Category Archives: 1.14 – Krsna’s Departure

The Very Worst News Possible

While the king inquired fearfully, Arjuna became more and more morose over the loss of Krishna – a friend dearer to him than his very self. Sadness dried his mouth, and the lotus of his heart was robbed of luster. Enrapt in memory of his great friend, he could not answer for a long time. He made great efforts to stop his uncontrollable sobbing, smearing tears around his eyes with his hands. Pain grew deeper and deeper with him, from his powerful affection for one who was now out of sight.

Remembering his friend and companion – the well-wisher who had been his chariot driver and so much else – he turned to his eldest brother, the King, and spoke in stuttering and exploding words:

O Emperor, I am bereft of Hari… who had become our intimate relative. Without him all my astounding strength, which amazed even the gods, is gone.

Without him, even for a moment, the whole world becomes ugly, like our bodies look when bereft of life.

With Krishna I strode into the palace where Draupadī was choosing her husband from all the princes smitten with her, and erased their hopes by shooting an arrow straight into the fish.

With Krishna I defeated all the immortals, and handed the Khāṇḍava forest over to Agni, after arresting Indra who was hiding there. Maya then built our wondrous assembly hall, in which princes from every direction brought taxes and gifts to you.

With Krishna, your great younger brother who is as powerful as an army of elephants freed all the kings from the madman who sacrificed to the Lord of Madness and collected royal skulls at his feet. All of them gave you gifts in thanks.

Remember when your wife, gloriously dressed and bathed with a beautiful hair knot, was caught in a terrible assembly of cheaters who tried to untie that knot while tears fell down her face? With Krishna we turned their wives into widows with unkempt hair.

Remember when our enemy sent dangerous Durvāsa with countless disciples to eat at our modest hut in the forest? Krishna protected us: He ate a morsel of left over spinach and rice, and suddenly no one in the three worlds felt hungry. The sage and his disciples were satisfied before they even finished their baths.

Because of Krishna, I once even fought Śiva, the blessed trident wielder.  My skill astonished him and his wife so much that he gave me the secret of his own weapon, and other gods followed suit.  As a result, I could enter the house of Indra, king of paradise even with my mortal body, and share his throne!

While I was there, Indra and the gods took refuge of my strong arms, which hold the Gāṇḍiva Bow. I protected them from their enemy, because I was empowered by Krishna. But now I am robbed of him!

With Krishna, I was invincible and single-handedly traversed the unsurpassable ocean of the Kuru’s strength, to retrieve the treasures they stole and claim the dazzling jeweled crowns from their heads.

An enormous phalanx of great warriors and fine chariots encircled Bhīṣma, Karṇa, my Guru, and Śalya.  I went straight into it with Krishna at my side – and his glance deflated all their strength, enthusiasm, and longevity.

Because of his protection, their terrible weapons had no effect on me; just like the demons could not even scratch the boy Narasiṁha protected.

In our unusual relationship, he became my chariot driver; although he is the Supreme Master, the soul’s savior, and even his feet are worshipped by the wise who seek liberation. By his blessing, I had no fears when my horses became thirsty and I had to stand on the ground during the war.

We joked and jested so delightfully, beautified by his smile: “Hey Cousin! Hey my friend Arjuna! Hey Kuru’s-son!” …Oh, these conversations touched my very heart …my soul floods with memories of sweet Krishna.

We were always inseparable; sleeping, sitting, walking, eating, and boasting together. When one of us misbehaved, the other would sarcastically say, “Oh my, what an ideal person you are!”  Krishna, the greatest of the great, tolerated my awfully familiar attitude; just as a father tolerates his child, or friends tolerate one another.

Oh! Without him… without that supreme person: my friend, my beloved, my well-wisher… my very soul becomes vacant and void.

Recently, I was guarding the bodies of the Krishna’s queens when I was attacked… by farmers …who defeated me as easily as if I was a girl. I have the same bow, the same arrows, the same chariot, and the same horses. I am the same man whom great warriors praised …but without Krishna everything has lost its power. I have become like play money; like a sacrifice offered to ashes; like a seed in the desert.

