SB 10.48: Kṛṣṇa Pleases His Devotees

In this chapter Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa first visits Trivakrā (also known as Kubjā) and enjoys with her, and then He visits Akrūra. The Lord sends Akrūra to Hastināpura to satisfy the Pāṇḍavas.

After Uddhava had related to Śrī Kṛṣṇa the news of Vraja, the Lord went to the home of Trivakrā, which was decorated with diverse ornamentation conducive to sexual enjoyment. Trivakrā welcomed Kṛṣṇa with great respect, giving Him a raised seat and, together with her female companions, worshiping Him. She also offered Uddhava a seat, as befitted his position, but Uddhava simply touched the seat and sat on the floor.

Lord Kṛṣṇa then reclined on an opulent bed as the maidservant Trivakrā elaborately washed and decorated herself. Then she approached Him. Kṛṣṇa invited Trivakrā to the bed and began to enjoy with her in various ways. By embracing Lord Kṛṣṇa, Trivakrā freed herself of the torment of lust. She asked Kṛṣṇa to remain with her for some time, and the considerate Lord promised to fulfill her request in due course. He then returned with Uddhava to His residence. Apart from offering sandal paste to Kṛṣṇa, Trivakrā had never performed any pious acts, yet simply on the strength of the piety of this single act she attained the rare personal association of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa next went to Akrūra’s house with Lord Baladeva and Uddhava. Akrūra honored the three of them by bowing down and presenting them with suitable sitting places. Then he worshiped Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, washed Their feet and poured the water on his head. Akrūra also offered Them many prayers.

Lord Kṛṣṇa was pleased with Akrūra’s prayers. He told him that since he, Akrūra, was in fact Their paternal uncle, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma should be the recipients of his protection and mercy. Lord Kṛṣṇa then praised Akrūra as a saint and purifier of the sinful, and He asked him to visit Hastināpura to find out how the Pāṇḍavas, deprived of their father, were faring. Finally, the Lord returned home, taking Balarāma and Uddhava with Him.

SB 10.48.1

śrī-śuka uvāca
atha vijñāya bhagavān
 sarvātmā sarva-darśanaḥ
sairandhryāḥ kāma-taptāyāḥ
 priyam icchan gṛhaṁ yayau
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; atha — then; vijñāya — understanding; bhagavān — the Supreme Lord; sarva — of all; ātmā — the Soul; sarva — of everything; darśanaḥ — the seer; sairandhryāḥ — of the serving girl, Trivakrā; kāma — by lust; taptāyāḥ — troubled; priyam — the satisfaction; icchan — wanting; gṛham — to her house; yayau — He went.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Next, after assimilating Uddhava’s report, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the omniscient Soul of all that be, desired to satisfy the serving girl Trivakrā, who was troubled by lust. Thus He went to her house.

This text gives an interesting insight into the Lord’s pastimes. The first line says, atha vijñnāya bhagavān: “Thus the Lord, understanding [Uddhava’s report], …” The second line states that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Soul of everything (sarvātmā) and the seer of everything (sarva-darśanaḥ). In other words, although He certainly does not depend on spoken reports from messengers, He plays the part of a human being and listens to news from a messenger — not out of need, as we would do, but in the bliss of His spiritual pastimes, exchanging love with His pure devotee. The word sarva-darśanaḥ also indicates that the Lord perfectly understood the feelings of the residents of Vraja and was perfectly reciprocating with them within their hearts. Now, in His external pastimes, He desired to bless Śrīmatī Trivakrā, who was about to be freed from the disease of material lust.

SB 10.48.2

mahārhopaskarair āḍhyaṁ
dhūpaiḥ surabhibhir dīpaiḥ
 srag-gandhair api maṇḍitam
mahā-arha — expensive; upaskaraiḥ — with furnishings; āḍhyam — rich; kāma — of lust; upāya — with accoutrements; upabṛṁhitam — replete; muktā-dāma — with strings of pearls; patākābhiḥ — and banners; vitāna — with canopies; śayana — beds; āsanaiḥ — and seats; dhūpaiḥ — with incense; surabhibhiḥ — fragrant; dīpaiḥ — with oil lamps; srak — with flower garlands; gandhaiḥ — and aromatic sandalwood paste; api — also; maṇḍitam — decorated.
Trivakrā’s home was opulently appointed with expensive furnishings and replete with sensual accoutrements meant to inspire sexual desire. There were banners, rows of strung pearls, canopies, fine beds and sitting places, and also fragrant incense, oil lamps, flower garlands and aromatic sandalwood paste.

According to Śrīdhara Svāmī, the sensual accoutrements in Trivakrā’s house included explicit sexual pictures. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī adds that her paraphernalia included herbal aphrodisiacs. It is not hard to guess Trivakrā’s intention, yet Lord Kṛṣṇa went there to save her from material existence.

