Srimad bhagavata by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyāsa

Chapter Fifty-Nine The Killing of the Demon Naraka


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Chapter Fifty-Nine The Killing of the Demon Naraka

1. [King Pariksit said:] How was Bhaumasura, who kidnapped so many women, killed by the Supreme Lord? Please narrate this adventure of Lord Sarngadhanva’s.

2-3. Sukadeva Gosvami said: After Bhauma had stolen the earrings belonging to Indra’s mother, along with Varuna’s umbrella and the demigods’ playground at the peak of Mandara mountain, Indra went to Lord Krsna and informed Him of these misdeeds. The Lord, taking His wife Satyabhama with Him, then rode on Garuda to Pragyotisa-pura, which was surrounded on all sides by fortifications consisting of hills, unmanned weapons, water, fire and wind, and by obstructions of mura-pasa wire.

4. With His club the Lord broke through the rock fortifications; with His arrows, the weapon fortifications; with His disc, the fire, water and wind fortifications; and with His sword, the mura-pasa cables.

5. With the sound of His conchshell Lord Gadadhara then shattered the magic seals of the fortress, along with the hearts of its brave defenders, and with His heavy club He demolished the surrounding earthen ramparts.

6. The five-headed demon Mura, who slept at the bottom of the city’s moat, awoke and rose up out of the water when he heard the vibration of Lord Krsna’s Pancajanya conchshell, a sound as terrifying as the thunder at the end of the cosmic age.

7. Shining with the blinding, terrible effulgence of the sun’s fire at the end of a millennium, Mura seemed to be swallowing up the three worlds with his five mouths. He lifted up his trident and fell upon Garuda, the son of Tarksya, like an attacking snake.

8. Mura whirled his trident and then hurled it fiercely at Garuda, roaring from all five mouths. The sound filled the earth and sky, all directions and the limits of outer space, until it reverberated against the very shell of the universe.

9. Then with two arrows Lord Hari struck the trident flying toward Garuda and broke it into three pieces. Next the Lord hit Mura’s faces with several arrows, and the demon angrily hurled his club at the Lord.

10. As Mura’s club sped toward Him on the battlefield, Lord Gadagraja intercepted it with His own and broke it into thousands of pieces. Mura then raised his arms high and rushed at the unconquerable Lord, who easily sliced off his heads with His disc weapon.

11. Lifeless, Mura’s decapitated body fell into the water like a mountain whose peak has been severed by the power of Lord Indra’s thunderbolt. The demon’s seven sons, enraged by their father’s death, prepared to retaliate.

12. Ordered by Bhaumasura, Mura’s seven sons—Tamra, Antariksa, Sravana, Vibhavasu, Vasu, Nabhasvan and Aruna—followed their general, Pitha, onto the battlefield bearing their weapons.

13. These fierce warriors furiously attacked invincible Lord Krsna with arrows, swords, clubs, spears, lances and tridents, but the Supreme Lord, with unfailing prowess, cut this mountain of weapons into tiny pieces with His arrows.

14. The Lord severed the heads, thighs, arms, legs and armor of these opponents led by Pitha and sent them all to the abode of Yamaraja. Narakasura, the son of the earth, could not contain his fury when he saw the fate of his military leaders. Thus he went out of the citadel with elephants born from the Milk Ocean who were exuding mada from their foreheads out of excitement.

15. Lord Krsna and His wife, mounted upon Garuda, looked like a cloud with lightning sitting above the sun. Seeing the Lord, Bhauma released his Sataghni weapon at Him, whereupon all of Bhauma’s soldiers simultaneously attacked with their weapons.

16. At that moment Lord Gadagraja shot His sharp arrows at Bhaumasura’s army. These arrows, displaying variegated feathers, soon reduced that army to a mass of bodies with severed arms, thighs and necks. The Lord similarly killed the opposing horses and elephants.

17-19. Lord Hari then struck down all the missiles and weapons the enemy soldiers threw at Him, O hero of the Kurus, destroying each and every one with three sharp arrows. Meanwhile Garuda, as he carried the Lord, struck the enemy’s elephants with his wings. Beaten by Garuda’s wings, beak and talons, the elephants fled back into the city, leaving Narakasura alone on the battlefield to oppose Krsna.

