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Tenth Skanda

Chapter 85: Lord Krishna Instructs Vasudeva and Retrieves Devakî’s Sons

(1) The son of Vyâsa said: ‘Then, one day, visited Sankarshana and Acyuta, the two sons of Vasudeva, Their father who, after They had honored his feet, welcomed Them affectionately and spoke to Them. (2) Having heard the words of the sages referring to the powers of his two sons, got he also in regard of their valorous deeds convinced of Them and said he, addressing Them by name: (3) ‘Krishna, o Krishna, o greatest yogi, o eternal Sankarshana, I know You two are the direct representatives of the primary nature [or pradhâna] and male principle [the purusha or person] out here. (4) Whatever, however or whenever, in, by, from, of or unto this [universe] comes into existence, all represents directly the One who Predominates, the Supreme Lord, the primary nature and person. (5) This variegated universe that You created from Yourself, o Lord of the Beyond, do You, o Unborn One, entering it by Yourself, maintain as the Supreme Soul and principle of vitality and individuality. (6) Of both [the animate, and inanimate] entities which, different as they are and all belonging to the Supreme, are thus dependent, are You the One who constitutes the creative potency of the life air and the other basic elements of the universe [see also 2.5: 32-33]. (7) The glow, brilliance, luminosity, the particular of the moon, the fire, the sun, the stars and the lightning [B.G. 15: 12], the permanence of the mountains and the fragrance and sustaining power of the earth, are all You in fact. (8) The quenching, the vitalizing capacity of water as also the water itself and its taste are You o Lord. O Controller, of You is there on the basis of the air [so one says] the body heat, the mental and physical vigor, the endeavor and the movement [see also B.G. 11: 39]. (9) You are the directions and the spaces they describe, the omnipresent ether and the elemental sound belonging thereto. You are the primeval vibration that is the syllable AUM and its differentiation in particular forms [of language, see also B.G. 7: 8]. (10) You are of the senses the power to perceive, You are their gods [see also see also 3.12: 26] and of them are You the mercy; You are of the intelligence the power to decide and of the living being the power to remember the things as they are [B.G. 7: 10 & 15: 15]. (11) You, the primeval Cause of all Causes, are the source of the physical elements [tamas], the passions of the senses [rajas] and the stream of consciousness of the creative gods [sattva, see also B.G. 14]. (12) Of the entities that are subject to destruction in this world are You the indestructible being, the way the substance itself is relative to its transformations. (13) The modes of goodness, passion and ignorance and their functions are this way within You, within the Supreme Absolute Truth, regulated by the internal potency [the yogamâyâ of Your pastimes]. (14) On that account are these entities not [really] destroyed when they – at other times indeed being nonmaterial – conditioned within You as products of creation, also have You within them [as a believer, as the life force or caitanya, as a nitya-mukta, eternally liberated, conscious soul or a jîvâtmâ, see B.G 2: 12, 9: 4-5 & 8: 19]. (15) Those then in this world are ignorant who, failing in understanding the destination that is the Soul of Everything, by their karma are impelled to move around in the flow of the material ocean. (16) Somehow or other with this life having obtained the most desirable status of a human being – a status that is so difficult to achieve -, may someone deluded by the material energy [like me], o Controller, [still] have spent his entire life in confusion about his own best interest. (17) With You who in this world ties everyone together with the ropes of affection is there with the body and the progeny and other relations the ‘this I am’ and ‘these are mine’ to it [see also e.g. 2.9: 2, 4.28: 17, 4.29: 5, 5.5: 8 and 6.16: 41]. (18) The two of You are not our sons but evidently the Controllers of pradhâna and purusha that descended to remove the burden of rulers from the earth, as You Yourselves have said [10.50: 7-10]. (19) Therefore do I today seek Your shelter, Your lotus feet that, from the surrendered, the distressed, take away the fear of being entangled, o Friend, and that is all. Enough, I have enough of that hankering for sense enjoyment which binds me to the mortal frame and makes me think of You, the One Supreme, as being my child. (20) In the maternity room You indeed said [see 10.3: 44] that You, taking birth with us, were the Unborn One who that way age after age operates in defense of Your dharma and as a cloud therewith assume and relinquish various bodies [see B.G. 4: 8]; o, who can understand the mystic potency and manifold of You, the all-pervading, most glorified Lord?’

