laid His hand on allSee for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation:



"The Story of the Fortunate One"


CANTO 10 - part IV:

Summum Bonum




Chapter 69 Nārada Muni's Vision of Krishna in His Household Affairs

Chapter 70 Krishna's Routines, Troubles and Nārada Pays Another Visit

Chapter 71 The Lord Travels to Indraprastha on the Advice of Uddhava

Chapter 72 Jarāsandha Killed by Bhīma and the Kings Freed

Chapter 73 Lord Krishna Blesses the Liberated Kings

Chapter 74 The Rājasūya: Krishna Number One and S'is'upāla Killed

Chapter 75 Concluding the Rājasūya and Duryodhana Laughed at

Chapter 76 The Battle Between S'ālva and the Vrishnis

Chapter 77 S'ālva and the Saubha fortress Finished

Chapter 78 Dantavakra Killed and Romaharshana Slain with a Blade of Grass

Chapter 79 Lord Balarāma Slays Balvala and Visits the Holy Places

Chapter 80 An Old Brahmin Friend Visits Krishna

Chapter 81 The Brahmin Honored - Lord Krishna the Godhead of the Brahmins

Chapter 82 All Kings and the Inhabitants of Vrindāvana on Pilgrimage Reunite with Krishna

Chapter 83 Draupadī Meets the Queens of Krishna

Chapter 84 Vasudeva of Sacrifice to the Sages at Kurukshetra Explaining the Path of Success

Chapter 85 Lord Krishna Instructs Vasudeva and Retrieves Devakī's Sons

Chapter 86 Arjuna Kidnaps Subhadrā, and Krishna Instructs Bahulas'va and S'rutadeva

Chapter 87 The Underlying Mystery: Prayers of the Personified Vedas

Chapter 88 Lord S'iva Saved from Vrikāsura

Chapter 89 Vishnu, the Best of the Gods, and the Krishnas Retrieve a Brāhmin's Sons

Chapter 90 The Queens Play and Speak, and Lord Krishna's Glories Summarized




This 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 the way in Christianity 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 of a continuous word struggle, in which the rule of state no longer automatically is led 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. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda (1896-1977). He was a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishnu [the name for the transcendental form of Lord Krishna]. We owe him much gratitude. 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 the Lord who is known by His 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 known as 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 also 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 (the separate stories) belong to the so-called smriti, ‘that what is remembered’. This knowledge is sometimes considered a fifth Veda. Vyāsa also wrote the book titled Mahābhārata. It is considered the greatest epic poem in the world. It describes the history (Itihāsa) of the great fall the Vedic culture once made, this culture based on spiritual knowledge. 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 down the message of this holy story book, in the presence of other sages, to another member of the family, Emperor Parīkshit, who had difficulty respecting the classical wisdom. This emperor is in this book, presented in the form of a frame story, present as a model for us normal people who seek their stability in wisdom. This knowledge was by S'uka conveyed to him in disciplic succession (paramparā) for the sake of  the science of devotional service (bhakti), to be taught by those who teach by example (the ācāryas). Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupāda, from this disciplic succession was commissioned to disseminate this book in the West. He realized this together with his pupils (known as the Hare Krishnas of ISKCON), with a verse by verse commented series of books covering the entire Bhāgavatam. This site offers not all these texts but it does offer, under the Creative Commons Copyright, an as-it-is translation, independent from ISKCON, of the verses in a concatenated accessible form, complete with the Sanskrit original version and a dictionary covering the terms used in the book, the previous version, a reading in mp3's and 74 bhajans for performing the necessary chanting alone and in association. This text is regularly updated and maintained by us. As a devotee I as the translator, the undersigned, received my instructions for devotional service in the temples of ISKCON, as also elsewhere. My predecessor in this duty in the Netherlands was S'rī Hayes'var das (Hendrik van Teylingen, 1938-1998), who was initiated by Prabhupāda. He covered most of the formal ISKCON translations into Dutch.
For the translation of this internet version were consulted the translations of C.L Goswami, M.A., Sāstrī (from the Gītā Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparā [disciplic succession] version of S'rīla Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and the later version of this book by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. The latter translators as ācāryas of the age-old Indian Vaishnava tradition, are representatives of a culture of reformation of the devotion for God or bhakti, 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 purpose of developing devotion unto the person of God. He 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, which is also called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam. From this scripture all the Vaishnava teachers of example derived, and still derive, their wisdom for the purpose of the instruction and shaping of their exemplary 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 the 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, the translator, the undersigned, meant that this book could not stay behind on the shelf of his own bookcase as a token of material possessiveness. When we 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 one of its leading principles, 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 these covered only the first ten Cantos. The remaining two Cantos were posthumously translated, commented and published by his pupils in full respect 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. 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 directly from the disciplic line of succession of the Vaishnava line of ācāryas, as also from a realization of the total field of Indian philosophy of enlightenment and yoga discipline, as was brought to the West by also non-Vaishnava gurus and maintained by their pupils. Therefore the author has to express his gratitude also to all these great heroes who dared to face the adamantine of western philosophy with all its doubts, concreticism and skepticism. In particular the pupils of Prabhupāda, members of the renounced order (sannyāsīs) who instructed the author 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 who gave me 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. 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 (the lexicon) ( On the internetsite of this book, my - from ISKCON independent - version directly links to the version of Prabhupāda at each verse, together with my own previous version, so that it is possible to retrace at any moment what we, Sakhya Devi Dāsī, who faithfully always assisted me for more than 23 years in the duty, and I, this servant of the Lord, have done with the text. It was realized in accordance with the scientific tradition of the Vaishnava community.

For the copyright on this translation and the podcast spoken version of the book, the so-called Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License has been chosen. 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 URL Furthermore the resulting work can only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one and one also may not use the text for commercial purposes. For all other usage one will have to contact the translator.

With love and devotion,
Anand Aadhar Prabhu,
Sakhya Devi Dāsī, 
Enschede, The Netherlands, January 24, 2024



 Chapter 69: Nārada Muni's Vision of Krishna in His Household Affairs

(1-6) S'rī S'uka said: 'Hearing that Lord Krishna had killed Naraka [see 10.59] and that He alone had married so many women, Nārada wanted to see that with his own eyes [and thought]: 'How wonderful it is that He with a single body is married to that many women, at the same time in sixteen thousand separate residences being alone with each of them.' Thus eager to take a look the sage of the gods came to Dvārakā, the place so flowery with its parks and pleasure gardens resounding with the noise of flocks of birds and swarms of bees. Blooming blue lotuses [indīvaras], day-blooming ones [ambhojas], white esculent ones [kahlāras], moonlight-blooming lotuses [kumudas] and water lilies [utpalas] filled the lakes where the sounds were heard of swans and cranes. There were nine hundred thousand palatial mansions embellished with crystal glass, silver and great emeralds, that were splendidly furnished with gold and jewels. The city was systematically planned with many avenues, roads, intersections and squares, assembly houses and charming temples for the gods. Its paths and courtyards, shopping streets and patios were all sprinkled with water, while the sun was warded off by banners that waved from the flagpoles. (7-8) In the city there was an opulent quarter honored by all the local authorities. Tvashthā [the architect Vis'vakarmā], had there for the Lord [who resided there] in full exhibited his talents by making the sixteen thousand residences for S'auri's wives as beautiful as he could. Nārada entered one of the great palaces. (9-12) The building was supported by coral pillars that were excellently decorated with vaidūrya ['cat-eye' gemstone]. The walls were covered with sapphires and the spotless floors shone everywhere. It was built with canopies that by Tvashthā were constructed with hangings of pearls, and had seats and beds made of ivory that were decorated with the finest jewels. There were well-dressed, adorned maidservants with lockets around their necks, and finely clad men with turbans and armor, jewels and earrings. Many gem-studded lamps dispelled with their light the darkness, and on the carved eaves, my best, the peacocks danced, crying loudly taking the aguru smoke they saw curling upwards from the latticed windows for a cloud. (13) Inside, the man of learning saw the Lord of the Sātvatas together with His wife who fanned Him with a yak-tail fan with a golden handle. She in her turn was every instant supported by a thousand maidservants equal to her in personal qualities, beauty, youth and fine dress. (14) The Supreme Lord, the best defender of all dharma, noticing him, immediately rose from S'rī's couch and offered him His own seat while bowing down with joined palms. (15) Even though He was the Supreme Guru of the Living Being, He washed his feet and took that water on His head. He, as the master of all saintly souls, justly carries the transcendental name of 'the Well-wisher of the Brahmins' [Brāhmanya deva], because one by dint of the holy shrine of His feet finds full purification [see also the stories of the Ganges flowing from His feet 5.17 & 9.9]. (16) Having been of full worship for the devarishi as was prescribed by the scriptures, He, the Greatest Sage, the Original Nārāyana, the friend of Nara, conversed with him in weighed words that were as sweet as nectar and asked: 'Oh Master, oh Fortunate One, what may We do for you?

(17) S'rī Nārada said: 'It is not that surprising that You show friendship for all people, oh Almighty Ruler of All the Worlds who subdues the envious. We very well know that You, who are universally praised, out of Your own will have descended for the highest good of the continuation and the protection of the Living Being [*]. (18) Having seen Your two feet, which for Your devotees are the path of liberation upon which Lord Brahmā and the other gods of unfathomable intelligence meditate in the heart and which for those, who are fallen in the well of a material existence, are the shelter for deliverance, I ask for Your blessing to remember You so that I during my travels may constantly think of You.'

(19) Nārada, my best, thereupon entered another residence of a wife of Krishna, with the wish to know the mystical power of illusion [yogamāyā] of the Master of All Masters of Yoga. (20-22) And there he saw Him also. He was playing a game of dice with His beloved and Uddhava. He stood up for him, honored him with transcendental devotion and seated him etc., asking him - as if He did not know: 'When has your good self arrived? How can those [householders] who are not so fulfilled, like Us, do what should be done for those [sannyāsīs] who are fully satisfied [within]? Anyway, please tell Us, oh brahmin, how We can make a success of this birth.' But Nārada who was astonished, stood up, said nothing and went to another palace. (23) And there he saw Govinda cuddling His small children. Next in another palace, he saw Him preparing for a bath. (24) In one place he saw Him offering oblations, elsewhere he saw Him worshiping the five sacrificial fires [see mahā-yańas] with the obligatory rituals, then again He was feeding brahmins, and in yet another place He was eating the remnants [of sacrifices]. (25) Somewhere He was of sunset-worship while controlling His speech with reciting the mantra [for it, see Gāyatrī and japa], and elsewhere He moved about with His sword and shield in areas of practice. (26) Here the Elder Brother of Gada rode horses, elephants and chariots, and there He was lying on His sofa being praised by bards. (27) This place He was consulting with advisers, Uddhava and others, and that place He was engaged sporting in the water surrounded by dancing girls and other women. (28) Somewhere He donated excellent, well ornamented cows to brahmins, and elsewhere He listened to the auspicious classical stories [Purānas] and epic histories [Itihāsas]. (29) Laughing and joking with His beloved in this mansion, He elsewhere practiced the religion [dharma], the economy [artha] and the [regulation of] physical lusts [kāma, see also purushārthas]. (30) Sitting alone in one place to meditate on the Original Person Transcendental to Material Nature, He in another place rendered menial service to the elders, serving them attentively with things they liked. (31) Planning for war with certain people here, and there again making peace, Kes'ava together with Balarāma elsewhere minded the welfare of the pious souls. (32) [He saw Him] arranging opulent weddings for daughters and sons in accordance with the vidhi, at the right time, with wives and husbands compatible to them. (33) [He saw] the people astonished to witness the grand celebrations in which the Master of the Masters of Yoga sent away from home His children and welcomed in-laws in the family. (34) With elaborate sacrifices in worship of all the gods being busy in one place, He was in another place of dharma in civil service arranging for wells, parks and monasteries and such. (35) For a hunting expedition He somewhere was mounting a horse from Sindhī, while He elsewhere, surrounded by the most valorous Yadus, was killing the animals to be offered in sacrifice [see **]. (36) In another place the Yoga master was moving about in disguise in the city and in other homes, eager to find out what the mentalities of the different people were. (37) Nārada almost laughed about that what of His yogamāyā, of assuming the human role, had unfolded before his eyes, and said to Hrishīkes'a: (38) 'From serving Your feet one can know Your mystical potencies, potencies which even for the great mystics are hard to conceive, oh Lord of Yoga, oh Supreme Soul. (39) Permit me to follow You in humility, oh Godhead, I will wander about the [fourteen] worlds, which are flooded with Your glory, and loudly sing about Your pastimes, which purify all the worlds.'
(40) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh brahmin, I am both the spokesman of the dharma and its performer. I am also the sanctioner of dharma, as I teach it to the world. Do not be bewildered acknowledging it, my son [when I set an example].'

(41) S'rī S'uka said: 'He [Nārada] thus saw [as no one else could see ***] Him present in one and the same form in all the palaces where He performed the spiritual principles of dharma which purify the householders. (42) After repeatedly having witnessed Krishna's unlimited prowess in the elaborate manifestation of His yogamāyā, the seer filled with wonder stood amazed. (43) With [his witnessing of] the artha, kāma and dharma [civil duties of household life, see also 7.14], thus by Lord Krishna's faithful heart thoroughly honored, he satisfied went away with Him constantly in his mind. (44) Nārāyana, who for the welfare of everyone had manifested His potencies, my dear, thus following the path of human existence, enjoyed the shy affectionate glances and satisfied laughter of His sixteen thousand most excellent women. (45) Anyone, oh dear King, who chants, listens or appreciates [to read about] the unequaled activities performed by the Lord in this world, by Him who is the cause of the generation, continuation and dissolution of the universe, will become devoted to the Supreme Lord who constitutes the path of liberation.'

*: The paramparā adds here: 'As pointed out by S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī, all living beings are in fact servants of the Lord. The ācārya quotes the following verse from the Padma Purāna to elucidate:
a-kārenocyate vishnuh
s'rīr u-kārena kathyate
ma-kāras tu tayor dāsah
pańca-vims'ah prakīrtitah

"[In the mantra AUM] the letter a signifies Lord Vishnu, the letter u signifies the goddess S'rī, and the letter m refers to their servant, who is the twenty-fifth element." The twenty-fifth element is the jīva, the living being. Every living being is a servant of the Lord, and the Lord is the true friend of every living being. Thus even when the Lord chastises envious persons like Jarāsandha, such punishment amounts to real friendship, since both the Lord's chastisement and His blessing are for the benefit of the living being.

**: Even though this activity for the common people and for the brahmins is forbidden, by the vidhi rule of dayā for the sake of being compassionate with all living beings, it is in certain cases allowed to kill animals in Vedic society. S'rīla Prabhupāda comments: "According to Vedic regulations, the kshatriyas were allowed to kill prescribed animals on certain occasions, either to maintain peace in the forests or to offer the animals in the sacrificial fire. Kshatriyas are allowed to practice this killing art because they have to kill their enemies mercilessly to maintain peace in society." [see also e.g. 4: 26, 7.15, 10.1: 4, 10.56: 13 and 10.58: 13-16].

***: The paramparā adds to this: 'As stated in text 2 of this chapter, all the Lord's activities in the many palaces were performed by the Lord's single spiritual form (ekena vapushā), which manifested in many places at once. This vision was revealed to Nārada because of his desire to see it and the Lord's desire to show it to him. S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī points out that the other residents of Dvārakā could see Krishna only in the particular part of the city they themselves occupied, and not anywhere else, even if they would sometimes go to another precinct on some business. Thus the Lord gave a special view of His pastimes to His beloved devotee Nārada Muni.'



Chapter 70: Krishna's Routines, Troubles and Nārada Pays Another Visit

(1) S'rī S'uka said: At the break of dawn the crowing roosters were cursed by the wives of the Sweet Lord who, with around their neck the arms of their husband [the One Yogamāyā Lord in Many], were disturbed over the [consequent] separation. (2) The birds, awakened from their sleep by the bees in the breeze of the pārijāta trees, woke up Krishna with their noisy singing, like they were the poets at the court. (3) But Vaidarbhī [Rukminī] did not like that most auspicious time of the day, because she then would have to miss the embrace of her beloved [Krishna]. (4-5) Mādhava rose during the brāhma-muhūrta [the hour before sunrise], touched water and cleared His mind to meditate on the unequaled, exclusive, self-luminous Self beyond all dullness of matter. This True Self dispels, infallible as it is, by its [His] own nature, perpetually the impurity and gives the joy of existence. It is known as the Brahman that, with its [His] energies, constitutes the cause of the creation and the destruction of this universe [see also 3.29: 31 & 36-37, B.G. 7: 5 & 6 and *]. (6) After according to the vidhi having bathed in pure water, He, the most truthful One, first dressing in lower and upper garments, performed the entire sequence of the worship at dawn and such, and then, after offering oblations in the fire, quietly controlling His speech, chanted the Vedic mantra [the Gāyatrī, see also **]. (7-9) Faithful to His own nature, He in worship of the rising sun propitiated His own expansions. With due respect for the gods, the sages and forefathers, His elders and the souls of learning, He donated day after day many, many good-natured cows with gold on their horns, silver on their hooves and pearl necklaces around their necks, cows that were rich with milk and had given birth to one calf only. Nicely caparisoned they were presented to the learned brahmins together with linen, deerskins, sesame seeds and ornam ents [see also ***]. (10) Paying His respects to the cows, the men of learning, the godly souls, the elders, the spiritual teachers and to all living beings who were but expansions of Himself, He [giving darshan], laid His hand on all [persons and] auspicious matters. (11) He, the very ornament of society, decorated Himself with the clothes, divine garlands, fragrant pastes and jewelry that befitted Him. (12) He cared for both the ghee [used in the sacrifices] and the mirror, and attended to the cows, the bulls, the twice-born souls, the gods and the objects of desire. He provided gifts to the satisfaction of all societal classes living in the city and in the palace, and welcomed His ministers responding to all their needs in full. (13) After first having distributed garlands, betel nut and sandalwood paste to the learned souls, [and then] to His friends, His ministers and His wives, He next would take His own share. (14) His driver, who by then had brought His supremely wonderful chariot yoked with the horses Sugrīva and so on [see 10.53: 5], stood bowing before Him. (15) Holding the hand of the charioteer He then together with Sātyaki and Uddhava mounted the chariot, like He was the sun rising over the mountains in the east. (16) With difficulty leaving the women behind in the palace, who looked at Him with shy and loving glances, He departed, displaying a smile that seized their minds. (17) Awaited by all the Vrishnis He, my dear, entered the assembly hall named Sudharmā [see also 10.50: 54] which, for those who enter, fights the six waves [of material life. See shath-ūrmi]. (18) The Almighty One, the Best of the Yadus seated there high on His throne in the midst of the Yadus who were the lions among men, illuminated all the quarters with His effulgence, shining like the moon in the sky surrounded by the stars. (19) There were jesters, oh King, who served the Almighty One with various forms of amusement, professional entertainers [like magicians] and women who dancing energetically were of service. (20) They danced to the sounds of vīnās, mridangas and muraja-drums, flutes, cymbals and conches, while the bards, storytellers and panegyrists sang and offered praise. (21) Some brahmins sitting there, continually recited Vedic mantras, while others recounted stories about kings from the past famed for their piety.

(22) One day a person arrived, oh King, who was never seen there before. Announced by the doorkeepers he was given access to the Fortunate One. (23) After his reverence before Krishna, the Supreme Lordship, he with joined palms submitted that [a certain number of] kings were suffering because they were being held captive by Jarāsandha. (24) During a conquest of all the directions by him, those kings had been captured who had not accepted him in complete subservience. They - about twenty thousand of them - were forcibly detained in the fortress of Girivraja. (25) The kings had sent the message: 'Krishna, oh Krishna, oh immeasurable Soul, oh You who takes away the fear of the surrendered souls. We, being so different in mentality, afraid as we are in our material existence, have come to You for shelter! (26) The whole world delighting in misconduct, is bewildered about the duties out here to be of one's own worship for You according to Your [varnās'rama] command. May there be the obeisances unto You, the Ever Vigilant ['unblinking eye of Time'], who all of a sudden [at the time of one's death] cuts off that headstrong hope for longevity in this life. (27) You, the predominating authority of this universe, have descended together with Your expansion [Balarāma] in order to protect the saintly and to subdue the wicked. We fail to understand, oh Lord, how anyone transgressing Your law [like Jarāsandha] could achieve such an authority, nor how anyone else [like us, provided he takes his refuge with You], has to reap the fruit [of adversity]. (28) With the burden of this mortal frame carried by us with a constant fear, our happiness is like the conditional happiness of kings, oh Lord, which is [as ephemeral] as a dream. When we reject the happiness of the soul that is obtained by selfless service unto You, we have to suffer the greatest misery with Your bewildering material reality of māyā out here. (29) Therefore, oh Goodness whose two feet remove the sorrow, please release us, the surrendered souls, from the fetters of karma formed by the king of Magadha. Like the king of the animals capturing sheep, he all by himself wielding the prowess of a ten thousand mad elephants, has imprisoned us in His palace. (30) Eighteen times [facing him] You [seventeen times] raised Your cakra and crushed him. Only once he managed to defeat You in battle, when You, confiding in Your unlimited power, were absorbed in human affairs [see 10.50: 41 & 10.52: 7]. And now he filled with pride torments us, Your subjects, oh Unconquerable One. Please rectify that!' (31) The messenger said: 'Those who are held captive by Jarāsandha thus hanker to see You in their surrender at the base of Your feet. Please bestow Your welfare on these poor souls!'

(32) S'rī S'uka said: 'After the envoy of the kings thus had spoken, the supreme rishi [Nārada] appeared who with his yellowish mass of matted locks had an effulgence like that of the sun. (33) As soon as the Supreme Lord Krishna, the Supreme Controller of the controllers of all the worlds, saw him, He together with His followers and the members of the assembly gladdened stood up and bowing His head proved His respects. (34) After the muni had accepted a seat, He pleased him with worship according to the rules and spoke next the truthful, pleasing words: (35) 'It is a fact that the three worlds today are completely freed from all fear, for that is the quality of a great and fortunate soul like you, who travels the worlds. (36) Within the three worlds created by the Lord there is nothing you do not know, let us therefore hear from you what the plans of the Pāndavas are.'

(37) S'rī Nārada said: 'I often witnessed [the different appearances of] Your inscrutable māyā, oh Almighty One, oh Bewilderer of [even] the Creator of the Universe [see 10.14]. It does not amaze me, oh All-encompassing One, that You, being covered by Your own energies, are moving among the created beings like a fire with its light covered. (38) Who is able to properly understand the purpose of You, who by Your material energy creates and withdraws this universe, [which for its beings is] manifested to exist in relation to You [to experience the essence]. My obeisances for You whose nature is inconceivable. (39) For the individual soul in samsāra, who knows no liberation from the trouble that the material body brings, He lights His torch of fame through the pastimes of His avatāras. You, that Lord, I approach for shelter. (40) I will nonetheless tell You, oh Highest Truth who imitates the human ways, what Your devotee, the king [Yudhishthhira], the son of Your father's sister, intends to do. (41) The king, the son of Pāndu, desires the sovereignty and wants to perform for Your sake the greatest sacrifice called the Rājasūya. Can You please give Your blessing to this? (42) Oh Lord, that best of all sacrifices will be attended by all the enlightened and likewise souls eager to see You, as also by all the kings of victory and glory. (43) When the dregs of society find purification from just hearing about, chanting and meditating on You, the Full Manifestation of the Absolute, what may then be expected in case of those who [factually may] see and touch You? (44) The spotless reputation of You, which is expanding in all directions, is proclaimed in heaven, in the lower regions and on earth, oh Bringer of Good Fortune to All the Worlds. In the form of the water washing from Your feet which purifies the entire universe, that grace is called the [river] Mandākinī in the divine spheres, the Bhogavatī in the lower worlds, and the Ganges here on earth.'

(45) S'rī S'uka said: 'When His supporters [the Yādus] did not agree with this proposition [for a Rājasūya], because they desired the defeat [of Jarāsandha], Kes'ava with a smile and a charming use of words addressed His servant Uddhava. (46) The Fortunate One said: 'You, as the apple of Our eye and Our well-wishing friend, from that position know perfectly well what expression would be of use in this regard. Please tell Us what should be done, We have full faith in you and will do what you say.'

(47) With that request from his Maintainer, who acted as if He, the all-knowing One, was puzzled, Uddhava humbly accepting the order on his head, gave a reply.'

*: Concerning the matter of Brahman relating to the person of Krishna the paramparā adds: 'One who is favored by the Lord's internal potency can understand the nature of the Absolute Truth [or Brahman]; this understanding is called Krishna consciousness.'

**: According to S'rīdhara Svāmī Lord Krishna, before sunrise first offering oblations and then doing the mantra, in this would follow the disciplic succession of Kanva Muni [mentioned in 9.20].

***: With the M.W. dictionary confirming to the term badva used here the meaning of 'a great number'  S'rīdhara Svāmī quotes several Vedic scriptures to show that in the context of the Vedic ritual, a badva here refers to 13.084 cows, and further gives evidence that the usual practice for great saintly kings in previous ages was to give away 107 such badva, or groups of 13.084  cows. Thus the total number of cows given in this sacrifice, known as Mańcāra, could have amounted to 14 lakhs, or 1.400.000.



