The Disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa

The Disappearance of Lord Krsna

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Canto One, Chapter Fourteen

The Disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa


sūta uvāca

samprasthite dvārakāyāṁ
jiṣṇau bandhu-didṛkṣayā
jñātuṁ ca puṇya-ślokasya
kṛṣṇasya ca viceṣṭitam

sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said; samprasthite—having gone to; dvārakāyām—the city of Dvārakā; jiṣṇau—Arjuna; bandhu—friends and relatives; didṛkṣayā—for meeting them; jñātum—to know; ca—also; puṇya-ślokasya—of one whose glories are sung by Vedic hymns; kṛṣṇasya—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; ca—and; viceṣṭitam—further programs of work.


Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Arjuna went to Dvārakā to see Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and other friends and also to learn from the Lord of His next activities.


As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord descended on earth for the protection of the faithful and annihilation of the impious, so after the Battle of Kurukṣetra and establishment of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, the mission of the Lord was complete. The Pāṇḍavas, especially Śrī Arjuna, were eternal companions of the Lord, and therefore Arjuna went to Dvārakā to hear from the Lord of His next program of work.


vyatītāḥ katicin māsās
tadā nāyāt tato ’rjunaḥ
dadarśa ghora-rūpāṇi
nimittāni kurūdvahaḥ

vyatītāḥ—after passing; katicit—a few; māsāḥ—months; tadā—at that time; na āyāt—did not return; tataḥ—from there; arjunaḥ—Arjuna; dadarśa—observed; ghora—fearful; rūpāṇi—appearances; nimittāni—various causes; kuru-udvahaḥ—Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.


A few months passed, and Arjuna did not return. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira then began to observe some inauspicious omens, which were fearful in themselves.


Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead is ad infinitum, more powerful than the most powerful sun of our experience. Millions and billions of suns are created by Him and annihilated by Him within His one breathing period. In the material world the sun is considered to be the source of all productivity and material energy, and only due to the sun can we have the necessities of life. Therefore, during the personal presence of the Lord on the earth, all paraphernalia for our peace and prosperity, especially religion and knowledge, were in full display because of the Lord’s presence, just as there is a full flood of light in the presence of the glowing sun. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira observed some discrepancies in his kingdom, and therefore he became very anxious about Arjuna, who was long absent, and there was also no news about Dvārakā’s well-being. He suspected the disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa, otherwise there would have been no possibility of fearful omens.


kālasya ca gatiṁ raudrāṁ
pāpīyasīṁ nṛṇāṁ vārtāṁ

kālasya—of eternal time; ca—also; gatim—direction; raudrām—fearful; viparyasta—reversed; ṛtu—seasonal; dharmiṇaḥ—regularities; pāpīyasīm—sinful; nṛṇām—of the human being; vārtām—means of livelihood; krodha—anger; lobha—greed; anṛta—falsehood; ātmanām—of the people.


He saw that the direction of eternal time had changed, and this was very fearful. There were disruptions in the seasonal regularities. The people in general had become very greedy, angry and deceitful. And he saw that they were adopting foul means of livelihood.


When civilization is disconnected from the loving relation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, symptoms like changes of seasonal regulations, foul means of livelihood, greed, anger and fraudulence become rampant. The change of seasonal regulations refers to one season’s atmosphere becoming manifest in another season—for example the rainy season’s being transferred to autumn, or the fructification of fruits and flowers from one season in another season. A godless man is invariably greedy, angry and fraudulent. Such a man can earn his livelihood by any means, black or white. During the reign of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, all the above symptoms were conspicuous by their absence. But Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was astonished to experience even a slight change in the godly atmosphere of his kingdom, and at once he suspected the disappearance of the Lord. Foul means of livelihood implies deviation from one’s occupational duty. There are prescribed duties for everyone, such as the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra, but anyone who deviates from his prescribed duty and declares another’s duty to be his own is following a foul and improper duty. A man becomes too greedy for wealth and power when he has no higher objective in life and when he thinks that this earthly life of a few years is all in all. Ignorance is the cause for all these anomalies in human society, and to remove this ignorance, especially in this age of degradation, the powerful sun is there to distribute light in the shape of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.


jihma-prāyaṁ vyavahṛtaṁ
śāṭhya-miśraṁ ca sauhṛdam
dam-patīnāṁ ca kalkanam

jihma-prāyam—cheating; vyavahṛtam—in all ordinary transactions; śāṭhya—duplicity; miśram—adulterated in; ca—and; sauhṛdam—regarding friendly well-wishers; pitṛ—father; mātṛ—regarding the mother; suhṛt—well-wishers; bhrātṛ—one’s own brother; dam-patīnām—regarding husband and wife; ca—also; kalkanam—mutual quarrel.


All ordinary transactions and dealings became polluted with cheating, even between friends. And in familial affairs, there was always misunderstanding between fathers, mothers and sons, between well-wishers, and between brothers. Even between husband and wife there was always strain and quarrel.


A conditioned living being is endowed with four principles of malpractice, namely errors, insanity, inability and cheating. These are signs of imperfection, and out of the four the propensity to cheat others is most prominent. And this cheating practice is there in the conditioned souls because the conditioned souls are primarily in the material world imbued with an unnatural desire to lord it over the material world. A living being in his pure state is not conditioned by the laws because in his pure state he is conscious that a living being is eternally subservient to the Supreme Being, and thus it is always good for him to remain subservient, instead of falsely trying to lord it over the property of the Supreme Lord. In the conditioned state the living being is not satisfied even if he actually becomes the lord of all that he surveys, which he never becomes, and therefore he becomes the victim of all kinds of cheating, even with his nearest and most intimate relations. In such an unsatisfactory state of affairs, there is no harmony, even between father and sons or between husband and wife. But all these contending difficulties can be mitigated by one process, and that is the devotional service of the Lord. The world of hypocrisy can be checked only by counteraction through devotional service to the Lord and nothing else. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, having observed the disparities, conjectured the disappearance of the Lord from the earth.


nimittāny atyariṣṭāni
kāle tv anugate nṛṇām
dṛṣṭvovācānujaṁ nṛpaḥ

nimittāni—causes; ati—very serious; ariṣṭāni—bad omens; kāle—in course of time; tu—but; anugate—passing away; nṛṇām—of humanity at large; lobha-ādi—such as greed; adharma—irreligious; prakṛtim—habits; dṛṣṭvā—having observed; uvāca—said; anujam—younger brother; nṛpaḥ—the King.


In course of time it came to pass that people in general became accustomed to greed, anger, pride, etc. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, observing all these omens, spoke to his younger brother.


