The story of the cursing of Nalakuvara and Manigriva and their deliverance by Krishna, under the all-blissful desire of the great sage Narada, is here described.
The two great demigods Nalakuvara and Manigriva were sons of the treasurer of the demigods, Kuvera, who was a great devotee of Lord Siva. By the grace of Lord Siva, Kuvera’s material opulences had no limit. As a rich man’s sons often become addicted to wine and women, so these two sons of Kuvera were also addicted to wine and sex. Once, these two demigods, desiring to enjoy, entered the garden of Lord Siva in the province of Kailasa on the bank of the Mandakini Ganges. There they drank much and engaged in hearing the sweet singing of the beautiful women who accompanied them in that garden of fragrant flowers.
While they were thus enjoying themselves in the water, all of a sudden Narada, the great sage, happened to pass that way. The two demigod sons of Kuvera were so much intoxicated that they could not appreciate the presence of the sage Narada and therefore did not cover their bodies. On seeing the two demigods so degraded by intoxication, Narada desired their welfare, and therefore he exhibited his causeless mercy upon them by cursing them.
After this, the great sage Narada returned to his abode, known as Narayanasrama, and the two demigods turned into trees, known as twin arjuna trees.
Although child Krishna was bound up to the wooden mortar, He began to proceed toward the twin trees in order to fulfill the prophecy of His great devotee Narada. Lord Krishna knew that Narada was His great devotee and that the trees standing before Him as twin arjuna trees were actually the sons of Kuvera. “I must now fulfill the words of My great devotee Narada,” He thought. Then He proceeded through the passage between the two trees. Although He was able to pass through the passage, the large wooden mortar stuck horizontally between the trees. Taking advantage of this, with great strength Lord Krishna began to pull the rope, which was tied to the mortar. As soon as He pulled, the two trees, with all their branches and limbs, fell down immediately with a great sound. Out of the broken, fallen trees came two great personalities, shining like blazing fire. All sides became illuminated and beautiful by their presence. The two purified personalities immediately came before child Krishna and bowed down to offer their respects and prayers.
When the demigods Nalakuvara and Manigriva finished their prayers, the child, Lord Krishna, the master and proprietor of Gokula, bound to the wooden grinding mortar by the ropes of Yashoda, smiled and said, “It was already known to Me that My great devotee Narada Muni had shown his causeless mercy by saving you from the abominable condition of pride due to possessing extraordinary beauty and opulence in a family of demigods. He has saved you from gliding down into the lowest condition of hellish life. All these facts are already known to Me. You are very fortunate because not only were you cursed by him, but you had the great opportunity to see him. If someone is able, by chance, to see face to face a great saintly person like Narada, who is always serene and merciful to everyone, then immediately that conditioned soul becomes liberated. This is exactly like being situated in the full light of the sun: there cannot be any visionary impediment. Therefore, O Nalakuvara and Manigriva, your lives have now become successful because you have developed ecstatic love for Me. This is your last birth within material existence. Now you can go back to your father’s residence in the heavenly planets, and by remaining in the attitude of devotional service, you will be liberated in this very life.”
After this, the demigods circumambulated the Lord many times and bowed down before Him again and again, and thus they left. When the twin arjuna trees fell to the ground, making a sound like the falling of thunderbolts, all the inhabitants of Gokula, including Nanda Maharaja, immediately came to the spot. They were very much astonished to see how the two great trees had suddenly fallen.
The small children who were playing there informed the men that the trees had fallen because Krishna had pulled the wooden mortar with the rope binding Him. Most of the cowherd men did not believe the statement of the children. They could not believe that such things were at all possible. Some of the men, however, believed them and told Nanda Maharaja, “Your child is different from all other children. He just might have done it.” Nanda Maharaja smiled to hear about the extraordinary abilities of his son. He came forward and untied the knot just to free his wonderful child. After being freed by Nanda Maharaja, Krishna was taken onto the laps of the elder gopis. They took Him away to the courtyard of the house and began to clap, praising His wonderful activities. Krishna danced along with their clapping, just like an ordinary child. The Supreme Lord Krishna, being completely controlled by the gopis, sang and danced just like a puppet in their hands.