When the four months of the rainy season passed and Aniruddha had still not returned home, all the members of the Yadu family became much perturbed. They could not understand how the boy was missing. Fortunately, one day the great sage Nārada came and informed the family about Aniruddha's disappearance from the palace. He explained how Aniruddha had been carried to the city of Śoṇitapura, the capital of Bāṇāsura's empire, and how Bāṇāsura had arrested him with the nāga-pāśa, even though Aniruddha had defeated his soldiers. This news was given in detail by Nārada, and the whole story was disclosed. Then the members of the Yadu dynasty, all of whom had great affection for Kṛṣṇa, prepared to attack the city of Śoṇitapura. Practically all the leaders of the family, including Pradyumna, Sātyaki, Gada, Sāmba, Sāraṇa, Nanda, Upananda and Bhadra, combined together and gathered twelve akṣauhiṇī military divisions into phalanxes. Then they all went to Śoṇitapura and surrounded it with soldiers, elephants, horses and chariots.
Bāṇāsura heard that the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty were attacking the whole city, tearing down various walls, gates and nearby gardens. Becoming very angry, he immediately ordered his soldiers, who were of equal caliber, to go and face them. Lord Śiva was so kind to Bāṇāsura that he personally came as the commander in chief of the military force, assisted by his heroic sons Kārttikeya and Gaṇapati. Nandīśvara, Lord Śiva, seated on his favorite bull, led the fighting against Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. We can simply imagine how fierce the fighting was—Lord Śiva with his valiant sons on one side, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His elder brother, Śrī Balarāmajī, on the other. The fighting was so fierce that those who saw the battle were struck with wonder, and the hairs on their bodies stood up. Lord Śiva was engaged in fighting directly with Lord Kṛṣṇa, Pradyumna was engaged with Kārttikeya, and Lord Balarāma was engaged with Bāṇāsura's commander in chief, Kumbhāṇḍa, who was assisted by Kūpakarṇa. Sāmba, the son of Kṛṣṇa, fought the son of Bāṇāsura, and Bāṇāsura fought Sātyaki, commander in chief of the Yadu dynasty. In this way the fighting was waged.
News of the fighting spread all over the universe. Demigods such as Lord Brahmā, from higher planetary systems, along with great sages and saintly persons, Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Gandharvas, all being very curious to see the fight between Lord Śiva and Lord Kṛṣṇa and their assistants, hovered over the battlefield in their airplanes. Lord Śiva is called Bhūta-nātha because he is assisted by various types of powerful ghosts and denizens of the inferno—Bhūtas, Pretas, Pramathas, Guhyakas, Ḍākinīs, Piśācas, Kuṣmāṇḍas, Vetālas, Vināyakas and Brahma-rākṣasas. (Of all kinds of ghosts, the Brahma-rākṣasas are very powerful. They are brāhmaṇas who after death have entered the ghostly species of life.)
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, simply drove all these ghosts away from the battlefield with the arrows from His celebrated bow, Śārṅga-dhanur. Lord Śiva then began to release all his selected weapons against the Personality of Godhead. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, without any difficulty, counteracted all these weapons with counterweapons. He counteracted the brahmāstra, similar to the atomic bomb, with another brahmāstra, and an air weapon with a mountain weapon. When Lord Śiva released a particular weapon bringing about a violent hurricane on the battlefield, Lord Kṛṣṇa presented just the opposing element, a mountain weapon, which checked the hurricane on the spot. Similarly, when Lord Śiva released his weapon of devastating fire, Kṛṣṇa counteracted it with torrents of rain.