 Chapter 71: The Lord Travels to Indraprastha on the Advice of Uddhava

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gifted Uddhava hearing what thus was stated by the devarishi, spoke with understanding for the stance taken by Krishna and the royal assembly. (2) S'rī Uddhava said: 'Oh Lord, You should do what the rishi said and assist Your cousin who wants to perform the sacrifice. You should also protect those [kings] who seek their refuge. (3) Since the Rājasūya sacrifice should be performed by someone who gained the upper hand in all directions, oh Almighty One, You to my opinion will serve both the purposes [of the sacrifice and the protection] when you triumph over the son of Jarā. (4) This way releasing the imprisoned kings, there will be a great advantage for us, as also glory for You, oh Govinda. (5) He [Jarāsandha] is a king as strong as a thousand elephants. He cannot be defeated by other men in power, save for Bhīma who is equally strong. (6) He can only be defeated chariot-to-chariot, not when he is together with a hundred akshauhinīs. Devoted as he is to the brahminical culture, he will also never refuse what the men of learning ask from him. (7) Bhīma visiting him wearing the dress of a brahmin, must beg for charity and without hesitation kill him in a one-to-one fight in Your presence.  (8) Hiranyagarbha ['the one of the golden light' or Brahmā] and S'arva ['he who kills by the arrow', S'iva, see 7.10: 67] are but the instruments, in universal creation and annihilation, of the Supreme Lord of the Universe, of You in the form of formless Time. (9) The godly wives of the [imprisoned] kings sing in their homes about Your spotless deeds. They sing about You killing their enemy and delivering them. They sing about You, just as the gopīs do [missing You, see 10.31] and the lord of the elephants [Gajendra did being captured see 8.3], just as the daughter of Janaka [Sītā] did [for Rāmacandra, see 9.10] and Your parents [prayed for Your grace being imprisoned by Kamsa, see 10.3], just as the sages do upon having obtained Your shelter [see e.g. 9.5], as also we now do singing about You. (10) The killing of Jarāsandha, oh Krishna, will surely bring us an immense advantage, namely the consequent excellence [of the kings], as also the sacrifice favored by You.'

(11) S'rī S'uka said: 'The words Uddhava thus spoke, in every way auspicious and infallible, oh King, were praised in response by the devarishi, the Yadu elders and also by Krishna. (12) The Almighty Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, took leave from the souls He owed respect [following the human ways]. Next He ordered His servants Dāruka, Jaitra and others to prepare for His departure. (13) He assembled His wives, sons and luggage, said goodbye to Sankarshana [Balarāma] and the Yadu king [Ugrasena], oh killer of the enemies, and then mounted His chariot brought by His driver, from which the flag of Garuda waved. (14) Then, surrounded by His chiefs and fierce guard, chariots, elephants, infantry and cavalry - His personal army -  He moved out, with from all sides the vibration of the sounds of mridangas, bherī horns, gomukha horns, kettledrums and conch shells. (15) In golden palanquins carried by strong men, Acyuta's wives along with their children followed their Husband, well guarded by soldiers with shields and swords in their hands, clad in fine clothes, ornamented, with garlands and with perfumed oils. (16) Next came the ornamented women of the household and the courtesans on human carriers, camels, bulls, buffalo, donkeys, mules, bullock carts and she-elephants, that [further] were fully loaded with grass huts, blankets, clothing and more items like that. (17) The huge army, carrying a choice of long flagpoles, banners, luxurious sunshades, yak-tail fans, weapons, jewelry, helmets and armor, appeared that day glittering and shining in the rays of the sun. With the noise of its sounds it sounded like an ocean restless with timingilas and waves. (18) After having heard and approved His plan, the muni [Nārada], being honored by the Lord of the Yadus and feeling happy over his meeting with Mukunda, bowed down to Him, placed Him in his heart and then left through the sky. (19) In order to please him with His word the messenger of the kings was told the following by the Supreme Lord: 'Do not fear, oh envoy, I wish you [and your kings] all good fortune. I will see to it that the king of Māgadha will be put to death.'

(20) Thus being addressed the messenger departed and informed the kings in detail. And so they, eager for their liberation, awaited the moment they would meet S'auri. (21) The Lord traveling through Ānarta [the region of Dvārakā], Sauvīra [eastern Gujarat], Marudes'a [the Rajasthan desert] and Vinas'ana [the district of Kurukshetra], on his way passed [many] hills, rivers, cities, villages, cow pastures and quarries. (22) After first crossing the river Drishadvatī, Mukunda next crossed the Sarasvatī, then passed through the province of Pańcāla and Matsya, and finally reached Indraprastha. (23) Hearing that He had arrived whom one sees but rarely among human beings, the one whose enemy still had to be born [king Yudhishthhira, in order to welcome Him], joyfully came out [of his city] surrounded by priests and relatives. (24) With an abundance of sounds of songs and instrumental music, and with the vibration of hymns, he headed for Hrishīkes'a, as much filled with reverence as the senses are tuned to life. (25) The heart of the Pāndava seeing Lord Krishna after so long a time, melted with affection, whereupon he embraced Him, his dearmost friend, over and over. (26) The ruler of man closing the body of Mukunda, the shining abode of Ramā in his arms, found all his ill-fortune destroyed and achieved the highest bliss. In his exhilaration having tears in his eyes he forgot the illusory affair of being embodied in the material world. (27) Bhīma filled with joy embraced Him, his maternal nephew, and laughed out of love with eyes brimming with tears. And also from the eyes of the twins [Nakula and Sahadeva] and of Kirītī ['he with the helmet' or Arjuna] flowed profusely the tears as they with pleasure embraced Acyuta, their dearmost friend. (28) After being embraced by Arjuna and having received obeisances from the twins, He, according to the etiquette, bowed before the brahmins and the elders, and honored [the rest of] the honorable Kurus, Srińjayas and Kaikayas. (29) The bards, the chroniclers, the singers of heaven, the eulogists and jesters with mridangas, conches, kettledrums, vīnās, small drums and gomukha horns, all sang, danced and glorified with hymns the Lotus-eyed one, as also did the brahmins. (30) The Supreme Lord, the Crest Jewel of all Souls of Pious Renown, thus being glorified by His well-wishers around Him, entered the decorated city. (31-32) In the city of the king of the Kurus He saw, on the roads sprinkled with water that were fragrant of the mada [the rut-liquid] of elephants, colorful flags, gateways decorated with golden pots full of water, and young men and women all clad in new apparel who wore ornaments, flower garlands and sandalwood on their bodies. In each home lamps were lit and offerings of tribute displayed. The smoke of incense drifted through the latticed windows, and banners waved from the rooftops that were adorned with golden domes with large silver bases. (33) Hearing of the arrival of Him who for the eyes of man is a reservoir to drink from, the young women, in order to witness that, went onto the king's road. Thereby they immediately abandoned their households - or their husbands in bed -, with [sometimes] in their eagerness, the knots in their hair and their dresses loosened. (34) On that road, very crowded with elephants, horses, chariots and soldiers on foot, they caught the sight of Krishna with His wives. And while they embraced Him in their hearts, the women who [because of the commotion] had climbed onto the rooftops, scattered flowers and prepared Him a heartfelt welcome with broadly smiling glances. (35) Seeing Mukunda's wives on the road like stars around the moon, the women exclaimed: 'What have they done that the Foremost of Men, with but the small portion of His glances and playful smiles, grants their eyes the [greatest] joy?' (36) Citizens here and there approached Him with auspicious offerings in their hands and the masters of the guilds, who had banned their sins, performed worship for Krishna. (37) As He entered the king's palace, the members of the royal household all approached in a hurry to greet Mukunda, filled with love and with blossoming eyes. (38) The moment Prithā [queen Kuntī] saw her brother's son, Krishna, the Controller of the Three Worlds, she with a heart full of love together with her daughter-in-law [Draupadī] rose from her couch in order to embrace Him. (39) The king brought Govinda, the Supreme God of All Gods, to His quarters but, overwhelmed by his great joy, he forgot what all had to be done to honor Him with reverence. (40) Krishna, oh King, performed His obeisances in respect of His aunt and the elderly women, whereupon His sister [Subhadrā] and Krishnā [Draupadī] bowed down to Him. (41-42) Urged by her mother-in-law [Kuntī] Krishnā [Draupadī] honored all Krishna's wives with clothing, flower garlands and jewelry and such: Rukminī, Satyabhāmā, Bhadrā, Jāmbavatī, Kālindī, Mitravindā - the descendant of S'ibi, the chaste Nāgnajitī, as also the others who had come. (43) The king of dharma [Yudhishthhira] comfortably accommodated Janārdana, His army, His servants, ministers and His wives and saw to it they suffered no lack. (44-45) He stayed a couple of months, because He wanted to please the king, and went, sporting with Arjuna, surrounded by guards out riding in His chariot. Together with Arjuna He satisfied the fire-god by offering him the Khāndava forest. Maya [Dānava, a demon] whom He had saved, then built a celestial assembly hall for the king [in Hastināpura].'


Chapter 72: Jarāsandha Killed by Bhīma and the Kings Freed

(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Yudhishthhira one day sat in his court surrounded by the sages, the nobles, the popular personalities, the business men and his brothers. With all the ācāryas, the elders of the family, his blood relatives, in-laws and friends listening, he addressed Krishna saying the following. (3) S'rī Yudhishthhira said: 'Oh Govinda, I wish to honor Your different heroic deeds with the purifying sacrifice that is the king of all fire sacrifices named Rājasūya. Please allow us to perform that sacrifice, oh Master. (4) They who constantly, in full service meditate on and glorify Your slippers, which cause the destruction of all inauspicious things, find purification. They and not other persons, oh You whose navel is like a lotus, manage by their prayers to put an end to their material existence, or else, as far as they desire something, get the things done they want. (5) Therefore, oh God of Gods, let the people see the power of serving Your lotus feet in this world. Please, oh All-powerful One, show them both the status of the Kurus and the Srińjayas who are of worship, and the status of those who are not of worship. (6) In Your mind of Absolute Truth there can be no difference between 'mine and thine', for You are the Soul of All Beings who, equal in Your vision, experience the happiness within Yourself. Those who properly serve You, You, just like the desire tree, grant the desired results according to the service rendered. There is no contradiction in this [catering to desires].'

(7) The Supreme Lord said: 'There is nothing wrong with your plan, oh King, following it all the world will witness your auspicious fame, oh tormentor of the enemies! (8) For the sages, the forefathers, the gods and the friends, oh master of Us, as also for all living beings, [the performance of] this king of sacrifices [the literal meaning of Rājasūja] is desirable. (9) Bring the earth under control by conquering all the kings, collect all the necessities [for the ceremony], and [next] perform the great sacrifice. (10) These brothers of yours, oh King, were born as partial aspects of the demigods who rule the worlds [see family-tree], and I, who am unconquerable for those not in control with themselves, am conquered by you who are of self-control. (11) No person, not even a demigod - not to mention an earthly ruler -, can by his strength, beauty, fame or riches in this world subdue someone who is devoted to Me.'

(12) S'rī S'uka said: 'The king, with a face blossoming like a lotus, was pleased to hear the song [the Gītā] of the Supreme Lord. Energized by the potency of Vishnu, he engaged his brothers in the conquest of all the directions. (13) He sent Sahadeva with the Srińjayas to the south, Nakula with the Matsyas in the western direction, Arjuna with the Kekayas to the north and Bhīma with the Madrakas to the east. (14) The heroes, by their personal strength subduing many kings, brought him from everywhere an abundance of riches, because for him, intent upon performing the sacrifice, the enemy still had to be born, oh King. (15) The king heard that Jarāsandha was not defeated and thought about it. The Original Person, the Lord, then enlightened him on the means Uddhava had mentioned [in 10.71: 2-10]. (16) And so Bhīmasena, Arjuna and Krishna, disguised as brahmins, together went to Girivraja, my dear, where the son of Brihadratha [Jarāsandha] resided. (17) Going to his residence at the hour appointed for receiving [uninvited] guests, the nobles, appearing as brahmins, begged with the religious householder of respect for the brahminical culture: (18) 'Oh King, know us as guests in need who have arrived from afar. We wish you all the best. Please grant us everything we desire. (19) What would for a patient person be intolerable, what would for an impious person be impossible, what would by a generous person not be donated, and who would exclude someone who has an equal vision towards all? (20) He is reprehensible and pitiable who, while being very well capable, fails to acquire with the temporary body the lasting fame glorified by the saints. (21) Many souls like Haris'candra, Rantideva, Uńchavritti Mudgala, S'ibi, Bali, and the legendary pigeon with its hunter [see*], attained the eternal [Soul] by [forsaking] the impermanent.'

(22) S'rī S'uka said: 'However, from their voices, their physical stature and even the bowstring marks on their arms, he [Jarāsandha] recognized them as nobles, as members of the family he had seen before. (23) [He thought:] 'These relatives of the royal class wearing the insignia of brahmins, I should give whatever they demand, even something as difficult to forsake as my own body. (24-25) Was Bali not known as someone whose spotless glory spread wide in all directions, even though he was brought down by Lord Vishnu [Vāmana] who, appearing in the form of a twice-born soul, of a brahmin, wanted to take away from him Indra's opulence? Despite the advise against it [from his guru, see 8.19], the Daitya king [Bali] knowingly gave away the entire earth. (26) Of what use is it for someone from a kshatriya background, to be alive but, with his perishable body, not to endeavor in favor of the greater glory of the brahmins?' (27) With that mentality the generous soul said to Krishna, Arjuna and Vrikodara ['wolf-belly' or Bhīma]: 'Oh men of learning, I will give you whatever you want, even if you ask for my own head!'

(28) The Supreme Lord said: 'Please, oh high and mighty King, accept the challenge to give us battle in a one-to-one fight, if you deem that fit. We, members of the royalty, have come here with the wish to fight and do not want anything else. (29) That is Bhīma the son of Prithā, the other one is his brother Arjuna, and know Me to be Krishna, their maternal cousin, your enemy [see 10.50].'

(30) Thus being invited, the king of Magadha laughed loudly and said contemptuously: 'In that case, I will give you battle, you fools! (31) But I will not fight with You. Cowardly You, lacking in strength in the battle, abandoned Your city Mathurā and left for a safe place in the ocean. (32) As for this one, Arjuna, he is not old enough nor very strong, he is no match for me and should not be my opponent. Bhīma is the one equal in strength to me.

(33) Thus having spoken he gave Bhīma a large club and went outside the city, himself taking up another one. (34) Then opposing on the battle ground, the two heroes stroke each other with their lightning-bolt like clubs. The fight drove them to mad fury. (35) Skillfully circling each other to the left and the right, the fight appeared as beautiful as of a couple of actors on a stage. (36) The clash of their clubs swung against each other, oh King, resembled a crash of lightning or the clattering of elephant tusks. (37) Infuriated vigorously fighting like a couple of elephants, their clubs, which with the rapid force of their arms were powerfully swung against each other's shoulders, hips, feet, hands, thighs and collarbones, were in the contact smashed to pieces like they were some arka branches. (38) With their clubs thus being ruined, the two great heroes among men angrily pummeled each other with their iron-like fists. [And also] the slapping of their hands sounded like elephants crashing into each other or as harsh claps of thunder. (39) The fight of the two men striking each other who were equally trained, just as strong and of the same endurance, thus remained undecided and continued unabated, oh King [**]. (40) Krishna who had knowledge about the birth and death of the enemy and how he by Jarā was brought to life [see 9.22: 8 and ***], then shared the power of His thought with [Bhīma,] the son of Prithā. (41) He whose Vision is Infallible had determined the means to kill their enemy, and demonstrated it to Bhīma by tearing apart a twig for a sign. (42) Understanding the sign, the immensely strong Bhīma, the best of all fighters, seized his enemy by the feet and threw him to the ground. (43) Standing with his foot on top of one leg, he with both hands took hold of the other one and, just like a great elephant with a tree branch, tore him apart from the anus upward. (44) His subjects then saw him separated in two pieces, with each one leg, one thigh, one testicle, one hip, one backside, one shoulder, one arm, one eye, one eyebrow and one ear. (45) After the lord of Magadha had been killed, a great cry of lamentation rose, while Arjuna and Acyuta both congratulated Bhīma and embraced him. (46) The Unfathomable One Supreme Lord and Sustainer of All Living Beings then freed the kings who were imprisoned by the king of Magadha and crowned his son Sahadeva as the lord and master of the Magadhas.'

*: The story goes that the pigeon and his mate gave their own flesh to a hunter to prove their hospitality, and thus they were taken to heaven in a celestial airplane. When the hunter understood their situation in the mode of goodness, he also became renounced, gave up hunting and went off to perform severe austerities. Because he was freed of all sins, was he, after his body burned to death in a forest fire, elevated to heaven.  

**: Some ācāryas include the following two verses in the text of this chapter, and S'rīla Prabhupāda has also translated them in 'Krishna':

evam tayor mahā-rāja
yudhyatoh sapta-vims'atih
dināni niragams tatra
suhrid-van nis'i tishthhatoh

ekadā mātuleyam vai
prāha rājan vrikodarah
na s'akto 'ham jarāsandham
nirjetum yudhi mādhava

"Thus, oh King, they continued to fight for twenty-seven days. At the end of each day's fighting, both lived at night as friends in Jarāsandha's palace. Then on the twenty-eighth day, oh King, Vrikodara [Bhīma] told his maternal cousin, 'Mādhava, I cannot defeat Jarāsandha in battle.' "

***: S'rīla Prabhupāda writes "Jarāsandha was born in two different parts from two different mothers. When his father saw that the baby was useless, he threw the two parts in the forest, where they were later found by a black-hearted witch named Jarā. She managed to join the two parts of the baby from top to bottom. Knowing this, Lord Krishna therefore also knew how to kill him."


Chapter 73: Lord Krishna Blesses the Liberated Kings

(1-6) S'rī S'uka said: 'The twenty thousand eight hundred [kings] who in battle were defeated [by Jarāsandha] came out of the fortress of Giridronī [the capital] being filthy and with dirty clothes. Emaciated by hunger, with dried up faces and because of their imprisonment being greatly weakened, they drank Him in with their eyes and appeared to be licking Him up with their tongues, to be smelling Him with their nostrils and embracing Him with their arms. For Him, dark grey like a rain cloud, in yellow clothing, marked by the S'rīvatsa, with His four arms, charming eyes pinkish as the whorl of a lotus, pleasant face and the gleaming makara [sea monster shaped] earrings; for Him with a lotus, a club, a conch shell and a disc in His hands, adorned with a helmet, necklace, golden bracelets, a belt and armlets and with the splendid, brilliant jewel and a forest flower garland around His neck; for Him they, whose sins were destroyed, bowed their heads down at His feet. (7) The kings with joined palms praised the Master of the Senses with their words, and by the ecstasy of seeing Krishna the weariness of their imprisonment was dispelled.

(8) The kings said: 'We offer You our obeisances, oh God of the Gods, oh Lord of the Surrendered Souls and Remover of Distress. Oh Inexhaustible One, please, oh Krishna, save us who take refuge in You in our despondency about this terrible material existence. (9) Oh Madhusūdana, we do not want to blame the ruler of Magadha, oh Master, for it is by Your grace, oh Almighty One, that the kingdoms of the rulers of man [who defy You] fall down. (10) Intoxicated by his wealth and power of rule a king loses his self-restraint and does not obtain the real benefit, because he, deluded by Your māyā, takes his temporary assets for permanent. (11) The same way a child takes a mirage for a reservoir of water, those lacking in discrimination take the illusory affair, which is subject to transformation, for substantial. (12-13) We who in the past, in our lusting about the wealth, were blinded and quarreled with each other about ruling this earth, have very mercilessly harassed our citizens, oh Master, and have with [You in the form of] death standing before us, arrogantly disregarded You. We, oh Krishna, have been forced to part with our opulence and were hurt in our pride by Your mercy in the form of the irresistible power of the Time that moves so mysteriously. We beg You to allow us to live in the remembrance of Your feet. (14) We henceforth no longer hanker for a kingdom which, appearing like a mirage, constantly must  be served by the material body subjected to demise, which constitutes a source of disease. Nor do we, oh Almighty One, hanker for the fruits of pious work in an hereafter that is so attractive to our ears [compare B.G. 1: 32-35]. (15) Please instruct us in the means by which we may remember Your lotus feet, even though we cannot stop returning over and over to this world [see B.G. 8: 14]. (16) Again and again we offer our obeisances to Krishna the son of Vasudeva, the Lord and Supersoul of those who know to surrender, to Govinda, the Destroyer of Distress.'

(17) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, the Giver of Shelter, thus being praised by the kings who were freed from their bondage, dear King, mercifully addressed them with kind words. (18) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh Kings, I assure you, as from now, as you wish, in you there will rise a very firm devotion to Me, the Self and Controller of All. (19) Your resolve is a fortunate one, oh rulers, for I see you truthfully speak about the impudent infatuation with opulence and power which drives mankind to madness. (20) Haihaya [or Kārtavīryārjuna 9.15: 25], Nahusha [9.18: 1-3], Vena [see 4.14], Rāvana [9.10], Naraka [or Bhauma 10.59: 2-3] and others fell from their positions as gods, demons and men, because they were intoxicated by the opulence. (21) Understanding that this material body and such, have a beginning and an end, you, with [Vedic] sacrifices being connected to Me in worship, have the duty to protect your citizens in accordance with the dharma. (22) Engaged in begetting generations of progeny and encountering the facts of happiness and distress, birth and death, you should fix your minds on Me. (23) Neutral in respect of the body and everything to it, and steadfast to the vows being satisfied within, you, fully focussing your minds on Me, will finally reach Me, the Absolute of the Truth [compare B.G. 4: 9; 8: 7; 9: 28; 12: 3-4].'

(24) S'rī S'uka said: 'Krishna, the Supreme Lord and Controller of All the Worlds, this way having instructed the kings, then engaged men and women servants to give them a bath. (25) Oh descendant of Bharata, He took care that Sahadeva [Jarāsandha's son] served them with clothing, ornaments, garlands and sandalwood paste befitting them. (26) Properly bathed and well decorated they were fed with excellent food and bestowed with various pleasures worthy of kings, like betel nut etc. (27) Honored by Mukunda, the kings, freed from their distress, shone splendidly with their gleaming earrings, like they were the planets at the end of the rainy season. (28) After assigning them chariots adorned with gold and jewels, and pulled by fine horses, He, gratifying them with pleasing words, sent them off to their kingdoms. (29) They who thus by Krishna, the greatest of all personalities, were liberated from hardship, went away, with in their minds nothing but the deeds of Him, the Lord of [the Living Being that is] the Universe. (30) With their ministers and other associates they discussed what the Supreme Personality had done, and then attentively carried out what the Lord had instructed. (31) After having Jarāsandha killed by Bhīmasena, Kes'ava accepted worship from Sahadeva and departed accompanied by the two sons of Prithā. (32) Arriving in Indraprastha they blew the conch shells that previously had made the enemies unhappy they defeated, but now brought delight to their well-wishers. (33) The residents of Indraprastha were pleased in their hearts to hear that sound. They understood that Jarāsandha was put to rest and that the king [Yudhishthhira] had achieved his purpose. (34) Having offered the king their obeisances, Arjuna, Bhīma and Janārdana recounted everything they had done. (35) The king of dharma could not utter a word when he heard that. In ecstasy over Krishna's mercy he shed tears out of love.'


Chapter 74: The Rājasūya: Krishna Number One and S'is'upāla Killed

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'King Yudhishthhira, thus hearing about the death of Jarāsandha and the display of power of the almighty Krishna, was pleased about it and addressed Him. (2) S'rī Yudhishthhira said: 'All the spiritual masters, inhabitants, and great rulers in the three worlds, carry the difficult to obtain command [of You] on their heads. (3) That You Yourself, the Lotus-eyed Lord, take directions from by the day living people [like us] who consider themselves controllers, is, oh All-pervading One, a great pretense [of you imitating our ways]. (4) The way it is with the movements of the sun, the power of the One without a Second, the Absolute Truth, the Supersoul, does not increase nor diminish by [His] activities [see B.G. 2: 40]. (5) Oh Mādhava, the perverted animalistic mentality of making distinctions of 'I and mine' and 'you and yours', is truly not Yours, oh Unconquerable One, nor of Your bhaktas.'

(6) S'rī S'uka said: 'The son of Prithā thus having spoken, with the permission of Krishna chose, at a proper time for the sacrifice, the priests who were suitable, brahmins who were Vedic experts: (7-9) Dvaipāyana [Vyāsa], Bharadvāja, Sumantu, Gotama, Asita, Vasishthha, Cyavana, Kanva, Maitreya, Kavasha, Trita, Vis'vāmitra, Vāmadeva, Sumati, Jaimini, Kratu, Paila, Parās'ara, Garga, Vais'ampāyana as also Atharvā, Kas'yapa, Dhaumya, Rāma of the Bhārgavas [Pāras'urāma], Āsuri, Vītihotra, Madhucchandā, Vīrasena and Akritavrana. (10-11) Also others were invited like Drona, Bhīshma, Kripa, Dhritarāshthra with his sons and the highly intelligent Vidura. Kings with their royal entourages, brahmins, kshatriyas, vais'yas and s'ūdras, all came there eager to attend the sacrifice, oh King. (12) The brahmins with golden plowshares then furrowed the place for worshiping the gods, and inaugurated there the king according to the injunctions. (13-15) The utensils were golden, like it had been in the past when Varuna was of sacrifice [compare 9.2: 27]. The rulers of the worlds headed by Indra, including Brahmā and S'iva, the perfected souls and the heavenly singers with their entourage, the scholars, the great serpents [vips, egos], the sages, the wealth keepers and the wild men, the birds of heaven [see khaga], the mighty ones, the venerable souls and the earthly kings, as also the wives of the kings who were invited, came from everywhere to the Rājasūya sacrifice which they, not surprised at all [about all the wealth], deemed quite appropriate for a devotee of Krishna. (16) The priests who were as powerful as the gods, performed the Rājasūya sacrifice for the great king as was Vedically prescribed, the way the demigods did it for Varuna. (17) On the day set for extracting t he soma juice, the king properly with great attention worshiped the sacrificers and the most exalted personalities of the assembly. (18) The members of the assembly pondered over who of them should be honored first, but could not arrive at a conclusion, because there were many [members who qualified]. Then Sahadeva [the Pāndava] spoke up: (19) 'Acyuta deserves the supreme position, He is the Supreme Lord, the leader of the Sātvatas. He stands for all the demigods as also for the place, the time and the paraphernalia, and such. (20-21) This universe as also the great sacrificial performances, the sacred fire, the oblations and the incantations are founded upon Him. The analytical perspective and the science of yoga are aiming at Him. He is the One and Only without a second upon whom the living being [the universe] is based, oh members of the assembly. He is the Unborn One relying on Himself only, who creates, maintains and destroys. (22) His grace brings about the various activities out here, and because of His grace the entire world endeavors for the ideals characterized by religiosity and such [the purusharthas]. (23) Therefore the greatest honor should be given to Krishna, the Supreme One. If we do that, we will be honoring all living beings, ourselves included. (24) It should be awarded to Krishna, the Soul of all beings who considers no one as separate from Himself, to the Peaceful One Perfectly Complete, who for anyone who wishes his love to be answered constitutes the Unlimited [of an Infinite Return].'