(21) S’rî S’uka said: ‘Having heard what His father thus said replied the Supreme Lord, the best of the Sâtvatas, broadly smiling with a gentle voice after with humility having bowed down. (22) The Supreme Lord said: ‘I consider these words of you appropriate, o father, since by referring to Us, your Sons, you have expressed the complete of reality. (23) I, you, He, My brother, and these residents of Dvârakâ, must together with everything that moves and not moves, all be considered the same way [as expansions of Me], o best of the Yadus [B.G. 9: 5 & 15 and the siddhânta]. (24) The Supreme Soul indeed is one, self-luminous, eternal and distinct; being free from the modes is He seen as many, in His by the modes from Himself having created the material entities that belong to those modes. (25) It is as with the ether, the air, the fire, the water and the earth that, being single elements, depending their locations, in their products, whether they are manifest or unmanifest, small or large, appear as many [see also B.G. 13: 31].’

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

(34) The rishi [S’uka] said: ‘Thus entreated by Their mother, o descendant of Bharata entered Râma and Krishna utilizing Their internal potency the nether world of Sutala [see 5.24: 18]. (35) Having entered there stood the daitya king [Bali] immediately up to bow to Them together with his entourage. He was overwhelmed with joy of seeing Them, the Supreme Soul and Godhead of the Universe who were his favorite divinity of worship. (36) Bringing Them royal seats, was he, as They sat, happy to wash the two Great Souls Their feet, and together with his followers took he the water [upon their heads] that purifies up to Brahmâ. (37) He, worshipping with all the wealth of himself and his family, thus offered Them the most valuable riches, garments, ornaments, fragrant pastes, bethel nut, lamps, nectarean food and so on [*]. (38) He who had conquered Indra [see 8.15] then spoke, over and over taking hold of the Supreme Lord’s feet, with a heart melting of love, with tears in his eyes of ecstasy and with his hair standing on end o King, with a choked up voice. (39) Bali said: ‘My respects for Ananta, the Greatest Being; my obeisances for Krishna, the Absolute Truth, the Supersoul, the Disseminator and Creator of the analytical knowledge [sânkhya, see 3.25-32] and science of [bhakti-] yoga. (40) The vision of You indeed is, though by the living beings rarely achieved, yet still for people like us, whose natures are in passion and ignorance, not difficult to obtain with You endeavoring to reach us on Your own accord [see B.G. 3: 21-23]. (41-43) The sons of Diti and Dâna, the singers of heaven, the perfected, the scientific, the venerable, the wealthkeepers, the wild, the carnivorous and the paranormal, the mystics, the politicians, we and others like them are attracted to You despite of constantly being fixed with a grudge against the Direct Embodiment of Pure Goodness in the divine form of the revealed scriptures; some are especially obstinate with hatred, some are of devotion with ulterior motives, but the enlightened and the rest of the ones lusting in goodness, are not that attracted at all [compare: the âtmârâma-verse 1.7: 10]. (44) O Controller when not even the masters of yoga know Your bewildering power of yoga that for the greater part is characterized in terms like this [svarûpa and vis’esha game of identity], what then of us? (45) Therefore o shelter of the lotus feet that are sought by the selfless, have mercy with me and lead me out of the blind well of a household life, so that I in peace may wander alone or else may wander with the friends of all, those [saints, devotees, Vaishnavas, desire trees] who are willing to help all in the world and at whose feet the subsistence [the ‘vritti’] is obtained. (46) Please direct us o Controller of the ones controlled, make us sinless o Master, turn us into a person who executes with faith and thus is freed from [scriptural] fixations.’

