Srimad Bhagavatam

SB 1.10 - The gopīs are superior to the queens

The ladies of Hastināpura continued saying that the wives of the Lord must have undergone various austerities to constantly relish the nectar from His lips. The damsels of Vraja would often faint just by expecting such favors. This shows that the gopīs were superior to the wives because they faint merely by contemplating an affectionate exchange with Kṛṣṇa. Religious rites are meant to purify the mundane qualities of the conditioned souls to enable them to be gradually promoted to the stage of rendering loving service unto the Supreme Lord. There are five ways a perfected soul can render service, one of which is mādhurya-rasa. The Lord, fully self satisfied, becomes a master, a friend, a son or a husband to fulfill the intense love of the devotee concerned. Here the ladies talk about both the svakīya relationship of the wives, and the parakīya relationship of the gopīs. The wives and the gopīs must have undergone severe penances to attain the Lord. The wives were much superior to the ladies who were speaking despite the good qualities of the ladies. But they were much inferior to the women of Vraja. The minds of the gopīs were absorbed in the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa’s lips and they fainted in bliss by remembering that sweetness in the morning. What kind of condition they attained on actually drinking that nectar at night, one never knows!

SB 1.10 - Nārada's constant remembrance of the Lord

Ladies like Rukmiṇī, Satyabhāma and Jāmbavatī were forcibly taken away by the Lord from their svayaṁvara ceremonies after He defeated many powerful kings headed by Śiśupāla. And other ladies were also taken away by Him after He killed Bhaumāsura and thousands of his assistants. All these ladies are glorious. Rukmiṇī was the daughter of the king of Vidarbha, who wanted to give her to Kṛṣṇa, but her brother wished she marry Śiśupāla. Kṛṣṇa defeated Śiśupāla and carried Rukmiṇī away. Kṛṣṇa also married the 16,100 girls kept in captive by Bhaumāsura. The girls prayed piteously to the Lord who released them all after killing the demon. The Lord accepted their prayers and married them all. Kṛṣṇa never left them alone at home and always pleased them with valuable presentations. Even though these girls were without purity, by engagement in the service of the Lord all their designative disqualifications were removed and they became eligible to associate with the Lord. Later on Nārada would become amazed after personally witnessing the Lord’s dealings with the queens. Nārada had asked Kṛṣṇa to favor him so that he could constantly think of the Lord as he traveled about. And after seeing the Lord’s amazing display of potency with His queens, Nārada had enough content to constantly remember Kṛṣṇa.

SB 1.10 - The Lord's return to Dvārakā

Lord Kṛṣṇa accepted the greetings of the ladies of Hastināpura, and casting His glance over them departed to Dvārakā. By His glances He pleased the women who had śānta-rati, and by His smiles He pleased those with mādhurya-bhāva. Yudhiṣṭhira engaged four divisions of defense – elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers - to accompany the Lord out of affection. Out of fear of attack by the asuras on the Lord, the king did this. Although the Lord was capable to defend Himself, He still accepted the arrangements of the king so as not to disobey him and also because He likes to play the part of a subordinate to His devotee. The basic principle for all transcendental exchanges between the Lord and His devotees is exhibited to enjoy a transcendental bliss for which there is no comparison, even up to the level of brahmānanda.

Out of affection for the Lord, the Pāṇḍavas accompanied Him for a considerable distance. Then the Lord persuaded them to return home. He then proceeded thru various provinces and reached Dvārakā at last. Jīva Gosvāmī says that Kṛṣṇa passed thru Śūrasena so He could visit Vṛndāvana. On His journey thru these provinces, the Lord was welcomed, worshiped and given various presentations. In all places, the Lord suspended His journey in the evening and performed evening rites. The Lord did these duties not because He was under the laws of karma but to set an example for others to follow. One must act properly himself and teach the same to others, otherwise no one will accept one’s blind teaching. The Lord acts that way so that common men can follow His example. But in the advanced stage, when one can understand the transcendental nature of the Lord, one does not try to imitate Him.