(25) After Sahadeva, well known with Krishna's dignity, thus had spoken, he fell silent, whereupon all the souls of excellence and truth who heard this, filled with happiness said: 'This is excellent, very fine!'

(26) Hearing the twice-born souls say this, the king, pleased to know the heart of the assembly, overwhelmed by love worshiped Hrishīkes'a in full. (27-28) He washed His feet and took the water that purifies the world on his head. Then he carried it joyfully to his wife, his brothers, his ministers and family. And, as he with precious yellow silken garments and jewelry honored Him, he could not look straight at Him because of the tears that filled his eyes. (29) Seeing Him honored this way, all the people with joined palms exclaimed: 'Obeisances to You, all victory to You!' and saying this, they bowed down to Him and showered Him with flowers.

(30) The son of Damaghosha [S'is'upāla, see 10.53] hearing this, aroused by the descriptions of Krishna's qualities, angrily rose from his seat waving with his arms and said, indignantly addressing the Fortunate One with harsh words, the following in the middle of the assembly: (31) 'The Vedic word of truth that Time is the unavoidable controller, has by this been proven, for even the intelligence of the elders could be led astray by the words of a boy! (32) You all know best who would be the most praiseworthy one! Please, oh leaders of the assembly, pay no attention to the statements of the boy that Krishna should be chosen to be honored. (33-34) You overlook the leaders in the assembly who are the best among the wise, who are dedicated to the Absolute Truth and are worshiped by the rulers over the planet. They are men who by spiritual understanding, austerity, Vedic knowledge and vows eradicated their impurities. How can a cowherd who is a disgrace to His family, deserve it to be worshiped? He deserves it no more than a crow deserves the sacred rice cake! (35) How can He who, engaging of His own accord, acts outside the bounds of all religious duties, devoid of kula [a proper upbringing] varna [vocational propriety] and ās'rama [sense of duty according to one's age], thus missing the qualities, deserve it to be worshiped? (36) With His [Yadu-]dynasty cursed by Yayāti [see 9.18: 40-44], being ostracized by well-behaved persons [see 10.52: 9] and wantonly addicted to drinking [e.g. 10.67: 9-10], how can such a one deserve the worship? (37) Abandoning the lands [of Mathurā] graced by the brahmin sages, He with His associates took to a fortress in the sea [10.50: 49] where the brahminical order is not observed [10.57: 30] and where they as thieves cause the people a lot of trouble [e.g. 10.61].'

(38) The Supreme Lord did not say a word to him who, using such and more harsh words, had spoilt all his chances. He kept silent like a lion to a jackal's cry. (39) Hearing that intolerable criticism, the members of the assembly covered their ears and walked away, while angrily cursing the king of Cedi. (40) A person who does not leave the place where the Supreme Lord or His devotee is criticized, loses his pious credit and will fall down. (41) Then the sons of Pāndu, as also the Matsyas, Kaikayas and Srińjayas, stood up infuriated with raised weapons, prepared to kill S'is'upāla. (42) S'is'upāla, oh scion of Bharata, thereupon, undaunted, took up his sword and shield and challenged with insults the kings in the assembly who were the proponents of Krishna. (43) That very moment, the Supreme Lord stood up and stopped His devotees. Displeased He attacked His enemy with His sharp-edged disc and severed his head from his trunk. (44) With S'is'upāla being killed a tumultuous uproar rose from the audience. The kings siding with him feared for their lives and fled away. (45) Right before the eyes of everyone alive, from the body of S'is'upāla a light rose that entered Krishna, like it was a meteor falling from the sky to the earth [see also 10.12: 33]. (46) Throughout three lifetimes he had been obsessed with this mentality [of enmity], and thus meditating he [now finally] attained Oneness with Him [B.G. 4: 9, see also 10.12: 33]. It is indeed so that one's attitude is the cause of one's rebirth [see B.G. 8: 6 & Jaya and Vijaya]. (47) The emperor rewarded the priests and the members of the assembly abundantly with gifts, respecting them all properly according to the scriptural injunctions, and next performed the avabhritha ceremony [of washing himself and the utensils to conclude the sacrifice]. (48) Krishna, the Master of all Yoga Masters, saw to it that the great sacrifice of the king was concluded and stayed, on the request of His well-wishers, a couple of months more [in Indraprastha]. (49) The son of Devakī, Īs'vara, then took leave from the king - who did not feel for it at all - and together with His wives and ministers went back to His city. (50) The story of the two Vaikunthha residents who, because of a curse of the sages [the Kumāras], had to take birth repeatedly, I have related to you in great detail [see 3.16]. (51) When King Yudhishthhira bathed at the avabhritha of the Rājasūya, he, in the midst of the brahmins and kshatriyas, shone as brilliant as the king of the demigods. (52) All the gods, human beings and travelers of the sky [the lesser gods, the Pramathas], being honored by the king, happily returned to their domains, full of praise for Krishna and the sacrifice. (53) [All were happy], except for the sinful Duryodhana, who was the pest of the Kuru dynasty and the personification of the Age of Quarrel. To face the flourishing opulence of the Pāndavas was something he could not tolerate.

(54) He who recites these activities of Lord Vishnu, the deliverance of the kings, the [Rājasūya] sacrifice and the killing of the king of Cedi and such, is delivered from all sin.'

Chapter 75: Concluding the Rājasūya and Duryodhana Laughed at

(1-2) The honorable king said: 'All the people of God, oh brahmin, who assembled at the Rājasūya sacrifice of Ajātas'atru ['he whose enemy was never born', or Yudhishthhira], were delighted about the great festivity they saw: all the kings, the sages and enlightened souls, so I heard, my lord, except for Duryodhana. Please tell us what the reason was.'

(3) The son of Vyāsa said: 'At the Rājasūya sacrifice of the great soul who is your grandfather, the family members, who were bound in divine love, were engaged in humbly serving his cause. (4-7) Bhīma was in charge of the kitchen, Duryodhana supervised the finances, Sahadeva managed the reception and Nakula procured the required items. Arjuna served the preceptors, Krishna washed the feet, the daughter of Drupada served the food and the magnanimous Karna handed out the gifts. Yuyudhāna, Vikarna, Hārdikya, Vidura and others, like the sons of Bāhlīka headed by Bhūris'ravā and Santardana, were, eager to please the king, willing to engage in the different duties during the elaborate sacrifice, oh best of the kings. (8) The priests, the prominent officials, the highly learned souls and all the best well-wishers, being well honored with pleasing words, auspicious offerings and gifts of gratitude, executed the avabhritha bathing ceremony in the heavenly river, after the king of Cedi had entered the feet of the master of the Sātvatas. (9) During the avabhritha celebration the music sounded of a variety of gomukha horns, kettledrums, large drums, mridangas, smaller drums and conch shells. (10) Female dancers danced and singers sang joyfully in groups, as the loud sound of their vīnās, flutes and hand cymbals reached the heavens. (11) The kings, wearing necklaces of gold, took off together with foot soldiers, nice flags and ban ers of different colors, and well ornamented majestic elephants, chariots and horses. (12) The Yadus, Srińjayas, Kāmbojas, Kurus, Kekayas and Kos'alas, with their armies headed by [the king,] the performer of the sacrifice, made the earth tremble. (13) The officials, the priests and the brahmins of excellence loudly vibrated Vedic mantras, while the demigods and sages, the forefathers and singers of heaven sang praises and rained down flowers. (14) Men and women nicely adorned with sandalwood paste, garlands, jewelry and clothes, smeared and sprinkled each other, playing with various liquids. (15) The courtesans were by the men playfully smeared with oil, yogurt and perfumed water with plenty of turmeric and vermilion powder, and they smeared them in return [*]. (16) Guarded by soldiers, the queens went out to witness this firsthand, just as did the wives of the gods in their celestial chariots in the sky. By their cousins and friends being sprinkled in their turn, they offered a beautiful sight with their blossoming faces and shy smiles. (17) Squirting their brothers-in-law, their friends and so on with syringes, in their excitement, their arms, breasts, thighs and waists became visible, because their dresses got drenched and loosened and the braids of small flowers in their hair slipped. With their charming play they thus agitated those who are impure of mind. (18) The emperor mounted his chariot harnessed with the finest horses, and shone, hung with gold, with his wives in all directions, like he was the king of sacrifices, the Rājasūya with all its rituals, in person. (19) After the priests had guided him through the patnī-samyāja [**] and avabhritha ceremonies, they made him perform the ācamana of sipping water for purification and bathe in the Ganges together with Draupadī. (20) The kettledrums of the gods resounded together with those of the human beings, while the demigods, the sages, the forefathers and the humans released a downpour of flowers. (21) Thereafter humans of all occupational and spiritual orders bathed in that place where even the greatest sinner can instantly be freed from all contamination. (22) The king next put on a new set of silken garments and nicely ornamented honored the priests, the officials and the brahmins with jewelry and clothing. (23) The king, devoted to Nārāyana, in diverse ways went at lengths in proving his respects to the kings, his friends, well-wishers, direct family and more distant relatives, as also to others. (24) All the men with their jewels and earrings, flowers and turbans, jackets and silken garments, as also with the most precious pearl necklaces, shone like the demigods. The women also radiated brilliantly with the beauty of their faces adorned with pairs of earrings and locks of hair, and wearing golden belts. (25-26) Oh King, the highly qualified priests, the officials, the Vedic experts, the brahmins, the kshatriyas, vais'yas, s'ūdras and the kings who had come, and together with their followers, the planetary rulers, the spirits, the forefathers and demigods had been worshiped, then with his permission all returned to their abodes. (27) Like mortal men drinking amrita, they never had enough of glorifying the great celebration of the Rājasūya sacrifice performed by the wise king, the servant of the Lord. (28) In his love for his family members, friends and relatives, king Yudhishthhira then stopped them. He was in pain about being separated from Krishna. (29) My best one, in order to please him the Supreme Lord then stayed there. The Yadu heroes headed by Sāmba He sent off to Dvārakā. (30) The king, the son of Dharma [of Yamarāja or Dharma, the lord of the duties] by Krishna being freed from his feverish condition [see also 10.63: 23], thus successfully managed to cross over the so difficult to overcome ocean of his great ambition.

(31) When Duryodhana one day saw the opulence in the palace, he was troubled by the greatness of the Rājasūya and of him [Yudhishthhira] whose life and soul belonged to Acyuta. (32) All the different opulences of the kings of men, the kings of the demons and the kings of the gods could be seen there. With that wealth, which was provided by the cosmic architect [Maya Dānava], the daughter of king Drupada served her husbands [the Pāndavas]. The Kuru prince lamented, for his heart was fixed on her. (33) The thousands of queens of the Lord of Mathurā were there also present at the time, most attractive with their waists and heavy hips moving around slowly on their feet that charmingly tinkled, wearing their pearl necklaces, reddened by the kunkuma from their breasts, and with their beautiful faces richly adorned with earrings and locks of hair. (34-35) In the assembly hall constructed by Maya, it so happened that the son of Dharma, the emperor in person, in the company of his attendants, his family and also Krishna - who was his all-seeing eye - was seated on a throne of gold, being endowed with the opulences of supreme rulership and praised by court poets, like he was Indra. (36) There, oh King, then entered Duryodhana surrounded by his brothers. Proud as a peacock wearing a crown and necklace, he with a sword in his hand was ranting angrily [at the doorkeepers]. (37) Bewildered by the magic of Maya taking the solid floor for water, he held the end of his garment high, but further on he fell into water that he mistook for a solid floor. (38) Bhīma seeing it laughed out loudly, just as the women, the kings and the rest did, my dear. Even though they were checked by the king, it carried the approval of Krishna. (39) He [Duryodhana] burning with anger, embarrassed with his face turned down, being hurt within left for Hastināpura, whereupon from the saintly souls rose a very noisy 'Alas alas!' Ajātas'atru [the king] felt a little sad, while the Supreme Lord, from whose glance the bewilderment had risen, kept silent. He was prepared to remove the burden from the earth [see also 1.15: 25-26, 10.2: 38 and 10.63: 27].

(40) Oh King, this is what I have to tell you concerning your question about the bad-heartedness of Duryodhana during the great Rājasūya sacrifice.'

*: Present day India knows the tradition of the Holi celebrations, the festival of colors, once a year on the morning after the full moon in early March every year, where one plays this game. It celebrates the arrival of spring and the death of the demoness Holika. Holika was the sister of Hiranyakas'ipu who, fighting Prahlāda, could not succeed in killing him [see 7.5]. She, said to be fire resistant, sitting with him in a fire could not harm him. He remained unscathed, but she burned in the fire to ashes. Thus with Holi the night before great bonfires are lit to commemorate the story. Although Holi is observed all over the north, it is celebrated with special joy and zest at Mathurā, Vrindāvana, Nandgaon, and Barsnar (the places where Lord Krishna and S'rī Rādhā grew up). Lord Krishna, while growing up in Vraja, popularized the festival with His ingenious pranks. The gopīs of Vraja responded with equal enthusiasm, and the festivities have continued ever since. Role reversal with travesty, feminism etc. are accepted customs for the duration of the festival. Men and women of Vraja clash in a colorful display of a mock battle of the sexes. A naturally occurring orange-red dye, Kesudo, is used to drench all participants.

**: The patnī-samyāja ritual is the ritual performed by the sponsor of the sacrifice and his wife, consisting of oblations to Soma, Tvashthā, the wives of certain demigods, and Agni.



Chapter 76: The Battle Between S'ālva and the Vrishnis

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Please, oh King, now listen how Krishna, in His body playing the human, in yet another wonderful deed killed the lord of Saubha. (2) S'ālva, as he was called, was a friend of S'is'upāla. He came to Rukminī's wedding and was, together with Jarāsandha and others, by the Yadus defeated in battle [see 10.54 and also 10.50]. (3) Before all the kings listening he swore: 'Wait and see, I will, with all I can, rid the earth of the Yādavas!'

(4) The foolish king this way vowed, only once a day ate a handful of dust, while worshiping as his master the Lord who protects the animallike [Pas'upati or S'iva *]. (5) After a year had passed Ās'utosha [S'iva, as 'the one who is quickly pleased'] offered the master of Umā, S'ālva, who had approached him for shelter, the choice of a benediction. (6) He chose a vehicle terrifying to the Vrishnis with which he could travel at will and that could not be destroyed by the gods, the demons, the humans, the singers of heaven, the serpents or the wild men. (7) Giris'a [S'iva as the Lord of the mountain] said 'so be it', and ordered Maya Dānava, who was there to conquer the cities of the enemies [see 7.10: 53], to build a [flying] fortress made of iron named Saubha, and offer it to S'ālva. (8) The vehicle filled with darkness, moved as one liked and was unassailable. When S'ālva obtained it he, remembering the enmity the Vrishnis had shown, went to Dvārakā with it. (9-11) Oh best of the Bharatas, S'ālva besieged the city with a large army and destroyed the parks, the gardens and the towers, gateways, mansions, outer walls, outlook posts and recreational areas surrounding it. From his superior vimāna, torrents of weapons came down including stones and trees, thunderbolts, snakes and hailstones. A fierce whirlwind rose that covered all the directions with dust. (12) The city of Krishna, thus terribly being tormented by Saubha, oh King, could not find peace, just as the earth could not with [its being besieged by the threefold flying fortress of] Tripura [see 7.10: 56].

(13) The Great Lord Pradyumna seeing how His subjects were being harassed then said to them: 'Do not fear!', after which the great hero, who was of an untold glory, mounted His chariot. (14-15) Eminent leaders among chariot heroes like Sātyaki, Cārudeshna, Sāmba, Akrūra and his younger brothers, Hārdikya, Bhānuvinda as also Gada, S'uka, Sārana and other bowmen, came forward [from the city] in armor, being protected by chariotry, elephantry, cavalry and infantry. (16) Thereupon a hair-raising battle commenced between the Yadus and the followers of S'ālva, that was as tumultuous as the battle between the demons and the demigods [see 8.10]. (17) The way the warm rays of the sun dissipate the darkness of the night, by the son of Rukminī with His divinely empowered weapons in an instant the magical tricks were destroyed of the master of Saubha. (18-19) With twenty-five iron-tipped, in their joints perfectly smoothened arrows with golden shafts, He struck S'ālva's commander-in-chief [Dyumān]. With a hundred of them He pierced S'ālva, with one shaft He pierced each of his soldiers, with ten shafts He pierced each of his charioteers, and with three shafts He pierced each of his carriers [elephants, horses]. (20) When they saw that amazing, mighty feat of Pradyumna, the great personality, He was honored by all the soldiers on His side and the side of the enemy. (21) The magical illusion created by Maya, which then was seen in many forms, next seen in a single form and then again was not seen at all, constituted an inconstancy that made it impossible for his opponent to locate him. (22) Moving hither and thither like a whirling firebrand, the airship of Saubha never stayed in one place; from one moment to the next it was seen on the earth, in the sky, on a mountain top or in the water. (23) Everywhere S'ālva with his soldiers appeared with his Saubha ship, the arrows were aimed by the army commanders of the Yadus. (24) S'ālva lost his grip because of his enemy, for his army and fortress had to suffer from the arrows shot that, striking like fire and the sun, were as intolerable as snake poison. (25) Even though the heroes of Vrishni, eager for a victory here and in the hereafter, were extremely pained by the floods of weapons launched by the commanders of S'ālva, they did not leave their positions. (26) S'ālva's companion named Dyumān, who was previously hurt by Pradyumna, then positioned himself before Him with a club of maura iron and struck Him with a powerful roar. (27) Pradyumna, the subduer of the enemies, received a full blow in the chest. His chariot driver, the son of Dāruka, knew what his duty was and removed Him from the battlefield.

(28) The son of Krishna quickly regained His consciousness and said to His chariot driver: 'It is not right, oh driver, for Me to be removed from the battlefield! (29) Except for Me, no one born in the house of Yadu has ever been known to have abandoned the battlefield. Now My reputation is stained because of a driver who thinks like a eunuch! (30) What should I, having fled from the battlefield, now say when I meet My fathers Rāma and Krishna? How should I excuse Myself, being questioned concerning the matter? (31) My sisters-in-law certainly will deride Me, saying: 'Oh hero, how could Your enemies succeed in turning You into a coward in battle?'

(32) The charioteer said: 'Oh Long-lived One, what I did I have done in full awareness of my prescribed duty, oh Lord. A driver should protect the master who ran into danger, just as the master should protect the driver. (33) With that in mind I removed You from the battlefield. Seeing you knocked unconscious by the enemy, I thought You were wounded!'

*: The Monier-Williams dictionary states: "According to one legend every deity acknowledged himself to be a mere pas'u or animal when entreating S'iva to destroy the Asura Tri-pura."




Chapter 77: S'ālva and the Saubha fortress Finished

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'After touching water, fastening His armor and picking up His bow, He [Pradyumna] said to His charioteer: 'Take Me to the warrior Dyumān.' (2) Dyumān [in His absence] had decimated His troops, but now the son of Rukminī with a smile counterattacking struck back with eight nārāca arrows [made of iron]. (3) With four of them He struck the four horses, with one the driver, with two the bow and flag, and with one his head. (4) Gada, Sātyaki, Sāmba and others killed the army of the master of Saubha. All occupants of Saubha fell into the ocean with their throats cut. (5) Thus for twenty-seven days and nights the tumultuous and fearsome fight continued between the Yadus and the followers of S'ālva striking one another. (6-7) Krishna, who was called away by [Yudhishthhira,] the son of Dharma, stayed in Indraprastha [see 10.71] and noticed there, after the Rājasūya was completed and S'is'upāla had been killed, very bad omens. He took leave of the Kuru elders, the sages and Prithā and her sons, and headed for Dvārakā. (8) He said to Himself: 'With Me coming to this place accompanied by My honorable elder brother, the kings siding with S'is'upāla very well may be attacking My city.'

(9) When He saw king S'ālva's Saubha and the destruction of all He had, Kes'ava arranged for the protection of the city and said to Dāruka: (10) 'Get My chariot, oh driver, and quickly take Me near S'ālva; and take care not to be outsmarted by this lord of Saubha, he is a great magician.'

(11) Dāruka with that command taking the reigns drove the chariot forward, so that, with Him arriving there, all of His own men and the soldiers of the opposing party could see [the emblem of] Garuda ['the younger brother of Aruna']. (12) S'ālva, who as the chief of a practically completely destroyed army, saw Lord Krishna on the battlefield, hurled his spear, which made a scary sound, at Krishna's charioteer. (13) In its flight illumining all directions like it was a great meteor, it was by Krishna midair swiftly cut into a hundred pieces. (14) Like being the sun with its rays in the sky, He pierced him with six arrows and struck the Saubha fortress that was moving about with torrents of them. (15) But when S'ālva struck S'auri's left arm, the arm with His bow, most amazingly, the S'ārnga fell from the hand of S'ārngadhanvā. (16) From all the living beings witnessing it a great cry of dismay arose. The lord of Saubha roared loudly and said this to Janārdana: (17-18) 'Because You, oh fool, straight in front of our eyes stole away the bride of our brother and friend [S'is'upāla 10.53], and he unsuspecting by You in the assembly was killed [10.74], You Yourself, who are so convinced of Your invincibility, today with my sharp arrows will be sent to the land of no return, provided You have the guts to stand in front of me!'

(19) The Supreme Lord said: 'You, dullard, boast in vain not seeing your impending death. Heroes do not prattle, they rather demonstrate their prowess!'

(20) Having spoken thus, the Supreme Lord, infuriated with a frightening power and speed, struck S'ālva with His club on the collarbone, so that he reeled and had to vomit blood. (21) But when He lifted His club again, S'ālva had disappeared, and a moment later a man bowing his head appeared before Krishna who lamenting spoke the words: 'Mother Devakī has sent me! (22) Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Mighty-armed One so full of love for Your parents, Your father has been captured and led away by S'ālva, like a domestic animal by a butcher being led to the slaughterhouse.'

(23) Hearing these disturbing words, Krishna, who had assumed the nature of a human being, said out of love, disconsolate and with compassion like He was a normal man: (24) 'How could that petty S'ālva abduct My father and defeat Balarāma who is never confounded or defeated by Sura or Asura? Fate indeed is powerful!' 

(25) After Govinda had said this, the master of Saubha approached Krishna like he was leading Vasudeva before Him and then said the following: (26) 'He here is the one who begot You and for whom You live in this world. I will kill him straight in front of Your eyes. Save him if You can, You ignoramus!' 

(27) The magician thus mocking Him, cut off the head of the 'Ānakadundubhi', took the head and climbed in the Saubha vehicle hovering in the sky. (28) In spite of His full knowledge and great powers of perception He, out of love for the ones dear to Him, for a moment remained absorbed in His normal humanity. But then it dawned on Him that S'ālva had used a demoniac, magic trick designed by Maya Dānava. (29) Alerted on the battlefield, as if He awoke from a dream, He saw neither the messenger nor His father's body anywhere. Noticing His enemy sitting in his Saubha, moving about in the sky, Acyuta prepared to kill him. (30) This is how some sages say it who do not reason correctly, oh seer among the kings. They most certainly then contradict the words they once spoke but have forgotten again [compare e.g. 10.3: 15-17; 10.11: 7; 10.12: 27; 10.31: *; 10.33: 37; 10.37: 23; 10.38: 10; 10.50: 29; 10.52: 7 and 10.60: 58].  (31) How can the lamentation, bewilderment, affection or fear that are all born from ignorance, belong to the Infinite One in whom one by contrast finds the undivided complete of wisdom, spiritual knowledge and opulence? (32) Those who, encouraged by service in self-realization at His feet, dispel the bodily concept of life that bewildered man since time immemorial, attain the eternal glory in a personal relationship with Him [svarūpa] - so how can there be any bewilderment then with Him, the Supreme Destination of Truthful Souls? (33) And while S'ālva with great force attacked Him with torrents of weapons, Lord Krishna, whose prowess never fails, pierced his armor, bow and crest jewel with His arrows, and smashed the Saubha vehicle of His enemy with His club. (34) Shattered into thousands of pieces by the club in Krishna's hand, it fell into the water. S'ālva thereupon abandoned it, took position and rushed forward with his club in his hands towards Acyuta. (35) As he ran toward Him carrying his club, Krishna severed his arm with a bhalla cutting arrow. In order to kill S'alva, He next raised His wonderful disc weapon. Looking like a mountain beneath a rising sun, He shone with a radiation resembling the light at the end of time. (36) The Lord severed with it the head of that master of great magic, complete with earrings and crown, the way lord Indra with his thunderbolt severed Vritrāsura's head [see 6.12]. From his men then rose a loudly voiced 'alas, alas!'

(37) After the sinner had fallen and the Saubha fortress was destroyed by the club, kettledrums sounded in the sky, oh King, played by a host of demigods. And then... it was Dantavakra who, in order to avenge his friends, furiously ran forward.'