SB 10.48.3

gṛhaṁ tam āyāntam avekṣya sāsanāt
 sadyaḥ samutthāya hi jāta-sambhramā
yathopasaṅgamya sakhībhir acyutaṁ
 sabhājayām āsa sad-āsanādibhiḥ
gṛham — to her house; tam — Him; āyāntam — arrived; avekṣya — seeing; — she; āsanāt — from her seat; sadyaḥ — suddenly; samutthāya — rising; hi — indeed; jāta-sambhramā — being in a flurry; yathā — properly; upasaṇgamya — coming toward; sakhībhiḥ — with her female companions; acyutam — Lord Kṛṣṇa; sabhājayām āsa — respectfully greeted; sat-āsana — with an excellent seat; ādibhiḥ — and so on.
When Trivakrā saw Him arriving at her house, she at once rose from her seat in a flurry. Coming forward graciously with her girlfriends, she respectfully greeted Lord Acyuta by offering Him an excellent seat and other articles of worship.

SB 10.48.4

tathoddhavaḥ sādhutayābhipūjito
 nyaṣīdad urvyām abhimṛśya cāsanam
kṛṣṇo ’pi tūrṇaṁ śayanaṁ mahā-dhanaṁ
 viveśa lokācaritāny anuvrataḥ
tathā — also; uddhavaḥ — Uddhava; sādhutayā — as a saintly person; abhipūjitaḥ — worshiped; nyaṣīdat — sat; urvyām — on the ground; abhimṛśya — touching; ca — and; āsanam — the seat; kṛṣṇaḥ — Lord Kṛṣṇa; api — and; tūrṇam — without delay; śayanam — a bed; mahā-dhanam — very rich; viveśa — lay upon; loka — of human society; ācaritāni — the modes of behavior; anuvrataḥ — imitating.
Uddhava also received a seat of honor, since he was a saintly person, but he simply touched it and sat on the floor. Then Lord Kṛṣṇa, imitating the manners of human society, quickly made Himself comfortable on an opulent bed.

According to the ācāryas, Uddhava felt reverence for his Lord and thus declined to sit on an opulent seat in His presence; rather, he touched the seat with his hand and sat on the floor. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī adds that Lord Kṛṣṇa made Himself comfortable on a bed located in the inner chambers of Trivakrā’s home.

SB 10.48.5

sā majjanālepa-dukūla-bhūṣaṇa
prasādhitātmopasasāra mādhavaṁ
— she, Trivakrā; majjana — by bathing; ālepa — anointing; dukūla — dressing in fine garments; bhūṣaṇa — with ornaments; srak — garlands; gandha — perfume; tāmbūla — betel nut; sudhā-āsava — drinking fragrant liquor; ādibhiḥ — and so on; prasādhita — prepared; ātmā — her body; upasasāra — she approached; mādhavam — Lord Kṛṣṇa; sa-vrīḍa — shy; līlā — playful; utsmita — of her smiles; vibhrama — exhibiting the allurement; īkṣitaiḥ — with glances.
Trivakrā prepared herself by bathing, anointing her body, and dressing in fine garments, by putting on jewelry, garlands and perfume, and also by chewing betel nut, drinking fragrant liquor, and so on. She then approached Lord Mādhava with shy, playful smiles and coquettish glances.

It is clear from this verse that the ways a woman prepares for sexual enjoyment have not changed in thousands of years.

SB 10.48.6

āhūya kāntāṁ nava-saṅgama-hriyā
 viśaṅkitāṁ kaṅkaṇa-bhūṣite kare
pragṛhya śayyām adhiveśya rāmayā
 reme ’nulepārpaṇa-puṇya-leśayā
āhūya — calling forward; kāntām — His beloved; nava — new; saṅgama — of contact; hriyā — with shyness; viśaṅkitām — fearful; kaṅkaṇa — with bangles; bhūṣite — ornamented; kare — her two hands; pragṛhya — taking hold of; śayyām — on the bed; adhiveśya — placing her; rāmayā — with the beautiful girl; reme — He enjoyed; anulepa — of ointment; arpaṇa — the offering; puṇya — of piety; leśayā — whose single trace.
Calling forward His beloved, who was anxious and shy at the prospect of this new contact, the Lord pulled her by her bangled hands onto the bed. Thus He enjoyed with that beautiful girl, whose only trace of piety was her having offered ointment to the Lord.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī explains that the words nava-saṅgama-hriyā indicate that Trivakrā was in fact a virgin girl at this point. She had been a deformed hunchback, and the Lord had recently transformed her into a beautiful girl. Therefore, although clearly lusting after Śrī Kṛṣṇa, she was naturally shy and anxious.

SB 10.48.7

sānaṅga-tapta-kucayor urasas tathākṣṇor
 jighranty ananta-caraṇena rujo mṛjantī
dorbhyāṁ stanāntara-gataṁ parirabhya kāntam
 ānanda-mūrtim ajahād ati-dīrgha-tāpam
sa — she; anaṅga — by Cupid; tapta — made to burn; kucayoḥ — of her breasts; urasaḥ — of her chest; tathā — and; akṣṇoḥ — of her eyes; jighrantī — smelling; ananta — of Kṛṣṇa, the unlimited Supreme Lord; caraṇena — by the feet; rujaḥ — the pain; mṛjantī — wiping away; dorbhyām — with her arms; stana — her breasts; antara-gatam — between; parirabhya — embracing; kāntam — her lover; ānanda — of all ecstasy; mūrtim — the personal manifestation; ajahāt — she gave up; ati — extremely; dīrgha — long-standing; tāpam — her distress.
Simply by smelling the fragrance of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, Trivakrā cleansed away the burning lust Cupid had aroused in her breasts, chest and eyes. With her two arms she embraced between her breasts her lover, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the personification of bliss, and thus she gave up her long-standing distress.

