The stories of the exploits of Kamsa, and his attempts to kill his nephew Krishna are many. One such story is that of the demon Arishtasura (arishtasura means bull demon in Sanskrit)
Kamsa. the evil king of Mathura, wanted to kill his nephew Krishna because it was prophesied that Krishna would be the reason for Kamsa’s death. Kamsa called the demon Arishtasura and ordered him to kill Krishna. Arishtasura transformed himself into a bull and went in search of Krishna towards Vrindavan. Upon reaching Vrindavan, he saw many kids playing. In order to identify which one of them was Krishna, Arishtasura started creating havoc by uprooting trees, destroying houses and scaring away villagers. He knew Krishna would present himself and challenge him.
Krishna was away with his cattle and fellow cowherds. He heard screams coming from the direction of the village and saw a wild bull running amok. Despite his friends’ warning, Krishna ran towards the bull to contain it. On coming closer, he realized that it was not an ordinary bull but a demon in disguise. He immediately blocked the path of the bull and challenged him, “You petty creature! You are trying to show off your strength on innocent villagers by destroying their humble dwellings. You are just a wild bull who needs to be taught a lesson. Should I teach you one?” Saying this Krishna gave out a loud laugh and smirked.
The bull did not like being mocked at. Krishna’s casual attitude angered him further. He gave out a loud cry, started digging the earth with his groves and charged towards Krishna. The bull lifted its tail in the air and swirled it so violently that it blew away the clouds in the sky. Seeing the bull fuming and charging with anger towards Krishna scared the villagers and Krishna’s friends. They were worried about his safety.
Krishna stood his ground. As soon as the bull came close, Krishna held him by his horns, pushed him back by eighteen steps and threw him aside. Arishtasura was taken aback by Krishna’s offensive move. He got up and charged towards Krishna, once again, with all his might. This time Krishna caught one of his horns, swirled him vigorously in the air, threw him on the ground and broke his horn. The bull fell down with a loud thud.
Arishtasura could not muster up enough strength to lift his body off the ground. He was bleeding profusely from his mouth. With a painful cry, the bull died.
Who was Arishtasura?
From the dead body of the bull, a soul arose and took the form of a man. He bowed in front of The Lord and said, “In another life, my name was Varatantu. Once, I approached god Brahaspati and requested him to accept me as his student. Brahaspati agreed to take me as a disciple. One day, unknown to me, I sat with my feet facing my guru. This angered him and he remarked that I have shown disrespect to him by sitting in front of him like a bull. He cursed me that I would turn into a demon. I immediately apologized and begged for forgiveness. When Brahaspati’s anger subsided, he said that I will have to spend some time as a demon bull as the curse cannot be taken back. But he gave me a boon that at the end of my life, I would achieve Moksha. That I would be killed by The Lord himself in a battle.”
Saying this, the soul bowed once again before The Lord, paid its obeisance and left for heavenly abode.