The Harivamsha tells the tale of how Kamsa sends a demon (asura) named Sakatasura (meaning cart-demon) to take the form of a large hand-cart (sakata) and kill the baby Krishna. Krishna gives a kick to the cart, destroying it and thus killing the demon.
In another tale, this time from the Bhagavata Purana, Kamsa sends the asura Trinavarta to abduct and kill Krishna. Trinavarta takes the form of a whirlwind and carries away the child, enveloping the whole area with a cloud of dust and darkness. The resultant cover of sand particles causes great distress to Krishna’s step-mother Yashoda, who attempts to find her son with the help of the gopis.
The baby Krishna causes himself possess enormous weight, so heavy that the wind comes to a standstill, thus halting the asura in his ascent. Krishna then grasps his captor's throat with intense force, paralysing him and making his eye-sockets bulge. The asura crashes back to earth and is smashed to death upon a rock.
Figure 1. The Destruction of the Cart and the Asura Trinavarta, Baphuon Temple, Angkor, Cambodia.
This panel on the southern gopura of enclosure II of Baphuon Temple depicts the baby Krishna crawling out from under a cart to be fed by his step-mother.
The cart on the left seems to hold the dead body of the asura Sakatasura, representing the story of the destruction of the cart, and the tree in the centre that we see bending in the wind is suggestive of the asura Trinavarta's whirlwind. To the right of the tree, we see Krishna’s step-mother Yashoda, sitting devastated at the disappearance of the boy. Yashoda is shown with flabby breasts, thinking of her lost child, as the hungry Krishna reappears in front of her after escaping Trinavarta.
Because of its poor state of preservation, the attribution of the relief shown in Figure 1 may be problematic. It was suggested, before the restoration of Baphuon Temple was completed in 2011, that it may instead represent the scene when the wicked Putana visited the new-born child with the intention of killing him on the order of Kamsa. Transforming herself into a beautiful young woman, she took Krishna in her arms and gave him her poisoned milk. However, the boy sucked her with such force that she died.
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