Monthly Archives: March 2012

Seeing Krishna in the Womb

1.12.1-3

Śaunaka asked:

The Controller kept Uttarā’s womb viable and safe from the terrible power of Aśvatthāmā’s ultimate weapon. Please tell us of about the birth of that very wise child, and the life of that great soul, and his death, and of course how he achieved his next destination. We are eager and enthusiastic to know about this, for he is the one to whom Śuka gave knowledge.

If you consider how the story line developed just now, you’ll see that Sūta got carried away and drawn off topic due to his strong emotional affinity for speaking directly about Kṛṣṇa. Several chapters ago he began discussing the birth of Parīkṣit, but got drawn instead into describing Kṛṣṇa in detail. Since that story line had reached a conclusion by Kṛṣṇa being reunited with his intimate queens, Sūta is ready to return to his original topic: the birth of Parīkṣit. He required prodding from Śaunaka to do so, however, for his mind was still reminiscing on the previous topics.

4

Sūta said:

The moral king governed just like his father, and all the citizens were happy. He had no trace of personal ambitions or desires because he always wanted to be useful to Kṛṣṇa’s feet.

Sūta returns to the original storyline by picking up with a recap of King Yudhiṣṭhira’s reign.

Feet are a prevalent motif in Vedic symbolism. They are the lowest part of a person. So by saying “he always wanted to be useful to Kṛṣṇa’s feet” it indicated that the King so valued Kṛṣṇa that being useful to him even in the lowest and smallest manner was his only aspiration. Because the King therefore had no personal ambitions, he was completely free from the tenacious tendency towards exploitation. His actions as a leader were motivated only by philanthropic desire to care for the citizens. Thus his kingdom was extremely prosperous and happy.

5-6

His wealth, rituals, queens, brothers, kingdom and sovereignty over the earth was famous throughout the three skies. The gods themselves hanker and lust for what he had, but the king’s mind was full of Lotus-Faced (Mukuṇḍa), so there could never be any hunger for such things.

A hungry belly wants to eat, but a very full belly will turn away even from the most delicious treats. When the mind and heart is saturated with the All-Attractive, there is no hunger for anything else.

7-10

O Bhṛgu’s Son, when that heroic child was in the womb, he saw someone else with him as he began to suffer from the blast of the weapon. He was very pleasing to behold, with black complexion like a dark cloud surrounded by lightning-like yellow clothes and a blazing golden crown; very pure and only a digit in size. He had four beautifully long arms and earrings of purest gold. His eyes were red with anger and there was a mace in his hand. He moved like a shooting star, encircling the child and constantly swinging the mace to dissipate the blast of the weapon, just as the sun evaporates fog. The child thought, “Who is this?”

11

When All-Attractive Hari, who is the soul of all and protector of morality, was seen purifying all directions of danger, he immediately retreated to the inner recesses.

Hari emerged from the inner recesses of reality to protect the child from the weapon’s radiation. But when the child saw him doing so, Hari again disappeared into the inner recesses of reality.


Krishna’s Lust & Divine Ignorance

1.11.34

So, without fighting he inspired the kings (who were creatures that burdened the earth by hording powerful armies) to hate and kill each other, just like fire in the bamboo.

Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. What does that word mean? Trans- means across, -scend means movement, so the word means “a thing which moves across.” Specifically it indicates a thing which operates within a certain boundary, without being bound to or originated by anything within that boundary. When Krishna “incarnates” he operates within a field that ordinary material senses and minds can perceive and comprehend. Although moving within these boundaries, he is not bound within them and does not originate within them.

The wind is transcendental to a forest. It moves through the forest. It can be perceived within the forest. It causes things to happen within the forest, but it is not a product of the forest. In a bamboo forest, many of the reeds get brown and dry. When the winds come, friction between these reeds causes a huge fire. The green reeds survive because the fire burns very quickly. The brown reeds turn to ash and fertilize the ground.

