Krishna and the conch (Panchajanya)


Vasudeva called the family priest Garga and performed the Upanayana ceremony (the sacred thread ceremony) of his sons. They then became twice-born. After Upanayana, one has to practise Brahmacharya. They have to reside at the house of their Guru, learn the Vedas from him and practise asceticism at the same time. According to practice, BalaRama and Krishna went to reside at the house of Rishi Sandipani of Avanti of the line of Kasyapa.

The brothers learned the Vedas, the Vedangas and all the branches of learning in sixty four days. Then they requested their Guru to name his Dakshina. Sandipani in consultation with his wife asked for the restoration to life of his son, who had been drowned in the sea at Prabhasa Kshetra.

“All right,” said the brothers. They took their chariot and went to the sea-side. The sea brought presents. But Krishna asked for the restoration of his Guru’s son. The sea replied: “I did not carry him off, but one Asura named Panchajana, who lives in my waters in the form of a conch.”

Krishna entered the waters and killed Panchajana. But he did not find the boy within the Asura’s body. He took the conch and came back. He then went with Balarama to the seat of Yama called Sanyamani and blew the conch. Yama adored the brothers and wanted to know their behests.

Krishna said:  “My Guru’s son has certainly been brought here by his own Karma. But hear my command and bring him to me.”. Yama followed the orders of Bhagavan ( Krishna) and and brought back the Guru’s son. The brothers took him to their father and said: “What more do you ask, O Guru?”

The Guru said: “I have nothing more to ask. Now you may go home.”