20. Seeing his army driven back and tormented by Garuda, Bhauma attacked him with his spear, which had once defeated Lord Indra’s thunderbolt. But though struck by that mighty weapon, Garuda was not shaken. Indeed, he was like an elephant hit with a flower garland.

21. Bhauma, frustrated in all his attempts, took up his trident to kill Lord Krsna. But even before he could release it, the Lord cut off his head with His razor-sharp cakra as the demon sat atop his elephant.

22. Fallen on the ground, Bhaumasura’s head shone brilliantly, decorated as it was with earrings and an attractive helmet. As cries of “Alas, alas!” and “Well done!” arose, the sages and principal demigods worshiped Lord Mukunda by showering Him with flower garlands.

23. The goddess of the earth then approached Lord Krsna and presented Him with Aditi’s earrings, which were made of glowing gold inlaid with shining jewels. She also gave Him a Vaijayanti flower garland, Varuna’s umbrella and the peak of Mandara Mountain.

24. O King, after bowing down to Him and then standing with joined palms, the goddess, her mind filled with devotion, began to praise the Lord of the universe, whom the best of demigods worship.

25. Goddess Bhumi said: Obeisances unto You, O Lord of the chief demigods, O holder of the conchshell, disc and club. O Supreme Soul within the heart, You assume Your various forms to fulfill Your devotees’ desires. Obeisances unto You.

26. My respectful obeisances are unto You, O Lord, whose abdomen is marked with a depression like a lotus flower, who are always decorated with garlands of lotus flowers, whose glance is as cool as the lotus and whose feet are engraved with lotuses.

27. Obeisances unto You, the Supreme Lord Vasudeva, Visnu, the primeval person, the original seed. Obeisances unto You, the omniscient one.

28. Obeisances unto You of unlimited energies, the unborn progenitor of this universe, the Absolute. O Soul of the high and the low, O Soul of the created elements, O all-pervading Supreme Soul, obeisances unto You.

29. Desiring to create, O unborn master, You increase and then assume the mode of passion. You do likewise with the mode of ignorance when You wish to annihilate the universe and with goodness when You wish to maintain it. Nonetheless, You remain uncovered by these modes. You are time, the pradhana, and the purusa, O Lord of the universe, yet still You are separate and distinct.

30. This is illusion: that earth, water, fire, air, ether, sense objects, demigods, mind, the senses, false ego and the total material energy exist independent of You. In fact, they are all within You, my Lord, who are one without a second.

31. Here is the son of Bhaumasura. Frightened, he is approaching Your lotus feet, since You remove the distress of all who seek refuge in You. Please protect him. Place Your lotus hand, which dispels all sins, upon his head.

32. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus entreated by Goddess Bhumi in words of humble devotion, the Supreme Lord bestowed fearlessness upon her grandson and then entered Bhaumasura’s palace, which was filled with all manner of riches.

33. There Lord Krsna saw sixteen thousand royal maidens, whom Bhauma had taken by force from various kings.

34. The women became enchanted when they saw that most excellent of males enter. In their minds they each accepted Him, who had been brought there by destiny, as their chosen husband.

35. With the thought “May providence grant that this man become my husband,” each and every princess absorbed her heart in contemplation of Krsna.

36. The Lord had the princesses arrayed in clean, spotless garments and then sent them in palanquins to Dvaraka, together with great treasures of chariots, horses and other valuables.

37. Lord Krsna also dispatched sixty-four swift white elephants, descendants of Airavata, who each sported four tusks.

38-39. The Lord then went to the abode of Indra, the demigods’ king, and gave mother Aditi her earrings; there Indra and his wife worshiped Krsna and His beloved consort Satyabhama. Then, at Satyabhama’s behest the Lord uprooted the heavenly parijata tree and put it on the back of Garuda. After defeating Indra and all the other demigods, Krsna brought the parijata to His capital.

40. Once planted, the parijata tree beautified the garden of Queen Satyabhama’s palace. Bees followed the tree all the way from heaven, greedy for its fragrance and sweet sap.

41. Even after Indra had bowed down to Lord Acyuta, touched His feet with the tips of his crown and begged the Lord to fulfill his desire, that exalted demigod, having achieved his purpose, chose to fight with the Supreme Lord. What ignorance there is among the gods! To hell with their opulence!

