Tag Archives: Yadu

Noble Fury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the bull said nothing.

The king continued:

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

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

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


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

[2] Surabhi is the divine cow.


Conversation Between The Dharma Bull & The Earth Goddess Cow

Sūta began to tell the story of Parīkṣit arresting Kali:

While surveying the Kuru Jungle, Parīkṣit heard undesirable news: Kali had spread through the kingdom. Seeing this as an excellent opportunity for a fight, he took up his weapons and set out on a beautiful chariot, flying a lion-flag and yoked to brilliantly black horses, along with soldiers, horsemen, elephanteers and charioteers.

As he traveled, he brought order and strength to his lands.[1] Everywhere he went he always heard bards singing about his great ancestors, because their fame was involved with the glories of Kṛṣṇa. These songs often involved him, too: especially how Krishna rescued him from the powerful weapon of Aśvatthāma. He heard songs about the great affection between his family and Krishna’s family, due to their mutual love for Krishna.

Extremely satisfied by these songs his eyes opened wide with delighted love. In a very magnanimous mood, he gave the bards a great deal of money, clothing and jewelry.

Hearing how the universally obeyed Viṣṇu became a driver, ally, assistant, friend, messenger, guard, follower, and respecter of the beloved Pāṇḍavas made the king choked up with devotion for Viṣṇu’s lotus-like feet .

He thus passed many days enrapt in thoughts of his ancestors. But soon something very astonishing happened, which is what you wanted to know about:

The god of morality had taken the form of a bull, and was walking the only leg he still. He came upon the goddess of the earth, who had taken the form of a cow and was darkened under the shadow of grief, with tears covering her cheeks like a mother who has lost her child.

Dharma asked her:

Good lady, are you alright? Why has the shadow of grief darkened the face of your soul? Are you ill, Mother? Are you remembering of a long-lost friend?

Do you lament for my broken legs? Do you weep because wicked people will soon eat you? Are you depressed over the drought that will soon strike you when sacrifices to the gods cease?

Do you cry for the unsheltered women and children of the earth, who will be left for monsters to devour? Or because priests will speak only words, while their fraudulent behavior abandons spirituality in search of political power? Or because the politicians will bewilder themselves with bickering, while civilization declines into a mob mindlessly and randomly eating, drinking, living, bathing, and having sex?

O Mother, Hari descended to lighten your heaven burden. Take heart; remember all the deeds he did to save you! Or has this situation changed? O Mother, please tell me what is at the very root of your tears. Has fate, more powerful than any power, dissolved your treasure and good fortune, which the gods themselves desired?

Dharaṇī[2] replied:

Dear Dharma, whose four legs spread happiness throughout the worlds, I will enlighten you about all that you have asked.

Truthfulness, cleanliness, compassion, calmness, detachment, satisfaction, sincerity, introspection, restraint, austerity, fairness, learning…

Knowledge, dispassion, power, chivalry, influence, strength, morality, independence, expertise, beauty, steadfastness, and certainly kindness…

Ingenuity, gentility, good manners, willpower, vigor, fortune, depth, dedication, faithfulness, fame, honor, modesty…

…The All-Attractive always has all these and many other great qualities. No one else can ever hope to possess such greatness. He is the flag of good qualities and the palace of beauty herself.

You ask why I lament? I have just been robbed of his company; and in his absence I suddenly find the ills of Kali entering the world.

I lament not only for myself. This is also a disaster for you, and for the highest immortals, the gods, the forefathers, the sages, the saintly… it is a disaster for everyone.

You know that there is a goddess named Śrī; and that everyone including the creator, Brahmā, always struggles to obtain her carefree glance. But she has given herself wholly to the All-Attractive. Abandoning her home in the forests of lotuses she dedicates herself to lovingly caring for his blessed feet.

The soles of those same feet recently decorated my body with their prints – marked with a flag, spur, thunderbolt and lotus. Ah, with these ornaments my beauty and opulence excelled paradise itself! But now… he has left me… I suppose I must have been too proud of my good fortune?

He manifested his delightful body in the Yadu family to easily and independently rescue me from the extreme burden of hundreds of demonic armies. He empowered you to be free from the misery of your broken legs. Oh, who can bear to be without that supreme man!? His glances, pleasant smile and sweet words dispel the composure and pride of proud sweethearts. My hairs stood up to celebrate the touch of his feet!!!

While Pṛthivī[3] and Dharma were discussing Krishna in this way, the Philosopher-King Parīkṣit arrived at the eastward Sarasvatī river.


