Srimad Bhagavatam

SB 1.11 - No one is barred from executing bhakti

On hearing that the most dear Kṛṣṇa was approaching Dvārakā, Vasudeva, Akrūra, Ugrasena, Balarāma and others became happy and abandoned resting, sitting and dining.

All these relatives and friends hastened toward the Lord on chariots. Before them were elephants. Conchshells and bugles were sounded and Vedic hymns chanted. Many hundreds of prostitutes (vāramukhyāḥ) eager to meet the Lord proceeded on various vehicles. Not even the prostitutes are checked from executing devotional service to the Lord. Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was directed by a prostitute called Cintāmaṇi toward spiritual realization and he became a great devotee. In Bhagavad gītā (9.32) Kṛṣṇa says that even prostitutes can attain perfection if they take shelter of unalloyed bhakti. The eagerness of the prostitutes of Dvārakā shows that they were all unalloyed devotees and thus on the path of salvation. Therefore, the only reformation that is necessary in society is to turn people into devotees and then all good qualities would follow. On the other hand, the non devotees have no good qualifications whatsoever, however materially advanced they may be.

Expert dramatists, artists, dancers, singers and learned speakers all gave their respective contributions being inspired by the superhuman pastimes of the Lord. Thus all classes of men were trained to worship the Lord according to their abilities. The Purāṇas describe the activities of the Lord in different ages and times and in different planets. Therefore, we do not find any chronological order in them. And these activities were the subject of the dramas and speeches of people.

SB 1.11 - Kṛṣṇa's reciprocation with people

Lord Kṛṣṇa approached and offered due honor and respect to each and every one of the friends, relatives and citizens who came to receive Him. The Lord reciprocates with all just as it behooves (yathā-vidhi). The Lord is always attentive to all the matters of His pure devotees. To those who consider Him impersonal, the Lord also does not show any personal interest. He satisfies everyone in terms of one’s development of spiritual consciousness. The Lord greeted everyone present by bowing His head to sages like Garga, exchanging greetings with elders of Yadu clan, embracing, shaking hands, looking and smiling, giving assurances and awarding benedictions even to the lowest in rank. He granted fearlessness to one and all. All living beings are separated parts and parcels of the Lord and no one is alien by His eternal relation. Such pure living beings are graded differently in terms of contamination of the modes of material nature, but the Lord is equally affectionate to all. And this was seen here in Kṛṣṇa’s reciprocation with whoever came to receive Him.

SB 1.11 - Kṛṣṇa enters the palaces of Dvārakā

Entering the house of His parents, embraced by mother Devakī and her sisters, Kṛṣṇa offered respects with His head to them. Vasudeva had 18 wives to whom the Lord bowed down. According to scripture there are seven mothers: (1) the real mother, (2) the wife of the guru, (3) the wife of a brāhmaṇa, (4) the wife of the king, (5) the cow, (6) the nurse, and (7) the earth. The stepmother, who is the wife of the father, is also as good as the mother. As an ideal son, the Lord taught others how to respect others. The mothers sat Him on their laps with milk flowing from their breasts and wetting the Lord with their tears.

Then the Lord entered His palaces which satisfied all desires. His 16108 wives lived in them. All the palaces were made of the best marble stone. They were illuminated by jewels and decorated by curtains and carpets of velvet and silk. Kṛṣṇa entered each of the palaces of the queens simultaneously in many forms. When each saw Him, they thought that Kṛṣṇa had come to them first. Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself in as many plenary expansions as there were queens. This is called vaibhava, or the transcendental potency of the Lord. A yogī can expand himself to utmost ten expansions, but the Lord can expand unlimitedly.

SB 1.11 - The queens' dealings with Kṛṣṇa

The queens seeing the Lord first gave up their seats to embrace the Lord, using the body. They then noticed an obstacle in the form of their bashfulness. They therefore gave up their minds and embraced Him with their souls. Seeing their beloved, suddenly they fainted out of bliss of prema arising from the desire to touch Him, because in fainting as with deep sleep and loss of consciousness, there is no obstruction of the mind. In the absence of the husband, a wife should not decorate her body nor take part in any social functions and should not go to other houses. The queens rose along with these vratas they were observing. Though it was improper for them to be seen by their husband in a state of vrata (like not being decorated), because they could not suddenly give up those vratas, they rose along with their vratas. Seeing them in an unkempt state because of separation, Kṛṣṇa became more affectionate to them.

The queens embraced Kṛṣṇa with their eyes filled with desire. Having Him enter within their eyes, they embraced Him with their subtle body in the innermost recesses of their hearts. They also sent their sons to embrace Him which was as good as they personally embracing Him. But seeing their clever husband understood what they were doing, they became embarrassed, and though they stopped the tears flowing in their eyes, some tears flowed anyway beyond their control.

Although Kṛṣṇa was constantly by their sides as well as exclusively alone, His feet appeared to them to be newer and newer. If Lakṣmī who is fickle in nature, finds those feet ever fresh, then what to speak of anyone else being able to give them up. In the material realm the big empires and the powerful kings are all liquidated gradually by time. But in the spiritual world, the Lord is served by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune but still the association of the Lord is inspiringly new that they cannot quit the Lord even for a moment.

In order to express the unimpeded nature of His love for the queens, another type of activity lacking that excitement is described. Just as wind produces fire by rubbing the bamboos together and then destroys them by burning, the Lord without weapons, by creating enmity between kings, destroyed them by having them kill each other.

SB 1.11 - What motivates Kṛṣṇa to act?

