In 2018, His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Swami took us to Kaliya-ghata, where Lord Krsna jumped from a big kadamba tree (which still stands here) into the Yamuna River, which once used to flow here. It was here that Krsna then chastised and danced on the hoods of Kaliya. Check out Maharaja’s full lecture below, along with a few photos, at Kaliya-ghata during Parikrama 2018.
Kaliya was getting tired of being kicked. Not only was Krsna’s dancing on the hoods of Kaliya very elegant and beautiful, but He was also kicking Kaliya on the head at the same time and He was kicking hard. It was during the dancing that Krsna bowed down and invited the gopis, “Come and please dance with Me,” and they had a whole rasa dance on the hoods of Kaliya! Krsna eventually said, “My dear Kaliya, you cannot stay here in the Yamuna because your poison killed all my friends and all the calves and we cannot really have that in Vrndavana, so you will have to go back to your kingdom. But do not worry. My footprints are now on your head and therefore Garuda will not touch you.” So in that way, Kaliya returned to Ramanaka.
When we look at this pastime, we can look at many aspects. One aspect is how kind Krsna is. Krsna is not just a person who has friends and enemies but rather, He is the well-wisher of all. Krsna benedicts even those who act inimical to Him. Ultimately, Krsna is kind; He was kind to Putana and He was kind to Kaliya. Krsna is merciful and even demoniac personalities get His mercy. What to speak of His devotees? With this pastime, we can appreciate Krsna’s merciful nature and the way Krsna deals with everyone – respectfully. Even with a lowly, poisonous, envious creature, Krsna was still respectful. Both by Krsna’s kicks and His association, Kaliya was purified and became a devotee.
In the spiritual world of course, Krsna does not kill any demons. He does that here in the material world. If a demon appears in Goloka Vrndavana, it is because that demon is also a devotee of the Lord, and Krsna and Balarama are playing with them. By being here in Kaliya-daha, we may increase our desire to go back to the spiritual world. We may desire to enter into the pastimes of Krsna. Such a desire will help us greatly in our Krsna consciousness. If our desire to go back to the spiritual world is weak, how can we expect to be fixed in our spiritual life? If we awaken our desire to go back to the spiritual world then we will want to dedicate ourselves to this process. By connecting to such pastime places in Vrndavana we can actually develop that desire.
Kaliya was proud of who he was. He was big, much bigger than others. It is always good when you are bigger than others, of course. A big dog knows he is big, and a big professor knows he is big as well. If we have greatness we naturally become proud. Kaliya was a snake so he was already envious. Add pride to envy then what have you got? The perfect situation to harm others. When we are proud and envious we do not care about others at all. Pride and envy create a mentality that will make us isolated. We withdraw all our feelings from others and do not care about them. Actually, a Vaisnava means para-duhkha-duhkhi. So another thing we can draw from here is that we need to become para-duhkha-duhkhi – concerned with the welfare of others. Let us think about that. How can we benedict others? That is something that Kaliya did not care about. This is our meditation.