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As mentioned in the last chapter, there was a great rumor that the five Pāṇḍava brothers, along with their mother, Kuntī, had died, according to the plan of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, in a fire accident in the house of lac in which they were living. But then the five brothers were detected at the marriage ceremony of Draupadī, so another rumor spread that the Pāṇḍavas and their mother were not dead. It was a rumor, but actually it was so; they returned to their capital city, Hastināpura, and people saw them face to face. When this news was carried to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa wanted to see them personally, and therefore He decided to go to Hastināpura.
This time Kṛṣṇa visited Hastināpura in state, as a royal prince, accompanied by His commander in chief, Yuyudhāna, and by many other soldiers. He had not actually been invited to visit the city, yet He went to see the Pāṇḍavas out of His affection for His great devotees. He visited the Pāṇḍavas without warning, and all of them got up from their respective seats as soon as they saw Him. Kṛṣṇa is called Mukunda because as soon as one comes in constant touch with Kṛṣṇa or sees Him in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one immediately becomes freed from all material anxieties. Not only that, but one is immediately blessed with all spiritual bliss.
Receiving Kṛṣṇa, the Pāṇḍavas were enlivened, just as if awakened from unconsciousness or loss of life. When a man is lying unconscious, his senses and the different parts of his body are inactive, but when he regains his consciousness the senses immediately become active. Similarly, the Pāṇḍavas received Kṛṣṇa as if they had just regained their consciousness, and so they were very much enlivened. Lord Kṛṣṇa embraced every one of them, and by the touch of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the Pāṇḍavas immediately became freed from all reactions of material contamination and were therefore smiling in spiritual bliss. By seeing the face of Lord Kṛṣṇa, everyone was transcendentally satisfied. Lord Kṛṣṇa, although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was playing the part of an ordinary human being, and thus He immediately touched the feet of Yudhiṣṭhira and Bhīma because they were His two older cousins. Arjuna embraced Kṛṣṇa as a friend of the same age, whereas the two younger brothers, namely Nakula and Sahadeva, touched the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa to show Him respect. After an exchange of greetings according to the social etiquette befitting the position of the Pāṇḍavas and Lord Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa was offered an exalted seat. When He was comfortably seated, the newly married Draupadī, young and very beautiful in her natural feminine gracefulness, came before Lord Kṛṣṇa to offer her respectful greetings. The Yādavas who accompanied Kṛṣṇa to Hastināpura were also very respectfully received; specifically, Sātyaki, or Yuyudhāna, was also offered a nice seat. In this way, when everyone else was properly seated, the five brothers took their seats near Lord Kṛṣṇa.
After meeting with the five brothers, Lord Kṛṣṇa personally went to visit Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī, the mother of the Pāṇḍavas, who was also Kṛṣṇa’s paternal aunt. In offering His respects to His aunt, Kṛṣṇa also touched her feet. Kuntīdevī’s eyes became wet, and, in great love, she feelingly embraced Lord Kṛṣṇa. She then inquired from Him about the well-being of her paternal family members—her brother Vasudeva, his wife and other members of the family. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa also inquired from His aunt about the welfare of the Pāṇḍava family. Although Kuntīdevī was related to Kṛṣṇa by family ties, she knew immediately after meeting Him that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She remembered the past calamities of her life and how by the grace of Kṛṣṇa she and her sons, the Pāṇḍavas, had been saved. She knew perfectly well that without Kṛṣṇa’s grace no one could have saved them from the fire “accident” designed by the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. In a choked-up voice, she began to narrate before Kṛṣṇa the history of their life.