At last, when Lord Śiva released his personal weapon, the Pāśupata-astra, Kṛṣṇa immediately counteracted it with the Nārāyaṇa-astra. Lord Śiva then became exasperated in fighting with Lord Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa then took the opportunity to release His yawning weapon. When this weapon is released, the opposing party becomes tired, stops fighting and begins to yawn. Consequently, Lord Śiva became so fatigued that he refused to fight anymore and began yawning. Kṛṣṇa was now able to turn His attention from the attack of Lord Śiva to the efforts of Bāṇāsura, and He began to kill Bāṇāsura's personal soldiers with swords and clubs. Meanwhile, Lord Kṛṣṇa's son Pradyumna was fighting fiercely with Kārttikeya, the commander in chief of the demigods. Kārttikeya was wounded, and his body was bleeding profusely. In this condition, he left the battlefield and, without fighting anymore, rode away on the back of his peacock carrier. Similarly, Lord Balarāma smashed Bāṇāsura's commander in chief, Kumbhāṇḍa, with the strokes of His club. Kūpakarṇa was also wounded in this way, and both he and Kumbhāṇḍa fell on the battlefield, Kumbhāṇḍa being fatally wounded. Without guidance, all of Bāṇāsura's soldiers scattered here and there.
When Bāṇāsura saw that his soldiers and commanders had been defeated, his anger only increased. He thought it wise to stop fighting with Sātyaki, Kṛṣṇa's commander in chief, and instead directly attack Lord Kṛṣṇa. Now having the opportunity to use his one thousand arms, he rushed toward Kṛṣṇa, simultaneously working five hundred bows and two thousand arrows. Such a foolish person could never measure Kṛṣṇa's strength. Immediately, without difficulty, Kṛṣṇa cut each of Bāṇāsura's bows into two pieces and, to check him from going further, made the horses of his chariot lie on the ground so that the chariot broke to pieces. After doing this, Kṛṣṇa blew His conchshell, Pāñcajanya.
There was a demigoddess named Koṭarā who was worshiped by Bāṇāsura, and their relationship was as mother and son. Mother Koṭarā was upset that Bāṇāsura's life was in danger, so she appeared on the scene. With naked body and scattered hair, she stood before Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa did not like the sight of this naked woman, and to avoid seeing her He turned His face. Bāṇāsura, getting this chance to escape Kṛṣṇa's attack, left the battlefield. All the strings of his bows had been broken, and there was no chariot or driver, so he had no alternative but to return to his city. He lost everything in the battle.
Being greatly harassed by the arrows of Kṛṣṇa, all the associates of Lord Śiva—the hobgoblins and ghostly Bhūtas, Pretas and kṣatriyas—left the battlefield. Lord Śiva then took to his last resort. He released his greatest death weapon, known as Śiva-jvara, which destroys by excessive heat. It is said that at the end of creation the sun becomes twelve times more scorching than usual. This twelve-times-hotter temperature is called Śiva-jvara. When the Śiva-jvara personified was released, he had three heads and three legs, and as he came toward Kṛṣṇa it appeared that he was burning everything to ashes. He was so powerful that he made blazing fire appear in all directions, and Kṛṣṇa observed that he was specifically coming toward Him.
As there is a Śiva-jvara weapon, there is also a Nārāyaṇa-jvara weapon, which is represented by excessive cold. When there is excessive heat, one can somehow or other tolerate it, but when there is excessive cold, everything collapses. This is actually experienced by a person at the time of death. At the time of death, the temperature of the body first of all increases to 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and then the whole body collapses and immediately becomes as cold as ice. To counteract the scorching heat of the Śiva-jvara, there is no other weapon but the Nārāyaṇa-jvara.
Therefore, when Lord Kṛṣṇa saw that the Śiva-jvara had been released by Lord Śiva, He had no recourse other than to release the Nārāyaṇa-jvara. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Nārāyaṇa and the controller of the Nārāyaṇa-jvara weapon. When the Nārāyaṇa-jvara was released, there was a great fight between the two jvaras. When excessive heat is counteracted by extreme cold, it is natural for the hot temperature to gradually reduce, and this is what occurred in the fight between the Śiva-jvara and the Nārāyaṇa-jvara. Gradually, the Śiva-jvara's temperature diminished, and the Śiva-jvara began to cry for help from Lord Śiva, but Lord Śiva was unable to help him in the presence of the Nārāyaṇa-jvara. Unable to get any help from Lord Śiva, the Śiva-jvara could understand that he had no means of escape outside of surrendering unto Nārāyaṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Lord Śiva, the greatest of the demigods, could not help him, what to speak of the lesser demigods, and therefore the Śiva-jvara ultimately surrendered unto Kṛṣṇa, bowing before Him and offering a prayer so that the Lord might be pleased and give him protection.