(47) The Supreme Lord said: ‘Once, during the first Manu, were there of Marîci six sons born from Ûrnâ, demigods, who laughed when they saw how the one of love [‘kam’, or Brahmâ in this case] wanted to copulate with his daughter [called Vâk, see 3.12: 28-35, compare 3.20: 23]. (48-49) Because of that offense entered they immediately a womb to be born to Hiranyakas’ipu. They were then by Yogamâyâ transferred to be born from the womb of Devakî, o King, and were murdered by Kamsa. She laments over them as being her own sons; they, these same sons are living here with you [see also ** and 10.2*]. (50) We want to take them from here in order to dispel their mother’s sadness; when thereafter the curse is lifted will they being freed from the misery go back to their own world. (51) By My grace will these six – Smara [Kîrtimân, see 10.1: 57], Udgîtha, Parishvanga, Patanga, Kshudrabhrit and Ghrinî – return to the destination of the saintly.’

(52) Thus having spoken took They, both honored by Bali, them back to Dvârakâ and presented They the sons to their mother. (53) Seeing the boys made the breasts of the goddess out of her affection for her sons flow, and placing them on her lap embraced she them, over and over smelling their heads. (54) Bewildered by Vishnu’s illusory energy because of which the creation comes into being, allowed she lovingly her sons to drink from her breasts that were wet the moment they touched them. (55-56) Having drunk her nectarean milk, the remnants of what the Wielder of the Club drank [before Vasudeva carried Him to Gokula], regained they, because they came in touch with the body of Nârâyana, the awareness of their original selves. Bowing down to Govinda, Devakî, their father and Balarâma went they, for everyone to see, to the abode where the gods live. (57) Seeing this return and departure of the dead, thought devine Devakî in great amazement about the magic that was arranged by Krishna, o King. (58) Of Krishna, the Supreme Soul unlimited in His valor, are there a countless number of feats like this, o descendant of Bharata.’

(59) S’rî Sûta [at Naimishâranya, 1.1: 4] said: “Whoever devoutly hears or recounts this pastime of Murâri whose glories are unlimited, the way it is described by Vyâsa’s respected son, will, because this true delight for His devotees’ ears fully annihilates the sins of the living being, with fixing his mind on the Supreme Lord, go to His all-auspicious heavenly abode.”

Chapter 86: Arjuna Kidnaps Subhadrâ, and Krishna Instructs Bahulas’va and S’rutadeva

(1) The honorable king (Parîkchit) said: ‘O brahmin, we’d like to know how she who is my grandmother, the sister of Krishna and Râma [Subhadrâ, see 9.24: 53-55], got married to Arjuna.’

(2-3) S’rî S’uka said: ‘Arjuna, the great lord, gone on a pilgrimage to Prabhâsa, heard as he wandered the earth that Râma intended to give his maternal cousin away to Duryodhana and to no one else, and so went he, desirous of her, to Dvârakâ disguised as a renunciate with a tridanda [*]. (4) Determined to fulfill his purpose, resided he there during the months of the rainy season and was he [according the custom] honored by the citizens and by Râma without them being aware who he was. (5) One day invited as a guest was he brought to Balarâma’s house where He faithfully presented him a meal. (6) When he there, with eyes blossoming of happiness, saw the wonderful girl who enchanted heroes, put he, smitten, his mind on her. (7) She also seeing him who stole each woman’s heart, fixed her heart and eyes upon him as she with desire gave him a bashful smile and look. (8) Thinking of nothing but her awaiting the right opportunity could Arjuna, with his heart trembling of the strongest desire, find no peace. (9) When during an important religious festival she rode out of the fortress in a chariot, seized the mighty warrior the girl who had stolen his heart. That took place with the consent of her parents [see 1o.1: 56] and Krishna. (10) Standing on the chariot raising his bow drove he, like the king of the animals claiming his share, back the heroes and guards who, while her relatives were shouting in anger, tried to stop him. (11) Hearing this was Râma as disturbed as the ocean is during a badly aspected moon [astrological conjunction or opposition]. Lord Krishna and His family had to grasp Him respectfully by His feet in order to pacify Him. (12) He thereupon was pleased to sent presents of great value, elephants and horses and male and female servants as a wedding gift for the groom and bride.’

