Tag Archives: Vasudeva

Enlightened by Krishna’s Kiss

I have finished the first draft of Chapter Four of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume 2. I will celebrate by explaining a little bit about this chapter, and quoting you one of my favorite ślokas from it.

radha_and_krishna_love_and_longing_be53The Fourth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s Second “Canto” is mainly about this:

King Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Goswāmī to answer a question, “What is the most important thing to do, especially since I am about to die?” Śuka answered that in the first three chapters in such a complete and thorough manner that Parīkṣit and all who were listening were astonished. Parīkṣit did not want the discussion to end, even though his question had been completely satisfied, so he asked more questions.

Since Śuka had told him that he had enough time left in his life to be systematic and sequential in his approach to hearing about Krishna, Parīkṣit began by asking questions that are not inherently “intimate” or “advanced” yet nonetheless are fascinating, delightful, and essential for properly understanding the essential nature of Krishna. He asked several specific questions about how the universe exists, and admitted that it is basically impossible for anyone to answer such questions.

Śuka would then ask how he could be expected to reply properly, so Parikṣit explained that those who are intimately connected with the All-Attractive by the link of heartfelt devotion can comprehend the incomprehensible due to their direct proximity to the Divine.

Accepting this, Śuka set out to answer Parikṣit’s questions. He began by evoking his proximity to the Divine by glorifying Krishna and confirming that divine knowledge comes from his favor alone. One śloka he spoke towards the very end of the chapter (śloka 24) is a particular favorite of mine. I would like to share it with you.

My respects to the All-Attractive Son of Vasudeva. The affectionate souls who drink the delicate taste emanating from his lotus-like lips become full of knowledge and can create the Veda.

Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes Viśvanātha Cakravartī when explaining this śloka: On one level it refers to Vyāsa, Śuka’s father. On another level it can refer to Brahmā. On still another level it refers to the Gopīs, who become full of all artistic excellence and knowledge simply by receiving the kiss of Krishna.

Knowledge comes from the divine. It emanates from the mouth of the All-Attractive. Generally we think of words emanating from the mouth – and this is how Brahmā and Vyāsa received comprehension of the incomprehensible: by hearing the words spoken from the mouth of the All-Attractive. They then became capable of creating books of true knowledge: the Veda. But words are not all that emanates from the mouth. Kisses also come from there. The gopīs enjoy Krishna’s kisses, and thus they become infinitely surcharged with extremely powerful and abundant knowledge and expertise in all subjects – from philosophy to sciences to arts such as dance, music, cooking, poetry, cosmetics, fashion, etc.

We who are very low and ordinary souls also have the chance to taste Krishna’s kisses and become thus surcharged. But, in our thick stupidity we tend to ignore this opportunity or not pay much attention to it. How can we fools taste Krishna’s kisses? It is very simple – chant Krishna’s names, and Krishna then comes in contact with your lips. You are kissing Krishna!

Be aware of this intimatcy and you will become fully enlightened, like Vyāsa, Brahmā and the Gopīs.

“Hare Krishna”

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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.


The Flaws of the Vedas (II)

After directly and indirectly compiling the four Vedas, the histories, their expansions, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, and the Vedanta Sutra Vyasa still felt incomplete. The divine sage Narada Muni arrived to help him understand why. (This story is told in the Srimad Bhagavata Purana 1.5)

Nārada answered with the same direct honesty as before: “Basically, you neglected to voice the spotless fame of the All-Attractive. I think any such philosophical system is inferior, and cannot really satisfy anyone!”

Vyāsa would think, “But I did glorify the all-attractive throughout all my works!”

So Nārada continues, “O Best of Scholars, again and again you lauded morality and the like as being the true goals of life. Comparatively speaking, how much attention did you give to the greatness of Vasudeva’s son?”

Vyāsa was silent in the face of this truth.

Seeing his acceptance of the facts, Nārada spoke out even more strongly. “What is the use of all the words you have written!? No matter how wondrous or poetic such words might be, since they do not pronounce the fame of Hari – who purifies everything – I think your words are trash; playgrounds for the crows. Beautiful spiritual swans take no delight in them!