Chapter 78: Dantavakra Killed and Romaharshana Slain with a Blade of Grass

(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Out of friendship for the absent S'is'upāla, S'ālva and Paundraka, who all had passed on to the next world, the wicked one [Dantavakra, see 9.24: 37] appeared who, all alone, on foot and with a club in his hand, oh great King, infuriated made the earth tremble under his feet by his great physical power. (3) Seeing him coming His way, Lord Krishna quickly took up His club, leaped down from His chariot and stopped him in his tracks like the shore does with the sea. (4) Raising his club, the king of Karūsha arrogantly said to Mukunda: 'What a luck, what a luck I have today to see You crossing my path. (5) You, oh Krishna, who as our maternal cousin was of violence against my friends, want to kill me. Therefore I will kill You, oh fool, with my thunderbolt club. (6) I who care about my friends will have paid my debt to them only after having killed You, oh ignoramus, You, oh enemy in the form of a family member, who are like a disease to one's body.'

(7) Thus with harsh words harassing Krishna like one does an elephant with goads, he roared like a lion and stroke Him with his club on the head. (8) Krishna, the deliverer of the Yadus, despite being hit by the club, did not move an inch on the battlefield and struck him with His Kaumodakī [His club] heavily in the middle of his chest. (9) With his heart shattered by the club, he vomited blood and fell lifeless to the ground with his hair, arms and legs spread wide. (10) Then, oh king, before the eyes of all living beings, an amazing, very subtle light entered Lord Krishna, just as it happened with S'is'upāla [see 10.74: 45]. (11) Thereupon Vidūratha, his brother, plunged in sorrow about his relative, stepped forward with sword and shield, breathing heavily in his desire to kill Him. (12) As he attacked Him, oh King of kings, Krishna with the razor-sharp edge of His cakra sliced off his head, complete with its helmet and earrings. (13-15) After thus having killed the, for others insurmountable, S'ālva and his Saubha fortress, along with Dantavakra and his younger brother Vidūratha, He was praised by gods and men, sages and the perfected souls. The heavenly singers and scientists, the great souls of excellence and the dancing girls, the forefathers and the keepers of the wealth, as also the venerable and the mighty ones, all sang His glory, showering flowers the moment He surrounded by the most eminent Vrishnis entered His decorated capital. (16) This is how the Controller of Yoga, Krishna, the Supreme Lord and Master of the Living Being, is victorious. It is to those who have an animalistic vision that He seems to suffer defeat [*].

(17) When Lord Balarāma heard about the preparations the Kurus and Pāndavas made for war, He, being neutral, departed under the pretext of going to bathe in holy places. (18) After at Prabhāsa having bathed and having honored the demigods and sages, forefathers and human beings [there], He, surrounded by brahmins, went to the Sarasvatī [where she is] flowing westward to the sea. (19-20) Oh son of Bharata, He visited the broad body of water of Bindu-saras, Tritakūpa, Sudars'ana, Vis'āla and Brahma-tīrtha, Cakra-tīrtha, the Sarasvatī where she flows eastward and all [the holy places] along the Yamunā and the Ganges. He also went to the Naimishā[ranya] forest where the rishis were engaged in the performance of an elaborate sacrifice [see also 1.1: 4]. (21) They who for a long time had been engaged in the sacrifice, recognized Him upon His arrival and properly greeted Him reverentially by standing up and bowing down to Him. (22) After He together with His entourage had been worshiped and had accepted a seat, He noticed that the disciple [Romaharshana, see also 1.4: 22] of the greatest of all sages [Vyāsa] had remained seated. (23) Seeing that the sūta [a son of a mixed marriage of a brahmin father and kshatriya mother] who had not bowed down or joined his palms, was sitting higher than the rest of the learned souls, the sweet Lord got angry: (24) 'Because he, born as a pratiloma, sits higher than these brahmins and also higher than Me, the Protector of the Religion, he, being so arrogant, deserves it to die. (25-26) As a disciple of the Lord among the sages [Vyāsa thus] he has fully studied the many Itihāsas, Purānas and S'āstras about the religion, but this has not led to good qualities. Not in control of himself, he, vainly lacking in humility and not having subdued his mind, deems himself a scholarly authority and is thus engaged like an actor. (27) It is for this purpose indeed that I have descended into this world: to put an end to those who pose as religious but factually are most sinful.'

(28) Even though He was on a pilgrimage and thus had stopped with killing the impious, the Supreme Lord, after having said this, did what had become inevitable. The Lord put an end to him by means of the tip of a blade of grass that He held in His hand. (29) All the sages said 'Ohhh, ohhh', and in distress they said to Sankarshana deva: 'You have committed an irreligious act, oh Master. (30) We, oh Darling of the Yadus, have granted him the master's seat for the duration of the sacrifice, as also a long life and freedom from physical worries. (31-32) Even though You, oh Master of Mystic Power, are not dictated by scriptural injunctions, You have unknowingly killed a brahmin. But if You, oh Purifier of the World, atone for Your killing of a brahmin, the common man, who is inspired by no one else, will benefit from Your example.'

(33) The Supreme Lord said: 'I want to be of compassion for the common people and will perform the atonement for this killing. Please tell Me what the prescribed ritual would be to be done first. (34) Oh, please say the word, and by My mystic potency I will bring about the long life, strength and sensory power you promised him.'

(35) The sages said: 'Please, oh Balarāma, arrange it so that both Your potency of killing by means of that [grass] weapon and that what we have said, may remain.'

(36) The Supreme Lord said: 'The Vedas tell us that the child taking birth from you is truly one's own self. Therefore his son [Sūta Gosvāmī, see 1.2: 1] should be the speaker [of the Purāna, endowed] with a long life, strong senses and physical power [see also **]. (37) Oh best of sages, please tell Me what you want. I shall do it, and again, please, oh intelligent souls, think of what the proper atonement would be, for I have no idea.'

(38) The rishis said: 'The fearsome demon Balvala, the son of Ilvala, comes here every new moon and spoils our sacrifice. (39) The best You can do for us, oh descendant of Das'ārha, is to defeat that sinner who pours pus on us, blood, feces, urine, wine and meat. (40) Subsequently, You for twelve months should do penance by serenely traveling around the land of Bhārata [India] and find purification by bathing at the holy sites.'

*: It is in these verses that the Bhāgavatam says that one has the vision of an animal if one thinks that the Lord would ever suffer defeat, as seemed to be the case with Krishna fleeing from Jarāsandha [10.52], Krishna acting as if he would be impressed by S'ālva's tricks [10.77: 27-32], the Buddha being food-poisoned or Jesus Christ being crucified. In the end to His evanescence there is the victory, the enlightenment, the resurrection and the second birth in acceptance of the teaching.

**: To illustrate the principle enunciated here by Lord Balarāma, the paramparā in the person of S'rīla S'rīdhara Svāmī quotes the following Vedic verse which appears in both the S'atapatha Brāhmana ( and the Brihad-āranyaka Upanishad (6.4.8):

angād angāt sambhavasi
hridayād abhijāyase
ātmā vai putra-nāmāsi
sańjīva s'aradah s'atam

"You have taken birth from my various limbs and have arisen from my very heart. You are my own self in the form of my son. May you live through a hundred autumns."

Chapter 79: Lord Balarāma Slays Balvala and Visits the Holy Places

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Then, on de day of the new moon, a fierce and frightening wind arose scattering dust, oh King, with the smell of pus everywhere. (2) Thereupon a rain of abominable things produced by Balvala poured down upon the sacrificial arena, after which he himself appeared carrying a trident. (3-4) The sight of that immense body looking like a heap of charcoal with a topknot and a beard of burning copper, his fearsome teeth and his face with contracted eyebrows, reminded Rāma of His club, which crushes opposing armies, and His plow, which subdues the Daityas. Both the weapons presented themselves immediately at His side. (5) With the tip of His plow Balarāma got hold of Balvala, who moved about in the sky, and with His club then angrily struck the harasser of the brahmins on the head. (6) He produced a cry of agony and fell, with his forehead cracked open, gushing blood to the ground like a red mountain struck by a thunderbolt. (7) The sages praised Rāma, awarded Him practical benedictions and ceremonially sprinkled Him with water, just like the great souls did with [Indra] the killer of Vritrāsura [see 6.13]. (8) They gave Rāma a Vaijayantī flower garland of unfading lotuses in which S'rī resided, and a divine set of clothes together with celestial jewelry.

(9) Next receiving permission to leave them He together with [a group of] brahmins went to the Kaus'ikī river where He took a bath. From there He headed for the lake from which the Sarayū flows. (10) Following the course of the Sarayū He arrived in Prayāga where He bathed to propitiate the demigods and other living beings. Thereafter He went to the hermitage of Pulaha Rishi [see also 5.7: 8-9]. (11-15) After having immersed Himself in the Gomatī, the Gandakī, the S'ona and Vipās'ā river, He went to Gayā to worship His forefathers, and to the mouth of the Ganges to perform ritual ablutions. At Mount Mahendra He saw Lord Paras'urāma. After honoring Him He then bathed where the seven branches of the Godāvarī river converge with the rivers the Venā, the Pampā and the Bhīmarathī. Having seen Lord Skanda [Kārttikeya] Balarāma next visited S'rī-s'aila, the residence of Lord Giris'a [S'iva], and saw the Master in Dravida-des'a [the southern provinces], the most sacred hill, the Venkatha [of Bālajī]. After [having visited] the cities of Kāmakoshnī and Kāńcī He went to the river the Kāverī as also to the greatest of them all, the most holy S'rī-ranga, where the Lord manifested [as Ranganātha]. He went to the place of the Lord, the mountain Rishabha, then to southern Mathurā [Madurai where the goddess Mīnākshī resides] and next to Setubandha [Cape Comorin], where one is even released from the gravest sins. (16-17) There the Wielder of the Plow, Halāyudha, gave a great number of cows away to the brahmins. He went to the rivers the Kritamālā and the Tāmraparnī, and to the Malaya mountain range, where He bowed down to pay respect to Agastya Muni who, sitting there in meditation, gave Him his blessings. Leaving with his permission, He went to the southern ocean where he saw the goddess Durgā [known as Kanyā]. (18) Then reaching Phālguna and taking a bath in the sacred lake of the five Apsaras where Lord Vishnu manifested, He again gave away a myriad of cows. (19-21) The Supreme Lord thereupon traveled through Kerala and Trigarta, and arrived at Gokarna [northern Karnataka], a place sacred because of the manifestation of Dhūrjathi ['he with a load of matted locks'], S'iva. Seeing the honored goddess [Pārvatī], residing on an island off the coast, Balarāma went to S'ūrpāraka, where He touched the waters of the Tāpī, the Payoshnī and the Nirvindhyā. Next He entered the Dandaka forest and went to the Revā, where the city of Māhishmatī is found. There He touched the water of Manu-tīrtha and then returned to Prabhāsa.

(22) From the brahmins [there] He heard about the annihilation of all the kings in a battle [at Kurukshetra] between the Kurus and the Pāndavas. He concluded that the earth was been relieved of her burden [see also e.g. 10.50: 9]. (23) He, the beloved Son of the Yadus, then went to the fight, where He tried to stop Bhīma and Duryodhana who with their maces were fighting each other on the battlefield [see also 10.57: 26]. (24) But when Yudhishthhira, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, Krishna and Arjuna, saw Him, they were silent while offering their obeisances with the burning question: 'What does He want to tell us, coming here?' (25) He saw the two with clubs in their hands skillfully moving in circles, furiously striving for the victory. He said: (26) 'Oh King, oh Great Eater, the two of you warriors are equal in prowess. One, I think, is of a greater physical power, while the other is technically better trained. (27) I do not see how from any of you, who are equally skilled, a victory or defeat can be expected. So stop this useless fight.'

(28) In spite of being sensible people, the two, who fixed in their enmity kept each other's harsh words and misdeeds in mind, did not take heed of His words, oh King. (29) Balarāma decided that it was their fate and went to Dvārakā, were He was greeted by a delighted family headed by Ugrasena. (30) When He [later on] turned back to Naimishāranya, the sages engaged Him, the Embodiment of All Sacrifice who had renounced all warfare, with pleasure in all the different kinds of rituals [*]. (31) The Almighty Supreme Lord bestowed upon them the perfectly pure spiritual knowledge by which they could perceive this universe as residing within Him, and also see Him as pervading the entire creation. (32) After together with His wife [Revatī, see 9.3: 29-33] having executed the concluding ritual avabhritha bath, He, well dressed, nicely adorned and surrounded by His family members and other relatives and friends, appeared as splendid as the moon in its full glory [full and surrounded by the stars].

(33) There are countless other [pastimes] like this of the mighty, unlimited and unfathomable Balarāma, who through His illusory power appears as a human being. (34) Whoever regularly, at dawn and dusk, remembers the activities of the unlimited Balarāma, which are all amazing, will become dear to Lord Vishnu.'

*: S'rīla Prabhupāda writes here: 'Actually Lord Balarāma had no business performing the sacrifices recommended for ordinary human beings; He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore He Himself is the enjoyer of all such sacrifices. As such, His exemplary action in performing sacrifices was only to give a lesson to the common man, to show how one should abide by the injunctions of the Vedas.'


Chapter 80: An Old Brahmin Friend Visits Krishna

(1) The honorable king said: 'My lord, I would like to hear, oh master, what valorous deeds there are more of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Soul of Unlimited Powers. (2) How can anyone who is disgusted with running after material desires and knows the essence, oh brahmin, desist from listening to the transcendental topics of the Lord Hailed in the Scriptures, after repeatedly having heard them? (3) The actual power of speech is the one describing His qualities, the hands that really work are the ones that do His work, the true mind is the mind remembering Him as dwelling in both the mobile and immobile living beings, and the ear that actually hears is the ear listening to His sanctifying topics [compare 2.3: 20-24]. (4) It is about the head that bows to both of His manifestations [among the mobile and immobile beings], about the eye that sees Him only and about the limbs that regularly honor the water that washed the feet of Vishnu or His devotees'."

(5) Sūta [1.2: 1] said: "After Vishnurāta [Parīkchit as being Vishnu-sent] had asked this question, he was addressed by the powerful sage, the son of Vyāsa whose heart was fully absorbed in Vāsudeva. (6) S'rī S'uka said: 'There was a certain friend of Krishna [called Sudāmā, not the same one as mentioned in 10.41: 43], a brahmin well versed in the Vedas, who, peaceful of mind and in control of his senses, was detached from the sense objects. (7) As a householder he subsisted on that what came of its own accord. His wife was, just like him, poorly dressed and emaciated of hunger. (8) Distressed by the poverty she, with her face dried up and trembling legs, faithful to her husband, approached him and said: (9) 'Is it not so, oh brahmin, oh master of devotion, that the Husband of S'rī is your friend, and that that best one of the Sātvatas is filled with compassion for the brahmins and is willing to give them shelter? (10) Please approach Him, my most gracious man, for He, the Ultimate Shelter of the Saintly Souls, will then provide you with abundant wealth because you have such a hard time maintaining your family. (11) If the Lord of the Bhojas, Vrishnis and Andhakas who is now present in Dvārakā, even gives Himself to a person [just] remembering His lotus feet, then what would the Spiritual Master of the Universe not do for people of worship who are not so much interested in economic success and sensual gratification?

(12-13) The brahmin, who thus repeatedly in various ways was entreated by his wife, then thought: 'The sight of Uttamas'loka is indeed the highest attainment.' He took the decision to visit Him and asked her: 'If there is anything in the house that I can bring as a gift, my good woman, please give it to me!' (14) She begged with the other brahmins for four fists of husked and parched rice, wrapped it in a piece of cloth and gave it to her husband to bring as a gift.

(15) He, the best of the scholars, took it with him, and on his way to Dvārakā wondered: 'How will I ever get this audience with Krishna?' (16-17) Together with a couple of local brahmins the scholar passed three gates and guard stations, and walked between the houses of Acyuta's faithful followers, the Andhakas and Vrishnis. One normally could not go there and so he felt as if he had attained the bliss of the Pure Spirit. He next entered one of the opulent sixteen thousand residences of the Lord's queens [*]. (18) Acyuta, who sat on His consort's bed, saw him from a distance, immediately rose and came forward to close him gladly in His arms. (19) The Lotus-eyed One, in touch with the body of His dear friend, the wise brahmin, extremely ecstatic released affectionately some teardrops from His eyes. (20-22) Having him seated on the bed He fetched some items to honor His friend and washed his feet. The Supreme Lord of All the Worlds took the water on His head, oh King. Then the Purifier anointed him with divinely fragrant sandalwood and aloe-wood [lignaloes or aguru] paste and kunkuma. He gladly honored His friend with aromatic incense and series of lamps, and offered him bethel nut and a cow. Next He spoke a word of welcome. (23) The goddess [Rukminī] was personally of service by carefully fanning with a yak's tail the dirty and poorly dressed, emaciated twice-born soul, whose veins could be seen. (24) The people in the palace thus seeing Krishna engaged in His spotless reputation, were amazed about the intense love with which the shabby soul [the avadhūta] was honored: (25-26) 'What pious deeds has he performed, this unkempt, condemned and lowly mendicant deprived of all prosperity in the world? How can he with reverence be served by the Spiritual Master of the Three Worlds who is the abode of S'rī? Leaving the goddess sitting on her bed He embraced him as an older brother!

(27) Taking hold of each other's hands, oh King, they discussed the charming topics of the past when they together lived in the school of their spiritual master [see 10.45: 31-32]. (28) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh brahmin, after the guru received his remuneration from you and you returned [home], oh knower of the dharma, did you marry a suitable wife or not? (29) With your mind occupied by household affairs, you were not driven by desires, and I also know that you do not take much pleasure, oh wise soul, in the pursuit of material happiness. (30) Some people perform their worldly duties without being disturbed by desires in their minds. Acting to set an example as I do, they shake off the propensities that naturally arise. (31) Do you, oh brahmin, still remember our stay in the gurukula? It is there that a twice-born soul learns to understand what needs to be known and he thus manages to transcend his ignorance. (32) One is born twice, my dear friend: after first being born materially one [secondly] manifests through a spiritual master, a bestower of spiritual knowledge like Myself, who teaches what the duties are for all spiritual orders [or stages of life, see ās'rama and 7.12]. (33) Among those engaged in the varnās'rama system [see also B.G. 4: 13] in this world, they [who thus are twice born] are the expert knowers of the true welfare, oh brahmin, for they cross over the ocean of material existence with the help of the words stemming from Me in the form of the spiritual master. (34) I, the Soul of All Beings, am not as satisfied by ritual worship, a new life, austerity or self-control, as I am by faithful service to the spiritual master [compare 7.14: 17]. (35-36) Oh brahmin, do you still remember what we did, while living with our spiritual master, when we once by the wife of our guru were sent away to fetch firewood? Having entered a big forest, oh twice-born soul, all out of season, a fierce harsh thundering wind arose with rain. (37) With the sun having set we, with all directions covered in darkness and with all the water around us, could neither recognize the direction nor high or low areas. (38) Constantly heavily besieged by the fierce wind and water in that flood, we did not know what way to go and in distress wandered through the forest holding each other's hands. (39) Our guru Sāndīpani knew this and at sunrise set out to search for us, his disciples. The ācārya then found us suffering. (40) 'Oh you children, for my sake you have to suffer heavily! In your devotion for me you have disregarded that what is most dear to all living beings: the [comfort of your] body! (41) Well, this is what true disciples have to do to pay the debt to their spiritual master: being perfectly pure in their love, they must be willing to offer the spiritual master their very self and possessions. (42) I am satisfied with you, my dear boys, oh best of the brahmins. May your desires be fulfilled and may in this world and the next your words, your mantras, never lose their attraction ['their freshness' compare 10.45: 48].' (43) Many things like this happened when we were living at the house of the guru. Only by the mercy of the spiritual master a person will find [spiritual] fulfillment and attain peace.'

(44) The brahmin said: 'What more is there for me to achieve in life, oh God of Gods, oh Guru of the Universe, than to have lived together at the guru's house with You, whose every desire is fulfilled? (45) Oh Almighty One, Your body, constituting the fertile field of all welfare, comprises the Absolute Truth that is celebrated [in the Vedas]. Your residing with spiritual masters is nothing but an extraordinary role-play [see also e.g. 10.69: 44 and 10.77: 30]!'

*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī quotes from the Padma Purāna, Uttara-khanda, which says that the brahmin actually entered the palace of Rukminī: 'sa tu rukminy-antah-pura- dvāri kshanam tūshnīm sthitah'; 'He stood for a moment in silence at the doorway of Queen Rukminī's palace'.


Chapter 81: The Brahmin Honored - Lord Krishna the Godhead of the Brahmins

(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'He, Bhagavān Krishna, the True Goal of the Devotees, the Lord Who Perfectly Knows the Minds of All Beings, in this manner conversing with this best soul among the brahmins, then, in His dedication to the ones of learning, laughed and spoke with a smile and a loving glance to His dear friend. (3) The Supreme Lord said: 'What gift have you brought for Me from home, oh brahmin? Even the slightest that in pure love is offered by devotees, turns into something immense for Me, whereas not even the greatest that is being presented by non-devotees pleases Me. (4) Whoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit and water with devotion, that offer brought from the heart by a soul of good habits I accept [same as in B.G. 9: 26].'

(5) But the twice-born soul thus being addressed, was too embarrassed with Him, the Husband of the Goddess of Fortune, bowed down his head and did not offer the few hands of rice grains, oh King. (6-7) As the direct witness in the heart of all living beings fully cognizant of the reason why he had come, He thought: 'He worshiped Me in the past and never desired opulence. But because he, My friend, in order to keep his chaste and devoted wife happy, has come to Me now, I will give him riches not attainable for [even] the immortals [see also B.G. 9: 22].' (8) With that in mind He Himself from under the garment of the twice-born soul snatched away the rice grains that were tied in a bundle, and said: 'What is this? (9) Have you brought this for Me, My dear friend? That gives Me the greatest pleasure! These rice grains satiate Me and the whole universe [that I am]!

(10) Speaking thus He took a handful to eat and a second one, whereupon S'rī [Rukminī devī], devoted to Him, the One Supreme, seized His hand [for the beaten grains were hard to digest]. (11) 'That, oh Soul of Each and Everyone, is enough to make a person, wishing to satisfy You, prosper in this world and the next with all opulence available.'

(12) After to his satisfaction having drunk and eaten, the brahmin spent that night in Acyuta's palace. He thought he had attained heaven. (13) The next day, dear King, as he returned home, he was honored by Him, the Self-satisfied Maintainer of the Universe, who made him happy as he walked along the path. (14) Even though he had received no wealth from Krishna and had been too embarrassed to ask for it himself, he on his way home was filled with joy about the audience he had had with the Great One. (15) 'Ah, what a privilege it is to have witnessed the devotion of the Godhead of the Brahmins for the twice-born souls. He who carries Lakshmī in His chest embraced the poorest wretch! (16) Who am I? A destitute sinner! And who is Krishna? The temple of S'rī! And He, this friend of the brahmins, closed me in His arms! (17) He seated me on the bed of His consort like one of His brothers. Tired as I was, I was fanned by His queen holding a [yak-tail] hair fan. (18) Being served with sincerity with a massage for my feet and such, I was worshiped like a demigod by the God of Gods, the Godhead of the Scholars! (19) The worship of His feet is the root of all perfections and opulence that man in his emancipation may find in heaven, on earth and in the lower regions. (20) 'If this poor soul acquires opulence he, delighting in excess, will not remember Me', He must have thought in His grace, and thus did not grant me the slightest amount of wealth.

(21-23) Thus lost in thought he arrived at the vicinity of his home. There he found himself placed before high rising palaces rivaling the sun, the fire and the moon. On all sides they were surrounded by wonderful courtyards and gardens swarming with hordes of cooing birds, ponds full of lilies and day and night blooming white lotuses. There were well adorned and ornamented men and women with deer-like eyes. 'What is this, whose place is this, how could this come about?' (24) This way paining his mind, he was welcomed by the men and women with a luster like the demigods, who most fortunately loudly sang to instrumental music. (25) His wife, hearing that her husband had arrived, extremely jubilant quickly appeared excitedly from the house like she was the goddess of fortune manifesting herself from her abode. (26) Seeing the husband she was so devoted to, she solemnly held her head down, embracing him within her heart with closed eyes filled with tears because of her eagerness and love. (27) He stood amazed at the sight of his wife who, shining in the midst of maidservants with golden lockets around their necks, radiated like a goddess in a vimāna. (28) Pleased he together with her entered his home which, with its hundreds of gem-studded pillars, resembled the palace of the great Indra. (29-32) There were ivory beds ornamented with gold [with bedding] white as foam and couches with golden legs, yak tail fans, golden chairs with soft cushions and canopies hung with strings of pearls. Seeing the sparkling clear quartz walls inlaid with precious emeralds as also the shining jeweled lamps and the women decorated with jewels, the brahmin, now free from worries with all the excessive opulence, reasoned about the cause of his unexpected prosperity: (33) 'This prosperity here, of me always so unlucky and poverty stricken, must be the consequence of the glance that He, the Best of the Yadus who is of the Greatest Opulence, has cast on me. (34) It is no doubt my Friend, the most exalted among the Das'arhas and Enjoyer of Unlimited Wealth, who, without saying a word, like a cloud [pouring rain] has given me this opulence when He, with me in His presence, noticed that I came begging. (35) With pleasure the great Soul accepted a palmful of roasted rice that I brought. [Thus] He makes something great of the meager gift of a friend [like me] and something insignificant of the great gift He gave. (36) May there life after life, repeatedly be my love [sauhrida], friendship [sakhya], sympathy [maitrī] and servitude [dāsya] for Him, the Supremely Compassionate Reservoir of Transcendental Qualities, as also my adherence to the intimate association with His devotees. (37) The Supreme and Never Born Lord does not bestow the wonderful opulences of a kingdom and material assets upon His devotee, when he [not initiated or not twice-born, see 10.80: 32] fails in understanding. In His wisdom He sees how the rise of false pride [the arrogance, the conceit with the wealth or the mada] leads to the downfall of the wealthy.'