Arjuna now became very stoic and spoke very plainly:

King, you asked about our well-wishers in their great city.  Here is the news: They got so drunk from liquor and wine that they couldn’t even recognize each other.  An argument broke out and they wound up killing each other.  Only four or five survived.

Perhaps it was a curse?  It seems more like the will of the All-Powerful Master, by which living beings sometimes want to kill each other but at other times want to protect each other.  The big fish eats the small fish.  The strong eat the weak.  Such are the ways of providence; and such was the manner in which the stronger Yadus killed the weaker ones; erasing themselves from the face of the earth.

There is nothing left for me but to remember the great wisdom Govinda spoke to me on the verge of battle, for that wisdom always extinguishes the flames of pain.


Is Krishna Still With Us?

While the King was worrying and wondering, suddenly he saw the monkey insignia flag atop Arjuna’s chariot.  It came slowly towards him. Arjuna eventually descended, and came to his brother’s feet in unprecedented dejection.  Drops of tears fell from the lotus-eyes of his downcast face.

Seeing his brother’s troubled heart and paleness, the king began to question him then and there, in the middle of everyone; unable to get the words of Nārada out of his mind.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Are our allies in Dvārakā passing time happily? [1]

Arjuna did not look up or answer.

Is Grandfather Śūra and his wife Māriṣa passing time auspiciously?

No answer.

How is Uncle Vasudeva (for whom the drums of heaven resounded)?  What about our aunts, the seven sisters who are his wives, headed by Devakī; are they living happily among their children and daughters-in-law?

Arjuna can give no reply. So Yudhiṣṭhira continues to become more specific in his inquiries.

Does king Ugrasena still live with his children, among whom one was worthless?[2]  What about Great-grandfather Hṛdīka?  What of Krishna’s confidants: Akrūra, Jayanta, Gada, Sāraṇa – are they living happily, headed by Śatrujit?

Still, Arjuna could not move or speak. Forced to consider graver and graver possibilities Yudhiṣṭhira asked about Krishna’s brother:

How is Rāma, the All-Attractive protector of the saintly Sātvata dynasty?

No answer.  So now Yudhiṣṭhira must ask about Krishna’s sons:

Is Pradyumna living happily as the General of the Vṛṣṇi armies?

All-Attractive Aniruddha, profoundly dexterous, must be prospering!? So too must be all the great sons and grandsons of Kṛṣṇa like Suṣeṇa, Cārudeṣṇa, Sāmba, Jāmbavatī’s son, Ṛṣabha and so on…

Ever more worried and dreading to ask directly about Krishna, the King anxiously continues.

How are Kṛṣṇa’s constant companions: Śrutadeva, Uddhava and so on? How are Sunanda and Nanda, the best among leaders of the Sātvata family??? Aren’t they all well, being sheltered by the strength of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa? Do they ever remember us kindly, their affectionate relatives?

But Arjuna neither raises his eyes nor answers. Tears only stream down his pale cheeks all the more profusely with each question. Finally, Yudhiṣṭhira must ask the most awful question possible:

Certainly All-Attractive Govinda, who is so affectionate to devotees and thinkers, must be enjoying the city’s assembly hall, surrounded by well-wishers!?

Moved by the thought of Krishna, the King composes a poem, hoping it might cheer up his brother:

Viṣṇu reclines upon the universal ocean with Ananta,
for the sake of manifesting the worlds.

~

Krishna reclines among an ocean of family with Rāma,
for the benefit of the world.

Those who reside with Viṣṇu,
Enjoy paramount bliss and security.

~

Those who reside in Dvārakā,
Enjoy the protection of his scepter-arms,
and relish pastimes of paramount bliss.

Among those who reside with Viṣṇu, Goddess Lakṣmī is the foremost. The king now compares The Queens of Dvārakā to Lakṣmī:

Very attentively attending his feet
Is their prime concern;
The women headed by Satyabhāmā
Numbering twice eight-thousand.

They claimed the treasures of the gods,
And enjoy the property of the thunderbolt-master’s wives;
Standing undefeated
Against the thrice ten divinities.

Next, the King turned his attention to other residents of Dvārakā:

Under the protection of his scepter-arms,
His family have become great heroes,
ever fearless in every way.

