The book presents the stories on Krishna as contained in the Bhagavata Puranam which was narrated by Sage Shuka to King Parikshit according to legend. The tales relate to events before the birth of Krishna and Krishna’s life as a boy in Gokul, Vrindavan and Mathura. They relate to a number of events and acts relating to the life of Krishna such as Kansa’s atrocities on the people, the plight of Krishna’s parents, Devaki and Vasudeva, the birth of Krishna, his childhood pranks and leelas with gopis in Vrindavan, his brave deeds, his visit to Mathura and the death of Kansa at the hands of Krishna. Written for modern young readers, in a simple and easy to understand language, the stories contain the rich religious tradition of India that has come down through the centuries and continue to be revered today.
Mrs. Sethu Ramaswamy is the author of the celebrated autobiography Bride at Ten, Mother at Fifteen: Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Woman (Roli Books, 2003), and They Spoke with God: Saints of Tarnizhaham (D.K. Print world, 2009). At 86 she continues to read and write and has just completed a manuscript titled “The Needle-thin Boy and other Stories” meant for children and teenagers.
This book was written at the instance and in fact the insistence, of Sri. K.V.N. Iyengar, who had wanted me to write the tales of Krishna, the divine cowherd, in a simple, captivating style, for the young children who called him “Thaatha” and his wife “Jaya Patti.” To him my warm thanks.
My blessings and thanks to my grand-daughter Divya who copy-edited the manuscripts making the much needed corrections in grammar and syntax while keeping in mind my constant plea that she should not tamper with my narrative style.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my youngest daughter Vijay a who, as always, whetted and polished the Mss, making it print-worthy.
My grateful thanks to Mr. Susheel Mittal of D.K. Print world for bringing out the book beautifully and at the right time, as always.
King Parikshit was the son of Abhimanyu, Arjuna’s son. In the Mahabharata Arjuna lost his beloved son Abhimanyu in the battle of Kurukshetra.
Abhimanyu was married to Uttara. Uttara was carrying Abhimanyu’s child n her womb when her husband was killed in battle. The Lord protected the child n the womb of Uttara, and Parikshit was born.
Parikshit was the only surviving member of the Pandavas: He ruled the kingdom with great wisdom. Dwapar Yuga had ended with the passing away of Krishna, the avatara of Lord Narayana in Dwapar Yuga. Kali Yuga had begun with the advent of Kali.
In a conversation between King Parikshit and Kali Purusha, King Parikshit tells Kali, “You have no place in this land of mine, because of your association with unrighteousness (adharma). Here people are devoted to the Lord and to the performance of yajnas and to all other actions that are said to be good. Above all, they are pious, good and god-fearing, and they willingly acknowledge and adore the almighty.” Kali Purusha then requested the king “show me a place where I may reign.” The king replied “where there is deceit, liquor, lust, cruelty there you shall take your abode. Also where there is greed and a longing for material wealth, there you shall be.”
King Parikshit had married Iravati, daughter of Uttiran, and by her was born Janamejaya and three others. One day king Parikshit went out hunting in the forest. After some time he felt very hungry, tired and thirsty. He came to the hermitage of the great sage Shamika. The sage was in deep meditation, and could not be disturbed by Parikshit’s efforts to wake him up for some water to drink. The king in frustration took up a dead snake, which was lying nearby, and threw it round the sage’s neck. Even so he did not come out of his trance.
Sage Shamika’s son Shringi heard that someone had thrown a dead snake on his father’s neck; he cursed the person who did that by declaring that on the seventh day from then, he will be bitten by the snake Daksha and will die. When sage Shamika awoke he was angry with his son for cursing a great king like Parikshit. King Parikshit came to know of the curse and renouncing his kingdom, went on a fast unto death. He had only seven days to live.
The sage Shuka Brahmam was only a sixteen-year-old boy, an avadhuta (naked), his body covered by his matted locks.
Sage Shuka narrated the Bhagavata Purana in seven days (Bhagavata-saptaha) to King Parikshit so that his mind will be fixed on the Lord.
The stories on Krishna are from the Bhagavata Purana. Shuka had learnt it from his father Vyasa. After seven days King Parikshit was bitten by the snake Daksha and died.
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