What caused the fire, The wind?

In a sense, yes, but the wind is transcendent to the forest.

Friction?

Perhaps, but friction is dependent on the wind and the density of the dry reeds.

The real cause of the fire is the brownness of the bamboo itself. Similarly the real cause of all the kings dying in the Mahābhārata war is their own foulness. Our own deaths and misfortunes are also not caused by random fate. Fate is merely the friction enabled by the abundance of brown reeds in our mentality. As for God, his part in our suffering or fortune is extremely remote. He is merely the wind that blows impartially everywhere. The real cause of our misfortunes is not being “green bamboo,” not being rooted into the soul of divinity. Misusing our freewill to uproot ourselves from our true nature, we become dry and brown – and it is then only a matter of time before we are burnt.

The theme that Sūta will continue to present is that Kṛṣṇa is transcendental to all the effects caused within human perception.

35

He appears in the human world by his own magic. He enjoys amidst a host of jewel-like women, who are the All-Attractive energy.

Krishna is transcendental to the human world. How then does he fit inside it?

By his own all-powerful magic (sva-māyā).

What does he do in the human world?

He enjoys!

How?

He becomes the cynosure of a necklace made of jewel-like females (strī-ratna-kūṭastha).

Ordinary sexuality!?

Yes and no. Ordinary sexuality dimly reflects the external appearance of this necklace; but in truth these women are the direct All-Attractive Energies (bhagavān-prākṛti), the divine goddesses, eternal manifestations of the fullness of the Absolute All-Attractive Being.

36

Their limitlessly exciting and pure emotions expressed through lovely smiles and flirtatious glances overpower cupid himself, who gives up his bow. But the schemes of these utmost intoxicating women never could overpower his senses.

A human male reflexively drools and stupefies over a highly attractive woman out of an involuntary need to fulfill an inner hunger. The All-Attractive Male does not at any time relate to women in this manner, although his legendary pastimes with women crush any playboy or “Don Juan” into shameful dust. The All-Attractive male is exactly opposite to the material imitation of manhood. The deeds of the All-Attractive result from an overflowing of his inner self-satisfaction, a desire to amplify his pure and natural bliss by sharing it in infinite ways with infinite other beings.

37

So many ordinary people think that the unattached is attached. Ordinary people are tied up in ignorance and stupidity, and they think everyone else must be just like them.

38

This is the mastery of the master: Although situated within his energy, he does not merge himself with it but remains always fixed within his true self. This is also true of the wise who take shelter of him.

Godhead can most certainly operate in names and forms and deeds which the human mind can perceive and comprehend, but this does not mean that in doing so he becomes limited to those names, forms, and deeds! There is so much chatter about Krishna from the pens, keyboards and mouths of trolls. Such is not kirtan. We have confidence that we can come to understand and realize the All-Attractive by hearing from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, not from loudmouths who cannot grasp the simple algebras of transcendence.

39

They think he is weak and foolish, secretly led around by women. Their opinion about The Husband is of no importance! He is the Supreme Master!

This verse has another implication: “Kṛṣṇa’s wives, although knowing that their husband is the supreme controller (bhartuḥ īśvaram matayaḥ yathā), still treat him as if he is a weak, simple, submissive man (abalāḥ mūḍhāḥ strainam ca) as they lead him around in private affairs (anuvratam rahaḥ).

In a philosophy class I once took in college I encountered some sort of Zen saying, “In the beginning a teapot is a teapot. In the middle a teapot is not a teapot. In the end a teapot is a teapot.” It is appropriate here. Fools do not treat Kṛṣṇa as Godhead; the enlightened do; but the most enlightened again do not.

Fools do not treat Kṛṣṇa as Godhead because they are bewildered by ignorance and are so egotistical that they think everyone, including Kṛṣṇa, must be fundamentally just like them. The enlightened are not burdened by this ignorance, so they treat Kṛṣṇa as Godhead. But the fully enlightened become intoxicated by the universal desire to amplify the infinite all-expansive bliss of Kṛṣṇa, and thus submerge themselves into roles within the Divine Play. The Queens of Dvārakā take the roles of Kṛṣṇa’s wives.

