See for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation: http://bhagavata.org/
"The Story of the Fortunate One"
CANTO 10 - part III:
Chapter 46 Uddhava Spends the Night in Gokula Talking with Nanda
Chapter 47 The Gopī Reveals Her Emotions: The Song of the Bee
Chapter 48 Krishna Pleases His Devotees
Chapter 49 Akrūra's Mission in Hastināpura
Chapter 50 Krishna Uses Jarāsandha and Establishes the City of Dvārakā
Chapter 51 The Deliverance of Mucukunda
Chapter 52 The Lords Leap from a Mountain and Rukminī's Message to Lord Krishna
Chapter 53 Krishna Kidnaps Rukminī
Chapter 54 Rukmī's Defeat and Krishna Married
Chapter 55 The History of Pradyumna
Chapter 56 How the Syamantaka jewel Brought Krishna Jāmbavatī and Satyabhāmā
Chapter 57 Satrājit Murdered, the Jewel Stolen and Returned Again
Chapter 58 Krishna also Weds Kālindī, Mitravindā, Satyā, Lakshmanā and Bhadrā
Chapter 59 Mura and Bhauma Killed and the Prayers of Bhūmi
Chapter 60 Lord Krishna Teases Queen Rukminī
Chapter 61 Lord Balarāma Slays Rukmī at Aniruddha's Wedding
Chapter 62 Ūshā in Love and Aniruddha Apprehended
Chapter 63 The Fever in Conflict and Bāna Defeated
Chapter 64 On Stealing from a Brahmin: King Nriga a Chameleon
Chapter 65 Lord Balarāma in Vrindāvana and the Stream Divided
Chapter 66 The False Vāsudeva Paundraka and His Son Consumed by Their Own Fire
Chapter 67 Balarāma Slays the Ape Dvivida
Chapter 68 The Marriage of Sāmba and the Kuru City Dragged Trembling of His Anger
IntroductionThis book relates the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history, the history of the original culture of knowledge of India. It is verily the Krishna 'bible' [in Sanskrit called a Samhitā] of the Hindu universe. The Bhagavad Gītā relates to this book like the sermon on the mountain by Lord Jesus relates to the full Bible. It has about 18.000 verses contained in 335 chapters and consists of 12 subdivisions of books that are called Cantos. These books together tell the complete history of the Vedic culture and cover the essence of the classical collections of stories called the Purānas. This specific collection of Vedic stories is considered the most important one of all the great eighteen classical Purānas of India. It includes the cream of the Vedic knowledge compiled from all the Vedic literatures as also the story of the life of Lord Krishna in full (Canto 10). Lord Krishna constitutes a watershed in history between the old Vedic culture and the 'modern' political culture in which the rule of state no longer automatically is guided by the spiritual order. The book tells the story of His birth, His youth, all wonderful proofs of His divine nature, and His superhuman feats of defeating all kinds of demons, up to the great Mahābhārata war at Kurukshetra. In this war the Vedic culture fell down to be replaced by the fragmented religiosity we these days call Hinduism. This leading Purāna also called the 'perfect Purāna', is a brilliant story that has been brought to the West by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishnu [the name for the transcendental form of Lord Krishna]. He undertook the daring task of enlightening the materialist westerners, the advanced philosophers and theologians, in order to help them to overcome the perils and loneliness of impersonalism and the philosophy of emptiness.
The representative of Vishnu on earth is named the Fortunate One in this book. We know Him specifically by the names of Lord Rāma and Lord Krishna. The Fortunate One is thus the Lord who is known in different forms or incarnations, the so-called avatāras, but also the devotees are part of His reality and are also called bhāgavata when they are of pure devotion. On top of that the book is also called bhāgavata. Thus there is the Lord in His many appearances, the devotee with as many faces and the book. They are all called bhāgavata or fortunate. The word bhāga means fortune or luck while the term bhaga refers to gracious lord, happiness and wealth. To be fortunate Vedically means to be of the opulence, or to carry, or live by, the fullness of God's riches, beauty, fame, power, knowledge and detachment.
The writer of this book is named Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva, and is also called Bādarāyana. He is the Lord, the Bhagavān or venerable one, among the philosophers, who in India assembled all the holy texts. He compiled the Vedas, four basic scriptures known as the S'ruti, meaning that what is heard, containing the basic wisdom, the mantras for the rituals and the hymns. The Purānas together with the Itihāsas (separate stories) belong to the so-called smriti, that what is remembered. This knowledge is sometimes considered a fifth Veda. He also wrote the Mahābhārata, which is the greatest epic poem in the world. It describes the history (Itihāsa) of the great fall that the Vedic culture once made. The Bhagavad Gītā is the most important part of it. Vyāsa also wrote the rest of the eighteen great story books (the Purānas) of India as also the Brahma-sūtra, his masterpiece on the Absolute Truth. Vyāsa was a grandfather of the Kuru dynasty. He lived a very long time. His long duration of life enabled him to write the story of the Fortunate One and all the other books. He had a son called S'ukadeva who handed the message of this bible in the presence of other sages down to another member of the family, Emperor Parīkshit, who had difficulty respecting the classical wisdom. This emperor is there in this book, which presents the classical Vedic wisdom in the form of a frame story, as a model for us normal people who seek their stability in the wisdom. This knowledge was by S'uka conveyed to him in disciplic succession (paramparā), for the sake of those who teach by example (the ācāryas) the science of devotional service (bhakti). Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupāda from this disciplic succession, commissioned to disseminate this book in the West, together with his pupils (known as the Hare Krishnas of ISKCON), realized a verse by verse commented series of books covering the entire Bhāgavatam. The site bhagavata.org offers not all these texts (see for that purpose vedabase.io) but it does offer, under the Creative Commons copyright, an as-it-is translation, independent from ISKCON, of the verses in a concatenated form, complete with the previous version. This text is regularly updated and maintained by me, the undersigned, who received instruction in the temples of ISKCON and elsewhere. His predecessor in this duty in the Netherlands was S'rī Hayas'var das (Hendrik van Teylingen), initiated by him, who covered most of the translations into Dutch.
For this translation, this digital version of the book, the author has consulted the translations of C.L. Goswami, M.A., Sāstrī (from the Gītā Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparā version of S'rīla Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and the later version of this book by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda. The latter translators, as ācāryas of the age-old Indian Vaishnava tradition, are representatives of a culture of reformation in devotion for the Supreme Personality of God, or bhakti yoga, the way it has been practiced in India since the 16th century. This reformation asserts that the false authority of the caste system and single dry book knowledge is to be rejected. S'rī Krishna Caitanya, also called Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486-1534), the avatāra [an incarnation of the Lord] who heralded this reform, restored the original paramparā purpose of developing devotion unto the person of God, and endeavored in particular for the dissemination of the two main sacred scriptures expounding on that devotion in relation to Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These scriptures are the Bhagavad Gītā and this Bhāgavata Purāna, also called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, from which all the Vaishnava ācāryas of Lord Caitanya derived their wisdom for the purpose of instruction and the shaping of their devotion. The word for word translations as also the full text and commentaries of this book were studied within and without the Hare Krishna temples where the teaching of this culture takes place.
The purpose of this translation is first of all to make this glorious text available to a wider audience over the Internet. Since the Bible, the Koran and numerous other holy texts are readily available on the internet, I, the translator, meant that this book could not stay behind on the shelf of his own bookcase as a token of material possessiveness. When I started with this endeavor in the year 2000, there was no proper web presentation of this book. Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost, and certainly this type of knowledge, which stresses the yoga of non-possessiveness and devotion as its main values, could not be left out. The version of Swami Prabhupāda is very extensive covering some 2400 pages of plain fine printed text, including his commentaries. And that were only the first ten Cantos. The remaining two Cantos were posthumously published by his pupils in the full of his spirit. I thus was faced with two daring challenges: one was to concatenate the text, or make a readable running narrative, of the book that had been dissected and commented to the single word, and the second challenge was to put it into a language that would befit the 21st century with all its modern and postmodern experience and digital progress of the present cultural order of the world, without losing anything of its original verses. Thus another verse to verse as-it-is translation came about in which Vishvanātha's, Prabhupāda's and Sāstrī's words were pruned, retranslated and set to the understanding and realization of today. This realization in my case originated first of all directly from the disciplic line of succession of the Vaishnava line of ācāryas, as also from the complete field of the Indian philosophy of enlightenment, liberation and yoga discipline, as was brought to the West by also non-Vaishnava gurus and maintained by their pupils. Therefore I have to express my gratitude to all these great heroes who dared to face the adamantine of western philosophy with all its doubts, concreticism and skepticism. Especially the pupils of Prabhupāda, members of the renounced order - sannyāsīs (or samnyāsīns), who instructed me in the independence and maturity of the philosophy of the bhakti-yogis of Lord Caitanya, need to be mentioned. I was already initiated in India by a non-Vaishnava guru and was given the name Swami Anand Aadhar ('teacher of the foundation of happiness'). That name the Krishna community converted into Anand Aadhar Prabhu ('master of the foundation of happiness'), without further ceremonies of Vaishnava initiation (apart from a basic training). With the name Anand Aadhar I am a withdrawn devotee, a so-called vānaprashta, who does his devotional service independently in the silence and modesty of his local adaptations of the philosophy.
In most cases the word for word translations and grammatical directions of S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda/ISKCON, Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and C.L. Goswami, M.A., Sāstrī, have been followed as they were used in their translations, and I have checked them with the help of the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary (see the file of the terms used). In footnotes and between square brackets [ ] sometimes a little comment and extra info is given to accommodate the reader when the original text is drawing from a more experienced approach. Terms in italics are explained in the glossary. On the internetsite bhagavata.org of this book, my version directly refers to the version of Prabhupāda, by being linked up at each verse, so that it is possible to retrace at any moment what I have done with the text. This is in accordance with the scientific tradition of the Vaishnava community.
For the copyright, on this translation and the podcast spoken version of the book, has been chosen the so-called Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. This means that one is free to copy, distribute and alter the text on the condition of attribution (refer to the name of Anand Aadhar and to my website address bhagavata.org), that the resulting work can only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one, and that one cannot use the text for commercial purposes. For all other usage one will have to contact the translator. Donations are welcome!
With love and devotion,
Anand Aadhar Prabhu,
Enschede, The Netherlands, September 16, 2020.
Chapter 46: Uddhava Spends the Night in Gokula Talking with Nanda
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The best adviser of the Vrishnis was Krishna's beloved friend Uddhava [see also 3.2], a direct disciple of Brihaspati and a man of the finest intelligence. (2) One day the Supreme Lord Hari, who removes the distress of the surrendered souls, grabbed his hand and spoke to him, His dearest and most faithful devotee. (3) 'Please Uddhava, oh gentle soul, go, for the satisfaction of My parents, to Vraja and relieve, through My message, the gopīs from the mental pain of being separated from Me. (4) With their minds fixed on Me, they, absorbed in Me, have made Me the purpose of their lives and abandoned all their material ties [with their husband, home and children, see 10.29: 4]. Understanding the souls who for My sake left behind this world and its moral obligations, I sustain those who have only Me as their beloved and dearmost Self. (5) My best one, when the women of Gokula remember Me, their dearest object of love being far away, they become stunned being overwhelmed by the anxiety of separation [see also B.G. 2: 62-64]. (6) With My promises to return, the cowherd women who are fully dedicated to Me, with great difficulty manage to hold on and in some way keep their lives somewhat going.'
(7) S'rī S'uka said: 'After having said this, oh King, Uddhava respectfully accepted the message of his Maintainer, mounted his chariot, and set off for the cowherd village of Nanda. (8) Just as the sun was setting, the fortunate soul reached Nanda's pastures, passing there unnoticed because of the dust of the hooves of the animals coming home. (9-13) With the sounds of the bulls in rut fighting each other for the fertile cows, with the cows with filled udders running after their calves, with the beauty of the white calves capering here and there, and with the milking and the loud reverberation of flutes, the finely ornamented gopīs and gopas, auspiciously singing about the deeds of Balarāma and Krishna, were resplendent to behold. It was all most attractive with the homes of the gopas filled with incense, lamps and flower garlands for the worship of the fire, the sun, the guests, the cows, the brahmins, the forefathers and the gods [see also 10.24: 25]. The forest, flowering on all sides, echoed with the swarms of bees, singing birds, the kārandava ducks and the swans crowding around the adorning bowers of lotuses. (14) After having arrived there, Nanda approached the dear follower of Krishna and embraced him, happy to be reverential with Lord Vāsudeva in mind. (15) He fed him with the finest food, had him comfortably seated on a nice sofa to be relieved of the fatigue and had his feet massaged and so on. Then he inquired: (16) 'Oh dear and most fortunate soul, does our friend the son of S'ūra [Vasudeva] who is so devoted to his well-wishers, fare well now that he is released and was reunited with his children? (17) What a luck that the wicked Kamsa, who constantly hated the always righteous and saintly Yadus, together with his followers has been killed because of his sins! (18) Is Krishna still thinking of us, His mother, His well-wishers and friends, the gopas of Vraja of whom He is the master, the cows, Vrindāvana forest and the mountain [see 10.24: 25]? (19) Is Govinda coming back to see His relatives once again, so that we may glance upon His face, His beautiful nose, His nice smile and eyes? (20) Krishna, that so very great Soul, has protected us against insurmountable mortal dangers like a forest fire, the wind and rain, as also against a bull and a serpent. (21) The memory of Krishna's valorous deeds, playful sidelong glances, smiles and words, my dear, made all of us forget our material actions. (22) In Him the mind of those who see the locations where He played - the rivers, the hills and the different parts of the forest that were decorated by [the prints of] His feet - finds its total absorption. (23) I think that Krishna and Rāma who arrived here for a great and divine cause of the gods, as confirmed by Garga [see 10.8: 12], are the two most elevated souls among the demigods. (24) After all, Kamsa, who had the strength of ten thousand elephants, the wrestlers and the king of the elephants, have been playfully killed by the both of Them, as easy as animals are by the lion king. (25) A solid bow as long as three tālas [tree lengths] was by Him, regal as an elephant, broken like a stick, and for seven days He with one hand held up a mountain! (26) Pralamba, Dhenuka, Arishtha, Trināvarta, Baka and other demons who had conquered both Sura and Asura, were by Them killed out here with ease.'
(27) S'rī S'uka said: 'Nanda fully immersed in Krishna thus over and over remembering Him, became extremely anxious and fell silent, overcome by the force of love. (28) Also mother Yas'odā overhearing the descriptions of her son's activities, in her love with her breasts moistened gave way to her tears. (29) When Uddhava saw the two of them in their love for the Supreme Lord, in this condition of supreme attraction, he, filled with joy, spoke to Nanda. (30) S'rī Uddhava said: 'Having developed a mentality like this for Nārāyana, the spiritual master of all, the two of you are for certain the most praiseworthy of all embodied beings on the planet, oh respectful souls. (31) Mukunda and Balarāma together constitute the seed and womb of the universe. They are the Original Male Principle [purusha] and His Creative Primeval Energy [pradhāna], who for Their knowledge and control are followed by the confused living beings. (32-33) The person who, giving up his life, but for a moment immerses his impure mind [in Him], that very instant will immediately eradicate all traces of his karma and find himself heading for the supreme destination in a spiritual form with the luster of the sun. With you, good souls, giving Him, Nārāyana, the Soul and Cause of All, the purest and most exceptional love, what other good deeds would there for you remain to perform? (34) Before long Acyuta, [as] the Lord Supreme, the Master and Protector of the Devotees, will satisfy His parents and return to Vraja. (35) In the [wrestling] arena having killed Kamsa, the enemy of all Yadus, Krishna will be true to His word that He would return to you. (36) Please do not falter, oh most fortunate souls, you will see Krishna in the near future. He is present within the hearts of all living beings like fire in firewood. (37) No one is dear or not dear to Him, nor does He, who is free from false pride, regard anyone superior or inferior. He is of an equal respect for everyone [compare S'rī S'rī S'ikshāshthaka and B.G. 9: 29]. (38) For Him there is no father and mother, no wife, no children and so forth. No one is related to Him, nor is anyone strange to Him, and with Him there is neither a question of a [material] body or birth [compare B.G. 10: 3]. (39) For Him there is no karma in this world obliging Him to appear in wombs of a pure, impure or mixed nature. Yet He for the sake of His pastimes manifests to redeem His saintly devotees [see B.G. 3: 22; 4: 7; 13: 22]. (40) Even though He is transcendental beyond the modes called goodness, passion and ignorance, He accepts it to play by the modes. He, the Unborn One, is thus of creation, maintenance and destruction. (41) Just as for someone when he whirls around, the ground seems to be whirling, so too it appears to a person thinking to be the body, that he himself is the doer, while it is the mind that is acting [*, compare B.G. 3: 27]. (42) He is not just the son of the two of you, He is the Supreme Lord Hari, the Lord of Control who is the Son, the Soul, the Father and the Mother of everyone. (43) All that one sees or hears, what is in the past, the present or in the future, what is stationary, mobile, large or small, can in no way be assigned a status separate from Acyuta. He, the Supersoul, is the reality and welfare of all and everything.'
(44) While Nanda and Krishna's messenger were speaking this way, the night came to an end oh King, and the gopīs who had risen, lighted the lamps in the house for the worship and began to churn the butter. (45) As the women were moving their hips and breasts while pulling the ropes, they radiated in the light of the lamps, with the rows of bangles on their arms, with their jewels, with their faces red of the kunkum and glowing from their earrings and necklaces. (46) All inauspiciousness was dispelled in every direction with the loud singing of the lotus-eyed women of Vraja whose reverberating sound, mixed with the sounds of churning butter, filled the air. (47) When the almighty sun rose, the residents of Gokula saw the golden chariot outside the house of Nanda and wondered: 'Whose chariot is this? (48) Maybe Akrūra has come, that servant of Kamsa's desires who took our lotus-eyed Krishna to the city of Mathurā. (49) Would he, with his master satisfied, be here now to perform the funeral rites with us?' And while the women were speaking thus, Uddhava came walking who had finished his morning duties.'
*: Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī gives a parallel idea: Although our happiness and distress are caused by our own interaction with the material qualities, we perceive the Lord to be their cause.
Chapter 47: The Gopī Reveals Her Emotions: The Song of the Bee
(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'When the women of Vraja saw him, the servant of Krishna, with his long arms, with his lotus eyes, wearing a yellow garment and a lotus garland, with his effulgent lotus-like countenance and polished earrings, they were quite astonished and wondered where this handsome, young man came from and to whom he belonged who wore clothes and ornaments like those of Krishna. Talking like this they all eagerly crowded around him who enjoyed the protection of the lotus feet of Uttamas'loka [the Lord Praised in the Scriptures]. (3) With due respect bowing down before him in humility and shyly smiling with their glances, sweet words and such, they asked it him, after first having taken him separate and offered him a seat, for they had understood that he was an envoy of the Husband of the Goddess of Fortune. (4) 'We know that you arrived here as the personal associate of the chief of the Yadus who, as your Master, has sent you here to satisfy His parents. (5) We really would not know why else He should have thought of this cow place. Even for a sage the bonds of affection with one's relatives are difficult to relinquish. (6) The interest in others manifested out of self-interest proves itself as friendship for as long as it takes; it is a pretense as good as the interest of bees for flowers or of men for women. (7) Prostitutes abandon a penniless man, citizens deny an incompetent king, graduates leave behind their teacher and priests leave [their attendants] after being compensated. (8) Birds abandon a tree rid of its fruits and guests leave the house where they ate. Animals leave the forest that burned down and a lover likewise leaves the woman he enjoyed to unite with.'
(9-10) Now that Uddhava, the messenger of Krishna, had arrived in their midst, the gopīs, who thus with their words, bodies and minds were focussed on Krishna, put aside their worldly concerns. Without restraint they sang and cried in the constant remembrance of the youth and childhood activities of their Sweetheart. (11) One gopī [noted as Rādhā, see also *] seeing a honeybee as she meditated on the association with Krishna, imagined it to be a messenger sent by her Beloved and spoke as follows. (12) The gopī said: 'Oh honeybee, you friend of a cheater, do not touch my feet with your whiskers still carrying the kunkum from His garland, the powder that rubbed off from the breasts of a rival lover. One who sends a messenger like you is derided in the assembly of the Yadus. Let the Lord of Madhu [Himself] be of mercy with the women [instead] [prajalpa **]! (13) One time He made us drink the nectar of His bewildering lips and then suddenly abandoned us like we were some flowers. I wonder why the goddess of fortune [Padmā] serves His lotus feet just like you [oh bee]. That must be so because her mind, alas, has been stolen by Krishna's chitchat [parijalpa ***]. (14) Oh mister sixlegs, dear bee, why are you singing so busily about the Master of the Yadus in front of us who are old friends of this Friend of Vijaya [Arjuna] and who left behind their homes? You better sing of His topics before His [new] girlfriends, the pain of whose breasts He [now has] relieved. His sweethearts will provide you the charity you seek [vijalpa *4]. (15) What women in heaven, on earth and below, would not be available to Him who, so unattainable, can deceive you with His charming smiles and arching eyebrows? When the wife of the Fortunate One is of worship in the dust of His feet, what then would be our value? Luckily for those feeling bad about it, there is the sound vibration [to be chanted of] 'Uttamas'loka' [ujjalpa *5]. (16) Keep your little head away from my feet! I know you, you expert who as a messenger from Mukunda learned the diplomacy of flatter! Why should I make amends with Him who, so ungrateful, has abandoned us, we who for His sake in this life have left behind their children, husbands and everything else [sańjalpa *6]? (17) Against all rules He [as Rāma, see 9.10 & 11] as cruel as a hunter shot the king of the monkeys [Vālī], was conquered by a woman [Sītā], disfigured a woman driven by lust [S'ūrpanakhā, the sister of Rāvana] and, after consuming His tribute, [as Vāmana] bound up Bali like a crow [see 8.21]. Therefore enough of all friendliness with that Black Boy who impossibly can be given up when we keep talking about His stories [avajalpa *7]. (18) Those ears are freed from all sins, that just once enjoyed but a drop of the nectar of the pastimes that He constantly performed. Such a person is completely liberated from the duality, wherefrom any [personal, material] sense of duty is instantly ruined. For that reason many people here [in Vrindāvana], by therewith rejecting their miserable homes and families, end up wretched and, just like birds, practice the livelihood of begging [abhijalpa *8]. (19) We, taking His deceptive words for true, just like the black deer's foolish doe wives who trust the hunter's song, repeatedly experienced this sharp p ain of lust that was caused by the touch of His fingernails. Oh messenger, I beg you, talk of something else [ajalpa *9]! (20) My sweet little friend, have you been sent back here by my Beloved? Please ask me what you want, you are to be honored by me, my dearest. Why are you here raising in us these [amorous] feelings for Him that are so impossible to relinquish? For is, oh gentle one, His consort the goddess of fortune S'rī, not always present with Him on His chest [pratijalpa *10]? (21) What a pity that the son of Nanda resides in Mathurā now. Does He think so now and then of the household affairs of His father, His friends and the cowherd boys, oh great soul? Or else, does He still talk about us, His maidservants? When will He lay His aguru-scented hand on our heads [sujalpa *11]?'
(22) S'rī S'uka said: 'Uddhava, having heard how the cowherd girls were longing to see Krishna, in order to pacify them thereupon related to them the message of their Sweetheart. (23) S'rī Uddhava said: 'You have dedicated your minds unto the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva and are thus honorable to all people because you, oh good selves, therewith fulfilled your life's purpose [of giving shape to the emotions of relating to Him]. (24) By means of donations, vows [of poverty, celibacy and fasting], sacrifices, using prayer beads [japa], studying and by turning inward, concentrating and meditating, as also by other kinds of auspicious practices [see also yama, niyama, vidhi and bhāgavata dharma], bhakti, devotional service unto Krishna, is realized. (25) The unexcelled [standard of] devotion unto the Supreme Lord Uttamas'loka, which by you good people fortunately has been established, is even hard to attain for the sages. (26) To your great fortune you have chosen to leave your sons, husbands, physical comforts, relatives and homes, for the sake of that superior, male personality called Krishna. (27) By the wholehearted love, which ruled you because of your separation from Adhokshaja [the Transcendental Lord], oh glorious souls, you have done me [the Lord and everyone] a great favor. (28) Please, good ladies, listen to the message that I for the sake of your happiness, as a faithful servant of my master, brought to you from your Beloved.
(29) The Supreme Lord has said: 'You women are actually never separated from Me, ever being present as the Soul of All. Just as all the elements, the ether, the fire, the air, the water and the earth are part of all beings, I am there as the union of all the elements of the mind, the life air, the senses and the natural modes. (30) By means of Myself I create, destroy and sustain Myself within Myself, through the power of My deluding potency consisting of the material elements, the senses and the modes of nature. (31) The soul full of pure spiritual knowledge, which separately exists free from the association of the modes, is perceived [as the constant witness] in the operations of deep seep, dream sleep and waking consciousness. (32) The mind by which one meditates on the objects of the senses, constitutes a mirage, just as a dream constitutes an illusion when one wakes up. Staying alert one should bring under control that what [in the mind] gathers from the input of the senses [compare B.G. 2: 68 and 6: 35-36]. (33) Just as the ocean is the end station for all the rivers, this [insight] is the end conclusion of all Vedic literatures, analysis and yoga, of all intelligent people, renunciation, penance, sense control and truthfulness [compare B.G. 2: 70]. (34) The fact then that I, so dear to your eyes, am situated so far away from you, is according to My wish that your mind - that is subjected to attraction - meditates on Me. (35) The mind of a woman remains more absorb ed when her lover is far away, than when she has him present before her eyes. (36) Because in the constant remembrance of Me your minds are totally absorbed in Me and free from all restlessness, you will see Me appear soon. (37) Those remaining here in Vraja while I was sporting at night in the forest [see 10.29: 9] and for that reason did not experience the rāsa dance, were as fortunate to achieve Me by thinking of My lustre.'
