Tag Archives: Dvārakā

Noble Fury

When Parīkṣit came upon them, they appeared like an abandoned cow and bull being beaten with a club by a wicked man dressed like a king.

The bull, white as lotus-root, was urinating out of fear, trembling and terrified as his one remaining leg was beaten by the rogue.

The cow, whose milk is morality, became helpless and afraid as the rogue smashed her legs. Bereft of her calves, tears streamed down her face. She looked emaciated and in dire need of grass.

The king picked up his bow and spoke to the culprit in a voice that resounded from his completely golden chariot like deep thunder from the sky:

Who are you?! What are you doing in my kingdom?! What kind of ‘strong man’ attacks the weak??? Your kingly clothes are nothing but a costume, for such deeds are not those of a noble person!

Do you think you can get away with this because Krishna and Arjuna[1] are no longer among us? That will not happen! You are guilty of attacking the innocent when you think no one is looking. You deserve to die!

Then the king turned to the bull in a different tone of voice:

Here is a bull as white as lotus-root, moving on one leg with the others broken; are you a god taking this shape to show us the miserable future?

Moving his glance towards the cow, his voice became full of compassion:

Never before has anyone come to such lamentable grief in any land protected by the arms of Kuru Kings. O child of Surabhi,[2]no one in my kingdom should fear harm from wicked men. Mother, do not cry! Be blessed! I shall curb this rogue!

Oh saintly woman, destruction comes to the fame, longevity, fortune and afterlife of a king who allows anyone to be terrorized by the wicked. A king’s first duty is to remove the suffering of those who suffer. Therefore I shall kill this most worthless hater of creatures!

Turning again to the bull, the King asked for a testimony:

Who broke your three legs, O four-legged Surabhi’s-son? I have never seen such a thing in a country ruled by kings who follow Krishna.

But the bull said nothing.

The king continued:

Please speak, for the sake of those who are saintly and do no wrong. And for my sake, tell me who is disfiguring and destroying the fame of Pṛthā’s sons?

Those who harm the harmless must fear me wherever they go! Certainly the saintly prosper when the sinful are curbed. If any wildman harms the harmless I will unleash my arms without restraint, even if he is an armored immortal.

The foremost duty of a dutiful king is to protect the innocent and curb those who needlessly disregard the moral path.


[1] Arjuna is named here as the wielder of the powerful Gaṇḍīva bow.

[2] Surabhi is the divine cow.


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.


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.


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?


A Mountain of Gold Hidden in the Himalayas

1.12.32

The king wanted to perform a horse sacrifice to diminish the effects of fighting with his family, but he realized that the treasury consisted of nothing but taxes and fines.

We’ve already heard about King Yudhiṣṭhira’s horse sacrifices, so it would be good to clarify the story line at this point. We are currently in the twelfth chapter of the first division of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. In the seventh chapter, Sūta began to answer the questions he was asked about Parīkṣit, the person to whom Śrīmad Bhāgavatam was originally spoken. The main thing he communicates about Parīkṣit is that Viṣṇu personally rescued him from the radiation of a deadly weapon, while he was still in his mother’s womb. Chapter seven and most of chapter eight are the backstory explaining why this weapon was cast, even after the war itself was finished (it’s the same war described in detail in Mahābhārata). Sūta describes the actual rescue at the end of chapter eight. But in telling this story in which the main subject of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Kṛṣṇa, plays a central role Sūta became excited and eager. So he continued narrating the tale even after his original purpose for bringing it up had been fulfilled. This goes on through chapters nine, ten, and eleven; wherein Sūta describes Bhīṣma’s deep relationship to Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s journey home to Dvārakā, and the welcome he received there.

At the beginning of chapter twelve, Śaunaka takes advantage of a natural pause in the story to remind Sūta of his original intention: to answer their questions about Parīkṣit. Sūta returns to the story line in this chapter, and reconnects his new narrative to the old by referencing topics previously mentioned. That is why we again hear about the horse sacrifices of King Yudhiṣṭhira.

33

Seeing this desire, his brothers approached the Infallible who told them how to find and procure an abundance of wealth from the north.

Long ago, Śiva gave a literal mountain of gold to an ancient king, Marutta. Eventually the path to the mountain was lost and the treasure within became inaccessible. But Infallible Kṛṣṇa told the Pāṇḍavas exactly how to find it and get an abundance of wealth for the sacrifice.

34

With it, the son of Dharma procured enough ingredients to perform the sacrifice three times, being fearful. Hari was pleased.

Fearful of the ill fate created by the war between family members, Yudhiṣṭhira performed the purificatory sacrifice not once, but three times.

35

The All-Attractive attended the sacrifice performed by twice-born for the king. Out of affection for his beloved devotees, he lived with them for a few months.

Regarding the term “twice-born:” The first birth is determined by fate. The second is determined by freewill. Only evolved persons utilize their freewill to take a symbolic second birth to establish an identity dedicated to higher pursuits. Such persons are qualified to perform mystical ceremonies.

36

Then, O spiritualists, the king allowed Kṛṣṇa to leave for Dvārakā, surrounded by Arjuna and his other friends and relatives.


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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,058 other followers