“If you would have given your words instead to pronouncing his all-attractive names and limitless fame you would have truly revolutionized the miseries of humanity! Even if each and every line would have been full of flaws, great souls would embrace them, listen to them, and sing them!”


Defining the Unlimited

18

Sūta said:

Oh! My unusual birth has now become meaningful, for I have this opportunity to serve the learned elders.  To speak intimately with great souls quickly purifies the faults and sufferings one is born into.

What is Sūta’s “unusual birth”? It may be literal, since the word sūta also refers to an unusual caste in which the father is a warrior (kṣatriya) and the mother an intellectual (brāhmaṇa). Members of this caste usually became bards and poets. Another reason Sūta’s birth is “unusual” and “faulty” is that his father, Romaharsana, insulted Krishna’s brother, Balarāma. He sees this opportunity to glorify Krishna and Balarāma the ideal way to atone for this undesirable element in his ancestry. Finally, everyone’s birth is “unusual” and “faulty” – for the soul ought not repeatedly change identities! Everyone’s misfortune in this regard will be quickly purified by discussing the stories we are about to tell.

19

Why? Because then one will proclaim the name of the singular refuge of those great souls, who is called “Unlimited” because his all-attractive potencies and excellent qualities are unlimited!?

Why is heart-to-heart conversation with great souls so spiritually purifying? It is because the topic of discussion invariably turns towards the Unlimited All-Attractive.

20

So how can anyone define the immeasurable qualities of he who rests upon the unlimited? The divine goddess ignores all those who petition her and, unrequested, serves the dust of his feet.

The potencies and qualities of the All-Attractive are unlimited. When we hear that “he rests upon the unlimited,” we envision Viṣṇu beyond the borders of the universe reclining on the sea-dragon named Ananta (“unlimited”). It is an image which communicates the fact that his very being exists on the foundation of infinity.

So how can anyone define or delimit Viṣṇu and his qualities by conversation? Still one is hopelessly attracted to the effort, much like the supreme goddesses, who ignore those who bring her presents and prayers, and instead flock unrequested to attend upon the outskirts of such discussions.

21

The water flowing from his toenails is collected by the creator (Brahmā), who uses it to honorably purify the destroyer (Śiva). Who else in the world besides the Lotus-Face could be worthy of the name and position of “All-Attractive”?

There are, truly, so many amazing people among humans and gods and others. But who is worthy of the title “All-Attractive”? It is only he whose face is like the most beautiful flower, whom the goddess flock to, whom the gods worship. We will hear a story much later in this tale, that Viṣṇu once took three cosmic strides. The third created a fracture in the shell of the universe, and the water from the ocean of causality streamed down from the polestar, through the Milky Way, and eventually onto the earth as the Ganges river. This is the water that “flows from his toenails.”

22

Those in love with him suddenly become very deep. Going beyond the embrace of their bodies they attain the highest perfections, in which nonviolence and tranquility are natural.

The purifying power of devotion of the All-Attractive is powerful and uniquely swift, “sudden.” Without such devotion one toils with great delay to develop good qualities like non-violence and tranquility.

23

You are like Aryamān, so whatever you ask I will grant. I will speak as far as my knowledge will allow. Birds fly as high as they can into the sky, like the learned towards Viṣṇu.

Aryamān is the Vedic god who empowers a man to ask a father for his daughter in marriage. It is a very difficult request to accept, because a father very dearly loves his daughter and feels very reluctant to entrust her care to anyone else. Therefore the would-be groom must appeal to Aryamān for divine help. One should give whatever is asked for in the name and with the sanction of Aryamān. Sūta considered the sages to be representatives of Aryamān, because their inquiries were so blessed and divine. Therefore he felt honor-bound to give them what they had asked for.

The sages, headed by the elderly Śaunaka, requested Sūta to tell them all about the All-Attractive son of Vasudeva, Krishna. Sūta says that it is impossible to properly describe Krishna because he is naturally unlimited in qualities and nature. He is All-Attractive. Our efforts to describe and comprehend Krishna are like the effort of a bird to fly in the sky. It is natural for the bird, and delightful – but still it is impossible for a bird to reach the limit of the sky.