(38) S'rī S'uka said: 'The women of Vraja hearing the instructions thus imparted by their Beloved, pleased as they were to have their memories revived by the message, thereupon addressed Uddhava. (39) The gopīs said: 'Kamsa, the enemy of the Yadus, the cause of the suffering, together with his followers has fortunately been killed. What a blessing that Acyuta at present lives happily with His well-wishers who [therewith] achieved everything they desired. (40) Oh gentle soul, maybe the elder brother of Gada [Krishna, see 9.24: 46] gives the women of the city, affectionately revering Him bashfully with inviting smiles and glances, the love that belongs to us. (41) How can our Darling, so expert in all matters of love, not be bound by the bewildering gestures and words of the city women, who [just like us] are also constantly of worship? (42) And... does Krishna, oh pious soul, remember us; does He ever mention us, village girls, when He freely talks in the company of the city women? (43) Does He still remember those nights in which He enjoyed in Vrindāvana, that place so enchanting because of the lotus, the jasmine and the moon? He at the time with tinkling ankle bells danced with us, His beloved girlfriends, who glorified Him for His attractive stories. (44) Will that descendant of Das'ārha return to this place and with His touch bring back to life us, who are tormented by the sorrow He gave rise to Himself? Will He do that just as Indra with his clouds would [replenish] a forest? (45) But why would Krishna come here, now that He, surrounded by all His well-wishers, is happy having attained a kingdom, having killed His enemies and having married the daughters of kings? (46) What purpose would there, for us forest-dwellers or for other women, be to fulfill unto Him, the great Soul and husband of the goddess of fortune, whose every desire is already fulfilled? He is complete in Himself! (47) The greatest happiness is found in non-expectancy, so even the unchaste Pingalā stated [a courtesan, see 11.8]. Yet, for us focused on Krishna who very well know this, it is most difficult not to cherish any hope. (48) Who is capable of forgetting the intimate talks with Uttamas'loka, He from whose body the goddess never moves away despite Him not desiring her? (49) In the company of Sankarshana, oh prabhu, Krishna with the cows and the sounds of the flute wandered through the different places in the forest, by the rivers and the hills. (50) Ah, time and again those places, carrying the glory of His footprints, remind us of the son of Nanda we can never forget. (51) Oh, how can we ever forget Him with our hearts being stolen by His lovely gait, His playful glances, His generous smiles and nectarean wor ds? (52) Oh Master, Master of the Goddess and Master of Vraja; oh Destroyer of the Suffering, oh Govinda, lift Gokula out of the ocean of misery it is submerged in!'
(53) S'rī S'uka said: 'With their fever of separation removed by Krishna's messages, they thereupon worshiped him, Uddhava, recognizing him as Adhokshaja Himself. (54) Remaining there for some months he, singing about the topics of Krishna's pastimes, gave joy to Gokula by dispelling the sorrow of the gopīs. (55) All the days that Uddhava dwelled in Nanda's cowherd village, passed for the residents of Vraja in a single moment, because they were filled with discussions about Krishna. (56) Seeing the rivers, forests, mountains, valleys and flowering trees, the servant of the Lord took pleasure in reminding the people of Vraja of Krishna. (57) Whitnessing how confused and such the gopīs were in their absorption in Krishna, Uddhava was extremely pleased and offered them all respect while singing the following: (58) 'On this earth these young cowherd women are the only ones [of real success] in acquiring a body, for they achieved the perfection of an exclusive love for Govinda, the Soul of All - a love that is desired by sages, by ourselves and by those afraid of a material existence. Of what use would the [three] brahminical births be [of deriving an existence from one's parents, one's guru and one's sacrifices] for someone who has a taste for the topics of the Unlimited Lord? (59) What is one compared to these women who, impure in their conduct towards Krishna, wander through the forests? What is one's position compared to this stage of perfect love for the Supreme Soul? For the soul who is of constant worship, even when not being very learned, most certainly the Lord directly bestows the highest good, the good that, being imbibed, works like the king of all medicines [that is: irrespective the person]. (60) The blessing the Vraja ladies during the rāsa dance found in the embrace of Uttamas'loka, was not bestowed on the goddess on His chest who is so intimately associated with Him, was not His mercy for the heavenly damsels with their lotus flower scent and luster, nor was it granted to any other kind of woman [10.33]. (61) Oh, let me be devoted to the dust of the lotus feet of the gopīs in Vrindāvana! Let me be any of the bushes, creepers or herbs there [in relation] to them, to those women who in worship of the feet of Mukunda, whom one seeks with the help of the Vedas, abandoned the path of civil correctitude and left behind the family members that are so difficult to give up. (62) The feet of the Supreme Lord where the goddess, Lord Brahmā and the other gods with all their desires fulfilled, just like accomplished masters of yoga, can only dream of, were by Krishna in the gathering of the rāsa dance placed on their breasts, so that they by embracing them could overcome their anguish. (63) I offer my obeisances again and again to the dust of the feet of the women of Nanda's cowherd village, whose loud chanting of Krishna's glories purifies the three worlds.'
(64) S'rī S'uka said: '[Uddhava,] the descendant of Das'ārha thereupon took leave of Yas'odā, Nanda, the gopas and the gopīs, mounted his chariot and was about to leave. (65) But when he left, Nanda and the others approached him with various items of worship in their hands and said, affectionately and with tears in their eyes: (66) 'May our mental activities be founded on Krishna's lotus feet, may our words be an expression of His names and may our bodies when they bow down and such, do so for His sake. (67) May there wherever we for our work have to wander to the Lord's disposition, may there with whatever we do and give away in charity, be the attachment to Krishna, our Lord.'
(68) After the gopas thus had honored him with Krishna bhakti, oh first among men, Uddhava returned to Mathurā, the city that [now] enjoyed the protection of Krishna. (69) After bringing Krishna his obeisances, he told Him about the intense devotion of the residents of Vraja, and next gave Vasudeva, Balarāma and the king [Ugrasena], the gifts sent along for them.'*: To substantiate the claim that this concerns Rādhā, quotes S'rīla Jīva Gosvāmī the following verses from the Agni Purāna: "At dawn the gopīs inquired from Krishna's servant, Uddhava, about the Lord's pastimes and recreation. Only S'rīmatī Rādhārānī, immersed in thought of Krishna, withdrew Her interest in the talks. Then Rādhā, who is worshiped by the residents of Her Vrindāvana village, spoke up in the midst of Her girlfriends. Her words were full of pure transcendental knowledge and expressed the ultimate portion of the Vedas."
**: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī points out that this and the following nine verses exemplify ten kinds of impulsive speech [citra-jalpa or strange chatter] spoken by a lover as expressions of godconscious folly or divine madness [divyonmāda]. S'rīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in the Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.182) says to this expression: "Prajalpa is speech that denigrates the tactlessness of one's lover with expressions of disrespect. It is spoken in a mood of envy, jealousy and pride."
***: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.184): 'Parijalpa is that speech which, through various devices, shows one's own cleverness by exposing the mercilessness, duplicity, unreliability and so on of one's Lord.'
*4: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.186): "According to learned authorities, vijalpa is sarcastic speech that is addressed to the killer of Agha and that openly expresses jealousy while at the same time hinting at one's angry pride."
*5: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.188): "The declaration of Lord Hari's duplicitous nature in a mood of spite born of pride, together with jealously spoken insults directed against Him, has been termed ujjalpa by the wise."
*6: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.190): "The learned describe sańjalpa as that speech which decries with deep irony and insulting gestures the beloved's ungratefulness and so on."
*7: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.192): "Saintly persons have concluded that when a lover, impelled by jealousy and fear, declares that Lord Hari is unworthy of her attachment because of His harshness, lustiness and dishonesty, such speech is called avajalpa."
*8: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.194): "When a lover indirectly states with remorse that her beloved is fit to be given up, such speech, uttered like the plaintive crying of a bird, is called abhijalpa."
*9: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.196): "A statement spoken in disgust, describing how the male lover is deceitful and brings one misery, and also implying that He gives happiness to others, is known as ājalpa."
*10: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.198): "When the lover humbly states that although she is unworthy of attaining her beloved she cannot give up hoping for a conjugal relationship with Him, such words, spoken with respect for her beloved's message, are called pratijalpa."
S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī explains that the goddess of fortune, S'rī, has the power to assume many different forms. Thus when Krishna enjoys other women, she stays on His chest in the form of a golden line. When He is not consorting with other women, she puts aside this form and gives Him pleasure in Her naturally beautiful form of a young woman.
*11: Ujjvala-nīlamani (14.200): "When, out of honest sincerity, a lover questions S'rī Hari with gravity, humility, unsteadiness and eagerness, such speech is known as sujalpa."
Chapter 48: Krishna Pleases His Devotees
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, the Soul of All who Sees Everything, with understanding [for Uddhava's report of desirous women] wished to please the serving girl [Trivakrā, as He had promised 10.42: 12], and went to the house of the woman who was troubled by lust [see 10.42: 10]. (2) It was richly endowed with expensive furnishings, replete with sensual articles, and was beautified with strings of pearls and banners, canopies, beds and seats, as also with fragrant incense, oil lamps, flower garlands and sandalwood. (3) Seeing Him arriving at her house, she immediately rose to her feet and, together with her girlfriends, hurried to approach Acyuta properly by respectfully welcoming Him with an excellent seat and so on. (4) Uddhava was honored also, but, correct as he was, he touched his seat and sat on the floor. Krishna, faithful to the ways of human society, then laid Himself without delay upon a luxurious bed [in the inner chambers]. (5) She prepared herself by bathing, anointing her body, dressing up with ornaments and garlands, and by using perfume, bethel nut, a fragrant mouth wash and such, whereupon she shyly and with playful smiles approached Mādhava with tempting glances. (6) Calling forward the lovely woman, who was shy in fear of the novel contact, He took hold of her two with bangles ornamented hands and placed the beauty on the bed to enjoy together with her, she whose only proof of piety consisted of having offered ointment. (7) Smelling the feet of the Unlimited Lord and embracing within her arms, between her breasts, her Lover, the Personification of All Ecstasy, wiped away the pain that because of Cupid burned in her breasts, chest and eyes. Thus she succeeded in losing her so very long standing distress. (8) Because she had offered body ointment to Him, the Master of Enlightenment, she had obtained the Lord who is so hard to obtain. But then she unfortunately begged [compare 4.9: 31] the following: (9) 'Please Beloved, stay here for a few days together with me! Enjoy, for I cannot bear to give up Your association, oh Lotus Flower Eyes.'
(10) He who is of Respect for Others, considerate with her granted her the boon she desired [in the form of a promise], whereupon the Lord of All, together with Uddhava, returned to His own supremely opulent residence. (11) The one who, in full worship of Vishnu, the Controller of All Controllers who is so difficult to honor [other than by pure devotion], choses for a benediction that is spiritually too easy, is with that superficiality not engaged very intelligently [see also 7.15: 36].
(12) Krishna, the Master, who [also] desired to please Akrūra and wanted to engage him in some business, went together with Uddhava and Balarāma to his house. (13-14) When he saw Them coming, the greatest of all illustrious personalities who were his relatives, he joyfully rose to his feet to greet and embrace Them for a welcome. Bowed down to Krishna and Rāma he was greeted in return, whereupon he, after They had taken their seats, worshiped Them as was prescribed. (15-16) The water he had used to wash Their feet he sprinkled over his head, oh King, after which he presented gifts: the finest clothing, sandalwood, garlands and excellent ornaments. With his head bowed down he in worship placed Krishna's feet on his lap to massage them, and then with humility, facing down, addressed Krishna and Rāma as follows: (17) 'To our good fortune the two of You have killed the sinful Kamsa and his brothers and followers. Thus delivering Your dynasty from endless troubles You made it prosper. (18) You two are the pradhāna and purusha [material and efficient] causes of the universe who are one with the universe. Apart from You not a single cause or effect [para-apara] can be found. (19) This universe You created from Your energies, You have subsequently entered. Thus You can be perceived in the many [forms], oh Absolute Truth, we know about from both listening to the scriptures and by direct experience. (20) Just as the earth element and the other elements differently manifest themselves in various species of living mobile and immobile beings, You, the Single One Self-reliant Self, the Supersoul, manifest in a multitude [of souls] within those different life forms. (21) You create, maintain and then again destroy the universe, but You are, with the qualities of Your potencies - [respectively] the passion, the goodness and the ignorance [the gunas], not bound to those actions or their modes. For what could for You, who are the Soul of All Knowledge, constitute a cause of bondage? (22) Because it has never been proven that You are determined by physical matters and such, there is with You no question of a literal birth or of material opposites. For that reason there exists for You in fact no bondage or any liberation [compare 10.14: 26]. And if that appears to be so according to Your sweet will [see e.g. 10.11: 7], it is the consequence of our mistaken notion about You [like in 10.23: 10-11]. (23) For the benefit of this universe You proclaim the classical path of the Veda and assume forms in the mode of goodness when wicked persons adhering to the path of godlessness are obstructing it. (24) You as that very same person, oh Master, have now descended in the home of Vasudeva together with Your plenary portion [Balarāma]. This You have done in order to spread the fame of this [Yadu] dynasty and to remove from this earth the burden of the hundreds of armies present there, by killing the kings [see also 1.11: 34] belonging to the enemies of the God-fearing souls [see e.g. 7.1: 40-46]. (25) Today, oh Lord, our residence has been most blessed by the arrival of You, Adhokshaja, the Spiritual Master of the Universe who are the embodiment of all the gods, forefathers, living beings and humans, You from whose feet the water [of the Ganges, see 5.17] washes that purifies the three worlds. (26) What other scholar would there be for us? To whom else should we turn for shelter but to You, the well-wisher whose loving words for His devotees are always faithful? For being grateful to the supporters who worship You, You give all they desire, even Yourself with whom there is never any diminution or increase [see also B.G. 2: 40]. (27) To our fortune, Janārdana, we can see You here, who even for the masters of yoga and the most prominent among the enlightened souls are a goal hard to attain. Please, swiftly cut through the ties of our delusional existence that result from Your material energy: our children, wife, wealth, honorable friends, our home, body and so on.'
(28) Thus extensively being worshiped by His devotee, Krishna, the Supreme Lord, smiled at Akrūra and spoke with words that practically swept him of his feet. (29) The Supreme Lord said: 'You, Our paternal uncle and praiseworthy friend, are Our spiritual master. We are always the ones depending on you and [as your sons] need to be protected, maintained and graced by you. (30) Someone like you belongs to the most elevated among the honorable souls and deserves it to be served by anyone desiring the saintliest and highest good. Demigods are always after their own interests, but pure devotees are not. (31) Not to decry the sacred places that consist of water [rivers] or the deities that are made of clay and stone: they purify in the course of time, but the saints [themselves] bring purification after just once having met them. (32) You certainly are the very best of all Our well-wishers. I would like you to go for Us to the city named after the elephant [Hastināpura] and find out what it is that for the sake of the welfare of the Pāndavas needs to be done. (33) When their father died, they as young boys together with their mother were in great distress. They were by the king [Dhritarāshthra] taken to his capital, where they are residing since, so I have heard. (34) The King, the son of Ambikā [see 9.22: 25], was blind and was, under the control of his wicked sons [one hundred of them led by Duryodhana, 9.22: 26], weak-minded, so that the sons of his brother [Pāndu] certainly were not treated equally by him. (35) Go and find out whether his actions are good or bad at present, so that we with that knowledge can make arrangements for the benefit of Our dear friends.'
(36) After Akrūra fully having instructed with these words, the Fortunate One, Lord Hari, returned to His residence together with Uddhava and Sankarshana.'
Chapter 49: Akrūra's Mission in Hastināpura
(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'He [Akrūra] went to Hastināpura, the city marked by the glory of the kings of the Pūru dynasty [see family-tree], and saw there the son of Ambikā [Dhritarāshthra, see 9.22: 25] together with Bhīshma, Vidura and Prithā [Kuntī], as also Bāhlika and his son [Somadatta], Dronācārya and Kripācārya, Karna, Duryodhana, the son of Drona [As'vatthāmā], the Pāndavas and other friends. (3) After the son of Gāndinī [Akrūra, see 9.24: 15] appropriately had greeted his relatives and friends, they inquired with him for news about their kin, whereupon he in turn asked how they were faring. (4) He stayed there for a couple of months in order to find out what the king, who could not raise his voice against his wicked sons, was doing in following the advise of mischievous persons [like Karna]. (5-6) Both Vidura and Kuntī told him everything about the unbecoming acts - like the administering of poison - that the sons of Dhritarāshthra had perpetrated in their intolerance for the influence, skill, strength, bravery, humility and so on of the sons of Prithā, whose excellent qualities were loved by the citizens. (7) Now that Prithā saw her [Vrishni-]brother Akrūra before her, she, remembering her place of birth [Mathurā], addressed him and said with tears in her eyes: (8) 'Oh gentle soul, do our parents and brothers, my sisters, nephews and the women of the family, as also my [old girlhood] friends, still remember us? (9) Do the son of my brother, Krishna, the Supreme Lord, the shelter full of care for the devotees, and Balarāma with His lotus petal eyes, still think of the sons of His father's sister? (10) And... will He come to console me with His words, I who with young boys deprived of their father in the midst of enemies am lamenting like a doe between the wolves? (11) Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Greatest Yogi, oh Soul and Protector of the Universe, please watch over this surrendered soul who together with her children is drowning in distress, oh Govinda [see also 1.8: 17-43]! (12) For mankind in fear of death and rebirth, I see no other shelter than Your lotus feet, oh Master and Controller granting liberation. (13) My obeisances unto You, Krishna, the pure Absolute Truth and Supersoul, the Lord of Yoga and Unifier of Consciousness; You I approach for shelter.'
(14) S'rī S'uka said: 'Oh King, Your own great-grandmother, thus remembering her relatives and Krishna, the Controller of the Universe, began to cry loudly over her misfortune. (15) Akrūra, equanimous in distress and happiness, and the illustrious Vidura, consoled Kuntī by reminding her of those [the gods] who fathered her sons [see family-tree]. (16) When it was about time to leave, he approached the king amidst his supporters, who was fully determined by his sons [and his foster sons] whom he treated unequally. He wanted to relate to him what in friendship was communicated by his well-wishing relatives [Krishna and Rāma]. (17) Akrūra said: 'Oh dear, beloved son of Vicitravīrya [9.22: 21-25], to the greater glory of the Kurus you, after the demise of your brother Pāndu, have now assumed the throne. (18) Dutifully protecting the earth and the citizens, delighting the people with your good character and treating your relatives equally, you will achieve perfection and renown! (19) Acting to the contrary however, you will be condemned in this world and land in darkness. Therefore always be equal toward the Pāndavas and your own sons. (20) No one in this world, oh King, is given a continuous association with whomever. Not even with one's own body the association continues. So what to say about a wife, children and so on? (21) A living being is born alone and dies alone. Alone one enjoys the good consequences [of one's actions] and alone one has to face the bad consequences. (22) The wealth that was acquired by an unintelligent person lacking in dharma, is seized by others in the guise of dependents [like relatives], just like the water of a fish [will be occupied by its own offspring]. (23) Those who, lacking in wisdom, maintain their life, wealth and children in disrespect of dharmic matters and think 'I am the owner', end up destitute and abandoned, being frustrated in their purposes [see 4.31 6.15: 21-23 and 7.15]. (24) Blind to his own dharmic duties being abandoned by them, he, not conversant with the purpose of life and with his goals unfulfilled, has to carry his load [all alone] and will enter the deepest darkness [see also 3.30; 5: 26; 6.1: 40]. (25) Therefore, seeing this world as a dream, oh King, as something magical, as a thing of the mind, bring that mind under control with intelligence and thus find your balance and peace, prabhu.'
(26) Dhritarāshthra said: 'I can never get enough of the auspicious words you speak, oh master of charity, they are, for a mortal like me, as the nectar of immortality! (27) But however pleasing they might be, oh gentle one, they are, just like lightening in a cloud, not fixed in my wavering heart, because I am partial in my attachment to my sons. (28) What person can defy what is ordained by the Lord who descended in the Yadu family in order to diminish the burden of the earth [see B.G. 9: 8]? (29) He whose path is inconceivable, creates this universe by His own creative energy, distributes the modes and enters them. My obeisances unto Him whose actions are inscrutable, the Supreme Lord with whom we find liberation from the cycle of birth and death.'
(30) S'rī S'uka said: 'The descendant of Yadu [Akrūra] thus being apprised of the mentality of the king, took leave of his well-wishers and returned to the capital of the Yadus. (31) According to the purpose for which he was sent, oh descendant of Kuru, he reported to Rāma and Krishna how Dhritarāshthra was behaving toward the Pāndavas.'
Chapter 50: Krishna Uses Jarāsandha and Establishes the City of Dvārakā
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Asti and Prāpti, the two queens of Kamsa, oh hero of the Bhāratas, were unhappy that their husband had been killed and in distress went to their father's house. (2) They told their father, the king of Magadha named Jarāsandha [see also 1.15: 9, 9.22: 8, 10.2: 1-2, 10.36: 36], everything about the cause of their widowhood. (3) Hearing those bad tidings, oh King, he full of sorrow and indignation embarked upon the extreme endeavor of ridding the earth of the Yādavas. (4) With twenty-three akshauhinīs he amassed around Mathurā to besiege the royal capital of the Yadus on all sides. (5-6) When Krishna, the Supreme Lord Hari, saw how his army, like an ocean that overflowed its boundaries, besieged His city and filled His subjects with fear, He as the Ultimate Cause in a Human Form, considered what, to the purpose of His descent into this world, would be the best course of action considering the time and place: (7-8) 'I will surely annihilate his army, this burden of the earth gathered by the king of Magadha, in which he brought together all who, subservient to him, have assumed leadership and now can be counted in akshauhinīs of infantry, cavalry, chariotry and elephantry. Jarāsandha however, I should spare so that he again will try to assemble an army. (9) For this purpose I have descended: to remove the burden of this earth, to protect the virtuous souls and put an end to the rest [that is bad]. (10) As soon as after a certain period of time injustice predominates I, in order to protect the dharma, also assume other bodies [see also 2.7 and B.G. 4: 7].'
(11) While Govinda was thinking this way, suddenly two chariots [from Vaikunthha] appeared in the sky, as effulgent as the sun, complete with drivers and equipment. (12) Also the Lord's classical divine weapons appeared of their own accord. Seeing them the Lord of the Senses said to Sankarshana: (13-14) 'Oh Respected Soul, please take notice of this imminent danger for the Yadus who are protected by You, Prabhu. This is Your chariot that arrived with Your favorite weapons. We indeed were born for this purpose: to act for the benefit of the saintly souls, oh Lord. So please remove now from this earth the burden of these twenty-three armies.'
(15) After thus having invited Him, the two descendants of Das'ārha in armor, resplendent with Their weapons, left the city in Their chariots, accompanied by a very small contingent. (16) Appearing [from the city], the Supreme Personality with Dāruka at the reins, blew His conch shell so that the hearts of the enemy soldiers trembled with fear. (17) Jarāsandha looked at the two of Them and said: 'Krishna, You worst of all persons, I do not desire to contest with You. It is shameful to fight with someone who is but a boy, a fool like You, hiding away. Get lost You murderer of Your relatives! (18) And Rāma, if You dare to fight, then muster courage. You either, cut by my arrows, drop Your body and go to heaven, or You kill me!'
(19) The Supreme Lord said: 'Truly, heroes do not have to vaunt, they simply show their prowess. How, oh King, can We take serious the words of a man who, facing his death, is delirious?'
(20) S'rī S'uka said: 'The son of Jarā, then marched with his gigantic number of mighty forces toward the two descendants of Madhu, who thereupon were surrounded by the soldiers, chariots, flags, horses and charioteers, just like the wind covers the sun with clouds or a fire with dust. (21) When the two chariot banners of Hari and Rāma, which were marked by the palm tree and by Garuda, could not be seen anymore in the fray, the women of the city who were positioned on the watchtowers, the palaces and gateways, swooned, being stricken by grief. (22) The Lord witnessing how His army was harassed by the most fearsome clouds of arrows that the enemy forces repeatedly rained upon them, then twanged His most excellent bow the S'ārnga, that is worshiped by Sura and Asura. (23) From His quiver He fixed, pulled back and released floods of sharp arrows with which He, whirling around like a burning torch, relentlessly stroke the chariots, elephants, horses and foot soldiers. (24) Elephants fell down with their foreheads split open, many a horse had its neck severed, chariots including their horses and flags were destroyed, and the arms, legs and shoulders of the charioteers, their masters and the foot soldiers, were cut by the arrows. (25-28) From the cut off limbs of the two-legged humans, the elephants and the horses, the blood flowed in hundreds of streams, which were filled with arms that looked like snakes, people's heads that looked like turtles, dead elephants that resembled islands and dead horses that resembled crocodiles. Hands and thighs appeared like fish, human hair like water weeds, bows like waves and weapons like separate bushes. The rushing streams, disturbing to the timid and inspiring to the intelligent, were crowded with chariot wheels resembling frightening whirlpools and were filled with precious gems and fine jewelry that looked like stones and gravel. Sankarshana, with His unbound potency, stroke with His plow His furious enemies down one after the other. The military force, dear King, which was supervised by the king of Magadha for the sake of destruction and was as unfathomable, frightening and unsurpassable as the limitless ocean, was for the Lords of the Universe, the two sons of Vasudeva, but a plaything. (29) Despite the fact that one describes Him [in response to philosophers who proclaim His being unconcerned] as playing His game in imitation of the human ways, it is not at all surprising that He, who with His Unlimited Qualities effects the maintenance, creation and annihilation of the three worlds, subdues an opposing party. (30) The so very strong Jarāsandha whose army had been destroyed and who, deprived of his chariot, was left with only his breath, was seized by Balarāma as forcibly as one lion seizing another lion. (31) But, as He was tying him, who had killed so many adversaries, up with the ropes of Varuna [compare 5.24: 23] and of normal man, He was checked by Govinda, for He needed Jarāsandha for another purpose.
