real God they knew,
The one always protecting who.
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