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.
priyam icchan gṛhaṁ yayau
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.
dhūpaiḥ surabhibhir dīpaiḥ
srag-gandhair api maṇḍitam
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.
sadyaḥ samutthāya hi jāta-sambhramā
yathopasaṅgamya sakhībhir acyutaṁ
sabhājayām āsa sad-āsanādibhiḥ
nyaṣīdad urvyām abhimṛśya cāsanam
kṛṣṇo ’pi tūrṇaṁ śayanaṁ mahā-dhanaṁ
viveśa lokācaritāny anuvrataḥ
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.
It is clear from this verse that the ways a woman prepares for sexual enjoyment have not changed in thousands of years.
viśaṅkitāṁ kaṅkaṇa-bhūṣite kare
pragṛhya śayyām adhiveśya rāmayā
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.
jighranty ananta-caraṇena rujo mṛjantī
dorbhyāṁ stanāntara-gataṁ parirabhya kāntam
ānanda-mūrtim ajahād ati-dīrgha-tāpam
prāpya duṣprāpyam īśvaram
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.
dināni katicin mayā
ramasva notsahe tyaktuṁ
saṅgaṁ te ’mburuhekṣaṇa
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.
mānayitvā ca māna-daḥ
All the ācāryas agree that the words kāma-varaṁ dattvā indicate that Lord Kṛṣṇa promised Trivakrā He would fulfill her lusty desires.
yo vṛṇīte mano-grāhyam
asattvāt kumanīṣy asau
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.
kiñcic cikīrṣayan prāgād
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.
ārād vīkṣya sva-bāndhavān
sa tair apy abhivāditaḥ
pūjayām āsa vidhi-vat
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.
dhārayan śirasā nṛpa
pādāv aṅka-gatau mṛjan
sānugo vām idaṁ kulam
bhavadbhyām uddhṛtaṁ kṛcchrād
durantāc ca samedhitam
bhavadbhyāṁ na vinā kiñcit
param asti na cāparam
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.
īyate bahudhā brahman
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.
mahy-ādayo yoniṣu bhānti nānā
evaṁ bhavān kevala ātma-yoniṣv
ātmātma-tantro bahudhā vibhāti
na badhyase tad-guṇa-karmabhir vā
jñānātmanas te kva ca bandha-hetuḥ
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.
bhavo na sākṣān na bhidātmanaḥ syāt
ato na bandhas tava naiva mokṣaḥ
syātām nikāmas tvayi no ’vivekaḥ
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.
yadā yadā veda-pathaḥ purāṇaḥ
bādhyeta pāṣaṇḍa-pathair asadbhis
tadā bhavān sattva-guṇaṁ bibharti
svāṁśena bhāram apanetum ihāsi bhūmeḥ
rājñām amuṣya ca kulasya yaśo vitanvan
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.
yat-pāda-śauca-salilaṁ tri-jagat punāti
sa tvaṁ jagad-gurur adhokṣaja yāḥ praviṣṭaḥ
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.
bhakta-priyād ṛta-giraḥ suhṛdaḥ kṛta-jñāt
sarvān dadāti suhṛdo bhajato ’bhikāmān
ātmānam apy upacayāpacayau na yasya
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.
yogeśvarair api durāpa-gatiḥ sureśaiḥ
chindhy āśu naḥ suta-kalatra-dhanāpta-geha-
bhaktena bhagavān hariḥ
akrūraṁ sa-smitaṁ prāha
gīrbhiḥ sammohayann iva
ślāghyo bandhuś ca nityadā
vayaṁ tu rakṣyāḥ poṣyāś ca
anukampyāḥ prajā hi vaḥ
śreyas-kāmair nṛbhir nityaṁ
devāḥ svārthā na sādhavaḥ
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.
na devā mṛc-chilā-mayāḥ
te punanty uru-kālena
darśanād eva sādhavaḥ
gacchasva tvaṁ gajāhvayam
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.
saha mātrā su-duḥkhitāḥ
ānītāḥ sva-puraṁ rājñā
vasanta iti śuśruma
samo na vartate nūnaṁ
adhunā sādhv asādhu vā
vijñāya tad vidhāsyāmo
yathā śaṁ suhṛdāṁ bhavet
bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
tataḥ sva-bhavanaṁ yayau
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.”