A beautiful young woman, in the full bloom of her femininity, once entered
the residential premises of a provincial chief of cowherds. Dressed
attractively, she appeared very comely, what with her raised hips, nicely
swollen breasts, earrings, and the heavily scented flowers in her hair. The
thin waist added in no small measure to her allure. Her smiling face
captivated the hearts of everyone present and she found it easy to glide in
to the innermost chambers where the chief's wife was resting along with her
newborn infant son. Approaching the adoring mother, she offered to suckle
the young one from her own breasts. There was no question of refusing the
request. The lady accepted the child into her open arms and held him to her
bosom. The baby took one breast in his little hands and started sucking.
Then a strange thing happened. From the look of a strange triumph, the
woman's expression first transformed into one of surprise and shock and then
into agony, and finally her features contorted into a mask of anguish and
shrieks of pain escaped her lips. Her efforts to take away the breast from
his soft grip were futile. Her cry was so intense that both sky and the
earth reverberated with its echo. As the child pressed her breast extremely
hard and sucked out her very life, she fell to the ground. With her arms and
legs spread, she began to cry, "Oh, child, leave me, leave me!" Suddenly, as
she entered the spasms of death, her beautiful appearance disappeared,
revealing a monstrous personality beneath.
The above narrative describes a famous episode from the annals of Indian
mythology. The little one is of course the beloved god Krishna, most
popularly celebrated as a child deity. The lady in question is Putana, an
ogress who had been assigned the job of killing him.
Over a decorated carpet can be seen the two figures, the baby joyously
suckling away at the demoness' breast, while she looks on smugly. Though
Putana is represented as a beautiful woman, nonetheless her villainous
character is evident in the sharp fangs visible through her semi-open lips
and the hawk-like aquiline nose dominating the face. Other than that she
could be mistaken for any 'ordinary,' beautiful woman, what with her buxom
form, inhabited by luscious curves just at the right places. The numerous
jewels ornamenting her body could further mislead anyone into believing her
to be a lady of a noble and royal lineage.
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