Such a pious king as Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira at once became perturbed when there were such inhuman symptoms as greed, anger, irreligiosity and hypocrisy rampant in society. It appears from this statement that all these symptoms of degraded society were unknown to the people of the time, and it was astonishing for them to have experienced them with the advent of the Kali-yuga, or the age of quarrel.


yudhiṣṭhira uvāca

sampreṣito dvārakāyāṁ
jiṣṇur bandhu-didṛkṣayā
jñātuṁ ca puṇya-ślokasya
kṛṣṇasya ca viceṣṭitam

yudhiṣṭhiraḥ uvāca—Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said; sampreṣitaḥ—has gone to; dvārakāyām—Dvārakā; jiṣṇuḥ—Arjuna; bandhu—friends; didṛkṣayā—for the sake of meeting; jñātum—to know; ca—also; puṇya-ślokasya—of the Personality of Godhead; kṛṣṇasya—of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; ca—and; viceṣṭitam—program of work.


Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said to his younger brother Bhīmasena, I sent Arjuna to Dvārakā to meet his friends and to learn from the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa of His program of work.


gatāḥ saptādhunā māsā
bhīmasena tavānujaḥ
nāyāti kasya vā hetor
nāhaṁ vededam añjasā

gatāḥ—has gone; sapta—seven; adhunā—to date; māsāḥ—months; bhīmasena—O Bhīmasena; tava—your; anujaḥ—younger brother; na—does not; āyāti—come back; kasya—for what; vā—or; hetoḥ—reason; na—not; aham—I; veda—know; idam—this; añjasā—factually.


Since he departed, seven months have passed, yet he has not returned. I do not know factually how things are going there.


api devarṣiṇādiṣṭaḥ
sa kālo ’yam upasthitaḥ
yadātmano ’ṅgam ākrīḍaṁ
bhagavān utsisṛkṣati

api—whether; deva-ṛṣiṇā—by the demigod-saint (Nārada); ādiṣṭaḥ—instructed; saḥ—that; kālaḥ—eternal time; ayam—this; upasthitaḥ—arrived; yadā—when; ātmanaḥ—of His own self; aṅgam—plenary portion; ākrīḍam—manifestation; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; utsisṛkṣati—is going to quit.


Is He going to quit His earthly pastimes, as Devarṣi Nārada indicated? Has that time already arrived?


As we have discussed many times, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa has many plenary expansions, and each and every one of them, although equally powerful, executes different functions. In Bhagavad-gītā there are different statements by the Lord, and each of these statements is meant for different plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions. For example, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord, says in Bhagavad-gītā:

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.” (Bg. 4.7)

“To deliver the faithful, to annihilate the miscreants and also to reestablish the principles of occupational duty, I appear in every age.” (Bg. 4.8)

“If I should cease to work, then all humanity would be misdirected. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.” (Bg. 3.24)

“Whatever action a great man performs, common men will follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Bg. 3.21)

All the above statements by the Lord apply to different plenary portions of the Lord, namely His expansions such as Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Nārāyaṇa. These are all He Himself in different transcendental expansions, and still the Lord as Śrī Kṛṣṇa functions in a different sphere of transcendental exchange with different grades of devotees. And yet Lord Kṛṣṇa as He is appears once every twenty-four hours of Brahmā’s time (or after a lapse of 8,640,000,000 solar years) in each and every universe, and all His transcendental pastimes are displayed in each and every universe in a routine spool. But in that routine spool the functions of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Vāsudeva, etc., are complex problems for the layman. There is no difference between the Lord’s Self and the Lord’s transcendental body. The expansions execute differential activities. When the Lord, however, appears in His person as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His other plenary portions also join in Him by His inconceivable potency called yogamāyā, and thus the Lord Kṛṣṇa of Vṛndāvana is different from the Lord Kṛṣṇa of Mathurā or the Lord Kṛṣṇa of Dvārakā. The virāṭ-rūpa of Lord Kṛṣṇa is also different from Him, by His inconceivable potency. The virāṭ-rūpa exhibited on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra is the material conception of His form. Therefore it should be understood that when Lord Kṛṣṇa was apparently killed by the bow and arrow of the hunter, the Lord left His so-called material body in the material world. The Lord is kaivalya, and for Him there is no difference between matter and spirit because everything is created from Him. Therefore His quitting one sort of body or accepting another body does not mean that He is like the ordinary living being. All such activities are simultaneously one and different by His inconceivable potency. When Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was lamenting the possibility of His disappearance, it was just in pursuance of a custom of lamenting the disappearance of a great friend, but factually the Lord never quits His transcendental body, as is misconceived by less intelligent persons. Such less intelligent persons have been condemned by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā, and they are known as the mūḍhas. That the Lord left His body means that He left again His plenary portions in the respective dhāmas (transcendental abodes), as He left His virāṭ-rūpa in the material world.


yasmān naḥ sampado rājyaṁ
dārāḥ prāṇāḥ kulaṁ prajāḥ
āsan sapatna-vijayo
lokāś ca yad-anugrahāt

yasmāt—from whom; naḥ—our; sampadaḥ—opulence; rājyam—kingdom; dārāḥ—good wives; prāṇāḥ—existence of life; kulam—dynasty; prajāḥ—subjects; āsan—have become possible; sapatna—competitors; vijayaḥ—conquering; lokāḥ—future accommodation in higher planets; ca—and; yat—by whose; anugrahāt—by the mercy of.


From Him only, all our kingly opulence, good wives, lives, progeny, control over our subjects, victory over our enemies, and future accommodations in higher planets have become possible. All this is due to His causeless mercy upon us.


Material prosperity consists of a good wife, good home, sufficient land, good children, aristocratic family relations, victory over competitors and, by pious work, attainment of accommodations in the higher celestial planets for better facilities of material amenities. These facilities are earned not only by one’s hard manual labor or by unfair means, but by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Prosperity earned by one’s personal endeavor also depends on the mercy of the Lord. Personal labor must be there in addition to the Lord’s benediction, but without the Lord’s benediction no one is successful simply by personal labor. The modernized man of Kali-yuga believes in personal endeavor and denies the benediction of the Supreme Lord. Even a great sannyāsī of India delivered speeches in Chicago protesting the benedictions of the Supreme Lord. But as far as Vedic śāstras are concerned, as we find in the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the ultimate sanction for all success rests in the hands of the Supreme Lord. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira admits this truth in his personal success, and it behooves one to follow in the footsteps of a great king and devotee of the Lord to make life a full success. If one could achieve success without the sanction of the Lord then no medical practitioner would fail to cure a patient. Despite the most advanced treatment of a suffering patient by the most up-to-date medical practitioner, there is death, and even in the most hopeless case, without medical treatment, a patient is cured astonishingly. Therefore the conclusion is that God’s sanction is the immediate cause for all happenings, good or bad. Any successful man should feel grateful to the Lord for all he has achieved.


paśyotpātān nara-vyāghra
divyān bhaumān sadaihikān
dāruṇān śaṁsato ’dūrād
bhayaṁ no buddhi-mohanam

paśya—just see; utpātān—disturbances; nara-vyāghra—O man of tigerlike strength; divyān—happenings in the sky or by planetary influence; bhaumān—happenings on the earth; sa-daihikān—happenings of the body and the mind; dāruṇān—awfully dangerous; śaṁsataḥ—indicating; adūrāt—in the near future; bhayam—danger; naḥ—our; buddhi—intelligence; mohanam—deluding.