(32-33) He [Jarāsandha], honored by heroes, was ashamed to be released by the two Lords of the Universe and considered to perform penances, but he was on that path checked by the rest of the nobles who explained to him in clear terms, with meaningful words and practical arguments: 'Your being defeated by the Yadus occurred as a consequence of your karmic bondage.' (34) The son of Brihadratha, all of whose soldiers had been killed and who had been left alone by the Supreme Lord, then dispirited returned to Magadha.
(35-36) Mukunda, who had overcome the ocean of enemy forces without losing His army, was praised by the servants of the three worlds who showered Him with flowers. Then He met the citizens of Mathurā who, with their fever allayed, felt great joy, while His glory was sung by bards, heralds and panegyrists. (37-38) As He entered the city with its sprinkled roads, many banners and festively decorated gateways, conch shells and kettledrums, drums and horns together with vinās, flutes and mridangas [two-sided devotional drums] resounded, while the elated citizens loudly recited Vedic verses. (39) The women gazed at Him affectionately with wide open eyes full of love, and covered Him with flower garlands, yogurt, parched rice and sprouts. (40) The countless valuables, consisting of the ornaments of the heroes fallen on the battlefield, were by the Lord all presented to the king of the Yadus [Ugrasena]. (41) And so it happened that the king of Magadha thus with his akshauhinīs seventeen times fought against the Yadus who were protected by Krishna's military strength. (42) The Vrishnis with the help of Krishna's power entirely destroyed the forces of the king. And every time his soldiers lay dead, he was abandoned and then went away. (43) Just as the eighteenth battle was about to take place, a foreign fighter [Kālayavana] appeared who was sent by Nārada. (44) Having heard about the Vrishnis he arrived with three crores of barbarians [mlecchas] and besieged Mathurā, for among the human beings he had found no one who could match him. (45) Seeing him, Krishna together with Sankarshana [Balarāma] thought: 'Ah, [an attack] from two sides. A great problem has risen for the Yadus! (46) This Yavana who opposes Us today, is of the same great strength as Jarāsandha, who will also arrive here either today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. (47) While the two of Us are fighting with him, the son of Jarā, when he comes, will kill our relatives or else move them to his own stronghold. (48) Let us therefore today build a fortress impenetrable to human beings to house our intimates, and then kill the barbarian.'
(49) After deliberating on the matter, the Supreme Lord arranged for a fortress [with a circumference] of twelve yojanas within the sea, where He had a city built [called Dvārakā or 'many-gated', see also 1: 11] that had all kinds of wonderful facilities. (50-53) The science of the architecture of Tvashthā [Vis'vakarmā] could be admired there, who with his expertise constructed the main avenues, courtyards and service roads to the plots of land. It contained splendid gardens and parks with the trees and creepers of the gods and gateways made of quartz with upper levels that with their turrets of gold touched the sky. The service buildings fitted with silver and brass were decorated with pots of gold and had jeweled rooftops. It had houses with floors with precious emeralds, which were occupied by people from the four varnas, it had watchtowers and temples housing the presiding deities, and radiated with the palaces of the Lord of the Yadus. (54) Lord Indra delivered to the Lord the pārijāta [coral-]tree as also the Sudharmā-hall ['good law'] situated in which a mortal is not affected by the laws of mortality. (55) Varuna delivered horses as swift as the wind that had a white and exclusively dark-grey color. The treasurer of the gods [Kuvera] delivered the eight mystic treasures [see nidhi] and the local rulers contributed with each their own wealth. (56) Now that He had arrived on earth, whatever powers of control the Supreme Lord had delegated to them for their own perfection, were all returned to Krishna. (57) After Krishna by the power of His yoga had transported all His subjects to that place [*], He consulted with Balarāma, the protector of the citizens, and then unarmed went out by the city gate, wearing a garland of lotus flowers.'
*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī quotes the following verses here from the S'rī Padma Purāna, Uttara-khanda: "In the middle of the night, as the citizens of Mathurā slept, Lord Janārdana suddenly removed them from that city and placed them in Dvārakā. When the men awoke, they were all amazed to find themselves, their children and their wives sitting inside palaces made of gold."
Chapter 51: The Deliverance of Mucukunda
(1-6) S'rī S'uka said: 'Seeing Him coming out [of the city, see 50: 57] like the rising moon, most beautiful to behold, with a dark complexion, a yellow silk garment, the S'rīvatsa on His chest, the brilliant Kaustubha gem decorating His neck, His mighty, long four arms and eyes as pink as newly grown lotuses, His always effulgent, clean, joyful smile to His beautiful cheeks, His lotus like face and the display of His shark-shaped earrings, he [Kālayavana] thought: 'This person indeed, with the S'rīvatsa, the four arms, the lotus eyes, wearing forest-flowers and with a great beauty, must be Vāsudeva. Considering the marks as mentioned by Nārada He, going there without weapons on foot, can be no one else. I shall fight Him without weapons!' The Yavana in pursuit thus decided to catch up with Him who had turned His face and fled away, He, who is unattainable even for mystic yogis. (7) With every step seeming to be within the reach of his hands, the Lord led the leader of the Yavanas over a great distance to a mountain cave. (8) In his pursuit he insulted Him with words like 'Fleeing does not behove someone like You born in the Yadu dynasty!' Yet he, whose mischief had not found its end, could not get hold of Him. (9) Despite being insulted this way, the Supreme Lord entered the mountain cave. The Yavana followed Him, but saw another man lying there. (10) 'And now, after leading me over such a long distance, He lies here like a saint!' Thus erroneously thinking that the man was Acyuta, he struck him full force with his foot. (11) The man woke up after a long period of sleep and slowly opened his eyes. Looking around in every direction, he saw him standing at his side. (12) Oh descendant of Bharata, with the glance the angered man cast on him, he was instantly burned to ashes by a fire that was generated from within his own body [*].'*: Mucukunda, the man asleep, as stated hereafter fought for a long time on behalf of the demigods and finally took as his benediction the right to sleep undisturbed. The paramparā by S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī quotes the Hari-vams'a that explains he secured the further benediction of being able to destroy anyone who disturbed his sleep. He further elucidates that Mucukunda made this rather morbid request to scare Lord Indra, who, so Mucukunda thought, might otherwise wake him up repeatedly to request his help in fighting Indra's cosmic enemies. Indra's consent to Mucukunda's request is described in the S'rī Vishnu Purāna as follows: "The demigods declared, 'Whoever awakens you from sleep will suddenly be burnt to ashes by a fire generated from his own body.' "
(13) The honorable king [Parīkchit] said: 'Who precisely was that person, oh brahmin, of which family was he and of what powers? Why had he retreated into the cave to sleep, and from whose seed was that destroyer of the Yavana born?'
(14) S'rī S'uka said: 'He is known as Mucukunda. He was born in the Ikshvāku dynasty as a son of Māndhātā [see 9.6: 38 and 9.7]. He is a great personality devoted to the brahminical order and someone true to his vow in battle. (15) On the request for help of the gods headed by Indra, who were terrified because of the Asuras, he for a long time was of service to offer them protection. (16) After having secured Guha ['from the cave'; Skanda or Kārttikeya] as their guardian of heaven, they said to Mucukunda: 'Oh King, please desist from the difficult task to protect us. (17) Forgetting all your personal desires, you oh hero, with abandoning a kingdom in the world of man, have removed those [asura] thorns for our protection. (18) Your children, your queens and your other relatives, ministers, advisors and subjects, do not live anymore. Time has swept them away. (19) The Supreme, Inexhaustible Lord of Control is the Time itself, more powerful than the most powerful, who, playing a game of herdsman and flock, sets the mortal beings in motion. (20) We wish you all good fortune, please choose today any benediction from us, except for the boon of liberation that can only be conferred by the Supreme Inexhaustible Lord S'rī Vishnu.'
(21) He, who for his great fame thus was addressed by the demigods, respectfully saluted them and entered a cave to enjoy the sleep the gods had granted him [**]. (22) After the barbarian was burned to ashes, the Supreme Lord, the great hero of the Sātvatas, revealed Himself to sage Mucukunda. (23-26) He, as dark as a cloud, was clad in a yellow, silken garment, carried the S'rīvatsa on His chest and the brilliant Kaustubha gem that radiated. With His four arms and the beautifying Vaijayantī garland, with His attractive, calm face and glittering shark-shaped earrings, with His affectionate smile appealing to all mankind and His glance, with His youthful handsome form, His noble gait and His fire that was like that of a lion, He formed an appearance of an overwhelming effulgence. Facing this unassailable splendor he, who was highly intelligent, filled with awe hesitantly posed a question. (27) S'rī Mucukunda said: 'Who are You to join with me in the wilderness in a mountain cave, while You with Your feet, that are like the petals of a lotus, walk the thorny ground? (28) Maybe You are the Supreme Lord, the origin of all empowered beings, or else the god of fire, the sun god, the moon god, the king of heaven or perhaps a ruler from another planet. (29) I think You are the leading godhead [Vishnu] among the three principal demigod personalities [Brahmā, S'iva and Vishnu], the Greatest One, for You dispel the darkness of this cave [the 'heart'] like a lamp with its light. (30) Oh Most Eminent Among All Man, if You like, please describe truthfully for us eager to hear, Your birth, activities and lineage. (31) We from our side, oh tiger among men, are descendants of Ikshvāku, a family of kshatriyas. I myself was born from the son of Yuvanās'va and am called Mucukunda, oh Lord. (32 or my comfort lay down in this solitary place. Then I was awakened by someone. (33) That person because of his sinful mentality turned to ashes. Immediately thereafter I then saw Your good Self so glorious, oh Chastiser of the Enemies. (34) Because of Your unbearable effulgence we, being diminished in our faculties, cannot behold You, oh most Gracious One; You deserve it to be honored by all embodied beings!'
(35) Thus being addressed by the king, the Supreme Lord and Origin of the Entire Creation replied with a broad smile, using words rumbling as deep as the clouds. (36) The Supreme Lord said: 'There are thousands of My births, activities and names, My dear one, limitless as they are, they cannot even be enumerated by Me! (37) Some time, after many lives, one may succeed in counting all the dust particles of the earth, but that will never be accomplished with My qualities, activities, names and births. (38) Not even the greatest sages enumerating My births and activities, which take place in respect of the three aspects of time [past, present, future], oh King, can reach the end [compare 8.5: 6 and 8.23: 29]. (39-40) Nonetheless, oh friend, just listen to what I have to tell you about My current birth. In the past I was beseeched by Lord Brahmā [see 3.9 and also 10.14 ] to secure the dharma and destroy the demons who constituted a burden to the earth. Thus I descended into the Yadu dynasty in the home of Vasudeva, and because of that fact the people call Me Vāsudeva, the son of Vasudeva. (41) I killed Kālanemi [see 10.8: 56] as also Kamsa [10.44], Pralamba [10.18] and others who were hateful with the virtuous souls. This Yavana, oh King, was burned by your scorching glance. (42) I, the one person caring for the devotees, approached this cave for the sake of favoring you, for in the past you have often prayed for it. (43) Tell Me what blessing you want from Me, oh saintly King, I will fulfill all your wishes. Any person who has satisfied Me, will never again need to lament.'
(44) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus being addressed Mucukunda bowed down to Him and spoke. Knowing He was Nārāyana, the [original] Godhead, he filled with joy remembered the words of Garga [***]. (45) S'rī Mucukunda said: 'Man being cheated by Your bewildering potency māyā, oh Lord, is not of worship for You. Not understanding the true purpose of life he - whether he is male or female - seeking his happiness gets entangled in household affairs that make him unhappy. (46) The person who somehow or other in this world attains the rarely obtained, highly evolved human form of life and not an idle [animal] form, oh sinless one, will, with an impure mind, not be of worship at Your lotusfeet, and like an animal be fallen in the blind well of his home. (47) Oh Unconquerable One, I thus have wasted my time with building a kingdom and acquiring opulence. All of this is now gone. Intoxicated like an earthly ruler who mistakes his mortal frame for himself, I suffered endless anxieties; I got attached to children, wives, riches and land. (48) Minding this body, which is a confinement like a pot or a wall, I thus thought myself to be a god among man. Surrounded by chariots, elephants, horses, infantry and generals I traveled around on this earth, but, in my great pride, I never seriously regarded You. (49) Forgetful about what needs to be done, hankering for sense objects and endlessly ruminating with an ever growing greed, one is suddenly placed before You, who are as attentive as a hungry snake licking its fangs to kill a mouse. (50) The same vehicle of time, the body which first was called 'the king', riding in chariots furnished with gold or on fierce elephants, is unavoidably in the course of time named 'feces', 'worms' and 'ashes' [see also 16.4: 2-6]. (51) Full circle having conquered the directions, without further conflicts, being seated on a throne and praised by rulers alike, the person in his home is led about like a pet animal, while deriving his happiness from intercourse with women, oh Lord. (52) Reaching in that situation for having more than others, he, by strictly avoiding pleasures, performs his duties with penance, but thinking of himself as 'I am mightier, I am my own master' he, whose urges are so pronounced, cannot attain happiness. (53) When the wandering person reaches the end of his material existence, he, oh Infallible One, may find association with those who are good and honest [the sat-sanga]. With that good company thereupon devotion unto Him will develop, He who, as the Lord of the Higher [cause] and Lower [effects], for pious souls is the only goal. (54) Oh Lord, I think that with the spontaneous disappearance of my attachment to my kingdom, You have shown me Your mercy. For that is what the saintly rulers of endless stretches of land pray for, when they enter the forest in want of their solitude. (55) I do not desire anything else but to be of service at Your feet, for they are, to those not desiring a material life, the object of desire, the boon that is sought, oh Almighty One. Which faithful man of worship for You, the Bestower of the Path of Emancipation, oh Lord, would choose as a boon for that which causes his bondage? (56) Therefore, oh Lord, entirely putting aside the worldly blessings because of which one is entangled in the modes of passion, ignorance and goodness, I approach You, the Original Person of Pure Knowledge, who, free from mundane designations and duality, are transcendental to the modes. (57) Tormented by disturbances I, for a long time, was full of sorrow being distressed in the world. With my six enemies [the senses and the mind] never being satisfied, there was no way to find peace, oh Bestower of the Shelter. Please, oh Lord, protect me who, facing these dangers, oh Supreme Soul, has approached Your lotus feet, the truth that is free from sorrow and fear.'
(58) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh great King, emperor of all, you have a pure and capable mind, for, even though you were tempted to ask for benedictions, you were not spoiled by desires. (59) Please know that I tempted you with benedictions in order to ascertain whether you are free from bewilderment. The exclusive[ly to Me devoted] intelligence of the bhaktas is never diverted by material blessings. (60) Those who, not devoted to Me, occupy themselves with breathing exercises and such, did not diminish their material desires [the vāsanās], oh King, so that one sees that their minds again assert themselves [materially]. (61) Wander this earth at will, and may there, with your mind fixed on Me, for you thus always be an uninterrupted devotion unto Me. (62) Following the dharma of the ruling class, you have killed living beings when you were hunting and with other actions. That sin you should now uproot completely by fully immersing yourself in penances with Me as your shelter. (63) In your birth following this one, oh King, you, becoming a supreme well-wisher to all living beings, will be a fine brahmin and attain Me for certain [see also B.G. 5:29 ].'
**: S'rīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thhākura gives the following lines from an alternate reading of this chapter. These lines are to be inserted between the two halves of this verse:nidrām eva tato vavre
sa rājā s'rama-karshitah
yah kas'cin mama nidrāyā
bhangam kuryād surottamāh
sa hi bhasmī-bhaved ās'u
tathoktas' ca surais tadā
svāpam yātam yo madhye tu
bodhayet tvām acetanah
sa tvayā drishtha-mātras tu
"The King, exhausted by his labor, then chose sleep as his benediction. He further stated, 'O best of the demigods, may whoever disturbs my sleep immediately be burned to ashes.' The demigods replied, 'So be it,' and told him, 'That insensitive person who wakes you in the middle of your sleep, will immediately turn to ashes simply by your seeing him."
***: The paramparā states: 'S'rīla S'rīdhara Svāmī informs us that Mucukunda was aware of the prediction of the ancient sage Garga that in the twenty-eighth millennium the Supreme Lord would descend. According to Ācārya Vis'vanātha, Garga Muni further informed Mucukunda that he would personally see the Lord. Now it was all happening.'
Chapter 52: The Lords Leap from a Mountain and Rukminī's Message to Lord Krishna
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus being blessed by Krishna, the descendant of Ikshvāku [Mucukunda] circumambulating Him bowed down and left through the mouth of the cave. (2) Noticing that the human beings, the animals, plants and trees were all in a poor condition [were small], he concluded that the Age [the yuga] of Kali had arrived and went in the northern direction [compare 1.15: 44]. (3) He had faith in the process of penance, was of self-control and free from attachments and doubts. With his mind thus absorbed in Krishna he entered the realm of the mountain Gandhamādana ['the nice smell']. (4) Reaching Badarikās'rama [see e.g. 3.4: 4, 4.12: 16, 5.4: 5, 7.11: 6], the residence of Nara-Nārāyana, he who conquering all duality had found peace in his austerity, worshiped the Lord
(5) The Supreme Lord returned to His city Mathurā that was surrounded by the Yavanas, killed the barbarian army and brought their riches to Dvārakā. (6) As Acyuta was engaged in taking the wealth with oxen and men, Jarāsandha arrived on the scene leading twenty-three armies. (7) Seeing the mighty waves of soldiers of the enemy armies, the two Mādhavas adopting a human course, quickly ran away, oh King. (8) Abandoning the load of riches, appearing afraid but factually being free from fear, They on Their lotus petal feet covered many yojanas. (9) Seeing the Two escape, the mighty ruler of Magadha loudly laughed and pursued the Lords with charioteers and soldiers, not being quite aware of Their special nature. (10) Exhausted from full speed having run a long distance, They climbed a very high mountain known as Pravarshana ['the rainy one'] where the mighty Lord [Indra] is always showering rains. (11) Knowing that They were hiding on the mountain, but not exactly where, oh King, he [Jarāsandha], with firewood set ablaze the mountain on all sides. (12) Quickly leaping down from the eleven yojanas high, everywhere burning mountain, They fell to the ground. (13) Not being seen by Their opponent or his helpers, the two finest Yadus returned to Their city that had the ocean as its moat, oh King. (14) The king of the Magadhas mistakenly thought that Balarāma and Kes'ava had burned in the fire, pulled back his huge force and returned to Magadha. (15) As previously stated, the opulent sovereign of Ānarta, named Raivata, on the order of Brahmā gave Balarāma his daughter Raivatī in marriage [9.3: 33-36]. (16-17) The Supreme Lord Govinda, oh hero among the Kurus, married with Vaidarbhī [Rukminī], the daughter of Bhīshmaka, on her own request. She was a plenary portion of the Goddess of Fortune. With force overruling S'ālva and the other kings in support of S'is'upāla, He accomplished this [by stealing her away] before the eyes of all the people, just like the son of Tārksya [Garuda, stole] the nectar from heaven.'
(18) The honorable king said: 'In the manner of a Rākshasa [by kidnapping thus], so I heard, the Supreme Lord thus married Rukminī, the daughter of Bhīshmaka with the charming face. (19) Oh lord, I would like to hear how Krishna, He with His immeasurable potency, stole away His bride and [therewith] defeated such kings as Jarāsandha and S'ālva. (20) What intelligent person, oh brahmin, can ever get enough of listening to the righteous, enchanting and always new stories [see 10.45: 48] we hear about Krishna, which remove the worldly contamination?'
(21) The son of Vyāsa said: 'There was a king named Bhīshmaka, the great ruler of Vidarbha, who had five sons and one daughter with an exceptionally pretty face. (22) Rukmī was the first born son, followed by Rukmaratha, Rukmabāhu, Rukmakes'a and Rukmamālī. Rukminī was their chaste sister [rukma means: 'what is bright or radiant']. (23) Hearing Mukunda's beauty, prowess, character and opulences being sung by those who came to her family home, she deemed Him a suitable husband. (24) Krishna knowing her to be a repository of intelligence, auspicious marks, magnanimity, beauty, good behavior and other qualities, likewise considered her a suitable wife, and decided to marry her. (25) But Rukmī, who hated Krishna, prevented this, even though his family wanted to give his sister to Krishna, oh King. He thought of S'is'upāla. (26) The princess of Vidarbha with her dark eyes, was unhappy with that knowledge. She pained her mind and quickly sent a certain dependable brahmin to Krishna. (27) After arriving in Dvārakā he was ushered in by the gatekeepers and saw the Original Personality sitting on a golden throne. (28) The moment the Lord who is good to the brahmins, saw him, He came down from His throne, seated him and performed worship the same way the residents of heaven worship Him. (29) With him having eaten and rested, He who is the goal of the devotees approached him to personally massage his feet. Patiently He asked him: (30) 'Oh My best one, are the religious activities supported by your first-class, twice-born seniors, proceeding without too much difficulty, and are you always happy within? (31) When a brahmin remains satisfied with whatever [comes his way] and does not fail in his religious duty, that will bring him all he desires. (32) Dissatisfied he, even as a master of enlightened souls, will keep moving from world to world, while satisfied he, even when he possesses nothing, will sleep well with all his limbs [and mind] free from distress. (33) I bow My head again and again to those brahmins who are satisfied with what they get, for they, peaceful and free from false ego, are the best well-wishers of all living beings [see also B.G. 2: 71, 12: 13-14]. (34) Are you faring well as a subject to your king? He in whose kingdom the people being protected lead a happy life, is very dear to Me. (35) Where have you come from, crossing the [ocean of] troubles, and for what purpose have you come here? Please tell Us everything, if it is not a secret. What is it that We may do for you?
(36) After the Supreme One, who for the sake of His pastimes assumes His bodies, thus had asked these questions, the brahmin related everything to Him. (37) 'S'rī Rukminī told me: 'Oh Most Beautiful One of all the Worlds, I heard about Your qualities. For all who listen and whom You have entered through the openings of their ears, You thus remove the distress of their bodies. To those who have eyes, the sight of Your beauty constitutes the complete fulfillment of their life's purpose. Therefore I have without any shame devoted my mind to You Acyuta! (38) Who, oh Mukunda, compares to Your greatness, Your lineage, character, beauty, knowledge, youth, property and influence? Which sober and marriageable girl of a noble birth would, coming of age, not choose You for her husband, oh lion among men, oh You who fills the mind of every member of society with joy? (39) I thus have chosen Your good Self, oh dear Lord, for my husband. I offer myself hereby to You as Your wife, oh Omnipotent One. Please accept me! May the king of Cedi [S'is'upāla], who like a jackal wants to steal away the portion belonging to the king of the animals, never touch what is allotted to the [real] hero. (40) When I sufficiently have worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord, by the performance of pious works, with sacrifices, charity, observances and vows, by honoring the gods, the gurus and the brahmins, and with other activities, may [Krishna] the elder brother of Gada [9.24: 46] then [please] come and take my hand, and not the son of Damaghosha or others like him? (41) Come tomorrow when the marriage takes place, unseen to Vidarbha, oh Invincible One. Fight surrounded by Your officers then to crush the armed resistance of the kings of Caidya and Magadha, and next, as the reward for Your valor, marry me in the rākshasa style [by taking me with You]. (42) You may wonder how, with me moving within my quarters, You can carry me away without killing my relatives. Let me tell You how: the day before there is a large ceremonial procession outside [the palace] for the presiding deity of the family. In that ceremony the new bride approaches the goddess Girijā [Ambikā in her temple]. (43) Great souls like [S'iva] the husband of Ūma, in order to overcome their own ignorance, long to bathe in the dust of Your lotus feet. When I, oh Lotus-eyed One, cannot obtain Your mercy, I should, being weakened by vows, give up my life to attain You [only] after hundreds of births.' (44) The brahmin ended with: 'This is the confidential message I bring you, oh Lord of the Yadus, please consider what needs to be done right now in this matter.'
Chapter 53: Krishna Kidnaps Rukminī
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'When [Krishna] the descendant of Yadu heard the confidential message of the princess of Vidarbha, He took the hand of the messenger into His own and addressed him with a smile. (2) The Supreme Lord said: 'I as well have to think of her constantly and cannot sleep at night. I know that Rukmī in his enmity is against My marriage with her. (3) I will bring her, that indisputable beauty who deems Me the best, over here and crush in battle that half-breed royalty, the way one ignites a fire from firewood!'
(4) S'rī S'uka said: 'Knowing the exact [astronomical] time of Rukminī's marriage, Madhusūdana told His charioteer: 'Dāruka, get the chariot immediately ready.' (5) He brought the chariot yoked with the horses S'aibya, Sugrīva, Meghapushpa and Balāhaka [*], and stood with folded palms before Him. (6) S'auri mounted His chariot together with the brahmin and drove swiftly with His horses in a single night to the Vidarbha kingdom. (7) King Bhīshmaka, who out of affection for his son [Rukmī] obeyed his control, was about to give his daughter away to S'is'upāla and saw to it that the required duties were performed. (8-9) The city was thoroughly cleansed and its avenues, streets and intersections were abundantly sprinkled with water. It was decorated with banners on flagpoles and with archways. The women and men of the city in their opulent homes aromatic with aguru, arrayed in spotless clothing, wearing their jewels, having smeared their bodies with fragrant substances and having decorated themselves with flowers and other ornaments. (10) He [Bhīshmaka] saw to it that the forefathers, the demigods and the brahmins were worshiped according to the rules, oh King, that they were properly fed and that the auspicious mantras were recited. (11) The bride properly bathed, cleaned her teeth, put on her auspicious marriage necklace as also a brand-new set of clothes and adorned herself with the most excellent jewels. (12) For the protection of the bride, the best among the brahmins recited mantras from the Sāma, Rig and Yajur Veda, and the priests expert in the Atharva mantras poured oblations of ghee to pacify the ruling planets. (13) The king, very well versed in the vidhi, donated gold, silver, clothing and sesame seeds mixed with raw sugar to the brahmins. (14) King Damaghosha, the lord of Cedi, the same way arranged for the knowers of the mantras to perform for his son [the bridegroom] everything that was conducive to his prosperity. (15) He traveled to Kundina [Bhīshmaka's capital] accompanied by hordes of elephants dripping with mada, golden chariots decorated with garlands and many regiments infantry and cavalry. (16) The master of Vidarbha met him half way to prove his respects, and with pleasure settled him in a specially constructed residence. (17) S'ālva, Jarāsandha, Dantavakra and Vidūratha, who all sided with S'is'upāla, came together with Paundraka and thousands of others. (18-19) Those who were inimical towards Krishna and Rāma had decided on the following: 'When Krishna together with Rāma and the other Yadus comes to steal S'is'upāla's bride we, in order to secure her, together will join to fight Him.' All the kings thus had arrived with a complete contingent of troops and vehicles.