SB 10.48.8

saivaṁ kaivalya-nāthaṁ taṁ
 prāpya duṣprāpyam īśvaram
 durbhagedam ayācata
sa — she; evam — thus; kaivalya — of liberation; nātham — the controller; tam — Him; prāpya — obtaining; duṣprāpyam — unobtainable; īśvaram — the Supreme Lord; aṅga-rāga — body ointment; arpaṇena — by offering; aho — oh; durbhagā — unfortunate; idam — this; ayācata — she begged.
Having thus gotten the hard-to-get Supreme Lord by the simple act of offering Him body ointment, unfortunate Trivakrā submitted to that Lord of freedom the following request.

According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Śrīmatī Trivakrā prayed to the Lord, “Please enjoy only with me, and not with any other woman.” Because Kṛṣṇa was not prepared to grant such a benediction, Trivakrā is described here as unfortunate. Śrīdhara Svāmī adds that although to ordinary eyes she seemed to beg for material sex pleasure, in fact she was a liberated soul at this point.

SB 10.48.9

sahoṣyatām iha preṣṭha
 dināni katicin mayā
ramasva notsahe tyaktuṁ
 saṅgaṁ te ’mburuhekṣaṇa
saha — together; uṣyatām — please stay; iha — here; preṣṭha — O beloved; dināni — days; katicit — some; mayā — with me; ramasva — please take pleasure; na utsahe — I cannot tolerate; tyaktum — giving up; saṅgam — association; te — Your; amburuha-īkṣaṇa — O lotus-eyed one.
[Trivakrā said:] O beloved, please stay here with me for a few days more and enjoy. I cannot bear to give up Your association, O lotus-eyed one!

The word ambu means “water,” and ruha means “rising.” Thus amburuha means “the lotus flower, which rises up from the water.” Lord Kṛṣṇa is called amburuhekṣaṇa, “the lotus-eyed one.” He is the source and embodiment of all beauty, and naturally Trivakrā was attracted to Him. However, the Lord’s beauty is spiritual and pure, and His intention was not to gratify Himself with Trivakrā but rather to bring her to the point of pure spiritual existence, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

SB 10.48.10

tasyai kāma-varaṁ dattvā
 mānayitvā ca māna-daḥ
sahoddhavena sarveśaḥ
 sva-dhāmāgamad ṛddhimat
tasyai — to her; kāma — of material desire; varam — her benediction; dattvā — granting; mānayitvā — showing her respect; ca — and; māna-daḥ — He who gives respect to others; saha uddhavena — together with Uddhava; sarva-īśaḥ — the Lord of all beings; sva — to His own; dhāma — residence; agamat — went; ṛddhi-mat — supremely opulent.
Promising her the fulfillment of this lusty desire, considerate Kṛṣṇa, Lord of all beings, paid Trivakrā His respects and then returned with Uddhava to His own supremely opulent residence.

All the ācāryas agree that the words kāma-varaṁ dattvā indicate that Lord Kṛṣṇa promised Trivakrā He would fulfill her lusty desires.

SB 10.48.11

durārdhyaṁ samārādhya
 viṣṇuṁ sarveśvareśvaram
yo vṛṇīte mano-grāhyam
 asattvāt kumanīṣy asau
durārādhyam — rarely worshiped; samārādhya — fully worshiping; viṣṇum — Lord Viṣṇu; sarva — of all; īśvara — controllers; īśvaram — the supreme controller; yaḥ — who; vṛṇīte — chooses as a benediction; manaḥ — to the mind; grāhyam — that which is accessible, namely sense gratification; asattvāt — because of its insignificance; kumanīṣī — unintelligent; asau — that person.
Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord of all lords, is ordinarily difficult to approach. One who has properly worshiped Him and then chooses the benediction of mundane sense gratification is certainly of poor intelligence, for he is satisfied with an insignificant result.

It is clear from the commentaries of the ācāryas that the story of Trivakrā is to be understood on two levels. On the one hand, she is understood to be a liberated soul, directly associating with the Lord and participating in His pastimes. On the other hand, her conduct is clearly meant to teach a lesson about what not to do in relation with Lord Kṛṣṇa. Since all of the Lord’s pastimes are not only blissful but also didactic, there is no real contradiction in this pastime, since Trivakrā’s purity and her bad example take place on two distinct levels. Arjuna is also considered a pure devotee, yet by initially disobeying Kṛṣṇa’s instruction to fight, he also showed an example of what not to do. However, such “bad examples” always have happy endings in the blissful association of the Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

SB 10.48.12

akrūra-bhavanaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ
 saha-rāmoddhavaḥ prabhuḥ
kiñcic cikīrṣayan prāgād
akrūra-bhavanam — the home of Akrūra; kṛṣṇaḥ — Kṛṣṇa; saha — with; rāma-uddhavaḥ — Lord Balarāma and Uddhava; prabhuḥ — the Supreme Lord; kiñcit — something; cikīrṣayan — wanting to have done; prāgāt — went; akrūra — of Akrūra; priya — the satisfaction; kāmyayā — desiring.
Then Lord Kṛṣṇa, wanting to have some things done, went to Akrūra’s house with Balarāma and Uddhava. The Lord also desired to please Akrūra.