Śrīmatī Kuntī said, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, I remember the day when You sent my brother Akrūra to gather information about us. This means that You always remember us automatically. When You sent Akrūra, I could understand that there was no possibility of our being put in danger. All good fortune in our life began when You sent Akrūra to us. Since then, I have been convinced that we are not without protection. We may be put into various types of dangerous conditions by our family members, the Kurus, but I am confident that You remember us and always keep us safe and sound. Even ordinary devotees who simply think of You are always immune to all kinds of material danger, and what to speak of ourselves, who are personally remembered by You. So, my dear Kṛṣṇa, there is no question of bad luck; we are always in an auspicious position because of Your grace. But although You have bestowed a special favor on us, people should not mistakenly think that You are partial to some and inattentive to others. You make no such distinction. No one is Your favorite and no one is Your enemy. As the Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are equal to everyone, and everyone can take advantage of Your special protection. The fact is that although You are equal to everyone, You are especially inclined to the devotees who always think of You. The devotees are related to You by ties of love. As such, they cannot forget You even for a moment. You are present in everyone’s heart, but because the devotees always remember You, You respond accordingly. Although the mother has affection for all the children, she takes special care of the one who is fully dependent. I know certainly, my dear Kṛṣṇa, that being seated in everyone’s heart, You always create auspicious situations for Your unalloyed devotees.”
Then King Yudhiṣṭhira also praised Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality and universal friend of everyone, but because Kṛṣṇa was taking special care of the Pāṇḍavas, King Yudhiṣṭhira said, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, we do not know what sort of pious activities we have executed in our past lives that have made You so kind and gracious to us. We know very well that the great mystics who always engage in meditation to capture You do not find it easy to obtain such grace, nor can they draw any personal attention from You. I cannot understand why You are so kind to us. We are not yogīs; on the contrary, we are attached to material contaminations. We are householders dealing in politics, worldly affairs. I do not know why You are so kind to us.”
Being requested by King Yudhiṣṭhira, Kṛṣṇa agreed to stay in Hastināpura for four months during the rainy season. The four months of the rainy season are called Cāturmāsya. During this period, the generally itinerant preachers and brāhmaṇas stop at a certain place and live under rigid regulative principles. Although Lord Kṛṣṇa is above all regulative principles, He agreed to stay at Hastināpura out of affection for the Pāṇḍavas. Taking this opportunity of Kṛṣṇa’s residence in Hastināpura, all the citizens of the city got the privilege of seeing Him now and then, and thus they merged into transcendental bliss simply by seeing Lord Kṛṣṇa face to face.
One day, while Kṛṣṇa was staying with the Pāṇḍavas, He and Arjuna prepared themselves to go to the forest to hunt. Both of them sat down on Arjuna’s chariot, which flew a flag with a picture of Hanumān. Arjuna’s special chariot is always marked with the picture of Hanumān, and therefore he is also named Kapidhvaja. (Kapi means Hanumān, and dhvaja means “flag.”) Thus Arjuna prepared to go to the forest with his bow and infallible arrows. He dressed himself with suitable protective garments, for he was to practice for the time when he would be killing many enemies on the battlefield. He specifically entered that part of the forest where there were many tigers, deer and various other animals. The reason Kṛṣṇa went with Arjuna was not to practice animal-killing, for He doesn’t have to practice anything; He is self-sufficient. He accompanied Arjuna to see how he was practicing because in the future he would have to kill many enemies. After entering the forest, Arjuna killed many tigers, boars, bison, gavayas (a kind of wild animal), rhinoceroses, deer, hares, porcupines and similar other animals, which he pierced with his arrows. Some of the dead animals that were fit to be offered in sacrifices were carried by servants and sent to King Yudhiṣṭhira. The ferocious animals, such as tigers and rhinoceroses, were killed only to stop disturbances in the forest. Since there are many sages and saintly persons who are residents of the forest, it is the duty of the kṣatriya kings to keep even the forest in a peaceful condition for living.