42. Then the imperishable Supreme Personality, assuming a separate form for each bride, duly married all the princesses simultaneously, each in her own palace.

43. The Lord, performer of the inconceivable, constantly remained in each of His queens’ palaces, which were unequaled and unexcelled by any other residence. There, although fully satisfied within Himself, He enjoyed with His pleasing wives, and like an ordinary husband He carried out His household duties.

44. Thus those women obtained as their husband the husband of the goddess of fortune, although even great demigods like Brahma do not know how to approach Him. With ever-increasing pleasure they experienced loving attraction for Him, exchanged smiling glances with Him and reciprocated with Him in ever-fresh intimacy, replete with joking and feminine shyness.

45. Although the Supreme Lord’s queens each had hundreds of maidservants, they chose to personally serve the Lord by approaching Him humbly, offering Him a seat, worshiping Him with excellent paraphernalia, bathing and massaging His feet, giving Him pan to chew, fanning Him, anointing Him with fragrant sandalwood paste, adorning Him with flower garlands, dressing His hair, arranging His bed, bathing Him, and presenting Him with various gifts.

Chapter Sixty Lord Krsna Teases Queen Rukmini.

1. Sri Badarayani said: Once, in the company of her maidservants, Queen Rukmini was personally serving her husband, the spiritual master of the universe, by fanning Him as He relaxed on her bed.

2. The unborn Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, who creates, maintains and then devours this universe simply as His play, took birth among the Yadus to preserve His own laws.

3-6. Queen Rukmini’s quarters were extremely beautiful, boasting a canopy hung with brilliant strings of pearls, as well as effulgent jewels serving as lamps. Garlands of jasmine and other flowers hung here and there, attracting swarms of humming bees, and the spotless rays of the moon shone through the holes of the lattice windows. As aguru incense drifted out of the window holes, my dear King, the breeze wafting the scent of the parijata grove carried the mood of a garden into the room. There the Queen served her husband, the Supreme Lord of all the worlds, as He reclined upon an opulent pillow on her bed, which was as soft and white as the foam of milk.

7. From her maidservant’s hand Goddess Rukmini took a yak-hair fan with a jeweled handle, and then she began to worship her master by fanning Him.

8. Her hand adorned with rings, bangles and the camara fan, Queen Rukmini looked resplendent standing near Lord Krsna. Her jeweled ankle-bells tinkled, and her necklace glittered, reddened by the kunkuma from her breasts, which were covered by the end of her sari. On her hips she wore a priceless belt.

9. As He contemplated her, the goddess of fortune herself, who desires only Him, Lord Krsna smiled. The Lord assumes various forms to enact His pastimes, and He was pleased that the form the goddess of fortune had assumed was just suitable for her to serve as His consort. Her charming face was adorned with curling hair, earrings, a locket on her neck, and the nectar of her bright, happy smile. The Lord then spoke to Her as follows.

10. The Supreme Lord said: My dear princess, you were sought after by many kings as powerful as the rulers of planets. They were all abundantly endowed with political influence, wealth, beauty, generosity and physical strength.

11. Since your brother and father offered you to them, why did you reject the King of Cedi and all those other suitors, who stood before you, maddened by Cupid? Why, instead, did you choose Us, who are not at all your equal?

12. Terrified of these kings, O lovely-browed one, We took shelter in the ocean. We have become enemies of powerful men, and We practically abandoned Our royal throne.

13. O fine-browed lady, women are usually destined to suffer when they stay with men whose behavior is uncertain and who pursue a path not approved by society.

14. We have no material possessions, and We are dear to those who similarly have nothing. Therefore, O slender one, the wealthy hardly ever worship Me.

15. Marriage and friendship are proper between two people who are equal in terms of their wealth, birth, influence, physical appearance and capacity for good progeny, but never between a superior and an inferior.

16. O Vaidarbhi, not being farsighted, you didn’t realize this, and therefore you chose Us as your husband, even though We have no good qualities and are glorified only by deluded beggars.

17. Now you should definitely accept a more suitable husband, a first-class man of the royal order who can help you achieve everything you want, both in this life and the next.

18. Kings like Sisupala, Salva, Jarasandha and Dantavakra all hate Me, O beautiful-thighed one, and so does your elder brother Rukmi.