(20-21) When Lord Balarāma heard about these preparations of the hostile kings and that Krishna had set off alone to steal the bride, He, fearing a fight, filled with love for His brother swiftly went to Kundina together with a mighty force of elephants, horses, chariots and soldiers on foot. (22) The daughter of Bhīshmaka with her lovely hips who awaited the arrival of Krishna, did not see the brahmin return and then wondered: (23) 'Alas, only three yamas [nine hours] remain before I will marry. How unlucky I am, the Lotus-eyed One does not come and I do not know why, nor has as yet the brahmin carrying my message returned. (24) Perhaps the One Faultless in Mind and Body, despite His initial willingness saw something contemptible in me, so that He does not come to take my hand. (25) What a misfortune! The creator is not favorably disposed towards me, nor is the great Lord S'iva... or maybe Devī has turned against me, his consort [known as] Gaurī, Rudrānī, Girijā or Satī.'
(26) Ruminating this way the young girl, whose mind had been stolen by Krishna, closed her eyes brimming with tears, aware of the time [that was left]. (27) While the bride thus was waiting for Govinda's arrival, oh King, her left thigh, arm and eye twitched, foretelling something desirable. (28) That very moment the purest one among the brahmins appeared, following the command of Krishna, to see the divine princess who stayed in the inner chambers of the palace. (29) Noticing his joyful face and the relaxed movements of his body she, as an expert in telling signs, inquired with a pure smile. (30) He told her about the arrival of Yadunandana [the 'Child of the Yadus'] and related the words He had said to assure her that He would marry with her. (31) Realizing that He had come, the mind of Vaidarbhī cleared, whereupon she gladdened knew no better answer than to bow down to the dear brahmin. (32) [The king] hearing that Rāma and Krishna had arrived eager to witness his daughter's marriage, accompanied by the sounds of instruments came to welcome Them with abundant offerings. (33) As was prescribed he performed worship with desirables like honey-milk [madhu-parka], and brought new clothes. (34) Generously arranging for an opulent place to stay he afforded Them, Their soldiers and associates, proper hospitality. (35) With all that was wanted he was thus of respect for the kings who had assembled, according to each his power, age, strength and wealth. (36) The residents of Vidarbha-pura hearing that Krishna had arrived, all came to drink in His lotus face with the cupped palms of their eyes [and said]: (37) 'He who also possesses such a perfect body, is the only one to deserve Rukminī as a wife. He is the most suitable husband for princess Bhaishmī! (38) May Acyuta, the Cause of the Three Worlds, be pleased with whichever of our good deeds and be as merciful to accept the hand of Rukminī.' (39) This is what the citizens bound to their increasing pure love said.
The bride protected by guards left the inner palace and went to the temple of Ambikā [see also 10.52: 42]. (40-41) Going there on foot to see the lotus petal feet of Bhavānī, she, totally absorbed in meditating on Krishna's lotus feet, kept silent in de midst of her mothers and female companions. She was guarded by the valiant, armed soldiers of the king, and while they stood prepared with their weapons raised, cymbals and mridangas, conch shells, horns and other wind instruments were played. (42-43) The bride was accompanied by the well ornamented wives of the brahmins, thousands of prominent courtesans carrying various items of worship and presents, flowergarlands, fragrances, clothing and jewelry, as also by singers who sang and offered prayers, by musicians and bards and by chroniclers and heralds. (44) Reaching the temple of the goddess she washed her feet and lotus like hands, sipped water for purification and entered, sanctified and peaceful, the place where Ambikā resided. (45) The so very young girl was by the elderly wives of the brahmins, who were well acquainted with the injunctions, accompanied in offering her respects to Bhavānī, who was there together with her consort Lord Bhava [S'iva]. (46) [She prayed:] 'Again and again, oh Ambikā, I offer you and also your children [Ganes'a and Kārtikeya] my obeisances. Please allow Krishna, the Supreme Lord, to be my husband.'
(47-48) With different offerings of water, fragrant substances, whole grains and incense, gifts of clothing, garlands, necklaces and ornaments, and an array of lamps, she offered worship, as also did the wives of the brahmins with savories, cakes, prepared betel nut, sacred threads, fruits and sugar cane. (49) The women gave her what remained of the offering as also their blessings, whereupon the bride bowed down to them and to the deity and ate some of the food that was sacrificed. (50) Then she ended her vow of silence and left the temple of Ambikā, while she with her hand, beautified by a jeweled ring, held on to a maidservant. (51-55) With her well-formed waist, the earrings decorating her face, her pure beauty, the gem-studded belt on her hips and her budding breasts, she was just like the illusory potency of the Lord which bewilders even the sober souls [Māyādevī, see also 8.12: 38-40; 10.2***]. Seeing her pure smile, her bimba red lips reflected in her jasmine-bud teeth, her gait like a royal swan as she walked her feet which were tinkling and were beautified by the effulgence of her finely crafted ankle bells, the assembled and respectable heroes were bewildered and distressed by the lust she generated. With her, on the pretext of the procession, offering her beauty to Lord Krishna, the minds of the kings, who saw her broad smiles and shy glances, were stolen, and their weapons dropped to the ground as they fainted and fell from their horses, elephants and the chariots on which they were seated. Slowly walking, she put the two whorls of her lotus flower feet one before the other, meanwhile eagerly expecting the arrival of the Supreme Personality. Throwing aside her hair with the nails of her hand she, coyly looking at the kings present, from the corners of her eyes that very moment spotted Acyuta. Straight in front of the eyes of His enemies Krishna then seized the king's daughter who stood prepared to mount His chariot. (56) He lifted her onto His chariot which was marked with [the flag of] Garuda, drove back the circle of kings and slowly left the place with Balarāma in front, just like a lion would do removing his prey from the midst of jackals. (57) The adversaries headed by Jarāsandha, could in their conceit, with their honor ruined, not bear the defeat: 'We archers are damned with those cowherds, like a bunch of puny animals, stealing the honor of us, the lions!'
*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī quotes the following text of the Padma Purāna describing Lord Krishna's chariot horses: "S'aibya was green like a parrot's wings, Sugrīva yellow-gold, Meghapushpa the color of a cloud, and Balāhaka whitish."
Chapter 54: Rukmī's Defeat and Krishna Married
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'And so they all [realizing that they had been robbed], most angrily and in armor, mounted their vehicles and with their bows ready, each surrounded by his own troops, went after Them. (2) When the Yādava army noticed that they were being followed, the officers stopped to face them, oh King, and twanged their bows. (3) From the backs of their horses, the shoulders of their elephants and the seats of their chariots, the [enemy] masters of arms released a rain of arrows the way the clouds release their water over the mountains. (4) The moment the slender-waisted girl saw the army of her Lord being covered by heavy rains of arrows, she embarrassed looked at His face with eyes full of fear. (5) The Supreme Lord laughed and said: 'Do not be afraid, oh you with your beautiful eyes, your troops will destroy this enemy force right now.' (6) The heroes Gada [Krishna's younger half-brother], Sankarshana and the others, could not tolerate the display of power of the enemy forces, and thus they struck their horses, elephants and chariots down with arrows of iron. (7) The heads of those riding the chariots, the horses and the elephants, fell by the thousands to the ground, complete with earrings, helmets and turbans. (8) One could see the heads of horses, donkeys, mules, elephants and camels, as also [loose] heads of humans, clubs and bows, hands with swords, hands without fingers, thighs and legs. (9) The kings headed by Jarāsandha who, eager for the victory, saw that their armies were annihilated by the Vrishnis, lost their courage and left. (10) They approached and addressed S'is'upāla who, with the wife of his choice being stolen away, was dispirited and perturbed with a dried up face that had lost all its color. (11) [Jarāsandha said:] 'Oh Sir, tiger among men, please give up your gloom, for the embodied beings there is no permanence of desirable or undesirable matters. (12) The way a woman that is made of wood dances to the desire of a puppeteer, this world, which is concerned with joy and sorrow, is controlled by the Lord. (13) I myself with twenty-three armies have lost seventeen battles with S'auri [Krishna]. Only one I have won. (14) Nevertheless I never lament or rejoice, for I know that the world is driven by Time and fate combined. (15) Also now we all, leaders of the commanders of heroes, have been defeated by Yadus with a meager entourage who were protected by Krishna. (16) Our enemies, with the time in their favor, have won now, but then again, when our time has come, we will win.'
(17) S'rī S'uka said: 'S'is'upāla, thus persuaded by his friends, went back to his city with his company, and so too each of the surviving kings returned to his own place. (18) The mighty Rukmī however, who hated Krishna and could not bear the fact that his sister got married in the rākshasa style, pursued Krishna surrounded by an entire akshauhinī. (19-20) Rukmī, mighty armed with his bow and armor, most angrily full of resentment swore to all the kings listening: 'Let me tell you this: I truly will not return to Kundina without having killed Krishna in battle and having retrieved Rukminī.' (21) After having said this, he climbed on his chariot and told his charioteer: 'Quickly, drive the horses to the place where Krishna is found, there must be a fight between Him and me. (22) Today I, with my sharp arrows, will break the pride of that evil-minded Cowherd who so violently abducted my sister!'
(23) Thus vaunting foolishly he, not realizing what the Lord was all capable of, thereupon with a single chariot came forward and shouted at Krishna: 'Stand still, stop!' (24) Drawing his bow he most firmly struck Krishna with three arrows and said: 'Wait a minute, You corrupter of the Yadu dynasty! (25) Where do You think You are going, having stolen my sister like a crow stealing the sacrificial butter? Today I will put an end to Your false pride, You foolish cheater, You devious fighter! (26) If You do not want my arrows to kill You, lay off and release the girl'. But Krishna smiled and struck Rukmī with six arrows that broke his bow. (27) After Krishna had fired eight arrows at his four horses, two at his charioteer and three at his flagpole, he took up another bow and struck Krishna with five arrows. (28) Even though He was struck by all these arrows, Krishna broke his bow again, and when Rukmī picked up yet another one, Acyuta also broke that one. (29) The spiked bludgeon, the trident, the lance, the shield and sword, the pike, the javelin or whatever weapon he took up, were all broken by Him, the Lord. (30) He then leaped from his chariot and ran, sword in hand and as furious as a bird in the wind, forward with the intent to kill Krishna. (31) With His arrows Krishna broke the sword and shield of His attacker to pieces and next, ready to kill Rukmī, took up His own sharp sword. (32) When the saintly Rukminī saw that He wanted to kill her brother, she, beset with fear, fell at the feet of her husband and spoke piteously.
(33) S'rī Rukminī said: 'Oh Lord of Yoga, oh Inscrutable Soul, oh God of Gods, oh Master of the Universe, oh Auspicious One, please do not kill my brother, oh Mighty-armed One.'
(34) S'rī S'uka said: 'As she, with her limbs trembling with fear, her mouth dry of sorrow, her throat choked and her golden necklace disheveled in her agitation, was holding His feet, He desisted out of compassion. (35) He tied him up with a piece of cloth and shaved him, making a mess of him with only little bits of his hair and mustache remaining. Meanwhile the amazing army of the Yadu heroes crushed their opponents the way elephants crush a lotus flower [compare 1.7]. (36) When the Yadu soldiers approached Krishna they found Rukmī in a sorry condition, as good as dead. The almighty Supreme Lord Sankarshana, feeling pity, thereupon released him from his ties and said to Krishna: (37) 'Oh Krishna, what a terribly bad shaving job You have done with his mustache and hair! Disfiguring a family member like this equals to killing him!'
(38) [To Rukminī:] 'Oh saintly lady, please be in your care not angry with Us for making such a mess of your brother. For ones happiness and grief no one else can be held accountable. A human being after all has to face the consequences of his own actions.' [*]
(39) [And to Krishna again:] 'Even though a relative because of his wrongdoing may deserve to be killed, he should not be killed by a relative but rather be banned [from the family]. Why should he who because of his evil deeds ended his own [honorable] life, be killed a second time?'
(40) [To Rukminī:] 'The code of conduct for warriors, as established by the founding father [Brahmā], is that a brother must not even hesitate to kill his own brother. And that indeed is something most dreadful.'
(41) [Back to Krishna again:] 'Blinded as they are in their infatuation with the wealth, those who are proud of a kingdom, land, riches, women, honor, power or something else [other than the soul], do therefore commit offenses.'
(42) [And to Rukminī again:] 'In this attitude of you toward all living beings, of always wishing evil to foes and wishing good to friends [and family], you are just as partial as an ignorant person. (43) Because of the Lord's illusory power the people are bewildered about the Real Self [the soul]. [In māyā] taking the body for their self, they speak in terms of having a friend, an enemy or someone neutral. (44) Being bewildered one perceives the One and Only Supreme Soul of Every Inanimate and Animate Being as many, just like seeing different luminaries [in stead of one radiating fire] or considering the air [as different in case of an enclosed space, see also B.G. 18: 20-21 and 1.2: 32]. (45) The physical body having a beginning and an end is composed of the physical elements, the senses and the basic qualities of nature. In a state of ignorance it is something [that by conditioning is] imposed on the soul and produces [the experience of] the cycle of birth and death. (46) For the soul [who knows though] there is no oneness with or separation from anything material in the manifest world, oh chaste one, since matter is caused and arranged by the soul. It is like the perceiving and that what is perceived with the sun [which cannot separate from or unite with the manifest world]. (47) Being born and such are but transformations of the body and not of the soul, just as the lunar phases do not imply that the moon has died on the day of a new moon [see B.G. 2: 20]. (48) An unintelligent person undergoes his material existence the way a sleeping person, for the purpose of the unreality [of a dream], experiences himself, the objects of his senses and the results of his actions [see also 6.16: 55-56]. (49) Oh you with the pristine smile, please be therefore yourself again [as the goddess of fortune] and dispel, with the knowledge of the essence, the sadness born from ignorance that drained and confused you.
(50) S'rī S'uka said: 'Slender-waisted Rukminī thus being enlightened by the Supreme Lord Balarāma, gave up her resignation and with intelligence regained her composure. (51) Left with only his life air, expelled by his enemies and deprived of his strength and luster, he [Rukmī] had to think constantly of the way he had been misshapen. Frustrated in his personal desires he then built a residence, a city named Bhojakatha ['having experienced the vow']. (52) Because he had said: 'I will not return to Kundina without having killed the evil-minded Krishna and having brought back my sister', he in his anger resided at that very spot [where he was humiliated]. (53) The Supreme Lord, thus defeating the earthly rulers, took the daughter of Bhīshmaka to His capital and married her according to the vidhi, oh protector of the Kurus. (54) To that occasion there was a great rejoicing among the citizens in each and every home of the Yadu city, oh King, where no one else but Krishna, the leader of the Yadus, was the great love. (55) The men and women, filled with joy, with shining jewels and earrings, respectfully presented wedding gifts to the celebrated couple that was exquisitely dressed. (56) The city of the Vrishnis appeared beautifully with the festive columns that were erected, the variety of flower garlands, the banners, the gems, the arches and at every doorway an arrangement of auspicious items like pots full of water, aguru incense and lamps. (57) It's streets were sprinkled and the entrances were beautified with plantain and betel nut stems that were placed by elephants, dripping with mada, belonging to the popular personalities who were invited. (58) The members of the Kuru, Srińjaya, Kaikeya, Vidarbha, Yadu and Kunti families enjoyed the occasion of being together in the midst of the people who excitedly ran about. (59) When they heard about the kidnapping of Rukminī, which was being sung all around, the kings and their daughters were greatly impressed. (60) Oh King, all the citizens in Dvārakā were overjoyed to see Krishna, the Master of All Opulence, joined in marriage with Rukminī, the goddess of fortune.'
*: This verse does not mean that it is meant that one should not be compassionate with forms of suffering as caused by oneself, by others or by natural occurrences, like one has with parasitical diseases, floods and earthquakes. Of course this 'karma blaming', to accuse someone of his fate, often considered a Hindu weakness, is a fundamental philosophical issue, for, on the one hand, each and everyone in the adult world is responsible for his own actions and the consequences thereof, while, on the other hand, someone else or nature can also cause a lot of grief to the innocent. All three cases in fact in Vedic philosophy constitute hindrances, so-called kles'sas, constituting a fate that needs to be overcome by yogic discipline and devotional service. In this verse evidently the adult responsibility for one's own actions is meant. Also is shown, by Krishna's shaving act and also other acts of His forgiveness, that, when possible, even for murderous intent compassion should be exercised and not directly an eye-for-an-eye retribution.
Chapter 55: The History of Pradyumna
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Cupid [Kāmadeva], an expansion of Vāsudeva who previously got burned by the anger of Rudra, had returned to Him in order to again obtain a body [see also 3.1: 28 and 8.10: 32-34 and B.G. 10: 28]. (2) Born from the seed of Krishna in the daughter of the king of Vidarbha [Rukminī], He was thus known as Pradyumna ['the prominently mighty one', see also vyūha]. He was in no respect inferior to His Father. (3) S'ambara ['the juggler' see 7.2: 4-5, 10.36: 36], who could assume any form he wanted, stole the child away that was not even ten days old yet. Recognizing Him as his enemy, he threw Him in the ocean and returned home. (4) Pradyumna was swallowed by a mighty fish which, together with others being trapped in a huge net, was seized by fishermen. (5) The fishermen presented it to S'ambara, who sent the gift to the cooks who with a knife cut it open in the kitchen. (6) The child they found in its belly was given to Māyāvatī, who was astonished. From Nārada she heard the facts about the child's birth and how it had ended up in the belly of the fish. (7-8) She was by S'ambara appointed to prepare rice and vegetables, but she in fact was Cupid's famous wife named Rati. She [after pleading with Lord S'iva and being directed to S'ambara] was waiting for her burned husband to obtain a new body. Understanding that the infant was Kāmadeva, she developed love for the child. (9) He, the son of Krishna, soon attained full youth and became very enchanting to the women who saw Him. (1o) Dear King, full of love she with a bashful smile, raised eyebrows, glances and gestures of conjugal attraction approached Him, her husband, who with His long arms and eyes the size of a lotus petal, was the most beautiful one to be found in society. (11) The Lord in the form of Kṛṣṇa's own son said to her: 'Oh mother, you, in your attitude acting like a girlfriend differently, therewith overstep the [standards for the] mood of motherly affection.'
(12) Rati replied: 'You are the son of Nārāyana by S'ambara stolen from Your home and I am Your legitimate wife Rati, oh Cupid, my master! (13) Not yet being ten days old You were by that demon S'ambara thrown into the ocean, where a fish devoured You from the belly of which we received You here, oh master! (14) Please put an end to that hard to approach and difficult to conquer enemy of Yours who knows hundreds of magic spells. This You can realize with the help of bewildering magic and such! (15) Your mother, with her son gone, is distressed like a cow missing her calf. Overwhelmed with love for her child she is pitifully crying like an osprey.'
(16) Speaking thus Māyāvatī gave the great soul Pradyumna the mystic knowledge called Mahāmāyā ['the great bewildering potency'], that puts an end to all magic spells. (17) Thereupon He approached S'ambara to call him to battle. He reviled him with intolerable insults and thus provoked a fight. (18) Offended by the harsh words he, with eyes red as copper, infuriated like a snake being struck by a foot, came forward holding a mace. (19) Whirling his club swiftly, he threw it at the Great Soul Pradyumna, producing a sound as sharp as a stroke of lightning. (20) The weapon was in its flight by Lord Pradyumna knocked away with His club, oh King. Gotten angry He thereupon hurled His club at the enemy. (21) The demon resorted to the daitya magic he had learned from Maya Dānava, and released, moving through the sky, a downpour of weapons over the son of Krishna [compare 3.19: 20]. (22) Harassed by the rain of weapons the powerful warrior, the son of Rukminī, implemented the great charm that, rooting in goodness, supersedes all magic. (23) The demon then used hundreds of weapons belonging to Kuvera's guardians [Guhyakas], the heavenly singers [Gandharvas], the ogres [Pis'ācas], the celestial snakes [Uragas] and the man-eaters [Rākshasas], but the son of Krishna stroke them all down. (24) Drawing His sharp-edged sword He with one violent blow severed S'ambara's head from his body, complete with helmet, earrings and his red mustache. (25) As the gods full of praise from above rained flowers upon Him, He was by His wife, who traveled the sky, through the air brought to the city [of Dvārakā]. (26) Together with His wife He, like a cloud with lightning, from the sky entered the inner spaces of the most exquisite palace, oh King, which was crowded with hundreds of women. (27-28) When they saw Him, dark as a cloud, dressed in yellow silk, with long arms, reddish eyes, a pleasing smile, His charming countenance, His nicely decorated lotus like face and His bluish-black curling locks, the women, who thought He was Krishna, bashfully hid themselves here and there. (29) Gradually the ladies noticed slight differences in His appearance, whereupon they delighted and most surprised approached Him and [Rati,] that jewel among women. (30) When the sweet-voiced and dark-eyed Rukminī saw Him, she remembered her lost son and her breasts got wet out of affection.
(31) [She thought:] 'Who would this gem among men be, whose son is He, which lotus-eyed woman has carried Him in her womb, and what is more, who is this woman won by Him? (32) If the son I lost, who was taken from the maternity room, were alive somewhere, He would be of the same age and appearance! (33) How can He have the same physical appearance, have the same gait, limbs, voice, smile and glance as the Wielder of the S'ārnga [Krishna's bow]? (34) Considering my great affection for Him and the trembling in my left arm, it has got to be Him, He must be the child I carried in my womb!'
(35) While the daughter of the king of Vidarbha thus was conjecturing, the Lord Hailed in the Scriptures arrived there together with Devakī and Ānakadundubhi. (36) Even though the Supreme Lord Janārdana knew all about the matter, He remained silent. It was Nārada who told the whole story, beginning with the kidnapping by S'ambara. (37) When the women of Krishna's residence heard about that great miracle, they cheered in ecstasy to welcome Him, who had been lost for so many years, as if someone had returned from death. (38) Devakī, Vasudeva, Krishna, Balarāma, and also the women [of the palace] and Rukminī, embraced the couple and rejoiced. (39) Hearing that Pradyumna, who had been lost, had returned, the residents of Dvārakā declared: 'Ah, by providence the child we thought dead has come back!'
(40) It was not surprising that they, who constantly thought of the resemblance with His father, their master, in the full of their attraction, as His mothers, kept their feelings of reverence for Him private. When they felt that way when He appeared before their eyes as the spitting image of the form of the Shelter of the Goddess of Fortune, as Cupid the God of Love in person, then what would that have meant for the feelings of other women?'
Chapter 56: How the Syamantaka jewel Brought Krishna Jāmbavatī and Satyabhāmā
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Satrājit ['always victorious', see 9.24: 13], who had offended Lord Krishna, did his best for Him and gave Him his daughter and the jewel Syamantaka.'
(2) The honorable king said: 'What offense committed Satrājit against Krishna, oh brahmin? Where did the Syamantaka come from and why gave he his daughter to the Lord?'
(3) S'rī S'uka said: 'Satrājit was a devotee of the sun god. The godhead was very satisfied with him and gave him, his best friend, out of affection the jewel called Syamantaka. (4) He, who wore the jewel that shone as brilliant as the sun around his neck, was upon his arrival in Dvārakā, because of its effulgence not recognized, oh King. (5) The people blinded by the glare thought, when they saw him from a distance, that he was Sūrya, and reported that to the Supreme Lord who was engaged in a game of dice. (6) 'Oh Nārāyana, our obeisances unto You, oh Holder of the Conch, Disc and Club, oh Dāmodara, oh Lotus-eyed One, oh Govinda, oh son of the Yadus! (7) Savitā ['the radiant one'], he who with the intense radiation of his glowing disc robs the people of their vision, has arrived to see You, oh Lord of the Universe. (8) Knowing that You at the moment are hiding among the Yadus, the leaders of the demigods in the three worlds are eagerly looking for You. And now the one unborn [Sūrya], has come to see You, oh Master!'
(9) S'rī S'uka said: 'When He with the lotus eyes heard these innocent words, He said with a smile: 'This person is not Ravideva, it is Satrājit who glows because of his jewel.'
(10) Arriving at his opulent home Satrājit festively executed auspicious rituals in the temple room, where he, with the help of scholars, installed the jewel. (11) Day after day that brought him eight bhāras [of about 9.7 kg] of gold, oh prabhu, and nothing inauspicious, like food scarcity, a premature death, catastrophes, snakebites, mental and physical disorders and cheaters, occurred there in the presence of the correctly worshiped gem. (12) Once S'auri [Krishna] on behalf of the king of the Yadus [Ugrasena] asked for the gem, but Satrājit, greedy for the wealth, considered it no offense not to hand it over.