The Lord in human society does what is the duty of everyone, but He also does things extraordinary which cannot be imitated by the living being. His acts of evening prayer must be followed by the living being but it is not possible to follow His mountain-lifting or dancing with the gopīs. Thus in all actions, the spiritual master, who is the manifested mercy of the Lord, should always be consulted and the path of progress will be assured.

SB 1.11 - Lord Kṛṣṇa's entrance into Dvārakā

As ecstatic tears of forlorn separation were pouring from the eyes of the devotees of Hastināpura, the ecstatic dejection of Dvārakā’s citizens was soon to be lifted. Upon reaching the border of Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa sounded His conch shell, heralding His arrival and pacifying the dejection of His inhabitants. Since the Lord was away from Dvārakā for a long period of time because of the battle of Kurukṣetra, all the inhabitants, who are His eternal associates, were overcome with sorrow due to separation. When the Lord descends on the earth, His eternal associates also come with Him. Such associates cannot bear the separation from the Lord even for a moment because of intense affection for Him. So the sound of the auspicious conch shell was very encouraging for them, and they became alert to receive the Lord.

The white and fat-boweled conchshell, being gripped by the hand of the Lord, appeared to be reddened by the touch of His lips. It seemed that a white swan was playing in the stems of red lotus flowers. The Lord is all spirit, and matter is ignorance of this spiritual existence. Factually there is nothing like matter in spiritual enlightenment, and this enlightenment takes place at once by the contact of the Lord. The Lord is present in every particle of all existence, and He can manifest His presence in anyone. By spiritual contact with the Lord, everything becomes spiritually reddened like the conchshell in the grip of the Lord, and the paramahaṁsa plays the part of the swan in the water of spiritual bliss, eternally decorated by the lotus flower of the Lord’s feet.

SB 1.11 - Giving gifts to Kṛṣṇa

Hearing the sound of the conchshell, which threatens fear personified, the citizens ran towards the Lord just to have His audience. Just as the gopīs at Vraja used to think of Kṛṣṇa while He was away during the day herding the cows, the citizens of Dvārakā were all immersed in His thoughts when He was away from Dvārakā. The sound of the Lord is identical with the Lord because of His non dual position. Out of the four problems of material existence namely the food problem, the shelter problem, the mating problem and the fear problem, the fear problem gives us more trouble than the others. We are always fearful due to our ignorance of the next problem. This is due to our association with the illusory energy. Yet all fear is vanished as soon as there is the sound of the Lord, represented by His holy name as sounded by Lord Caitanya in the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

As devotees see everything as Kṛṣṇa’s and use everything in His service, the whole world is filled with pleasure. As soon as a soul fully contacts Kṛṣṇa the world takes on a spiritual existence. Thus the citizens appeared before the Lord and offered Him various presents, who is fully satisfied and who incessantly supplies others. These presentations were like the offering of a lamp to the sun. Yet the citizens began to speak in ecstatic language to receive the Lord, just as wards welcome their guardian and father. The Lord being self sufficient has no need to seek happiness from anything beyond Himself. His very existence is total bliss. But being the well wisher of everyone, He accepts everything offered in pure devotion. Anything fiery and illuminating is but an emanation of the energy of the sun, yet the sun is offered a lamp in worship. In the worship of the sun there is some demand made by the worshiper, but in the case of devotional service, there is no demand from either side. It is all a sign of pure love and affection between the Lord and the devotee. The Lord supplies everyone’s needs but He does not supply to a pure devotee what is considered a barrier to the discharge of devotional service.