The previous incident of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s visit to Trivakrā’s house, and now His visit to Akrūra’s, gives a fascinating glimpse into the daily activities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Mathurā City.

SB 10.48.13-14

sa tān nara-vara-śreṣṭhān
 ārād vīkṣya sva-bāndhavān
pratyutthāya pramuditaḥ
 pariṣvajyābhinandya ca
nanāma kṛṣṇaṁ rāmaṁ ca
 sa tair apy abhivāditaḥ
pūjayām āsa vidhi-vat
saḥ — he (Akrūra); tān — them (Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Uddhava); nara-vara — of illustrious personalities; śreṣṭhān — the greatest; ārāt — from a distance; vīkṣya — seeing; sva — his (Akrūra’s); bāndhavān — relatives; pratyutthāya — rising up; pramuditaḥ — joyful; pariṣvajya — embracing; abhinandya — greeting; ca — and; nanāma — bowed down; kṛṣṇam rāmam ca — to Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma; saḥ — he; taiḥ — by Them; api — and; abhivāditaḥ — greeted; pūjayām āsa — he worshiped; vidhi-vat — according to scriptural injunctions; kṛta — who had done; āsana — of seats; parigrahān — acceptance.
Akrūra stood up in great joy when he saw them, his own relatives and the greatest of exalted personalities, coming from a distance. After embracing them and greeting them, Akrūra bowed down to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and was greeted by Them in return. Then, when his guests had taken their seats, he worshiped them in accordance with scriptural rules.

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī points out that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the others approached Akrūra in a friendly attitude. At first Akrūra reciprocated that friendly mood, and then, in the course of showing them hospitality, he adopted his natural devotional attitude toward the Lord and thus offered his obeisances to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Balarāma.

SB 10.48.15-16

pādāvanejanīr āpo
 dhārayan śirasā nṛpa
arhaṇenāmbarair divyair
arcitvā śirasānamya
 pādāv aṅka-gatau mṛjan
praśrayāvanato ’krūraḥ
 kṛṣṇa-rāmāv abhāṣata
pāda — Their feet; avanejanīḥ — used for bathing; ā — all over; āpaḥ — the water; dhārayan — putting; śirasā — on his head; nṛpa — O King (Parīkṣit); arhaṇena — with gifts; ambaraiḥ — clothing; divyaiḥ — celestial; gandha — fragrant sandalwood paste; srak — flower garlands; bhūṣaṇa — and ornaments; uttamaiḥ — excellent; arcitvā — worshiping; śirasā — with his head; ānamya — bowing down; pādau — (Lord Kṛṣṇa’s) feet; aṅka — on his lap; gatau — placed; mṛjan — massaging; praśraya — with humility; avanataḥ — his head lowered; akrūraḥ — Akrūra; kṛṣṇa-rāmau — to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; abhāṣata — spoke.
O King, Akrūra bathed the feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma and then poured the bath water on his head. He presented Them with gifts of fine clothing, aromatic sandalwood paste, flower garlands and excellent jewelry. After thus worshiping the two Lords, he bowed his head to the floor. He then began to massage Lord Kṛṣṇa’s feet, placing them on his lap, and with his head bowed in humility he addressed Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma as follows.

SB 10.48.17

diṣṭyā pāpo hataḥ kaṁsaḥ
 sānugo vām idaṁ kulam
bhavadbhyām uddhṛtaṁ kṛcchrād
 durantāc ca samedhitam
diṣṭyā — by good fortune; pāpaḥ — sinful; hataḥ — killed; kaṁsaḥ — Kaṁsa; sa-anugaḥ — together with his brothers and other followers; vām — of Yours; idam — this; kulam — dynasty; bhavadbhyām — by You two; uddhṛtam — delivered; kṛcchrāt — from difficulty; durantāt — endless; ca — and; samedhitam — made prosperous.
[Akrūra said:] It is our good fortune that You two Lords have killed the evil Kaṁsa and his followers, thus delivering Your dynasty from endless suffering and causing it to flourish.

SB 10.48.18

yuvāṁ pradhāna-puruṣau
 jagad-dhetū jagan-mayau
bhavadbhyāṁ na vinā kiñcit
 param asti na cāparam
yuvām — You two; pradhāna-puruṣau — the original persons; jagat — of the universe; hetū — the causes; jagat-mayau — identical with the universe; bhavadbhyām — than You; na — not; vinā — apart from; kiñcit — anything; param — cause; asti — there is; na ca — nor; aparam — product.
You both are the original Supreme Person, the cause of the universe and its very substance. Not the slightest subtle cause or manifest product of creation exists apart from You.

After praising Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma for having saved Their dynasty, Akrūra now points out that the Lord actually has no mundane connection with any social or political institution. He is the original Personality of Godhead, performing His pastimes for the benefit of the entire universe.

SB 10.48.19

ātma-sṛṣṭam idaṁ viśvam
 anvāviśya sva-śaktibhiḥ
īyate bahudhā brahman
ātma-sṛṣṭam — created by You; idam — this; viśvam — universe; anvāviśya — subsequently entering; sva — with Your own; śaktibhiḥ — energies; īyate — You are perceived; bahudhā — manifold; brahman — O Supreme; śruta — by hearing from scripture; pratyakṣa — and by direct perception; gocaram — knowable.
O Supreme Absolute Truth, with Your personal energies You create this universe and then enter into it. Thus one can perceive You in many different forms by hearing from authorities and by direct experience.