(13) Prasena [Satrājit's brother] one day hung the intensely radiating jewel around his neck, mounted a horse and went hunting in the forest. (14) A lion killed Prasena and his horse and took the jewel into a cave, where he in his turn was killed by Jāmbavān ['he from the Jambu trees', the king of the bears] who wanted the jewel. (15) In the cave he gave the jewel to his offspring as a toy to play with. Satrājit meanwhile not seeing his brother, got deeply troubled. (16) He said: 'My brother, who disappeared in the forest wearing the jewel around his neck, is probably killed by Krishna.' The people, hearing this, whispered it in each other's ears. (17) When the Supreme Lord heard about this He, in order to exonerate Himself from the imputation, together with some citizens followed the path Prasena had taken. (18) In the forest they discovered that he and his horse were killed by a lion and that, further on a hillside, the lion in its turn had been killed by Riksha [Jāmbavān]. (19) The Supreme Lord positioned His men outside the terrifying cave of the king of the rikshas [the bears], and then entered the pitch-dark place alone. (20) When He saw that that most precious of all jewels was used as a child's toy, He decided to take it away and approached the child. (21) Seeing the stranger the nurse cried in fear so that Jāmbavān, that strongest of the strong hearing it, infuriated came running. (22) Unaware whom he dealt with, he took Him for a worldly person and angrily fought against Him, the Supreme Lord, his own Master [compare 5.6: 10-11 and B.G. 16: 18]. (23) A most furious fight ensued between the two, who each tried to win with the help of stones, trees, their arms and with weapons, as if they were two hawks fighting over some meat. (24) For twenty-eight days they continued fighting day and night without interruption, with fist against fist dealing blows as hard as lightening. (25) Jāmbavān with the muscles of his huge body pummeled by the blows of Krishna's fists, perspired all over and exhausted addressed Him in great amazement: (26) 'I know You, You are the life air, the physical and mental strength of all living beings, Lord Vishnu, the Primeval Personality, the All-powerful Supreme Controller. (27) You are the Eternal Creator of All Creators and Created Beings of the Universe, the Subduer of the subduers, the Lord, the Supreme Soul of all Souls [compare 3.25: 41-42]. (28) You are the One because of whose commanding glances, manifesting a slight anger, the crocodiles and whale-eaters [timingilas] became agitated and the ocean was directed to give way. You are the One to the glory of whom a bridge was built and by whose arrows the heads of the Rākshasa [Rāvana] were severed and fell to the ground [see 9: 10].'
(29-30) Oh King, Acyuta, the lotus-eyed Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, then, from His great compassion for His devotees, addressed the king of the bears who had understood the truth. He touched him with the hand that bestows all blessings and said with a voice as deep as the [rumbling] clouds: (31) 'Oh lord of the bears, We came here to this cave because of the jewel. I want to disprove the false accusation held against Me in association with this jewel.' (32) Thus being addressed he [Jāmbavān] happily presented to Krishna his maiden daughter Jāmbavatī together with the jewel, as a respectful offering.
(33) His people, not seeing S'auri coming out who had entered the cave, after waiting for twelve days, most unhappily returned to their city. (34) Devakī, Rukminī devī, Vasudeva and all His friends and relatives, lamented after hearing that Krishna had not reappeared from the cave. (35) The residents of Dvārakā full of sorrow cursed Satrājit and then worshiped Candrabhāgā [the 'fortune of the moon'], Durgā, in order to retrieve Krishna. (36) After having worshiped the goddess she thereupon granted them the benediction. To their great jubilation the Lord, who had achieved His purpose, then directly appeared together with His [new] wife. (37) Greatly aroused on finding out that Hrishīkes'a had arrived with both a wife and with the jewel around His neck, they all rejoiced as if someone had risen from death. (38) Satrājit, by the Supreme Lord summoned to the royal assembly, was in the presence of the king informed that the jewel had been recovered, which then was presented to him. (39) Most ashamed he, hanging his head, accepted the gem and went home, leaving full of remorse about his sinful behavior. (40-42) Pondering over his offense [of having kept it for himself and having accused Krishna] he, apprehensive about a conflict with those in power, thought: 'How will I cleanse myself of the contamination and how can I satisfy Acyuta? What good should I do, so that the people will not curse me for being narrow-minded, petty, befooled and avaricious after the wealth? I will give Krishna the [Syamantaka] jewel and also my daughter, that jewel among women. That is the way to make it up with Him and nothing else!'
(43) Thus intelligently having taken a decision, Satrājit set himself to it and presented both his fair daughter and the jewel to Krishna. (44) Satyabhāmā, who was sought by many men for her qualities, her fine character, her beauty and the magnanimity she was blessed with, married the Lord according to the customs. (45) The Supreme Lord said: 'We do not wish to have the jewel back, oh King. You are devoted to the godhead [Sūrya], let it be yours so that We also may be the enjoyers of its fruits.'
Chapter 57: Satrājit Murdered, the Jewel Stolen and Returned Again
(1) The son of Vyāsa said: 'When Krishna heard [the rumor] that the sons of Pāndu and queen Kuntī had burned to death [in the house of lac], He, who exactly knew what had transpired, together with Balarāma went to the Kuru kingdom for His family obligations. (2) Meeting Bhīshma, Kripa, Vidura, Gāndhārī and Drona They equally sorrowful said: 'Ah how painful this is!'
(3) [Meanwhile in Krishna's absence in Dvārakā] Akrūra and [the Bhoja] Kritavarmā saw an opportunity and said to S'atadhanvā ['hundredbow', a bad character]: 'Why not take the jewel? (4) He [Satrājit] promised us his gem of a daughter, but he ignored us and gave her to Krishna. Why then should Satrājit not follow his brother [in death, see 10.56: 13 and *]?' (5) Thus influenced by the two that most wicked man, in his sinfulness shortening his lifespan, killed out of greed Satrājit while he was sleeping [compare 1.17: 39]. (6) As the women [in Satrājit's residence] helplessly cried, calling for help after he had killed him like a butcher kills animals, he took the jewel and disappeared
(7) When Satyabhāmā saw that her father had been killed, she thrown in grief lamented: 'Oh father, alas, oh father, with you being killed I am killed!' and then she fainted. (8) Putting the corpse in a large vessel of oil she went to Hastināpura to Krishna, who [already] knew of the situation, and related sorrowfully the murder of her father. (9) The Lords hearing that, oh King, imitating the human ways both lamented with eyes full of tears: 'Oh what a tragedy fell upon us!'
(10) The Supreme Lord thereupon returned to His capital together with His wife and elder brother, prepared to kill S'atadhanvā and take the jewel from him. (11) When he heard about it, he in fear took action to save his life and asked Kritavarmā for assistance. But he told him: (12-13) 'I cannot commit such an offense against the Lords Rāma and Krishna. How can anyone who causes Them trouble find happiness? Kamsa and his followers lost their wealth and lives because they hated Them, and Jarāsandha lost after seventeen battles [even] his chariot!'
(14) Turned down by him, he next begged Akrūra for help. But he said likewise: 'Who, knowing the strength of the Lordships, can oppose Them? (15-17) He who maintains, creates and destroys this universe as a pastime, He whose purpose is not even known to the secondary creators [headed by Brahmā] who are bewildered by His invincible [māyā] potency, He who playing as a child of seven years old uprooted a mountain which He held up with a single hand like a boy holds a mushroom [see 10.25], Him, Krishna the Supreme Lord to whose wondrous acts there is no end, I worship. I offer my obeisances to Him who, as the source of all existence, is the Supreme Soul, the immovable center.'
(18) S'atadhanvā, also being rejected by him, left the precious jewel with him, mounted a horse that could cover a hundred yojanas and took off. (19) Krishna and Rāma mounted the chariot with the emblem of Garuda and pursued the murderer of Their respected senior with the fastest horses, oh King. (20) In a park in a suburb of Mithilā S'atadhanvā's horse collapsed. He abandoned it and continued on foot in terror, with a furious Krishna after him who also ran. (21) With him on the run the Lord, on foot, severed with His sharp-edged disc, his head from his body and then searched his upper and lower garments for the gem. (22) Not finding the stone, Krishna approached His elder brother and said: 'S'atadhanvā was killed in vain, he did not carry the jewel.'
(23) Balarāma then said: 'S'atadhanvā must have left the rock with some person, therefore go [back] to the city [of Dvārakā] and search for him. (24) l myself wish to pay a visit to the king of Videha [the later Janaka, see 9.10: 11] who is most dear to Me.' Having said this, the descendant of Yadu, oh King, entered Mithilā [the capital of Videha]. (25) Seeing Him, the king of Mithilā immediately, with a mind full of love, rose to his feet and honored Him who was so worshipable with all available means, as was prescribed. (26) He, the Mighty One, honored by the affectionate great soul Janaka, lived there in Mithilā for several years. During that time He taught Dhritarāshtras son Duryodhana to wield the club.
(27) When Kes'ava, the Almighty Lord, arrived in Dvārakā, He, to comfort His beloved [the grieving Satyabhāmā], told her about the demise of S'atadhanvā and the failure to get hold of the jewel. (28) He, the Supreme Lord, together with all His friends then saw to it that the necessary ritual duties for the funeral of the deceased relative [Satrājit] were performed. (29) As soon as the ones responsible, Akrūra and Kritavarmā, heard that S'atadhanvā had been killed, they out of fear went into exile, somewhere outside of Dvārakā. (30) With Akrūra in exile ill omens arose for the residents of Dvārakā. They continually experienced physical and mental troubles, and had problems with other living beings and the higher powers [natural disasters included, compare 1.14; 1.17: 19 **]. (31) Some citizens, my dear, were thus lost in guesses, forgetting completely what formerly was said about Him, the refuge of the sages. How can with Him being present any calamity arise? (32) [They said:] 'When Indra withheld the rains, the king of Benares [Kās'ī, see also 9.17: 4] gave his daughter Gāndinī to S'vaphalka [Akrūra's father, 9.24: 15], who visited him. Thereupon it rained in Kās'ī. (33) Wherever his son Akrūra stays, who has his [father's] prowess, lord Indra will shower rains and no painful disturbances or untimely deaths will be seen.
(34) Hearing these words of the elders, Janārdana, convinced that this [absence of Akrūra] was not the only explanation for the omens happening [***], ordered that Akrūra should be brought back. (35-36) Greeting him with respect and honor, and pleasantly discussing topics, He, fully aware of everything that went on in his heart, smiled and said: 'We of course, oh master of charity, are already familiar with the fact that you at present possess the opulent Syamantaka jewel entrusted to you by S'atadhanvā. (37) Since Satrājit had no sons it are his daughter's sons [she ąnd her sons] who should receive his inheritance, after having presented water, offerings and having cleared his remaining debts. (38-39) Nevertheless, the jewel should stay with you, for it is for others impossible to manage, oh trustworthy keeper of the vows. My brother however, does not fully believe Me concerning the gem. To bring peace to My relatives, please show it now to Us, oh most fortunate soul who with your altars of gold uninterrupted continue with your sacrifices.' (40) Thus won over by the conciliatory words, the son of S'vaphalka took the gem hidden in his garment and handed over the jewel that shone as brilliant as the sun. (41) After showing the Syamantaka jewel to His relatives, [and thus] doing away with the emotions [of the accusations] against Him, the Lord returned it to him. (42) Whoever recites, hears or remembers this narration full of the prowess of the Supreme Controller Vishnu that most auspiciously removes all distress, will attain peace and drive away his sins and bad reputation.'*: Being pure devotees they could not actually be unhappy about this match, nor could they become jealous rivals of the Lord. Therefore they had an ulterior motive in behaving like His rivals. So there are speculations in the paramparā about Akrūra being cursed for his taking Krishna away from Gokula [see 10.39] or about Kritavarmā being a member of Kamsa's family, or that the two might have been angry with the victim because he spoiled Krishna's good name by slandering that He would have killed his brother.
**: According to S'rīla S'rīdhara Svāmī, reasoning after verse 32 and 35-36, Akrūra took the Syamantaka jewel and went to reside in the city of Benares, where he became known as Dānapati, "the master of charity." There he executed elaborate fire sacrifices on golden altars with assemblies of qualified priests.
***: Also concerning this there are speculations on why there could have been this trouble despite the Lord's gracious presence. Some suggest that Krishna would deliver the bad times because He was compromised by Akrūra who took the jewel elsewhere in rivalry with His rule. At the other hand it is not that unusual that murder in a community, to the rule of God and Krishna, delivers that community a bad time, as one often sees taking place after major wars as pointed out in the Bhāgavatam with its description of the bad times when Krishna after the great Kuru war Himself departed for His heavenly abode [1.14].
Chapter 58: Krishna also Weds Kālindī, Mitravindā, Satyā, Lakshmanā and Bhadrā [*]
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'One day the Supreme Personality, the Possessor of all Opulence, went to Indraprastha accompanied by Yuyudhāna [Sātyaki, His charioteer] and others, to visit the sons of Pāndu who had surfaced again [after the fire in the house of lac]. (2) When they saw Him, Mukunda, the Lord of the Entire Universe arriving, the heroes all stood up at once, as if the master of their senses, their life air, had returned. (3) The heroes who embraced Acyuta found all their sins annihilated by the contact with His body, and experienced the joy of beholding His affectionately smiling face. (4) After Krishna first had offered His obeisances at the feet of Yudhishthhira and Bhīma [because they were older] and firmly had embraced Phālguna [or Arjuna, who was only eight days older], He next respectfully greeted the twin brothers [Nakula and Sahadeva, who were younger]. (5) Krishna sitting on an elevated seat was slowly, step by step, shyly approached by the impeccable, newly [to the Pāndavas] wed [Draupadī], to offer her obeisances. (6) Sātyaki was similarly welcomed, honored and seated by the sons of Prithā, as were also the others who found a seat around Him. (7) He thereupon approached Queen Kuntī [His aunt] to offer His obeisances and was by her embraced with eyes wet because of her intense affection [see also 1.8: 18-43]. Inquiring after the welfare of her and her daughter-in-law [Draupadī], she in her turn, as the sister of His father [Vasudeva], inquired in detail after His relatives. (8) With tears in her eyes and with a throat choked up by emotion she, in her love for Him who shows Himself to dispel the distress, remembering the many trials and tribulations, said: (9) 'We only fared better when You, oh Krishna, remembering us, Your relatives, protected us by sending my brother [Akrūra, see 10.49]. (10) For You, the Well-wisher and Soul of the Universe, there is never the delusion of 'ours' and 'theirs.' Nonetheless You, situated in the heart, put an end to the sufferings of those who remember [You] continuously [see also B.G. 9: 29].'
(11) Yudhishthhira said: 'I do not know what good deeds we, who have but a poor intelligence, have performed to [be allowed to] see You, oh Supreme Controller rarely seen by [even the] masters of yoga.'
(12) Upon the request of the king to stay with them, the Almighty One happily was their guest during the months of the rainy season [see also 10.20], and thus he, for the eyes of the residents of Indraprastha, constituted a source of joy. (13-14) One day [**] Arjuna, the killer of powerful enemies, in armor mounted his chariot with the monkey [or Hanumān] flag, holding his Gāndīva [his bow] and taking his two inexhaustible quivers of arrows and entered together with Krishna a large forest filled with many beasts of prey to have a good time there [see also B.G. 1]. (15) There he with his arrows pierced tigers, boars, wild buffalo, rurus [a kind of antelopes], s'arabhas [a kind of deer], gavayas [a kind of oxen], rhinoceroses, black deer, rabbits and porcupines [see also 4.28: 26 and 5.26: 13]. (16) Servants carried the animals to the king [to Yudhishthhira] to be sacrificed at a special occas on [otherwise the hunt would have been forbidden, see 9.6: 7-8]. Bibhatsa ['the frightening one', Arjuna] being fatigued, was overcome by thirst and went to the Yamunā. (17) As the two great chariot fighters took a bath and drank from the clear water, the two Krishnas [see B.G. 10: 37] spotted a maiden charming to behold walking there. (18) Sent by his Friend, Phālguna approached the exquisite woman who had fine hips and teeth, and an attractive face. He inquired: (19) 'Who are you, to whom do you belong, oh slender-waisted girl, where do you come from and what are your plans? I think you are looking for a husband. Tell me all about it, oh beauty!
(20) S'rī Kālindī said: 'I am the daughter of the demigod Savitā [the sun god]. I want Vishnu, the most excellent granter of boons, to be my husband and am engaged in severe penances. (21) I accept no other husband but Him, the Abode of S'rī [the goddess]. May He, the Supreme Lord Mukunda, the shelter of the helpless, be satisfied with me. (22) Until I meet Acyuta, I am living in a mansion built by my father in the Yamunā waters and am thus named Kālindī [see also bhajan verse 2 and 10.15: 47-52].' (23) Gudākes'a ['thick-haired' Arjuna] related this to Vāsudeva, who already knew this. He lifted her up on His chariot and together with her drove back to king Dharma [Yudhishthhira].
(24) Krishna [in the past] at the request of the sons of Prithā, had ordered Vis'vakarmā to build a most amazing colorful city for them [Indraprastha]. (25) The Supreme Lord resided there for the pleasure of His devotees. [Before the city was built] He wanted to give the Khāndava forest [at Kurukshetra] to Agni, and so He became Arjuna's charioteer. (26) Pleased with that offer, oh King, Agni gave Arjuna a bow and a chariot with white horses, two inexhaustible quivers of arrows, and an armor impenetrable to whatever armed opposition. (27) Maya [the demon who was] delivered from the fire, presented [out of gratitude] an assembly hall to his friend [Arjuna], in which Duryodhana mistook the water he saw for a solid floor [so that he fell into it, see 10.75]. (28) After He [Krishna] from him [from Arjuna] and his well-wishers received permission to leave, He returned to Dvārakā accompanied by Sātyaki and the rest of His entourage [see also 1: 10]. (29) He, who was so very meritorious, then married Kālindī on a day when the seasons, the stars and the other luminaries were most favorable for spreading the greatest happiness among His people.
(30) Vindya and Anuvindya, two kings from Avantī [Ujjain] subservient to Duryodhana, forbade their sister [Mitravindā] who was attracted to Krishna, [to choose for Him] during her svayamvara [ceremony for selecting a husband]. (31) Mitravindā, the daughter of Rājādhidevī, His father's sister [9.24: 28-31], oh King, was by Krishna with force abducted before the eyes of the kings [compare 10.53].
(32) From Nagnajit, the most religious ruler of Kaus'alya [Ayodhyā, see 9.10: 32], there was a divine daughter named Satyā, who was also called Nāgnajitī, oh King. (33) None of the kings would marry her if he could not defeat seven uncontrollable, vicious bulls with the sharpest horns, that could not tolerate the smell of warriors. (34) When the Supreme Lord heard that she was available for the one who defeated the bulls, the Master of the Sātvatas, surrounded by a large army, went to the Kaus'alya capital. (35) The lord of Kos'ala joyfully rose to his feet [upon His arrival] and seated Him with substantial offerings and such, and he was greeted in return. (36) As soon as the daughter of the king saw that the suitor of her choice had arrived, she expressed the wish: 'May He, the Husband of Ramā, become my husband! When I have fulfilled my vows, let the fire [of sacrifice] make my hopes come true. (37) The Goddess of Fortune, the one on the lotus [Brahmā] and the master of the mountain [S'iva] hold, together with the various rulers of the world, the dust of His lotus feet on their heads. How can He be pleased by me, that Supreme Lord, He who for His pastime assumes a body with the desire to protect the codes of dharma, the fixed rules that He Himself has instigated every time [He descended]?'
(38) He [Nagnajit] said to the One worshiped further the following: 'Oh Nārāyana, oh Lord of the Universe, what may I, who am so insignificant, do for You who are filled with the happiness of the Soul?'
(39) S'rī S'uka said: 'Oh child of the Kurus, the Supreme Lord being pleased, accepted a seat and with a smile spoke to him in a voice as deep as a [rumbling] cloud. (40) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh ruler of man, for a member of the royal order who follows his dharma, to beg for something is condemned by the learned souls. Nevertheless I beg you for your friendship. This with an eye for your daughter, for whom We offer nothing in return though.'
(41) The King said: 'Who else but You, oh Supreme Lordship, would in this world be a desirable groom for my daughter? You, on whose body the Goddess resides and from whose side she never leaves, are the only One who possess the qualities! (42) But in order to secure a [suitable] husband for my daughter, oh best of the Sātvatas, previously a condition has been set by us to test the prowess of the suitors of my daughter. (43) These seven wild bulls, oh hero, are untamable. A great number of princes broke their limbs being defeated by them. (44) If You manage to subdue them, oh descendant of Yadu, You have my permission as the bridegroom for my daughter, oh Husband of S'rī.'
(45) Hearing of this condition, the Lord tightened His clothes, divided Himself into seven and subdued the bulls as if it concerned a simple game. (46) S'auri tied them up with ropes and dragged them, broken in their pride and strength, behind Him like He was a boy playing with a wooden toy. (47) The king was astonished and pleased gave Krishna his suitable daughter. The Supreme Lord, the Master, thereupon accepted her in accord with the Vedic injunctions. (48) The queens [of king Nagnajit] were exhilarated to attain Krishna as the dear husband of the princess, and that led to great festivity. (49) Conch shells, horns and drums resounded together with songs and instrumental music. The twice-born souls pronounced blessings, and joyful men and women in their finest dresses adorned themselves with garlands. (50-51) The mighty king gave away ten thousand cows as a wedding gift, including three thousand excellently dressed maidens with golden ornaments around their necks, nine thousand elephants, a hundred times as many chariots with a hundred times as many horses, completed by a hundred times as many men. (52) The king of Kos'ala placed the couple on a chariot and, with his heart melting with affection, sent them off surrounded by a large army. (53) The [rival] kings who heard about it, could not accept the frustration. In their strength just as broken by the Yadus as they were before by the bulls, they blocked the road along which He was taking His bride. (54) They released volleys of arrows at them, but were, like vermin, driven back by Arjuna, the wielder of the Gāndīva, who acted like a lion in his desire to please his Friend. (55) The son of Devakī, the Supreme Lord and Chief of the Yadus, took the dowry, arrived in Dvārakā and lived there happily with Satyā.
(56) Bhadrā was a princess of Kaikeya. She was the daughter of S'rutakīrti, a paternal aunt of the Lord. She was by her brothers headed by Santardana [see 9.24: 38] given in marriage to Krishna.
(57) The Lord also married Lakshmanā, the daughter of the king of Madra. She was endowed with all good qualities and was by Krishna single-handedly carried away at her svayamvara ceremony, just like the nectar of the demigods once was stolen by Garuda [see also 10.83: 17-39].
(58) After Krishna had killed Bhaumāsura [***], thousands equally beautiful women who were taken captive by the demon, also became His wives.'*: In sum Krishna wed 16008 wives: 1: Rukminī, 2 Jāmbavatī, 3 Satyabhāmā, 4 Kālindī, 5 Mitravindā, 6 Satyā (Nāgnajitī), 7 Bhadrā, 8 Lakshmanā, as discussed in 10.83: 17, and the 16000 wives held captive by Bhaumāsura.
**: A date after the burning of the Khāndava forest referred to later in verse 25.
***: A demon, according to the Vishnu-purāna, born as a consequence of Lord Varāha touching mother earth when He lifted her up from the ocean [see 3.13: 31].
Chapter 59: Mura and Bhauma Killed and the Prayers of Bhūmi
(1) The honorable king said: 'How was Bhaumāsura [the demon Naraka], who captured these women, killed by the Supreme Lord? Please tell me about this adventure of the wielder of the S'ārnga [Krishna].'*: The ācāryas explain that Satyabhāmā would accompany Krishna to give permission to kill Bhauma, despite the promise He once made to Bhūmi, the earth-goddess, not to hurt her son Bhauma without her permission. She would also come along to procure the pārijāta flower tree Krishna had promised her after He brought Rukminī one such flower [see also 10.50: 54 and 3.3: 5]
(2-3) S'rī S'uka said: 'Bhauma had stolen lord Indra's Varuna parasol, the earrings of his relative [his mother Aditi, see 8.17], as also a certain location [called Mani-parvata] on the mountain of the gods [Mandara hill, see 8.6: 22-23]. Lord Indra then informed Him [Lord Krishna] about what Bhaumāsura all had done. Together with His wife [Satyabhāmā see *] seated on Garuda, He thereupon traveled to the city of Prāgjyotisha [Bhauma's capital, now Tejpur of Assam], which lay protected surrounded by mountains and weapons, fire, water and wind. The place was fortified by a [mura-pās'a] fence consisting of tens of thousands of tough and dreadful wires on all sides. (4) With His club He broke through the rock fortifications, with His arrows He defeated the weapon systems, with His disc He forced a way through the fire, the water and wind defenses, and with His sword He likewise got through the fence. (5) Resounding His conch shell He broke the seals [of the fortress] as also the hearts of the brave warriors, and with His heavy mace Gadādhara He broke through the ramparts. (6) Hearing the vibration of the Lord's Pāńcajanya, which sounded like the thunder at the end of the universe, the five-headed demon Mura rose up who lay asleep in the water [of the moat]. (7) With his trident raised and with an effulgence as terrible as the fire of the sun most difficult to behold, he, as if he with his five mouths would swallow the three worlds, launched his attack the way the son of Tārkshya [Garuda] would attack a snake. (8) Whirling his trident he threw it with all his strength at Garuda with such a tumultuous roar from his five mouths, that the earth, the sky and outer space in all directions of the egglike shell of the universe reverberated. (9) Lord Krishna then with two arrows broke the trident flying at Garuda in three pieces, and next, with great force, hit his faces with more arrows. The demon furiously hurled his club at Him. (10) That club, flying at Him on the battlefield, was by Gadāgraja [Krishna as the Elder Brother of Gada] broken into thousands of pieces with His own club. But when he next with his arms raised rushed forward at Him, the unconquerable One with ease sliced off his heads with His disc. (11) Lifeless he with his heads severed fell into the water, as if Indra with his force had split off a mountain peak. His seven sons, feeling greatly distressed upon their father's death, thereupon angrily moved into action to retaliate.