19. It was to dispel the arrogance of these kings that I carried you away, My good woman, for they were blinded by the intoxication of power. My purpose was to curb the strength of the wicked.

20. We care nothing for wives, children and wealth. Always satisfied within Ourselves, We do not work for body and home, but like a light, We merely witness.

21. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Rukmini had thought herself especially beloved by the Lord because He never left her company. By saying these things to her He vanquished her pride, and then He stopped speaking.

22. Goddess Rukmini had never before heard such unpleasantries from her beloved, the Lord of universal rulers, and she became frightened. A tremor arose in her heart, and in terrible anxiety she began to cry.

23. With her tender foot, effulgent with the reddish glow of her nails, she scratched the ground, and tears darkened by her eye makeup sprinkled her kunkuma-reddened breasts. There she stood, face downward, her voice choked up by extreme sorrow.

24. Rukmini’s mind was overwhelmed with unhappiness, fear and grief. Her bangles slipped from her hand, and her fan fell to the ground. In her bewilderment she suddenly fainted, her hair scattering all about as her body fell to the ground like a plantain tree blown over by the wind.

25. Seeing that His beloved was so bound to Him in love that she could not understand the full meaning of His teasing, merciful Lord Krsna felt compassion for her.

26. The Lord quickly got down from the bed. Manifesting four arms, He picked her up, gathered her hair and caressed her face with His lotus hand.

27-28. Wiping her tear-filled eyes and her breasts, which were stained by tears of grief, the Supreme Lord, the goal of His devotees, embraced His chaste wife, who desired nothing but Him, O King. Expert in the art of pacification, Sri Krsna tenderly consoled pitiable Rukmini, whose mind was bewildered by His clever joking and who did not deserve to suffer so.

29. The Supreme Lord said: O Vaidarbhi, do not be displeased with Me. I know that you are fully devoted to Me. I only spoke in jest, dear lady, because I wanted to hear what you would say.

30. I also wanted to see your face with lips trembling in loving anger, the reddish corners of your eyes throwing sidelong glances and the line of your beautiful eyebrows knit in a frown.

31. The greatest pleasure worldly householders can enjoy at home is to spend time joking with their beloved wives, My dear timid and temperamental one.

32. Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, Queen Vaidarbhi was fully pacified by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and understood that His words had been spoken in jest. Thus she gave up her fear that her beloved would reject her.

33. Smiling bashfully as she cast charming, affectionate glances upon the face of the Lord, the best of males, Rukmini spoke the following, O descendant of Bharata.

34. Sri Rukmini said: Actually, what You have said is true, O lotus-eyed one. I am indeed unsuitable for the almighty Personality of Godhead. What comparison is there between that Supreme Lord, who is master of the three primal deities and who delights in His own glory, and myself, a woman of mundane qualities whose feet are grasped by fools?

35. Yes, my Lord Urukrama, You lay down within the ocean as if afraid of the material modes, and thus in pure consciousness You appear within the heart as the Supersoul. You are always battling against the foolish material senses, and indeed even Your servants reject the privilege of royal dominion, which leads to the blindness of ignorance.

36. Your movements, inscrutuble even for sages who relish the honey of Your lotus feet, are certainly incomprehensible for human beings who behave like animals. And just as Your activities are transcendental, O all-powerful Lord, so too are those of Your followers.

37. You possess nothing because there is nothing beyond You. Even the great enjoyers of tribute—Brahma and other demigods—pay tribute to You. Those who are blinded by their wealth and absorbed in gratifying their senses do not recognize You in the form of death. But to the gods, the enjoyers of tribute, You are the most dear, as they are to You.

38. You are the embodiment of all human goals and are Yourself the final aim of life. Desiring to attain You, O all-powerful Lord, intelligent persons abandon everything else. It is they who are worthy of Your association, not men and women absorbed in the pleasure and grief resulting from their mutual lust.

39. Knowing that great sages who have renounced the sannyasi’s danda proclaim Your glories, that You are the Supreme Soul of all the worlds, and that You are so gracious that You give away even Your own self, I chose You as my husband, rejecting Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and the rulers of heaven, whose aspirations are all frustrated by the force of time, which is born from Your eyebrows. What interest, then, could I have in any other suitors?