So they strode into paradise on foot
And took the god’s prize possessions by force;
The Sudharmā assembly house.

Arjuna’s conditioned worsened the more the King’s spoke. In a weak, trembling, and hopeless voice, the King feelingly asked:

Dear brother, are you sick?  You look so pale and weak.  Or have you been disrespected or neglected?  Did someone insult you? Did they claim that you did not give to a beggar? Or did not fulfill a promise? Or did not give shelter to intellectuals, children, cows, the elderly, the sick, or the women who came to you seeking refuge?

Did you embrace an unworthy woman? Or did you mistreat a woman? Were you defeated by a junior? Or could it be that you ate before feeding the old and young?

Have you done something horrible and unforgivable?

Arjuna only cries all the more forcefully as tears pool on the ground beneath his lowered face. Yudhiṣṭhira has no choice but to admit the worst:

“Alas! I am vacant… I have forever lost the most precious, dear friend of my very soul”

Besides this, no other thought could trouble you so.


[1] These allies include the Madhu, Bhaja, Daśārha, Ārha, Sātvata, Andhaka and Vṛṣṇi clans

[2] The worthless child was Kaṁsa.


Krishna Leaves the World

Arjuna had been gone for months and still had not returned from his trip to Dvārakā with news of their relatives and Krishna.  Meanwhile, King Yudhiṣṭhira observed many different omens of ill fortune. Unseasonal weather and behavior – cruelty, anger, greed and deceit – foretold the approach of a terrible fate.  Even fathers, mothers, well-wishers and brothers were polluted by cheating and duplicity; while husbands and wives quarreled.  Many such bad omens declared that the time for the decline of humanity was at hand.

The King turned to his younger brother, Bhīma, and said:

It is now seven months since Arjuna went to Dvārakā.  I have heard nothing from him and have no idea why he has not returned.  Maybe it is what the Sage of Gods [Nārada] told us: Maybe the time has come for the All-Attractive to dissolve the manifestation of himself and his expansions?

By his kindness we vanquished our enemies, regained our kingdoms, and protected our wealth, power, wives and our very lives.

O Lion of Men, look at the ill signs in the sky, on the earth, and in ourselves.  These are signs of imminent danger, fear, and bewilderment.

My left thigh, eye, and arm quiver again and again.  My heart palpitates fearsomely.

Look: This she-jackal howls at the rising sun, with fire in her mouth!  Brother, do you see this dog barking and growling at me without fear!?  Animals pass me with their left side, and my horses weep when they see me. Look there!  A dead dove lies like a messenger of death.  Owls and crows shriek as if they are trying to dissolve the entire world.

Thick fog and smoke is everywhere.  The earth and her hills tremble.  Thunder and lightning comes without clouds.  The blasting wind cuts us.  The dust raised creates darkness and makes the rain look like a downpour of blood.  The ground looks like a blood-soaked disaster-area.

The Sun is eclipsed, and the planets war with one another in the sky.  Possessed by ghosts, people howl as if they were on fire!

What fate is about to befall us!?  Streams, rivers and ponds are polluted, reflecting the state of our minds.  Oil will not catch fire. Calves do not drink and their mothers do not give milk.  The bulls do not play in the fields; they simply stand with tears streaming down their face.

What horrors await us!?  Deities seem to cry and perspire like they want to leave their temples.  The beauty and happiness of these cities, villages, towns, gardens, hills, and cottages is ruined. I believe these terrible upheavals are omens that the Earth, who once bore the beautiful footprints of the All-Attractive, is now dispossessed of her greatest fortune: Śrī Krishna has left her.


Arjuna Recovers His Composure

SB 1.15.21

It is my bow, they are my arrows, it is my chariot, they are my horses
I am me, the chariot-warrior whom kings praise,
But, robbed of our Master, all of this suddenly becomes insubstantial,
Like sacrifice offered to ash, play money, or seeds in the desert.

22-23

King, you asked about our well-wishers in their dear city. Bewildered by the curse of scholars, they killed each other with their own hands. They were so drunk from liquor and wine that they couldn’t even recognize each other. Only four or five survived.