The grammatical agreement of śruta-pratyakṣa-gocaram, in the neuter case, with ātma-sṛṣṭam idaṁ viśvam indicates that the Supreme Lord, by entering His creation with His potencies, makes Himself perceivable within the universe. Throughout the Bhāgavatam and other authorized Vedic literature, we often find descriptions of the Lord’s simultaneous supremacy over all other things and His identity with them. We cannot reasonably draw any other conclusion from Vedic literature than the one powerfully preached by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. That is, the Absolute Truth is greater than and distinct from everything (since He is the omnipotent creator and controller of all), and simultaneously one with everything (since all that exists is the expansion of His own power).

Throughout these chapters of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we also observe one of the unique, extraordinary features of this great work. Whether Kṛṣṇa is sending His message to the gopīs or accepting the prayers of Akrūra, there is constant philosophical discussion. Throughout the Bhāgavatam, the steady combination of fascinating pastimes with persistent spiritual philosophy is an extraordinary feature. We are allowed to glimpse and even to relish the spiritual emotions of the Lord and His liberated associates, and yet we are constantly reminded of their ontological position lest we lapse into a cheap, anthropomorphic vision. Thus it is entirely in character with the work that Akrūra, in his ecstasy, glorifies the Lord with precise philosophical prayers.

SB 10.48.20

yathā hi bhūteṣu carācareṣu
 mahy-ādayo yoniṣu bhānti nānā
evaṁ bhavān kevala ātma-yoniṣv
 ātmātma-tantro bahudhā vibhāti
yathā — as; hi — indeed; bhūteṣu — among manifested beings; cara — mobile; acareṣu — and immobile; mahī-ādayaḥ — earth and so on (the primary elements of creation); yoniṣu — in species; bhānti — manifest; nānā — variously; evam — so; bhavān — You; kevalaḥ — one alone; ātma — Yourself; yoniṣu — in those whose source; ātmā — the Supreme Soul; ātma-tantraḥ — self-reliant; bahudhā — manifold; vibhāti — appear.
Just as the primary elements — earth and so on — manifest themselves in abundant variety among all the species of mobile and immobile life, so You, the one independent Supreme Soul, appear to be manifold among the variegated objects of Your creation.

SB 10.48.21

sṛjasy atho lumpasi pāsi viśvaṁ
 rajas-tamaḥ-sattva-guṇaiḥ sva-śaktibhiḥ
na badhyase tad-guṇa-karmabhir vā
 jñānātmanas te kva ca bandha-hetuḥ
sṛjasi — You create; atha u — and then; lumpasi — You destroy; pāsi — You protect; viśvam — the universe; rajaḥ — known as passion; tamaḥ — ignorance; sattva — and goodness; guṇaiḥ — by the modes; sva-śaktibhiḥ — Your personal potencies; na badhyase — You are not bound; tat — of this world; guṇa — by the modes; karmabhiḥ — by the material activities; — or; jñāna-ātmanaḥ — who are knowledge itself; te — for You; kva ca — where at all; bandha — of bondage; hetuḥ — cause.
You create, destroy and also maintain this universe with Your personal energies — the modes of passion, ignorance and goodness — yet You are never entangled by these modes or the activities they generate. Since You are the original source of all knowledge, what could ever cause You to be bound by illusion?

The phrase jñānātmanas te kva ca bandha-hetuḥ, “Since You are constituted of knowledge, what could be a cause of bondage for You?” definitely indicates the obvious, that the omniscient Supreme God is never in illusion. Therefore the impersonalistic theory that we are all God but have forgotten and are now in illusion is refuted here in the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

SB 10.48.22

dehādy-upādher anirūpitatvād
 bhavo na sākṣān na bhidātmanaḥ syāt
ato na bandhas tava naiva mokṣaḥ
 syātām nikāmas tvayi no ’vivekaḥ
deha — of the body; ādi — and so on; upādheḥ — as material, designative coverings; anirūpitatvāt — because of not being determined; bhavaḥ — birth; na — not; sākṣāt — literal; na — nor; bhidā — duality; ātmanaḥ — for the Supreme Soul; syāt — exists; ataḥ — therefore; na — no; bandhaḥ — bondage; tava — Your; na eva — nor, in fact; mokṣaḥ — liberation; syātām — if they occur; nikāmaḥ — by Your sweet will; tvayi — concerning You; naḥ — our; avivekaḥ — erroneous discrimination.
Since it has never been demonstrated that You are covered by material, bodily designations, it must be concluded that for You there is neither birth in a literal sense nor any duality. Therefore You never undergo bondage or liberation, and if You appear to, it is only because of Your desire that we see You in that way, or simply because of our lack of discrimination.