40. My Lord, as a lion drives away lesser animals to claim his proper tribute, You drove off the assembled kings with the resounding twang of Your Sarnga bow and then claimed me, Your fair share. Thus it is sheer foolishness, my dear Gadagraja, for You to say You took shelter in the ocean out of fear of those kings.

41. Wanting Your association, the best of kings—Anga, Vainya, Jayanta, Nahusa, Gaya and others—abandoned their absolute sovereignty and entered the forest to seek You out. How could those kings suffer frustration in this world, O lotus-eyed one?

42. The aroma of Your lotus feet, which is glorified by great saints, awards people liberation and is the abode of Goddess Laksmi. What woman would take shelter of any other man after savoring that aroma? Since You are the abode of transcendental qualities, what mortal woman with the insight to distinguish her own true interest would disregard that fragrance and depend instead on someone who is always subject to terrible fear?

43. Because You are suitable for me, I have chosen You, the master and Supreme Soul of all the worlds, who fulfill our desires in this life and the next. May Your feet, which give freedom from illusion by approaching their worshiper, give shelter to me, who have been wandering from one material situation to another.

44. O infallible Krsna, let each of the kings You named become the husband of a woman whose ears have never heard Your glories, which are sung in the assemblies of Siva and Brahma. After all, in the households of such women these kings live like asses, oxen, dogs, cats and slaves.

45. A woman who fails to relish the fragrance of the honey of Your lotus feet becomes totally befooled, and thus she accepts as her husband or lover a living corpse covered with skin, whiskers, nails, head-hair and body-hair and filled with flesh, bones, blood, parasites, feces, mucus, bile and air.

46. O lotus-eyed one, though You are satisfied within Yourself and thus rarely turn Your attention toward me, please bless me with steady love for Your feet. It is when You assume a predominance of passion in order to manifest the universe that You glance upon me, showing me what is indeed Your greatest mercy.

47. Actually, I don’t consider Your words false, Madhusudana. Quite often an unmarried girl is attracted to a man, as in the case of Amba.

48. The mind of a promiscuous woman always hankers for new lovers, even if she is married. An intelligent man should not keep such an unchaste wife, for if he does he will lose his good fortune both in this life and the next.

49. The Supreme Lord said: O saintly lady, O princess, We deceived you only because We wanted to hear you speak like this. Indeed, everything you said in reply to My words is most certainly true.

50. Whatever benedictions you hope for in order to become bee of material desires are ever yours, O fair and noble lady, for you are My unalloyed devotee.

51. O sinless one, I have now seen firsthand the pure love and chaste attachment you have for your husband. Even though shaken by My words, your mind could not be pulled away from Me.

52. Although I have the power to award spiritual liberation, lusty persons worship Me with penance and vows in order to get My blessings for their mundane family life. Such persons are bewildered by My illusory energy.

53. O supreme reservoir of love, unfortunate are they who even after obtaining Me, the Lord of both liberation and material riches, hanker only for material treasures. These worldly gains can be found even in hell. Since such persons are obsessed with sense gratification, hell is a fitting place for them.

54. Fortunately, O mistress of the house, you have always rendered Me faithful devotional service, which liberates one from material existence. This service is very difficult for the envious to perform, especially for a woman whose intentions are wicked, who lives only to gratify her bodily demands, and who indulges in duplicity.

55. In all My palaces I can find no other wife as loving as you, O most respectful one. When you were to be married, you disregarded all the kings who had assembled to seek your hand, and simply because you had heard authentic accounts concerning Me, you sent a brahmana to Me with your confidential message.

56. When your brother, who had been defeated in battle and then disfigured, was later killed during a gambling match on Aniruddha’s wedding day, you felt unbearable grief, yet out of fear of losing Me you spoke not a word. By this silence you have conquered Me.

57. When you sent the messenger with your most confidential plan and yet I delayed going to you, you began to see the whole world as void and wanted to quit your body, which could never have been given to anyone but Me. May this greatness of yours remain with you always; I can do nothing to reciprocate except joyfully thank you for your devotion.

58. Sukadeva Gosvami said: And so the self-satisfied Supreme Lord of the universe enjoyed with the goddess of fortune, engaging her in lovers’ talks and thus imitating the ways of human society.

59. The almighty Lord Hari, preceptor of all the worlds, similarly behaved like a conventional householder in the palaces of His other queens, performing the religious duties of a family man.

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