In this world a person’s motivation to act is impelled by personal shortcomings. If one did not need anything, one would not need to act, because action is meant to obtain what one lacks. Could Kṛṣṇa lack something that makes Him engage in activities? SB 1.11.35 says that Kṛṣṇa, out of causeless mercy, appeared on this planet by His internal potency, the yoga-māyā, and He enjoyed among the best of women by expanding Himself according to His nature. As confirmed in SB 1.10.24, the Lord acts in this universe for His own līlā (jagad-ātma-līlayā). The Lord’s living like a householder and enjoying may appear like He is engaged in mundane affairs. But it is not so. The causes of the Lord’s enjoyment, the desire to enjoy and the activities of enjoyment are all beyond the guṇas because He is not material. When the Lord appears in different places, He displays His pastimes to attract the conditioned souls. Conditioned souls seek after perpetual happiness in all places. But when he fails and comes to his senses, he seeks after Brahman happiness knowing that the happiness he is seeking cannot be found in the material world. As such, Parabrahman certainly does not seek happiness anywhere in the material world. Thus the activities of the Lord is not mundane affair but belong to the transcendental realm.

SB 1.11 - Kṛṣṇa is controlled by prema of the queens

With their pure, beautiful smiles and bashful glances indicating deep prema directed towards Kṛṣṇa, the queens defeated Cupid. The whole universe is moving being agitated by the Cupid’s arrow. Those who are on the path of salvation are advised by scriptural instruction to become free from material attraction. Cupid’s influence is exerted even amongst the ugliest forms. Lord Śiva, who is considered to be very tolerant, was also struck by Cupid’s arrow because he became mad after the Mohinī incarnation of the Lord. The same Cupid was captivated by the dealings of the queens of Dvārakā. Cupid first considered that the queens were glancing at Kṛṣṇa without even being struck by his arrows. Then he became struck with wonder on seeing Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness. The material Cupid who had come to bewilder Kṛṣṇa, himself became bewildered and threw down his bow. In the presence of the queens’ bashful glances Cupid felt he had no use of his bow and arrows. Though they were the best of women, they could not disturb the senses of Kṛṣṇa with their smiles and glances endowed with deception to bring Him under control.

However, if those glances were endowed with prema, then they could disturb His senses. Because the queens did possess the proper type of love, their glances and smiles were certainly endowed with prema. Others who did not have such prema are described as having deception and they could not disturb Kṛṣṇa. Though the Lord is under the control of His wives, He is still beyond prakṛti and the guṇas because He is under the control of prema, which is a function of the cit-śakti. The glances and smiles of the queens are composed of prema and so the pastimes of love that arise from that love are all spiritual. It is therefore impossible to say that the Lord has enjoyment of material sense objects. For others who do not have prema, it is impossible for them to control the Lord and so His sense cannot at all be disturbed by deception.

One cannot say that the queens are material if sometimes their love filled glances do not bring Kṛṣṇa under control because all the queens belong to the cit-śakti. Nor should one say that the Lord is controlled by the general cit-śakti arising from His svarūpa. He is actually controlled by prema alone which is a special function of the cit-śakti.

SB 1.11 - Kṛṣṇa is beyond the guṇas

Ignorant people think of the Lord as a human being, one of themselves, contaminated by matter because of seeing unappealing behavior such as His compliance with Satyabhāmā’s attachment to getting the Pārijāta tree. The fools think that prema is material attachment just as they think that sapphire is glass. The Lord is completely independent to act as He likes, but all His actions are full of bliss, knowledge and eternity. The mental speculators consider His impersonal feature as inexplicable Brahman to be all. Such a conception is also a product of conditioned life because they cannot go beyond their own personal capacity. Due to ignorance only they always think that Lord Kṛṣṇa is like one of them and make their own conclusions.

Someone may say that the Lord’s pastimes with women may be non material because the women belong to the cit-śakti. But He appeared in the material Yadu family in the material world and perceived material objects. Therefore it cannot be denied that He is associated with the guṇas. To answer this Bhāgavatam says that though the Lord is situated in prakṛti, He has no contact with the guṇas of prakṛti. He is situated in the guṇas and the guṇas are also situated in Him. But He has no contact with the guṇas. The Lord is said to be without guṇas though He is the basis of the whole material realm and the controller of it.

The Lord’s consciousness is not like the consciousness of the conditioned souls who have taken shelter of the material nature. It is just like the intelligence of the greatest devotees, which has as its object the Lord, and always remembers Him. Though the intelligence is situated in prakṛti and is situated in the guṇas of sattva, rajas and tamas while being contended, praising or criticizing, while being full or afflicted with hunger and thirst, and while waking, sleeping and in deep sleep, it is not connected to the guṇas because of its indifference to the guṇas. In the same way, though the Lord accepts the material objects of the senses, He is not affected by them at all because He is devoid of attachment to them.

SB 1.11 - The queens' ignorance of Kṛṣṇa's powers

The wives also do not know the Lord because perfect knowledge of those women, rising from His svarūpa, is covered by yoga-māyā in order to nourish rasa. The wives not capable of estimating the powers of their husband, considered the Lord to be under the control of their love and their womanly natures. They were unaware of the extent of the glories of their husband, as the atheists are unaware of Him as the supreme controller. The intellectual functions of those who write scriptures, engaged in defining the Lord, know very little because of various opinions such as ‘the Lord is the material cause of the universe, the Lord is the efficient cause of the universe’. Thus such intelligent conclusions are actually ignorance. But one cannot consider the queens material because they are endowed with prema and the Lord is controlled by prema.

The ignorance of the queens in not knowing the Lord fully is not mundane because of the actions of yoga māyā. They were made to forget the immeasurable glories of the Lord by the internal potency so that there may not be any flaw of exchange, and they took it for granted that the Lord was a henpecked husband. In other words, even the personal associates of the Lord do not know Him perfectly, so what do the thesis writers or mental speculators know about His glories? The Lord can be known only by His mercy.