24-26

It almost seems like the will of the All-Powerful Master, by which living beings sometimes want to kill each other but at other times want to protect each other. Like with the fish in the water, the bigger one swallows the smaller. O King, The weak are eaten by the strong, and the strong are eaten by the strongest. O powerful one, thus the strongest Yadus killed the more common ones. So the Yadus themselves removed themselves from the face of the earth.

27

My mind is now drawn to remembering what Govinda spoke to me: which extinguishes flames of pain in any situation.

Arjuna refers now to what we call Bhagavad-Gita. His mind is drawn to find solace now in Kṛṣṇa’s excellent instructions regarding death and the temporary nature of the world.

28

Sūta said:

Contemplating thus, Victorious Arjuna’s mind became pure and peaceful, remembering the lotus-like feet of Kṛṣṇa with deep intimacy and extreme friendship.

29

Arjuna’s continuous meditation upon the feet of Vasudeva’s son caused his divine love to rapidly expand, and his troubled thoughts shrunk.

30

Time and tide had covered him in darkness, but once again Arjuna gained self-control through the wisdom that was sung by the All-Attractive in the midst of war.

This verse contains a direct reference to Bhagavad-Gita: gītaṁ bhagavatā jñānaṁ.

 

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to ...

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in Kurukshetra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


Arjuna Remember’s Krishna – Part II

11

He protected us in the forest when we were in very deep trouble,
When Durvāsa, who eats with unlimited disciples, was sent by our enemy.
When he had a morsel of left over spinach and rice, the three worlds felt full
In their minds, while they were still submerged within the water.

Duryodhana, the main enemy of the Pāṇḍavas, sent the powerful sage Durvāsa with his thousands of disciples to dine with Yudhiṣṭhira while they were exiled in the forest. There was no way Yudhiṣṭhira could feed so many people, so Durvāsa would be inconvenienced. Durvāsa is famous for getting angry easily and cursing people seriously, so Duryodhana made this scheme in the hopes that Durvāsa would curse the Pāṇḍavas.

In this midst of this calamity, Kṛṣṇa also visited Yudhiṣṭhira and ate a small morsel that was still left in the cooking pot. He felt great satisfaction. Because Godhead is the root from which all other souls are branches, when he felt full, Durvāsa and all the sages also felt completely full and did not return to Yudhiṣṭhira after taking their baths in the nearby river..

12

By his power, once I fought against the Blessed Trident Wielder (Śiva),
And astonished him and the daughter of the mountains (Pārvatī),
so that he gave his own weapon to me.
And others also followed suit. Thus even with my mortal body
I could enter the house of the Great King (Indra) and have half of his throne.

13

While there, my two scepter-like arms,
Whose trademark is to hold the Gāṇḍiva Bow,
Became the shelter for Indra and the gods, while I killed their enemy.
All because I was empowered by him (Kṛṣṇa).
And now I am robbed of that empowering person.

14

Because of being with him, the unsurpassable ocean of the Kuru’s strength
I surpassed in a single chariot, full of invincible power.
I retrieved the great wealth stolen by my enemies
And claimed the effulgent bejeweled crowns from their heads.

15

Bhīṣma, Karṇa, our guru, and Śalya,
Protected by an enourmouse phalax of great warriors
and a circle of decorated chariots
When I went into it, O powerful king,
It was his glance that deflated all their strength, enthusiasm, and longevity.

16

Because he protected me
The terrible weapons of my guru,
Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Naptṛ, Trigarta, Śalya, Saindhava, Bāhlika and others
Were ineffective
Just like the demons could not even scratch the servant of Nṛhari.

Nṛhari is another way of saying Narahari, or Narasiṁha.

17

My strange attitude made the soul’s-savior, the Master, my own chariot driver
Though his lotus-like feet are worshipped by the wise who see salvation.
When my horses were thirsty and I had to stand on the ground
The great warriors did not attack!
By his mercy I was completely free of worry.

18

We joked and jested so delightfully, beautified by his smile.
“Hey Cousin! Hey my friend Arjun! Hey Kuru’s-son!”
Oh god of kings, these conversations touched my very heart
Remembering sweet Kṛṣṇa (Mādhava) floods me to the core.

