Tag Archives: Kuru Kingdom

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.

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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.


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 Residents of Dvaraka Greet Krishna

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

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

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

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

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


A Real Leader Would Never…

SB 1.17.1

Sūta said:

Then the king saw an abandoned cow and bull, being beaten by a wicked man holding a club and dressed like a king.

2

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

3

The cow, who gives the milk of morality, became helpless and afraid as the low-class man smashed her legs. Bereft of her calves, tears streamed down her face. She looked emaciated and in dire need of grass.

Sadly, this scene can be seen almost everywhere nowadays. The mistreatment of animals, especially the gentle cow and bull, is a great disgrace and dishonor to the modern human race. Governments who allow such depravity are sub-human.

4-6

Upon his completely golden chariot, holding a bow, with words that sounded like the deep rumbling of clouds, the King inquired:

“Who are you!? What are you doing in this land that I protect!? You are strong yet you violently attack the weak!? The kingly clothes you wear are nothing but a costume, for such deeds are not those of a king!

“Are you here because Kṛṣṇa has gone far away, along with the wielder of Gāṇḍīva? You are guilty of attacking the innocent when you think no one is looking. You deserve to die!

Arjuna is the wielder of the powerful Gāṇḍīva bow.

7-8

“And you, a bull white like the roots of a lotus, moving on one leg with the others broken; are you a god taking this shape to show us the miserable future?

“Never before has anyone besides you come to such grief and tears in any part of the world protected by the arms of the Kings in the Kuru family.

9-11

“O child of Surabhi, here you should not have to fear harm from this wicked man! Mother, do not cry! Be blessed! I shall curb down all rogues!

“If anyone in his kingdom is terrorized by the sinful, oh saintly woman, his fame, longevity, fortune and final destination are bewildered and destroyed. This is the prime duty of a king: to remove the suffering of those who suffer. Therefore I shall kill this most worthless hater of creatures!”

In a poster condemning the consumption of beef...


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).

 


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