(13) S’rî S’uka continued: ‘Of Lord Krishna there was S’rutadeva, one of the best among the twice-born, known for his fullness of realization – his serenity, learning and freedom from sense gratification – in exclusive devotion to Krishna. (14) He, as a householder dwelling in Mithilâ in the kingdom of Videha, carried out his obligations unconcerned about what came to him for his sustenance. (15) Day by day doing his duties as required was he happy with just that – and nothing more – what he by providence acquired as his share for his sober maintenance. (16) The ruler of that kingdom from the line of King Mithilâ [Janaka] was known by the name of Bahulâs’va and was likewise selfless minded, my dearest. They were both equally dear to Acyuta. (17) Pleased with the two of them mounted the Supreme Lord His chariot that was brought by Dâruka, and mounting together with a group of sages went the Master to Videha. (18) Along came Nârada, Vâmadeva, Atri, Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa, Paras’urâma, Asita, Aruni, I [S’uka], Brihaspati, Kanva, Maitreya and Cyavana and others. (19) Everywhere He came approached the citizens and villagers carrying arghya [offerings of water] to greet Him who was as the risen sun surrounded by the planets. (20) In Ânarta [where Dvârakâ is], Dhanva [the desert region], Kuru-jângala [Thaneswar and Kurukshetra], Kanka, Matsya [Jaipur and Aloyar], Pañcâla [the Ganges region], Kunti, Madhu, Kekaya [northeast Punjab], Kos’ala [from Kâs’î to the Himalayas], Arna [east of Mithilâ] and in many other kingdoms, drank the men and women with their eyes in the lotus face that was so generous with His smiles and affectionate glances, o King. (21) The Spiritual Master of the Three Worlds put an end to the blindness of their eyes by bestowing upon them the fearlessness of the spiritual vision. As He thus by and by reached Videha, heard He how by the God-conscious and the commoners His glories were sung, the glories that eradicate all misfortune and purify every corner of the universe. (22) The moment the villagers and citizens heard that Acyuta had arrived, o King, came they joyfully forward to greet Him with offerings in their hands. (23) Seeing Him Who is Praised in the Verses, bowed they with their faces and hearts blossoming of love down with their joined palms held to their heads, as they also did before the sages they only knew from hearsay. (24) Each of the kings of Mithilâ and S’rutadeva prostrated at the feet supposing that the Spiritual Master of the Universe had arrived to be of mercy for especially him. (25) Bahulâs’va and S’rutadeva simultaneously joining their palms, then invited the Descendant of Das’ârha and the twice-born to be their guests. (26) The Supreme Lord eager to please the two of them accepted their offer by entering each his house without them knowing that of each other [He did so at the same time in vaibhava-prakâs’a]. (27-29) The descendent of Janaka [Bahulas’va] who later that day saw them, fatigued, coming from a distance to his house, mindfully brought out fine seats for them so that they could comfortably sit. Overjoyed at heart with intense devotion and eyes clouded with tears bowed he down to wash those feet of which the water is able to purify the entire world. Together with his family taking it on his head, honored he the Lords [and sages] with sandalwood paste, garlands, clothing, jewelry, incense, lamps, arghya, cows and bulls. (30) When they had eaten their fill, said he while happily massaging the feet of Vishnu on his lap, in order to please them in a gentle voice slowly the following.

(31) S’rî Bahulâs’va said: ‘You indeed the Self-illumined Witness and Soul of All Created Beings, o Almighty One, have now become visible to us who are remembering Your lotus feet. (32) To be true to the statement You made that ‘No one, not even Ananta, S’rî or the Unborn Brahmâ is as dear to Me as the unalloyed devotee’, have You appeared before our eyes [see also 7.7: 51-52, 10.9: 20-21, 10.47: 58-63]. (33) What person knowing this would abandon Your lotus feet when You give Yourself to sages who are peaceful from not striving for possessions? (34) Descending in the Yadu dynasty for the sake of those who are caught in worldly love [samsâra] have You, to put a stop to it, disseminated Your fame which removes the sins of the three worlds. (35) All glories to You Krishna, the Supreme Lord ever fresh in His intelligence, to Nara-Nârâyana, the One perfect of peace in undergoing the austerities. (36) Please o Omnipresent One, dwell, joined by the twice-born, for a few days in our home and sanctify with the dust of Your feet this dynasty of Nimi.’