[1]  The text notes the following regions that Parīkṣit visited: eastward to Bhadrāśva, westward to Ketumāla, southward into Bhārata, and northward into Uttarakuru and the wild mountainous regions beyond, like Kimpuruṣa.

[2] Dharaṇī refers to the earth as the thing that holds everything and everyone up.

[3] Pṛthivī refers to the Earth as the great expanse which spreads from horizon to horizon and splits the vast sky.


The Love Affair Between Krishna and Mother Earth

SB 1.16.25

Dharaṇī said:

Dear Dharma, the four legs on which you stand spread happiness throughout the worlds. I will enlighten you about all that you have asked.

Dharaṇī refers to the earth as the thing that holds everything and everyone up.

The opulence and happiness we experience in life is equal to the amount of purity, simplicity, kindness and truthfulness we create. Previous ages have a higher standard of life because these four pillars of dharma are incrementally stronger during those ages.

26-30

Truthfulness, cleanliness, compassion, calmness, detachment, satisfaction, sincerity, introspection, restraint, austerity, fairness, learning…

Knowledge, dispassion, power, chivalry, influence, strength, principles, independence, expertise, beauty, steadfastness, and certainly kindness…

Ingenuity, gentility, good manners, willpower, vigor, strength, fortune, depth, dedication, faithfulness, fame, honor, modesty…

…The All-Attractive always has all these and many others great qualities. No one else can ever hope to possess such greatness. He is the flag of good qualities and the palace of beauty herself. I lament because I have just been robed of him; Now I see the ills of Kali in the world.

The world is full of so many serious problems, as Dharma summarized in his questions. But these problems only show themselves when Śrī Krishna is not seen. Therefore to most lamentable problem of all is to be without the company of Śrī Krishna.

31

I lament for myself, and for you too, and for the highest immortals, for the gods, for the forefathers, for the sages, for the saintly, and for people of all types and situations.

Mother Earth says here that without All-Attractive Krishna everything else that was once good becomes lamentable and pathetic. Morality is fruitless without the All-Attractive center. The higher and lower gods and ancestors are not worthy of worship nor have they any real power to bestow benedictions without the All-Attractive center. The sciences of sages become tangential, blurred and misled; the pursuit of saintliness is meaningless; the responsibilities of the stages of material and spiritual development (varnāśrama) are hollow without the All-Attractive center, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

32

Everyone including even Brahmā spends many days struggling in hopes of obtaining her carefree glance. But she, Goddess Śrī, gives herself to the All-Attractive. Abandoning her home in the forests of lotuses she dedicates herself to lovingly caring for his blessed feet!

33

The soles of those beautiful feet decorated my body with their prints – marked with a flag, spur, thunderbolt and lotus – and so decorated my beauty excelled anything within the three worlds and granted me opulences seen nowhere else! Now he has left me… In the end I must have become too proud of my good fortune.

It seems to me that the earth possesses the highest parakīya-madhurya-rāsa relationship with Krishna. We who mistreat the earth – from careless litter to global pollution – seem to be committing a serious transgression towards such an elevated being. We should tend to the earth with affection, knowing the intimacy of her love for Krishna and the pain that she must now feel in separation from him.

34

He manifested his delightful body in the Yadu family to easily and independently rescue me from the extreme burden of hundreds of armies of demoniac. He empowered you to be free from the misery of your broken legs.

In the presence of Krishna, the earth became more beautiful, opulent and fertile than paradise. All things sought by the gods in heaven became easily available on earth. All faults disappeared. Even the broken legs of morality were restored and there was full abundance of purity, simplicity, kindness, and truthfulness.

Mother Earth reveals that when All-Attractive Krishna is present, everything blossoms even beyond its own fullest inherent potential, but in the absence of Śrī Krishna, everything withers – despite whatever potential might be weeping within it.

35

Oh, who can bear to be without that supreme man!? His glances, pleasant smile and sweet words dispel the composure and pride of proud sweethearts. My hairs stood up to celebrate the touch of his feet!!!

The foremost “proud sweetheart” is Krishna’s beloved queen Satyabhāmā. Mother Earth, however, harbored some special pride because although Krishna sometimes had to leave the company of women like Satyabhāmā his feet would almost never leave the bosom of the earth. Perhaps she rationalizes that it is this pride which made Krishna less attracted to her, and capable of leaving her company?