SB 1.11 - Seeing the Lord face to face

Praising Kṛṣṇa produces devotion. The citizens’ gifts were saturated with love, and they felt extraordinary happiness and love in seeing Him again. These emotions gave the Lord pleasure. The citizens said that Kṛṣṇa is worshiped by Brahmā, the four Sanas and Indra. He is the ultimate rest for those who aspire for the highest benefit of life. Being the transcendental Lord, time cannot influence Him. The Lord is the mother, well wisher, father, spiritual master and worshipable Deity. By following in His footsteps the citizens became successful and so asked the Lord to bless them with His mercy. The all-good Lord plans for the good of all living beings. By following His injunctions revealed in the scriptures, one can revive one’s forgotten relationship with the Lord.

It is the good luck of the citizens that they had the protection of the Lord, who rarely visits even the demigods. The citizens could look at His smiling face, which is full of affectionate glances. They could see his form full of all auspiciousness. By devotional service, one can see the Lord face to face, who is otherwise impossible to be seen even by the denizens of heavens. Even Brahmā and other demigods have to wait on the shore of the ocean milk to consult Lord Viṣṇu who lies in Śvetadvīpa. This ocean of milk and the Śvetadvīpa planet are the replica of Vaikuṇṭha within the universe. The demigods cannot see the Lord but can transmit their message to Viṣṇu. But the pure devotees like the residents of Dvārakā could easily see the Lord face to face.

SB 1.11 - Kṛṣṇa's visits to Vṛndāvana

The citizens said that when the Lord went away to Hastināpura (kurūn), Mathurā (madhūn) (or Vṛndāvana) to meet His friends and relatives, every moment of His absence seemed like a million years. Their eyes become useless as if bereft of sun. Viśvanātha explains that madhūn means Vraja, not Mathurā because at that time none of Kṛṣṇa’s friends resided there at Mathurā. This is confirmed in SB 10.50.57 where it is said that the Lord brought all (sarva-janaṁ) inhabitants of Mathurā to Dvārakā. And His coming back to Vraja was His promise in SB 10.39.35 and 10.45.23 that He would return. This is also clearly mentioned in Padma Purāṇa and other Purāṇas.

SB 1.11 - Kṛṣṇa is like the sun

Kṛṣṇa is like the sun and without Him all our knowledge is either false or partial. By the grace of the Lord the pure devotees cannot be in the darkness of ignorance. By being in His presence we can see both ourselves and the Lord with His different energies. The citizens said that without looking at the Lord’s attractive face with joyful glances, whose smiles vanquish all sufferings, they could not exist. Just as the sun’s rays are related with the sun disc, the living beings are eternally related with Kṛṣṇa. By the artificial covering of the cloud, the sun may not be visible for sometime. Similarly, the living entities are separated from the Lord by the artificial covering of māyā. When this illusion is removed the living being can see the Lord face to face, and all his miseries are at once removed. After hearing these words from the citizens, Kṛṣṇa entered the city.

SB 1.11 - Dvārakā's decorations

As Bhogavatī is protected by the Nāgas, so was Dvārakā protected by Bhoja, Madhu, Daśārha and others. The Nāgaloka planet is situated below the earth and the sun rays are hampered there. There are beautiful gardens, rivulets etc for the enjoyment of the Nāgas. The city of Dvārakā was well protected by the descendants of Vṛṣṇi, who were as powerful as the Lord, insofar as He manifested His strength upon this earth. Dvārakā was filled with the opulences of all seasons. There were hermitages, flower gardens, parks etc. The city gateway, the household doors and festooned arches along the roads were all nicely decorated with festive signs like plantain trees and mango leaves. Flags painted with the picture of either Garuḍa or Hanumān, garlands and painted signs and slogans all combined to shade the sunshine.

The highways, lanes, markets and public places were all cleansed and moistened with scented water. And to welcome the Lord fruits, flowers and unbroken seeds of grain were strewn everywhere. Auspicious things like curd, sugarcane and full water pots were all displayed in every house. The reception was made not just by decorating the roads and streets but also by worshiping the Lord with incense, lamps, flowers, fruits and other eatables. All were offered to the Lord and the remnants of the foodstuff were distributed among the citizens.

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.