(38) He [Sudāmā] this way firmly being fixed in intelligence, was most devoted to Janārdana and enjoyed free from intense desire [for wealth or profit] together with his wife. Therewith he always kept in mind that he [sooner or later] would have to abandon the objects of his senses. (39) The brahmins are even the master of Him, the God of Gods, Hari, the Master and Lord of Sacrifice. There exists no higher worshipable deity than them [see also 7.11: 14, 7.14: 17-18, 10.24: 25, 10.45: 32]. (40) By thus recognizing the Unconquerable One as being conquered by His own servants [see also 9.4: 63 and 10.9: 19] he, the learned friend of the Supreme Lord, was released from his bondage to the [material] self. By the force of his meditation upon Him he soon attained His abode, the destination of truthful souls. (41) The human being who hears about this sympathy for the brahmins of the Godhead of the Brahmins, will find love for the Supreme Lord and be freed from the bondage of [fruitive] labor [karma, see also 7.11: 35].'



Chapter 82: All Kings and the Inhabitants of Vrindāvana on Pilgrimage Reunite with Krishna

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'When Balarāma and Krishna lived in Dvārakā, there was one day [*] an eclipse of the sun so complete that it seemed to be the end of the kalpa [a day of Brahmā]. (2) The people knowing that beforehand, oh King, came from everywhere to the field of Samanta-pańcaka ['the five lakes' at Kurukshetra] in the hope that that would work favorably. (3-6) It is the place where Lord Paras'urāma, the greatest hero among the warriors, rid the earth of its [tyrannical] rulers and with the streams of their blood created the great lakes [see 9.16: 18-19]. Even though Bhagavān Lord Paras'urāma was unaffected by karmic reactions, He, in order to set an example for the common man, was there of worship like a normal person who wishes to dispel the sin. To that occasion therefore, oh son of Bharata, a great number of people of Bhārata came there on a holy pilgrimage. Vrishnis like Gada, Pradyumna and others, as also [the elders] Akrūra, Vasudeva and Āhuka [Ugrasena] who all wanted to eradicate their sins, went to that holy place. Aniruddha together with Sucandra, S'uka, Sārana and the army commander Kritavarmā remained behind to guard [the city]. (7-8) As effulgent as Vidyādharas they, in chariots resembling heavenly vehicles, moved on in waves of horses, bellowing elephants and masses of foot soldiers. Resplendent with their wives, with golden necklaces, flower garlands, attire and armor, they appeared on the road as supremely divine and majestic as [demigod] sky travelers. (9) The greatly pious Yādavas bathing and fasting there, carefully saw to it that cows, garments, garlands, gold and necklaces were donated to the brahmins. (10) After once more in the lakes of Paras'urāma as prescribed having taken a bath [the next day to conclude their fast], they fed the leading brahmins with the finest food and prayed thereto: 'Let there be our devotion for Krishna.' (11) The Vrishnis thereupon with the permission of Krishna, their exclusive deity, comfortably sat down to eat in the cool shade of the trees. (12-13) Having arrived there they saw their befriended and related kings of the Matsyas, Us'īnaras, Kaus'alyas, Vidarbhas, Kurus, Srińjayas, Kāmbojas, Kaikayas, Madras, Kuntīs, Ānartas and Keralas, and also met hundreds of other kings, both allies and adversaries, oh King. They as well saw their dear friends, the gopas and gopīs headed by Nanda, who had been aching [to see them] for so long. (14) Meeting again, with their hearts and faces blooming as beautiful as lotuses because of the emotions, they embraced each other firmly and thus experienced the greatest delight with streams of tears, goose pimples and a choked-up voice. (15) The women looking at one another, with great eyes filled with tears of pure love, smiled with the greatest friendship and closed each other in their arms, pressing breasts to breasts that were smeared with kunkum paste. (16) Thereupon they paid their respects to the elders and received obeisances from their younger relatives. Having inquired after their well-being and having discussed the comfort of their journey, they next started to talk with each other about Krishna.

(17) Kuntī saw her brothers and sisters with their children, her parents, her sisters-in-law and Mukunda, and gave up her sorrow while talking to them. (18) Kuntī said: 'Oh respectable brother, I feel most unfulfilled in my prayers because you, who are so very good, forgot what happened to me during my times of emergency [see also 1.8: 24]! (19) Friends, relatives, sons, brothers, and even parents, easily forget the one [among them] suffering misfortune.'

(20) S'rī Vasudeva said: 'Dear sister, do not be cross with us, men are the playthings of fate. Whether someone acts of his own accord or follows the directions of others, he always falls under the control of the Lord. (21) Pestered by Kamsa we scattered in all directions [see 10.2: 7 and 10.4]. Only now we, by Divine Ordinance, have returned to our places, oh sister.'

(22) S'rī S'uka said: 'All the kings who there were honored by Vasudeva, Ugrasena and the other Yādavas, found peace in the supreme happiness of seeing Acyuta. (23-26) Bhīshma, Drona, the son of Ambikā [Dhritarāshthra], Gāndhārī with her sons, as also the Pāndavas and their wives, Kuntī, Sańjaya, Vidura and Kripa; Kuntībhoja and Virātha, Bhīshmaka, the great Nagnajit, Purujit, Drupada, S'alya, Dhrishthaketu and the king of Kās'i; Damaghosha, Vis'ālāksha, the kings of Maithila, Madra and Kekaya, Yudhāmanyu, Sus'armā, Bāhlika and others with their sons, as also, oh best of kings, many other kings resorting under Yudhishthhira, were all amazed to see the personal form of S'āuri, [Krishna] the abode of S'rī, there together with His wives. (27) After from both Balarāma and Krishna having received proper proof of respect, the kings in their turn filled with joy, enthusiastically praised the Vrishnis, the personal associates of Krishna: (28) 'Oh master of the Bhojas [Ugrasena], you have chosen a commendable birth among men in this world, for you continually see Krishna, He who even by the yogis is rarely seen. (29-30) His fame as praised in the Vedas, the water washing from His feet and the words of the revealed scriptures thoroughly purify this universe [see also B.G. 15: 15]. Even though her wealth had been ravaged by Time, the earth's vitality has been awakened by the touch of His lotus feet with her fulfilling all our desires like an abundance of rain. By seeing Him in person, by touching Him and walking with Him, conversing, lying down, sitting, eating, being bound through marriage with Him and having Him as a blood-relative, you [normally] following the hellish path of family life have now found Vishnu, liberation and heaven [in person] who constitutes the cessation [of one's searching in life. See also 5.14 and 7.14 and B.G. 11: 41-42].'

(31) S'rī S'uka said: 'When Nanda found out that the Yadus headed by Krishna had arrived there, he went to meet Him, accompanied by the gopas with their belongings on their wagons. (32) In their delight excited to enjoy His presence after so long a time, the Vrishnis revived, as if awakened from death, and embraced Him firmly. (33) When Vasudeva, beside himself of love, overjoyed embraced Him, he remembered the troubles created by Kamsa because of which he had to leave his sons behind in Gokula [see 10.3 & 10.5]. (34) Krishna and Rāma embraced Their [foster] parents and offered Their respects, but could, with throats filled with tears of love, not utter a word, oh greatest hero of the Kurus. (35) The so very fortunate couple, Nanda and Yas'odā, in their turn raised their sons on their laps, held Them in their arms and gave up their sorrow [of having been separated from Them]. (36) Thereupon Rohinī and Devakī embraced the queen of Vraja and addressed her with their throats full of tears, remembering what she had done [for them] in her friendship: (37) 'What woman can forget your unceasing friendship, oh queen of Vraja? Not even obtaining the wealth of Indra suffices to repay you in this world! (38) When these Two [boys] had not yet met Their [real] parents, They, residing with the two of you as Their [foster] parents, received the education and affection, nourishment and protection. My good lady, in the custody of you, saintly souls strange to no one and as protective as eyelids to eyes, They had nothing to fear.'

(39) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopīs seeing Krishna, their object of desire after such a long time, the One for the sight of whom they would curse the creator of their eyelids [see 10.31: 15], all, by their eyes, took Him into their hearts to embrace Him there to their satisfaction. Thus they attained the ecstatic absorption that, even for souls constantly united [with Him in meditation], is difficult to attain. (40) The Supreme Lord approached them more privately, embraced them, informed after their health and with a smile said the following: (41) 'Dear girlfriends, do you still remember Us, We who, intent on destroying the enemy party, for that purpose stayed away so long? (42) Maybe you think ill of Us, being afraid that We have put you out of Our mind. But in fact it is the Supreme Lord who brings together and separates the living beings. (43) The way the wind brings together masses of clouds, grass, cotton and dust, and scatters them again, the same way the Creator of the living beings brings together and scatters His subjects [compare 10.5: 24-25]. (44) By the love for Me, you fortunately developed on your part, you have obtained Me; it is indeed the devotion unto Me that leads the living beings to immortality [compare B.G. 9.33]. (45) Oh ladies, being present both inside and outside, I am both the beginning and the end of all created beings, the same way ether, water, earth, air and fire applies to all material things [see also e.g. 10.9: 13-14]. (46) These material entities, who thus [on the one hand] exist within the elements of creation and [on the other hand] according to their true nature pervade those elements in the form of the ātmā [the Soul, self and person], you should both ways consider as being present within Me, within the Imperishable, Supreme Truth [see also e.g. 1.3: 1, 3.26: 51, 10.59: 29, B.G. 9: 15 and siddhānta].'

(47) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopīs, this way being instructed by Krishna's teaching about the ātmā, eradicated the subtle covering of their soul [their false ego, see linga, 7.2: 47 and 4.29] by constantly meditating on Him and were thus fulfilled by Him. (48) They said: 'With that what You said, oh Lord with the Lotus navel, we wish that our minds, however being engaged in household affairs, are ever vigilant at Your lotus feet, the feet that the great yogis and highly learned philosophers keep in mind to meditate upon, for they constitute, for those who fell into the dark pit of a material existence, the only shelter of deliverance [see also 7.5: 5, 10.51: 46, 7.9: 28, 7.15: 46].'

*: According to S'rīla Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Vaishnava-toshanī commentary this event, described in retrospect, would have occurred after Balarāma's visit to Vraja (10.65) and before Mahārāja Yudhishthhira's Rājasūya sacrifice (in 10.74) because the enmity within the Kuru family, the exile of the Pāndavas and the ensuing war at Kurukshetra arose directly after the sacrifice.



Chapter 83: Draupadī Meets the Queens of Krishna

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, the spiritual master and goal of the gopīs who thus showed His favor, then asked Yudhishthhira and the rest of His good-hearted relatives about their welfare. (2) They, who by seeing His feet were freed from their sinful reactions, felt very honored thus being questioned by the Lord of the World and gladly replied: (3) 'How can they be unhappy who ever drank the intoxicating nectar of Your lotuslike feet that is poured out by the minds and mouths of the great souls? How can they who, with the drinking cups of their ears, drank to their fill, not experience the happiness, oh Master, oh Destroyer of the forgetfulness of the embodied souls, about the Creator who granted them their physical existence? (4) By the light of Your personal form we are released from the bonds of the three [states] of material consciousness [wakefulness, dreaming and sleeping]. Being totally immersed therein, we are of spiritual happiness having bowed down to You, the goal of the perfected saints [the paramahamsas], who by the power of Your illusion have assumed this form for the protection of the unlimited and ever fresh Vedic knowledge, which is threatened by time.'

(5) The great sage said: 'While the crest jewel of all personalities who is praised in the scriptures thus was being glorified by His people, the women of the Andhaka and Kaurava clans met to discuss with each other the stories about Govinda that are sung in the three worlds. Please listen as I describe them to you. (6-7) S'rī Draupadī said: 'Oh Vaidarbhī [Rukminī], Bhadrā, Jāmbavatī and Kaus'alā [Nāgnajitī]; oh Satyabhāmā, Kālindī, S'aibyā [Mitravindā], Rohinī [see * and 10.61*] and Lakshmanā [Mādrā] and other wives of Krishna, please tell us how it came to pass that Acyuta, the Supreme Lord Himself, by the grace of His mystic power lived the way one lives in the world and got married to you?'

(8) S'rī Rukminī said: 'Like a lion taking his share from a herd of goats and sheep, He, who puts the dust of His feet upon the heads of invincible fighters, took me away when the kings, with their bows ready, were about to offer me to S'is'upāla. May the feet of Him, the abode of S'rī, be my object of worship [see 10.52-54].' 

(9) S'rī Satyabhāmā said: 'Being accused [by my father King S'atrājit] He, in order to clear His name, defeated the king of the bears [Jāmbavān] and brought the jewel back to my father whose heart was distressed about the death of his brother [Prasena]. Afraid [about this accusation] he offered me to the Lord, even though I was spoken for [see 10.56].'

(10) S'rī Jāmbavatī said: 'The creator of my body, not realizing that He, the Husband of Sītā, was his master and worshipable deity, fought for twenty-seven days with Him. After he recognized Him he came to his senses, took hold of His feet and presented me to Him together with the jewel. I am His maidservant [see also 10.56].'

(11) S'rī Kālindī said: 'Knowing that I was executing penances with the desire to touch His feet, He came together with His friend [Arjuna] and took my hand. I am the one cleaning His residence [10.58: 12-23].' 

(12) S'rī Mitravindā said: 'During my svayamvara He came forward and stole me away the way the enemy of the elephants [a lion] claims his share amidst a pack of dogs. After having defeated the kings and my brothers, who insulted Him, He took me to His capital where S'rī resides. May I there, life after life, serve Him with washing His feet [10.58: 31].'

(13-14) S'rī Satyā said: 'Seven great, strong and vital bulls with the sharpest horns, which by my father were arranged to test the prowess of the kings, destroyed the pride of the heroes. But they were quickly subdued and tied up by Him, with the ease of children playing with young goats. This way with His valor paying for me, He defeated the kings on the road with an army of four divisions and took me, being protected by maidservants, with Him. May there be my servitude unto Him [10.58: 32-55].'

(15-16) S'rī Bhadrā said: 'With me in love with Him, oh Krishnā [Draupadī], my father of his own accord invited my maternal cousin Krishna and gave me to Him, together with a retinue of female companions and a military escort of one akshauhinī May there for me, birth after birth wandering because of my karma, be that betterment of myself in touching His feet [10.58: 56].'

(17) S'rī Lakshmanā said: 'Oh Queen, because I repeatedly heard the glorification by Nārada of Acyuta's births and activities, my heart became fixed upon Mukunda, He who, by her [the goddess S'rī] holding the lotus, after due consideration was chosen in rejection of the [demigod] rulers of the world. (18) My father, also known as Brihatsena, oh saintly lady, knew my state of mind and out of love for his daughter arranged for means to meet this end [of marrying with Krishna]. (19)  Just as with your svayamvara, oh Queen, a fish was used [hung high as a target] that had to be won by Arjuna, also in my case there was such a target. Hidden from sight however, it could only be seen as a reflection in water [in a pot below]. (20) Hearing about this, from everywhere all the kings expert in the art of archery and wielding other weapons, came to my father's city together with their thousands of teachers. (21) My father honored all of them with full respect for each his strength and age. Then they, who had set their minds upon me, took up the bow and arrows to pierce [the target] in the assembly. (22) Some of them after lifting [the bow] were unable to string it and gave up, and some, having pulled the bowstring, fell down because they were hit by it. (23) Other heroes like the kings of Magadha [Jarāsandha], Cedi [S'is'upāla] and Ambashthha, as also Bhīma, Duryodhana and Karna, managed to string the bow, but could not locate the target. (24) Arjuna managed to locate it and, aiming carefully while looking at the reflection of the fish in the water, took a shot, but the arrow did not hit the target, it just brushed it. (25-26) After the kings were defeated in their pride and had given up, the Supreme Lord playfully took up the bow and managed to string it. At the moment the sun was situated in Abhijit [in 'victory', or at noon] He fixed an arrow on it and pierced, with a single look in the water, the fish with His arrow so that it fell down. (27) Kettledrums resounded in the sky and on earth the sounds of 'jaya' were heard, while the demigods, overwhelmed by joy, released torrents of flowers. (28) Next, with a shy smile on my face and a wreath of flowers in my hair, I entered the arena with gently tinkling ankle bells on my feet, a golden necklace with brilliant jewels around my neck and a pair of fine silken, new garments held together by a belt. (29) I lifted up my face, encircled by its many locks of hair and with my cheeks effulgent because of the earrings, and looked all around at the kings. With a cool smile casting sidelong glances I slowly placed my necklace around the neck of Murāri who had captured my heart. (30) At that moment conch shells, mridangas, tabors, kettledrums and war drums, and such instruments, resounded while the singers sang and male and female dancers danced. (31) The leading kings could not accept the choice I thus made for the Supreme Lord as my master, oh Draupadī. Upset and with a heart full of imprecation they became quarrelsome. (32) Faced with that situation He lifted me on the chariot with its four excellent horses. He prepared His S'ārnga, donned His armor and stood firm to offer battle with His four arms [displayed in full]. (33) Dāruka drove the chariot that was trimmed with gold, oh Queen, while the kings looked on as if they were [startled] animals seeing the lion king. (34) Like village dogs with a lion the kings went after Him. Some of them then tried to block His way by raising their bows against Him. (35) Because of the floods of arrows shot from the S'ārnga, some of them fell with their arms, legs and necks severed, while others gave it up and fled. (36) Like the sun god reaching his abode [or the western horizon] the Lord of the Yadus then entered Dvārakā, His city glorified in heaven and on earth, which was profusely decorated with wonderful archways and banners on flagpoles blocking the sunlight. (37) My father honored his friends, immediate relations and other family members with the most valuable clothing and jewelry, with beds, seats and with other furniture. (38) In his devotion he presented the Lord of the Complete [Pūrnasya] the most valuable weapons, as also maidservants endowed with all riches, infantry, elephantry, chariotry and cavalry. (39) By abruptly breaking off our material bonds and doing penances, we have all become the maidservants of His household, of Him, the One Satisfied Within Himself.'

(40) The other queens said [as expressed by Rohinī]: 'After He in battle had killed the demon Bhauma and his followers, He discovered that we, the daughters of the kings the demon defeated during his conquest of the earth, had been imprisoned by him. Because we constantly had remembered His lotus feet as the source of liberation from a material existence He, the One All of whose Wishes are Fulfilled, married us after our release. (41-42) Oh saintly lady, we do not desire rulership over the earth, a heavenly kingdom, unlimited pleasures or mystic power. Nor do we strive for the supreme divinity, to achieve immortality or the abode of Hari. We [just] want to carry on our heads the dust of the divine feet of the Wielder of the Club that is enriched with the fragrance of the kunkuma from the bosom of S'rī [see also 10.47: 60, ** and the S'rī S'rī S'ikshāshthaka verse 4]. (43) We desire the same as what the Pulinda women [the gopīs] desire, as what the grass and the plants and the grazing cows and gopas of Vraja desire: to be touched by the feet of the Supreme Soul.'

*: The one called Rohinī here is not Rohinī, the mother of Balarāma, but the one queen representing the 16000 queens whom Krishna wed next to His eight principal queens.

**: The paramparā points out that the S'rī referred to here is the supreme goddess of fortune as identified by the 'Brihad-gautamīya-tantra':

devī krishna-mayī proktā
rādhikā para-devatā
sarva-lakshmī-mayī sarva
kāntih sammohinī parā

"The transcendental goddess S'rīmatī Rādhārānī is the direct counterpart of Lord S'rī Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She is endowed with the power to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord."


Chapter 84: Vasudeva of Sacrifice to the Sages at Kurukshetra Explaining the Path of Success

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'When Prithā, the daughter of the king of Subala [Gāndhārī], Draupadī, Subhadrā and the wives of the kings, as also His gopīs, heard of the loving attachment [of the wives] to Krishna, Lord Hari, the Soul of All, they were all greatly amazed with tears filling their eyes. (2-5) As the women thus were conversing with the women and the men with the men, sages arrived at the place eager to see Krishna and Rāma: Dvaipāyana, Nārada, Cyavana, Devala and Asita; Vis'vāmitra, S'atānanda, Bharadvāja and Gautama; Lord Paras'urāma and his disciples, Vasishthha, Gālava, Bhrigu, Pulastya and Kas'yapa; Atri, Mārkandeya and Brihaspati; Dvita, Trita, Ekata and the sons of Brahmā [the four Kumāras], as also Angirā, Agastya, Yājńavalkya, sages like Vāmadeva and others. (6) Seeing them, the Pāndavas, Krishna, Balarāma, the kings and others who sat down, immediately stood up to bow down to the souls who are honored throughout the universe. (7) They all, including Balarāma and Acyuta, honored them befittingly with words of welcome, sitting places, water to wash their feet and water to drink, flower garlands, incense and sandalwood paste. (8) With the sages sitting down comfortably the Supreme Lord, who in His embodiment defends the dharma, addressed the with rapt attention listening assembly of great souls. (9) The Supreme Lord said: 'We who achieved this birth have now all obtained its fruit: the audience of the masters of yoga which even by the demigods is rarely won. (10) How is it possible that human beings, who are not very renounced and see God in the form of the temple deity, now may enjoy your company and may touch you, ask you questions, bow down, and be of worship at your feet and such? (11) By just seeing you, the saints, one is instantly purified, while that is not so with the holy places consisting of water or with the deities made of clay and stone, which only after a long time make that happen [1.13: 10]. (12) Neither the fire, the sun, the moon nor the firmament, neither the earth, the water, the ether, the breath, the speech nor the mind, take away, when they are worshiped, the sins of someone entangled in material opposites. But they are wiped away by just a few moments of service to men of [brahminical] learning. (13) With the idea of himself, as being the body which can be so smelly with its three elements [of mucus, bile and air], with the notion of a wife and all of  that as being his property, with the view of clay as being something worshipable, with the thought of water as being a place of pilgrimage, he [the common man going for appearances] is not of [respect for] men of wisdom. As such he is [not much better than] a cow or an ass.'

(14) S'rī S'uka said: 'Hearing this being said by Krishna, the Supreme Lord of  Unlimited Wisdom, the scholars were silent, confounded by the words that were hard to digest. (15) The sages pondered for some time over the Lord and the subordinate position [He had assumed], and concluded that what He had said was meant to enlighten the people. Thus they addressed Him, the Spiritual Master of the Universe, with a smile on their faces. (16) The honorable sages said: 'Just see how we, the best knowers of the truth and chief creators of the universe, are bewildered by the power of the material illusion created by the activities of the Supreme Lord, who so amazingly covert in His operations pretends to be the one controlled. (17) Effortlessly He creates, all by Himself, the variety of this universe and maintains and destroys it without getting entangled Himself. He is in His actions just like the earth element with the many names and forms of its transformations. What an actor [imitator] the Almighty One is in His activities [see also 8.6: 10]! (18) Your good Self, the Original Personality of the Soul, nonetheless at times assume the mode of goodness in order to protect Your people and to chastise the wicked; thus You maintain the eternal Vedic path of the varnās'rama divisions [of status/vocational orientations] by means of Your pastimes [see also
sanātana dharma]. (19) The Spirit of the Absolute [as known by the Vedas] is Your pure heart, wherein the manifest, the unmanifest and the timeless transcendental position is realized by means of austerities, study and turning inward in concentrated meditation [see also B.G. 7: 5]. (20) Oh Absolute Truth, You show Your respect for the community of the brahmins because one, through those perfect representatives, can understand the revealed scriptures. Consequently You are the leader of all souls of respect for the brahminical culture. (21) Today we achieve the fulfillment of our birth, education, austerities and vision, for it is the goal of the saintly souls to find association with You, the Ultimate of all Welfare. (22) We offer [You,] Krishna our obeisances, You, the Supreme Lord whose wisdom is always fresh, the Supersoul who covers His greatness with His yogamāyā. (23) None of these kings who enjoy Your company, nor the Vrishnis, know You, hiding behind the curtain of māyā, as the Supreme Soul, the Time and the Lord [B.G. 6: 26]. (24-25) The way a sleeping person envisions an alternate reality with the names and forms he pictures in his mind, and therewith has no knowledge of a separate reality beyond it, one with You, similarly having names and forms, has no clue, because of the discontinuity of one's memory created by the activity of the senses which bewilder one's consciousness with Your māyā [compare B.G. 4: 5 and 4.29: 1, 10.1: 41 and 7.7: 25]. (26) Today You granted us the vision of Your feet forming the source of the Ganges which washes away an abundance of sins. When one [with them] well installed in the heart has ripened in one's yoga practice and fully has matured in devotional service, the material mentality covering the individual souls is destroyed and Your destination is attained - so please, show Your devotees Your mercy.'

(27) S' S'uka said: 'The sages having said this took leave of Das'ārha [Krishna], Dhritarāshthra and Yudhishthhira, oh sage among kings, and prepared to return to their hermitages. (28) Seeing this the greatly renown Vasudeva [the father of Krishna] approached them bowing down, and took hold of their feet while expressing the following, carefully chosen words. (29) S'rī Vasudeva said: 'My obeisances to you who [represent] all the gods [*]. Oh seers, please listen, tell us this: how can we be freed from our karma by doing work?'

(30) S' Nārada said: 'Oh scholars, this question, asked by Vasudeva in his eagerness to learn about his ultimate benefit, is not that surprising at all considering the fact that he thinks of Krishna as being a child [of his, his son]. (31) When people are close in this world, it is easily a cause of disregard, just as it is e.g. with someone living at the Ganges who leaves to seek purification elsewhere. (32-33) The quality of [the Lord] His awareness is never disturbed by time-dependent matters like the creation, destruction and so on of this universe, not by its own activity nor by another agency [see B.G. 4: 14 and 10: 30]. The consciousness of Him, the One Controller without a Second, is not affected by hindrances, material actions and their consequences, and the basic qualities of nature with their flow of changes [kles'a, karma and guna]. Others [though] may consider Him as being covered by His own expansions of prāna and other elements of nature, just like the sun is hidden by clouds, snow or eclipses.'

