The Indian Artist: The Multi-Headed Serpent

5000 years ago, Krishna, whom you have all heard of at this point, lived in a beautiful town called Vrindavan. He descended from Vishnu to cleanse the Earth of all evil. These stories from Krishna’s childhood teach us to be pious, brave, and to stand up for what is right. Enjoy!!

Kaliya was a terrifying, many-headed serpent who was sent away from the mountain of Vishnu. As it turns out, he chose the banks of the Yamuna River near Krishna’s home, Vrindavan.

Kaliya was so venomous that his presence turned the water toxic, causing it to churn and bubble, turning black and killing every flora and fauna. Nobody in Vrindavan dared to visit the river or go near for fear of dying.

One day, Krishna and his friends were playing near the banks of the river. While playing, their ball fell into the river. Krishna jumped into the water after the ball. His friends tried to call after him, warning him about the terrifying serpent.

Krishna ignored all of their warnings and cries, making sure that he could retrieve the ball for his friends. Everybody in the village rushed to the river, terrified for Krishna, but nobody could go into the water.

Under the water, Kaliya attacked Krishna. He tried to dig his fangs into the Krishna and eject him with his poison. But Krishna, being all-powerful dispelled the venom. Kaliya wrapped his body around Krishna and dragged him deeper into the river, trying to crush him. Krishna grew to be giant, forcing his release.

Krishna dragged the serpent to the river surface, started playing his flute, and danced on the head of the monster. He assumed the weight of the entire universe in his lotus feet. Kaliya started to die, vomiting venom and blood. Kaliya’s wives came to Krishna to beg for his life. Krishna granted mercy after Kaliya understood the error of his ways, he begged for forgiveness and left, never tormenting anybody else ever again.

The waters cleared up as Krishna walked through them. Every living thing came back to life, blossoming with the beautiful power of Krishna. I captured this story in a recent piece of mine done in mixed media ranging from ink and colored pencil, for the foreground, to acrylic for the background. I hope you enjoyed this week’s story and art!! As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stood out or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!




~ Riya


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Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Freshman at Umich. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in this column, I look forward to sharing my perspectives and outlooks on life through my personal work!

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