19

On a bed, or a seat, or on a walk, boasting, eating… Always we were one!
When one misbehaved the other would sarcastically say,
“Oh what an ideal person you are!”
Like a friend towards a friend, or a father towards his child
That greatest of the great tolerated my horribly familiar attitude.

In extreme grief, reality becomes distorted. Therefore Arjuna now feels that he was wrong to behave so intimately with Kṛṣṇa. But the truth is that Kṛṣṇa was delighted by his friendship incalculably more than he can ever be pleased with endless universes of worshipfully distant awestruck penitents.

20

Without him, oh lord of kings, without that supreme person
My friend, my beloved, my well-wisher… my very soul becomes a void.
Recently I was guarding the bodies of the The Adventurer’s women,
Was attacked by farmers, and defeated as if I was a woman.


Have you forever lost the friend of your very soul?

35-36

The Original Person reclines upon the ocean of the Yadu family with the original Ananta, for the benefit, protection and evolution of all the worlds. The Yadava are fit to live in his own city, protected by the scepters of his arms, and relishing pastimes of paramount bliss.

In these two verses the King very finely crafts a poetic metaphor. He compares Kṛṣṇa to Mahā-Viṣṇu, the Original Person who reclines upon the ocean of causality with a multi-headed dragon who is a form of his own unlimited energy (“ananta”), and from whom the worlds evolve and are preserved. The persons who live with this Mahā-Puruṣa (Viṣṇu) are exalted (Mahā-Pauruṣa), and by association they enjoy Viṣṇu’s own topmost spiritual bliss. The King says that the Yadu family is the ocean upon which Kṛṣṇa reclines as Viṣṇu and Bālarāma reclines as Ananta. Dvārakā is the world that evolves from this “Viṣṇu.” The people in Dvārakā Mahā-Pauruṣa who enjoy the topmost spiritual bliss.

37

Very attentively caring for his feet is the prime duty
Of the twice eight-thousand women headed by Satyabhāmā.
Undefeated when counted against the thrice-ten, claiming their treasures
And enjoying what belongs to the wives of the thunderbolt’s master.

Here, Yudhiṣṭhira breaks into more elaborate poetry to give an example to illustrate his previous statement that the people related to Kṛṣṇa are enjoying tremendously under his protection and blessings. There are roughly 16 thousand queens of Kṛṣṇa. There are roughly 30 important gods. Satyabhāmā is the queen who induced Kṛṣṇa to fight with the gods and take away a special tree with celestial flowers for her.

This continues the metaphor from the previous verses by stating that Kṛṣṇa’s 16 thousands queens are analogous to Lakṣmī, who always massages Viṣṇu’s legs and feet.

38

Always living under the protection of his scepter-arms,
The Yadava have become great heroes, ever fearless in every way.
So they strode in on foot and took by force
The Sudharmā assembly house, which belongs to the very best gods.

Yudhiṣṭhira continues to give examples of how those related to Kṛṣṇa enjoy life more fully than even the gods. Fearless and powerful due to the blessings and protection of Kṛṣṇa, the Yadus simply strode into heaven and took away Indra’s assembly hall by force. They brought it to Dvārakā for Kṛṣṇa to use and enjoy daily.

39-43

Dear brother, is your health OK? You look very pale and weak. Have you been disrespected and neglected during this long time you have been gone? Could someone have addressed you so carelessly and foully? Have they said they you did not give to a beggar, or did not fulfill a promise? Or that you did not give shelter to intellectuals, children, cows, the elderly, the sick, or women who came to you seeking it? Did you embrace one not fit to embrace, or did you mistreat a woman? Or maybe you were defeated by a person who was not your superior or peer? Or could it be that you dined alone, without also feeding the old and young? Have you done something horrible and unforgivable?

These are the basic moral principles by which an ancient prince of India lived. They valued respect and reputation and this was gained by being a good person and following codes like

  • always giving charity,
  • always fulfilling promises,
  • always taking care of anyone who needs caring for,
  • following principles regarding interaction with the opposite sex
  • never mistreating a woman
  • being undefeated by anyone junior
  • never eating before feeding others

Yudhiṣṭhira is giving one last hope towards there being some tolerable reason for Arjuna’s abject dejection. But Arjuna does not reply to any of these hopes. He merely cries more forcefully as tears pool on the ground beneath his lowered face.