Arjuna felt tired and thirsty from hunting, and therefore he went to the bank of the Yamunā along with Kṛṣṇa. When both the Kṛṣṇas, namely Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, reached the bank of the Yamunā (Arjuna is sometimes called Kṛṣṇa, as is Draupadī), they washed their hands, feet and mouths and drank the clear water of the Yamunā. While resting and drinking water, they saw a beautiful girl of marriageable age walking alone on the bank of the Yamunā. Kṛṣṇa asked His friend Arjuna to go forward and ask the girl who she was. By the order of Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna immediately approached the girl, who was very beautiful. She had an attractive body, nice, glittering teeth and a smiling face. Arjuna inquired, “My dear girl, you are so beautiful with your raised breasts. May I ask you who you are? We are surprised to see you loitering here alone. What is your purpose in coming here? We can guess only that you are searching after a suitable husband. If you don’t mind, you can disclose your purpose. I shall try to satisfy you.”
The beautiful girl was the river Yamunā personified. She replied, “Sir, I am the daughter of the sun-god, and I am now performing penance and austerity to have Lord Viṣṇu as my husband. I think He is the Supreme Person and just suitable to become my husband. I disclose my desire thus because you wanted to know it.”
The girl continued: “My dear sir, I know that you are the hero Arjuna; so I may further say that I shall not accept anyone as my husband besides Lord Viṣṇu, because He is the only protector of all living entities and the bestower of liberation for all conditioned souls. I shall be thankful unto you if you pray to Lord Viṣṇu to be pleased with me.” The girl Yamunā knew it well that Arjuna was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa and that if he would pray, Kṛṣṇa would never deny his request. To approach Kṛṣṇa directly may sometimes be futile, but to approach Kṛṣṇa through His devotee is sure to be successful. She further told Arjuna, “My name is Kālindī, and I live within the waters of the Yamunā. My father was kind enough to construct a special house for me within the waters of the Yamunā, and I have vowed to remain in the water as long as I cannot find Lord Kṛṣṇa.” Arjuna duly carried the message of the girl Kālindī to Kṛṣṇa, although Kṛṣṇa, as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart, knew everything. Without further discussion, Kṛṣṇa immediately accepted Kālindī and asked her to sit down on the chariot. Then all of them approached King Yudhiṣṭhira.
After this, Kṛṣṇa was asked by King Yudhiṣṭhira to help in constructing a suitable house to be planned by the great architect Viśvakarmā, the celestial engineer in the heavenly kingdom. Kṛṣṇa immediately called for Viśvakarmā and made him construct a wonderful city according to the desire of King Yudhiṣṭhira. When this city was constructed, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira requested Kṛṣṇa to live with them a few days more to give them the pleasure of His association. Lord Kṛṣṇa accepted the request of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira and remained there for many days more.
In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa engaged in the pastime of offering the Khāṇḍava forest, which belonged to King Indra. Kṛṣṇa wanted to give it to Agni, the fire-god. The Khāṇḍava forest contained many varieties of drugs, and Agni required to eat them for rejuvenation. Agni, however, did not touch the Khāṇḍava forest directly but requested Kṛṣṇa to help him. Agni knew that Kṛṣṇa was very much pleased with him because he had formerly given Him the Sudarśana disc. So in order to satisfy Agni, Kṛṣṇa became the chariot driver of Arjuna, and both went to the Khāṇḍava forest. After Agni had eaten up the Khāṇḍava forest, he was very much pleased. At this time he offered Arjuna a specific bow known as Gāṇḍīva, four white horses, one chariot and an invincible quiver with two specific arrows considered to be talismans, which had so much power that no warrior could counteract them. When the Khāṇḍava forest was being devoured by the fire-god, Agni, there was a demon of the name Maya who was saved by Arjuna from the devastating fire. For this reason, that former demon became a great friend of Arjuna, and in order to please Arjuna he constructed a nice assembly house within the city constructed by Viśvakarmā. This assembly house had some corners so puzzling that when Duryodhana came to visit this house he was misdirected, accepting water as land and land as water. Duryodhana was thus insulted by the opulence of the Pāṇḍavas, and he became their determined enemy.