(12) Incited by Bhaumāsura, Tāmra, Antariksha, S'ravana, Vibhāvasu, Vasu, Nabhasvān and the seventh son Aruna, with their weapons stepped forward on the battlefield headed by their general Pīthha. (13) In their attack they furiously used swords, clubs, spears, lances and tridents against the Invincible One, but the Supreme Lord of Infallible Prowess with His arrows cut their complete mountain of weapons into tiny pieces. (14) Cutting off their heads, thighs, arms, legs and armor, He sent the ones who were headed by Pīthha all to the abode of Yamarāja. Bhauma, the son of mother earth, who saw that his army and leaders succumbed to the arrows and disc of Krishna, could not accept that and marched forward with elephants in rut that were born from the milk ocean. (15) Seeing Lord Krishna with His wife sitting on Garuda like a cloud with lightning sitting above the sun, he released his S'ataghnī [spiked missile] at Him while at the same time all his soldiers attacked. (16) The Supreme Lord, the Elder Brother of Gada, turned their bodies as also the bodies of the horses and elephants of Bhaumāsura's army, with differently feathered sharp arrows into a collection of severed arms, thighs and necks. (17-19) Each of the sharp and shafted weapons that the warriors employed, oh hero of the Kurus, were by Krishna with three arrows at a time cut to pieces. Garuda who carried Him, stroke the elephants with his two large wings and thus defeated them. Harassed by his wings, beak and talons they moved back into the city while Naraka ['hell' or Bhauma] continued with the battle. (20) Bhauma, annoyed to see his army forced in retreat because of Garuda, struck him with the spear that [once] withstood the thunderbolt [of Indra]. But he was not shaken more by it than an elephant being hit with a flower garland. (21) Bhauma, frustrated in his endeavors, next took up his trident to kill Acyuta, the Infallible One, but before he could even release it, the Lord with the razor-sharp edge of His cakra cut off the head of Naraka as he was sitting on his elephant. (22) That head, complete with its brilliant, shining decorations of earrings and a nice helmet, fell to the ground. [There were exclamations of] 'Alas, alas' and 'Bravo, bravo!', while the sages and ruling demigods showered Lord Krishna with flower garlands.
(23) Mother earth thereupon approached Krishna and presented golden earrings, glowing with shining jewels, and a Vaijayantī garland of forest flowers. She gave Him the parasol of Varuna and the Great Gem [the peak of Mandara]. (24) Oh King, the goddess with a mind full of devotion then folded her palms, bowed down, and praised the Lord of the Universe who is worshiped by the best of the demigods. (25) Bhūmi said: 'I offer You my obeisances, oh God of Gods, oh Lord, oh holder of the conch, the disc and the club, who, to the desire of Your devotees, have assumed Your forms, oh Supreme Soul. Let there be the praise unto You. (26) I worship Him with the lotus-like depression in His belly, my reverence for the One with the garland of lotuses, my respects for Him whose glance is as cool as a lotus, my praise unto You who have feet like lotuses [as in 1.8: 22]. (27) My obeisances unto You, the Supreme Lord, Vāsudeva, Vishnu, the Original Person, the Primeval Seed and the Complete of Knowledge; unto You my salutations. (28) May there be the veneration for You, the Unborn Progenitor, the Absolute of unlimited energies, the Soul of the higher and lower, the Soul of the creation, the Supersoul! (29) Desiring to create, oh Master, You stand out as being the Unborn One [as Brahmā], for the purpose of annihilation You adopt the mode of ignorance [as S'iva], and for the sake of maintenance You are [manifested as] the goodness [as the Vishnu avatāras] of the Universe. [Yet You are] not covered [by these basic qualities], oh Lord of Jagat [the Living Being that is the Universe]. Being Kāla [time], Pradhāna [the unmanifested state of matter, the primal ether] and the Purusha [the Original Person], You nevertheless exist independently thereof. (30) This self of mine [the earth], the water, the fire, the air and the ether, the sense objects, the demigods, the mind, the senses and the doer, the total material energy - in sum everything that moves around or does not move around, constiturtes the bewilderment, oh Supreme Lord [when one supposes that it would exist independently of You]. Everything afte r all resides within You, the One Without a Second [see also siddhānta]! (31) This son of him [called Bhagadatta, son of Bhauma, Bhūmi's grandson] has in his fear approached the lotus feet of You who removes the distress of those who take shelter. Please protect him and place on his head Your lotus hand which eradicates all sins.'
(32) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, with these words being entreated by Bhūmi with devotion and humility, took his fear away and entered the residence of Bhauma which was equipped with all conveniences. (33) The Lord found there sixteen thousand [**] maidens of the royal order, who by Bhaumāsura by force were taken away from the kings. (34) When the women saw Him enter, the most excellent of all men, they enchanted chose for Him, who by fate was brought to them, as the husband of their desire. (35) Absorbed in Krishna they thought: 'May providence make that He becomes my husband.' Thus contemplating they, one after the other, all installed Him in their heart. (36) After they were properly washed and clad in spotless clothes, He sent them off in palanquins to Dvārakā, together with the enormous treasure of chariots, horses and a great number of other valuables [that was captured]. (37) Kes'ava also dispatched sixty-four swift white elephants with four tusks from the family of Airāvata [Indra's elephant]. (38-39) Thereupon He went to the abode of the king of the gods and gave Aditi her earrings. Next He together with His beloved [Satyabhāmā] was worshiped by Indra, the head of the thirty [chief] demigods, and the great king's wife. Urged by His own wife He uprooted the [heavenly tree, the] pārijāta and placed it on Garuda. He defeated the demigods including Indra [who wanted to prevent that] and brought it to His city. (40) All the way from heaven being followed by bees greedy for its sweet fragrance and juice, the tree beautified the garden of Satyabhāmā's residence after being planted there. (41) [Indra] that great soul among the demigods, had bowed down, touched His feet with the tips of his crown and begged Acyuta to fulfill his desire, but now that he had achieved his purpose [viz. the Lord], he nevertheless started to quarrel with Him [about the pārijāta]. To hell [those demigods] with their wealth, what an ignorance [see also: 3.3: 5]! (42) The Supreme Lord then properly married with all those women, at the same time living in various residences with them. For that purpose the Imperishable One assumed as many forms [see 10.58: 45, 10.69: 19-45 and B.G. 9: 15; 13: 31]. (43) Happily engaged with the women eager to please Him, He who performs the most inconceivable deeds never left their unequalled and superior palaces. Even though He is perfectly satisfied within, He carried out His duties as a householder and enjoyed life like any other man [see also 1.11: 37-39]. (44) The women shared, in an ever-increasing happiness, the always fresh, loving attraction of associating with Him in smiles and glances, intimate talks and bashfulness. Thus having obtained the Husband of Ramā they this way managed to attain Him in a manner, that is not even available to Brahmā and the other gods. (45) Even though they had hundreds of maidservants, they personally served the Lord by approaching Him to offer a seat, to be of first-class worship and wash His feet, as also to serve Him with betel nut, massages and fanning, fragrances, garlands and dressing His hair, arranging His bed, bathing and presenting gifts.'
**: As to the number of Krishna's queens there is no absolute agreement. Here is written 16000. The Vishnu Purāna V.19 - 9.31 mentions 16100, while even others speak of 16001. Not counting the verse 10.90: 29, which again mentions over 16100 of them, would, reasoning from the Bhāgavatam stories only, there be 16008 queens [see also previous footnote *].
Chapter 60: Lord Krishna Teases Queen Rukminī
(1) The son of Bādarāyana [of Vyāsa] said: 'He, the Spiritual Master of the Universe one day comfortably being positioned on Rukminī's bed, was served by her who together with her female companions was fanning Him, her Husband. (2) The Unborn Lord, the Supreme Controller who sends forth, protects and devours the universe, now had taken birth among the Yadus to play His game and defend His rule [*, see also 6.3: 19]. (3-6) That private part of the palace was brilliantly decorated with strings of pearls and resplendent with a canopy, with lamps made out of jewels and with jasmine flower garlands swarming with humming bees. The light of the spotless moon was filtered through the openings of the lattice windows, the wind carried the fragrance from the grove of pārijāta trees and thus transported the atmosphere from the garden, and the exciting scent of aguru insence, oh King, was escaping through the window openings. There she served her Husband, the Controller of All Worlds, who was comfortably seated on an excellent pillow on the bed which shone white as milk foam. (7) The goddess took a yak-hair fan with a jeweled handle from the hand of a maidservant and, performing worship, fanned her Master with it. (8) Standing at Krishna's side making sounds with her jeweled ankle bells, she appeared beautifully with her rings, bangles and fan in her hand, with her garment which with its tip concealed her breasts red of the kunkum, with the glow of her necklace and with the priceless belt she wore around her hips. (9) As she pleased smiled with her locks, earrings and jewels around her neck, her bright and happy face and sweet lips, He recognized her as an appearance of the goddess of fortune who, with no other purpose in life, for the sake of His pastime corresponds with bodies befitting the forms He assumes [**]. The Lord then spoke.*: The Sanskrit word used here is setu: it means bridge, dam, boundary limit, thus in this context His guidance, religion, rule and law.
(10) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh princess you were desired by kings, rulers of the world of beauty, strength and generosity who were abundantly endowed with great powers, influence and opulence. (11) Rejecting suitors at your disposition like S'is'upāla and others who, mad because of Cupid, were offered to you by your brother and father, I wonder why you have chosen for Us, so different from them. (12) In fear of the kings, oh lovely-browed one, and having moved to the ocean for shelter [to Dvārakā], We were of enmity with those in power and have well-nigh relinquished the throne. (13) Oh beautiful eyebrows, women concerned with men whose behavior is uncertain, usually have to suffer. They follow a path not acceptable to normal society. (14) We, with no possessions, are dear to those people who have nothing themselves, and therefore we as a rule are not very popular among the rich who rarely pay Me any respect, oh fine-waisted lady. (15) Marriage and friendship is there between two people equal in property, birth, influence, physique and prospects, and never between a superior and an inferior [in this]! (16) Oh princess of Vidarbha, you could not foresee this, you did not know when you chose for Us who miss the good qualities, We who are praised by beggars out of their mind! (17) Now, please accept for yourself a husband that is suitable, a first class noble capable of fulfilling all your wishes in this life and the next. (18) S'is'upāla, S'ālva, Jarāsandha, Dantavakra and other kings all hate Me, oh you with your beautiful legs, and so does your elder brother Rukmī. (19) I took you with Me, oh good lady, in order to dispel the pride and arrogance of those who are blinded by the intoxication of their power. We wanted to restrain the power of the wicked [see also B.G. 4: 7]. (20) Indifferent about a home and a body We do not really care about wives, children and wealth; free from any endeavoring We remain completely satisfied within Ourselves, just like a light doing nothing more.'
(21) S'rī S'uka said: 'After the Supreme Lord had said this as the destroyer of the pride of she who, as His beloved one, thought herself inseparable, He stopped. (22) From the Master of the Lords of the Three worlds, her own Beloved, she, the goddess, had never before heard such an unpleasant thing. With fear growing in her heart she, trembling with a terrible anxiety, then began to sob [see S'rī S'rī S'ikshāshthaka verse 6 & 7]. (23) With her most delicate foot, which glowed red of her nails, she scratched the earth and, while she with her tears smeared the makeup of her eyes and sprinkled the red kunkuma powder on her breasts, she froze, face downward, with her speech checked by her extreme sorrow. (24) Because of her great grief, fear and anguish not thinking clearly anymore, her bangles slipped and her fan fell from her hand. With her mind disrupted she suddenly swooned. Her body fell to the ground with her hair scattered, like she was a plantain tree blown over by the wind [see rasa]. (25) The moment He understood what the full import of His, not by her understood, joking meant to the bond of divine love with His beloved, the Supreme Lord, merciful Krishna, felt sorry for her. (26) He quickly got down from the bed and picked her up with His four arms. Gathering her hair, He wiped her face with His lotus hand. (27-28) Wiping her tear-filled eyes and smeared breasts, oh King, He put His arm around her who, chaste as she was, knew no other object of desire. The Master, the Expert in Pacification, compassionately consoled her who was so pitiably confused by His clever joking. [Being motivated] for the Goal of All Pure Souls she did not deserve this. (29) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh Vaidarbhī, do not be unhappy with Me, I know you are fully dedicated to Me, My dearest. I acted in jest to hear what you would say. (30) This is how I wanted to see the face of love: with lips trembling in agitation, glances cast from the corners of reddish eyes, and beautiful eyebrows knit together. (31) To spend time joking with one's beloved is indeed, for a mundane householder, the greatest achievement in family life, oh timid one of temperament.'
(32) S'rī S'uka said: 'Vaidarbhī, oh King, thus completely pacified by the Supreme Lord, understood that His words had been playful and gave up her fear of being rejected by her Beloved. (33) Bashfully, with a charming smile looking the Supreme Lord in the face, she, oh descendant of Bharata, with affectionate glances addressed the Best of All Men. (34) S'rī Rukminī said: 'Well, so be it, it is as You said, oh Lotus-eyed One. I am different from You who are the Supreme Lord. Who am I compared to the Almighty One who takes pleasure in His own glory? Who am I compared to the Controller, the Supreme Lord of the Three [principal deities]. What now would be my position as someone whose feet are held by fools because of her material qualities? (35) It is true, You, oh Urukrama ['Lord of the Greater Order'], laid Yourself down in the ocean as if You would be afraid of the modes. You always, in the pure awareness of the Supreme Soul, battle against the badness of the material senses and, with Your servants, have rejected the position of a king because it means blind ignorance [see also S'rī S'rī Shadgosvāmī-ashthaka verse 4 and S'rī S'rī S'ikshāshthaka verse 4]. (36) For sages who relish the honey of Your lotus like feet, Your path is not that apparent, while it is even impossible to comprehend for animals in a human form [materialists]. For, as uncommon as the activities of You, the Supreme Controller are, oh All-powerful One, just as unusual are the actions of those who follow You. (37) You are without possessions, for beyond You there is nothing to be found. To You even enjoyers of offerings like Brahmā and others carry offerings. Materially satisfied persons who are blinded by their status, do not know You as their death, but You are most dear to the great enjoyers [the gods], just as they are dear to You [see also 1.7: 10]. (38) You are the ultimate goal comprising all goals of human life, You are the very Self longing for whom intelligent persons discard everything. They are the souls who delight in Your association, oh Omnipotent One, and not the man and woman who in their mutual attraction [their lust] experience pleasure and pain. (39) You are the Supreme Soul of all the Worlds who gives Himself away and about whose prowess the sages speak who gave up their staff [for wandering around, becoming Paramahamsas, see 5.1*]. You were for that reason chosen by me in rejection of those masters of heaven - the one born on the lotus [Brahmā] and the one ruling existence [S'iva]. What would my interest be in others whose aspirations are destroyed by the force of Time generated by Your eyebrows? (40) How foolish were the words You used saying that You have taken shelter in the ocean out of fear, oh Gadāgraja, oh You who by twanging Your S'ārnga drove back the kings when You abducted me, Your deserved tribute, the way a lion snatches his share away from the animals [see also jalpa 10.47: 12-21]. (41) The kings Anga [father of Vena, 4.13: 47], Vainya [Prithu, 4.23], Jāyanta [Bharata, 6.7: 11], Nāhusha [Yayāti, 9.19], Gaya [5.15: 6-7] and others, for want of You have abandoned their crown, their absolute sovereignty over their kingdoms, and entered the forest, oh Lotus-eyed One. Would they, being fixed on Your path, have suffered in this world [see text 13]? (42) Which woman would take shelter of another man, once she has smelled the by the saints described aroma of Your lotus feet, the feet where Lakshmī resides and that for all people bestow liberation? Which mortal woman with the insight to ascertain what is best for her, would not take You seriously as the Abode of All Qualities, and would chose for someone who is always most afraid [because of his false ego]? (43) I have chosen for Him, You, the Ultimate Master and Supreme Soul of All Worlds, as the one suitable to fulfill my desires in this life and the next [see last verse S'rī S'rī S'ikshāshthaka]. May there for me, who wandered on different paths [or in births], be the shelter of Your feet which, when they approach their worshiper, award with liberation from all falsehood. (44) Leave the kings You mentioned [in verse 10], oh Acyuta, to the mercy of those women in whose homes they are like asses, oxen, dogs, cats and slaves, because these women never put their ears close to the core that You as the plague of Your enemies are, oh You who are sung and discussed in the scholarly assemblies of Mrida ['the gracious one' or S'iva] and Virińca ['the pure one beyond passion' or Brahmā]. (45) The woman who is not smelling the honey of Your lotus feet, is of a totally foolish notion. She worships as her partner a living corpse containing flesh, bones, blood, worms, stool, mucus, bile and air, that is covered by skin, whiskers, bodily hair, nails and head hair. (46) Oh Lotus-eyed One, let there be my love for the feet of You who take more pleasure in the True Self than in me. The very moment You, in order to expand this universe, assume a predominance of passion and glance upon Me [as prakriti], You show us the greatest mercy [see also 10.53: 2]. (47) I think Your words are not entirely untrue, oh Killer of Madhu, an unmarried girl once in a while may feel attracted [to another man], like it happened to Ambā [daughter of the king of Kās'ī who was attracted to S'ālva, see Mahābhārata and note 9.22: 20*]. (48) Even being married the mind of a promiscuous woman is attracted to yet another man. When one is intelligent one should not keep such an unfaithful woman, for when one stays attached to her, one will have fallen both ways [both in this and the next life, see also 9.14: 36].'
(49) The Supreme Lord said: 'All that you replied is correct. What I have said fooling you, oh princess, I did because I wanted to hear you speak about this, oh virtuous lady! (50) Oh fair lady, you can always count on whatever benedictions you desire from Me in order to be freed from the lust, oh gracious one, oh You who are exclusively devoted to Me. (51) Oh sinless one, I have understood your pure love and adherence to your husband in vows, for being disturbed by My words, your mind attached to Me could not be diverted. (52) They who with lust in their hearts fall for civil status and worship Me with penances and adherence to vows, are bewildered by the illusory energy of Me, the Controller of the Final Beatitude [see also B.G. 2:42-44]. (53) Oh sweetheart, unfortunate are they who having achieved Me, the Master of both Emancipation and Riches, only desire material benefits. These are even available for persons living in hell, and therefore is, for those who are obsessed with sense gratification, hell the most suitable place [see also 3.3: 32, and 7.5: 32]. (54) Fortunately, oh mistress of the house, you constantly rendered the faithful service to Me that grants liberation from material existence. That service is most difficult for mischievous characters, in particular for women with bad intentions, who only care for their own life breath and derive pleasure from breaking off [relations]. (55) Oh respectful one, in my palaces I can find no wife as loving as you, you who at the time of her marriage disregarded the kings who had arrived, you who, having heard the stories about My truth, sent a brahmin carrier to Me with a confidential message. (56) When your brother, who was defeated in battle and disfigured [10.54], on the day of the marriage ceremony [of Aniruddha, her grandson, see next chapter] got killed during a gambling match, you suffered unbearable grief, but afraid to be separated from Us, you did not say a word and that is how You conquered Us. (57) When I did not show up after you sent a messenger with the most confidential bidding to obtain My person, you considered this world all empty and wanted to give up this body that would not be of anyone else's service [see 10.53: 22-25]. May you always be that way [of fortitude] and may We always rejoice in it.'
(58) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus in intimate conversations following the course of the human world, the Supreme Lord and Ruler of the Universe, took pleasure in enjoying Himself with Ramā. (59) In the residences of the other queens He, the Almighty Lord and Spiritual Master of All the Worlds, behaved similarly like a householder and carried out the duties of a family man.'
**: Spoken by S'rī Parās'ara in the Vishnu Purāna there is, so S'rīla S'rīdhara Svāmī reminds us, a verse confirming this one:devatve deva-deheyam
manushyatve ca mānushī
vishnor dehānurūpām vai
karoty eshātmanas tanum
"When the Lord appears as a demigod, she [the goddess of fortune] takes the form of a demigoddess, and when He appears as a human being, she takes a humanlike form. Thus the body she assumes matches the one Lord Vishnu takes."
Chapter 61: Lord Balarāma Slays Rukmī at Aniruddha's Wedding
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Each of the wives of Krishna gave birth to ten sons not inferior in any respect to their Father's personal opulence. (2) Never seeing Acyuta leave their palaces, each of the princesses considered herself the dearest one. The women had no notion of His truth. (3) Fully enchanted by the Supreme Lord's face, which was as beautiful as the whorl of a lotus, His long arms, His eyes and loving glances, His witty approach and charming talks, the women with their appeal, could not conquer the mind of the Almighty One. (4) Despite the romantic signs they beamed from their arched brows, their hidden looks and coy smiles which so charmingly displayed their intentions, the sixteen thousand wives were not capable of agitating His senses with their arrows of Cupid and with other means. (5) These women, who obtained the Lord of Ramā as their partner and thus achieved what not even Lord Brahmā and the other gods can attain, first of all eagerly looked forward to enjoy His ever-fresh intimate association, and exchanged with pleasure, incessantly and with an increasing loving attraction, smiles and glances with Him [as in 10.59: 44]. (6) Even though they [as stated] had hundreds of maidservants, they personally approached Him to offer Him a seat, to be of first-class worship, wash His feet and serve Him betel nut. They gave massages, fanned Him, and served the Almighty Lord with fragrances, garlands, dressing His hair, arranging His bed, bathing and presenting gifts [as in 10.59: 45]. (7) Among those [16008 *] wives of Krishna, who each had ten sons, there were, as I previously stated, eight principal queens. I will sum up their sons beginning with Pradyumna
(8-9) He was by the Lord begotten in Rukminī [see 10.54: 60] and was in no way inferior to Him, just as were Cārudeshna, Sudeshna and the powerful Cārudeha, Sucāru, Cārugupta, Bhadracāru and another son called Cārucandra, as also Vicāru and Cāru, the tenth son. (10-12) The ten sons of Satyabhāmā [10.56: 44] were Bhānu, Subhānu, Svarbhānu, Prabhānu, Bhānumān and Candrabhānu, as also Brihadbhānu and the eighth son Atibhānu followed by S'rībhānu and Pratibhānu [bhānu means luster, splendor]. Sāmba, Sumitra, Purujit, S'atajit and Sahasrajit, Vijaya and Citraketu, Vasumān, Dravida and Kratu were the sons of Jāmbavatī [10.56: 32]. These sons headed by Sāmba were the ones favored by their Father [see also 7.1: 2 & 12]. (13) Vīra, Candra and As'vasena, Citragu, Vegavān, Vrisha, Āma, S'anku, Vasu and the mighty Kunti were the sons of Nāgnajitī [or Satyā, see 10.58: 55]. (14) S'ruta, Kavi, Vrisha, Vīra, Subāhu, the one called Bhadra, S'ānti, Dars'a, Pūrnamāsa and Somaka, the youngest one, were the sons of Kālindī [10.58: 23]. (15) Praghosha, Gātravān, Simha, Bala, Prabala, and Ūrdhaga were together with Mahās'akti, Saha, Oja and Aparājita, the sons of Mādrā [see *]. (16) Vrika, Harsha, Anila, Gridhra, Vardhana, Unnāda, Mahāmsa, Pāvana, Vahni and Kshudhi were the sons of Mitravindā [10.58: 31]. (17) The sons of Bhādra were Sangrāmajit, Brihatsena, S'ūra, Praharana and Arijit, Jaya, Subhadra, Vāma, Āyur and Satyaka [10.58: 56]. (18) Dīptimān, Tāmratapta and others were the sons of Lord Krishna and Rohinī [*]. Oh King, Pradyumna living in the city of Bhojakatha [Rukmī's domain] begot in Rukmavatī, the daughter of Rukmī, the greatly powerful Aniruddha [see also 4.24: 35-36]. (19) From these sons and grandsons of the sixteen thousand mothers, tens of millions descendants of Krishna took their birth, oh King.'*: This one called Mādrā is the eighth principal wife of Krishna not mentioned before; she is the daughter of the ruler of Madra, called Brihatsena, and is also known as Lakshmanā. From the Bhāgavatam knowing her story as told in 10.83: 17, it is clear that she belonged to the eight queens He married before. Thus there were the 16008 of them. Rohinī [not to confuse with Balarāma's mother who has the same name], not being considered a principal wife, seems to have been the one heading the sixteen thousand princesses. So taking Mādrā as the cause for speaking of 16001 wives in stead of 16000, we in sum have: 1 Rukminī, 2 Jāmbavatī, 3 Satyabhāmā, 4 Kālindī, 5 Mitravindā, 6 Satyā (Nāgnajitī), 7 Bhadrā and 8 Mādrā (Lakshmanā) and then the sixteen thousand headed by Rohinī who came second [see also footnote 10.59** and the list of them in 10.83].
(20) The king said: 'How could Rukmī give his daughter in marriage to the son of his Enemy? Defeated by Krishna in battle he waited for an opportunity to kill Him. Please, oh learned soul, explain to me how this marriage between the two enemies could be arranged. (21) Yogis [like you] are perfectly able to see the past, the present and what has not happened yet, as also things far away, things blocked by obstacles and matters beyond the senses.'
(22) S'rī S'uka said: 'At her svayamvara ceremony she [Rukmavatī] chose the, for her manifest, Cupid [Pradyumna] who took her away after He, with a single chariot, in battle had defeated the assembled kings. (23) In order to please his sister [Rukminī], Rukmī granted his daughter his nephew, even though he always thought of his enmity with Krishna who had insulted him [10.54: 35]. (24) Oh King, the young large-eyed daughter of Rukminī, Cārumatī [**], married with Balī, the son of Kritavarmā. (25) Despite being bound in enmity to the Lord, Rukmī gave to his granddaughter named Rocanā, Aniruddha in marriage, he who was the son of his daughter. Knowing that it was against the dharma [not to side with one's enemy], he, constrained by the ropes of affection, preferred to please his sister with that marriage. (26) Oh King, on the occasion of that happy event, Rukminī, Balarāma and Kes'ava [Krishna], Sāmba, Pradyumna and others came to the city of Bhojakatha.
(27-28) After the ceremony, some arrogant kings led by the ruler of Kalinga said to Rukmī: 'You should defeat Balarāma in a game of dice. He, oh King, is really not that good at it, but is nevertheless greatly fascinated by it.' Thus being addressed, Rukmī invited Balarāma to play a game of dice with him. (29) In that match Balarāma accepted a wager of first hundred, then thousand and then ten thousand [gold coins]. But it was Rukmī who won. The king of Kalinga thereupon loudly laughed at Balarāma, baring his teeth freely. The Carrier of the Plow could not tolerate this. (30) When Rukmī next accepted a bet of a hundred thousand coins that was won by Balarāma, Rukmī resorted to deceit and said: 'I have won!'