44

“Alas! I have become a void, having forever lost the most beloved, heart-to-heart friend of my very soul.” Besides this thought, what else could be so troubling you?


Is Krishna Gone?

— 22 —

When the king was thus worryfully pondering the evil omens he saw, the monkey-flag came back from the city of Yadus.

The flag atop Arjuna’s chariot bears the mark of a monkey.

23

He came to bow at the king’s feet in unprecedented dejection. His lotus-eyes made drops of water fall from his downward-bent face.

24

Seeing his brother’s troubled heart and paleness, the king began to question him then and there, in the middle of everyone; unable to get the words of Nārada out of his mind.

Nārada previously indicated that Kṛṣṇa’s associates would now be departing from the earth, following their master. After hearing this, the King saw so many inauspicious omens. Now, Arjuna returns after extreme delay from a visit to Kṛṣṇa with tears streaming down his pale face. In the face of all this horrific evidence, the king was unable to be patient and wait for a good time and place; he immediately began questioning Arjuna in great worry.

25

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Are our relatives in Ānarta’s capitol city – the Madhu, Bhaja, Daśārha, Ārha, Sātvata, Andhaka and Vṛṣṇi clans – passing time happily?

Arjuna does not look up or answer.

26-27

Is our maternal grandfather Śūra and his wife Māriṣa passing time auspiciously?

How is my maternal uncle Vasudeva (for whom the drums of heaven resounded)? What about our maternal aunts, the seven sisters who are his wives? Personally headed by Devakī, are they living happily among their children and daughters-in-law?

Arjuna can give no reply. So Yudhiṣṭhira continues to become more specific in his inquiries.

28-29

Does king Āhuka still live with his children, among whom one was worthless?

What of Hṛdīka and his son?

What of Akrūra, Jayanta, Gada, Sāraṇa – are they living happily, headed by Śatrujit?

Does Rāma pass the time happily, being the All-Attractive protector of the saintly Sātvata dynasty?

Āhuka is Ugrasena, whose “son” was wicked Kaṁsa. Kaṁsa’s true father was a demon who violated Ugrasena’s wife. Thus there was no question of Āhuka being “happy.” Yudhiṣṭhira merely asks if he is still living. Hṛdīka was the grandfather of Kṛṣṇa’s father, Vasudeva. The list of persons headed by Śatrujit are very close associates of Kṛṣṇa who help significantly in administering and protecting the city. Rāma refers to Bālarāma, Kṛṣṇa’s elder brother.

30-31

Is Pradyumna living happily as the General of the Vṛṣṇi armies?

All-Attractive Aniruddha, profoundly dexterous, must be prospering!? So too must be all the great sons and grandsons of Kṛṣṇa like Suṣeṇa, Cārudeṣṇa, Sāmba, Jāmbavatī’s son, Ṛṣabha and so on…

Constantly receiving no answer, verbal or otherwise, from Arjuna, the king becomes ever more worried and escalates his questions closer and closer to the heart of the matter, dreading to ask directly about Kṛṣṇa. Here he asks about the foremost of Kṛṣṇa’s children.

32-33

And what of Kṛṣṇa’s constant companions: Śrutadeva, Uddhava and so on; and what of Sunanda and Nanda, the best among leaders of the Sātvata family???

Aren’t they all well, being sheltered by the strength of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa? Do they ever remember us kindly, their affectionate relatives?

Still, Arjuna neither raises his eyes nor answers. Tears only stream down his pale cheeks all the more profusely with each question.

34

Certainly All-Attractive Govinda, who is so affectionate to devotees and thinkers, must be enjoying the city’s assembly hall, surrounded by well-wishers!?

Finally Yudhiṣṭhira must place the question directly, with great fear and unwillingness to accept the possibility of an awful negative reply.


How to Read Omens

1.14.1

Sūta said:

Jiṣṇu [Arjuna – “The Triumphant”] went to Dvārakā to see his relatives and find out what Kṛṣṇa (whose glories are purifying) was doing.

