This great hero Bāṇāsura, born of Mahārāja Bali, was a great devotee of Lord Śiva and was always ready to render service unto him. Because of his devotion, Bāṇāsura achieved a great position in society, and he was honored in every respect. Actually, he was very intelligent and liberal also, and his activities are all praiseworthy because he never deviated from his promise and word of honor; he was very truthful and fixed in his vow. In those days, he was ruling over the city of Śoṇitapura. By the grace of Lord Śiva, Bāṇāsura had one thousand arms, and he became so powerful that even demigods like King Indra were serving him most obediently.
Long ago, when Lord Śiva was dancing in his celebrated fashion called tāṇḍava-nṛtya, for which he is known as Naṭarāja, Bāṇāsura helped Lord Śiva in his dancing by rhythmically beating drums with his one thousand hands. Lord Śiva is well known as Āśutoṣa (“very easily pleased”), and he is also very affectionate to his devotees. He is a great protector for persons who take shelter of him and is the master of all living entities in this material world. Being pleased with Bāṇāsura, he said, “Whatever you desire you can have from me, for I am very much pleased with you.” Bāṇāsura replied, “My dear lord, if you please, you can remain in my city just to protect me from the hands of my enemies.”
Once upon a time, Bāṇāsura came to offer his respects to Lord Śiva. By touching the lotus feet of Lord Śiva with his helmet, which was shining like the sun globe, he offered his obeisances unto him. While offering his respectful obeisances, Bāṇāsura said, “My dear lord, anyone who has not fulfilled his ambition will be able to do so by taking shelter of your lotus feet, which are just like a desire tree from which one can take anything he desires. My dear lord, you have given me one thousand arms, but I do not know what to do with them. They are simply a burden; I cannot use them properly in fighting, since I cannot find anyone competent to fight with me except your lordship, the original father of the material world. Sometimes I feel a great tendency to fight with my arms, and I go out to find a suitable warrior. Unfortunately, everyone flees, knowing my extraordinary power. Being baffled at not finding a match, I satisfy the itching of my arms by beating them against the mountains. In this way, I tear many great mountains to pieces.”
Lord Śiva realized that his benediction had become troublesome for Bāṇāsura and addressed him, “You rascal! You are very eager to fight, but since you have no one to fight with, you are distressed. Although you think that there is no one in the world to oppose you except me, I say that you will eventually find such a competent person. At that time your days will come to an end, and your flag of victory will no longer fly. Then you will see your false prestige smashed to pieces!”
After hearing Lord Śiva’s statement, Bāṇāsura, who was very much puffed up with his power, became elated that he would meet someone able to smash him to pieces. Bāṇāsura then returned home with great pleasure, and he always waited for the day when the suitable fighter would come to cut down his strength. He was such a foolish demon. It appears that foolish, demoniac human beings, when unnecessarily overpowered with material opulences, want to exhibit these opulences, and such foolish people feel satisfaction when these opulences are exhausted. The idea is that they do not know how to expend their energy for right causes, being unaware of the benefit of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Actually, there are two classes of men—one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, the other is non-Kṛṣṇa conscious. The non-Kṛṣṇa conscious men are generally devoted to the demigods, whereas the Kṛṣṇa conscious men are devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa conscious persons utilize everything for the service of the Lord. The non-Kṛṣṇa conscious persons utilize everything for sense gratification, and Bāṇāsura is a perfect example of such a person. For his own satisfaction he was very eager to utilize his extraordinary power to fight. Not finding any combatant, he struck his powerful arms against the mountains, breaking them to pieces. In contrast to this, Arjuna also possessed extraordinary powers for fighting, but he utilized them only for Kṛṣṇa.
Bāṇāsura had a very beautiful daughter, whose name was Ūṣā. When she had attained the age of marriage and was sleeping amongst her many girlfriends, she dreamt one night that Aniruddha was by her side and that she was enjoying a conjugal relationship with him, although she had never actually seen him or heard of him before. She awoke from her dream exclaiming very loudly, “My dear beloved, where are you?” Being exposed to her friends in this way, she became a little bit ashamed. One of Ūṣā’s girlfriends was Citralekhā, who was the daughter of Bāṇāsura’s prime minister. Citralekhā and Ūṣā were intimate friends, and out of great curiosity Citralekhā asked, “My dear beautiful princess, as of yet you are not married to any young boy, nor have you seen any boys until now; so I am surprised that you are exclaiming like this. Who are you searching after? Who is your suitable match?”
On hearing Citralekhā’s inquiries, Ūṣā replied, “My dear friend, in my dream I saw a nice young man who is very, very beautiful. His complexion is swarthy, his eyes are just like lotus petals, and he is dressed in yellow garments. His arms are very long, and his general bodily features are so pleasing that any young girl would be attracted. I feel much pride in saying that this beautiful young man was kissing me, and I was very much enjoying the nectar of his kissing. But I am sorry to inform you that just after this he disappeared, and I have been thrown into the whirlpool of disappointment. My dear friend, I am very anxious to find this wonderful young man, the desired lord of my heart.”