36

While Pṛthivī and Dharma were discussing Krishna in this way, the Philosopher-King named Parīkṣit arrived at the eastward Sarasvatī river.

Pṛthivī refers to the Earth as the great expanse which spreads from horizon to horizon and splits the vast sky.

 


Arjuna’s Non-Duality

SB 1.15.31

Without grief and endowed with spirituality, he [Arjuna] completely cut off all dualistic doubts and dissolved them into energy that is unqualified by shapes and manifestations.

Confusion and grief arises due to dvaita, duality. In the final issue, duality means to consider the self different from Godhead. We are not identical to God, but God is identical to us. It may not be feasible to suitably explain this subtle spiritual principle here in words, which are subject to argument and interpretation. But if the sincere soul meditates upon this with eagerness to please Godhead by the endeavor, it will become clear.

Arjuna felt himself to be separated from Kṛṣṇa, therefore he plunged into extreme doubt and grief. But by deeply contemplating the wisdom he received from Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna was able to rid himself of the grief that arises from dualism. He got rid of the duality (daita-saṁśaya) by dissolving it into spiritual energy, an energy that is beyond qualification (līna prakṛti-nairguṇyāt) by shapes (alinga) and manifestations (asambhava). Specifically, Arjuna felt that Kṛṣṇa was gone simply because his shape could no longer be tangibly seen manifest in the world. He got rid of this ignorance by realizing that Kṛṣṇa is everywhere at all times. The knowledge of Bhagavad Gita helped him realize this.

When he attained this realization his lamentation was finished (viśoka) and in its place he became filled with a wealth of spirituality (brahma-sampattyā). Another interpretation may be that his lamentation became very special, and purely spiritual as a result of realizing the non-duality of Kṛṣṇa and his simultaneous absence and presence.

32

Yudhiṣṭhira was very troubled about the road taken by the All-Attractive and the destruction of the Yadu family. Feeling lonely and alone, he made up his mind to himself follow the same road.

33

When Pṛthā [Kuntī] heard the Wealth Winner [Arjuna] speak of the Yadu’s destruction and the final destination of the All-Attractive, with undeviating and nakedly soulful divine love for the transcendent All-Attractive she ceased her material existence.

Arjuna’s mother gave up her life in Bhakti-Yoga Samadhi when she heard the horrible news from Arjuna.

34-35

One removes a thorn using another thorn and then discards both. Similarly the Unborn took a body to remove the burdens of the world and then discarded both. He grasps the forms of a fish and so on and then lets go of them, just like a magician. When they have relieved the world of her burdens, he lets go of that body.

36

When the All-Attractive Lotus Face in this world let go of his body, which is the subject for spiritual discussion and praise, right then and there Kali appeared, causing ill-fortune and underdevelopment of the mind and intellect.

37

Yudhiṣṭhira comprehended that serpent crawling forth through his city, state, and his home and even his own person. He saw greed, falsehood, trickery, violence and so on forming a wheel of immorality. So, he made ready to leave.

38

He had educated his grandson to be as qualified as him, and enthroned him to reign in Gajāhvaye City as the emperor of all the earth bordered by the seas.

39

Then he made Vajra the king of Śūrasena, in Mathurā. Having fulfilled his duties as a householder, he became capable to follow the inner fire.

40

Letting go of everything, his exquisite clothing and jewelry, without sense of “mine” and without selfishness, he completely cut off unlimited relationships.


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)

 


Have you forever lost the friend of your very soul?

35-36

The Original Person reclines upon the ocean of the Yadu family with the original Ananta, for the benefit, protection and evolution of all the worlds. The Yadava are fit to live in his own city, protected by the scepters of his arms, and relishing pastimes of paramount bliss.

In these two verses the King very finely crafts a poetic metaphor. He compares Kṛṣṇa to Mahā-Viṣṇu, the Original Person who reclines upon the ocean of causality with a multi-headed dragon who is a form of his own unlimited energy (“ananta”), and from whom the worlds evolve and are preserved. The persons who live with this Mahā-Puruṣa (Viṣṇu) are exalted (Mahā-Pauruṣa), and by association they enjoy Viṣṇu’s own topmost spiritual bliss. The King says that the Yadu family is the ocean upon which Kṛṣṇa reclines as Viṣṇu and Bālarāma reclines as Ananta. Dvārakā is the world that evolves from this “Viṣṇu.” The people in Dvārakā Mahā-Pauruṣa who enjoy the topmost spiritual bliss.

