Monthly Archives: September 2012

Death is Howling Near

Vidura went to Dhṛtarāṣṭra and shouted:

“O King! Flee! Flee immediately! Look! Your worst fear is upon the threshold! Never has anyone escaped from it; so do not reach for a useless weapon! The doom of the all-powerful is upon you!

“It is rushing toward you to steal from your clinging grasp the thing you most adore: your very life! It will also devour all your wealth and everything else you value.

“Your father is dead. Your brother is dead. Your protectors are dead. Your sons are all dead. Your own life is spent, and you are in the grip of old age. What are you doing!? Why are you dragging out your miserable life in someone else’s home?

“What are you clinging to? You were always blind, now your hearing and memory are crippled, too. Your teeth rattle and your stomach limps. Cacophonously you cough up phlegm. Aho! How fools desperately cling to irrational hopes for life!!!

“Like a groveling dog you now eat the scraps left to you by Bhīma. Once, not long ago, you set fire to their home! You gave them poison. You tried to degrade their wife! You stole their lands and wealth! …Now look at you: living on their pity!

“Like a pitiful miser your body clings to life; yet still life dwindles against your will, like old clothing falling apart.

“If you really want what is good for you, free yourself entirely from all these bonds! Go someplace unknown and cast off your body. Such a man is called wise.

“The best human beings – by their own inspiration or being inspired by someone else – detach themselves from this world and give up possessions and life, fixing their very selves wholeheartedly upon Hari.

“Therefore go northward! Tell no one where. Even if you could live on and on, there would be nothing good to experience, for very soon the time is coming when humanity will diminish.”

Thus his younger brother, Vidura, helped the king’s mind awake to a vision of wisdom. The King steadfastly cut through the ropes of selfishness and set out on the path of liberation that his brother showed him.

When his saintly wife saw what her husband was doing she followed him towards the Himalayas. The couple accepted the rod of renunciation with pleasure, like a great warrior accepts a beating.


The Birth of Parikshit

Śaunaka then spoke out, breaking the satisfied silence that had accumulated on the beautiful conclusion of Krishna’s return to Dvārakā. He asked Sūta:

“Now please tell us all about Parīkṣit, the one whom Śuka enlightened by teaching the Bhāgavatam. We know that the Master saved him, while he was still in his mother’s womb, from the terrible power of Aśvatthāmā’s ultimate weapon. We are enthusiastic to learn about his birth, life, death, and afterlife!”

Sūta replied:

His father, King Yudhiṣṭhira was a very moral and excellent ruler, like his forefathers, so all the citizens in his kingdom were happy. He never tried to fulfill any personal ambitions; he only wanted to be useful, even if in the smallest way, to divine Krishna.

The king’s wealth, rituals, queens, brothers, kingdom and sovereignty were famous throughout the three skies. Even gods desire what he had, but the king’s mind had no hunger for anything, because it was full of Lotus-Faced Krishna.

When his child was still in his mother’s womb he began to suffer from the blast of a terrible weapon. It was then that the child saw someone else with him in the womb; a small figure, very pure, pleasing to behold, with a black complexion like a dark cloud surrounded by lightning-like yellow clothes and a blazing golden crown. 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 his mace – dissipating the blast like the sun evaporates fog.

Astonished, the child thought, “Who is this!?”

When seen by the child, All-Attractive Hari immediately disappeared back into the inner recesses of reality. The child would become famous as “The Examiner” (Parīkṣit) because in his search to again see that amazing person, he would examine everyone he met; “Is this him?” Thus he constantly contemplated Viṣṇu.

He was born when the planets became favorable for all the good fortune required to make the dynasty’s heir as powerful as his grandfather, Pāṇdu. Overflowing with affection, the king called the most learned scholars – like Dhaumya & Kṛpa – to read the auspicious astrological nativity of his newborn son.

Well aware of what should be done to celebrate the birth of a child, the King gave the scholars gifts of the highest quality gold, cows, land, villages, elephants and horses; and sumptuously fed them.

Very satisfied, those intellectuals spoke:

“This spotless child will certainly be the foremost in the dynasty. Unstoppable destiny intended to destroy him, but out of affection for you all-powerful and all-pervading Viṣṇu rescued him. Thus the boy will be famous throughout the world by the name Viṣṇu Rāta (Viṣṇu-Rescued). Undoubtedly he is a great soul, extremely blessed, and is the pinnacle of divine love.”

The blessed King asked:

“Oh best of truthful souls, will this boy have glory and fame by following the footsteps of his forbearers: great souls famous as pious philosopher-kings?”