Just see, O man with a tiger’s strength, how many miseries due to celestial influences, earthly reactions and bodily pains—all very dangerous in themselves—are foreboding danger in the near future by deluding our intelligence.


Material advancement of civilization means advancement of the reactions of the threefold miseries due to celestial influence, earthly reactions and bodily or mental pains. By the celestial influence of the stars there are many calamities like excessive heat, cold, rains or no rains, and the aftereffects are famine, disease and epidemic. The aggregate result is agony of the body and the mind. Man-made material science cannot do anything to counteract these threefold miseries. They are all punishments from the superior energy of māyā under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore our constant touch with the Lord by devotional service can give us relief without our being disturbed in the discharge of our human duties. The asuras, however, who do not believe in the existence of God, make their own plans to counteract all these threefold miseries, and so they meet with failures every time. The Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) clearly states that the reaction of material energy is never to be conquered, because of the binding effects of the three modes. They can simply be overcome by one who surrenders fully in devotion under the lotus feet of the Lord.


ūrv-akṣi-bāhavo mahyaṁ
sphuranty aṅga punaḥ punaḥ
vepathuś cāpi hṛdaye
ārād dāsyanti vipriyam

ūru—thighs; akṣi—eyes; bāhavaḥ—the arms; mahyam—in my; sphuranti—quivering; aṅga—left side of the body; punaḥ punaḥ—again and again; vepathuḥ—palpitations; ca—also; api—certainly; hṛdaye—in the heart; ārāt—due to fear; dāsyanti—indicating; vipriyam—undesirables.


The left side of my body, my thighs, arms and eyes are all quivering again and again. I am having heart palpitations due to fear. All this indicates undesirable happenings.


Material existence is full of undesirables. Things we do not want are forced upon us by some superior energy, and we do not see that these undesirables are under the grip of the three modes of material nature. When a man’s eyes, arms and thighs all quiver constantly, one must know that something is going to happen which is undesirable. These undesirables are compared to fire in a forest. No one goes into the forest to set fires, but fires automatically take place in the forest, creating inconceivable calamities for the living beings of the forest. Such a fire cannot be extinguished by any human efforts. The fire can be extinguished only by the mercy of the Lord, who sends clouds to pour water on the forest. Similarly, undesirable happenings in life cannot be checked by any number of plans. Such miseries can be removed only by the mercy of the Lord, who sends His bona fide representatives to enlighten human beings and thus save them from all calamities.


śivaiṣodyantam ādityam
abhirauty analānanā
mām aṅga sārameyo ’yam
abhirebhaty abhīruvat

śivā—jackal; eṣā—this; udyantam—rising; ādityam—unto the sun; abhi—towards; rauti—crying; anala—fire; ānanā—face; mām—unto me; aṅga—O Bhīma; sārameyaḥ—dog; ayam—this; abhirebhati—barks towards; abhīru-vat—without fear.


Just see, O Bhīma, how the she jackal cries at the rising sun and vomits fire, and how the dog barks at me fearlessly.


These are some bad omens indicating something undesirable in the near future.


śastāḥ kurvanti māṁ savyaṁ
dakṣiṇaṁ paśavo ’pare
vāhāṁś ca puruṣa-vyāghra
lakṣaye rudato mama

śastāḥ—useful animals like the cow; kurvanti—are keeping; mām—me; savyam—on the left; dakṣiṇam—circumambulating; paśavaḥ apare—other lower animals like asses; vāhān—the horses (carriers); ca—also; puruṣa-vyāghra—O tiger among men; lakṣaye—I see; rudataḥ—weeping; mama—of mine.


O Bhīmasena, tiger amongst men, now useful animals like cows are passing me on my left side, and lower animals like the asses are circumambulating me. My horses appear to weep upon seeing me.


mṛtyu-dūtaḥ kapoto ’yam
ulūkaḥ kampayan manaḥ
pratyulūkaś ca kuhvānair
viśvaṁ vai śūnyam icchataḥ

mṛtyu—death; dūtaḥ—messenger of; kapotaḥ—pigeon; ayam—this; ulūkaḥ—owl; kampayan—trembling; manaḥ—mind; pratyulūkaḥ—the rivals of owls (crows); ca—and; kuhvānaiḥ—shrieking scream; viśvam—the cosmos; vai—either; śūnyam—void; icchataḥ—wishing.


Just see! This pigeon is like a messenger of death. The shrieks of the owls and their rival crows make my heart tremble. It appears that they want to make a void of the whole universe.


dhūmrā diśaḥ paridhayaḥ
kampate bhūḥ sahādribhiḥ
nirghātaś ca mahāṁs tāta
sākaṁ ca stanayitnubhiḥ

dhūmrāḥ—smoky; diśaḥ—all directions; paridhayaḥ—encirclement; kampate—throbbing; bhūḥ—the earth; saha adribhiḥ—along with the hills and mountains; nirghātaḥ—bolt from the blue; ca—also; mahān—very great; tāta—O Bhīma; sākam—with; ca—also; stanayitnubhiḥ—thundering sound without any cloud.


Just see how the smoke encircles the sky. It appears that the earth and mountains are throbbing. Just hear the cloudless thunder and see the bolts from the blue.


vāyur vāti khara-sparśo
rajasā visṛjaṁs tamaḥ
asṛg varṣanti jaladā
bībhatsam iva sarvataḥ

vāyuḥ—wind; vāti—blowing; khara-sparśaḥ—sharply; rajasā—by the dust; visṛjan—creating; tamaḥ—darkness; asṛk—blood; varṣanti—are raining; jaladāḥ—the clouds; bībhatsam—disastrous; iva—like; sarvataḥ—everywhere.


The wind blows violently, blasting dust everywhere and creating darkness. Clouds are raining everywhere with bloody disasters.


sūryaṁ hata-prabhaṁ paśya
graha-mardaṁ mitho divi
sasaṅkulair bhūta-gaṇair
jvalite iva rodasī

sūryam—the sun; hata-prabham—its rays declining; paśya—just see; graha-mardam—clashes of the stars; mithaḥ—among one another; divi—in the sky; sa-saṅkulaiḥ—being mixed with; bhūta-gaṇaiḥ—by the living entities; jvalite—being ignited; iva—as if; rodasī—crying.


The rays of the sun are declining, and the stars appear to be fighting amongst themselves. Confused living entities appear to be ablaze and weeping.


nadyo nadāś ca kṣubhitāḥ
sarāṁsi ca manāṁsi ca
na jvalaty agnir ājyena
kālo ’yaṁ kiṁ vidhāsyati

nadyaḥ—rivers; nadāḥ ca—and the tributaries; kṣubhitāḥ—all perturbed; sarāṁsi—reservoirs of water; ca—and; manāṁsi—the mind; ca—also; na—does not; jvalati—ignite; agniḥ—fire; ājyena—with the help of butter; kālaḥ—the time; ayam—extraordinary it is; kim—what; vidhāsyati—going to happen.