Here Akrūra states two reasons why the Lord appears to be covered by a material form, or to take birth like a human being. First, when Lord Kṛṣṇa executes His pastimes, His loving devotees think of Him as their beloved child, friend, lover and so on. In the ecstasy of this loving reciprocation, they do not think of Kṛṣṇa as God. For example, because of her extraordinary love for Him, mother Yaśodā worries that Kṛṣṇa will be injured in the forest. That she feels this way is the desire of the Lord, which is here indicated by the word nikāmaḥ. The second reason the Lord may appear material is indicated by the word avivekaḥ: Simply because of ignorance, a lack of discrimination, one may misunderstand the position of the Personality of Godhead. In the Eleventh Canto of the Bhāgavatam, in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s discussion with Śrī Uddhava, the Lord elaborately discusses His transcendental position beyond bondage and liberation. As stated in Vedic literature, deha-dehi-vibhago yaṁ neśvare vidyate kvacit: “There is never a distinction of body and soul in the Supreme Lord.” In other words, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s body is eternal, spiritual, omniscient and the reservoir of all pleasure.

SB 10.48.23

tvayodito ’yaṁ jagato hitāya
 yadā yadā veda-pathaḥ purāṇaḥ
bādhyeta pāṣaṇḍa-pathair asadbhis
 tadā bhavān sattva-guṇaṁ bibharti
tvayā — by You; uditaḥ — enunciated; ayam — this; jagataḥ — of the universe; hitāya — for the benefit; yadā yadā — whenever; veda — of the Vedic scriptures; pathaḥ — the path (of religiousness); purāṇaḥ — ancient; bādhyeta — is obstructed; pāṣaṇḍa — of atheism; pathaiḥ — by those who follow the path; asadbhiḥ — wicked persons; tadā — at that time; bhavān — You; sattva-guṇam — the pure mode of goodness; bibharti — assume.
You originally enunciated the ancient religious path of the Vedas for the benefit of the whole universe. Whenever that path becomes obstructed by wicked persons following the path of atheism, You assume one of Your incarnations, which are all in the transcendental mode of goodness.

SB 10.48.24

sa tvam prabho ’dya vasudeva-gṛhe ’vatīrṇaḥ
 svāṁśena bhāram apanetum ihāsi bhūmeḥ
akṣauhiṇī-śata-vadhena suretarāṁśa-
 rājñām amuṣya ca kulasya yaśo vitanvan
saḥ — He; tvam — You; prabho — O master; adya — now; vasudeva-gṛhe — in the home of Vasudeva; avatīrṇaḥ — have descended; sva — with Your own; aṁśena — direct expansion (Lord Balarāma); bharam — the burden; apanetum — to remove; iha — here; asi — You are; bhūmeḥ — of the earth; akṣauhiṇī — of the armies; śata — hundreds; vadhena — by killing; sura-itara — of the opponents of the demigods; aṁśa — who are expansions; rājñām — of the kings; amuṣya — of this; ca — and; kulasya — dynasty (of the descendants of Yadu); yaśaḥ — the fame; vitanvan — spreading.
You are that very same Supreme Person, my Lord, and You have now appeared in the home of Vasudeva with Your plenary portion. You have done this to relieve the earth’s burden by killing hundreds of armies led by kings who are expansions of the demigods’ enemies, and also to spread the fame of our dynasty.

The term suretarāṁśa-rājñām indicates that the demoniac kings slain by Kṛṣṇa were in fact expansions or incarnations of the enemies of the demigods. This fact is elaborately explained in the Mahābhārata, which reveals the specific identities of the demoniac kings.

SB 10.48.25

adyeśa no vasatayaḥ khalu bhūri-bhāgā
 yaḥ sarva-deva-pitṛ-bhūta-nṛ-deva-mūrtiḥ
yat-pāda-śauca-salilaṁ tri-jagat punāti
 sa tvaṁ jagad-gurur adhokṣaja yāḥ praviṣṭaḥ
adya — today; īśa — O Lord; naḥ — our; vasatayaḥ — residence; khalu — indeed; bhūri — extremely; bhāgāḥ — fortunate; yaḥ — who; sarva-deva — the Supreme Lord; pitṛ — the forefathers; bhūta — all living creatures; nṛ — human beings; deva — and the demigods; mūrtiḥ — who embody; yat — whose; pāda — feet; śauca — which has washed; salilam — the water (of the river Ganges); tri-jagat — the three worlds; punāti — purifies; saḥ — He; tvam — You; jagat — of the universe; guruḥ — the spiritual master; adhokṣaja — O You who are beyond the purview of the material senses; yāḥ — which; praviṣṭaḥ — having entered.
Today, O Lord, my home has become most fortunate because You have entered it. As the Supreme Truth, You embody the forefathers, ordinary creatures, human beings and demigods, and the water that has washed Your feet purifies the three worlds. Indeed, O transcendent one, You are the spiritual master of the universe.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī has nicely interpreted Akrūra’s feelings as follows:

Akrūra said, “My Lord, although I am a householder, today my home has become more pious than the forests where sages perform austerities. Why? Simply because You have entered my home. Indeed, You are the personification of the deities who preside over the five sacrifices a householder must perform daily to atone for unavoidable violence committed to living beings in the home. You are the spiritual truth behind all these creations, and now You have entered my home.”

The five daily sacrifices enjoined for a householder are (1) sacrifice to Brahman by studying the Vedas, (2) sacrifice to the forefathers by making offerings to them, (3) sacrifice to all creatures by putting aside a portion of one’s meals, (4) sacrifice to human beings by extending hospitality and (5) sacrifice to the demigods by performing fire sacrifices and so on.