The tales of the All-Attractive told by Sūta in this beautiful book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam are sublime. They represent the intimate vision and realization of the most highly elevated souls. Still, Sūta admits that this book cannot define or delimit the Unlimited. This book will point our attention towards Krishna. Our consciousness then will absorb the downpour of blissful and enlightened energy radiating from him and thus become empowered to directly and impossibly comprehend the tangible reality of Śrī Krishna.

As a lightning rod attracts lightning, without creating or containing the it, this book attracts our consciousness to the All-Attractive. It is the greatest blessing of Indian thought. May we dive into it with wild joy and abandon.

This ends the introduction to Srimad Bhagavatam. From here the book itself begins, so we shall consider this the end of the first part, although traditionally that division is made one chapter after this.

Krishna and the gopis, from a Bhagavata Purana...

Krishna and the gopis, from a Bhagavata Purana manuscript c. 1760 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


How to Make Kali-Yuga the BEST of All the Ages

SB 1.18.5

While the kingdom of Abhimanyu’s superexcellent son remained intact, Kali could not expand and flourish anywhere.

Abhimanyu’s superexcellent son is King Pariksit.

6

But certainly Kali’s immorality began to flourish the instant he left the world, following the All-Attractive.

Parīkṣit gave Kali’s immorality five places of shelter in the world. But while Parīkṣit was king the world remained very disinterested in those five, and therefore Kali could not spread. The second he left the earth to join All-Attractive Śrī Krishna, however, the population began to wander towards the immoral bases of Kali’s influence, and thus the degradations of this age began to gain a foothold.

7

The King never hated Kali, because he was like a honey bee who takes the essence of a flower to produce wondrous honey. [In this age] Good deeds bear fruit quickly, and bad deeds are not taken very seriously.

Most of us are very superficial. Parīkṣit was not. His deep vision saw through the superficial degradations of Kali-yuga. He saw that even though it appears bad, there are good things about it. For example, any good deed done in this age has a magnified effect, while any bad thing is minimized. There is a logical psychological principle behind this; It is not a random statement. Sūta explains the logic in the next text.

8

The powerful do not fear the strong; The sober do not fear Kali. A wise person amongst the insane is like a tiger among men.

This explains why good deeds are amplified and bad deeds minimized during Kali-yuga. To be wise when everyone around you is in an insane panic is very noteworthy and makes one extremely great, like a tiger among men. If the environment around you is full of violence, you will not be criticized highly if you have to punch someone, but you will be praised greatly if you can accomplish something peaceful. Similarly if the environment around you is very peaceful and loving it is not so outstanding if you also do something peaceful, but you will be greatly condemned if you punch someone. In Kali Yuga immorality and madness is everywhere. Therefore no one should be harshly condemned for being immoral or bewildered, but if anyone does anything slightly good or gains any clarity whatsoever, it is extremely praiseworthy and potent.

So there is no need to fear Kali yuga. If one has the strength to go against the grain, Kali Yuga becomes the most advantageous epoch for spiritual progress.

9

I’ve said what I can in answer to your wonderful questions about Parīkṣit’s relationship with this discussion of Vasudeva’s son.

Sūta has said everything he can think of saying in response to the questions from the sages. They wanted to know about the participants in the story of Vasudeva’s son (Krishna). The story of Vasudeva’s son is this book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The main participants creating the book are Vyāsa, Śuka, and Parīkṣit. Several chapters ago Sūta finished answering the sages’ questions about Vyāsa. Now he feels that he is finished answering their questions about Parīkṣit as well.

10

Anyone who really wants the best for themselves should listen carefully whenever and wherever there is discussion of the All-Attractive, glorifying his amazing deeds that arise from his good qualities.

This cannot be overstated. And to understate this principle is to miss the entire point of what true sadhana (spiritual practice) is.


No Time for Jibber Jabber!!!

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.1

Sūta said:

Then, guided by the best of the twice-born, Parīkṣit governed the earth as a great devotee. Indeed, he developed all the great qualities foreseen by the astrologers when he was born.

“Twice-born” refers to a person with excellent education. The first birth is for the body, the second is for the mind. The word for “great devotee” is mahā-bhāgavata. This could be more elaborately translated as, “Great All-Attracted.” The word for “astrologers” is abhijāta-kovida, which could be more elaborately translated as, “experts in extrapolating the birth.”

