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Vishnu Purana – Fifth Kandha

Chapter 14

Slaughter demon Arishta, disguished as a savage bull (Vrishabha)

1-13ONE evening, whilst Kṛṣṇa and the Gopīs were amusing themselves in the dance, the demon Aṛṣṭa, disguised as a savage bull, came to the spot, after having spread alarm through the station. His colour was that of a cloud charged with rain; he had vast horns, and his eyes were like two fiery suns: as he moved, he ploughed up the ground with his hoofs: his tongue was repeatedly licking his lips; his tail was erect; the sinews of his shoulders were firm, and between them rose a hump of enormous dimensions; his haunches were soiled with ordure, and he was a terror to the herds; his dewlap hung low, and his face was marked with scars from butting against the trees. Terrifying all the kine, the demon who perpetually haunts the forests in the shape of a bull, destroying hermits and ascetics, advanced. Beholding an animal of such a formidable aspect, the herdsmen and their women were exceedingly frightened, and called aloud on Kṛṣṇa, who came to their succour, shouting and slapping his arm in defiance. When the Daitya heard the noise, he turned upon his challenger, and fixing his eyes and pointing his horns at the belly of Keśava, he ran furiously upon the youth. Kṛṣṇa stirred not from his post, but, smiling in sport and derision, awaited the near approach of the bull, when he seized him as an alligator would have done, and held him firmly by the horns, whilst he pressed his sides with his knees. Having thus humbled his pride, and held him captive by his horns, he wrung his throat, as if it had been a piece of wet cloth; and then tearing off one of the horns, he beat the fierce demon with it until he died, vomiting blood from his mouth. Seeing him slain, the herdsmen glorified Kṛṣṇa, as the companies of the celestials of old praised Indra, when he triumphed over the Asura Jambha[1].

NOTES:

[1] This exploit is related a little more in detail in the Bhāgavata and Hari Vaṃśa.

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