SB 10.48.26

kaḥ paṇḍitas tvad aparaṁ śaraṇaṁ samīyād
 bhakta-priyād ṛta-giraḥ suhṛdaḥ kṛta-jñāt
sarvān dadāti suhṛdo bhajato ’bhikāmān
 ātmānam apy upacayāpacayau na yasya
kaḥ — what; paṇḍitaḥ — scholar; tvat — other than You; aparam — to another; śaraṇam — for shelter; samīyāt — would go; bhakta — to Your devotees; priyāt — affectionate; ṛta — always true; giraḥ — whose words; suhṛdaḥ — the well-wisher; kṛta-jñāt — grateful; sarvān — all; dadāti — You give; suhṛdaḥ — to Your well-wishing devotees; bhajataḥ — who are engaged in worshiping You; abhikāmān — desires; ātmānam — Yourself; api — even; upacaya — increase; apacayau — or diminution; na — never; yasya — whose.
What learned person would approach anyone but You for shelter, when You are the affectionate, grateful and truthful well-wisher of Your devotees? To those who worship You in sincere friendship You reward everything they desire, even Your own self, yet You never increase or diminish.

This verse describes both the Lord and His devotees as suhṛdaḥ “well-wishers.” The Lord is the well-wisher of His devotee, and the devotee lovingly desires all happiness for the Lord. Even in this world, an excess of love may sometimes produce unnecessary solicitude. For example, we often observe that a mother’s loving concern for her adult child is not always justified by an actual danger to the child. A grown child may be wealthy, competent and healthy, and yet the mother’s loving concern continues. Similarly, a pure devotee always feels loving concern for Lord Kṛṣṇa, as exemplified by mother Yaśodā, who could only think of Kṛṣṇa as her beautiful son.

Lord Kṛṣṇa had promised Akrūra that after killing Kaṁsa He would visit his home, and now the Lord kept His promise. Akrūra recognizes this and glorifies the Lord as ṛta-giraḥ, “one who is true to His word.” The Lord is kṛta-jña, grateful for whatever little worship a devotee offers, and even if the devotee forgets, the Lord does not.

SB 10.48.27

diṣṭyā janārdana bhavān iha naḥ pratīto
 yogeśvarair api durāpa-gatiḥ sureśaiḥ
chindhy āśu naḥ suta-kalatra-dhanāpta-geha-
 dehādi-moha-raśanāṁ bhavadīya-māyām
diṣṭyā — by fortune; janārdana — O Kṛṣṇa; bhavān — You; iha — here; naḥ — by us; pratītaḥ — perceivable; yoga-īśvaraiḥ — by the masters of mystic yoga; api — even; durāpa-gatiḥ — a goal hard to achieve; sura-īśaiḥ — and by the rulers of the demigods; chindhi — please cut; āśu — quickly; naḥ — our; suta — for children; kalatra — wife; dhana — wealth; āpta — worthy friends; geha — home; deha — body; ādi — and so on; moha — of delusion; raśanām — the ropes; bhavadīya — Your own; māyām — illusory material energy.
It is by our great fortune, Janārdana, that You are now visible to us, for even the masters of yoga and the foremost demigods can achieve this goal only with great difficulty. Please quickly cut the ropes of our illusory attachment for children, wife, wealth, influential friends, home and body. All such attachment is simply the effect of Your illusory material energy.

SB 10.48.28

ity arcitaḥ saṁstutaś ca
 bhaktena bhagavān hariḥ
akrūraṁ sa-smitaṁ prāha
 gīrbhiḥ sammohayann iva
iti — thus; arcitaḥ — worshiped; saṁstutaḥ — profusely glorified; ca — and; bhaktena — by His devotee; bhagavān — the Supreme Lord; hariḥ — Kṛṣṇa; akrūram — to Akrūra; sa-smitam — smiling; prāha — He spoke; gīrbhiḥ — with His words; sammohayan — completely enchanting; iva — almost.
[Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued:] Thus worshiped and fully glorified by His devotee, the Supreme Lord Hari smilingly addressed Akrūra, completely charming him with His words.

SB 10.48.29

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
tvaṁ no guruḥ pitṛvyaś ca
 ślāghyo bandhuś ca nityadā
vayaṁ tu rakṣyāḥ poṣyāś ca
 anukampyāḥ prajā hi vaḥ
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; tvam — you; naḥ — Our; guruḥ — spiritual master; pitṛvyaḥ — paternal uncle; ca — and; ślāghyaḥ — praiseworthy; bandhuḥ — friend; ca — and; nityadā — always; vayam — We; tu — on the other hand; rakṣyāḥ — to be protected; poṣyāḥ — to be maintained; ca — and; anukampyāḥ — to be shown compassion; prajāḥ — dependents; hi — indeed; vaḥ — your.
The Supreme Lord said: You are Our spiritual master, paternal uncle and praiseworthy friend, and We are like your sons, always dependent on your protection, sustenance and compassion.