2

When he had not returned after a few months, the leader of the Kurus [Yudhiṣṭhira] observed many different omens of ill fortune.

3

A terrible fate was foretold in unseasonal weather, and by people adopting cruel ways marked by anger, greed, and deceit.

4

Cheating and duplicity polluted the behavior of protectors: fathers, mothers, well-wishers and brothers. Husbands and wives quarreled.

5

Many very bad omens indicated that the time had come for humanity to drift away. Seeing so many immoral and base deeds driven by greed and the like, the King spoke to his younger brother.

These are not so much “omens” in general, as they are omens specifically that Kali-Yuga had begun, the age in which the glory of humanity fades and drifts away. This in turn indicates that Kṛṣṇa was no longer on Earth.

6

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Jiṣṇu [Arjuna – “The Triumphant”] went to Dvārakā to see his relatives and find out what Kṛṣṇa (whose glories are purifying) was doing.

7

Bhīmasena, it is now seven months since he went. I have no information about why he has not returned.

8

Maybe it is what the Sage of Gods [Nārada] told us: The time has come for the All-Attractive to dissolve the manifestation of himself and his expansions?

9

By his kindness we got our wealth, power, wives and our very lives, and our kingdom and subjects; vanquishing our enemies.

10

O Lion of Men, look at the ill signs in the sky, on the earth, and in ourselves. These are signs of imminent danger, fear, and bewilderment.

11

My left thigh, eye, and arm quiver again and again. My heart palpitates fearsomely. These are signs of ill fortune.

Repeated twitching on the left side of the male body portends ill fortune. I have heard that for women it is the right side which is inauspicious. The opposite sides for each gender portend good fortune.

12

This she-jackal howls at the rising sun, with fire in her mouth. Brother, this dog barks and growls at me without fear!

When things happen out of order, or opposite of their normal behavior, it portends ill-fortune. By this general template, all sorts of events in the world can be interpreted. Wolves and the like are supposed to howl at the moon, not the sun. While so doing the rising sun appeared like flames coming from the jackal’s mouth – making it more pronounced as an ill omen. A dog should be submissive to powerful humans, but here a dog was fearlessly growling angrily and barking in the face of the powerful King.

13

Auspicious and less auspicious animals pass me with their left side. O Lion of Men, my horses weep when they see me.

This “passing” means to encircle. It is auspicious to be encircled in a clockwise motion. To be circled counterclockwise (which occurs when the encircling person keeps you on their left) is inauspicious.

14

There is a dead dove like a messenger of death. Owls and their rivals, the crows, shriek disturbingly as if they are trying to dissolve the entire world.

Auspicious (gentle) birds fell to ill, and inauspicious (harsh) birds prospered.

15

Thick fog and smoke encircles all directions. The earth and her hills tremble. Thunder and lightning comes without clouds.

These are more serious and rare omens.

16

The blasting wind cuts us. The dust raised creates darkness. Blood rains from the clouds making everything look like a disaster-area.

“Blood rain” arises when red dust mixes with the falling rain. It is a terrible and rare omen.

17

Look! The Sun has lost its glow. The planets war with one another in the sky. Ghosts possess people, who howl as if they were on fire!

The Sun loses its glow during an eclipse. The planets war with one another when they occupy the same location in the sky (currently we measure it as the same zodiac degree).

18

Streams, rivers and ponds are polluted, as are our minds. Oil will not catch fire. What fate is about to befall us!?

19

Calves do not suck the teat, and their mothers do not give milk. The bulls do not play in the fields. They simply stand with tears streaming down their face.

20

Deities seem to cry and perspire like they want to leave their temples. The beauty and happiness of these cities, villages, towns, gardens, hills, and cottages is ruined. What horrors will we see!?

21

I believe that these terrible upheavals are omens that the Earth, who bore the beautiful footprints of the All-Attractive, is now dispossessed and her fortune destroyed.

Yudhiṣṭhira now gives a dire interpretation of these severe omens: “The earth was blessed with the greatest fortune. She bore the beautiful footprints of the All-Attractive. All these horrible signs can only indicate that the earth has been cast into the deepest despair over the loss and destruction of her greatest treasure. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is no longer on Earth.”