While Kṛṣṇa was thus engaged in His transcendental pastimes, exhibiting His internal potency in the company of the supermost fortunate cowherd boys, there occurred another chance for Him to exhibit the superhuman powers of Godhead. His most intimate friends Śrīdāmā, Subala and Stoka Kṛṣṇa addressed Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma with great love and affection thus: “Dear Balarāma, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear Kṛṣṇa, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Tālavana? This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Some have fallen down, and some are very ripe even in the trees. It is a very nice place, but because of a great demon, Dhenukāsura, it is very difficult to go there. No one can reach the trees to collect the fruits. Dear Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who have assumed the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, You are the only persons who can kill such demons. Other than You, no one can go there for fear of being killed. Not even animals go there, and no birds are living there; they have all left. One can only appreciate the sweet aroma that is coming from that place. It appears that up until now, no one has tasted the sweet fruits there, either on the tree or on the ground. Dear Kṛṣṇa, to tell You frankly, we are very attracted by this sweet aroma. Dear Balarāma, if You like, let us all go there and enjoy these fruits. The aroma of the fruits is now spread everywhere. Don’t You smell it from here?”
When Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa were thus petitioned by Their intimate friends, They were inclined to please them, and with smiling faces They proceeded toward the forest, surrounded by all Their friends. Immediately upon entering the Tālavana, Balarāma began to yank the trees with His arms, exhibiting the strength of an elephant. Because of this jerking, all the ripe fruits fell down on the ground. Upon hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the demon Dhenukāsura, who was living there in the form of an ass, approached with great force, shaking the whole field so that all the trees moved as if there were an earthquake. The demon appeared before Balarāma and kicked His chest with his hind legs. At first Balarāma did not say anything, but with great anger the demon kicked Him again more vehemently. This time Balarāma immediately caught hold of the legs of the ass with one hand and, wheeling him around, threw him into the treetops. While he was being wheeled around by Balarāma, the demon lost his life. Balarāma threw the demon into the biggest palm tree about, and the demon’s body was so heavy that the palm tree fell upon other trees, and several fell down. It appeared as if a great hurricane was passing through the forest, and all the trees were falling down, one after another. This exhibition of extraordinary strength is not astonishing because Balarāma is the Personality of Godhead known as Ananta Śeṣa Nāga, who is holding all the planets on the hoods of His millions of heads. He maintains the whole cosmic manifestation exactly as horizontal and vertical threads hold the weaving of a cloth.
After the demon had been thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukāsura immediately assembled and attacked Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma caught each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheeled them around. Thus They killed all of them and threw them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets showered flowers on Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and beat their drums and offered devotional prayers.
A few days after the killing of Dhenukāsura, people began to come into the Tālavana forest to collect the fruits, and animals began to return without fear to feed on the nice grasses growing there. Just by chanting or hearing these transcendental activities and pastimes of the brothers Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, one can amass pious activities.
When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma entered the village of Vṛndāvana along with Their friends, They played Their flutes, and the boys praised Their uncommon activities in the forest. Their faces were decorated with tilaka and smeared with the dust raised by the cows, and Kṛṣṇa’s head was decorated with a peacock feather. Both He and Balarāma played Their flutes, and the young gopīs were joyous to see Kṛṣṇa returning home. All the gopīs in Vṛndāvana remained very morose on account of Kṛṣṇa’s absence. All day they were thinking of Kṛṣṇa in the forest or of Him herding cows in the pasture. When they saw Kṛṣṇa returning, all their anxieties were immediately relieved, and they began to look at His face the way drones hover over the honey of the lotus flower. When Kṛṣṇa entered the village, the young gopīs smiled and laughed. Kṛṣṇa, while playing the flute, enjoyed the beautiful smiling faces of the gopīs.