37

Very attentively caring for his feet is the prime duty
Of the twice eight-thousand women headed by Satyabhāmā.
Undefeated when counted against the thrice-ten, claiming their treasures
And enjoying what belongs to the wives of the thunderbolt’s master.

Here, Yudhiṣṭhira breaks into more elaborate poetry to give an example to illustrate his previous statement that the people related to Kṛṣṇa are enjoying tremendously under his protection and blessings. There are roughly 16 thousand queens of Kṛṣṇa. There are roughly 30 important gods. Satyabhāmā is the queen who induced Kṛṣṇa to fight with the gods and take away a special tree with celestial flowers for her.

This continues the metaphor from the previous verses by stating that Kṛṣṇa’s 16 thousands queens are analogous to Lakṣmī, who always massages Viṣṇu’s legs and feet.

38

Always living under the protection of his scepter-arms,
The Yadava have become great heroes, ever fearless in every way.
So they strode in on foot and took by force
The Sudharmā assembly house, which belongs to the very best gods.

Yudhiṣṭhira continues to give examples of how those related to Kṛṣṇa enjoy life more fully than even the gods. Fearless and powerful due to the blessings and protection of Kṛṣṇa, the Yadus simply strode into heaven and took away Indra’s assembly hall by force. They brought it to Dvārakā for Kṛṣṇa to use and enjoy daily.

39-43

Dear brother, is your health OK? You look very pale and weak. Have you been disrespected and neglected during this long time you have been gone? Could someone have addressed you so carelessly and foully? Have they said they you did not give to a beggar, or did not fulfill a promise? Or that you did not give shelter to intellectuals, children, cows, the elderly, the sick, or women who came to you seeking it? Did you embrace one not fit to embrace, or did you mistreat a woman? Or maybe you were defeated by a person who was not your superior or peer? Or could it be that you dined alone, without also feeding the old and young? Have you done something horrible and unforgivable?

These are the basic moral principles by which an ancient prince of India lived. They valued respect and reputation and this was gained by being a good person and following codes like

  • always giving charity,
  • always fulfilling promises,
  • always taking care of anyone who needs caring for,
  • following principles regarding interaction with the opposite sex
  • never mistreating a woman
  • being undefeated by anyone junior
  • never eating before feeding others

Yudhiṣṭhira is giving one last hope towards there being some tolerable reason for Arjuna’s abject dejection. But Arjuna does not reply to any of these hopes. He merely cries more forcefully as tears pool on the ground beneath his lowered face.

44

“Alas! I have become a void, having forever lost the most beloved, heart-to-heart friend of my very soul.” Besides this thought, what else could be so troubling you?


What is Really a Holy Place?

1.13.1

Sūta said:

Vidura, while doing spiritual pilgrimage, learned about the soul from Maitreya and thus became extremely wise before returning to Hastināpura.

Sūta has just finished answering Śaunaka’s question about how Parīkṣit was born. Now he must answer the question about his deeds and death. To set the stage for this answer, he begins with a backstory related to Vidura.

Vidura is an uncle of the Pāṇḍava’s whose father was Vyāsa (on behalf of the King) but whose mother was a serving maid (it’s obviously a long and very interesting story). Nonetheless he was greatly respected by everyone in the family due to his humility and deep wisdom. The very name Vidura means “wise.” Vidura is not an ordinary person but a temporary incarnation of Yama, the god of death. Vidura tried passionately to stop his brother Dhṛtarāṣṭra from making the terrible Mahābhārata war happen. At a certain point, his brother got very annoyed with the constant good advice and insulted him in such a way that Vidura took the opportunity to leave the city and go on a spiritual pilgrimage.

The purpose of pilgrimage is not sightseeing. A holy place is not a location, but the worthy souls who exist at those locations. Vidura therefore sought out Maitreya, a greatly learned sage, and asked him all sorts of deep questions about the soul.

2

Vidura questioned Maitreya until he attained singular devotion for Govinda. Then he stopped.

Vidura felt that the ultimate goal of self-knowledge and self-realization is to fall singularly in divine love with the source of all bliss and pleasure, the All-Attractive Kṛṣṇa, “Govinda.” Therefore when he attained this state, there was no further need of inquiry from the sage.

3-4

His relatives – the son of Dharma with his younger brothers, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Yuyutsu [Sātyaki], and Sūta [Sañjaya],  Śāradvataḥ [Kṛpā], Pṛthā [Kunti], Gāndhārī, Draupadī, Subhadrā, Uttarā, Kṛpī and all the Pāṇḍava wives, relatives, children and women – saw him arriving.