2

He married Uttara’s daughter, Irāvatī. They had four children: Janamejaya, etc.

3

He held three horse sacrifices [aśvamedhā] by the Ganges. At these he gave abundant charity. He made Śaradvan’s son [Kṛpā] the master. There, the gods could came within the range of the senses.

4

Once, while victoriously travelling the world, he heroically used his power to arrest Kali, a low class man in the form of a king who was destroying the legs of a cow-couple.

Here, Kali refers to the personified kali-yuga. Pretention and fakery is his primary character trait. The cow-couple refers to the cow of Mother Earth and the bull of dharma. Dharma has four “legs” – pillars that hold up morality: truthfulness, simplicity, compassion, and cleanliness. In each age another leg is broken. The only leg that remains in Kali Yuga is truthfulness. The age itself pummels away at this leg so that it crumbles and is completely destroyed as the age progresses.

5

Śaunaka said:

During this victory travels, why did he arrest Kali, a low class man in a king’s costume beating the leg of a cow? O blessed one, please tell us about this if it is a part of what you wish to tell us about Kṛṣṇa.

Śaunaka is surprised that Parīkṣit merely arrested and did not kill such a dangerous person. But this verse is very special because it clearly shows the standard by which the Bhāgavatam was composed, and by which we must also present it. There are all sorts of topics covered in Bhāgavatam, but all of them have explicit and direct relevance to devotional discussion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Vasudeva’s son.

6

Those who drink the real nectar from his lotus-like feet have no interest in wasting their life on unreal jabbering.

7

My boy, short-lived human mortals who desire immortality should befriend the lord of death, who suspends his activities when invited to devotional discussions.

8

No one dies so long as the death-lord is present. That is why the great sages invited him here. Ho! Let us humans now drink the immortal nectar of words about the activities of Hari!

Śaunaka tells Sūta he would like to hear more details about Parīkṣit’s arrest of Kali, if and only insofar as such discussion involves Kṛṣṇa. He wants to drink the delicious nectar from the lotus-like feet of Kṛṣṇa, so he has no interest at all in wasting his life by jibber jabbering about illusions and unreal details. When one discusses Kṛṣṇa the lord of death, Yāma, himself comes to hear the delightful narrations suspending his normal activities. Thus one who submerges himself in Kṛṣṇa-kathā never dies, but goes on and on relishing the ever-new deliciousness of the All-Attractive. This is the poetic metaphor Śaunaka spontaneously composed.

9

Small, small-minded, and certainly with small lifespan; the people of this age sleep away their nights and work away their days for nothing.

Without the immortal nectar of Hari-kathā our short lives are wasted on nothing of importance; we become stunted in every way.


Transcending Death

41-42

He sacrificed his words and everything into his mind, and that into his life breath. He pressed that breath downward into death and sacrificed that into his five elements.  The five he wisely sacrificed to the triplicate, and that into the singular. All of these together as one self he sacrificed into the spiritual self, which is inexhaustible.

For a bear, the first part of hibernation is to withdraw into a cave. For a turtle, the first part of winter’s sleep is to withdraw its head and limbs into its shell. For a human, the first part of absolute renunciation is to mentally and emotionally withdraw oneself from the world step by step.

The self extends into the world step by step, and we can withdraw it along the same route in reverse. The withdrawal begins with all of the physical activities we perform with our senses. “Sacrificing these into the mind” means stopping all those activities and giving their energy to the mind. Next, we take all the contemplations, opinions, and desires of the mind and grind them all to a halt. The energy released by halting the ever-wandering mind is then placed into our life’s breath. Then we push the life’s breath downward, allowing death to begin taking claim of our body. When death claims the body, it recycles it by breaking it down into the chemical components that form it. There are five categories of components: called earth (solids), water (liquids), fire (energies), air (gasses), and ether (space).

The five elemental components are products of a “triplicate:” three types of energy that produces material phenomena. These three are sattva, rajas, and tamas. To fully relinquish ownership of our body, and go beyond an ordinary death we must consciously give the five components of our body back to the three energies that produced them. These three energies come from a singular substance, called mahat, which more or less is identical to the singularity that the majority of modern astronomers present as being the original source of everything in the universe. To transcend death we must further give the three energies back to the source from which we obtained them: the singularity.

