Kṛṣṇa next inquired from the citizens as to the location of the place of sacrifice. Kaṁsa had arranged for the sacrifice called Dhanur-yajña, and to designate this particular sacrifice he had placed a big bow near the sacrificial altar. The bow was very big and wonderful and resembled a rainbow in the sky. Within the sacrificial arena, this bow was protected by many constables and watchmen engaged by King Kaṁsa. As Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma approached the bow, They were warned not to go nearer, but Kṛṣṇa ignored this warning. He forcibly went up and immediately took the big bow in His left hand. After stringing the bow in the presence of the crowd, He drew it and broke it at the middle into two parts, exactly as an elephant breaks sugarcane in the field. Everyone present appreciated Kṛṣṇa’s power. The sound of the bow cracking filled both sky and land and was heard by Kaṁsa. When Kaṁsa heard what had happened, he began to fear for his life. The caretakers of the bow, who were standing by watching, became very angry, and with their respective weapons in hand they rushed toward Kṛṣṇa, shouting, “Arrest Him! Arrest Him! Kill Him! Kill Him!” Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were surrounded. When They understood the sinister motives of the guards, They became angry, and taking up the two pieces of the broken bow, They began to beat down all of Kaṁsa’s caretakers. While this turmoil was going on, Kaṁsa sent a small group of troops to assist the caretakers, but Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma fought with them also and killed them.
After this, Kṛṣṇa did not proceed further into the sacrificial arena but went out the gate and proceeded toward Their resting camp. Along the way, He visited various places in Mathurā City with great delight. Seeing the activities and wonderful prowess of Kṛṣṇa, all the citizens of Mathurā began to consider the two brothers to be demigods who had come down to Mathurā, and they all looked upon Them with great astonishment. The two brothers strolled carefree in the street, not caring for the law and order of Kaṁsa.
As sunset approached, Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Their cowherd boyfriends went to the outskirts of the city, where all their carts were assembled. Thus Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma gave some preliminary hints of Their arrival to Kaṁsa, and he could understand what severe type of danger was awaiting him the next day in the sacrificial arena.
When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma had been going from Vṛndāvana to Mathurā, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana had imagined the great fortune of the citizens of Mathurā in being able to see the wonderful beauty of Kṛṣṇa, who is worshiped by His pure devotees as well as the goddess of fortune. The fantasies of the residents of Vṛndāvana were now actually realized, for the citizens of Mathurā became fully satisfied by seeing Kṛṣṇa.
When Kṛṣṇa returned to His camp, He was taken care of by servants who washed His lotus feet, gave Him a nice seat and offered Him milk and palatable dishes. After taking supper and thinking of the next day’s program, He very peacefully took rest. Thus He passed the night there.
On the other side, when Kaṁsa came to understand about the breaking of his wonderful bow and the killing of the caretakers and soldiers by Kṛṣṇa, he could partially realize the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He could realize that the eighth son of Devakī had appeared and that now his death was imminent. Thinking of his imminent death, he was restless the entire night. He began to have many inauspicious visions, and he could understand that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, who had approached the precincts of the city, were his messengers of death. Kaṁsa saw various kinds of inauspicious signs while both awake and dreaming. When he looked in the mirror he could not see his head, although the head was actually present. He saw the luminaries in the sky in double, although there was only one set factually. He began to see holes in his shadow, and he heard a high buzzing sound within his ears. All the trees before him appeared to be made of gold, and he could not see his own footprints in dust or muddy clay. In dreams he saw various kinds of ghosts being carried in a carriage drawn by donkeys. He also dreamed that someone gave him poison and he was drinking it. He dreamed also that he was going naked with a garland of flowers and was smearing oil all over his body. Thus, as Kaṁsa saw various signs of death while both awake and sleeping, he could understand that death was certain, and thus in great anxiety he could not rest that night. Just after the night expired, he busily arranged for the wrestling match.