Witches and witchcraft have captivated the minds of everyone for centuries: While many historians have attempted to dismiss tales of witchcraft as “superstitions of the past,” the story of Krishna and Putana is very well known in India having been told and past down over 5000 yrs throughout its history, until the present day. What better time than Halloween to pass on the tradition! But best of all it has a happy ending!
Once upon a time in India some 5ooo years ago Kamsa, the evil uncle of Krishna, heard an omen that his sister Devaki’s eighth son would kill him, afraid and outraged he imprisoned his sister and as she gave birth to children Kamsa killed each one of them by dashing their heads onto a stone. Finally Krishna was born, but Kamsa could kill him Devaki managed to save her child by smuggling him out of the prison cell placing Krishna under the care of her husbands brother Nanda Maharaj and Mother Yasoda who became Krishna’s foster parents and raised him in a small cowherd village. When the evil king Kamsa caught wind of what had happened he was furious and immediately hired the services of a powerful dark sorceress named Putana, the Rakshasi-female demon. Putana was assigned to kill all the small babies in the land in an attempt to kill baby Krishna. Putana was an evil magician that could shape shift and take any form she wanted. She thus disguised herself in the form of an enchanting beautiful woman and killed many innocent small babies by applying poison onto her breasts nipple and them nursing them with her poisonous milk. Finally Putana charmed her way into the hearts of all the residents in Krishna’s village of Gokula she was so mesmerizing that even Krishna’s own mother Yasoda mistook the enchanting woman for the goddess Lakshmi incarnate. Putana then entered Krishna's home and picked up baby Krishna, took him upon her lap and nursed him from her own breast. Krishna, though a baby, was actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead just playing the role of a small child, therefore he recognized the true form of Putana and knew her evil intentions to poison him in an attempts to kill him. Krishna therefore accepted her milk offering but simultaneously sucked her breast so hard that he sucked out her very life air from her body. As she died screaming, there was a tremendous vibration she assumed her real demonic form which was that of a 12 mile long ugly giant witch. The people of Gokula cut her dead body into pieces and burned it in a funeral pier. But as the flesh and skin burnt, fragrant smoke rose out of the flames, as Putana was cleansed of all sins. In offering her milk to Krishna Putana had performed “the supreme act of maternal devotion.” By breast-feeding Krishna she attained the same place as Yasoda, the place of a foster mother. The demon Pūtanā was washed of all her sinful activities and attained a celestial body. Here is an example of how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all good: Pūtanā came to kill Kṛṣṇa, but because He sucked her milk, she was immediately purified, and her dead body attained a transcendental quality. Her only business was to kill small children; she was only fond of blood. But in spite of being envious of Kṛṣṇa, she attained salvation because she gave her milk to Him to drink. So what can be said of others who are affectionate to Kṛṣṇa in the relationship of mother or father? The pure devotees always serve Kṛṣṇa with great love and affection, for He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of every living entity. It is concluded therefore that even a little energy expended in the service of the Lord gives one immense transcendental profit. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: svalpam apy asya dharmasya. Devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so sublime that even a little service to Kṛṣṇa, knowingly or unknowingly, gives one the greatest benefit. The system of worshiping Kṛṣṇa by offering flowers from a tree is also beneficial for the living entity who is confined to the bodily existence of that tree. When flowers and fruits are offered to Kṛṣṇa, the tree that bore them also receives much benefit, indirectly. The arcanā process, or worshiping procedure, is therefore beneficial for everyone. Kṛṣṇa is worshipable by great demigods like Brahmā and Lord Śiva, and Pūtanā was so fortunate that the same Kṛṣṇa played in her lap as a little child. The lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, which are worshiped by great sages and devotees, were placed on the body of Pūtanā. People worship Kṛṣṇa and offer food, but automatically He sucked the milk from the body of Pūtanā. Devotees therefore pray that if simply by offering something as an enemy, Pūtanā got so much benefit, then who can measure the benefit of worshiping Kṛṣṇa in love and affection?
You can read an more detailed full account of this story in the Srimad Bhagavatam
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