(34) Then, before all the kings, as also before Acyuta and Rāma listening, oh King, the sages addressed Vasudeva saying: (35) 'It has been ascertained as being correct that karma is counteracted by this [type of] work: to honor with faith and with festive sacrifices Vishnu, the Lord of All Sacrifices. (36) Scholars demonstrated from the viewpoint of the S'āstras that this religiousness of being connected [in yoga] is the easiest way to pacify the mind; it brings joy to the heart. (37) For the twice-born soul at home to go for the Personality of Godhead by performing sacrifices faithfully with spotlessly [justly] acquired possessions, constitutes the path that brings success [**]. (38) An intelligent person should renounce the desire for wealth by means of sacrifices and charity. He should give up the desire for a wife and kids by engaging in temple affairs. With the help of [the cakra order of] Time [the Time that is also the destroyer of all worlds, see also 9.5 and B.G. 3: 16] he should forget the desire for a world for himself, oh Vasudeva. All sages renounced their [three types of] desires for [the wealth, the family and one's own command of] a household life and went into the forest for doing penances [see also B.G. 2: 13]. (39) Prabhu, a twice-born soul is born with three debts: a debt to the gods, a debt to the sages and a debt to the forefathers. Not liquidating them by [respectively] sacrifice, studying the scriptures and by begetting children [or by pupils and brainchildren like books, see ***] he, upon leaving the body, will fall down [back into the material world]. (40) But you [Vasudeva] are presently free from two of the debts, the debt to the sages and the debt to the forefathers, oh magnanimous soul. Be now free from your debt to the gods and renounce your homestead. (41) Oh Vasudeva, [in a previous life] your good self must have been of much worship with devotion for the Supreme Lord of the Universe, for He assumed the role of your son [see also 1o.3: 32-45 and 11.5: 41].'

(42) S'rī S'uka said: 'Vasudeva having heard the words they spoke, chose for the sages as his priests and propitiated them by bowing his head. (43) The rishis being asked, oh King, then engaged the pious soul in fire sacrifices that strictly to the principles with excellent arrangements were performed at the holy field [of Kurukshetra]. (44-45) When he was about to be initiated the Vrishnis came joyfully to the sacrificial pavilion, bathed and well-dressed, wearing garlands and being elaborately ornamented. They came together with their queens who, carrying the items of worship in their hands, were clad in the finest clothes, wore golden lockets around their necks and who were smeared with sandalwood paste, oh King. (46) Clay tom-toms and tabors, kettle drums and drums, conch shells and other musical instruments sounded, male and female dancers danced, and bards and panegyrists sweet voiced sang together with the female singers of heaven and their husbands. (47) According to the rules by the priests being sprinkled with sacred water [for his initiation], Vasudeva, with his eyes decorated with collyrium and with his body anointed, together with his eighteen wives [see 9.24: 21-23 & 45] looked like the moon king surrounded by the stars. (48) With them, all finely decorated, wearing silk sārīs and bangles, necklaces, ankle bells and earrings, he, being initiated and clad in deerskin, shone brilliantly. (49) Oh great King, his officials and priests radiated, with their jewels and garments of silk, as if they were standing in the sacrificial arena of the killer of Vritra [Indra, see 6.11]. (50) At that time the two Lords Rāma and Krishna also stepped forward. With each of Them being accompanied by His own wives, sons and family members as expansions of Their glory, They shone just as splendidly. (51) Vasudeva exercised, in accordance with the rules, respect for the Lord of Rituals, Mantras and Paraphernalia, by performing [both the types of] fire sacrifices, and such, that are differently characterized as 'original' [or primary, different prototypes as described in the s'ruti] and 'changed' [or secondary, offerings following adapted procedures, see *4]. (52) Next he as prescribed compensated at the designated time the priests, who were already richly decorated, with gifts of gratitude that made them look even more beautiful, as also with marriageable girls, cows and land of great value. (53) After the great sages had executed the ritual with oblations by the sponsor and his wife [patni-samyāja], as also the concluding ritual [avabhrithya], the  brahmins, with [Vasudeva] the chief of the yajńa in front, bathed in the lake of Lord Paras'urāma [9.16: 18-19]. (54) Having bathed, he together with the women gave their jewelry and clothing away to the bards and next, in his finest apparel, honored all the classes of people, and even the dogs, with food. (55-56) His relatives, their wives and children, the leaders of the Vidarbhas, Kos'alas, Kurus, Kās'īs, Kekayas and Srińjayas, the officials, the priests, the different types of enlightened souls, the ordinary humans, the paranormal souls [the 'ghostly'], the forefathers and the venerable personalities, he gave opulent gifts. Then they took leave from Krishna, the Abode of S'rī, and departed, full of praise for the sacrifice that was performed. (57-58) The immediate family members Dhritarāshthra and his younger brother [Vidura], Prithā and her sons [Arjuna, Bhīma and Yudhishthhira], Bhīshma, Drona, the twins [Nakula and Sahadeva], Nārada, Bhagavān Vyāsadeva and others, embraced their friends and relatives, the Yadus, and then, with hearts melting of affection upon the separation, with difficulty returned to their respective places, as also did the rest of the guests. (59) Nanda out of affection for his relatives stayed together with the cowherds [a little longer]. They were by Krishna, Balarāma, Ugrasena and the rest honored with extra opulent worship. (60) Vasudeva, who with ease had crossed over the ocean of his great ambition [see also 10.3: 11-12], felt most satisfied. Surrounded by his well-wishers he took Nanda's hand and spoke to him.

(61) S'rī Vasudeva said: 'The by God forged bond of men called affection is, I think, even for heroes and yogis difficult to give up. (62) Even though the friendship you offered so very saintly has not been reciprocated by us being so forgetful of what you did, it will never cease, for it is beyond compare. (63) Formerly [sitting in Kamsa's prison] we could not act on your behalf, and now, well-to-do, oh brother, we even with you standing in front of us fail to see you, because our eyes are blinded being intoxicated by our opulence. (64) May someone who is after the real benefit of life never find the fortune of kings, oh you so full of respect, for with his vision thus being clouded he is blind to even the needs of his own family and friends [compare 10.10: 8].'

(65) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus with tears filling his eyes remembering what he [Nanda] all had done in his friendship, Ānakadundubhi, with his heart softened by the intimacy, had to weep. (66) Out of love for his friend who showed his affection and for Krishna and Rāma, Nanda then said: 'I will go later, I will go tomorrow', but stayed three months longer with the Yadus who honored him. (67-68) Being satisfied with desirables, like the most valuable ornaments, finest linen and various priceless pieces of furniture, he accepted the gifts offered by Vasudeva, Ugrasena, Krishna, Uddhava and others. Seen off by the Yadus, he departed together with the inhabitants of Vraja and his family. (69) As they went to Mathurā, Nanda, the gopas and the gopīs could not put Govinda's lotus feet out of their minds and consequently looked back [many a time]. (70) With their relatives having departed, the Vrishnis, who had Krishna as their deity, saw that the rainy season was about to begin and therefore turned back to Dvārakā. (71) To the people [at home] they gave an account of the great festivity and of what had taken place in relation to the lord of the Yadus [Vasudeva] and all the well-wishers they had seen during the pilgrimage [see 10.82].'

*: This statement, so reminds the paramparā, is confirmed in the authoritative s'ruti-mantras, that declare 'yāvatīr vai devatās tāh sarvā veda-vidi brāhmane vasanti': "Whatever demigods exist, all reside in a brāhmana who knows the Veda."

**: The paramparā adds: 'Both S'rīdhara Svāmī and S'rī Jīva Gosvāmī here agree that the ritual karma of Vedic sacrifices is particularly meant for attached householders. Those who are already renounced in Krishna consciousness, like Vasudeva himself, need only cultivate their faith in the Lord's devotees, His Deity form, His name, the remnants of His food and His teachings, as given in Bhagavad Gītā and S'rīmad Bhāgavatam.'

***: The word putra used here usually refers to a child, but also means doll or any other artificial thing to care for like a home, or works of art, a book or another byproduct as Prabhupāda and his pupils called it as e.g. in 3.28: 38 and 11.20: 27-28. It literally means 'preserving from the hell called Put', the place where the childless ones reside.

*4: The paramparā explains: 'The Brāhmana portion of the Vedic s'ruti specifies the complete step-by-step procedure of only a few prototype sacrifices, such as the Jyotishthoma and Dars'a-pūrnamāsa. These are called the prākrita, or original, yajńas; the details of other yajńas must be extrapolated from the patterns of these prākrita injunctions according to the strict rules of the Mīmāmsā-s'āstra. Since other yajńas are thus known by derivation from the prototype sacrifices, they are called vaikrita, or "changed".'



Chapter 85: Lord Krishna Instructs Vasudeva and Retrieves Devakī's Sons

(1) The son of Vyāsa said: 'One day, Sankarshana and Acyuta, the two sons of Vasudeva, visited Their father who, after They had honored his feet, welcomed Them affectionately and spoke to Them. (2) Having heard the words of the sages referring to the superhuman qualities of his two sons, he became convinced of Their heroic deeds. Addressing Them by name he said: (3) 'Krishna, oh Krishna, oh greatest yogi, oh eternal Sankarshana, I know that the two of You are the direct [representatives] of the original nature [or pradhāna] and the supreme principle [the purusha or person] of this universe. (4) You are directly the Supreme Lord, the masters of the original substance and the person. Whatever comes into existence, whenever, or for whatever reason, originates from You, is created by You and exists within You, is there for Your sake and belongs to You. (5) Oh Lord of the Beyond, this variegated universe You created from Yourself, is entered by You, oh Unborn One, and also maintained by You, the Supersoul [the Paramātma], as the life principle of vitality [prāna] and individuality [jīva]. (6) Of both [the animate, and inanimate] entities, which differing from each other all belong to the Supreme and are thus dependent, You are the One constituting the creative potency, active within the life air and the other basic forces of the universe [see also 2.5: 32-33]. (7) The glow, brilliance, luminosity and the particular existence of the moon, the fire, the sun, the stars and lightning [B.G. 15: 12], the permanence of the mountains, and the fragrance and sustaining power of the earth, are all You in fact. (8) The quenching and the vitalizing capacity of water, as also the water itself and its taste, are You, oh Lord. Oh Controller, on the basis of Your air [the oxygen...] there is the body heat, the mental and physical vigor, the endeavor and the movement [see also B.G. 11: 39]. (9) You are the directions and the spaces they describe, the omnipresent ether and the elemental sound belonging thereto. You are the [primeval] sound constituting the syllable AUM and its differentiation in particular forms [of language, see also B.G. 7: 8]. (10) You are the power of sense perception, You are their gods [see also 3.12: 26] and of them You are the mercy [granting these sensations]. You are of the intelligence the power to decide and of the living being the power to remember things correctly [B.G. 7: 10 & 15: 15]. (11) You, the primeval Cause of all Causes [the non-manifest original substance pradhāna], are the source of [the false ego associated with] the physical elements [tamas], the passions of the senses [rajas] and the stream of consciousness of the creative gods [sattva, see also B.G. 14]. (12) Among the entities subject to destruction in this world, You are the imperishable being, just as the substance of something is observed [and not lost] with its transformations. (13) The modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, and their functions, are in this [imperishable] way regulated within You, the Supreme Absolute Truth, by Your internal potency [the yogamāyā of Your pastimes]. (14) On that account there is in You [Yourself] no question of these modifications. Whenever they are conditioned by You [and in You] as products of creation, they have You inside of them, You who otherwise are not material [eternally free, nitya-mukta, see also B.G. 2: 12, 9: 4-5 & 8: 19]. (15) In this world they are ignorant who, impelled by their karma, [eternally bound, nitya-bandha] move around in the cycle of rebirth; they fail therewith to understand the transcendental destination that is the Soul of the Complete. (16) I was as fortunate to acquire with this life this difficult to attain, most suitable form of human existence, but because of Your deluding energy [māyā] I have spent my entire life in confusion about what one's own purpose in life would be. (17) With You, who in this world ties everyone together with the ropes of affection, there is, with the body and the progeny and other relations, the 'this I am' and 'these are mine' associated with it [see also e.g. 2.9: 2, 4.28: 17, 4.29: 5, 5.5: 8 and 6.16: 41]. (18) The two of You are not our sons but evidently the Lords of pradhāna and purusha who descended to remove the burden of rulers from the earth, as You have said [10.50: 7-10]. (19) I therefore today seek the shelter of Your lotus feet which, from the surrendered, from the distressed souls, take away the fear of being entangled [in the material world], oh Friend, and that is all. Enough, I have enough of the hankering for sense enjoyment that binds me to the mortal frame and makes me think of You, the Supreme One, as being my child. (20) In the maternity room You indeed said [see 10.3: 44] that You were the Unborn Soul who, age after age having taking birth with us, thus operates to defend Your dharma and therewith, just like a cloud [changing form], assume and give up various bodies [see B.G. 4: 8]. Oh, who can understand the mystic potency and powerful expansions of You, the all-pervading, most glorified Lord?'

(21) S'rī S'uka said:
'Having heard  these statements of His father, the Supreme Lord, the best of the Sātvatas, with humility bowed down and then in a gentle voice replied, broadly smiling. (22) The Supreme Lord said: 'I consider these meaningful words of yours appropriate, oh father, since by referring to Us, your Sons, you have expressed the complete of reality. (23) I, you, He, My brother, and these residents of Dvārakā, must, together with everything moving and not moving, all be considered the same way [as expansions of Me], oh best of the Yadus [B.G. 9: 5 & 15 and the siddhānta]. (24) The Supreme Soul, being indeed one, self-luminous, eternal and distinct, by means of the basic qualities, from Himself has created the material entities belonging to those modes. Being free from the modes He is thus seen as many. (25) It is as with the ether, the air, the fire, the water and the earth, that, being single elements, depending their locations, in their manifest and un-manifest, small and large products, appear as many [see also B.G. 13: 31].'

(26) S'rī S'uka said: 'Vasudeva thus having been addressed by the Supreme Lord, oh King, was liberated from his thinking in opposites and became silent, being satisfied within. (27-28) Then at that place, oh best of the Kurus, Devakī, the worshipable goddess of all who to her utter amazement had heard of [the retrieval of] the son of Their guru [10.45], asked Krishna and Rāma loudly and clear to bring back her own sons who were murdered by Kamsa. With that in mind looking back, she spoke sad and distraught with tears in her eyes. (29) S'rī Devakī said: 'Rāma, oh Rāma, oh Immeasurable Soul; oh Krishna, Master of the Yoga Masters, I know that the two of You are the Original Personalities, the Lords of the Creators of the Universe [see also catur-vyūha]. (30) Having taken birth from me, You have now descended because of the kings who, living in defiance of the scriptures and with their good qualities destroyed by the time [of Kali-yuga], became a burden to the earth. (31) Oh Soul of All That Be, today I have come to seek shelter with You, who, by a partial expansion [the modes] of an expansion [the material energy] of an expansion [Nārāyana] of Yours, gives rise to the generation, prospering and dissolution of the universe [see also 2.5]. (32-33) One says that Your guru ordered You to retrieve his son who had died a long time ago. You brought him from the place of the forefathers to Your spiritual master as a gift of gratitude to the teacher. Please, oh You two Masters of the Yoga Masters, fulfill the same way my desire. I would like to see my sons brought back who were killed by Kamsa [see 10.4].'

(34) The rishi [S'uka] said: 'Thus entreated by Their mother, oh descendant of Bharata, Rāma and Krishna entered the nether world of Sutala, utilizing Their internal potency [see 5.24: 18]. (35) The Daitya king [Bali], who saw Them entering, stood immediately up to bow down to Them together with his entourage. He was overwhelmed with joy of seeing Them, the Supreme Soul and Self of the Universe, who were his favorite divinity of worship. (36) Bringing Them royal seats, They were happy to sit down there. He washed the feet of the two Great Souls and together with his followers took the water [upon their heads] that purifies [everyone], up to Brahmā. (37) He worshiped Them by presenting all the wealth of himself and his family: the most valuable riches, garments, ornaments, fragrant pastes, bethel nut, lamps, nectarean food and so on [*]. (38) He who had conquered Indra [see 8.15], over and over took hold of the Supreme Lord's feet. With a heart melting of love, with tears of happiness in his eyes and with his hair standing on end, oh King, he spoke with a choked up voice. (39) Bali said: 'My obeisances to Ananta, the Greatest Being, and Krishna, the Absolute Truth, the Supersoul, the Disseminator and Creator of analytical knowledge [sānkhya, see 3.25-32] and [the science of bhakti-]yoga. (40) To see You is indeed something rarely achieved by the living beings. But [if You endeavor to reach us] of Your own accord, it lies even within the reach of people like us, whose natures are of passion and ignorance [see B.G. 3: 21-23]. (41-43) The sons of Diti and Dāna, the singers of heaven, the perfected souls, the scientists, the venerable persons, the wealth keepers, the wild, the carnivorous and the paranormal ones, the mystics, the politicians, we and others like them, are constantly fixed in a grudge against the physical presence of You, the direct embodiment of the revealed scriptures who are of pure goodness. Some are obstinate with hatred and some are of devotion with a certain lust [an ulterior motive], while the enlightened souls, predominated by the mode of goodness, are not so attracted [compare: the ātmārāma-verse 1.7: 10]. (44) Oh Master of Yoga Masters, when not even expert yogis know Your bewildering power of yoga, which for the greater part is characterized by terms like this [svarūpa and vis'esha, on inborn and outer differences based, game of identity], what then to expect of us? (45) Have therefore mercy with me and lead me out of the blind well of a householder's life towards the other shelter of Your lotus feet sought by selfless souls. Thus I may wander everywhere alone, or else under the protection of those [saints, devotees, Vaishnavas, desire trees] who are willing to help everyone in the world, the souls at whose feet one finds peace and obtains what one needs in life [the 'vritti']. (46) Please direct us, oh Controller of the ones [self-]controlled, make us sinless, oh Master, turn us into a person who executes with faith and is thus freed from [scriptural, ritual] fixations.'

(47) The Supreme Lord said: 'Once, during the first Manu, Marīci fathered six sons born from Ūrnā. They were demigods who laughed when they saw that the loving one ['kam', or Brahmā in this case] wanted to copulate with his daughter [called Vāk, see 3.12: 28-35, compare 3.20: 23]. (48-49) Because of that offense they immediately entered a womb to be born to Hiranyakas'ipu. They were then by Yogamāyā transferred to be born from the womb of Devakī, oh King. They were murdered by Kamsa. She laments over them as being her own sons. These same sons are living here near you [see also ** and 10.2*]. (50) We would like to take them from here in order to dispel their mother's sadness. When thereafter the curse is lifted, they, being freed from the misery, will come back to their own [heavenly] world. (51) By My grace these six - Smara [Kīrtimān, see 10.1: 57], Udgītha, Parishvanga, Patanga, Kshudrabhrit and Ghrinī - will return to the destination of the saintly souls.'

(52) Thus having spoken, They, both being honored by Bali, took the sons back to Dvārakā and presented them to their mother. (53) When she saw the boys, the breasts of the goddess flowed because of her affection for her sons. She placed them on her lap and embraced them, over and over smelling their heads. (54) Bewildered by the illusory energy of Vishnu, because of which the creation comes into being, she lovingly allowed her sons to drink from her breasts, which were wet as they touched them. (55-56) Having drunk her nectarean milk, which had remained from the milk the Wielder of the Club had drank [before Vasudeva carried Him to Gokula], they, because of [thus] coming in touch with the body of Nārāyana, regained the awareness of their original selves. Bowing down to Govinda, Devakī, their father and Balarāma, they, for everyone to see, went to [heaven,] the abode where the gods reside. (57) Seeing this return and departure of the dead [her sons], divine Devakī thought in great amazement about the magic that was arranged by Krishna, oh King. (58) Oh descendant of Bharata, there are of Krishna, the Supreme Soul unlimited in His valor, countless heroic acts like this.'

(59) S'rī Sūta said [at Naimishāranya, 1.1: 4]: "Whoever devoutly hears or recounts the way this pastime of Murāri, whose glories are unlimited, is described by Vyāsa's respected son, will, by thus fixing his mind on the Supreme Lord, go to His all-auspicious heavenly abode, for this true delight for His devotees' ears fully annihilates the sins of the living being."

*: The paramparā adds here that there are nine standard processes of devotional service as Prahlāda points out in 7.5: 23-24, and that the last, ātma-samarpanam, the handing over of one's wealth as modeled by Bali Mahārāja for the sake of the ātma-nivedanam of self-communication with the Lord, is the culmination at which every endeavor should aim. If one tries to impress the Lord with wealth, power, intelligence and so on, but fails to humbly understand oneself as being His servant, one's so-called devotion is only a presumptuous show. The paramparā thus warns here against the false religion of pompous ceremony without regard for the yogic retreat as of Daksha in 4.2. See also B.G.  2: 42-43.

**: The paramparā explains with the ācāryas S'rīdhara Svāmī and Vis'vanātha Cakravartī that, after taking Marīci's six sons from Hiranyakas'ipu, Lord Krishna's Yogamāyā first made them pass through one more life as children of another great demon, Kālanemi [the previous incarnation of Kamsa, see 10.1: 68], and then she finally transferred them to the womb of Devakī. For the full story see footnote 10.1***.


Chapter 86: Arjuna Kidnaps Subhadrā, and Krishna Instructs Bahulas'va and S'rutadeva

(1) The honorable king [Parīkchit] said: 'Oh brahmin, we would like to know how she who is my grandmother, the sister of Krishna and Rāma [Subhadrā, see 9.24: 53-55], got married to Arjuna.'

(2-3) S'rī S'uka said: 'Arjuna, the great lord, while on a pilgrimage wandering the earth, reaching Prabhāsa heard that Balarāma intended to give His maternal cousin away to Duryodhana and to no one else. Desirous of her, he therefore went to Dvārakā disguised as a renunciate with a tridanda [*]. (4) Determined to fulfill his purpose, he resided there during the months of the rainy season and was [according to the custom] all the time honored by Balarāma and the citizens without them being aware who he was. (5) One day being invited as a guest he was brought to the house of Balarāma, who faithfully presented him a meal which he then ate. (6) With his eyes wide open of happiness, he saw the wonderful girl there who enchanted heroes. Smitten he fixed his mind on her. (7) Seeing him who stole each woman's heart, she desired him also. She fixed her heart and eyes upon him and full of desire bashfully smiling cast sidelong glances. (8) Thinking of nothing but her, Arjuna awaited the right opportunity. With his heart trembling of the strongest desire, he could find no peace. (9) When she during an important religious festival rode away from the fortress in a chariot, the mighty warrior seized the opportunity to abduct the girl who had stolen his heart. That occurred with the consent of her parents [see 1o.1: 56] and Krishna. (10) Standing on the chariot he, like the king of the animals claiming his share, raised his bow and drove back the heroes and guards who tried to stop him while her relatives were angrily shouting. (11) Balarāma, upon hearing about it, was as perturbed as the ocean during a full moon. Lord Krishna and His family had to grasp Him respectfully by His feet in order to pacify Him. (12) With pleasure He then sent presents of great value, elephants, horses and male and female servants, as a wedding gift for the groom and bride.'

(13) S'rī S'uka continued: 'There was among Krishna's brahmins one named S'rutadeva. He was one of the best, being exclusively devoted to Krishna, and was known for the fullness of his realization - his serenity, learning and freedom from sense gratification. (14) As a householder dwelling in Mithilā in the kingdom of Videha, he performed his duties without being concerned about what he received for his sustenance. (15) Day by day doing his tasks as required, he was satisfied with just that - and nothing more, of what he by providence acquired as his share for his sober maintenance. (16) The ruler of that kingdom, stemming from the line of King Mithilā  [Janaka], was known by the name of Bahulās'va. He was just as selfless as he was, my dear King. They were both equally dear to Acyuta. (17) Pleased with the two of them, the Supreme Lord mounted His chariot brought by Dāruka. Together with a group of sages the Master went to Videha. (18) He was accompanied by Nārada, Vāmadeva, Atri, Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, Paras'urāma, Asita, Aruni, I myself [S'uka], Brihaspati, Kanva, Maitreya, Cyavana and others. (19) Everywhere He came, the citizens and villagers approached, carrying arghya [offerings of water] to welcome Him, like He was the risen sun surrounded by the planets. (20) In Ānarta [where Dvārakā  is], Dhanva [the desert region], Kuru-jāngala [Thaneswar and Kurukshetra], Kanka, Matsya [Jaipur and Aloyar], Pańcāla [the Ganges region], Kunti, Madhu, Kekaya [northeast Pun jab], Kos'ala [from Kās'ī to the Himalayas], Arna [east of Mithilā] and in many other kingdoms, the men and women drank, with their eyes, the gentle smiles and affectionate glances of His lotus face, oh King. (21) By [thus] bestowing upon them the fearlessness of the spiritual vision, the Spiritual Master of the Three Worlds put an end to the blindness of their eyes. This way gradually reaching Videha, He heard His glories being sung by the God-conscious souls and the commoners, the glories eradicating all misfortune and purifying every corner of the universe. (22) The moment the villagers and citizens heard that Acyuta had arrived, oh King, they joyfully came forward to greet Him with offerings in their hands. (23) Seeing Him who is Praised in the Verses, they, with their faces and hearts blossoming of love and with joined palms held to their heads, bowed down to Him and the sages, whom they till then only knew from hearsay. (24) Both the king of Mithilā and S'rutadeva prostrated at His feet, with each of them in his mind the thought that the Spiritual Master of the Universe especially for him had arrived to be of mercy. (25) Bahulās'va and S'rutadeva then, both with their palms joined, at the same time invited the Descendant of Das'ārha and the brahmins to be their guests. (26) The Supreme Lord wanted to please them both, and accepted their offer by entering each his house [simultaneously] without them seeing this [vaibhava-prakās'a miracle]. (27-29) The descendent of Janaka [Bahulas'va] who, later that day, saw them fatigued coming from a distance to his house, mindfully brought fine seats outside for them, so that they could sit comfortably. Overjoyed at heart with intense devotion and eyes clouded with tears, he bowed down to wash the feet, the water of which is capable of purifying the entire world. Together with his family he took it on his head and honored the Lords [and sages] with sandalwood paste, garlands, clothing, jewelry, incense, lamps, arghya, cows and bulls. (30) After they had eaten their fill, he, while happily massaging the feet of Vishnu on his lap, in order to please them, slowly said the following in a gentle voice. 