After a few days, Lord Kṛṣṇa took permission from King Yudhiṣṭhira to return to Dvārakā. When He got permission, He returned to His country accompanied by Sātyaki, the leader of the Yadus who were living in Hastināpura with Him. Kālindī also returned with Kṛṣṇa to Dvārakā. After returning, Kṛṣṇa consulted many learned astrologers to find the suitable moment at which to marry Kālindī, and then He married her with great pomp. This marriage ceremony gave much pleasure to the relatives of both parties, and all of them enjoyed the great occasion.
The kings of Avantīpura (now known as Ujjain) were named Vindya and Anuvindya. Both kings were under the control of Duryodhana. They had one sister, named Mitravindā, who was a very qualified, learned and elegant girl, the daughter of one of Kṛṣṇa’s aunts. She was to select her husband in an assembly of princes, but she strongly desired to have Kṛṣṇa as her husband. During the assembly for selecting her husband, Kṛṣṇa was present, and He forcibly carried away Mitravindā in the presence of all the other royal princes. Being unable to resist Kṛṣṇa, the princes were left simply looking at one another.
After this incident, Kṛṣṇa married the daughter of the King of Kośala. The king of Kośala province was called Nagnajit. He was very pious and was a follower of the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. His most beautiful daughter was named Satyā. Sometimes Satyā was called Nāgnajitī, for she was the daughter of King Nagnajit. King Nagnajit wanted to give the hand of his daughter to any prince who could defeat seven very strong, stalwart bulls maintained by him. No one in the princely order could defeat the seven bulls, and therefore no one could claim the hand of Satyā. The seven bulls were very strong, and they could hardly bear even the smell of any prince. Many princes visited this kingdom and tried to subdue the bulls, but instead of controlling them, they themselves were defeated. This news spread all over the country, and when Kṛṣṇa heard that one could achieve the girl Satyā only by defeating the seven bulls, He prepared Himself to go to the kingdom of Kośala. With many soldiers, He approached that part of the country, known as Ayodhyā, making a regular state visit.
When it was known to the King of Kośala that Kṛṣṇa had come to ask the hand of his daughter, he was very much pleased. With great respect and pomp, he welcomed Kṛṣṇa to the kingdom. When Kṛṣṇa approached him, he offered the Lord a suitable sitting place and articles for reception. Everything appeared very elegant. Kṛṣṇa also offered him respectful obeisances, thinking him to be His future father-in-law.
When Satyā understood that Kṛṣṇa Himself had come to marry her, she was very much pleased that the husband of the goddess of fortune had so kindly come there to accept her. For a long time she had cherished the idea of marrying Kṛṣṇa and was following the principles of austerities to obtain her desired husband. She then began to think, “If I have performed any pious activities to the best of my ability, and if I have sincerely thought all along to have Kṛṣṇa as my husband, then Kṛṣṇa may be pleased to fulfill my long-cherished desire.” She began to offer prayers to Kṛṣṇa mentally, thinking, “I do not know how the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be pleased with me. He is the master and Lord of everyone. Even the goddess of fortune, whose place is next to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and many other demigods of different planets always offer their respectful obeisances unto the Lord. The Lord also sometimes descends to this earth in different incarnations to fulfill the desire of His devotees. He is so exalted and great that I do not know how to satisfy Him.” She thought that the Supreme Personality of Godhead could be pleased only out of His own causeless mercy upon the devotee; otherwise, there was no means to please Him. Lord Caitanya, in the same way, prayed in His Śikṣāṣṭaka verses, “My Lord, I am Your eternal servant. Somehow or other I have fallen into this material existence. If You kindly pick Me up and fix Me as an atom of dust at Your lotus feet, it will be a great favor to Your eternal servant.” The Lord can be pleased only by a humble attitude in the service spirit. The more we render service unto the Lord under the direction of the spiritual master, the more we make advancement on the path approaching the Lord. We cannot demand any grace or mercy from the Lord because of our service rendered to Him. He may accept or not accept our service, but the only means to satisfy the Lord is through the service attitude, and nothing else.
