Tag Archives: Dvārakā

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.

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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.


The Wealth of Dvārakā

1.11.11

Madhu, Bhoja, Daśārha, Arha, Kukura, and the Vṛṣṇi – all equally powerful – protected it like the dragons protect their capital, Bhogavatī.

It seems that all the nearby kingdoms allied themselves with the Vṛṣṇi, whose capitol was therefore very secure. It was at least as opulent and secure as the fabled capitol city of the dragons.

12

It was surrounded by all the seasons, all natural amenities, and residents of saints amidst very good trees and flowers. There were parks with gardens and orchards surrounding lakes full of beautiful lotuses.

On earth, seasons result from the position of the Sun relative to the equator. They are therefore time-dependent and it is not possible for all of them to manifest simultaneously at will. However Sūta tells us here that Dvārakā had this opulence. The implication is either that, (a) Sūta is telling us fairy tales, or (b) Dvārakā exists above the normal earthly dimension with which it maintained a link for some time.

A reader might favor the former, if he doesn’t really understand Sūta’s education, erudition and personality as well as the type of gathering he was addressing – most similar in modern terms to a symposium of doctorates and scientific researchers. One who embraces the later explanation, however, cracks open a doorway into Kṛṣṇa’s dimension. Opened wide enough, one can attempt to walk through it.

13-15

Gates, doors and roads were enthusiastically painted and decorated with flags bearing auspicious signs. Pleasant shade spread beneath all these decorations. The shops and halls and roads big and small were very clean and sprinkled with perfumes, flowers, fruits, and whole seed.

Things for welcoming a respected guest were assembled in the doorways to each and every house: yoghurt, fresh fruit, sugarcane, full water pots, incense and lamps.

What is your reaction to hearing about such a place? Mine is, “Wow, what a great place to live. I want to be a guest at these houses, feel the peace of such natural opulence, relax in these beautiful parks, and enjoy life in such a fine place.” Paradoxically, this self-focused frame of mind is exactly what makes it impossible to live in a place like Dvārakā. It is because each and every citizen is so focused on the same central figure of enjoyment, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, that their city is so peaceful, beautiful, opulent, and – ironically – enjoyable.

Upon the return of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, his city decorated herself exquisitely and appeared at the height of blushing beauty. Kṛṣṇa was very pleased to see her ecstatic romantic symptoms as she welcomed the handsome lord into her loving embrace.


Greetings, Citizens of Dvaraka

1.11.6

Oh topmost master, we are at your lotus-like feet!
Brahmā, his offspring, and the king of gods worship these feet,
Desiring the utmost protection
Into which destiny has no power.

7

For our sake, you, the creator of everything
Have become our mother, protective husband, and father.
You are the eternal guru and topmost divinity.
Everything we do is for your sake.

8

O yes, you are our focal point!
It is very difficult for even the masters of the three worlds to see
Your smiling, affectionate, love-laden glance.
But we freely look upon your all-auspicious beauty.

9

O Infallible, whenever your lotus-eyes go elsewhere,
Looking with care towards the people of Kuru and Madhu,
Each moment becomes a million years
And we feel like eyes without sunlight.

10

Oh husband, how can we go on living if you remain away from us
Unable to see your satisfied glance vanquishing all troubles,
And your mind-enchanting face
Ornamented with a beautiful smile?

11

Hearing these words spoken by the citizens, the Nourisher of Lovers expanded his affectionate glances upon all of them as he entered the city.

~ ~ ~

Human beings turn to the gods for help in facing the trials and tribulations of daily lives. And certainly these powerful beings can help somehow or another. But since they too are under the sway of all powerful destiny, they are limited in how they can protect one from fate. The All-Attractive Original Person who existed before destiny began, and who controls its impartial enforcement, is the only being who can grant the topmost perfection.

Kṛṣṇa is the singular undifferentiated being, but for our sake he manifests multiplicity. It is only out of a desire to share the pure bliss of existence with others that the One becomes Many. Towards those many he takes personal roles which seem to be far less than his natural station as the supreme authority and divinity – becoming the mother, father and protector of many. In truth, however, these stations are superior to the hierarchical station of the All-Powerful, because they exhibit the most important essence of Godhead: loving, personal blissful affection.