Rivers, tributaries, ponds, reservoirs and the mind are all perturbed. Butter no longer ignites fire. What is this extraordinary time? What is going to happen?


na pibanti stanaṁ vatsā
na duhyanti ca mātaraḥ
rudanty aśru-mukhā gāvo
na hṛṣyanty ṛṣabhā vraje

na—does not; pibanti—suck; stanam—breast; vatsāḥ—the calves; na—do not; duhyanti—allow milking; ca—also; mātaraḥ—the cows; rudanti—crying; aśru-mukhāḥ—with a tearful face; gāvaḥ—the cows; na—do not; hṛṣyanti—take pleasure; ṛṣabhāḥ—the bulls; vraje—in the pasturing ground.


The calves do not suck the teats of the cows, nor do the cows give milk. They are standing, crying, tears in their eyes, and the bulls take no pleasure in the pasturing grounds.


daivatāni rudantīva
svidyanti hy uccalanti ca
ime jana-padā grāmāḥ
bhraṣṭa-śriyo nirānandāḥ
kim aghaṁ darśayanti naḥ

daivatāni—the Deities in the temples; rudanti—seem to be crying; iva—like that; svidyanti—perspiring; hi—certainly; uccalanti—as if going out; ca—also; ime—these; jana-padāḥ—cities; grāmāḥ—villages; pura—towns; udyāna—gardens; ākara—mines; āśramāḥ—hermitages, etc.; bhraṣṭa—devoid of; śriyaḥ—beauty; nirānandāḥ—bereft of all happiness; kim—what sort of; agham—calamities; darśayanti—shall manifest; naḥ—to us.


The Deities seem to be crying in the temple, lamenting and perspiring. They seem about to leave. All the cities, villages, towns, gardens, mines and hermitages are now devoid of beauty and bereft of all happiness. I do not know what sort of calamities are now awaiting us.


manya etair mahotpātair
nūnaṁ bhagavataḥ padaiḥ
hīnā bhūr hata-saubhagā

manye—I take it for granted; etaiḥ—by all these; mahā—great; utpātaiḥ—upsurges; nūnam—for want of; bhagavataḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; padaiḥ—the marks on the sole of the foot; ananya—extraordinary; puruṣa—of the Supreme Personality; śrībhiḥ—by the auspicious signs; hīnā—dispossessed; bhūḥ—the earth; hata-saubhagā—without the fortune.


I think that all these earthly disturbances indicate some greater loss to the good fortune of the world. The world was fortunate to have been marked with the footprints of the lotus feet of the Lord. These signs indicate that this will no longer be.


iti cintayatas tasya
dṛṣṭāriṣṭena cetasā
rājñaḥ pratyāgamad brahman
yadu-puryāḥ kapi-dhvajaḥ

iti—thus; cintayataḥ—while thinking to himself; tasya—he; dṛṣṭā—by observing; ariṣṭena—bad omens; cetasā—by the mind; rājñaḥ—the King; prati—back; āgamat—came; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; yadu-puryāḥ—from the kingdom of the Yadus; kapi-dhvajaḥ—Arjuna.


O Brāhmaṇa Śaunaka, while Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, observing the inauspicious signs on the earth at that time, was thus thinking to himself, Arjuna came back from the city of the Yadus [Dvārakā].


taṁ pādayor nipatitam
ayathā-pūrvam āturam
adho-vadanam ab-bindūn
sṛjantaṁ nayanābjayoḥ

tam—him (Arjuna); pādayoḥ—at the feet; nipatitam—bowing down; ayathā-pūrvam—unprecedented; āturam—dejected; adhaḥ-vadanam—downward face; ap-bindūn—drops of water; sṛjantam—creating; nayana-abjayoḥ—from the lotuslike eyes.


When he bowed at his feet, the King saw that his dejection was unprecedented. His head was down, and tears glided from his lotus eyes.


vicchāyam anujaṁ nṛpaḥ
pṛcchati sma suhṛn madhye
saṁsmaran nāraderitam

vilokya—by seeing; udvigna—anxious; hṛdayaḥ—heart; vicchāyam—pale appearance; anujam—Arjuna; nṛpaḥ—the King; pṛcchati sma—asked; suhṛt—friends; madhye—amongst; saṁsmaran—remembering; nārada—Sage Nārada; īritam—indicated by.


Seeing Arjuna pale due to heartfelt anxieties, the King, remembering the indications of the sage Nārada, questioned him in the midst of friends.


yudhiṣṭhira uvāca

kaccid ānarta-puryāṁ naḥ
sva-janāḥ sukham āsate

yudhiṣṭhiraḥ uvāca—Yudhiṣṭhira said; kaccit—whether; ānarta-puryām—of Dvārakā; naḥ—our; sva-janāḥ—relatives; sukham—happily; āsate—are passing their days; madhu—Madhu; bhoja—Bhoja; daśārha—Daśārha; ārha—Ārha; sātvata—Sātvata; andhaka—Andhaka; vṛṣṇayaḥ—of the family of Vṛṣṇi.


Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said: My dear brother, please tell me whether our friends and relatives, such as Madhu, Bhoja, Daśārha, Ārha, Sātvata, Andhaka and the members of the Yadu family are all passing their days in happiness.


śūro mātāmahaḥ kaccit
svasty āste vātha māriṣaḥ
mātulaḥ sānujaḥ kaccit
kuśaly ānakadundubhiḥ

śūraḥ—Śūrasena; mātāmahaḥ—maternal grandfather; kaccit—whether; svasti—all good; āste—passing his days; vā—or; atha—therefore; māriṣaḥ—respectful; mātulaḥ—maternal uncle; sa-anujaḥ—with his younger brothers; kaccit—whether; kuśalī—all well; ānaka-dundubhiḥ—Vasudeva.


Is my respectable grandfather Śūrasena in a happy mood? And are my maternal uncle Vasudeva and his younger brothers all doing well?


sapta sva-sāras tat-patnyo
mātulānyaḥ sahātmajāḥ
āsate sasnuṣāḥ kṣemaṁ
devakī-pramukhāḥ svayam

sapta—seven; sva-sāraḥ—own sisters; tat-patnyaḥ—his wives; mātulānyaḥ—maternal aunts; saha—along with; ātma-jāḥ—sons and grandsons; āsate—are all; sasnuṣāḥ—with their daughters-in-law; kṣemam—happiness; devakī—Devakī; pramukhāḥ—headed by; svayam—personally.


His seven wives, headed by Devakī, are all sisters. Are they and their sons and daughters-in-law all happy?