The intellectuals replied by naming each important trait of a king, and each forbearer who most perfectly exemplified it.:

In maintaining the citizens
he will be exactly like Ikṣvaku, Manu’s son.
In truthfulness and obedience to teachers
he will be exactly like Rāma, Dāśaratha’s son.
In giving charity and shelter
he will be like Śibi, Uśīnara’s son.
In expanding the renown of his kin by performing sacrifices
he will be like Duṣyanta’s son.
In bowmanship
he will equal the Arjunas. [1]

He will be
as unstoppable as an inferno,
as insurmountable as an ocean,
as powerful as a lion,
as unwavering as the Himalaya,
as forbearing as the earth,
as patient as parents,
as merciful and generous as grandparents.

In giving shelter to all living beings
he will be like Śiva
and Viṣṇu,
who shelters even the goddess of fortune.
In having all glorious spiritual qualities
he will be like Krishna,
to whom he is devoted.
In altruism
he will be like Rantideva.
In following rules
he will be like Yayāti.
In patience
he will be like Bali.
In saintly devotion
he will be like Prahlāda.[2]

He will conduct many horse sacrifices.[3]
He will be a follower of the experienced.
He will father many philosopher-kings.
For the sake of world peace
he will curb the insubordinate
and extinguish the cantankerous.

His death will come from the dragon Takṣa, as a result of a curse from the child of a twice-born. When he hears of this he will cast off all attachments, take full shelter in Hari, and inquire about the true goal of the soul from the learned son of Vyāsa. He will then leave his body beside the Ganges and go directly to the abode of fearlessness.

After advising the king, the learned experts of natal astrology returned to their homes, wondrously paid. The young prince grew quickly and luxuriantly like the waxing moon day after day, under the care of his many parents.


[1] Śibi wanted to give others his own right to enter heaven, and was ready to give his own life to protect a bird. Ikṣvaku was the first king to prohibit meat eating. This implies that the most important maintenance of citizens is to establish morality. Duṣyanta’s son is Bhārata, after whom the great Mahābhārata is named. The other Arjuna besides the Pāṇḍava is Kārttavīrya-Arjuna: a powerful thousand-armed warrior who was the impetus for Parśurāma killing 21 generations of warriors.

[2] Rantideva was a king famous for being virtually obsessed with giving everything he had to others. Yayāti, a very ancient king, performed thousands of different Vedic sacrifices. Bali exemplifies patience because he kept his cool resolve to fulfill his promise to Viṣṇu, even when his guru told him not to. His grandfather was the famous Prahlāda, son of Hiraṇyakaśipu.

[3] Even a cursory study of Vedic culture will show that their conception of animal rights was quite different from what we have today. This is not to insinuate that they had any less concern for the well-being of all living entities, but they implemented this concern in a manner would initially confuse us. We will discuss this point in more detail when it is more important to the context of the story.


Intimacy of Krishna and his Wives

Entering His Palaces

Krishna then entered the privacy of his royal compound, by first going into the palace of his father. As soon as he entered, his seven mothers[1] rushed to embrace him and he very happily bowed to them in respect. Sitting Krishna upon their laps, they soaked him with tears of delight and with the milk dripping from their affectionate breasts.

Krishna then went into his own palaces, where no desire is unfulfilled, and where his sixteen thousand wives resided.[2] Seeing their long-absent husband finally return, a great festival of joy arose in their minds. Each one immediately stood up – casting off her strict vow of meditation upon him – and sent delightfully flirtatious glances as he approached from a distance.

Out of endless love they repeatedly embraced Kṛṣṇa – first within their souls, then with their eyes, and then through their children. Despite their intention to be coy they could not help reveal their emotions, as tears of bliss poured from their eyes.[3]

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, Lakṣmī, can never withdraw from them![4]

Concluding Remarks

Sūta brought this tale of Krishna to a close:

So Krishna returned from his mission amongst the Kurus. Without fighting or taking sides, he allowed the hateful and greedy kings to destroy each other and exhaust their fearsome armies – just like the wind allows bamboo set itself on fire.

A sage presented a question to Sūta: “How are we to understand that the supreme being, impartial and omnipresent, becomes so like a common man absorbed in wives and children?”

Sūta replied:

By his own magic, Krishna appears to be within our world. He seems to be the central jewel on a beautiful necklace of exquisite women; but these women are also not from our world. They are manifestations of his all-attractive energy.

The god of romance drops his flower-bow, overpowered by the limitlessly exciting pure emotions expressed through the lovely smiles and flirtatious glances of these exquisite spiritual women. But Krishna is not overpowered by these infinitely intoxicating women.

Ordinary people are tied up in ignorance and stupidity, and they think everyone else must be just like them. So, ordinary people think that the unattached is attached. Krishna, the master, always retains full mastery. Even though he places himself in the midst of his magic, he always remains fixed in his true self, and is never swept away by his own power. Even those who wisely take shelter of Krishna acquire this quality.  Ordinary people think Krishna, the Supreme Master, is weak and foolish on the leash of his wives. But their opinion about The Husband is of no importance at all!