5

The all went out to greet him, delighted as if life had suddenly returned to their bodies. They greeted him with embraces and respects, as appropriate.

6

Emotional tears of love were shed from the distress of separation from one another. The king arranged a very respectful seat and welcoming ceremony.

7

After feeding him and relaxing, seated pleasantly on a comfortable seat, the King began to speak very gently and humbly. Everyone listened.

8

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Do you remember how you raised us under your protective wing, saving us and our mother from so many disasters like poisons and fires?

9

Tell us about your pilgrimage. How did you do it? Where in the world did you go? What were the most worthy places you visited?

10

Devotees of the All-Attractive, like you, are themselves “holy places.” They make holy places holy because the Mace-Wielder resides within them.

This is quite an important and frequently quoted text. The only transcendental entity is the All-Attractive Godhead. Everything else is mundane (prakṛti). A person becomes transcendental when divine love brilliantly reveals the All-Attractive in their hearts. A place becomes transcendental due to the presence and influence of such persons. Thus transcendence moves like an electric current from Godhead through the lightning rod of the saintly into the earth itself: creating a holy place. Wherever a true saint resides is a sacred place. Even after a saint departs a place, the residual effect of their influence does not immediately dissipate.

11

Uncle, have you seen or heard news about our protectors and friends who always are enrapt in Kṛṣṇa? Are the Yadus and their city prospering?

This is a very heavy question, as we will see. It is the real question on the King’s mind since he cannot remove his thoughts from his beloved Kṛṣṇa.

 


Philosophy in the City – Part 3

24

This man, O friend, is certainly the most fitting topic for song,
The most intimate object known by the most intimate knowers.
He alone is the master of everything,
As his own play he creates, maintains and destroys it without attachment.

Another girl turns to a friend close by her side, tugs gently upon her arm and says, “Dear friend, that man is the real topic for love songs! Such songs are real spiritual discussion.”

“Ah,” answers her friend, “but who will write such songs?  The world is full instead of worthless hymns, mantras, poems, and lyrics.”

The girl answers quickly and confidently, “We will! And we will inspire others too! We are guhya-vādī – the most intimate philosophers. We alone know the Veda’s most intimate secret (vedeṣu guhyeṣu). That is why our gossip and chatter is better than any sermon, it is sat-katha! Those who listen to the lyrics we now weave will later expand them into new song!”

At this point, an older woman who was sitting a bit apart with folded arms finally expressed her growing dissatisfaction and suspicion of these young ladies, “Oh please,” she blurted out. “You are just ridiculously in love with that charismatic heartbreaker, that’s all. You are just lusty, pritter-prattering young urban girls. Why on earth are you insulting priests, scholars and real spiritualists by pretending to be some deep and mysterious philosophers and transcendentalists!?”

“Oh be quiet, you old crow!” Shout the young ladies in unison. “If you had half an ear you would already know the answer to your own question, for we have already explained all that. He is no ordinary charmer! He alone is the true master of everything in the universe! You people speak of gods of universal creation, maintenance and annihilation – but the truth is that all such things take place effortlessly as a result of his playful will!”

“Playful!?”  The old woman attempts to retort. “What could possibly be ‘playful’ about universal creation and destruction!?!?”

With a long sigh and quiet laugh, the girls said, “You really are thick-headed, grandma. Everything exists merely for the sake of joy, for play. All the sufferings and disasters in this world are our own doing, as a result of protest against our inherent nature to facilitate his play. Yes, we say this entire universe is nothing but play.”

Seeing the persistent sour look on the old woman’s face start to barely give way to curiosity, they invited her, “Unfold your arms, and come over here with us. Get a good clear view of our handsome Master. We think your dry old breasts will again perk up when you see him with your own eyes! And when your bosom blossoms with love for him you too will clearly see all these confidential secrets of reality kept hidden from those with eyes blinded by turning away from the sunlight of Godhead towards the darkness of ego.”

Opening their arms and waving her over, the encouraged, “Come dear woman, come…”

25

When immoral and dark-hearted kings thrive
Then, with his absolute goodness he manifests
Opulence, reality, truthfulness, compassion and fame
In many forms, aeon after aeon.

Now the old, reluctant woman has joined the young ladies and looks down upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa seated upon a fabulous chariot slowly rolling into the road in front of the palace. The young ladies help the old woman appreciate him by recounting a well-known philosophical principle of the time.