King Nagnajit was a pious king, and having Lord Kṛṣṇa in his palace, he began to worship Him to the best of his knowledge and ability. He presented himself before the Lord thus: “My dear Lord, You are the proprietor of the whole cosmic manifestation, and You are Nārāyaṇa, the resting place of all living creatures. You are self-sufficient and pleased with Your personal opulences, so how can I offer You anything? And how could I please You by such an offering? It is not possible, because I am an insignificant living being. Actually I have no ability to render any service unto You.”
Kṛṣṇa is the Supersoul of all living creatures, so He could understand the mind of Satyā. He was also very much pleased with the respectful worship of the King in offering Him a sitting place, eatables, a residence and so on. He was appreciative, therefore, that both the girl and her father were eager to have Him as their intimate relative. He smiled and in a grave voice said, “My dear King Nagnajit, you know very well that anyone in the princely order who is regular in his position will never ask anything from anyone, however exalted he may be. Such requests by a kṣatriya king have been deliberately forbidden by the learned Vedic followers. If a kṣatriya breaks this regulation, his action is condemned by learned scholars. But in spite of this rigid regulative principle, I am asking you for the hand of your beautiful daughter just to establish our relationship in return for your great reception of Me. You may also be pleased to be informed that in Our family tradition there is no scope for Our offering anything in exchange for accepting your daughter. We cannot pay any price you may impose for delivering her.” In other words, Kṛṣṇa wanted the hand of Satyā from the King without fulfilling the condition of defeating the seven bulls.
After hearing the statement of Lord Kṛṣṇa, King Nagnajit said, “My dear Lord, You are the reservoir of all pleasure, all opulences and all qualities. The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmījī, always lives on Your chest. Under these circumstances, who can be a better husband for my daughter? Both my daughter and I have always prayed for this opportunity. You are the chief of the Yadu dynasty. You may kindly know that from the very beginning I have made a vow to marry my daughter to a suitable candidate, one who can come out victorious in the test I have devised. I have imposed this test just to understand the prowess and position of my intended son-in-law. You, Lord Kṛṣṇa, are the chief of all heroes. I am sure You will be able to bring these seven bulls under control without any difficulty. Until now they have never been subdued by any prince; anyone who has attempted to bring them under control has simply had his limbs broken.”
King Nagnajit continued his request: “Kṛṣṇa, if You’ll kindly bridle the seven bulls and bring them under control, then undoubtedly You will be selected as the desired husband of my daughter, Satyā.” After hearing this statement, Kṛṣṇa could understand that the King did not want to break his vow. Thus, in order to fulfill his desire, He tightened His belt and prepared to fight with the bulls. He immediately divided Himself into seven Kṛṣṇas, and each one of Them immediately caught hold of a bull and bridled its nose, thus bringing it under control as if it were a plaything.
Kṛṣṇa’s dividing Himself into seven is very significant. It was known to Satyā, the daughter of King Nagnajit, that Kṛṣṇa had already married many other wives, but still she was attached to Kṛṣṇa. In order to encourage her, Kṛṣṇa immediately expanded Himself into seven. The purport is that Kṛṣṇa is one, but He has unlimited forms of expansions. He married many thousands of wives, but this does not mean that while He was with one wife the others were bereft of His association. Kṛṣṇa could associate with each and every wife by His expansions.
