As she looked upon the small brahman boy approaching the sacrificial altar, a great surge of motherly affection overtook Ratnamala’s heart and she desired to have him as her son. However, soon after experiencing these feelings, they were replaced being the strong desire to kill the five-year old Brahman boy, who was none other than Vaman dev. Although the heart of Maharaj Bali’s sister Ratnamala had initially desired to have Vaman dev as her son, due to the Lord’s having taken the entire Kingdom of Maharaj Bali with his three steps, she, overtaken by rage, desired to kill him. Understanding her heart, the Lord granted her desires and she was born as the witch Putana.
In her form as Putana, she went to Gokul and, following the instructions of Kamsa, tried to kill Krishna by giving him her breast, which was smeared with poison, to suck on. Baby Krishna happily started sucking her breast and knowing her to be a demon who had come to try and kill him, he sucked out her life air along with the milk. Screaming for her life, Putana, who had come to Vraja in the guise of a heavenly damsel, reappeared in her hideous form and fell to the ground lifeless. All the Brajabasis were terrified to see the gigantic form of Putana. Taking Krishna from her breast, the Gopis started praying for his protection and well-being and the Brahmanas were called to chant vedic hymns for his safety.
After the death of Putana, the most merciful Lord, bestowed upon her the rare position of his wet-nurse in the transcendental realm of Golok Vrindavan. Overlooking her attempt to kill him, the Lord merely took into consideration her desire to feed him her breast milk, and taking that to be her service, he blessed her with the greatest good fortune of becoming an eternal associate of the Lord. The unfathomable mercy that the Lord bestowed upon Putana has been explained in Srimad Bhagwatam(3.2.23):
- aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ
- jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī
- lebhe gatiṁ dhātry-ucitāṁ tato ‘nyaṁ
- kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema
Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than He who granted the position of mother to a she-demon [Pūtanā] although she was unfaithful and she prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast?
What more can be said about the compassion of Karuna Sindhu, Deena Bandhu Shyamsundar, whose mercy knows no bounds. Therefore, we must take exclusive shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, the ever well-wisher of all. Being thus being surrendered to his lotus feet, we shall experience pure love of Godhead and achieve a state of eternal transcendental bliss in his loving service.