(37) S’rî S’uka said: ‘Thus invited by the king stayed the Supreme Lord and Maintainer of the Entire World there and thus brought good fortune to the men and women of Mithilâ. (38) S’rutadeva, just as Bahulas’va receiving Krishna in his house, bowed down to the sages to the occasion of which he in delight danced with waving clothes. (39) He made them sit on mats of darbha grass which were brought, greeted them with words of welcome and washed next pleased together with his wife their feet. (40) With the water sprinkled he, overjoyed of having all his desires fulfilled, most piously himself, his house and his family. (41) With offerings of fruits, aromatic root [us’îra], pure nectarean sweet water, fragrant clay, tulsî leaves, kus’a grass and lotus flowers honored he them with all items of worship available and with food conducive to the mood of goodness [see B.G. 17: 8]. (42) He wondered: ‘How could it happen that I who fell down in the blind well of family life, may enjoy this association with Krishna and these godly people in whom He resides; it is indeed the dust of their feet that constitutes the dignity of all holy places.’ (43) With them comfortably seated and having proven the hospitality, spoke S’rutadeva, as his wife, relatives and children were sitting close, while he massaged His feet.

(44) S’rutadeva said: ‘It is not for the first time that we see the Supreme Personality present before us; in fact is that happening ever since He, creating this universe with His energies, entered it in His own state of [transcendental] being [as an avatâra]. (45) He enters this world the way a sleeping person appears in his own dream: alone with his mind creates he by his own imagination a separate world. (46) You appear within the hearts of those people who with a pure mind again and again hear about You, speak of You, glorify You, worship You and converse about You. (47) Even though You’re situated in the heart are You far removed from minds agitated by material affairs, and even though one can’t get hold of You by one’s own powers, are You near to those who appreciate Your qualities [see also B.G. 7: 25]. (48) Let there be my obeisances unto You, the Supersoul from whom we know the Absolute of the Truth, the One who [as the Time] calls for the death of the conditioned soul; the One who assumes forms that have a cause [the universe] and do not have a cause [the transcendental], and thus [respectively] obstructs matters and [then again descending for Your devotees] broadens the outlook by Your own deluding potency. (49) You as that Supersoul, please command us Your servants. What o God should we do? Oh, having this of You, Your good Self, visible before our eyes is what puts an end to the troubles of humanity!’

(50) S’rî S’uka said: ‘Having heard what he thus said to Him, spoke the Supreme Lord, the Destroyer of the Distress of the Surrendered, to him with a broad smile taking his hand into His. (51) The Supreme Lord said: ‘O brahmin, you should know that these sages came along for the purpose of blessing you; wandering with Me, they purify all the worlds with the dust of their feet. (52) The deities, pilgrimage sites and sacred rivers being visited, being touched and being worshiped purify gradually, but by the glance of the one who is the most worshipable is that all attained at the same time [see also 4.30: 37, 7.9: 44, 10.9: 21, 10.84: 11]. (53) A brahmin is by birth the best of all living beings, and what more wouldn’t he mean to Me when he by his austerity, his learning and his contentment is endowed with a grip on the time [of this age of Kali, see also ** and kâla]! (54) This four-armed form is not as dear to Me as a brahmin is; a man of [brahminical] learning comprises all the Vedas indeed the way I comprise all the gods [see also 10.84: 12]. (55) Those who corrupted in their intelligence fail to understand it this way, behave in neglect enviously towards the man of [brahminical] learning, their guru, Me factually, their very self, while they do regard the visible form of an idol worthy of worship. (56) The moving and nonmoving of this universe as well as the elementary categories basic to it are by man of learning of respect for Me kept in mind as being My forms [see also B.G. 5: 18]. (57) Therefore o brahmin just worship, with the same faith you have in Me, these brahmin seers, and thus will you directly be of worship for Me, not by any other way as [e.g. offering] vast riches [and such].’

(58) S’rî S’ûka said: ‘He as also the king of Mithilâ who were thus instructed by the Lord, attained by the single-minded devotion for Krishna and His company of most exalted twice-born ones, the transcendental destination. (59) The Supreme Lord of Devotion for His Own Devotees, thus staying and teaching the two devotees the path of the truthful [***], o King, then returned to Dvârakâ.’