(31) With a mind boiling like the ocean on the day of a full moon, handsome Balarāma, whose naturally reddish eyes were burning with anger, accepted a wager of a hundred million coins. (32) Balarāma also fairly won that game, but Rukmī again resorted to deceit and said: 'It is won by me. May these witnesses confirm that!'
(33) Then a voice spoke from the sky: 'It was Balarāma who fairly won the wager, what Rukmī said is a lie!'
(34) Urged on by the wicked kings to head for his death, the prince of Vidarbha discarding that voice, derided Sankarshana by saying: (35) 'You cowherds roaming in the forest are no experts in playing dice. To play dice and shoot arrows is something for kings and not for the likes of you!'
(36) Thus being insulted by Rukmī and laughed at by the kings present in this gathering of powerful men, He angrily raised His club and struck him dead. (37) Quickly He seized the fleeing king of Kalinga on his tenth step, and knocked in His rage the teeth out he had bared while laughing at Him [see also 4.5: 21]. (38) Tormented by Balarāma's club the [other] kings fled in terror, drenched in blood, with their arms, legs and skulls broken. (39) The fact that his brother-in-law, Rukmī, had been slain, oh King, was by the Lord neither welcomed nor condemned, out of fear to break the bond of affection with Rukminī and Balarāma. (40) The descendants of Das'ārha, whose purposes under the shelter of Madhusūdana all had been fulfilled, thereupon placed the groom, Aniruddha, together with His bride on a chariot and led by Balarāma left Bhojakatha to head for Kus'asthalī [another name of Dvārakā].'
**: Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī explains that every queen of the Lord's queens had one daughter.
Chapter 62: Ūshā in Love and Aniruddha Apprehended
(1) The honorable king said: 'Bāna's daughter named Ūshā ['dawn'] married the best of the Yadus [Aniruddha]. Because of the marriage a great and terrible battle took place between the Lord and S'ankara [S'iva as 'the auspicious one']. Oh great yogi, it is up to you to explain all this.'
(2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Bāna ['arrow'], the eldest son of the one hundred sons born from the semen of Bali ['gift'] - the great soul who donated the earth to the Lord who had appeared in the form of Vāmana [see 8.19-22] -, was respectable, magnanimous, intelligent and truthful in his vows, and always fixed in his devotion for Lord S'iva. In the charming city known as S'onita ['resin'] he founded his kingdom, where the immortals served him like menial servants. They did that because S'ambhu ['the beneficent one' or S'iva] in the past had been pleased by him as he, endowed with a thousand arms, had played musical instruments while Mrida [S'iva as 'the gracious one'] was dancing. (3) He, the great lord and master of all created beings, the compassionate one offering shelter to his devotees, rewarded him with a benediction of his choice. Bāna then chose for him [S'iva] as the protector of his city. (4) Intoxicated by his strength, Bāna, one day being present at his side, said to Giris'a [S'iva as the lord of the mountain] while touching his lotus feet with a helmet as bright as the sun: (5) 'I bow down to you Mahādeva ['great god'], oh controller and spiritual master of the worlds, who, like a tree from heaven, fulfills all the wishes of the people who feel unfulfilled. (6) The one thousand arms you gave me have become but a burden to me. Except for you I cannot find an equal opponent in the three worlds. (7) With my arms itching to pulverize mountains, I proceeded to fight the elephants of all directions, oh primeval one, but terrified of me they all ran away.'
(8) Hearing that the great lord said infuriated: 'Your flag will be broken, oh fool, when your pride is vanquished in a battle you have with someone like me.' (9) Thus being addressed, the foolish character went home full of delight, oh king, unintelligently waiting there for the demise of his heroism as was predicted by the lord of the mountain [compare 2.1: 4].
(10) His virgin daughter named Ūshā, in a dream had an amorous encounter with the son of Pradyumna, a lover she thus had found without ever having seen or heard of him before [see *]. (11) Not seeing him anymore in her dream, she - being among her girlfriends - rose up disturbed and was most embarrassed to hear herself say: 'Where are you my lover?' (12) The daughter Citralekhā ['the fine sketch artist'] of a minister of Bāna named Kumbhānda, thereupon as a friend of hers most curiously questioned her companion Ūshā. (13) 'Who is it you are looking for, oh beautiful eyebrows, and what do you expect from him, for we as yet have not seen anyone winning your hand, oh princess.'
(14) 'In my dream I saw a certain man with a dark complexion, lotus like eyes, yellow garments and mighty arms - one of the kind that stirs a woman's heart. (15) He is the one I am seeking. That lover made me drink the honey of his lips, went elsewhere and left me hankering for him, being thrown in an ocean of distress.'
(16) Citralekhā said: 'I will take your distress away! If he can be found anywhere in the three worlds, I will bring him to you, that [future] husband, that thief who stole your heart. Please point him out to me.'
(17) Thus having spoken she accurately drew for her the demigod and the heavenly singer, the perfected soul, the venerable soul and the lowlife serpent, the demon, the magician, the supernatural being and the human being. (18-19) Of the humans she drew Vrishnis like S'ūrasena, Vasudeva, Balarāma and Krishna, but seeing Pradyumna Ūshā became bashful and with Aniruddha being drawn she bent down her head in embarrassment, oh great lord, and said smiling: 'That is Him, that One here!' (20) Citralekhā, the yoginī, with Him, Krishna's grandson [Aniruddha], being recognized, oh King, then traveled by the higher spheres [the mystical way] to Dvārakā, the city under the protection of Krishna. (21) Using her yogic power, she took Pradyumna's son who was sleeping on a fine bed, to S'onitapura and showed her girlfriend her Beloved. (22) Seeing Him, that most beautiful man, her face lit up. Together with the son of Pradyumna she then enjoyed in her private quarters that men were not allowed to see. (23-24) She worshiped Him in faithful service with priceless garments, garlands, fragrances, lamps, sitting places and such, with beverages, liquid and solid food and with words. Thus continuously keeping Him hidden in the maiden quarters He, who because of Ūshā's greatly increasing affection was diverted in His senses, lost count of the days. (25-26) Thus enjoyed by the Yadu hero she, in breaking her vow [of chastity], could not conceal the symptoms of her extreme happiness. They were noticed by her governesses who reported [to Bāna, her father]: 'Oh King, we have noticed that your daughter is of a conduct not respectable for an unmarried girl, she besmirches the family. (27) She was well guarded by us within the palace and never left, oh master. We have no idea how she, hidden from the looks of men, could have been dishonored.'
(28) When Bāna heard that his daughter had been defiled, he most disturbed quickly headed for the maiden quarters. Arriving there he saw the most superior Yadu. (29-30) He stood perplexed to behold that son of Cupid sitting in front of her. That exclusive beauty of all the worlds, dark-skinned in yellow clothes, with His lotus eyes, mighty arms, earrings and locks, sat there with a face lit up by His glowing ornaments and smiling glances. He was playing dice with His all-auspicious sweetheart, the red kunkuma of whose breasts was found all over the, by her manufactured, springtime jasmine garland that hung between His arms. (31) Seeing him entering surrounded by many armed guards, the Sweet Lord raised His club made of muru [a type of iron] and stood firm ready to strike, like death personified holding the rod of punishment. (32) Closing in from all sides to apprehend Him, He attacked them like a dominant boar cornered by a pack of dogs, so that they all with their heads, arms and legs crushed, being hurt ran away to escape from the palace. (33) But even as He was striking down the guards, the son of Bali himself furiously captured Him with the [mystical] snake ropes [of Varuna, see also 8.21: 28]. Ūshā, utterly defeated and discouraged, was overwhelmed by sorrow upon seeing the arrest and cried bitter tears.'
*: Here S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura quotes the following verses from the Vishnu Purāna (V.32), which explain Ūshā's dream: 'Oh brāhmana, when Ūshā, the daughter of Bāna, happened to see Pārvatī playing with her husband, Lord S'ambhu, Ūshā intensely desired to experience the same feelings. At that time Goddess Gaurī [Pārvatī], who knows everyone's heart, told the sensitive young girl: 'Don't be so disturbed! You will have a chance to enjoy with your own husband.' Hearing this, Ūshā thought to herself: 'But when? And who will my husband be?' In response, Pārvatī addressed her once more: 'The man who approaches you in your dream on the twelfth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month Vais'ākha will become your husband, oh princess.'
Chapter 63: The Fever in Conflict and Bāna Defeated
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Not seeing Aniruddha any longer, oh son of Bharata, His relatives passed the four months of the rainy season in sadness. (2) Hearing from Nārada the news of what He had done and that He had been captured, the Vrishnis, who had Krishna as their worshipable deity, went to S'onitapura. (3-4) The best of the Sātvatas, knowing Pradyumna, Yuyudhāna [Sātyaki], Gada, Sāmba and Sārana, Nanda, Upananda, Bhadra and others, being led by Balarāma and Krishna assembled with twelve akshauhinīs and besieged on all sides Bāna's city completely. (5) Seeing the city gardens, the city walls and watchtowers ravaged he, fuming with anger, came out to meet them with an army equally big. (6) Bhagavān S'iva appeared together with his son [Kārtikeya, his general] from the city on the back of Nandi, his bull, in order to fight, accompanied by the Pramathas [his different mystic attendants], at the side of Bāna against Rāma and Krishna. (7) Oh King, a most tumultuous, astonishing and hair-raising fight took place of Krishna against S'ankara and Pradyumna against Kārtikeya. (8) Balarāma fought against Kumbhānda and Kūpakarna, Sāmba fought against Bāna's son and Sātyaki fought against Bāna himself. (9) To be a witness, the leaders of the godly souls headed by Lord Brahmā came in their celestial vehicles, as also the sages, the perfected souls and the venerable personalities, the singers and dancing girls of heaven, and the spirits. (10-11) Discharging sharp-pointed arrows from His bow, the S'ārnga, S'auri [Krishna] drove away the Bhūtas [spirits of the dead], the Pramathas [mystic spirits], the Guhyakas [the wealth keepers of Kuvera], the Dākinīs [female imps of Kālī] the Yātudhānas [practitioners of black magic], the Vetālas [vampires], the Vināyakas [demons of education, distracters, humiliaters], the Pretas [ghosts, hobgoblins], the Mātās [demoniac mothers], the Pis'ācas [child demons], the Kushmāndas [meditation disturbers, diseasing demons] and the Brahma-rākshasas [fallen brahmins as in 9.9: 25] who all followed S'ankara. (12) The holder of the trident [Pinākī or S'iva] using different types of weapons against the Wielder of the S'ārnga, saw them all neutralized with befitting counter weapons. They could not daunt the Carrier of the S'ārnga. (13) He used a brahmāstra against a brahmāstra, a mountain weapon against a wind weapon, a rain weapon against a fire weapon and His nārāyanāstra [His personal weapon] against S'iva's [personal] pās'upatāstra [the 'beast strap' weapon]. (14) After S'auri next had bewildered Lord S'iva by making him yawn with a yawning weapon, He attacked Bāna's army with His sword, club and arrows. (15) Kārtikeya, distressed by Pradyumna's arrows raining down from all sides, with blood streaming from his limbs fled from the battlefield on his peacock carrier. (16) Kumbhānda and Kūpakarna tormented by the club [of Balarāma] fell, and their armies, whose leaders were killed, fled in all directions.
(17) Bāna seeing his troops torn apart, left aside Sātyaki whom he was fighting, crossed with his chariot the battlefield and most furiously attacked Krishna. (18) Bāna, in a frenzy because of the fighting, fixed two arrows on each of his bows and simultaneously pulled back all five hundred of them. (19) These bows were by Bhagavān all split at the same time, and after He had hit the chariot, the horses and the charioteer, He blew His conch shell. (20) [then] Hoping to save her son's life, his [Bāna's] mother, named Kotharā, positioned herself naked, with her hair loosened, in front of Krishna. (21) When Lord Gadāgraja thereupon turned His face away not to look at the naked woman, Bāna, without his chariot and with his bow broken, took the opportunity to escape into the city. (22) But after S'iva's followers had been driven away, Jvara, the [personification of S'iva's hot] fever with three heads and three feet, attacked the descendant of Dās'arha like he wanted to set fire to the ten directions [*]. (23) Seeing him, Lord Nārāyana thereupon released His own fever [of extreme cold], so that the two Jvaras of Māhes'vara and Vishnu came to fight each other. (24) The one of Māhes'vara, tormented by the force of Vishnu's fever, cried out in pain. Not finding a safe refuge anywhere Māhes'vara's Jvara, thirsting for protection, thereupon with folded hands devout began to praise Hrishīkes'a. (25) The Jvara said: 'I bow down to You, the Supreme Lord Unlimited in His Potencies, the Soul of All Pure Consciousness, the Cause of the totality of the creation, dissolution and maintenance of the universe, down to You, the Absolute Truth of Perfect Peace to whom the Vedas indirectly refer. (26) I approach You for being the negation of this māyā, this material bewilderment of time, fate, karma, the individual propensities, the subtle elements, the field [that is the body], the life force [prāna], the self, the transformations [the eleven senses] and the aggregate of all of this [in the form of the subtle body called the linga]. That illusory reality constitutes a never ending flow [like that] of seeds and sprouts. (27) With various intentions you engage in divine missions [līlās] in order to maintain the pious souls, the sages, and the codes of conduct in the world, and put an end to those who abandoned the path and turned to violence. This incarnation of Yours is there to remove the burden from this earth [see also B.G. 9: 29 and 4: 8]. (28) I am tormented by this most terrible fever of Your power, which is unbearably cold but, nevertheless, is burning, for indeed, as long as the embodied souls are caught in their desires and do not serve the soles of Your feet, they must suffer continually.'
(29) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh three-headed one, I am satisfied with you, may your fear raised by My fever, leave you. For anyone who remembers our conversation there will be no reason to be afraid of you.'
(30) Thus being addressed, the fever weapon of Māhes'vara bowed down to Acyuta and went away, but Bāna, riding his chariot, came forward with the intent to fight Janārdana. (31) Thereupon, oh King, the demon with his thousand arms carrying numerous weapons, fuming with anger, released arrows at Him who Carries the Cakra. (32) As he again and again was hurling weapons, the Supreme Lord with the razor-sharp edge of His disc cut off his arms like they were the branches of a tree. (33) While Bāna's arms were being severed, the great Lord Bhava [- of existence, S'iva] approached out of compassion for his devotee and spoke to the Wielder of the Disc. (34) S'rī Rudra said: 'You alone are the Absolute Truth, the Light of the Supreme hidden in the language of the Absolute [of the Veda]. They whose hearts are spotless can see You being as pure as the blue sky. (35-36) The atmosphere is Your navel, the fire Your face, the water Your semen, heaven Your head, and the directions are Your sense of hearing. The earth is Your foot, the moon Your mind and the sun Your sight. I am Your awareness of Self, the ocean is Your abdomen and Indra is Your arm. Your good self, with the plants as the hair on Your body, the clouds as the hair on Your head, with Virińca as Your intelligence, with the Prajāpati as Your genitals and the religion as Your heart, are the Purusha from whom all the worlds originated. (37) You, oh unbounded glory, are present with this descent in order to defend the dharma in favor of the Complete of the Living Being [the universe], and we [demigods], enlightened and authorized by You, jointly manifest and develop the seven worlds [see dvīpa]. (38) You are the Original Supreme Person without a second, the Transcendental, Self-manifesting Cause without a prior cause, the Lord. Yet You, for the sake of the full manifestation of Your qualities, come back as an apparition of Your illusory potency [in different lifeforms, gods and avatāras]. (39) Just as the sun in its own shade [behind the clouds], hidden from sight, illumines the visible forms, You, Almighty One, similarly self-luminous, are covered by the basic qualities of nature [by false ego] and illumine the reality of the modes, as also the beings who have these qualities. (40) Those who are fully entangled in their respect for their children, wife, a home and so on, are in their intelligence bewildered by māyā, and [like drowning persons first] rise to the surface [of the ocean of misery] and [then] sink [to the bottom. See B.G. 9: 21]. (41) Pitiful is the person who by the grace of God has attained this human world, but not in control of his senses fails to honor Your feet, for he is someone fooling himself. (42) The mortal being who, opposing [politically e.g.] because of the sense objects [material interests], rejects You, his True Self and dear most Guide, is eating the poison and avoiding the nectar. (43) I, Brahmā, as also the demigods and the sages, with a pure consciousness have surrendered themselves wholeheartedly to You, the Master, the dearmost Self. (44) Let us worship You, the Godhead, the cause of the rise, the maintenance and the demise of the Living Being that is the Universe [jagat], You who, perfectly in peace equipoised, as the unique, unequalled Friend, True Self and worshipable Lord of all the worlds and all the souls, constitute the shelter to find liberation from one's material existence. (45) This person [Bāna] is my favorite, my dearest follower whom I awarded with fearlessness, oh Lord. Please, grant him therefore Your grace, the way You were also of mercy for the master of the Daityas [Prahlāda].'
(46) The Supreme Lord said: 'We shall do what you told us you would like, oh great lord, I fully agree with your conclusion. (47) This [grand]son of Virocana [**] will be spared by Me, for I granted Prahlāda the benediction that his descendants would not be killed by Me [see 7.10: 21]. (48) His arms were severed by Me in order to subdue his pride, and I destroyed his huge military force because it had become a burden to the earth. (49) The Asura who left with four of his arms, will become your principal associate, he will not age and be immortal, he has nothing to fear on any account.'
(50) The Asura thus attaining freedom from fear, bowed his head down to Krishna, brought the son of Pradyumna and His wife, and placed them on a chariot. (51) Putting Him and His wife, ornamented and with fine clothes, in front, He [Krishna] with the permission of S'iva left, being surrounded by an akshauhinī [a military division]. (52) When He entered His capital, which was fully decorated with flags, arches of victory and with its streets and crossroads sprinkled, He was respectfully welcomed by the people of the city, His relatives and the twice-born souls, with the sounds of conch shells, side drums and kettledrums. (53) For the person who rises at dawn and remembers this victory of Krishna in the battle with S'ankara, there will be no defeat.'
*: Here S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura quotes the following description of the S'iva-jvara: "The terrible S'iva-jvara had three legs, three heads, six arms and nine eyes. Showering ashes, he resembled Yamarāja at the time of universal annihilation."
**: Bāna was in fact a grandson of Virocana. First there was Prahlāda, then Virocana, then Bali, then Bāna.
Chapter 64: On Stealing from a Brahmin: King Nriga a Chameleon(1) The son of Vyāsa said: 'One day [in their youth], oh King, the Yadu boys Sāmba, Pradyumna, Cāru, Bhānu, Gada and others went to a small forest to play. (2) Playing there for a long time they, being thirsty, looked for water and discovered an amazing creature in a dry well. (3) They saw there a chameleon that was as big as a mountain, and with a mind filled with wonder they, moved by compassion, tried to lift it up. (4) With straps of leather and twisted ropes attached to it, the boys failed to lift the creature out of the well and so they reported it excitedly to Krishna. (5) The lotus-eyed Supreme Lord, the Maintainer of the Universe, taking a look saw it and picked it easily up with His left hand. (6) Being touched by the hand of Uttamas'loka, the chameleon form was immediately given up for the one of a beautiful heavenly being with a complexion of molten gold, wonderful ornaments, clothes and garlands. (7) Even though He was very well aware of what had led to this situation, Mukunda asked, so that the common man (also) could know: 'Who are you, oh fortunate soul? Considering your excellent appearance, I dare say you are an exalted demigod! (8) What action has brought you, oh good soul, in this condition you certainly did not deserve? Please tell Us, eager to know, all about yourself - that is to say, if you deem this the proper place to speak about it.'
(9) S'rī S'uka said: 'The king thus being questioned by Krishna, whose forms are unlimited, with his helmet as brilliant as the sun bowed down to Mādhava and addressed Him. (10) Nriga said: 'I, the ruler of man called Nriga [see 9.1: 11-12, 9.2: 17], am a [grand]son of Ikshvāku, oh Master. Maybe You have heard that I am counted among the men of charity. (11) What would be unknown to You, oh Master, oh Witness of the Mind of all Beings whose vision is not impeded by time? Nevertheless I shall speak as You wish. (12) I have donated as many cows as there are grains of sand on earth, as there are stars in the sky, or as there are raindrops in a shower of rain. (13) I gave away dairy cows who were honestly acquired, who were young, sweet, of beauty, brown and fair and endowed with many other qualities, together with their calves, with gold on their horns, silver on their hooves and adorned with fine fabrics and garlands. (14-15) I, of pious works and performing worship with fire sacrifices, was of charity and gave ornaments to truth-loving, young and talented brahmins with families in need, who were known for their austerity and vast knowledge of the Vedas and who had good qualities, and a good character. I donated cows, land, gold, houses, horses and elephants, marriageable girls with maidservants, sesame seeds, silver, bedding and clothing, jewels, furniture and chariots. (16) Unknowingly I gave a cow owned by a certain first-class dvija [a brahmin not accepting gifts anymore, see 7.11] away to another twice-born soul. Having wandered off, the cow had mingled with my herd. (17) As the cow was led away, she was spotted by her master who said: 'She is mine!' But he who had accepted the gift said thereupon: 'Nriga gave this one to me!'
(18) The two learned souls, arguing in defense of their own interest, said to me: 'You sir, as a giver have been a thief!' Hearing this, I was dumbstruck.
(19-20) Thus being embarrassed in respect of my religious duty, I begged the two men of learning: 'Please give me this one cow, and I will give you a hundred thousand of the best quality in return! Please, you both, have mercy with your servant. I did not know what I was doing. Save me from the danger of falling down into a dirty hell!'
(21) 'I do not want that at all, oh King!' the owner said and went away.
'I am not interested in all those other cows', the other one said and left.
(22) After this had happened I was by the messengers of Yamarāja taken to his abode and there, oh God of Gods, oh Master of the Universe, questioned by the Lord of Death and Retribution [as follows, see also 5.26: 6, 6.1: 31 and 6.3]. (23) 'Do you first want to face the consequences of your bad deeds, oh King, or those of your good deeds? As for your unlimited deeds of charity, I see a splendid world.'
(24) I thus said: 'Let me first experience my bad deeds, oh Godhead.' He then said: 'Then fall!' and as I was falling, oh Master, I saw myself as a chameleon! (25) Being Your servant generous towards the brahmins and hankering for Your presence, oh Kes'ava, not even today the memory of You has left me [see also 5.8: 28]. (26) Oh Almighty One, how can You now in person be visible to me, You, the Supreme Soul, upon whom the masters of yoga within their spotless hearts meditate through the eye of the scriptures? How, oh Adhoks'aja, can I, whose intelligence was blinded by severe troubles, now be able to perceive You? Is that not reserved for those whose material life in this world has ended? (27-28) Oh God of Gods, Master of the Universe, Lord of the Cows and Supreme Personality! Oh Path Laid out for Man, Master of the Senses, Grace of the Verses, oh You Infallible and Undiminishing! Please permit me to leave for the world of the gods, oh Krishna, oh Master; may, wherever I reside, my mind take to the shelter of Your feet! (29) My obeisances unto You, the Source of All Beings, the Absolute of the Truth and the Possessor of Unlimited Potencies. I offer You, Krishna [*], the son of Vasudeva, the Lord of all forms of yoga, my respects.'
(30) Thus having spoken and having circumambulated Him, he, after touching Krishna's feet with his crown, received permission to leave and boarded, for all humans to see, a most excellent celestial chariot. (31) Krishna, the Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, the God and Soul of Dharma devoted to the brahmins, addressed His personal associates and was as follows of instruction for the royalty: (32) 'If even for someone, who is of a greater potency than fire, the smallest amount of property of a brahmin that he consumes [steals or denies], is difficult to enjoy, what then to say of kings who think they are the Lord Himself? (33) The hālāhala poison [which was churned with Mandāra] I do not consider real poison, because there was a remedy for it [namely S'iva, see 8.7]. That what belongs to a brahmin though, I call real poison [when it is misappropriated], for there is no antidote for that in the world. (34) Poison destroys the one who ingests it, and fire is extinguished with water, but the fire that burns with the kindling wood of the belongings of a brahmin, burns one's community down to the ground. (35) When one enjoys a brahmin's property without his permission, that will destroy three of one's generations [in a family line see **], but when one enjoys it with force by means of an external power [as by governmental actions or by corporate interests], ten previous and ten subsequent generations will be affected [with a contamination of one's honor, see also 9.8]. (36) Members of the royal class, do, blinded by royal opulence [see also B.G. 1: 44], not foresee their downfall into hell, when they childishly covet the legitimate property of a brahmin. (37-38) Those kings and other members of the royal family who, failing in their control, usurped the share of a brahmin, will for as many years be cooked in the hell called Kumbhīpāka [5.26: 13], as there were particles of dust touched by the teardrops of generous brahmins who, for the sake of their beloved ones, had to cry over the means of support that were stolen from them. (39) Whether it concerned a gift of oneself or of someone else, he who deprives a brahmin of his livelihood will for sixty thousand years be born as a worm in feces. (40) May I never acquire the wealth belonging to a brahmin. They who desire such a thing are short-lived and will be defeated. They will lose their kingdom and turn into horrifying snakes. (41) Dear followers, do not be inimical towards a man of learning, not even when he has committed a sin. Whether he strikes you physically time and again or curses you, you should always honor him. (42) The way I always take care to bow down to persons of learning, all of you should be of the same respect. He who acts otherwise, qualifies for being punished by Me. (43) The property taken away from a brahmin leads to the downfall of the taker, even done unknowingly. Just like we saw it happen to the person of Nriga with the brahmin's cow.'
(44) After thus having exhorted the residents of Dvārakā, the Supreme Lord Mukunda, the Purifier of All Worlds, entered His palace.'
*: In the Mahābhārata (Udyoga-parva 71.4) is stated about the name of Krishna: "The word krish is the attractive feature of the Lord's existence, and na means 'spiritual pleasure.' When the verb krish is added to na, it becomes krishna, which indicates the Absolute Truth."