TEXTS 28–29

kaccid rājāhuko jīvaty
asat-putro ’sya cānujaḥ
hṛdīkaḥ sasuto ’krūro

āsate kuśalaṁ kaccid
ye ca śatrujid-ādayaḥ
kaccid āste sukhaṁ rāmo
bhagavān sātvatāṁ prabhuḥ

kaccit—whether; rājā—the King; āhukaḥ—another name of Ugrasena; jīvati—still living; asat—mischievous; putraḥ—son; asya—his; ca—also; anujaḥ—younger brother; hṛdīkaḥ—Hṛdīka; sa-sutaḥ—along with son, Kṛtavarmā; akrūraḥ—Akrūra; jayanta—Jayanta; gada—Gada; sāraṇāḥ—Sāraṇa; āsate—are they all; kuśalam—in happiness; kaccit—whether; ye—they; ca—also; śatrujit—Śatrujit; ādayaḥ—headed by; kaccit—whether; āste—are they; sukham—all right; rāmaḥ—Balarāma; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; sātvatām—of the devotees; prabhuḥ—protector.


Are Ugrasena, whose son was the mischievous Kaṁsa, and his younger brother still living? Are Hṛdīka and his son Kṛtavarmā happy? Are Akrūra, Jayanta, Gada, Sāraṇa and Śatrujit all happy? How is Balarāma, the Personality of Godhead and the protector of devotees?


Hastināpura, the capital of the Pāṇḍavas, was situated somewhere near present New Delhi, and the kingdom of Ugrasena was situated in Mathurā. While returning to Delhi from Dvārakā, Arjuna must have visited the city of Mathurā, and therefore the inquiry about the King of Mathurā is valid. Amongst various names of the relatives, the name of Rāma or Balarāma, eldest brother of Lord Kṛṣṇa, is added with the words “the Personality of Godhead” because Lord Balarāma is the immediate expansion of viṣṇu-tattva as prakāśa-vigraha of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The Supreme Lord, although one without a second, expands Himself as many other living beings. The viṣṇu-tattva living beings are expansions of the Supreme Lord, and all of them are qualitatively and quantitatively equal with the Lord. But expansions of the jīva-śakti, the category of the ordinary living beings, are not at all equal with the Lord. One who considers the jīva-śakti and the viṣṇu-tattva to be on an equal level is considered a condemned soul of the world. Śrī Rāma, or Balarāma, is the protector of the devotees of the Lord. Baladeva acts as the spiritual master of all devotees, and by His causeless mercy the fallen souls are delivered. Śrī Baladeva appeared as Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu during the advent of Lord Caitanya, and the great Lord Nityānanda Prabhu exhibited His causeless mercy by delivering a pair of extremely fallen souls, namely Jagāi and Mādhāi. Therefore it is particularly mentioned herein that Balarāma is the protector of the devotees of the Lord. By His divine grace only one can approach the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and thus Śrī Balarāma is the mercy incarnation of the Lord, manifested as the spiritual master, the savior of the pure devotees.


pradyumnaḥ sarva-vṛṣṇīnāṁ
sukham āste mahā-rathaḥ
gambhīra-rayo ’niruddho
vardhate bhagavān uta

pradyumnaḥ—Pradyumna (a son of Lord Kṛṣṇa); sarva—all; vṛṣṇīnām—of the members of the Vṛṣṇi family; sukham—happiness; āste—are in; mahā-rathaḥ—the great general; gambhīra—deeply; rayaḥ—dexterity; aniruddhaḥ—Aniruddha (a grandson of Lord Kṛṣṇa); vardhate—flourishing; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; uta—must.


How is Pradyumna, the great general of the Vṛṣṇi family? Is He happy? And is Aniruddha, the plenary expansion of the Personality of Godhead, faring well?


Pradyumna and Aniruddha are also expansions of the Personality of Godhead, and thus They are also viṣṇu-tattva. At Dvārakā Lord Vāsudeva is engaged in His transcendental pastimes along with His plenary expansions, namely Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, and therefore each and every one of Them can be addressed as the Personality of Godhead, as it is mentioned in connection with the name Aniruddha.


suṣeṇaś cārudeṣṇaś ca
sāmbo jāmbavatī-sutaḥ
anye ca kārṣṇi-pravarāḥ
saputrā ṛṣabhādayaḥ

suṣeṇaḥ—Suṣeṇa; cārudeṣṇaḥ—Cārudeṣṇa; ca—and; sāmbaḥ—Sāmba; jāmbavatī-sutaḥ—the son of Jāmbavatī; anye—others; ca—also; kārṣṇi—the sons of Lord Kṛṣṇa; pravarāḥ—all chieftains; sa-putrāḥ—along with their sons; ṛṣabha—Ṛṣabha; ādayaḥ—etc.


Are all the chieftain sons of Lord Kṛṣṇa, such as Suṣeṇa, Cārudeṣṇa, Sāmba the son of Jāmbavatī, and Ṛṣabha, along with their sons, all doing well?


As already mentioned, Lord Kṛṣṇa married 16,108 wives, and each of them had ten sons. Therefore 16,108 x 10 161,080 sons. They all grew up, and each of them had as many sons as their father, and the whole aggregate was something near 1,610,800 family members of the Lord. The Lord is the father of all living beings, who are countless in number; therefore only a few of them are called to associate with the Lord in His transcendental pastimes as the Lord of Dvārakā on this earth. It is not astonishing that the Lord maintained a visible family consisting of so many members. It is better to refrain from comparing the Lord’s position to ours, and it becomes a simple truth as soon as we understand at least a partial calculation of the Lord’s transcendental position. King Yudhiṣṭhira, while inquiring about the Lord’s sons and grandsons at Dvārakā, mentioned only the chieftains amongst them, for it was impossible for him to remember all the names of the Lord’s family members.

TEXTS 32–33

tathaivānucarāḥ śaureḥ
ye cānye sātvatarṣabhāḥ

api svasty āsate sarve
api smaranti kuśalam
asmākaṁ baddha-sauhṛdāḥ

tathā eva—similarly; anucarāḥ—constant companions; śaureḥ—of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa such as; śrutadeva—Śrutadeva; uddhava-ādayaḥ—Uddhava and others; sunanda—Sunanda; nanda—Nanda; śīrṣaṇyāḥ—other leaders; ye—all of them; ca—and; anye—others; sātvata—liberated souls; ṛṣabhāḥ—the best men; api—if; svasti—doing well; āsate—are; sarve—all of them; rāma—Balarāma; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhuja-āśrayāḥ—under the protection of; api—if also; smaranti—do remember; kuśalam—welfare; asmākam—about ourselves; baddha-sauhṛdāḥ—bound by eternal friendship.


Also, Śrutadeva, Uddhava and others, Nanda, Sunanda and other leaders of liberated souls who are constant companions of the Lord are protected by Lord Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa. Are they all doing well in their respective functions? Do they, who are all eternally bound in friendship with us, remember our welfare?