When Kṛṣṇa brought the bulls under His control by bridling their noses, their strength and pride were immediately smashed. The name and fame which the bulls had attained was thus vanquished. When Kṛṣṇa had the bulls bridled, He pulled them strongly, just as a child pulls a toy wooden bull. Upon seeing this advantage of Kṛṣṇa, King Nagnajit became very much astonished and immediately, with great pleasure, brought his daughter Satyā before Kṛṣṇa and handed her over to Him. Kṛṣṇa also immediately accepted Satyā as His wife. Then there was a marriage ceremony with great pomp. The queens of King Nagnajit were also very much pleased because their daughter Satyā got Kṛṣṇa as her husband. Since the King and queens were very much pleased on this auspicious occasion, there was a celebration all over the city in honor of the marriage. Everywhere were heard the sounds of the conchshell and kettledrum and various other vibrations of music and song. The learned brāhmaṇas showered their blessings upon the newly married couple. In jubilation, all the inhabitants of the city dressed themselves with colorful garments and ornaments. King Nagnajit was so much pleased that he gave a dowry to his daughter and son-in-law, as follows.
First of all he gave them 10,000 cows and 3,000 well-dressed young maidservants, ornamented up to their necks. This system of dowry is still current in India, especially for kṣatriya princes. When a kṣatriya prince is married, at least a dozen maidservants of similar age are given along with the bride. After giving the cows and maidservants, the King enriched the dowry by giving 9,000 elephants and a hundred times more chariots than elephants. This means that he gave 900,000 chariots. And he gave a hundred times more horses than chariots, or 90,000,000 horses, and a hundred times more menservants than horses. Royal princes maintained such menservants and maidservants with all provisions, as if they were their own children or family members. After giving this dowry, the king of Kośala Province bade his daughter and great son-in-law be seated on a chariot and allowed them to go to their home, guarded by a division of well-equipped soldiers. As they traveled fast to their new home, the King’s heart was enlivened with affection for them.
Before this marriage of Satyā with Kṛṣṇa, there had been many competitive engagements with the bulls of King Nagnajit, and many other princes of the Yadu dynasty and of other dynasties as well had tried to win the hand of Satyā. When the frustrated princes of the other dynasties heard that Kṛṣṇa was successful in getting the hand of Satyā by subduing the bulls, naturally they became envious. While Kṛṣṇa was traveling to Dvārakā, all the frustrated and defeated princes encircled Him and began to shower their arrows on the bridal party. When they attacked Kṛṣṇa’s party and shot arrows like incessant torrents of rain, Arjuna, the best friend of Kṛṣṇa, took charge of the challenge, and he alone very easily drove them off to please his great friend Kṛṣṇa on the occasion of His marriage. Arjuna immediately took up his bow, Gāṇḍīva, and chased away all the princes; exactly as a lion drives away all small animals simply by chasing them, Arjuna drove away all the princes, without killing even one of them. After this, the chief of the Yadu dynasty, Lord Kṛṣṇa, along with His newly married wife and the huge dowry, entered the city of Dvārakā with great pomp. Kṛṣṇa then lived there with His wife very peacefully.
Besides Kuntīdevī, Kṛṣṇa had another paternal aunt; her name was Śrutakīrti, and she was married and lived in Kekaya Province. She had a daughter whose name was Bhadrā. Bhadrā wanted to marry Kṛṣṇa, and her brother handed her over to Him unconditionally. Kṛṣṇa accepted her as His bona fide wife. Thereafter, Kṛṣṇa married a daughter of the King of Madras Province. Her name was Lakṣmaṇā. Lakṣmaṇā had all good qualities. She was also forcibly married by Kṛṣṇa, who took her in the same way that Garuḍa snatched the jar of nectar from the hands of the demigods. Kṛṣṇa kidnapped this girl in the presence of many other princes in the assembly of her svayaṁvara. The svayaṁvara is a ceremony in which the bride can select her own husband from an assembly of many princes.
The description of Kṛṣṇa’s marriage with the five girls mentioned in this chapter is not sufficient. He had many other thousands of wives besides them. Kṛṣṇa accepted the other thousands of wives after killing a demon named Bhaumāsura. All these thousands of girls were held captive in the palace of Bhaumāsura, and Kṛṣṇa released them and married them.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Fifty-eighth Chapter of Kṛṣṇa, "Five Queens Married by Kṛṣṇa."