Beyond the singularity is consciousness!

Thus the next phase of mental preparation for transcendence is to end the singularity by giving it back to the conscious self. The conscious self is not the ultimate root of being. There root of the conscious self is the All-Conscious Self. The final stage of dedication to transcendence is to give every energy that has been amalgamated into the conscious self and dedicate all of it fully to the All-Conscious Self, which is avyaye (inexhaustible) and therefore the original root of emanations.

Yudhiṣṭhira performed this mental dedication after fulfilling all his worldly responsibilities and duties and before taking any external dress or behavior of a renunciate.

43

Dressed in rags, not eating, binding his words, unbinding his hair, he began to see his spiritual form. Like an uncultured insane demon, he waited for and relied on no one and nothing. He listened to no one, as if he was deaf.

44

He went north, following the great souls who had gone before him for the same reasons. With no concept of time he went forward rapt in meditation upon the supreme spirit within his heart.

45-46

All his brothers decisively followed him, having seen that the immorality of Kali-yuga had embraced the relations of all the people of earth. They had done everything saintly and accomplished everything worldly. They knew the ultimate destination and origin of the soul. So, their minds always embraced the lotus-like feet of The Tranquil.

The chances of succeeding in premature absolute renunciation are exceedingly slim. That narrow margin is navigated only by those whose past lives are exceptional and rare. For the vast, vast majority of us, renunciation cannot be truly embraced without first fulfilling all our worldly responsibilities and thus exercise all our worldly desires in a way that simultaneously exorcises them.

The purpose of renunciation is to dedicate the soul into the all-soul, as explained previously in describing how Yudhiṣṭhira prepared himself for renunciation. The result of such dedication is that the soul is always rapt in loving embrace with the all-soul. Thus Sūta describes Yudhiṣṭhira as being rapt in such embrace in the core of his being, and here describes the contemplations of his brothers as constantly rapt in an embrace with vaikuṇṭha-caraṇāmbuja, the lotus-like feet of The Tranquil.

The Tranquil is a name for the spiritual Viṣṇu, Nārāyaṇa – who generates an atmosphere which is absolutely devoid of worry and anxiety.

47-48

That meditation of divine love liberated them into completely pure transcendental consciousness. This singular contemplation took them to the destination: Nārāyaṇa’s feet. They attained what is unattainable. Cleansed of the pollution of temporary, unreal, exploitive self-concepts, they went to the place beyond the Viraja River without changing their identities.

The world of Nārāyana is a place of absolute spiritual consciousness beyond the river “Viraja” (a flow of “passions” which contaminate consciousness towards selfishness). Yudhiṣṭhira and his brothers had already cleansed themselves of all such selfish conceptions, therefore they crossed the river without further transformations. They entered the spiritual sky with their same pure identities as Yudhiṣṭhira, etc.

49

Vidura also completely renounced his material self, in a place called Prabhāsa. His thoughts like clothes wrapped around Kṛṣṇa, he went to his own station surrounded by the Pitṛ.

Vidura was an incarnation of Yāma, the god of death. After finishing his term as Vidura he returned to his place among the exalted deceased (the Pitṛ) and resumed his responsibilities as Yāma. But as a result of his tenure as Vidura, his consciousness was now completely wrapped around Kṛṣṇa.

50

Draupadī too, fully aware that her husbands would not take care of her, gave her undivided attention to the All-Attractive son of Vasudeva, and went to him.

51

He who is interested in this tale of those who are beloved by the All-Attractive,
The departure of the children of Pāṇḍu for their ultimate destination,
Just hearing it, one gains purifying good fotune,
And gets perfected divine love for Hari.


Arjuna Recovers His Composure

SB 1.15.21

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

22-23

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

24-26

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

27

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

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

28

Sūta said:

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

29

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

30

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

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

 

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to ...

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

 


Is Krishna Gone?

— 22 —

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

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

23

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

24

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

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

25

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

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

Arjuna does not look up or answer.

26-27

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

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

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

28-29

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

What of Hṛdīka and his son?

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

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

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

30-31

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

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

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

32-33

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

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

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

34

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

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