Kalia was a poisonous snake who lived in the Yamuna River in Vrindavan. Because of this, the river water for four leagues had become unusable. No bird, animal or human was able to use the water. Kalia’s original home happened to be Ramanaka Dwipa, but he had come to reside in Yamuna in Vrindavan for fear of Garuda. Vrindavan was the only place where if Garuda set foot, he would die. Once young Krishna and his group of friends were playing with a ball near the riverbank and the ball accidentally fell into the river.
Without thinking too much about it, Krishna also jumped into the river to get the ball back. Immediately, Kalia rose out of the water and wrapped himself around Krishna’s body. Krishna responded by adopting so huge a form that Kalia had no option but to let him go. The village folk had gathered on the riverbank by this time and were sick with worry. Krishna, not wanting to worry them much longer, jumped on to Kalia’s many heads and started dancing on them. Krishna had assumed the weight of the entire universe; hence Kalia was nearing his end. If it was not for the pleading of Kalia’s wives, Kalia would have surely been killed by Krishna.