(31) S'rī Bahulās'va said: 'You, oh Almighty One, the Self-illumined Witness and Soul of All Created Beings, have now become visible to us, those who are remembering Your lotus feet. (32) To be true to the statement You have made that: 'No one, not even Ananta, S'rī or the Unborn Brahmā is as dear to Me as the unalloyed devotee', You have manifested before our eyes [see also 7.7: 51-52, 10.9: 20-21, 10.47: 58-63]. (33) What person who knows this would abandon Your lotus feet, when You give Yourself to peaceful sages free from possessiveness? (34) Descending in the Yadu dynasty for the sake of those caught in the cycle of birth and death [samsāra], You have, in order to put an end to it, disseminated Your fame removing the sins of the three worlds. (35) All glories to You, oh Krishna, oh Supreme Lord of an unlimited intelligence, oh Nara-Nārāyana who are perfectly peaceful in Your austerity. (36) Please, oh Omnipresent One, dwell together with the brahmins for a few days in our home and sanctify this dynasty of Nimi with the dust of Your feet.'

(37) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus being invited by the king, the Supreme Lord and Maintainer of the Entire World stayed there, and thus made the men and women of Mithilā happy. (38) S'rutadeva, who just like Bahulas'va received Krishna in his house, bowed down to the sages and [then] in great delight danced with waving clothes. (39) He made them sit on mats of darbha grass that were brought, he greeted them with words of welcome, and then together with his wife washed their feet with pleasure. (40) Overjoyed of having all his desires fulfilled, he most piously sprinkled himself, his house and his family with the water. (41) With offerings of fruits, aromatic root [us'īra], pure nectarean sweet water, fragrant clay, tulsī leaves, kus'a grass and lotus flowers, he honored them with all items of worship at his disposition, as also with food conducive to the mood of goodness [see B.G. 17: 8]. (42) He wondered: 'How could it happen that I, who fell down in the blind well of family life, may enjoy this association with Krishna and these godly people in whom He resides? It is the dust of their feet that constitutes the dignity of all the holy places.' (43) Having shown his hospitality, S'rutadeva, with them comfortably being seated, sat close together with his wife, relatives and children, and addressed them while massaging [the Lord] His feet.

(44) S'rutadeva said: 'It is not just today that we see the Supreme Personality present before us. We in fact enjoy His presence ever since He created this universe with His energies and [as an avatāra] entered it in His [transcendental] state. (45) He enters this world and appears there the way a sleeping person, alone with his mind, creates a separate world in his imagination. (46) You appear in the heart of those persons who, with a pure [by meditation peaceful] mind, time and again hear and speak about You, glorify You, worship You and converse about You. (47) In spite of being situated in the heart You are far removed from minds agitated by material affairs. One [indeed] cannot get hold of You by one's own [material] powers, but You support those souls who know to appreciate Your qualities [see also B.G. 7: 25]. (48) May there be my obeisances unto You, who are the Supersoul for the knowers of the Supreme Spirit, unto You, who [in the form of Time **] brings death to the conditioned soul, unto You, the One who assumes the forms of effect as also the forms of cause, unto You whose vision is not covered by Your deluding potency but who are covered to our vision. (49) Please, oh You as that Supersoul, command us Your servants. What, oh Lord, should we do? Oh, having this form of Your good Self visible before our eyes is what puts an end to the troubles of humanity!'

(50) S' S'uka said: 'Having heard what he thus said to Him, the Supreme Lord, the destroyer of the distress of the surrendered souls, addressed him with a broad smile while taking his hand in His own. (51) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh brahmin, you should know that these sages came along for the purpose of blessing you. Wandering with Me, they purify all the worlds with the dust of their feet. (52) The deities, pilgrimage sites and sacred rivers being visited, being touched and being worshiped, purify gradually, but the same thing is attained [at once] by the glance of those [sages] who are most worshipable [see also 4.30: 37, 7.9: 44, 10.9: 21, 10.84: 11]. (53) A brahmin is by birth the best of all living beings, and even more so, when he, as a portion of Me, is endowed with austerity, learning and contentment! (54) [Even] this four-armed form is not as dear to Me as a brahmin. A man of [brahminical] learning comprises all the Vedas, the way I comprise all the gods [see also 10.84: 12]. (55) Those whose intelligence is spoiled and fail to understand it thus, lack in respect and are envious. While they do consider the visible form of an idol worthy of worship, they are of neglect towards their guru, the [brahminical] scholar, who in fact is Me, their very Self. (56) A learned man of respect for Me, keeps the moving and nonmoving part of this universe, as also the elementary categories basic to it, in mind as being forms of Me [see also B.G. 5: 18]. (57) Therefore, oh brahmin, just worship these brahmin seers with the same faith as you have in Me. You will thus directly be of worship for Me, and not in any other way as with [e.g. offering] vast riches [and such].'

(58) S'rī S'ūka said: 'He [S'rutadeva] as also the king of Mithilā, who thus received instruction from the Lord, by their single-minded devotion unto Krishna and His company of most exalted brahmins, attained the transcendental destination. (59) The Supreme Lord, who is of devotion for His own devotees, stayed with the two devotees, taught the path of the truthful soul [***], oh King, and returned  to Dvārakā.'

*: The tridanda is a staff carried by vaishnava sannayāsīs symbolizing the threefold austerity of thought, speech and action. In this threefold the renunciate is vowed to serve Vishnu. The staff consists of three sticks wrapped in saffron cloth with a small extra piece wrapped in at the top.

**: Time is the Lord's impersonal feature. The paramparā says: 'It is understood from the Vedic science of epistemology, the 'Nyāya-S'āstra', that knowledge of an object (prameya) depends on a valid means of knowing (pramāna)' (pp 10.86: 54). Thus would knowing Krishna in the form of Time as-He-is (I am the Time, the light of the sun and the moon, as He says to be in the Gītā) - by means of so-called equation clocks managed validly to His nature, knowing the Sun, as with a sundial, and calendars managed validly to His order, the moon, like with its phases - constitute the proper brahminical conduct. With weeks settled to the moon and clocks settled to the sun, standardtime, with its mean time deadness, zone time arbitrary false oneness and summertime instability, then would constitute the time of ignorance in denial of Krishna, the father of Time, even though Krishna does affirm the worship of Time with the pragmatical and thus karmic dictate of standardtime, to which He still calls that demigod (...) worship less attractive and wrong [see also cakra, kāla and 1.2: 26, B.G. 9: 23, 10: 21, 30 & 33, 7: 8 and the Bhāgavatam time quotes].

***: Prabhupāda adds here: "The instruction we receive from this incident is that King Bahulās'va and S'rutadeva the brāhmana, were accepted by the Lord on the same level because both were pure devotees. This is the real qualification for being recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead."


Chapter 87: The Underlying Mystery: Prayers of the Personified Vedas

(1) S'rī Parīkchit said: 'Oh brahmin, the Absolute Truth [brahma] cannot be described in words [*] and has no material qualities. How can the revealed scriptures [the s'ruti, the Vedas] dealing with the basic qualities of nature, directly refer to that what is elevated above cause [the subtle] and effect [the gross]?'

(2) S'rī S'uka said: 'The intelligence, senses, mind and the life force of the living beings were by their Lord and Master evolved for the sake of [dealing with, being satisfied with] elementary matter, for the sake of getting a life and for the sake of the [emancipation of the] soul and its ultimate liberation. (3) The predecessors [like the Kumāras] of our predecessors [like Nārada] were fixed on this same underlying mystery [upanishad] concerning the Absolute Truth. Whoever with faith holds on to it, will be free from material attachment and attain peace and happiness [see also 8.24: 38]. (4) I will here relate to you now an account concerning Lord Nārāyana. It is about a conversation between Nārāyana Rishi and Nārada Muni.

(5) One day, when the Supreme Lord's beloved Nārada was traveling the worlds, he went for a visit to the ās'rama of the Eternal Seer, Nārāyana. (6) From the beginning of Brahmā's day, He [Nārāyana Rishi] has, just for the welfare in this and the next life of human beings, maintaining the dharma, in Bhārata-varsha been engaged in penances, spiritual knowledge and peacefulness [see kalpa]. (7) Having arrived there he [Nārada] bowed down to Him who sat there surrounded by sages from Kalāpa - the village where He resided - and asked this very same question, oh best of the Kurus. (8) As the seers were listening, the Supreme Lord related the following ancient discussion about the Absolute Truth that took place between the inhabitants of Janaloka [the world of the celibate saints]. (9) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh son of the self-born Lord [Brahmā], long ago in Janaloka a sacrificial ceremony took place held by the [ūrdhva-retah] celibate sages there who had found their life in Brahmā. (10) You [Nārada] had left for S'vetadvīpa to see the Lord [Aniruddha]. Thereupon a lively discussion ensued [between the sages of Janaloka] about Him [Vishnu in the function of Aniruddha] in whom the Vedas lie down to rest [after the dissolution of the material world] that gave rise to the question you are now again asking Me. (11) Even though they were equally qualified as for their penance and study of the s'ruti as also equal minded towards friends, foes and neutrals, they appointed one of them as their speaker while the rest eagerly listened.

(12-13) S'rī Sanandana said: 'When He [Mahā-Vishnu], after having created this universe, withdrew for the sake of its dissolution and was lying asleep, the Vedas in person awakened the Supreme One with descriptions of His characteristics, the way a sleeping king by his court poets is awakened when they as his servants approach him at dawn with [recitations of] his heroic deeds. (14) The Vedas said: 'All glories, oh all glories to You! Please, Unconquerable One, defeat the eternal illusion which assumed the form of the natural modes and constitutes the [human] weakness. Because You, who in Your original status are complete with all opulences, at times engaging with Your spiritual and material energies awaken the powers of the mobile and immobile embodied beings [awake them to consciousness], You can by us, the Vedas, be supported [**]. (15) The world we perceive is by the seers regarded as a product of something greater [of brahman], as something which no more than clay [as a resource] undergoes any change itself when it is transformed in forms that dissolve again. For that reason the seers dedicated their minds, words and actions to You. Where else could the footsteps of men be placed than on the ground they are walking [see also 6.16: 22, 11.24: 18 and B.G. 7: 20-25]? (16) Your people of enlightenment, oh Master of All the Three Worlds, therefore dive deep into the nectarean ocean of the narrations [about You, the kathā], which eradicate the impurity and put an end to their troubles. It is therefore not that surprising that they, who by the power of their own minds dispelled the [unwanted] qualities of the [identification with one's] temporality, oh Supreme One, experience the uninterrupted happiness of Your abode in their worship. (17) They who, like a bellows, are just displacing some air as they breathe [see B.G. 18: 61], are full of vitality [only] when they are Your faithful followers, [for] You, who are elevated above cause and effect, constitute the underlying reality from whose mercy the universal egg of the material complete, the separate existence [the ego] and the other aspects of creation were produced [see 3.26: 51-53]. Adapted to the particular forms of the living being, You then appear here as the Ultimate Form among the different gross and subtle physical coverings [the kos'as and B.G. 18: 54]. (18) Among those living according to the standards of the seers, they who are engrossed in their vision worship the abdomen [the lower centers], while the Ārunis [the superior yogis] first of all fix their attention on the prānic knot of the subtle energies [see cakra] of the heart. From there, oh Unlimited One, they move [their attention] upward to the head, which is Your abode, and then they go to the highest destination from which they, having reached it, never again fall down in the mouth of death [see also B.G. 8: 16]. (19) Entering in a certain manner the, by You differently created, species of life as their motivation, You become visible depending the higher or lower form of Your own created beings, just as fire manifests itself [depending the form ignited]. You thus existing among them as the 'real' among the 'unreal', are understood as being one unchanging, pure, central refuge, by those who, free from material entanglements, have spotless minds [see also B.G. 2: 12]. (20) The person, residing within the bodies he owes to his karma, is, as an expansion of You who are the possessor of all energies, as is stated [by the Vedas], in fact not of the external [the gross body, the deha], nor of the internal [the subtle body, the linga], but is [by these bodies] enveloped. When scholars of the scriptures have developed faith in ascertaining the status of the living entity as being of that manifestation [as an expansion or part and parcel of Yours, a person], they worship Your feet as the source of liberation and the field in which all offerings are sown. (21) By diving deep into the vast nectar ocean of the adventures of the forms You assumed to propagate the hard to grasp principle of the soul, the few souls who found relief from the fatigue [of a material life] do not even wish to be liberated from this world, oh Lord. This is so because they, after abandoning their homes, found association with the community of the swans [the transcendental people] at Your lotus feet [see e.g. 4.24: 58, 4.30: 33, 5.12: 16, 5.13: 21, 7.6: 17-18, 7.14: 3-4]. (22) This body useful for serving You, acts as one's self, one's friend and beloved. They however, who alas fail to delight in You, rather find the degradation of the physical frame [in successive births], in spite of You as their very Self being favorably disposed, helpful and affectionate. As a matter of fact they, failing to find their way with their great existential fears, cling to material desires and are [thus] self destructive ['soul killing'] in their worship of the unreal [see also B.G. 16: 19]. (23) That what by the sages, with their breathing, mind and senses being brought under control in steadfast yoga, is worshiped in the heart, is also attained by those who remember You in enmity [see also 3.2: 24 and 10.74: 46]. We [the s'rutis] will likewise attain You and, being equally considered by You, equally relish the nectar of the lotus feet enjoyed by the women [the gopīs, Your wives] whose minds are attracted to Your arms firm as mighty snake bodies. (24) Ah, who out here, who but recently was born and soon will die, has an inkling of the One Who Came First, from whom the [leading] seer [Brahmā] arose who was followed by the two groups of demigods [controlling the senses and the principles. See B.G. 7: 26]? When He lies down to withdraw, at that time nothing remains of the gross and the subtle, nor of that what comprises them both [the bodies], while also the flow of Time and the S'āstras are no longer there [B.G. 9: 7]. (25) They who, teaching with authority, declare that life springs from dead matter, that that what is eternal would end [see B.G. 2: 16], that the soul would not be one [see 10.14: 9] and that doing business would constitute reality [see B.G. 17: 28]; they who state that the living being thus would have been produced from the three modes [see B.G. 14: 19 and 13: 28], are fixed on a dualistic notion born from ignorance. Such a thing cannot exist in Your transcendence, in You, who are the Essence of Full Perception [see also 5.6: 9-11]. (26) The threefoldness and its forms up to the human beings, appears as something real to the mind, but is in You seen as something untrue [as temporal]. The entirety of this world with its forms is by the knowers of the Self not rejected as being different from the Self [though]. Because the forms [and also persons] created by Him are transformations not different from Him, like forms of gold all being gold, they consider this creation, which was entered by Him, as being Him in person [see also 6.16: 22]. (27) They who worship You as the shelter of all created beings, simply put their feet on the head of Death and look away from him. With Your words You tie up even the scholars [among the non-devotees], the way one ties up animals. Those [among them] who consider themselves Your friends [thus] arrive at purification, but not so they who turned away from You. (28) You are the self-effulgent causeless One [free from the senses] who maintains the power of the sensory functions of all creatures. The demigods, together with the unborn Lord Brahmā, take part in paying You tribute and partake of the offerings carried, just as the local rulers in a kingdom, together with the sovereign who rules the entire country, are of respect [for You] and enjoy their share. That is how they who are the appointed leaders perform their duties in fear of You. (29) The species of life, which manifest themselves as stationary and moving, are by Your material energy motivated for action. But that can happen only when You, the One aloof, oh Eternally Liberated One, cast Your glance briefly ['awaiting'] upon it [by assuming Your forms] for having Your pastimes in the material world. To [You] the Supreme [Personality of Godhead], no one can be a stranger or a friend, just as the ether can have no perceptible qualities. In that sense You are like the void of space. (30) If the countless embodiments of the living beings would be eternal, the omnipresent [Time] as a consequence would not be such a sovereign rule, oh Unchanging One. But it is not otherwise. Because the substance cannot be independent from that from which it was generated [- pradhāna, the primeval ether -] [You] the regulator [who are the Time, B.G. 10: 30] must be known as being equally present everywhere [as the 'fourth dimension']. When one supposes that one knows [You materially], one is mistaken in the falsehood of an opinion [on the local order, see 6.5: 19]. (31) Material nature [prakriti] and the person [purusha] do not find their existence at a particular point in time. Not originating as such [from one or the other], it is from the combination of these two [primordial elements] that living bodies find their existence in You, just as bubbles find their existence as a combination of water and air. And just as rivers merge into the ocean and all flavors [of flower nectar] merge into the honey, these living beings with all their different names and qualities [in de end] merge [again] in [You,] the Supreme [see also B.G. 9: 7]. (32) Those who are wise understand the extend to which Your māyā bewilders human beings, and frequently render traditional service unto You, the source of liberation. How could there, for the souls who faithfully follow You, be any kind of fear about a material existence, a fear that by the three rimmed [wheel of Time - of past, present and future] - by Your furrowing eyebrows - repeatedly is raised in those who do not take shelter of You [see also B.G. 4: 10, 7: 14 & 14: 26]? (33) The mind, being conquered by the senses and the breath, is like a horse not under control [B.G. 2: 60 and 5.11: 10]. Those who in this world strive for regulation but have abandoned the feet of the guru, find, being most unsteady with the various methods of control, full of distress hundreds of obstacles on their way, oh Unborn One. They are like merchants [sailing] on the ocean who failed to employ a helmsman [see 10.51: 60 & B.G. 4: 34]. (34) What do servants, children, a body, a wife, money, a house, land, vitality and vehicles mean to human beings for whom You became their very Self, the Embodiment of All Pleasure? And what at all would to those, who fail to appreciate the truth [of Him] and carry on with their indulgence in sexual matters, bring [real] happiness in this world subject to destruction that, on itself, is lacking meaning [see also B.G. 13: 8-12]? (35) The seers free from false pride who, with the greatest piety, on this earth direct themselves at the places of pilgrimage and the sites of His pastimes, have installed Your feet in their heart and destroy all sins with the water that washed their feet. They who but once turned their mind towards You, the Supreme Soul of Eternal Happiness, will never again devote themselves to the homely affair [of a family life] that steals away a person's essential qualities. (36) If someone says: 'From the real [of God] the real [of the universe] has manifested', that can certainly be doubted and refuted [*4]. The combination is inconsistent, for it is true in a number of cases, while it is an illusion not being so in other cases. For the sake of worldly purposes, rows of people with a dark vision like to consider it alternatively and bewilder, with different meanings and implications of Your numerous words of wisdom, those who are not using their minds with the ritual praises. (37) Because this universe did not exist in the beginning and after its annihilation neither will exist, can be concluded that what in-between appears within You, the sole object of love, is a useles show [or a false representation]. We understand this universe thus as an [illusory, bewildering] combination of different categories of the [real] primal substance [see text 26], while the less intelligent souls prone to falsehood, take for real what the mind makes of it [see B.G. 6: 8]. (38) For reason of [the insurmountable presence of] material nature, he [the living entity] reconciles himself to that undeveloped state and, taking to her qualities [the gunas], accordingly assumes forms. Bound to those forms he is deprived of spiritual qualities and runs into [the facts of birth and] death. You Yourself, on the other hand, leave her [the material energy] aside like a snake shedding its skin and are, in Your eightfold greatness [see siddhis] glorified as the One Unlimited in His Glories who is endowed with all spiritual qualities. (39) When those who restrain themselves do not uproot the desires in their hearts, they, in their impurity, cannot reach You who have entered their heart. They are like someone who has forgotten the jewel he hung around his neck. Yoga practitioners who are satisfied with an animalistic life will be unhappy in both [worlds here and hereafter]: [here with] death they cannot escape [and hereafter with] You whose kingdom they cannot reach [see also B.G. 6: 41-42]. (40) Someone who understands You, is not concerned about the favorable or unfavorable, good or bad associated with the body he has assumed, neither does he care about what others say. Oh You of All qualities, day after day he fills his ears with the song heard in every age through the disciplic succession. For that reason the children of Manu [the human beings, see 3.22: 34-39 and 5.13: 25] consider You the ultimate goal of liberation. (41) Neither the masters of heaven nor even You, can reach the end of Your glories, oh Unlimited One, oh You within whom the many universes by the drive of Time, each in their own shell, are blown about in the sky like particles of dust. The s'rutis bearing fruit by [neti neti] eliminating that what is not the Absolute Truth, find in You their ultimate conclusion [see siddhānta].'

(42) The Supreme Lord said: 'Having heard this instruction about the True Self, the sons of Brahmā understood their final destination and worshiped thereupon, perfectly satisfied, the sage Sanandana. (43) This is how in the past the nectar of the underlying mystery of all the Vedas and Purānas [the Upanishad philosophy] was distilled by the great souls [the classical sages] who appeared in this world to roam in higher spheres. (44) Oh heir of Brahmā [Nārada], wander the earth as you wish, meditating with faith on this instruction about the Soul that turns the desires of man into ashes.'

(45) S'rī S'uka said: 'The self-possessed rishi, thus receiving the command of the sage, accepted it faithfully, oh King. Now completely being of success he, whose vow was as firm as a kshatriya's, after due consideraton said the following. (46) S'rī Nārada said: 'My obeisances to Him, the Supreme Lord Krishna of a spotless renown, who manifests His attractive expansions for the liberation of all living beings [1.3: 28].'

(47) Thus having spoken, Nārada bowed down to the Original Rishi [Nārāyana] and to the great souls who were His pupils. Then he went from there to the hermitage of my physical father, Dvaipāyana Vedavyāsa. (48) He was honored by the great devotee [Vyāsa] who offered him a seat, whereupon Nārada sat down and described to him what he had heard from the mouth of S'rī Nārāyana. (49) Thus I answered your question, oh King, on how the mind can be engaged in the Absolute Truth [- the reality] without material qualities that cannot be expressed in words. (50) He who watches over this universe in the beginning, the middle and the end, He who is the Controller of the unmanifested matter [pradhāna] and the individual soul [jīva], He who sent forth this universe, entered it along with the individual seer and producing bodies [with him] regulates them, He, because of whom one surrendering abandons the material energy that one embraces the way a sleeper abandons his body, is the Supreme Lord upon whom one incessantly should meditate to be free from fear [see B.G. 16: 11-12, 1.9: 39 and the bhajan Sarvasva Tomāra Carana].'

*: S'rīla S'rīdhara Svāmī elaborately analyzes this problem, of describing the inexpressible Truth in definable terms, by means of the traditional discipline of Sanskrit poetics that states that words have three kinds of expressive capacities, called s'abda-vrittis. These are the different ways a word refers to its meaning, distinguished as mukhya-vritti - literal meaning (divided in rudhi, conventional use and yoga, derived use as in etymology), lakshanā-vritti - metaphorical meaning, and the closely related gauna-vritti, a similar meaning; exemplified by: the word lion has the three expressive forms of: it is a lion - literal, he is a lion - metaphorical and he is like a lion - similar use. So in fact the question is how the Absolute would be covered taken literal, in metaphor and in simile.

**: According to S'rīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the twenty-seven verses of the prayers of the personified Vedas (Texts 14 - 41) represent the opinions of each of the twenty-eight major s'rutis. These chief Upanishads and other s'rutis are concerned with the various approaches of the Absolute Truth. See the purports pp 10.87 of this chapter of the paramparā for specific quotes.

***: The Kathha Upanishad (2.2.13) proclaims:

nityo nityānām cetanas' cetanānām
eko bahū
ām yo vidadhāti kāmān
tam pīthha-gam ye ’nupas'yanti dhīr
teshām s'
āntih s'ās'vatī netareshām

“Among all the eternal, conscious beings, there is one who supplies the needs of everyone else. The wise souls who worship Him in His abode attain everlasting peace. Others cannot.”

*4: The paramparā writes here: "According to S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura, the Upanshads teach that this created world is real but temporary."


Chapter 88: Lord S'iva Saved from Vrikāsura

(1) The king [Parīkchit] said: 'The demigods, demons and human beings who worship the austere Lord S'iva, are usually rich and enjoy their senses, contrary to those who honor Lakshmī and her Husband, Lord Hari. (2) We are in great doubt about this and would like to understand this matter of the contradictory destinations of the worshipers of the two Lords, who are of such opposite characters.'
(3) S'rī S'uka said: 'S'iva, who is always united with his s'akti, covers the basic qualities of nature with the three characteristics of his emotion [his sattva], his authority [his rajas] and his darkness [his tamas]. He thus constitutes the [embodiment of the] threefold principle of [false] ego. (4) From them the sixteen transformations [lingas] have manifested [of the mind, the ten senses and the five elements]. Someone who turns to [the S'iva manifestation ruling over] any of them, will enjoy all kinds of [corresponding] material wealth [see under S'iva]. (5) Lord Hari however, the Original Person, is transcendental to material nature and absolutely untouched by the modes. He is the [inner] witness seeing everything. By worshiping Him one is freed from [the influence of] the gunas. (6) This is what your grandfather the king [Yudishthhira] asked Acyuta when he, after completing his horse sacrifices, heard from Him about the dharma. (7) The Supreme Lord, his Master, who for the sake of the ultimate benefit of all men had descended into the Yadu family, then was pleased to speak to him as he eagerly listened. (8) The Supreme Lord said: 'From the one I favor I gradually take away the wealth. Wanting he will suffer one distress after the other and be abandoned by his friends and relatives [see also 7.15: 15, 9.21: 12, 10.81: 14 & 20, 10.87: 40, B.G. 9: 22]. (9) When he, failing in his attempts to endeavor for money, gets frustrated and becomes friends with My devotees, I will show him My mercy. (10) Intelligent with the wisdom, understanding that the subtle, pure, eternal spirit of the Supreme Infinite Brahman constitutes one's true self, one is freed from samsāra. (11) Leaving Me aside because I am most difficult to worship, people worship others, who are quickly satisfied. From them receiving royal opulence, they become arrogant and proud, and next, surprisingly, become negligent and insulting towards those whom they owe the benedictions [see also B.G. 2: 42-44; 4: 12; 7: 20-25; 17: 22, 18: 28].'