The constant companions of Lord Kṛṣṇa, such as Uddhava, are all liberated souls, and they descended along with Lord Kṛṣṇa to this material world to fulfill the mission of the Lord. The Pāṇḍavas are also liberated souls who descended along with Lord Kṛṣṇa to serve Him in His transcendental pastimes on this earth. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.8), the Lord and His eternal associates, who are also liberated souls like the Lord, come down on this earth at certain intervals. The Lord remembers them all, but His associates, although liberated souls, forget due to their being taṭasthā śakti, or marginal potency of the Lord. That is the difference between the viṣṇu-tattva and jīva-tattva. The jīva-tattvas are infinitesimal potential particles of the Lord, and therefore they require the protection of the Lord at all times. And to the eternal servitors of the Lord, the Lord is pleased to give all protection at all times. The liberated souls never, therefore, think themselves as free as the Lord or as powerful as the Lord, but they always seek the protection of the Lord in all circumstances, both in the material world and in the spiritual world. This dependence of the liberated soul is constitutional, for the liberated souls are like sparks of a fire that are able to exhibit the glow of fire along with the fire and not independently. Independently the glow of the sparks is extinguished, although the quality of fire or the glowing is there. Thus those who give up the protection of the Lord and become so-called lords themselves, out of spiritual ignorance, come back again to this material world, even after prolonged tapasya of the severest type. That is the verdict of all Vedic literature.


bhagavān api govindo
brahmaṇyo bhakta-vatsalaḥ
kaccit pure sudharmāyāṁ
sukham āste suhṛd-vṛtaḥ

bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; api—also; govindaḥ—one who enlivens the cows and the senses; brahmaṇyaḥ—devoted to the devotees of the brāhmaṇas; bhakta-vatsalaḥ—affectionate to the devotees; kaccit—whether; pure—in Dvārakā Purī; sudharmāyām—pious assembly; sukham—happiness; āste—does enjoy; suhṛt-vṛtaḥ—surrounded by friends.


Is Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives pleasure to the cows, the senses and the brāhmaṇas, who is very affectionate towards His devotees, enjoying the pious assembly at Dvārakā Purī surrounded by friends?


Here in this particular verse the Lord is described as bhagavān, govinda, brahmaṇya and bhakta-vatsala. He is bhagavān svayam, or the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, full with all opulences, all power, all knowledge, all beauty, all fame and all renunciation. No one is equal to or greater than Him. He is Govinda because He is the pleasure of the cows and the senses. Those who have purified their senses by the devotional service of the Lord can render unto Him real service and thereby derive transcendental pleasure out of such purified senses. Only the impure conditioned living being cannot derive any pleasure from the senses, but being illusioned by false pleasures of the senses, he becomes servant of the senses. Therefore, we need His protection for our own interest. The Lord is the protector of cows and the brahminical culture. A society devoid of cow protection and brahminical culture is not under the direct protection of the Lord, just as the prisoners in the jails are not under the protection of the king but under the protection of a severe agent of the king. Without cow protection and cultivation of the brahminical qualities in human society, at least for a section of the members of society, no human civilization can prosper at any length. By brahminical culture, the development of the dormant qualities of goodness, namely truthfulness, equanimity, sense control, forbearance, simplicity, general knowledge, transcendental knowledge, and firm faith in the Vedic wisdom, one can become a brāhmaṇa and thus see the Lord as He is. And after surpassing the brahminical perfection, one has to become a devotee of the Lord so that His loving affection in the form of proprietor, master, friend, son and lover can be transcendentally achieved. The stage of a devotee, which attracts the transcendental affection of the Lord, does not develop unless one has developed the qualities of a brāhmaṇa as above mentioned. The Lord is inclined to a brāhmaṇa of quality and not of false prestige. Those who are less than a brāhmaṇa by qualification cannot establish any relation with the Lord, just as fire cannot be kindled from the raw earth unless there is wood, although there is a relation between wood and the earth. Since the Lord is all-perfect in Himself, there could not be any question of His welfare, and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira refrained from asking this question. He simply inquired about His residential place, Dvārakā Purī, where pious men assemble. The Lord stays only where pious men assemble and takes pleasure in their glorifying the Supreme Truth. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was anxious to know about the pious men and their pious acts in the city of Dvārakā.

TEXTS 35–36

maṅgalāya ca lokānāṁ
kṣemāya ca bhavāya ca
āste yadu-kulāmbhodhāv
ādyo ’nanta-sakhaḥ pumān

yad bāhu-daṇḍa-guptāyāṁ
sva-puryāṁ yadavo ’rcitāḥ
krīḍanti paramānandaṁ
mahā-pauruṣikā iva

maṅgalāya—for all good; ca—also; lokānām—of all the planets; kṣemāya—for protection; ca—and; bhavāya—for elevation; ca—also; āste—is there; yadu-kula-ambhodhau—in the ocean of the Yadu dynasty; ādyaḥ—the original; ananta-sakhaḥ—in the company of Ananta (Balarāma); pumān—the supreme enjoyer; yat—whose; bāhu-daṇḍa-guptāyām—being protected by His arms; sva-puryām—in His own city; yadavaḥ—the members of the Yadu family; arcitāḥ—as they deserve; krīḍanti—are relishing; parama-ānandam—transcendental pleasure; mahā-pauruṣikāḥ—the residents of the spiritual sky; iva—like.


The original Personality of Godhead, the enjoyer, and Balarāma, the primeval Lord Ananta, are staying in the ocean of the Yadu dynasty for the welfare, protection and general progress of the entire universe. And the members of the Yadu dynasty, being protected by the arms of the Lord, are enjoying life like the residents of the spiritual sky.


As we have discussed many times, the Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu resides within each and every universe in two capacities, namely as the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. The Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu has His own planet on the northern top of the universe, and there is a great ocean of milk where the Lord resides on the bed of the Ananta incarnation of Baladeva. Thus Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira has compared the Yadu dynasty to the ocean of milk and Śrī Balarāma to the Ananta where Lord Kṛṣṇa resides. He has compared the citizens of Dvārakā to the liberated inhabitants of the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Beyond the material sky, further than we can see with our eyes and beyond the sevenfold coverings of the universe, there is the Causal Ocean in which all the universes are floating like footballs, and beyond the Causal Ocean there is an unlimited span of spiritual sky generally known as the effulgence of Brahman. Within this effulgence there are innumerable spiritual planets, and they are known as the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Each and every Vaikuṇṭha planet is many, many times bigger than the biggest universe within the material world, and in each of them there are innumerable inhabitants who look exactly like Lord Viṣṇu. These inhabitants are known as the Mahā-pauruṣikas, or persons directly engaged in the service of the Lord. They are happy in those planets and are without any kind of misery, and they live perpetually in full youthfulness, enjoying life in full bliss and knowledge without fear of birth, death, old age or disease, and without the influence of kāla, eternal time. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira has compared the inhabitants of Dvārakā to the Mahā-pauruṣikas of Vaikuṇṭhaloka because they are so happy with the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gītā there are many references to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas, and they are mentioned there as mad-dhāma, or the kingdom of the Lord.


satyādayo dvy-aṣṭa-sahasra-yoṣitaḥ
nirjitya saṅkhye tri-daśāṁs tad-āśiṣo
haranti vajrāyudha-vallabhocitāḥ

yat—whose; pāda—feet; śuśrūṣaṇa—administration of comforts; mukhya—the most important; karmaṇā—by the acts of; satya-ādayaḥ—queens headed by Satyabhāmā; dvi-aṣṭa—twice eight; sahasra—thousand; yoṣitaḥ—the fair sex; nirjitya—by subduing; saṅkhye—in the battle; tri-daśān—of the denizens of heaven; tat-āśiṣaḥ—what is enjoyed by the demigods; haranti—do take away; vajra-āyudha-vallabhā—the wives of the personality who controls the thunderbolt; ucitāḥ—deserving.


