Hearing the nurse’s cries, Jāmbavān appeared on the scene in a very angry mood. Jāmbavān was actually a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, but because he was angry he could not recognize his master and thought Him to be an ordinary man. This brings to mind the statement of the Bhagavad-gītā in which the Lord advises Arjuna to get free from anger, greed and lust in order to rise to the spiritual platform. Lust, anger and greed run parallel in the heart and check one’s progress on the spiritual path.
Not recognizing his master, Jāmbavān challenged Him to fight. There was then a great fight between Kṛṣṇa and Jāmbavān, in which they fought like two opposing vultures. Whenever there is an eatable corpse the vultures fight heartily over the prey. Kṛṣṇa and Jāmbavān first of all fought with weapons, then with stones, then with big trees, then hand to hand, until at last they were hitting each other with their fists, their blows like the striking of thunderbolts. Each expected victory over the other, but the fighting continued for twenty-eight days, both in daytime and at night, without stopping.
Although Jāmbavān was the strongest living entity of that time, practically all the joints of his bodily limbs became slackened and his strength was reduced practically to nil, for he was struck constantly by the fists of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Feeling very tired, with perspiration all over his body, Jāmbavān was astonished. Who was this opponent who was fighting so hard with him? Jāmbavān was quite aware of his own superhuman bodily strength, but when he felt tired from being struck by Kṛṣṇa, he could understand that Kṛṣṇa was no one else but his worshipable Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This incident has special significance for devotees. In the beginning, Jāmbavān could not understand Kṛṣṇa because his vision was obscured by material attachment. He was attached to his boy and to the greatly valuable Syamantaka jewel, which he did not want to spare for Kṛṣṇa. In fact, when Kṛṣṇa came there he was angry, thinking that Kṛṣṇa had come to take away the jewel. This is the material position: although one is very strong in body, that cannot help him understand Kṛṣṇa.
In a sporting attitude, Kṛṣṇa wanted to engage in a mock fight with His devotee. As we have experienced from the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has all the propensities and instincts of a human being. Sometimes, in a sportive spirit, He wishes to fight to make a show of bodily strength, and when He so desires, He selects one of His suitable devotees to give Him that pleasure. Kṛṣṇa desired this pleasure of mock fighting with Jāmbavān. Although Jāmbavān was a devotee by nature, he did not know that his opponent was Kṛṣṇa while he gave service to the Lord by his bodily strength. But as soon as Kṛṣṇa was pleased by the fighting, Jāmbavān immediately understood that his opponent was none other than the Supreme Lord Himself. The conclusion is that he could understand Kṛṣṇa by his service, for Kṛṣṇa is sometimes satisfied by fighting also.
Jāmbavān therefore said to the Lord, “My dear Lord, I can now understand who You are. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, the source of everyone’s strength, wealth, reputation, beauty, wisdom and renunciation.” This statement of Jāmbavān’s is confirmed by the Vedānta-sūtra, wherein the Supreme Lord is declared to be the source of everything. Jāmbavān identified Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality, Lord Viṣṇu: “My dear Lord, You are the creator of the creators of the universal affairs.” This statement is very instructive to the ordinary man, who is amazed by the activities of a person with an exceptional brain. The ordinary man is surprised to see the inventions of a great scientist, but the statement of Jāmbavān confirms that although a scientist may be a creator of many wonderful things, Kṛṣṇa is the creator of the scientist. He is the creator of not only one scientist but of millions and trillions, all over the universe. Jāmbavān said further, “Not only are You the creator of the creators, but You are also the creator of the material elements which the so-called creators manipulate.” Scientists utilize the physical elements or laws of material nature to do something wonderful, but actually such laws and elements are also the creation of Kṛṣṇa. This is actual scientific understanding. Less intelligent men do not try to understand who created the brain of the scientist; they are satisfied simply to see the wonderful creation or invention of the scientist.