Here is another way to understand it. The all-powerful awe-inspiring stature of Godhead is like a huge mountain. Blind men cannot see it. The sighted can. But when there is a flood of divine bliss, the mountain submerges. The greater the divine love, the higher the flood. In the topmost divine lovers the mountain is entirely submerged. The mountain, however, never ceases to exist.


Krishna Returns to the Embrace of his Wives

30

Then he entered his own homes, where all desires are most perfect. In those palaces were sixteen thousand wives.

The women on the rooftops of Hastinapura already discussed this “impossible” number of wives. Kṛṣṇa himself is impossibility in reality; the unlimited being. Numbers are insignificant in regards to his unfathomable dimension.

Krishna married 16,108 women. However the huge majority of these (16,100) were married to him all at once after he rescued them from their kidnapping into a harem. This leaves eight primary wives.

  1. Rukminī – the foremost, the supramost ideal wife.
  2. Satyabhāmā – a delightfully feisty companion
  3. Jambavatī  - daughter of the bear-king who helped Kṛṣṇa in his incarnation as Rāma
  4. Kalinī – daughter of the Sun god and personification of Yamunā river.
  5. Mitravinda (a.k.a. Satya)
  6. Nagnajiti (a.k.a. Nila)
  7. Bhadra – the daughter of Kṛṣṇa’s aunt.
  8. Lakṣaṇā

This part of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is still merely the introduction. We will hear much more about these divine goddesses towards the end of the book.

31

Seeing their long-absent husband finally returned to their homes
A great festival of joy arose in each wife’s mind.
She immediately stood up, giving up her vow of meditation
And sent flirtatious glances towards Kṛṣṇa, who was approaching from a distance.

While Kṛṣṇa was away in Hastinapura his wives instinctively sat down and entered a meditative trance, withdrawing their consciousness from the ordinary plane of existence. In this yogic trance they continued to enjoy Kṛṣṇa’s company without interruption. Now that he returned they immediately gave up this meditation and embraced him on the tangible plane.

32

Out of endless love they repeatedly embraced Kṛṣṇa
First within their souls, then with their eyes, and then again through their children.
Despite their desire to be flirtatious and coy,
They could not help but become choked up, as teardrops poured from their eyes.

33

Even though he was always by their sides in private,
Still his two feet fascinated them more and more newly with each step.
Who could not be enchanted by those feet?
Even the fickle Goddess of Luck can never withdraw from them.

Although the Queens knew Kṛṣṇa more deeply and intimately than anyone else in Dvārakā they were the most hungry and passionate to constantly have his company and thus come to know him more deeply. This reveals that the attractive force of the All-Attractive is ever-fresh, infinite, and always brand new.

The Goddess of Luck (spelled Lakṣmī, but pronounced almost exactly like “luck-shh.me”) is fickle. Luck never stays with any one person forever. But she herself always and forever stays at the feet of the All-Attractive. That is a testament to the ever newer and newer beauty, fascination and charm of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Hare Kṛṣṇa.


Krishna’s Affectionate Mothers

23

He entered the city with blessings from learned teachers and their impressive wives, and with respects from his admirers.

24

O learned one, Kṛṣṇa went by the royal road and all the women of Dvārakā’s important families rushed up to their rooftops to enjoy the greatest festival: the opportunity to see him!

25

The Dvārakā-dwellers regularly saw him, but still their thirst to see the Infallible body – the wellspring of all beauty – just couldn’t be slaked.

26

His chest is the abode of Goddess Beauty.
His face is a full goblet for the eyes.
His arms protect the worlds.
His lotus-like feet delight his lovers.

