Kalanemi’s defeat

So everyone has heard of Kalanemi’s dreaded name. He appears several times as a particularly pernicious demon, filled with envy and hatred for Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kalanemi is mentioned in the 8th canto of the Srimad Bhagavatham as follows:

“O King, when the demon Kalanemi, who was carried by a lion, saw that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, carried by Garuda, was on the battlefield, the demon immediately took his trident, whirled it and discharged it at Garuda’s head. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, the master of the three worlds, immediately caught the trident, and with the very same weapon he killed the enemy Kalanemi, along with his carrier, the lion.” SB 8.10.56

Everytime Kalanemi appears, he is vanquished by Lord Krsna. He was the uncle of Ravana, the dreadful king of Lanka. He was also the son of Hiranyakashipu, who cursed him to kill his own children. The curse came true when Kalanemi took birth as Kamsa, the horrible king of Bhoja, who killed the children of his gentle sister Devaki. Unwittingly, each child he cruelly murdered was his own son from his previous birth… Karma is a mess isn’t it?!

As Ravana’s uncle, Kalanemi was promised half of his nephew’s kingdom in return for deceiving Hanuman from his mission to procure the life-giving Sanjivani herb, in order to rescue the fallen Lakshmana. Ravana felt that if Lakshmana perished, Rama would lose His will to continue battle…

Deities of Sri Rama, Lakshmana, and Sri Sita Devi at Thiruppullani, Rameshwaram

Kalanemi disguised himself as a mystic sage, and took residence on the Gandhamadhana mountain, in the Himalayas. As Hanuman searched for the magical life-giving Sanjivani, he came across the pious looking Kalanemi in disguise…

The Sanjivani herb (Selaginella bryopteris) is a lythophytic plant with medicinal properties

The demon offered Hanuman food, which he refused. Instead Hanuman bathed in a nearby lake, where his foot was seized by a crocodile. Hanuman swiftly killed the crocodile, from whose body emerged a celestial damsel. The damsel told Hanuman how she was an apsara, and had been cursed to become a crocodile because of having offended King Daksha. Being grateful for Hanuman’s mercy on her, she warned him of Kalanemi’s deceitful plot…

Hanuman returned to the hermitage where Kalanemi persisted in his disguise. Hanuman declared that he knew of his wicked tricks, and seizing him by the legs, whirled him around, and threw him in the air…and he landed far far away… at the foot of Ravana’s throne, all the way in Lanka!

Hanuman, being unable to find the exact herb, and not wanting to take a chance with bringing the wrong herb, grabbed the entire mountain of Dronagiri, and returned to Lanka to rescue Lakshmana. Incidentally, Dronagiri is the father of Sri Govardhan which brings pleasure to Sri Sri Radha Krsna, and all of Their loving devotees…

All glories to Sri Hanuman, the chastizer of the wicked Kalanemi!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Kalanemi’s defeat

  1. In Adhyatha Ramayan this episode has been beautifully narrated. Hanuman kills Kalanemi on the spot -that is the only difference. It is amazing as how some of these legends are repeated both in Bhagawatham and in some versions of Ramayana or other. What an amazing continuity of the culture—
    Krishnamurthy

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