The citizens express “Aho! You have become our focal point.” The key word here is sanātha. Everyone requires a nātha, a focal point. Thus men and women walk about the world in the peculiar manner in which we do, as if involved in some sort of parade or exhibition – searching for an attractive person to make our focal point. Those without focal points, or with blurry, boring and old ones, envy those focused newly paired couples walking down the sidewalk exuding their good fortune. To be without a nātha, without a focal point, is universally pitiful. The residents of Dvārakā how found the ultimate focal point, the All-Attractive personality whom everyone in the tree worlds, including the gods themselves, desires.

The citizens consider their most valuable treasure to be the loving glances of Kṛṣṇa. So when Kṛṣṇa looks away from them, it is as calamitous as being robbed blind. Kṛṣṇa’s mind is always full of concern for the people of Kuru (the Pāṇḍava) and the people of Madhu (Mathurā and Vṛṇdāvana). He makes great efforts to keep his glances upon the people of Dvārakā but from time to time cannot help but allow his eyes to move away from them and towards Kuru and Mathurā. When this happens, the people of Dvārakā become very, very anxious. Each moment that Kṛṣṇa’s glance is not upon them drags out for millions of years. Not seeing Kṛṣṇa’s satisfied glance, they think their eyes have become blind – like eyes in the absence of light. This addiction for the satisfied recognition of Kṛṣṇa is a trademark shared by all self-realized personalists, and which becomes more and more intense the more intimate the realization becomes. Śrī Caitanya expressed this same sentiment very poignantly in his eight-verse poem: “Moments become like ages… Floods pour from my eyes… The world becomes empty… without Govinda.”

If even the anticipation of Kṛṣṇa’s departure causes such anxiety, how could the residents of Dvārakā survived the long months he was away during the war? They simply could not have. Therefore Kṛṣṇa never leaves his devotee. He is within and without everything. Once one has tangibly and directly established a relationship with him, that relationship is never lost. If he is not present physically, he is even more present emotionally.

Kṛṣṇa fulfilled everyone’s desires by abundantly showering each and every one with sweet glances of heartfelt affection as they all moved towards the edge of the city itself. This sort of attentiveness is why Kṛṣṇa is called the “Nourisher of Lovers” (bhakta-vatsala).

 


Flutes and Conch-shells, and Expressions of Inner Joy

1.10.36

When the sun would set into the ocean in the west, overtook by evening, Hari would rest. In each place the people came to see him and give him gifts.

1.11.1

Drawing neigh to his own very prosperous city in the Land of Plenty (ānartā), he resounded upon his wondrous conch just to relieve the worries of the citizens.

2

Though the bowl of that conch was white, it became brilliantly reddened by the redness of the Great Adventurer’s lips. While resounding in the grip of his lotus-like hand, it was like a swan singing among lotuses.

The conch shell blushed when kissed by Kṛṣṇa, and radiated an exquisite beauty when touched by his hand.

3

Hearing that sound, which causes all fears to flee, all the citizens ran quickly towards it; greedy to see their protector.

Kṛṣṇa’s conch seems to act upon the residents of Dvārakā very similarly to how his flute acts upon the Gopīs. We can attempt to gain access to these sounds by listening attentively to the sound of Kīrtana.

4

They gave him many gifts, which is like giving a candle to the sun because he is self-blissful and all his desires are completely fulfilled by the his own means, incessantly.

The sun can be respected by offering it a candle. If you think about it for a second, the sun doesn’t need any extra light and neither does the person standing before the sun with the candle. The candle is not “needed” it is simply a vehicle expressing respect. This candle is exactly analogous to the actions of divine love. Neither the divine lover nor the divine beloved actually need anything, both are already completely satisfied and full by dint of divine love itself. A person in divine love is already completely fulfilled, like a person standing before the Sun is effortlessly bathed in light. In the absence of divine love’s light, all actions result from a need to cover or fill some horrible emptiness inside. The sun-drenched actions of divine love may appear very similar, but have a completely different foundation, because they exist not to fill an inner void but to express and amplify an inner fullness of joy and bliss.