(12) S'rī S'uka said: 'Brahmā, Vishnu, S'iva and others, are capable of pronouncing curses and granting favors. Brahmā and S'iva are quick with their condemnations and blessings, my dear King, but the Infallible One [Lord Vishnu] is not. (13) In this connection the following ancient story is told as an example about Giris'a [S'iva], who ran into danger because he offered the demon Vrikāsura the choice of a benediction. (14) The demon, called Vrika, was a son of S'akuni [see 9.24: 5]. He once met Nārada on the road and wickedly asked him whom of the three Lords would be most quickly pleased. (15) He said: 'For quick success you better worship S'iva. He is as quickly satisfied with your qualities, as he is angered by your faults. (16) Satisfied about Ten-head [Rāvana] and Bāna, who like minstrels sang his glories, he ran into great trouble when he gave them unequaled power.'

(17) Thus being informed, the Asura worshiped him [Lord S'iva] at Kedāra [in the Himalayas], by offering oblations of flesh from his own limbs into the fire that is S'iva's mouth. (18-19) Out of frustration not to obtain the sight of the Lord, he, at the seventh day, with his hair wetted in the waters of that holy place, was about to cut off his head with a hatchet. But at that moment S'iva supremely merciful rose from the fire, looking like Agni. He stopped him by seizing his arms, just like we would do. By that touch his body was restored to its original complete state. (20) He told him: 'Enough, enough, dear man, please listen. Choose a benediction from me, I will bestow whatever boon you desire. Ah, tormenting your body so greatly is useless, for I am [already] pleased by persons who with some water approach me for shelter [see also B.G. 17: 5-6]!'

(21) The sinner then asked the god for a boon that terrified all living beings: 'May everyone die upon whose head I place my hand!'

(22) Oh son of Bharata, when Rudra heard this, he disgruntled vibrated om in consent and granted the request with a forced smile, like he was giving milk to a snake [see also 10.16: 37]. (23) To put the favor to a test, the demon then tried to put his hand on the head of Lord S'ambu, S'iva, who thus became afraid of what he had caused himself. (24) Trembling with fear being pursued by him, he from the north [of his residence] fled in all directions, to the limits of the earth and the sky. (25-26) Not knowing what to do against it, the chief demigods remained silent. He [S'iva] thereupon went to Vaikunthha, the place of light beyond all darkness, where Nārāyana, the Supreme Goal, is personally present. That place constitutes the destination from where renunciates do not return who stopped with the violence [against other creatures] and found peace [see also S'vetadvīpa]. (27-28) The Supreme Lord, the Eradicator of Distress, who from a distance saw the danger, by the power of His yogamāyā turned Himself into a young brahmin student and came before him. Complete with a belt, deerskin, rod and prayer beads, He had an effulgence that glowed like fire. He respectfully greeted him humbly with kus'a grass in His hands. (29) The Supreme Lord said: 'Dear son of S'akuni, you seem to be tired. Why have you come from so far? Please rest a while, should we not attend to all the desires of this personal body? (30) If We may hear about it, oh mighty one, please tell Us what you have in mind. One usually accomplishes one's purposes with the help of others, is it not?'

(31) S' S'uka said: 'Thus being questioned by the Supreme Lord with words that rained like nectar, all his fatigue vanished. He told Him what he had done. (32) The Supreme Lord [then] said [to Vrika]: 'If that is the case, We cannot put faith in S'iva's statements, for he has been cursed by Daksha to become diabolical as the king of the ghosts and devils [see 4.2: 9-16]. (33) If you, oh King of the Dānavas, put faith in him as the 'spiritual master of the universe', then see right now what happens when you place your hand on your own head! (34) If S'ambhu's words thus or otherwise prove to be false, oh best of the Dānavas, then please kill him who has been fooling you, so that he never lies again.'

(35) He was thus as bewildered by the so very clever, excellent words of the Supreme Lord, that he no longer thought and foolishly placed his hand on his own head. (36) Like being hit by lightening his head was instantly shattered. He fell down, whereupon from the sky the sounds could be heard of 'Victory!', 'Hail!' and 'Well done!' (37) Now that, with the death of the sinful Asura Vrika, S'iva was freed from the danger, the celestial sages, the ancestors and the singers of heaven released a rain of flowers. (38-39) Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality, then addressed the delivered Giris'a: 'Ah, dear Mahādeva, see how this sinner was killed by his own sinfulness! What happiness, oh master, can there be for a living being of offense towards the elevated saints, not to mention being of offense with the Lord of the Universe, the Guru of the Living Being [see also 1.18: 42, 7.4: 20 and B.G. 16: 23]? (40) Whoever hears or speaks about this rescue of Lord S'iva by the Lord of the Supersoul, the Inconceivable Personal Manifestation of the Ocean of All Energies, will be freed from his enemies as also from the repetition of birth and death.'



Chapter 89: Vishnu, the Best of the Gods, and the Krishnas Retrieve a Brahmin's Sons

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Among sages performing a sacrifice at the bank of the Sarasvatī, oh King, a controversy arose as to whom of the three [Lords] who are there from the beginning, would be the greatest. (2) Desirous to know this they sent the son of Brahmā called Bhrigu to find this out, oh King. He went to the court of Brahmā. (3) To test his goodness, he did not bow down to him nor did he utter a prayer. That kindled the great Lord's passion, who then got angry. (4) In spite of the anger towards his son that was rising in his heart, the self-born one managed to control himself, just as fire is extinguished by its own [evolutionary] product [water, see also 3.12: 6-10]. (5) Next he went to Mount Kailāsa, where S'iva, glad to see him, rose to his feet in order to embrace his brother. (6-7) But when Bhrigu denied this and said: 'You are a transgressor of the path', he became angry and ready to kill rose, with eyes shooting fire, his trident against him. The goddess [Pārvatī] fell at his feet and pacified him verbally. Bhrigu subsequently went to Vaikunthha where Lord Janārdana resides. (8-9) The Supreme Lord, the Destination of the Devotees, was lying with His head on the lap of the goddess of fortune. He kicked Him in the chest whereupon He together with Lakshmī rose up. He came down from the bed, bowed His head down to the sage and said: 'Be welcome oh brahmin, take this seat, please forgive Us, oh master, for a moment We did not notice you had arrived! (10-11) Please purify Me, My world and the rulers of all worlds devoted to Me, with the water washing from the feet of your good self that creates the sacredness of the sites of pilgrimage. Today, My lord, I have become the exclusive shelter of the goddess of fortune, because with your foot having freed My chest from all sin, she will consent to reside there.'

(12) S'rī S'uka said: 'Bhrigu, delighted and pleased by the solemn words the Lord of Vaikunthha thus spoke, fell silent, with tears in his eyes being overwhelmed by devotion. (13) Oh King, Bhrigu returned to the sacrifice of the sages defending the Veda, and described in full what he personally had experienced. (14-17) Hearing this the sages fell in amazement, because putting faith in Lord Vishnu as the greatest One bringing peace and fearlessness, they were freed from their doubts. The direct proof of His dharma, spiritual knowledge, detachment, realization [of tat], eight mystic powers [siddhis] and fame, drives away the impurities of the mind. He is called the Supreme Destination for all selfless souls and saintly sages who, with minds that are equipoised and peaceful, have forsaken the violence [of ruling by passion]. His favorite embodiment is the mode of goodness and the brahmins are His worshipable deities, they who are peaceful persons of keen intellect who revere Him without ulterior motives [see 1.2: 7; 3.25: 37 and 10.81]. (18) In accord with the gunas there are three types of conditioned beings who find their existence by His material energy: the wild ones [of tamas, the Rākshasas], the unenlightened ones [of rajas, the Asuras] and the godly ones [of sattva, the Suras]. Among these three beings, those in the mode of goodness [the Suras] are the souls leading the way [see B.G. 14: 6 & 14: 14].'

(19) S'rī S'uka said: 'The scholars [being assembled] at the Sarasvatī in order to dispel the doubt of the common people, thus [with this conclusion] served the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality [of Pure Goodness] and attained His destination.' "

(20) S'rī Sūta [at Naimishāranya] said: "This is how this nectar with the fragrance of a lotus flowed from the mouth of the son of the sage [Vyāsa]. That nectar, dealing with the Supreme Personality, shatters the fear of a material existence and makes the traveler on the [worldly] road constantly drink the fine verses through the holes of his ears, and makes him forget the fatigue of his wanderings. (21) S'uka said: 'Once, in Dvārakā, it happened that the child born from the wife of a brahmin died the very moment it, as one says, touched the ground, oh descendant of Bharata. (22) The brahmin took the corpse to the gate of the king [Ugrasena] and then, presenting it, in misery lamenting with an agitated mind said the following: (23) 'Because this unqualified, avaricious kshatriya addicted to sense gratification, with a deceitful mind and hostile to the brahmins, failed in his duties, my son had to die. (24) Citizens in service of a wicked ruler of man who, out of control with his senses, delights in violence, will always suffer poverty and be unhappy.'

(25) And so it came to pass a second and a third time that the wise brahmin the same way left [a dead child] at the gate and sang the same song [of lamentation]. (26-27) Arjuna, who one day was in the vicinity because of Kes'ava, happened to hear about it when the brahmin lost a ninth child. He said: 'Oh brahmin, is there not someone out here who can wield the bow at your home? Truly these members of the ruling class behave like brahmins attending a sacrifice! (28) There where brahmins have to lament the loss of wives, children and wealth, those dressed up as kings are but actors living for their own material interest. (29) Oh great lord, I will protect the offspring of the two of you who are so miserable in this matter. And if I fail to fulfill my promise, I will enter the fire to put an end to my sins [compare B.G. 2: 34].'

(30-31) The brahmin said: 'Neither Sankarshana, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna the greatest archer, nor Aniruddha the incomparable chariot fighter, could save them [my sons]. Then why do you so naively try to do that what could not be done by the [catur-vyūha] Lords of the Universe? We therefore cannot believe it.'

(32) S'rī Arjuna said: 'I am neither Sankarshana, oh brahmin, nor Krishna, nor even a descendant. I am the one called Arjuna, whose bow is the Gāndīva! (33) Do not underestimate my prowess that satisfied the three-eyed one [Lord S'iva], oh brahmin. I will defeat Death in battle and bring your children back, oh master!'

(34) Oh tormentor of the enemies [king Parīkchit], the scholar thus being convinced by Arjuna went home, satisfied about what he had heard about the prowess of the son of Prithā. (35) When his wife was about to deliver again, the most elevated brahmin said distraught to Arjuna: 'Save, please save my child from death!'

(36) He touched pure water, offered his obeisances to the mighty Lord [S'iva], remembered [the mantras for] his weapons and strung the bowstring of his Gāndīva. (37) Upwards, downwards and sidewards he, with arrows being charged with the mantras, created a cage of arrows and thus fenced in the house of delivery. (38) The child that next took birth from the brahmin's wife, cried for some time but then suddenly disappeared into the sky complete with its body. (39) The brahmin thereupon in the presence of Krishna derided Arjuna by saying: 'Just see what a fool I am, I who trusted the boasting of an eunuch! (40) When neither Arjuna, Aniruddha, Balarāma nor Kes'ava could save them, who else would be capable to offer protection in a situation like this? (41) Damn that Arjuna with his false words, damn the bow of that braggart who so dumb and delusional thought he could return the ones taken by fate!'

(42) While the wise brahmin thus was cursing him, Arjuna resorted to a mystic incantation and went straight to the heavenly city of Samyamanī where the great Yamarāja lives. (43-44) Not finding the brahmin's child there he, with his weapons ready, went from there to the cities of Indra, Agni, Nirriti [the god of death subordinate to Yamarāja], Soma [the moon god], Vāyu and Varuna. Next he searched all the other regions, from the subterranean world up to the highest position in heaven. Failing to obtain from them the son of the twice-born soul, he was ready to enter the fire as he had promised, but then was opposed by Krishna who stopped him. (45) [He said:] 'I will show you the sons of the brahmin, please do not despise yourself! Men [as critical with us] like this, are going to bring the spotless fame of the two of us.'

(46) After this statement, the Supreme Lord, the Divine Controller, mounted his chariot together with Arjuna and set off in the western direction. (47) Passing over the seven continents with their seven seas and seven mountain ranges, He crossed the [lokāloka] border, which separated the worlds from outer space, and entered the vast darkness [see also 5.1: 31-33]. (48-49) There in the darkness the horses S'aibya, Sugrīva, Meghapushpa and Balāhaka [see also 10.53*] lost their way, oh best of the Bharatas. Seeing their plight, the Supreme Lord, the Great Master of All Yoga Masters, sent His personal cakra, shining like a thousand suns, ahead of the chariot. (50) The Sudars'ana disc, which with its extremely intensive effulgence was speeding ahead as fast as the mind, cut itself through the immense dense and fearsome darkness of the manifestation, like an arrow from Lord Rāmacandra's bow shot at an army. (51) Arjuna followed the path of the cakra beyond that darkness and beheld the all-pervasive, endlessly expanding, transcendental light [the brahma-jyoti], that hurt his eyes so much that he closed them [see also 10.28: 14-15]. (52) From there they entered a body of water that by a mighty wind was moved about into a splendor of huge waves. In the water was situated a wondrous abode that supremely radiated, with columns shining brightly with thousands of inlaid gems. (53) The huge serpent Ananta resided there. Amazing with His thousands of heads, which radiated with the gems upon the hoods and His twice as many frightening eyes, He, with His dark blue necks and tongues, resembled the white mountain [Kailāsa]. (54-56) On that serpent he saw the almighty, highest authority of the Personality Supreme to all Personalities of Godhead, sitting comfortably, looking like a dense raincloud, with beautiful yellow garments, a pleasing attractive face and broad eyes. His thousands of scattered locks bathed in the brilliance of His earrings and the clusters of large jewels in His crown. Being framed by a garland of forest flowers, He with His eight handsome long arms, Kaustubha jewel and S'rīvatsa mark, was, as the Chief of the Rulers of the Universe, served by His personal associates headed by Nanda and Sunanda, as also by His cakra and His other weapons that manifested their personal forms, [the consorts of] His energies for prosperity, beauty, fame and material creation [resp. Pushthi, S'rī, Kīrti and Ajā], and the complete of His mystic powers [siddhis]. (57) Acyuta paid homage to Himself in His Unlimited Form, as did also Arjuna who was amazed by the sight [of Mahā-Vishnu]. The Almighty Lord and Master of the Rulers of the Universe, then with a smile and an invigorating voice addressed the two of them who had joined their palms. (58) 'I brought the sons of the brahmin over here with the desire to see the two of you, who descended as My expansions to protect the dharma. Please quickly return to My presence after you have killed those of darkness who burden the earth [see 2.2: 24-27 and 2.6: 26]. (59) Even though all the desires of the two of you have been fulfilled, oh best of all persons, you should be engaged in upholding the dharma for the sake of the common man, just as the sages Nara and Nārāyana did.'

(60-61) The two Krishnas [see also B.G. 10: 37] thus being instructed by the Supreme Lord of the Highest Abode, said 'om' while bowing down to the Almighty One. They took the sons of the twice-born soul with them and returned elated to their abode [Dvārakā], the same way they had come. There they handed the sons, who had the same bodies and the same age [as they had when they were lost], over to the brahmin. (62) Having seen the abode of Vishnu, Arjuna was most surprised. He concluded that whatever powers human beings have, it are all manifestations of Krishna's mercy. (63) He [Krishna] performed many heroic acts like this in the world, enjoyed the normal sensual pleasures [see also 1.11: 35-39], and was of worship with the most important sacrifices [e.g. in 10.24 and 10.74 & 75]. (64) Just like Indra at the right time pours his rain, the Supreme Lord in excercising His Supremacy, rained down all that was desired upon His subjects, beginning with His brahmins. (65) By killing all the kings who opposed the dharma and therein having engaged Arjuna and others, He has paved the way for the son of Dharma [Yudhishthhira] to carry out the principles of religion [see also 1.14 & 15].'


Chapter 90: The Queens Play and Speak, and Lord Krishna's Glories Summarized

(1-7) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Master of the goddess of fortune resided happily in Dvārakā. His city, opulent in every respect, was populated by the most prominent Vrishnis and their excellently, in new apparel dressed women, who in the beauty of their youth shone like lightening when they on the rooftops were playing with balls and other toys. Its roads were always crowded with well ornamented and honored elephants dripping with mada, with foot soldiers and horses and chariots shining with gold. The city was richly endowed with gardens and parks with rows of flowering trees, where from all sides the sounds of the bees and the birds were heard that frequented them. He [Krishna] enjoyed there with His sixteen thousand wives, for whom He, as their one and only love, had expanded Himself in their richly furnished residences in as many different forms [see also 10.69: 41]. There were crystal clear ponds filled with the cooing of flocks of birds and the aroma of the pollen of night and day blooming lotuses and water lilies. The Great Appearance sported there by diving into the water of the streams, whereby His body, being embraced by the women, was smeared with the kunkuma of their breasts. (8-9) Being glorified by the singers of heaven who played two-sided drums, kettledrums and tabors, as also by male and female reciters playing vīnās, His laughing wives squirted Him wet with syringes. Squirting them wet in His turn, He sported like the lord of the treasure keepers [Kuvera] with his nymphs. (10) With their clothes wet revealing their thighs and breasts, they looked resplendently as they, with the flowers of their large braids scattered all over the place and with blooming faces beaming wide smiles, tried to seize His syringe and under the spell of Cupid embraced their Spouse. (11) Like He was the king of the elephants surrounded by she-elephants, Krishna enjoyed the being sprayed by and spraying of the women, while the kunkuma from their breasts stuck to His garland and the arrangement of His wealth of hair was disheveled from being absorbed in the game. (12) Done playing Krishna gave the male and female performers, who earned their livelihood by singing and playing music, the ornaments and garments of Himself and His wives. (13) Krishna thus sporting, stole away the hearts of the wives with His movements, talks, glances and smiles, with His jokes, exchanges of love and embraces. (14) Having focussed their minds exclusively on Mukunda they, being entranced, spoke like they were mad. Now listen to me as I relate to you the words they spoke thinking about the Lotus-eyed One

(15) The queens said [see also 10.47: 12-21, 10.83: 8-40]: 'Oh kurari, you are lamenting! Deprived of sleep you cannot rest, while the Controller tonight is sleeping somewhere in the world at an unknown place. Can it be that your heart, just like ours, oh friend, was deeply pierced by His smiling and the munificent, playful glance of His lotus eyes? (16) Oh cakravākī, having closed your eyes for the night, you nevertheless are crying pitifully for your unseen friend. Or do you perhaps, after having attained the servitude, just like us desire to carry in your braided hair the garland that was honored by Acyuta's feet? (17) Oh dear, dear ocean, you are always making such a noise, never getting any sleep. Are you suffering from sleeplessness? Or were, maybe, your personal qualities stolen by Mukunda, so that you also ended up in this hard to cure [diseased] condition? (18) Oh moon, are you, in the grip of the fell disease of consumption, so emaciated that you cannot dispel the darkness with your rays? Or are you maybe dumbstruck, oh dearest, because you, just like us, cannot remember what Mukunda all said? (19) Oh wind from the Malaya mountains, what have we done that displeased you, so that our hearts are led by Cupid [Kāmadeva], hearts that are already torn apart by Govinda's sidelong glances? (20) Oh honorable cloud, you surely are a friend most dear to the Chief of the Yādavas with the S'rīvatsa on His chest. We are, in our meditation on pure love, just as bound to Him as your good self is. Your most eager heart is just as distraught as ours. We, just like you, remember Him over and over. And that results in torrents of rain with you, just as it time and again makes us shed streams of tears. It can be so hurtful to associate with Him! (21) Oh sweet-throated cuckoo, please tell me what I should do to please you, who vibrate His so very dear sounds, in this voice that is capable of reviving the dead. (22) Oh mountain with your broad-minded intelligence, you do not move or speak. Are you preoccupied with great matters, or do you maybe, just like us, desire to hold on your breasts the feet of the darling son of Vasudeva? (23) Oh [rivers,] wives of the ocean, your lakes have alas lost their wealth of lotuses that shriveled away now that they dried up, just like us, who became very thin because of not obtaining the loving glance of our beloved husband, the Lord of Madhu, who so often stole our hearts [see also 10.47: 41 and 10.48: 11]? (24) Oh swan, be welcome and sit down, please drink some milk and tell us the news, oh dear one, for we know you to be a messenger of S'auri. Is the Unconquerable One all well? Does He, who is so fickle in His friendship, still remember that He talked to us a long time ago? Why should we [run after Him to] be of worship, oh servant of the campaka? Tell Him who raises the desire, to visit us without the goddess of fortune. Why should that woman have the exclusive right of devotion?'

(25) S'rī S'uka said: 'Speaking and acting with such ecstatic love for Krishna, the Master of  Yoga masters, the wives of Lord Mādhava attained the ultimate goal. (26) He, who in numerous songs is glorified in numerous ways, attracts with force the mind of any woman who but heard about Him. And how much more attractive would He then be to those who directly see Him? (27) How can we ever describe the austerities of the women who, with the idea of having as their husband the Spiritual Master of the Universe, with pure love served His feet perfectly with massages and so on? (28) Thus proceeding according to the dharma as defended by the Vedas, He, the Goal of all Saintly Souls, demonstrated how one at home may arrive at the regulation of one's religiosity, economic development and sense gratification [the purushārthas]. (29) With Krishna answering to the highest standard of a householder's life, there where over sixteen thousand and one hundred queens [see also 10.59** and 7.14]. (30) Among them there were eight gems of women, headed by Rukminī, who I, along with their sons, one after the other have described previously, oh King [see 10.83 & 10.61: 8-19]. (31) Krishna, the Supreme Lord Who Never Fails in His Purpose, begot in each of His many wives ten sons [and one daughter]. (32) Among these there were eighteen mahārathas of an unlimited prowess, whose fame spread wide. Hear now from me their names. (33-34) They were Pradyumna and [His son] Aniruddha; Dīptimān and Bhānu as also Sāmba, Madhu and Brihadbhānu; Citrabhānu, Vrika and Aruna; Pushkara and Vedabāhu, S'rutadeva and Sunandana; Citrabāhu and Virūpa, Kavi and Nyagrodha. (35) Oh best of kings, Pradyumna, the son of Rukminī, was the most prominent one of these sons of Krishna, the enemy of Madhu. He was just like His father. (36) He, the great chariot fighter, married the daughter of Rukmī [named Rukmavatī] from whom next Aniruddha was born who was endowed with the strength of a ten thousand elephants [see 10.61]. (37) He, as you know, married Rukmī's granddaughter [Rocana] from whom next His son Vajra was born, one of the few who survived the battle with the clubs [see 3.4: 1 & 2]. (38) Pratibāhu was his son, who next fathered Subāhu, whose son S'āntasena had S'atasena as his son. (39) No one born in this family was poor in wealth or had few children, was short-lived, small in prowess or neglecting the brahminical interest.

(40) The glorious deeds of the men born in the Yadu dynasty cannot be summed up, oh King, not even in a ten thousand years. (41) I heard that there were thirty-eight million eight-hundred thousand teachers for the children of the Yadu family. (42) Who can keep count of the Yādavas when Ugrasena alone among its great personalities was assisted by ten thousand times ten thousand, hundreds of thousands of men [*]? (43) The most pitiless Daityas, who in [past ages in] wars between the gods and the demons had been killed, took their birth among the human beings and arrogantly troubled the populace. (44) In order to subdue them, the devas were by the Lord ordered to descend in the one hundred-and-one clans of the family, oh King [see 10.1: 62-63]. (45) Krishna, on account of His mastery, represented for all the Yādavas who were His faithful followers, the authority of Lord Hari, and that is why they prospered. (46) Because the Vrishnis always thought of Krishna, they, in their activities of sleeping, sitting, walking, conversing, playing, bathing and so on, forgot the presence of their own bodies [and hence were fearless, see also 10.89: 14-17]. (47) Oh King, when Krishna took His birth among the Yadus, He outshone the pilgrimage site of the heavenly river [the Ganges] that washes from His feet. Because of His embodiment friends and foes attained their goal [7.1: 46-47]. The undefeated and supremely perfect goddess S'rī belongs to Him, she for whom others are struggling. His name, being heard or chanted, is what destroys the inauspiciousness. He settled the dharma for the lines of [disciplic] succession [the schools of the sages]. With Lord Krishna holding the weapon that is the wheel of Time [His cakra], it is no wonder that the burden of the earth was removed [see also 3.2: 7-12]. (48) He triumphs as the Ultimate Abode and is known as the son of Devakī. He is the devotion of the Yadu nobles who with His arms [or His devotees] puts an end to the unrighteous ones. He is the Destroyer of the distress of the moving and not-moving living beings. He is the One who, always smiling with His beautiful face, awakens Cupid in the damsels of Vraja [see 10.30-33, 10.35, 10.47]. (49) Thus proceeding with the wish to protect His transcendental path [of devotional service], He for the sake of His līlā has assumed various personal forms. With them imitating the [human] ways, He has destroyed the [burden of the] karma [belonging to them]. When one wants to follow His feet one will have to listen to the stories about this Best One among the Yadus. (50) A mortal who at every sacrificial ceremony hears about, sings about and meditates on the beautiful topics concerning Mukunda, heads from his home for His abode, the place where the inescapable sway of death is arrested. Even those who ruled this earth [like Dhruva and Priyavrata] went into the forest for this sake.'

*: The paramparā adds here that according to the rules of Mīmāmsā interpretation the number of three is taken as the default number when no specific number is given. So literally would strict to the rules be said here that Ugrasena would have had 30 trillion attendants.

Thus the tenth Canto
of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam ends named: The Summum Bonum.


Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu,

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript.

©2009 Anand Aadhar
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