“You see that handsome man?” They gently ask her. “He is the one that scriptures say appears aeon after aeon in so many different forms for the sake of counteracting immorality and dark-heartedness by broadcasting his beautiful opulence, reality, truthfulness, compassion.”

26

Aho! How very praiseworthy is the Yadu family!
Aho! How very praiseworthy is the Sweet Forest!
The greatest person of all, the husband of the Goddess of Fortune,
Was born from them, and walked amongst them!

Now all the women, young and old, overcome with the ecstasy and deepest profound visions of divine love exclaim Kṛṣṇa’s glories in one voice: This man who walks among us is actually that All-Attractive godhead who sets the world aright age after age. How fortunate and lucky are we, therefore!

We often have “God” rammed down our throats, “now get down on your knees and fear his wrath, and be in awe of his power.” So, we are prone to misunderstand Kṛṣṇa as a self-centered being, imparting on him the imperfections of greed and hunger ingrained within our own mentalities. In fact Kṛṣṇa is a being of purely selfless love who purposefully invests other persons, places and things with the power to lift him to his highest heights. Thus the husband of the Goddess of Fortune decides to be born amongst simple cowherd people in the sweet forest of Madhu-vana, and be loved, raised, and even protected by them.

 


Conclusion of Queen Kunti’s Prayers

1.8.37

We are your bosom friends.
We live for you and you alone.
We hold your lotus-like feet above all else.
Can it be that you want to leave us today, O Lord of self-determined action,
Leave us to all our political problems?

Kuntī profoundly asks Kṛṣṇa not to leave.

38

What will become of us Pāṇḍava and Yadu,
With our big name and opulence, but without your audience?
The same that becomes of a lovely body
Without a soul.

39

None of this will have any of the beauty it has now,
O Mace-Wielder.
It is attractive only because your lotus-like footprints
Decorate it with their own decorations.

“Mace-Wielder” (Gadādhara) is a name of Kṛṣṇa as a warrior and identifying him as Viṣṇu, who carries a mace (club) in one hand.

40

All our towns, lands, herbs, and vegetables,
Forests, hills, rivers, and lakes
Flourish now,
Nourished by your glance.

41

So cut the ropes that bind my heart so deeply
To all my things, and to this family of Pāṇḍava and Vṛṣṇi.
O Universal Form! O Universal Soul!
O Universal Master!

Since everything beautiful in her life derives its beauty from its connection to Kṛṣṇa, Kuntī wants to have no affection for any of it, if Kṛṣṇa leaves it. In other words she asks for full realization that Kṛṣṇa is the source of beauty and sweetness in everything beautiful and sweet.

42

On you and you alone, O Sweet Protector
Let my attention be ceaselessly allured.
Like the flooding Ganges
Flowing straight to the sea.

“Madhu-pati,” the Sweet Protector, has a romantic connotation since madhu implies “honey” and pati is the word for husband.

43

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Friend of Kṛṣṇā, Bull among Bulls,
Tireless hero who destroys the royal dynasties that trouble the Earth.
Pleasure of our senses;
Your incarnations give refuge to cows, teachers, and gods.
Master of mystics; Guide of the World; All-Attractive…

…to you I give myself.

Kuntī brings her address to a close with this stunning spontaneous composition.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa: The “Śrī” in “Śrī Kṛṣṇa” means “beauty.” So it implies “Beautiful Kṛṣṇa.” Śrī further means the goddess of beauty, Lakṣmī . In the company of Kṛṣṇa Lakṣmī manifests her original and supreme form: Rādhā. So “Śrī Kṛṣṇa” further implies “Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.”

Friend of Kṛṣṇā: This choice of words allows Kuntī to say “Kṛṣṇa” twice and better satisfy her thirst for that sound. Several people are called Kṛṣṇā, especially Arjuna, Draupadī and Kuntī herself. So it is both sonically satisfying and personally relevant.

Bull among Bulls: Vṛṣṇi-ṛṣabha is a sophisticated alliteration. One meaning is that Kṛṣṇa is the most powerful (ṛṣabha) of his dynasty, the Vṛṣṇi. Another meaning is that Kṛṣṇa is the bull (ṛṣa) among bulls (vṛṣa), which means that he is the best and most powerful of all the best and most powerful men.