**: According to S'rīla S'rīdhara Svāmī, tri-pūrusha, the Sanskrit term used here, refers to oneself, one's sons and one's grandsons.
Chapter 65: Lord Balarāma in Vrindāvana and the Stream Divided
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Oh best of the Kurus, [one day] the Supreme Lord Balarāma mounted His chariot eager to see His friends, and traveled to Nanda's cowherd village. (2) Rāma was embraced by the gopas and gopīs, who indeed for a long time had missed Him. After offering His respects to His parents He was joyfully greeted with prayers: (3) 'Oh descendant of Das'ārha, Lord of the Universe, may You and Your younger brother [Krishna] always protect us.' Having said this they pulled Him close on their laps and embraced Him, wetting Him with the water from their eyes. (4-6) In accordance with the scriptures He headed for the elder gopas, following which He was welcomed by the younger ones. Next He approached the cowherds whom He, according to each his age, friendship and family relationship, greeted with smiles and taking their hands into His. After having offered Him a comfortable seat, so that He could rest a while and such, they, who had dedicated their all and everything to the service of their lotus-eyed Krishna, gathered around Him and asked Him, with voices faltering because of their love, questions relating to the welfare of their loved ones [in Dvārakā]. (7) 'Oh Balarāma are all our relatives faring well? Are all Your wives and children still remembering us, oh Rāma? (8) To our great fortune sinful Kamsa was killed and our relatives were freed! Luckily, they took shelter in a fortress [Dvārakā] and managed to kill and conquer our enemies!' (9) Honored to see Balarāma in their midst, the gopīs asked with a smile: 'Is Krishna, the darling of the city women, living happily? (10) Is He still thinking of His people, His [foster] father and His mother? Will He ever come to see His mother personally and does He with the mighty arms remember our enduring service? (11-12) For His sake, oh Lord, we have detached ourselves from those who are so difficult to give up: our mothers, fathers, brothers, husbands, children and sisters, oh descendant of Das'ārha. Suddenly rejecting us and leaving us, He broke with the friendship, but which woman would not trust His words [that He would return]? (13) How can those smart city women, who are attracted by His eloquence, nice smiles and the lust He raises in their hearts, put faith in the words of Him who, so ungrateful, has His heart easily elsewhere and breaks off contact? (14) But why would we dilate about Him any longer, oh gopīs? Let us talk about something else. If He wants to pass His time without us, we will do the same [and try to live without His presence. See also 10.47: 47].
(15) Thus speaking together the women remembered S'auri's laughing, conversations, attractive glances, gait and loving embrace, and that made them cry. (16) Sankarshana, the Supreme Lord, being an expert in different kinds of conciliation, consoled them with Krishna's confidential messages which touched their hearts. (17) Rāma resided there during the two months Madhu and Mādhava [the first two of the vernal equinox] and also at night brought [amorous] delight to the gopīs [see also 10.15: 8]. (18) In a grove near the Yamunā [known as S'rīrāma-ghaththa] where the wind carried the fragrance of kumuda [night-blooming] lotuses and the full moon bathed the place in its light, He enjoyed it to be served in the company of the many women. (19) From the hollow of a tree the divine [intoxicating liquor] vārunī flowed that was brought by Varuna and, with its aroma, made the entire forest even more fragrant. (20) Balarāma, smelling the fragrance of that honey flow carried by the wind, sought the place where it could be found and drank from it together with the women. (21) As the singers of heaven sang His glory He, beautified by the circle of young women, enjoyed just like Indra's bull elephant with a herd of females. (22) Kettledrums resounded in the sky, the Gandharvas joyfully rained down flowers and the sages praised Balarāma for His heroic deeds. (23) While His pastimes were sung by the women, Halāyudha [Balarāma as 'armed with the plow'], inebriated, with His eyes heavy from the intoxication, wandered through the forest.*: The paramparā comments: 'According to S'rīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the goddess who appeared before Lord Balarāma is an expansion of S'rīmatī Kālindī, one of Lord Krishna's queens in Dvārakā. S'rīla Jīva Gosvāmī calls her a "shadow" of Kālindī, and S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī confirms that she is an expansion of Kālindī, not Kālindī herself. S'rīla Jīva Gosvāmī also gives evidence from S'rī Hari-vams'a - in the statement pratyuvācārnava-vadhūm - that Goddess Yamunā is the wife of the ocean. The Hari-vams'a therefore also refers to her as Sāgarānganā.'
(24-25) He with His flowers, with a single earring, mad with joy, carrying His Vaijayantī garland and with His smiling lotus-like face covered by beads of perspiration like it were snowflakes, then called for the Yamunā with the purpose to play in the water. But when the river thereupon ignored His drunken words and did not come, she was by Him angrily dragged with the tip of His plow. (26) 'Being called by Me, oh sinful one, you did not come. Because you, in disregard of Me, are moving about as you like, I shall bring you here with the tip of My plow in a hundred little streams!'
(27) The [goddess of the] Yamunā thus being chided, fell afraid at His feet, oh King, and spoke trembling the following words to the Yadu descendant [*]: (28) 'Rāma, Balarāma, oh mighty armed soul, what do I know about Your prowess, oh Master of the Universe who with a single portion of Yourself [S'esha] upholds the earth? (29) Please, Supreme Lord, let me go, I surrender myself to You. I was not aware of Your status as the Supreme Personality, oh Soul of the Universe taking care of the devotees!'
(30) Balarāma, the Supreme Lord, being entreated by the Yamunā, then released her and together with the women entered the water, like He was the king of the elephants with his wives. (31) After having played to His heart's content He came out of the water, whereupon Kānti ['the female beauty, the brightness of the moon', a name of Lakshmī] presented Him a set of blue garments, most valuable ornaments and a splendid necklace. (32) He put on the blue clothes and hung the golden necklace around His neck. Excellently being ornamented and anointed, He looked as resplendent as the elephant of the great Lord Indra. (33) Oh King, even today the currents of the Yamunā, the way they were drawn by the unlimitedly powerful Balarāma, are considered a proof of His prowess. (34) This is how for Balarāma, with His mind enchanted by the charm and love of the women of the cow community, the nights He enjoyed in Vraja passed like a single one.'
Chapter 66: The False Vāsudeva Paundraka and His Son Consumed by Their Own Fire
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'After Balarāma had left for Nanda's cowherd village, oh King, the ruler of Karūsha [called Paundraka] who foolishly thought 'I am Vāsudeva', sent a messenger to Krishna. (2) People childishly had suggested: 'You are Vāsudeva, the Supreme Lord who has descended as the Master of the Universe!' and so he thought of himself as the Infallible One. (3) Like a boy of little intelligence who by kids was appointed king he, being silly, sent a messenger to Krishna who resided in Dvārakā, to Him whose ways are inscrutable. (4) The envoy arriving in Dvārakā, relayed, in the royal assembly, to Krishna Almighty with the Lotus Petal Eyes the message of his king: (5) 'I am the one and only Vāsudeva and no one else. I have descended to this world with the purpose of showing mercy to the living beings. You however, have to give up Your false claim on that title! (6) Oh Sātvata, give up my symbols which You carry out of ignorance. You better come to me for shelter! If You do not, then give me battle instead.'
(7) S'rī S'uka said: 'Hearing that boasting of the stupid Paundraka, the members of the assembly headed by Ugrasena laughed out loud. (8) After the screaming was over, the Supreme Lord said to the messenger: [Tell him:] 'I will hurl the symbols you so boast about, oh fool, for certain at you! (9) You will be the shelter of dogs, you ignoramus, when you lie dead with that face of yours covered by flocking herons, vultures and vathas.'
(10) Thus being addressed, the messenger conveyed that insulting reply in full detail to his master. Krishna with His chariot rode to the vicinity of Kās'ī [Vārānasī]. (11) As soon as the mighty warrior Paundraka noticed His preparations for battle, he appeared from the city joined by two akshauhinīs. (12-14) He was followed by his friend the king of Kās'ī who covered his back with three akshauhinīs. Oh King, Krishna saw Paundraka complete with a conch, a disc, a sword and a club, a S'ārnga bow, a S'rīvatsa mark and other symbols, including a Kaustubha gem and the decoration of a garland of forest flowers. Wearing a pair of fine silken yellow garments and carrying Garuda in his banner, he wore a valuable crown and had ornamented himself with gleaming, shark-shaped earrings. (15) The sight of him dressed up as His spitting image, like he was an actor on a stage, made the Lord laugh heartily. (16) The enemies attacked the Lord with tridents, clubs and bludgeons, pikes, blades, barbed missiles, lances, swords, axes and arrows. (17) Krishna however, with His club, sword, disc and arrows, fiercely tormented the military force of elephants, chariots, horses and infantry of Paundraka and the king of Kās'ī, like He was the fire at the end of the age tormenting the different kinds of living beings. (18) The battlefield, strewn with the chariots, horses, elephants, bipeds, mules and camels cut to pieces by His disc, shone like the horrible playground of the Lord of the Ghosts [Bhūtapati, or S'iva], who pleases the wise therewith. (19) S'auri then said to Paundraka: 'Those weapons you mentioned by mouth of your messenger, I will now release at you. (20) I will force you to renounce My name and everything that you falsely assumed, oh fool! And today I will turn to you for shelter [as you wanted], when I do not wish to fight you.'
(21) Thus deriding him, He drove Paundraka out of his chariot with His sharp arrows and with His disc lopped off his head, just like Indra with his thunderbolt splits a mountain top. (22) So too He with His arrows severed the head of the king of Kās'ī from his body, sending it flying into Kās'ī-puri like the wind transporting the flower cup of a lotus. (23) Thus having killed both the envious Paundraka and his friend, the Lord entered Dvārakā where He was honored by the Siddhas [the perfected souls] who recited His nectarean stories. (24) By assuming the personal form of the Supreme Lord and [thus] constantly meditating on Him, oh King, he [Paundraka] had destroyed all his material ties and became fully immersed in Him [Krishna conscious, also see sārūpya]. (25) Seeing the head with the earrings that had landed near the palace gate, the people wondered: 'Whose head would this be?' (26) Recognizing it as the head of the king, the ruler of Kās'ī, his queens, his sons, his other relatives and the citizens loudly cried: 'Alas master, oh master, oh King, we are killed!' (27-28) His son named Sudakshina executed the funeral rites for his father, reflected and decided: 'In order to avenge my father I will kill my father's murderer'. And thus 'the excellence of charity', with great attention together with the priests prayed to Mahes'vara [Lord S'iva]. (29) At [the holy place of] Avimukta the great lord, being satisfied, offered him the choice of a benediction. He asked the mighty demigod for the benediction of a means to slay the One who had killed his father. (30-31) [S'iva said:] 'Be together with the brahmins and the leading priest of service to the dakshina [southern] fire following an abhicāra ['hurting'] ritual. It is a ritual used against an enemy of the brahmins. That ritual fire together with the Pramathas [S'iva's attendants, see also 10.63: 6] will fulfill your desire.' Thus being instructed he observed the vows in order to harm Krishna. (32-33) Thereupon from the fire of the altar pit an impressive, most horrendous figure rose with a tuft of hair, beard and mustache red like molten copper, hot radiating cinders of eyes, terrible teeth and a harsh face with arched and furrowed eyebrows. With his tongue licking the corners of his mouth, he was naked waving with a blazing trident [see also 4.5: 3 and 6.9: 12]. (34) With legs as big as palm trees shaking the earth he, accompanied by ghosts, ran to Dvārakā while setting fire to all the directions. (35) Seeing the [creature risen from the] abhicāra fire approaching, all the residents of Dvārakā were struck with fear, just like animals facing a forest fire. (36) Most afraid, they upset ran to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who at the royal court was playing a game of dice [and said to Him]: 'Save us, oh Lord of the Three Worlds, save us from the fire burning down the city!'
(37) Hearing the despondency of the people and seeing how upset His own men were, S'aranya, the Protector, laughed loudly and said: 'Do not be afraid of this, I will protect you!'
(38) The Almighty Lord, everyone's Witness within and without, understood that the creature came from Mahes'vara and then, in order to put an end to him, sent off the cakra He always carries with Him. (39) This weapon of Krishna, the Sudars'ana cakra, which like a million suns was blazing with an effulgence like the fire at the end of the universe, tormented with its heat both the sky, the heavens, the earth in its ten directions and the fire [of the demon; see also 9.4: 46]. (40) Frustrated by the power of the weapon of Him with the Disc in His Hand, the [creature of] fire that was created turned around, oh King. In its violence it from all sides closed in on Vārānasī and burned to death Sudakshina and all his priests. The man [finally] was consumed by the abhicāra [fire] he had created himself. (41) The cakra of Vishnu in pursuit directly thereafter entered Vārānasī with its gateways and watchtowers, its many raised porches, assembly halls, market places, warehouses and the buildings housing the elephants, horses, chariots and grains. (42) Having burned all of Vārānasī to ashes, Vishnu's Sudars'ana disc returned to the side of Krishna, He whose actions are effortless. (43) Any mortal being who in full attention recounts or hears this heroic pastime of the Supreme Lord Praised in the Verses, will be released from all sins.'
Chapter 67: Balarāma Slays the Ape Dvivida
(1) The honorable king said: 'I wish to hear more about Balarāma, the Unlimited and Immeasurable Lord whose activities are so amazing. What else did He do?'*: According to S'rīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the Mainda and Dvivida mentioned in this verse are empowered expansions of the same Ramāyana deities, who as residents of Lord Rāmacandra's Vaikunthha domain fell down because of an offense against Lakshmāna. S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī compares the fall out of bad association with Naraka, made by Dvivida and Mainda - whom he considers eternally liberated devotees - to the fall of Jaya and Vijaya.
(2) S'rī S'uka said: 'There was a certain ape named Dvivida ['the two-faced one'], a friend of Naraka [or Bhaumāsura, see 10.59]. He was the mighty brother of Mainda and an advisor of Sugrīva [the monkey-chief, see also 9.10: 32, *]. (3) In order to avenge his friend [who was killed by Krishna] this ape wreaked havoc by setting fire to the cities, villages, mines and cowherd communities of the kingdom. (4) Sometimes he tore loose rocks and devastated with them all regions, especially the province of Ānarta where the Lord resided who had killed his friend. (5) Then again he stood in the middle of the ocean and, with a force of ten thousand elephants, with his arms churned the ocean water, thus flooding the coastal regions. (6) At the ās'ramas of the exalted seers he wickedly broke down the trees and fouled the sacrificial fires with urine and stool. (7) In a mountain valley he, like a wasp hiding an insect, brutally threw men and women in caves that he sealed with large boulders. (8) Thus ravaging the lands and [even] defiling women of standing, he [one day] heard very sweet singing originating from the mountain named Raivataka and went hither. (9-10) There he saw Balarāma, the Lord of the Yadus, who, most attractive in all His limbs and wearing a lotus garland, was positioned in the midst of a bevy of women. Intoxicated from drinking vārunī [see also 10.65: 19] He rolled with His eyes and was singing, while His body shone as magnificently as an elephant in rut. (11) The mischievous tree-dweller climbed on a branch and presented himself by shaking the tree and crying out frantically. (12) Seeing his impudence Baladeva's consorts laughed out loud. The women, in for some fun, at first thought little of it. (13) The ape ridiculed them with odd gestures of his eyebrows and such, and showed them, while Rāma was watching, his bare behind straight in front of them. (14-15) Balarāma, the best of all launchers, angrily threw a rock at him, but the rascal ape made fun of Him dodging it, seized the jar of liquor and further aggravated Him. Wickedly laughing he broke the jar and pulled at the ladies' clothes. Full of false pride about his power, he thus with his insults offended the Strong One. (16) Faced with the rudeness and the ravage this terror created all around, He full of anger took up His club and plow, determined to kill the enemy. (17) So also did the mighty Dvivida. He uprooted a s'āla tree with one hand, ran toward Balarāma and struck Him on the head with it. (18) But as it descended on His head, Sankarshana, unperturbed like a mountain, with His great strength took hold of it and struck back with His Sunanda [His club]. (19-21) Hit on his skull by the club, the ape, with the resulting downpour of blood, looked as nice as a mountain red of oxide. Ignoring the blow, he next charged in his turn, again violently uprooting and stripping another tree. But Balarāma, now really getting angry, smashed it into a hundred pieces, just as He did with yet another one that by the ape was taken up in great fury. (22) Time and again being beaten by the Supreme Lord, he, thus raging with everywhere uprooting the forest, stripped it of all its trees. (23) Frustrated about it he thereupon released a hail of stones over Baladeva, but the Wielder of the Club pulverized them all with ease. (24) With both his arms as big as palm trees the champion of the apes, clenching his fists, attacked the Son of Rohinī and beat Him on the chest. (25) The Great Lord of the Yadus thereupon threw aside His club and plow, and hammered him with His hands furiously on the collarbone, so that Dvivida vomited blood and came down. (26) Because of the fall he made, the mountain with all its cliffs and trees shook, oh tiger among the Kurus, just like a boat by the wind tossed about in the water. (27) 'Jaya!', 'All glories!' and 'Excellent!', the enlightened souls, the perfected ones and the great sages residing in heaven exclaimed and poured down a shower of flowers.
(28) Thus having finished Dvivida who wreaked havoc in the world, the Supreme Lord, upon entering the city, was glorified by the people singing hymns.'
Chapter 68: The Marriage of Sāmba and the Kuru City Dragged Trembling of His Anger
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Oh King, the daughter of Duryodhana named Lakshmanā was by Sāmba ['with the mother'], the son of Jāmbavatī who was always victorious in battle, abducted from her svayamvara. (2) The Kauravas became angry and said: 'How ill-behaved this boy is, insulting us with his by force taking the maiden against her will. (3) Arrest him who is so undisciplined. What can the Vrishnis do against it? By our grace they enjoy the land that we gave them! (4) When the Vrishnis find out that their son has been captured, they will come here. Then we will break their pride so that they will find peace, just as the senses do when they are firmly controlled.'
(5) Having said this, Karna, S'ala, Bhūri, Yajńaketu [or Bhūris'ravā] and Duryodhana, with the permission of the eldest Kuru [Bhīshma], set out to fight Sāmba. (6) The moment the great warrior Sāmba saw the followers of Dhritarāshthra rushing at him, he took up his splendid bow and single-handedly stood his ground like a lion. (7) Determined to capture him, they who were headed by Karna filled with anger said: 'You there stop, stand and fight!', upon which the bowmen, getting in front of him, showered him with arrows. (8) He, the descendant of the Yadus, oh best of the Kurus, unjustly attacked by the Kurus [all against one], as the son of the Inconceivable One [Krishna], could not accept that any more than a lion would tolerate an attack from lower animals. (9-10) Twanging his wonderful bow, the hero all by himself, in one move, pierced the six warriors of Karna in their chariots with as many arrows. Four arrows he employed for each team of four horses and one arrow for each its charioteer and warrior. For that feat of arms he thereupon was honored by the great bowmen. (11) But then four of them pierced his horses, one pierced his charioteer and one split his bow. Thus they drove him out of his chariot. (12) Now that the Kurus in the fight had gotten the young boy out of his chariot, they tied him up with difficulty, and, with their girl, victoriously returned to their city.
(13) Hearing about this from Nārada Muni, oh King, [the Yadus] got very angry with the Kurus [see also 10.49: 27], and prepared for war on the command of Ugrasena. (14-15) But Balarāma, He who purifies the Age of Quarrel [Kali-yuga], calmed down the Vrishni heroes who already had put on their armor, for he did not wish a quarrel between the Vrishnis and the Kurus. On His chariot that shone like the sun, going to Hastināpura surrounded by the brahmins and the elders of the family, He looked like the moon surrounded by the seven planets [then known, see also 5.22]. (16) After reaching Hastināpura, Balarāma remained outside in a park and sent Uddhava ahead to find out what Dhritarāshthra had in mind. (17) According to the rules offering his respects to the son of Ambikā [Dhritarāshthra], to Bhīshma and Drona, Bāhlika and Duryodhana, he informed them that Balarāma had arrived. (18) Extremely pleased to hear that He, Balarāma, their Dearest Friend had arrived, they all, after duly having paid Uddhava their respects, went to meet Him with auspicious offerings in their hands. (19) Meeting Balarāma they, as was proper, presented cows and water to welcome Him. They who knew about His [true] power bowed down their heads to Him. (20) Asking each other whether their relatives were hale and hearty, Balarāma next straight from His heart spoke the words: (21) 'After with undivided attention having taken notice of what Ugrasena our master, the ruler of the rulers of the earth, asks of you, you without delay should act accordingly. [He tells you:] (22) As for now I have tolerated that you in defiance of the rules, with the many of you have defeated and tied up but a single man who did respect the codes [of war], for I wish to keep the unity among my relatives... .'
(23) Hearing the words of Baladeva that befitting His power were filled with potency, courage and strength, the Kauravas answered angrily: (24) 'Look how wondrously inescapable Time moves on. That what is a shoe now wants to step on a head that is ornamented with a crown! (25) These Vrishnis who are connected to us by marital ties, share with us our beds, seats and meals. We treated them as equals and gave them their thrones. (26) Because we looked the other way, they could enjoy the yak-tail fan, the conch shell, the white sunshade, the crown, the throne and the royal bed [compare 10.60: 10-20]. (27) The Yadus no longer should be allowed to carry the divine insignia of kings. Those symbols work as much to the disadvantage of the giver [who we are] as when one gives nectar to a snake! The Yadus now assuming the command, could prosper through our grace. They have lost all shame! (28) How would even Indra dare to appropriate what was not granted by Bhīshma, Drona, Arjuna or the other Kurus? It is like a sheep claiming a lion's kill!'
(29) The son of Vyāsa said: 'Oh best of the Bharatas, the low men intoxicated by their birth, relations and the opulence that gave them their status, thus used these harsh words against Balarāma and then entered their city. (30) Faced with the bad character of the Kurus and hearing their unbecoming words, the Infallible Lord became angry and then said, while He repeatedly laughed and not bothered to present Himself nicely: (31) 'Given the big mouth these impudent losers have to their various passions, they clearly do not aim at peace. They apparently need to be pacified by walloping, like animals that one has to beat with a stick! (32-33) Oh, looking for peace with these people, I have come here, after tactfully having calmed the Yadus who boiled with anger, as also Krishna who was mad. And those very same dull-headed people addicted to quarreling, now full of conceit, in their wickedness of not respecting Him - Me thus -, have the audacity to use harsh words! (34) And Ugrasena would not be fit to command the Bhojas, Vrishnis and Andhakas, while S'akra ['the powerful one' or Indra] and other rulers follow his orders?? (35) And He [Krishna], sitting in the Sudharmā [the heavenly council-hall], thanks to Whom the pārijāta tree is enjoyed that was brought down from the immortals [see 10.59: 38-39], not even He would deserve an elevated seat??? (36) He, the Ruler of the Complete Whole, whose two feet are worshiped by the Goddess of Fortune herself, He, truly the Lord of S'rī, would not even deserve the paraphernalia of a human king?!?! (37) He of whom all the exalted rulers of the world hold the dust of His lotus like feet on their helmet, the feet that constitute the place of worship of all holy places and of whom Brahmā, S'iva and also I, next to the goddess, as portions of a portion, also constantly carry the dust with care... where would His royal throne stand?????! (38) The Vrishnis may enjoy whatever small piece of land granted to them by the Kurus and... We would be the so-called shoes, while the Kurus would be the head?!!!? (39) Ah, those proud madmen intoxicated by their would-be power of rule..., which man in command can tolerate their inconsistent, dismal drivel? (40) Today I will rid the earth of the Kauravas!', and speaking thus He enraged took His plow and rose up as if to set fire to the three worlds.
(41) With the tip of His plow He infuriated pulled up the city of Hastināpura and dragged her along with the intention to throw her into the Ganges. (42-43) When the Kauravas saw how the city, about to fall in the Ganges, being dragged tumbled about like a raft, they got very agitated and, in order to save their lives, together with their families went to the Master for shelter. Led by Lakshmanā and Sāmba they folded their hands: (44) 'Rāma, oh Balarāma, oh Foundation of Everything [Akhilādhāra], we, the infatuated, who poor of understanding do not know Your Majesty, beg You to forgive us our offense. (45) You alone are the unique, original cause of the generation, continuation and reuniting [of this universe]. Oh Lord, one says that the worlds are the playthings You play with. (46) You, oh Unlimited One, playfully carry on Your head the globe of the earth, oh Thousand-headed One [see also 5.25], and when the creation ends, You, the One Without a Second, withdraw the universe into Your body, remain alone and lie down [see also 6.16: 29-64]. (47) Your anger is meant for the instruction of everyone, oh Bhagavān, Sustainer of the Mode of Goodness. It is not there out of hatred or envy, but is there for the purpose of maintaining and protecting the living being. (48) We bow down to you, oh Soul of All Beings, oh Holder of [the symbols of] All Energies, oh Inexhaustible One and Maker of the Universe, our obeisances for You whom we sought for shelter.'
(49) S'rī S'uka said: 'Lord Bala being propitiated by the surrendered souls in distress because of their trembling place of refuge, thus being satisfied relieved them of their fear by the words: 'Do not be afraid.' (50-51) As a dowry for his daughter, Duryodhana as a loving father gave away twelve hundred sixty-year-old elephants and hundred and twenty thousand horses, sixty thousand golden chariots shining like the sun, and a thousand maidservants with jeweled lockets around their necks. (52) The Supreme Lord, the chief of the Sātvatas, accepted all of that and then departed together with His son and daughter-in-law, being bid farewell by His well-wishers. (53) After entering His city and having met the relatives who carried Him, the Wielder of the Plow, in their hearts, He in the midst of the assembly of the Yadu leaders related everything that had passed between Him and the Kurus. (54) And truly, even today this city shows the signs of Balarāma's prowess. It can be seen where it is being prominently elevated to the south, down by the Ganges.'
Thus the third part of the tenth Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam ends named: 'Summum Bonum'.
Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/c/8/AnandAadhar.html
Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html
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