5

Their faces made cheerful by love, they spoke eager and stammering words – like children to their ever-caring father.


Kṛṣṇa’s Itinerary from Hastināpura to Dvārakā

1.10.32

The Foeless king sent four squadrons of guards to accompany Madhu’s Enemy, desiring out of affection to protect him.

33

Overwhelmed by the impending separation from the god, the Kurus followed him for a great distance. But he affectionately yet firmly persuaded them to return. Then he continued towards his beloved home city.

34-35

In the lands of the Kurus he went through the Kuru Jungle (kuru-jāñgala), and along the Yamunā river past Fivelands (pāñcāla),  Godsland (śūrasena), to Creatorsland (brahmā-varta). Then he passed the Fisherlands (matsya) and went through the dry desert s towards the Sarasvatī river. There he entered Heroic Country (Sauvīra) at the Powerful City (abhīra) and finally came to the Land of Plenty (ānartā). O Bhārgava, the horses seemed to become weary at the end of the long journey.

Here is the route Kṛṣṇa traveled from Hastinapura to Dvaraka. He followed rivers as much as possible, and crossed the desert directly and in a hurry.

In modern geography, Hastinapura is north of Delhi, and the jungles to its west (whatever little remain, since the desert has spread over the centuries) are now the eastern part of Haryana. Pāñcāla a confederacy of five clans between the Ganges and Yamuna, which would now be considered part of Uttara Khandha. Godsland, the land of Brahmā (brahma-varta) is south of there and probably centered around modern Kanpur (of Rajasthana). From there Kṛṣṇa went through the Fisherlands (matsya) which was a province founded by fishers on the Yamuna, and represented the entrance into the deserts of Rajasthan – probably passing what is now Jaipur. The country of Heroes is now Pakistan. Abhira has no major city near it now but is the border of India and Pakistan along the Sarasvati river in the direction of Pakistani Hyderabad, coming from Rajasthani deserts. There Kṛṣṇa moved south along the Sarasvati river coming to Anarta – the land of plenty, which is now essentially the north eastern border of Gujarat. From there Kṛṣṇa could proceed the last easy stretch westward towards his home city, Dvārakā, which is now under water.

Krsna's Approximate Route from Hastinapura to Dvaraka


Philosophy in the City – Part 4

1.10.27

Aho! Rising higher than the fame of heaven
The Land of Kusha Grass raises the virtuous fame of the earth.
It’s citizens always see the kindness-laden smiling glance
Of the soul’s true husband.

The “Land of Kusha Grass” (kuśasthali) is Kṛṣṇa’s home city, Dvārakā. The citizens of Dvārakā are more celebrated than the citizens of heaven, because in Dvārakā the blessing-filled, pleasant and loving glances of Kṛṣṇa – the soul’s true husband – are always seen.

28

In their previous lives, certainly his queens must have
Perfectly worshiped the Master with vows involving rituals, baths, and so on;
For these women drink, again and again, the heavenly nectar of his lips,
The mere hope for which causes the women of Vraja to faint.

Much of what the ladies discus, especially in texts 27 and 28, directly mocks the foolishness of the Vedic priests who were chanting benedictions, hymns, and mantras while Kṛṣṇa makes ready to depart. The heavenly planets and the nectar of immortality found there are primary objectives of Vedic rituals, but these girls are ridiculing those objectives in comparison to what is easily and automatically found in Kṛṣṇa.

They said that the everyone present is more fortunate than anyone else in the three worlds, because the Supreme Being playfully walks among them. Then they said, “He is only here temporarily, imagine the glory of his home city, Dvārakā! The residents there are truly fortunate because they regularly get what we rarely get. The glory of that place belittles the attractions of heaven!”

Then another lady continues the theme, “All those residents are fortunate because they experience the glance of Kṛṣṇa, but imagine the queens there, who always drink the nectar of his lips!!! Such nectar makes the nectar of heaven seem like old coffee!”

