Tag Archives: Hastinapur

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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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


Krishna: The Sexiest Man in the Universe (Conclusion of “Philosophy in the City”)

29-30

He took her from the midst of very powerful heroes headed by King Caidya [Śiśupāla] who were competing for her hand in marriage, belittling them all. He took others in a similar manner. So he has many children like Pradyumna and Sāmba. He even took thousands of women at once by killing Bhauma. They were no longer single, no longer pure, but oh how perfectly they express the highest aspirations of femininity! The Lotus-Eyed Husband always stays within their homes, with heartfelt gifts and caresses.

“He took her” refers to Kṛṣṇa’s first queen, Rukmiṇī. “He took others” refers to Satyabhāmā and Jāmbavatī. “Thousands” refers to all the women who had been kidnapped into the harem of King Bhauma. Kṛṣṇa killed Bhauma to rescue these women. Having been members of the harem, they were no longer good candidates for marriage, but Kṛṣṇa ignored such formalities and married them all.

A significant portion of male attractiveness lies in heroism and strength, which represents his capacity to defeat other men and thus protect women and children from harassment. Here, the city ladies appreciate the unparalleled extent to which Kṛṣṇa, the ultimate and original male, displays such heroic and manly attractiveness by boldly belittling and destroying other men to claim his brides.

Most of the remaining portion of male attractiveness lies in his ability to be gentle and sensitive to a woman. Truly attractive men (among whom even the most legendary cannot hold a candle to Kṛṣṇa) are bold and aggressive when appropriate, but gentle and sensitive at other times.

The city girls appreciate Kṛṣṇa’s gentleness as well as his boldness. He paid loving attention to each and every one of his thousands of wives. It is difficult for one man to pay sufficient attention to even two or three women, but Kṛṣṇa did so for thousands. Kṛṣṇa is the original Godhead and his form is formlessness itself. Thus he easily exists in thousands of different places simultaneously. In fact, because Kṛṣṇa is omnipresent he never leaves his beloved consorts. Even when he was on the chariot in the road of Hastinapura, he still remained with his wives in their palaces. And while at home with them the scene is always one of intimate, heartfelt love expressed through carefully chosen gifts and gentle caresses.

Female attractiveness – the real sort, which makes a man see a woman as wife, not a date – mainly depends on the purity of her love and devotion, for these are the qualities than enable a woman to repair and mend the troubles of men and children. Women from the harem of a fallen king would not exactly seem to be emblems of pure loving fidelity and devotion. But Kṛṣṇa was deeply attracted to all of them, and flaunted all social convention to marry them. Why? It is because they possessed the most attractive quality of all – abject devotion and love of the All-Attractive. This quality is the perfection of devotion, and therefore the perfection of femininity. The women liberated from Bhauma’s harem were therefore exemplars of the highest virtues of femininity.

The number of wives and children of Kṛṣṇa is impossible, of course, because Kṛṣṇa himself is impossibility in reality. He is the unlimited being. Numbers are insignificant in regards to his unfathomable dimension.

31

Hearing all this talk from the city ladies, Hari sent them his blissful glance and smile. Then he departed.

An ordinary human cannot hear the chatter of women on the rooftops when he is surrounded by drums and trumpets and crowds. But Kṛṣṇa is Paramātmā, the spiritual substance linking every ear to every soul. Thus he can easily hear everything and anything. The last thing he did before his chariot left the city is cast a love-laden, smiling glance upon the dear women who were speaking so affectionately about him.

One can hardly imagine the surge of bliss felt by those women upon receiving such a glance.

To summarize the salient points raised by the ladies of Hastinapura:

  1. Kṛṣṇa is the Complete Original Male who alone exists. Everything else is his energy, which flows out from and returns into him. The ladies wish to return into him in a highly intimate and personal manner, which is far superior to the impersonal and tasteless manner conceived by yogis and priests.
  2. Kṛṣṇa is more virile than any other man – from his seed comes all the life born from the womb of the material and spiritual worlds.
  3. Kṛṣṇa is not merely attractive to young, impressionable girls – the gods and godly strive to purify their hearts of selfishness so they too can see him as these girls do.
  4. Kṛṣṇa is the most enjoyable topic for song, poems, and even for chit-chat.
  5. The more intimately one embraces Kṛṣṇa, the more intimately Kṛṣṇa reveals himself. Understanding him in his officious feature as the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the universes is only the beginning of tasting what he truly is.
  6. Understanding the motive of his actions as the will to balance good and bad in the world is only the beginning of knowing the real inspiration behind his deeds.
  7. These ladies are fortunate to see him, but his family is more fortunate. He no longer lives with his family, though, so the residents of his city are even more fortunate because they regularly see him. Most fortunate of all those citizens are his queens, who always drink the nectar of his lips. But most fortunate of all his lovers are the cowherd girls of Vrindavana, who are so deeply and constantly connected to Kṛṣṇa that the mere hope of his kiss brings realization of Kṛṣṇa deeper than the queens can taste in thousands of kisses. So the ultimate hope of the ladies of Hastinapura  is to gain a place, any place, among these cowherd girls.
  8. Kṛṣṇa is infinitely more attractive than any other brave and heroic man, and infinitely more attentive a lover than any doting gentleman.