SB 10.48.30

bhavad-vidhā mahā-bhāgā
 niṣevyā arha-sattamāḥ
śreyas-kāmair nṛbhir nityaṁ
 devāḥ svārthā na sādhavaḥ
bhavat-vidhāḥ — like your good self; mahā-bhāgāḥ — most eminent; niṣevyāḥ — worthy of being served; arha — of those who are worshipable; sat-tamāḥ — the most saintly; śreyaḥ — the highest good; kāmaiḥ — who desire; nṛbhiḥ — by men; nityam — always; devaḥ — the demigods; sva-arthāḥ — concerned with their personal interest; na — not so; sādhavaḥ — saintly devotees.
Exalted souls like you are the true objects of service and the most worshipable authorities for those who desire the highest good in life. Demigods are generally concerned with their own interests, but saintly devotees never are.

Whereas demigods may award material benefit, saintly devotees of the Lord have the power to award the real perfection of life, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa reinforces the respectful mood He has adopted here toward His uncle Akrūra.

SB 10.48.31

na hy am-mayāni tīrthāni
 na devā mṛc-chilā-mayāḥ
te punanty uru-kālena
 darśanād eva sādhavaḥ
na — not; hi — indeed; ap-mayāni — made of water; tīrthāni — holy places; na — such is not the case; devāḥ — deities; mṛt — of earth; śilā — and stone; mayāḥ — made; te — they; punanti — purify; uru-kālena — after a long time; darśanāt — by being seen; eva — only; sādhavaḥ — saints.
No one can deny that there are holy places with sacred rivers, or that the demigods appear in deity forms made of earth and stone. But these purify the soul only after a long time, whereas saintly persons purify just by being seen.

SB 10.48.32

sa bhavān suhṛdāṁ vai naḥ
 śreyān śreyaś-cikīrṣayā
jijñāsārthaṁ pāṇḍavānāṁ
 gacchasva tvaṁ gajāhvayam
saḥ — that person; bhavān — you; suhṛdām — of the well-wishers; vai — certainly; naḥ — Our; śreyān — the very best; śreyaḥ — for their welfare; cikīrṣayā — wishing to arrange; jijñāsā — of inquiry; artham — for the sake; pāṇḍavānām — about the sons of Pāṇdu; gacchasva — please go; tvam — you; gaja-āhvayam — to Gajāhvaya (Hastināpura, the capital of the Kuru dynasty).
You are indeed the best of Our friends, so please go to Hastināpura and, as the well-wisher of the Pāṇḍavas, find out how they are doing.

In Sanskrit the imperative “you go” may be rendered by gacchasva or gaccha. In the second of these cases, the word following gaccha, namely sva, which is taken in the vocative sense, indicates Kṛṣṇa addressing Akrūra as “Our own.” This is in reference to Lord Kṛṣṇa’s intimate relationship with His uncle.

SB 10.48.33

pitary uparate bālāḥ
 saha mātrā su-duḥkhitāḥ
ānītāḥ sva-puraṁ rājñā
 vasanta iti śuśruma
pitari — their father; uparate — when he passed away; bālāḥ — young boys; saha — together with; mātrā — their mother; su — very; duḥkhitāḥ — distressed; ānītāḥ — brought; sva — to his own; puram — capital city; rājñā — by the King; vasante — they are residing; iti — thus; śuśruma — We have heard.
We have heard that when their father passed away, the young Pāṇḍavas were brought with their anguished mother to the capital city by King Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and that they are now living there.

SB 10.48.34

teṣu rājāmbikā-putro
 bhrātṛ-putreṣu dīna-dhīḥ
samo na vartate nūnaṁ
 duṣputra-vaśa-go ’ndha-dṛk
teṣu — toward them; rājā — the King (Dhṛtarāṣṭra); ambikā — of Ambikā; putraḥ — the son; bhrātṛ — of his brother; putreṣu — toward the sons; dīna-dhīḥ — whose mind is wretched; samaḥ — equally disposed; na vartate — is not; nūnam — surely; duḥ — wicked; putra — of his sons; vaśa-gaḥ — under the control; andha — blinded; dṛk — whose vision.
Indeed, weak-minded Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the son of Ambikā, has come under the control of his wicked sons, and therefore that blind King is not treating his brother’s sons fairly.

SB 10.48.35

gaccha jānīhi tad-vṛttam
 adhunā sādhv asādhu vā
vijñāya tad vidhāsyāmo
 yathā śaṁ suhṛdāṁ bhavet
gaccha — go; jānīhi — learn; tat — his (Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s); vṛttam — activity; adhunā — at present; sādhu — good; asādhu — evil; — or; vijñāya — knowing; tat — that; vidhāsyāmaḥ — We will arrange; yathā — so that; śam — the benefit; suhṛdām — of Our dear ones; bhavet — will be.
Go and see whether Dhṛtarāṣṭra is acting properly or not. When We find out, We will make the necessary arrangements to help Our dear friends.

SB 10.48.36

ity akrūraṁ samādiśya
 bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
saṅkarṣaṇoddhavābhyāṁ vai
 tataḥ sva-bhavanaṁ yayau
iti — with these words; akrūram — Akrūra; samādiśya — fully instructing; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; hariḥ īśvaraḥ — Lord Hari; saṅkarṣaṇa — with Lord Balarāma; uddhavābhyām — and Uddhava; vai — indeed; tataḥ — then; sva — to His own; bhavanam — residence; yayau — went.
[Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued:] Thus fully instructing Akrūra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari then returned to His residence, accompanied by Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa and Uddhava.

Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda to the Tenth Canto, Forty-eighth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Kṛṣṇa Pleases His Devotees.”