Bursting to a new level of expressiveness, Sūta composes a verse perfectly suited to impress upon a mixed audience the delightful beauty of the All-Attractive. He says, “Many appreciate the beauty of Śrī, the Goddess of Fortune and Beauty. His chest is where she dwells! Others among you search for a goblet full of Soma, to enjoy like the gods themselves. There is a full pot of it for your eyes if you look upon his face! Still others among you serve the gods for various blessings and protections. All the gods get their strength from his arms! And the rest of you, oh wonderful souls, are purely in love with him like swans delighting among the lotuses that are his feet.”

27

On the road a shade-umbrella, fans, and showers of flowers kept him cool. As these surrounded his yellow clothes and flower necklaces it seemed like a thick cloud was surrounded by the sun, the half-moon, a rainbow, and lightning.

Kṛṣṇa’s brilliant black complexion is the thick cloud. His yellow clothes are the sun. The flowers falling like confetti all around him twinkle and sparkle like lightning. The umbrella above his head is like the half-moon. His multicolored flower necklaces are like rainbows. This is how I envision the analogy.

28-29

As soon as he entered his father’s house, his mothers embraced him. He very gladly bowed his head in respect to the seven headed by Devakī. Their breasts swelled and became wet out of affection for their son, who they sat upon their laps. Overwhelmed with delight, the tears from their eyes soaked him.

Kṛṣṇa’s father, Vasudeva, eventually had 18 wives [SB 10.84.47]. All of them embrace Kṛṣṇa as their son, and Kṛṣṇa embraces all of them as his mothers. Kṛṣṇa’s biological mother is Vasudeva’s principle wife: Devakī. She married Vasudeva along with her six sisters: Śāntidevā, Upadevā, Śrīdevā, Devarakṣitā, Sahadevā and Dhṛtadevā [SB 9.24.21-23]. These are the “seven headed by Devakī.”

Of the remaining eleven I am aware only of the names: Pauravī, Rohiṇī, Bhadrā, Madirā, Rocanā, and Ilā [SB 9.24.45].

To see even one ordinary Indian mother embrace her ordinary son warms the heart. Imagine eighteen divine mothers embracing their All-Attractive “child!” The scene evokes the indescribable heights of infinite motherly love.

Motherly love is more intimate than all the other types of affection we have seen thus far from the residents of Dvārakā. Therefore the setting is now indoors in private quarters. Now Sūta will continue to graduate us towards romantic affection, the most intimate and exalted form of divine love.


Krishna, Prostitutes, and Dog Eaters.

16-17

When they heard that their darling had returned, the greatly respected Vasudeva, Akrūra, Ugrasena, astonishingly heroic Rāma, Pradyumna, Cārudeṣṇa, and Jāmbavatī’s son Sāmba stood up, forced by extreme eagerness to abandon their rest, seats, and meals.

Vasudeva is Kṛṣṇa’s father. Akrūra is a family relative who became the commander-in-chief and close confidant of Kṛṣṇa. Ugrasena is Kṛṣṇa’s grandfather. The “astonishingly heroic Rāma” is Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa’s brother. Pradyumna, Cārudeṣṇa and Sāmba are three important sons of Kṛṣṇa.

18

Putting before them great elephants and brāhmaṇas with all auspicious symbols, glorified by the spiritual sounds of conch shells and bugles, their chariots enthusiastically rushed towards him with attentive devotion.

19-20

Extremely desirous to see him, the city’s foremost courtesans came with dazzling earrings swaying over the cheeks of their beautiful faces, on palanquins by the hundreds; while dancers, actors, singers, bards, historians, and great orators sang of the wondrous activities of the Subject of Topmost Poetry.

21-22

The All-Attractive met all the relatives and citizens who came to meet him. He greeted each of them with befitting respect: by bowing, conversing, embracing, taking by the hand, glancing playfully, and by encouragements he greeted everyone down to the lowest class “dog-eater.” Thus the Almighty fulfilled their desired benedictions.


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