It is very difficult to argue with these sublime conclusions.

How The Cowherd Girls of Vrindavana Always Relish Krishna, and Visa Versa, even when they are not apparently together.


Philosophy in the City

Kṛṣṇa is leaving Hastinapura amidst an extremely emotional outpouring of affection. The narrator, Sūta, chooses to ignore the benedictive hymns of scholastic priests and focuses our attention instead upon the chatter and gossip going on between the women of the city as Kṛṣṇa’s chariot moves onto the road.

1.10.21

This man is most certainly the Complete Original Male,
Who singularly existed in the beginning as the self without differentiation.
All variations spring from him, the master and soul of the universe.
All energies return into him in slumber.

I did not expect that the chatter and gossip of city women to be so philosophical, but that is exactly the point Sūta infers by focusing our attention on them and not the priests. True knowledge requires affection. We can never know something as deeply and thoroughly as when we are completely dedicated and devoted to it. Thus people who are deeply in love with the All-Attractive wind up with  philosophical understandings far deeper than philosophers who are mainly in love with the philosophical process itself, or priests who are mainly in love with the accoutrements of religion, ritual and ecclesiastical governances.

But their philosophy is strongly marked by romantic perfume.

They point to Kṛṣṇa with graceful hands and love-laden glances, saying, “That man is unlike all other men! He is the Complete Original Male!”

“What do you mean by that?” One lady asks excitedly.

“It means,” another answers, glancing over her shoulder again at Kṛṣṇa, “that he and he alone existed in the very beginning of things.”

“Tell me more!” Cries another.

Eyes fixed upon Kṛṣṇa sitting on his chariot amidst all the flowers they had showered from the rooftops, one of the women explained to the others. “In the beginning was only him, existing as an undifferentiated, non-relativistic quantum of self.”

In a breathy tone, one lady protests, “Oh but how could an ‘undifferentiated entity,’ as you say, be as handsome and attractive as Kṛṣṇa???”

Inspired by love, the central woman continues to explain. “This singular, absolute self,” she says, gesturing as if in a dance towards Kṛṣṇa, “expands into all the differentiations, individualities and relativities that we see all around us, and more.”

“But why?” asks a lady barely able to think in her swoon as Kṛṣṇa’s driver takes up the reigns.

“I will explain it in words, but everyone already knows it well from practical experience:

  • To exist is to experience
  • The height of experience is in pleasure
  • The height of pleasure is in love
  • Love is realized through relationships involving varieties of situations

“That is why the original singular existence, full of experiential potency, manifests all varieties of people, things and relationships via his unlimited energies.”

Satisfied, all the ladies fell silent for some moments, gazing upon the beauty and charms of the All-Attractive. All the energies of their being flowed like rivers from their hearts through their eyes, and merged lovingly into the ocean of sweetness, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The lady who started the topic spoke again to bring it full circle. “Since all things come from him, all things yearn to return to him. All energy must complete its circuit. So, my friends, all us of only exist for him. When we give all our energy and being to him, the circuit is complete and we feel peace and satisfaction, similar to the deepest sleep.”

“Do you mean,” asks another lady, “that we must merge back into the source from which we have come? Is that why we are so hopelessly and completely attracted to Kṛṣṇa?”

“Yes,” the main woman answers with a very suggestive flicker of her eyebrows, “we must merge ourselves into him, my dear!”

Another woman now speaks up, “Just look at those bald-headed priests! They are sitting so calmly chanting mantras and hymns. What is that all about!? To them, the idea of ‘merging back into the original self’ means complete annihilation of their miserable existence! In so doing they do not please the Original Husband at all. They merely erase themselves from displeasing him – which I suppose is better… than… nothing… If you get my pun.”

Amidst laughter, the women continued, “Yes, The Original One made us individuals because he wanted individuals – so he could share the bliss of love. How odd that those called doctors and scholars can’t understand such simple things! Fools who know nothing of the ways and powers of love seek to lose their differentiation by ending their individuality. Ha! We ladies are no such fools, are we!? I think we alone have the right idea about how to ‘merge’ with that man in ‘sleep’! We will lose our differentiation from him in the heights of that love.”