Simply by administering comforts at the lotus feet of the Lord, which is the most important of all services, the queens at Dvārakā, headed by Satyabhāmā, induced the Lord to conquer the demigods. Thus the queens enjoy things which are prerogatives of the wives of the controller of thunderbolts.


Satyabhāmā: One of the principal queens of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā. After killing Narakāsura, Lord Kṛṣṇa visited the palace of Narakāsura accompanied by Satyabhāmā. He went to Indraloka also with Satyabhāmā, and she was received by Śacīdevī, who introduced her to the mother of the demigods, Aditi. Aditi was very much pleased with Satyabhāmā, and she blessed her with the benediction of permanent youth as long as Lord Kṛṣṇa remained on the earth. Aditi also took her with her to show her the special prerogatives of the demigods in the heavenly planets. When Satyabhāmā saw the pārijāta flower, she desired to have it in her palace at Dvārakā. After that, she came back to Dvārakā along with her husband and expressed her willingness to have the pārijāta flower at her palace. Satyabhāmā’s palace was especially bedecked with valuable jewels, and even in the hottest season of summer the inside of the palace remained cool, as if air-conditioned. She decorated her palace with various flags, heralding the news of her great husband’s presence there. Once, along with her husband, she met Draupadī, and she was anxious to be instructed by Draupadī in the ways and means of pleasing her husband. Draupadī was expert in this affair because she kept five husbands, the Pāṇḍavas, and all were very much pleased with her. On receipt of Draupadī’s instructions, she was very much pleased and offered her good wishes and returned to Dvārakā. She was the daughter of Satrājit. After the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa, when Arjuna visited Dvārakā, all the queens, including Satyabhāmā and Rukmiṇī, lamented for the Lord with great feeling. At the last stage of her life, she left for the forest to undergo severe penance.

Satyabhāmā instigated her husband to get the pārijāta flower from the heavenly planets, and the Lord got it even by force from the demigods, as a common husband secures things to please his wife. As already explained, the Lord had very little to do with so many wives to carry out their orders like an ordinary man. But because the queens accepted the high quality of devotional service, namely administering the Lord all comforts, the Lord played the part of a faithful and complete husband. No earthly creature can expect to have things from the heavenly kingdom, especially the pārijāta flowers, which are simply to be used by the demigods. But due to their becoming the Lord’s faithful wives, all of them enjoyed the special prerogatives of the great wives of the denizens of heaven. In other words, since the Lord is the proprietor of everything within His creation, it is not very astonishing for the queens of Dvārakā to have any rare thing from any part of the universe.


yad bāhu-daṇḍābhyudayānujīvino
yadu-pravīrā hy akutobhayā muhuḥ
adhikramanty aṅghribhir āhṛtāṁ balāt
sabhāṁ sudharmāṁ sura-sattamocitām

yat—whose; bāhu-daṇḍa—arms; abhyudaya—influenced by; anujīvinaḥ—always living; yadu—the members of the Yadu dynasty; pravīrāḥ—great heroes; hi akutobhayāḥ—fearless in every respect; muhuḥ—constantly; adhikramanti—traversing; aṅghribhiḥ—by foot; āhṛtām—brought about; balāt—by force; sabhām—assembly house; sudharmām—Sudharmā; sura-sat-tama—the best among the demigods; ucitām—deserving.


The great heroes of the Yadu dynasty, being protected by the arms of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, always remain fearless in every respect. And therefore their feet trample over the Sudharmā assembly house, which the best demigods deserved but which was taken away from them.


Those who are directly servitors of the Lord are protected by the Lord from all fearfulness, and they also enjoy the best of things, even if they are forcibly accumulated. The Lord is equal in behavior to all living beings, but He is partial to His pure devotees, being very affectionate toward them. The city of Dvārakā was flourishing, being enriched with the best of things in the material world. The state assembly house is constructed according to the dignity of the particular state. In the heavenly planets, the state assembly house called Sudharmā was deserving of the dignity of the best of the demigods. Such an assembly house is never meant for any state on the globe because the human being on the earth is unable to construct it, however far a particular state may be materially advanced. But during the time of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s presence on the earth, the members of the Yadu family forcibly brought the celestial assembly house to earth and placed it at Dvārakā. They were able to use such force because they were certain of the indulgence and protection of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. In other words, the Lord is provided with the best things in the universe by His pure devotees. Lord Kṛṣṇa was provided with all kinds of comforts and facilities available within the universe by the members of the Yadu dynasty, and in return such servitors of the Lord were protected and fearless.

A forgetful, conditioned soul is fearful. But a liberated soul is never fearful, just as a small child completely dependent on the mercy of his father is never fearful of anyone. Fearfulness is a sort of illusion for the living being when he is in slumber and forgetting his eternal relation with the Lord. Since the living being is never to die by his constitution, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (2.20), then what is the cause of fearfulness? A person may be fearful of a tiger in a dream, but another man who is awake by his side sees no tiger there. The tiger is a myth for both of them, namely the person dreaming and the person awake, because actually there is no tiger; but the man forgetful of his awakened life is fearful, whereas the man who has not forgotten his position is not at all fearful. Thus the members of the Yadu dynasty were fully awake in their service to the Lord, and therefore there was no tiger for them to be afraid of at any time. Even if there were a real tiger, the Lord was there to protect them.


kaccit te ’nāmayaṁ tāta
bhraṣṭa-tejā vibhāsi me
alabdha-māno ’vajñātaḥ
kiṁ vā tāta ciroṣitaḥ

kaccit—whether; te—your; anāmayam—health is all right; tāta—my dear brother; bhraṣṭa—bereft; tejāḥ—luster; vibhāsi—appear; me—to me; alabdha-mānaḥ—without respect; avajñātaḥ—neglected; kim—whether; vā—or; tāta—my dear brother; ciroṣitaḥ—because of long residence.


My brother Arjuna, please tell me whether your health is all right. You appear to have lost your bodily luster. Is this due to others disrespecting and neglecting you because of your long stay at Dvārakā?


From all angles of vision, the Mahārāja inquired from Arjuna about the welfare of Dvārakā, but he concluded at last that as long as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself was there, nothing inauspicious could happen. But at the same time, Arjuna appeared to be bereft of his bodily luster, and thus the King inquired of his personal welfare and asked so many vital questions.


kaccin nābhihato ’bhāvaiḥ
śabdādibhir amaṅgalaiḥ
na dattam uktam arthibhya
āśayā yat pratiśrutam

kaccit—whether; na—could not; abhihataḥ—addressed by; abhāvaiḥ—unfriendly; śabda-ādibhiḥ—by sounds; amaṅgalaiḥ—inauspicious; na—did not; dattam—give in charity; uktam—is said; arthibhyaḥ—unto one who asked; āśayā—with hope; yat—what; pratiśrutam—promised to be paid.