Tireless hero of the Earth: The Earth is the wife of Kṛṣṇa’s boar incarnation. Kṛṣṇa is her hero because he saves her from the militarism and exploitive opportunism of self-serving leaders and politicians. How? Sometimes by incarnating to personally annihilate them, but usually by allowing them to annihilate each other as a result of the fate which he enforces in his form as supreme time.

Pleasure of our senses: Kuntī intimately addresses Kṛṣṇa as Govinda, the one who delights the eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth.

She concludes in a stunning manner with a refrain back to her opening motif, “I give myself to you.”

Queen Kuntī is extremely intimate with Kṛṣṇa and her appreciation is for the romantic side of Kṛṣṇa. This is clear from the messages she sends to Kṛṣṇa just slightly below the surface of all her words:

  • She compares Kṛṣṇa to an attractive actor.
  • She makes a point to identify herself as female.
  • She refers to Kṛṣṇa in the romantic setting of Vṛṇdāvana, by calling him the Son of Nanda.
  • She calls him the “delight of her senses.”
  • She appreciates his attractive body: naval, eyes and finally even his feet.
  • As is important in the art of romantic communication, she indicates that she is aware of Kṛṣṇa’s special feelings for her.
  • She calls him her “protector” which, in Sanskrit (pati), is the same word used for “husband.”
  • She illustrates her highly philosophical points with reference to intimate Kṛṣṇa in Vṛṇdāvana, as the Son of Yaśodā.
  • She describes kīrtana with adjectives like “embracing” and “enjoying” the hearing, singing, and reminiscing of Kṛṣṇa.
  • She says she wants to love no one else, be attracted to no one else.
  • She twice refers to Kṛṣṇa in relation to Rādhā.
  • In this mood she wishes to give herself to him.

This certainly begs the question: is the relationship between Kuntī and Kṛṣṇa romantic (mādhurya-rasa)? The answer may not be clearly understood before we realize that the ideal cherished in one’s heart need not be forceful enough to fully manifest in ones deeds. What I feel is certain is that lovely and devoted Kuntī cherishes romantic affection for Kṛṣṇa above all else. She particularly adores the concept of Kṛṣṇa as her true husband. She even holds the highest reverence for Kṛṣṇa’s supremely intimate romance with Śrī Rādhā.

If these cherished ideals were forceful enough to grant her a place among his queens or Gopīs is unknown to me. But in her current shape as Kuntī it remains a heartfelt ideal, the deepest motive and most treasured emotion. We should realize that all self-realized souls cherish the intimate romantic love of Kṛṣṇa and his queens, Kṛṣṇa and the Gopīs, and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa above all else – regardless of the capacity or level of intimacy to which their personal nature permits them to access Kṛṣṇa.

I also wonder how much the sentiment of the storytellers influences the choice of words and the subtleties. I think that Kuntī holds these sentiments as the secret treasure of her heart, and the storytellers may make it more apparent due to their own deep sympathy for such feelings.

Kuntīs prayers teach us so many important things.

  • Kṛṣṇa is a Transcendent Person, which means that his delimiting features such as name and form are unlimited.
    • Illusion prevents us from accepting that this is possible.
    • Illusion is the product of not wanting Kṛṣṇa to be the Absolutely All-Attractive
    • Illusion is truly destroyed, therefore, only be becoming absolutely all-attracted to Kṛṣṇa, as Kuntī is.
  • There is no such thing as good and bad luck.
    • Good luck can separate one from the true fortune of attraction to the All-Attractive.
    • Bad luck can increase that fortune.
  • Kṛṣṇa refuses to become the property of anyone who holds on to any other property. He fully gives himself, however, to those who are uninterested in power and enjoyment, are self-satisfied, gentle and pure.
  • Kṛṣṇa is absolutely impartial.
    • Destiny is the absolutely impartial form of Kṛṣṇa
    • Receiving or not receiving affection from Kṛṣṇa is our decision.
  • The most significant reason Kṛṣṇa appears in our world is to provide us an opportunity to remember him and thus realize our full-potential as roles in the play of divine love.
  • Everything is beautiful and attractive only in so far as we are aware of its connection to all-beautiful, all-attractive Kṛṣṇa.
    • Therefore let us become attracted to him first and foremost, then everything will become beautiful.

Considering the sublimity of Kuntīs emotion and the profundity of her philosophical points, it is easy to see why Sūta chose her words as the first monologue he enunciated to the sages in pursuit of retelling Śuka’s Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.