Then another says, “But my friends, best of all are the women of Vraja – where Kṛṣṇa was unreservedly intimate. Their love for him is so great that they swoon from the taste of that nectar without even needing to physically have it!”


Royal Assassination Attempt

1.8.8

O brahmana, as soon as Kṛṣṇa sat upon his chariot and was about to start towards Dvārakā he saw panic stricken Uttarā coming towards him.

Uttarā is the wife of Abhimanyu (son of Arjuna & Kṛṣṇa’s sister, Subhadra), future mother of Parīkṣit.

Dvārakā is Kṛṣṇa’s own city.

9-10

Uttarā said:

Protect me! Protect me great mystic; god of gods, and protector of the universe! I see no one but you who can drive away my fear in this world of repeated death! My powerful lord, a blazing metallic ray advances upon me! It can burn me, master, but don’t let it harm the baby in my womb!

11

Sūta said:

The All-Attractive, ever affectionate towards the devoted, heard her words and understood that Droṇa’s son had sent forth this weapon to finish the Pāṇḍava dynasty.

12

O best of scholars, seeing a blaze coming their way the five Pāṇḍava brothers took up their five weapons.

13-16

Seeing that he was their only hope of being saved from this danger, the Great One took up his own weapon, the Sudarśan Disc, which protects his people. He is the soul within the soul of all living beings, so Hari, the master of all mysticism, used his own mystical power to shield the womb of the daughter of Virāṭ and save the Kuru dynasty. Even though the ultimate weapon is unstoppable and inescapable, when confronted by the power of Viṣṇu it was neutralized. Don’t think this is impossible! All impossibilities reside within the Infallible! By his divine mysticism everything is created, maintained and destroyed.

Aśvatthāmā, Droṇa’s son, is the same vile man who decapitated the five sleeping sons of the Pāṇḍavas and then recklessly let loose an uncontrolled nuclear-like explosion in a last-ditch attempt to save his own skin. The Pāṇḍava’s spared his life and let him go with a mere reprimand. His contemptible spirit did not reform, however. He brooded constantly on how to destroy the royal family who had defeated and humiliated him.

He knew it would be impossible while Kṛṣṇa remained nearby, so he waited and waited for Hari to depart. He saw an ideal opportunity the moment Kṛṣṇa began to leave – for all the Pāṇḍava men and their unborn child were together in the same place. In a passionate haste this despicable wretch again sent forth the ultimate weapon in an uncontrolled blast.

Uttarā saw the approaching weapon first and turned, panic-stricken, to Kṛṣṇa for help. The Pāṇḍava’s instinctively reached for their own weapons, but Kṛṣṇa knew that such weapons were useless now, and there was no time for any other approach. So he took up his own weapon, the great discus of Viṣṇu which drew the perilous blast into its vortex and neutralized it. This saved the Pāṇḍavas, but an unborn child is very sensitive and easily injured. To give special protection to this child in Uttarā’s womb, Kṛṣṇa used his mystical power – which is within every atom as the soul of every soul – to form a shield around the womb and absorb the radiation from the blast.

To us, the entire story is fantastic. But to the sages hearing this story from Sūta, many of the details were contemporary and immediately real. The powerful weapons of ancient warriors, for example, were practical realities to them. So gestures of disbelief showed on some of their faces. “That weapon is unstoppable except by another instance of itself! How could it have suddenly been dispelled, and even a fetus was not injured in the blast!?”

Sūta politely reprimanded their disbelief by reminding them that Kṛṣṇa is Viṣṇu, not another ordinary warrior. Nothing is impossible for Viṣṇu’s magic to destroy, because by this magic the entire universe (what to speak of a comparatively miniscule explosion within it) is destroyed, and created and maintained as well.

Now we have been introduced for the first time to Parīkṣit, the person to whom and for whom this book Śrīmad Bhāgavatam was spoken. We are introduced to a person who was protected and embraced by Kṛṣṇa while he was still in the womb.

English: "Uttara and Abhimanyu," as ...

Uttara and Abhimanyu, as Abhumanyu leaves for the war

Krishna holding the weapon of Visnu in his right hand.