Has someone addressed you with unfriendly words or threatened you? Could you not give charity to one who asked, or could you not keep your promise to someone?


A kṣatriya or a rich man is sometimes visited by persons who are in need of money. When they are asked for a donation, it is the duty of the possessor of wealth to give in charity in consideration of the person, place and time. If a kṣatriya or a rich man fails to comply with this obligation, he must be very sorry for this discrepancy. Similarly, one should not fail to keep his promise to give in charity. These discrepancies are sometimes causes of despondency, and thus failing, a person becomes subjected to criticism, which might also be the cause of Arjuna’s plight.


kaccit tvaṁ brāhmaṇaṁ bālaṁ
gāṁ vṛddhaṁ rogiṇaṁ striyam
śaraṇopasṛtaṁ sattvaṁ
nātyākṣīḥ śaraṇa-pradaḥ

kaccit—whether; tvam—yourself; brāhmaṇam—the brāhmaṇas; bālam—the child; gām—the cow; vṛddham—old; rogiṇam—the diseased; striyam—the woman; śaraṇa-upasṛtam—having approached for protection; sattvam—any living being; na—whether; atyākṣīḥ—not given shelter; śaraṇa-pradaḥ—deserving protection.


You are always the protector of the deserving living beings, such as brāhmaṇas, children, cows, women and the diseased. Could you not give them protection when they approached you for shelter?


The brāhmaṇas, who are always engaged in researching knowledge for the society’s welfare work, both materially and spiritually, deserve the protection of the king in all respects. Similarly, the children of the state, the cow, the diseased person, the woman and the old man specifically require the protection of the state or a kṣatriya king. If such living beings do not get protection by the kṣatriya, or the royal order, or by the state, it is certainly shameful for the kṣatriya or the state. If such things had actually happened to Arjuna, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was anxious to know about these discrepancies.


kaccit tvaṁ nāgamo ’gamyāṁ
gamyāṁ vāsat-kṛtāṁ striyam
parājito vātha bhavān
nottamair nāsamaiḥ pathi

kaccit—whether; tvam—yourself; na—not; agamaḥ—did contact; agamyām—impeachable; gamyām—acceptable; vā—either; asat-kṛtām—improperly treated; striyam—a woman; parājitaḥ—defeated by; vā—either; atha—after all; bhavān—your good self; na—nor; uttamaiḥ—by superior power; na—not; asamaiḥ—by equals; pathi—on the road.


Have you contacted a woman of impeachable character, or have you not properly treated a deserving woman? Or have you been defeated on the way by someone who is inferior or equal to you?


It appears from this verse that during the time of the Pāṇḍavas free contact between man and woman was allowed in certain conditions only. The higher-caste men, namely the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas, could accept a woman of the vaiśya or the śūdra community, but a man from the lower castes could not contact a woman of the higher caste. Even a kṣatriya could not contact a woman of the brāhmaṇa caste. The wife of a brāhmaṇa is considered one of the seven mothers (namely one’s own mother, the wife of the spiritual master or teacher, the wife of a brāhmaṇa, the wife of a king, the cow, the nurse, and the earth). Such contact between man and woman was known as uttama and adhama. Contact of a brāhmaṇa with a kṣatriya woman is uttama, but the contact of a kṣatriya with a brāhmaṇa woman is adhama and therefore condemned. A woman approaching a man for contact should never be refused, but at the same time the discretion as above mentioned may also be considered. Bhīma was approached by Hiḍimbī from a community lower than the śūdras, and Yayāti refused to marry the daughter of Śukrācārya because of Śukrācārya’s being a brāhmaṇa. Vyāsadeva, a brāhmaṇa, was called to beget Pāṇḍu and Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Satyavatī belonged to a family of fishermen, but Parāśara, a great brāhmaṇa, begot in her Vyāsadeva. So there are so many examples of contacts with woman, but in all cases the contacts were not abominable nor were the results of such contacts bad. Contact between man and woman is natural, but that also must be carried out under regulative principles so that social consecration may not be disturbed or unwanted worthless population be increased for the unrest of the world.

It is abominable for a kṣatriya to be defeated by one who is inferior in strength or equal in strength. If one is defeated at all, he should be defeated by some superior power. Arjuna was defeated by Bhīṣmadeva, and Lord Kṛṣṇa saved him from the danger. This was not an insult for Arjuna because Bhīṣmadeva was far superior to Arjuna in all ways, namely age, respect and strength. But Karṇa was equal to Arjuna, and therefore Arjuna was in crisis when fighting with Karṇa. It was felt by Arjuna, and therefore Karṇa was killed even by crooked means. Such are the engagements of the kṣatriyas, and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira inquired from his brother whether anything undesirable happened on the way home from Dvārakā.


api svit parya-bhuṅkthās tvaṁ
sambhojyān vṛddha-bālakān
jugupsitaṁ karma kiñcit
kṛtavān na yad akṣamam

api svit—if it were so that; parya—by leaving aside; bhuṅkthāḥ—have dined; tvam—yourself; sambhojyān—deserving to dine together; vṛddha—the old men; bālakān—boys; jugupsitam—abominable; karma—action; kiñcit—something; kṛtavān—you must have done; na—not; yat—that which; akṣamam—unpardonable.


Have you not taken care of old men and boys who deserve to dine with you? Have you left them and taken your meals alone? Have you committed some unpardonable mistake which is considered to be abominable?


It is the duty of a householder to feed first of all the children, the old members of the family, the brāhmaṇas and the invalids. Besides that, an ideal householder is required to call for any unknown hungry man to come and dine before he himself goes to take his meals. He is required to call for such a hungry man thrice on the road. The neglect of this prescribed duty of a householder, especially in the matter of the old men and children, is unpardonable.


kaccit preṣṭhatamenātha
śūnyo ’smi rahito nityaṁ
manyase te ’nyathā na ruk

kaccit—whether; preṣṭha-tamena—unto the most dear one; atha—my brother Arjuna; hṛdayena—most intimate; ātma-bandhunā—own friend Lord Kṛṣṇa; śūnyaḥ—void; asmi—I am; rahitaḥ—having lost; nityam—for all time; manyase—you think; te—your; anyathā—otherwise; na—never; ruk—mental distress.


Or is it that you are feeling empty for all time because you might have lost your most intimate friend, Lord Kṛṣṇa? O my brother Arjuna, I can think of no other reason for your becoming so dejected.


All the inquisitiveness of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira about the world situation was already conjectured by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira on the basis of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance from the vision of the world, and this was now disclosed by him because of the acute dejection of Arjuna, which could not have been possible otherwise. So even though he was doubtful about it, he was obliged to inquire frankly from Arjuna on the basis of Śrī Nārada’s indication.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the First Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

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