Prayers of Queen Kunti, Part II

Kuntī previously expressed so much gratitude to Kṛṣṇa for taking special care of her through so many calamities. Kṛṣṇa might say, “First you say I am the Original Godhead and then you say I took so much care of you, but this is a contradiction because Godhead does not show partiality to anyone!” Fearing this objection, Kuntī speaks these words:

1.8.28-29

I know you as the master of time itself,
Infinite, without beginning or end.
You distribute yourself equally in all circumstances.
Friendship or enmity is something living beings create.

Who can understand the behavior of the All-Attractive?
People confuse you to be like them.
How could anyone be your object of favor or disfavor?
Impartiality exists only in the human mind.

Kuntī says, “You are infinite time.” Time is the force which allows events to transpire. All good and bad things therefore happen as a result of time. Time is therefore synonymous with the concept of fate, destiny, karma.

Destiny is completely impartial. It plays no favorites and gives no dispensations. It merely enforces the appropriate result of your freewill. If a soccer player commits a foul, the referee calls a penalty. Is it the referees fault or the players? If the same player scores a goal, the referee awards a point. Is this favoritism? No, it is impartiality. The good and bad one experiences from an impartial being are ones own creation. God is not to fame or fault for the pleasures and pains of the world. It is we alone who create our fortunes.

The love and protection Kṛṣṇa gave Kuntī and her family is equally available to everyone at anytime. It is up to us to choose friendship or enmity with the All-Attractive.

30

It is completely confusing
That the unborn, deedless soul of the universe
Takes birth and performs deeds
Among animals, humans, sages, and aquatics.

For example:

31

When you were naughty, the cowherd woman grasped for a rope.
Then, mascara ran in the tears flowing from your frightened eyes.
Your face looked down and fear filled you up.
This confuses me, since even the god of fear fears you!

Now  Kuntī will try to unravel the confusing mystery of why and how the unborn and deedless is born and has deeds:

32-36

Someone says the unborn is born
To glorify the Subject of Pure Poetry,
As a dear friend to the Yadu dynasty,
Like sandalwood in the Malaya hills.

Someone else says he was born
To answer the prayers of Vasudeva and Devakī.
You are that unborn who protected them
By destroying those who hate the godly.

Another person says
The world was like a sinking boat at sea with too much weight,
And Brahmā prayed for your birth
On behalf of her distress.

“This world is full of the distress
Of ignorant desires and pursuits.
So he has enabled us to hear about, remember, and worship him”
- say many others.

Embracing constant hearing & singing;
Enjoying the consequent remembrance of your deeds;
Such a person soon sees your lotus-like feet,
And the flow of material destiny runs dry.

Kuntī cites different opinions which attempt to explain why the unborn and deedless is born and does deeds.

The first opinion she cites is that the unborn is born to create subject matter for pure poetry to be used in divine glorification (kīrtan).

She uses a metaphor of sandalwood in the Malayan hills. Sandal trees could potentially grow anywhere, but for whatever reason they wound up growing in a certain hilly region and thus that region is very famous and prosperous. Similarly the All-Attractive could take birth and perform deeds anywhere, but for whatever reason he does so among the Yadu dynasty (Kuntī’s royal family) who are therefore very famous and prosperous.

The next opinion she cites is that the unborn is born to protect the world from those who hate the godly. Foremost was to protect Devakī and Vasudeva from the wicked Kaṁsa.

The third opinion is similar: that the unborn is born because the armies of greedy kings made the earth distressed like a boat at sea with too much weight, so Kṛṣṇa appeared to destroy hundreds of thousands of warriors and kings.

The fourth opinion she sites is similar to the first: The unborn is born because the world is full of intense suffering, the ultimate cause of which is forgetfulness of our essential unifying link with the Supreme Blissful All-Attractive. So Kṛṣṇa takes birth to give us something truly uplifting to sing about and hear about, which allows us to remember our link to him and thus destroy the root of our suffering.

Finally, she gives her own opinion in support of the first and fourth opinions she cited. She says that the unborn and deedless is born and has deeds just to facilitate true love and enjoyment and thus save the forlorn soul from asphyxiation in a river of meaningless existence.

The primary reason that the Absolute exists in tangible personal form is to give us something perfect to love. Therefore the primary reason you and I exist in a tangible form is to love something perfect. Singing and hearing songs about the All-Attractive are the most effective way to fall into this divine love, and also the most powerful and pure way to enjoy, embrace and express it.

The divine exists for kīrtana, therefore so do we.

A modern painting of Kunti addressing Krsna before he could leave.


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