[1] Kṛṣṇa’s biological mother is Devakī. She married Krishna’s father Vasudeva along with her six sisters: Śāntidevā, Upadevā, Śrīdevā, Devarakṣitā, Sahadevā and Dhṛtadevā [SB 9.24.21-23]. Vasudeva eventually had 18 wives [SB 10.84.47], but of the remaining eleven the following are prominent: Rohiṇī, Pauravī, Bhadrā, Madirā, Rocanā, and Ilā [SB 9.24.45].

[2] Krishna had 16,108 wives. The vast majority (16,100) he married all at once after rescuing them from their kidnapping into a harem. The remaining eight are his primary wives:  (1) Rukminī – the foremost, (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, and (8) Lakṣaṇā

[3] The last sentence reveals that the wives intended to inspire Krishna to come to them for an embrace, but that their joy in seeing him again couldn’t be concealed and they also rushed to Krishna to embrace him.

[4] This paragraph reveals that Krishna concluded his return to Dvārakā by retiring to privacy with his wives, to their infinite delight.


The Beauty of Krishna Entering Dvaraka

The city of Dvārakā was protected by powerful allies all around, like the capitol of the underworld. Surrounding it was a temperate climate, natural amenities, and groves of very good flowers and trees; in which lived many saints and birds. Beautiful, auspicious flags decorated the gates, doors and roads, and everything was painted in lively colors. Pleasant shade spread out beneath these decorations. The shops, halls and roads big and small were very clean and sprinkled with perfumes, flowers, fruits, and whole seed.

In the doorway to each and every house were gathered all the things for welcoming a respected guest: yoghurt, fresh fruit, sugarcane, full water pots, incense and lamps.

When Krishna’s family heard that their darling had returned, they all spontaneously stood up, forgetting everything they had been doing.[1] They rushed towards Krishna, magnetized by love, in a parade of chariots led by great elephants, brāhmaṇas carrying auspicious symbols, and gloriously purifying sounds of conch shells and bugles.

The foremost courtesans of the city, extremely desirous to see him, came on palanquins by the hundreds with dazzling earrings swaying over the cheeks of their beautiful faces; while dancers, actors, singers, bards, historians, and great orators sang of his wondrously poetic activities.

All-Attractive Krishna greeted each of them, showing each one befitting respect by bowing, conversing, embracing, taking by the hand, glancing playfully, or speaking encouraging words. Thus Krishna fulfilled everyone’s wishes, even down to the lowest class dog-eater.

His entry into the city was graced with blessings from learned teachers and their impressive wives, and with respects from his admirers. He went by the royal road; kept cool by umbrellas, fans and showers of flowers. When these surrounded his yellow clothes and flower necklaces it seemed like a thick cloud surrounded at once by the sun, the half-moon, a rainbow, and lightning.[2]

The women of Dvārakā’s important families rushed up to their rooftops to enjoy their favorite festival: the opportunity to see him! Even though they saw him often, their thirst to behold the infallible form that is the wellspring of all beauty could not be slaked.

They exclaimed:

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.

One lady explained:

“Many people appreciate the beauty of Śrī, the Goddess of Fortune and Beauty. His chest is so beautiful, that Śrī herself dwells there! Some people value the elixir of the gods, Soma. If you look upon his face your eyes will enjoy more nectar than the gods! Still others worship the gods for protection and safety. His strong arms protect even the gods! As for us, we are simply in love with him, like swans delighting among the lotuses that are his feet.”


[1] Family members explicitly mentioned: Krishna’s father Vasudeva, grandfather Ugrasena, “uncle” and commander-in-chief, Akrūra, brother [Bala]Rāma, and his sons Pradyumna, Cārudeṣṇa, and Sāmba.

[2] Kṛṣṇa’s brilliant black complexion is the thick cloud. His yellow clothes are the sun. The flowers falling 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.


The Residents of Dvaraka Greet Krishna

Oh most worthy master!
Here we are at your lotus-like feet!
Brahmā, his offspring, and the King of Gods all worship these feet,
Desiring the utmost protection
Under which frightening fate holds no sway.

You are the creator of everything
But out of affection for us you become our
mother, father, and husband.
You are the eternal guru and topmost divinity.
Everything we do, we do for you.

You are the central focus of our being!
It is very rare even for a god to see you, but
We easily glance upon your all-auspicious beauty.
And your happy, affectionate, love-laden glance falls upon us.

Whenever the glance of your lotus-eyes go elsewhere,
with care towards the people of Kuru and Madhu,
Each moment then becomes a million years
And we feel surrounded by pitch black blindness.

We would have died
If you remained away from us
Making it impossible for us to see
your carefree, satisfied glance
and your heart-stealing face
ornamented with a beautiful smile.


Gita Blog

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