5. Continent of Kangaroos
Karingila gliding in the waters of Indian Ocean, crossed the equator and proceeded. Karingila spoke thus: “Now we are entering the southern hemisphere of the earth. The sun is also on his southward journey. He too has crossed the equator and is approaching tropic of Capricorn. You may feel the water warm because of sun’s heat. After reaching the tropic of Capricorn he will turn towards north on the day of Makara Sankranthi. Now it is winter in the northern hemisphere, and summer in the southern continent where we are heading to. Let us land in the northern part of that continent.”
In a few days they reached the northern shores of Australia. Naradha also descended there to guide them. “This continent in the south is isolated and sitting like a huge island surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Since it is isolated for millions of years, certain species of life which exist here cannot be found elsewhere. Kangaroo is one such animal. It keeps its young in a pouch attached to its belly. The front legs are short and back legs are long. It hops and runs very fast. It can run even 50 Kosas (an ancient Indian unit of distance. 1 Kosa is equivalent to about 2 miles) per hour.
Three fourth of the continent is a dry desert area, which is in the middle and west. In the eastern part there is a chain of mountains from north to south. There are rivers, forests and greenery there. This is several times bigger than our Bharatha Continent. It will take a long time to come around. You cannot use Karimukha in the desert land. I would suggest that you fly on GARUDA (the eagle, vehicle of Vishnu) and have a quick aerial view”. Thus saying he vanished.
Krishna thought for a second about Garuda. A giant eagle appeared in the sky and descended near Krishna and Balarama. Krishna revealed his plan to Garuda. Obligingly, Garuda took them on his back and they started flying around the continent. They instructed Karingila to wait at the same place. They flew along the Indian Ocean coast. In the anti-clockwise direction and after some days landed on the eastern chain of mountains. On their right the great Pacific ocean was shimmering and to their delight there were beautiful green river valleys.
To their surprise they saw a meeting of kangaroos on a flat part of the hill. On seeing them coming and landing there on a giant eagle, the kangaroos were frightened and stopped their discussion. They were ready to leap and hide in the forest. The leader of the animals was a kangaroo five feet tall, his fat tail probably three feet long. The babies leaped into the pouches of their mothers and peeped out fearfully. Garuda spoke to them and assured them they were friends, and meant no harm. The kangaroos stayed, Garuda enquired about the meeting and conveyed to Krishna thus:
“There is a demon called Kangaroo Kadhaka living in the caves of the mountain. He kills the kangaroos and eat them. He annihilates their race without any rhyme or reason. They all assembled here to find out ways and means to protect themselves from that demon.
While Krishna contemplated about this problem a terrible roar from the caves reverberated. A ferocious giant came out from the caves and pounced on the Kangaroos. They ran helter skelter to escape. The demon trounced on them and caught hold of the young ones for his breakfast. The asura (demon) ran amuck, killing them mindlessly.
Suddenly his attention was diverted by the giant bird Garuda and two humans. He attacked them with his boomerang. As they moved slightly to escape the attack the weapon went back in a loop and reached the demon’s hands. Balarama got angry and aimed his club on the demon. The giant fell down with a thud.
Krishna and Balarama sat on Garuda and commanded to lift the asura. Garuda with his mighty claws lifted the demon and circled over the Pacific ocean and dropped him in a place where there were a number of sharks waiting for their prey. Kangaroo Kadhaka fell in the ocean with a thunderous thud. The sharks surrounded the body with glee.
The kangaroos which were witnessing this sight were wonder struck and their joy knew no bounds. Garuda came back with Krishna and Balarama and landed gently amidst the rejoicing Kangaroo crowd. Naradha came and joined the celebrations with the kangaroos. For Naradha’s song the kangaroos danced, leaping around the heroes. Then they proceeded north where Karingila was waiting in the Indian Ocean.