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Vishnu Purana – Fifth Kandha

Chapter 8

Destruction of demon Dhenuka

1-6AGAIN, tending upon the herds, Keśava and Rāma wandered through the woods, and on one occasion came to a pleasing grove of palms, where dwelt the fierce demon Dhenuka, feeding upon the flesh of deer. Beholding the trees covered with fruit, and desirous of gathering it, the cowherds called out to the brothers, and said, “See, Rāma; see, Kṛṣṇa; in this grove, belonging to the great Dhenuka, the trees are loaded with ripe fruit, the smell of which perfumes the air: we should like to eat some. Will you throw some down?” As soon as the boys had spoken, Saṅkarṣaṇa and Kṛṣṇa shook the trees, and brought down the fruit on the ground.
7-13Hearing the noise of the falling fruit, the fierce and malignant demon Dhenuka, in the form of an ass, hastened to the spot in a great passion, and began to kick Rāma on the breast with his hinder heels. Rāma, however, seized him by both hind legs, and whirling him round until he expired, tossed his carcass to the top of a palm tree, from the branches of which it struck down abundance of fruit, like rain drops poured upon earth by the wind. The animals that were of kin to Dhenuka came running to his aid; but Kṛṣṇa and Rāma treated them in the same manner, until the trees were laden with dead asses, and the ground was strewed with ripe fruit. Henceforward the cattle grazed unobstructed in the palm grove, and cropped the new pasturage, where they had never before ventured[1].

NOTES:

[1] This exploit is related in the Bhāgavata, Hari Vaṃśa, and other Vaiṣṇava Purāṇas, much in the same strain, but not always in the same place: it more commonly precedes the legend of the discomfiture of Kālīya.

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