37. Akrura's Arrival in Vrndavana

37 / Akrüra's Arrival in Våndävana
Närada Muni did not mention Kåñëa's killing Vyomäsura, which means that he was killed on the same day as the Keçé demon. The Keçé demon was killed in the early morning, and after that the boys went to tend the cows on Govardhana Hill, and it was there that Vyomäsura was killed. Both demons were killed in the morning. Akrüra was requested by Kaàsa to arrive in Våndävana by evening. After receiving instruction from Kaàsa, Akrüra started the next morning via chariot for Våndävana. Because Akrüra himself was a great devotee of the Lord, while going to Våndävana he began to praise to the Lord. Devotees are always absorbed in thoughts of Kåñëa, and Akrüra was constantly thinking of Lord Kåñëa's lotus eyes.
He did not know what sort of pious activities he must have done to gain an opportunity to go see Lord Kåñëa. Akrüra thought that if Kåñëa willed, he would be able to see Him. Akrüra considered himself most fortunate that he was going to see Kåñëa, whom great mystic yogés desire to see. He was confident that on that day all the sinful reactions of his past life would be finished and his fortunate human form of life would be successful. Akrüra also considered that he was very much favored by Kaàsa, who was sending him to bring back Kåñëa and Balaräma and thus enabling him to see the Lord. Akrüra continued to consider that formerly great sages and saintly persons were liberated from the material world simply by seeing the shining nails of the lotus feet of Kåñëa.
"That Supreme Personality of Godhead has now come just like an ordinary human being, and it is my great fortune to be able to see Him face to face," Akrüra thought. He was thrilled with expectations of seeing the very lotus feet which are worshiped by great demigods like Brahmä, Närada, and Lord Çiva, which traverse the ground of Våndävana, and which touch the breasts of the gopés covered with tinges of kuìkuma. He thought, "I am so fortunate that I will be able to see those very lotus feet on this day, and certainly I shall be able to see the beautiful face of Kåñëa, which is marked on the forehead and the nose with tilaka. And I shall also see His smile and His curling black hair. I can be sure of this opportunity because I see that today the deer are passing on my right side. Today it will be possible for me to actually see the beauty of the spiritual kingdom of Viñëuloka because Kåñëa is the Supreme Viñëu, and He has advented Himself out of His own good will. He is the reservoir of all beauty; therefore my eyes will be filled today."
Akrüra knew beyond doubt that Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Viñëu. Lord Viñëu glances over the material energy, and thus the cosmic manifestation comes into being. And although Lord Viñëu is the creator of this material world, He is free, by His own energy, from the influence of material energy. By His internal potency He can pierce the darkness of material energy. Similarly, Kåñëa the original Viñëu, by expansion of His internal potency, created the inhabitants of Våndävana. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is also confirmed that the paraphernalia and abode of Kåñëa are expansions of His internal potency. The same internal potency is exhibited on earth as Våndävana, where Kåñëa enjoys Himself with His parents and in the company of His friends, the cowherd boys and gopés. By the statement of Akrüra, it is clear that, since Kåñëa is transcendental to the modes of material nature, the inhabitants of Våndävana, who are engaged in loving service of the Lord, are also transcendental.
Akrüra also considered the necessity of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. He thought that the transcendental activities, instructions, qualities and pastimes of Kåñëa are all for the good fortune of people in general. The people can remain constantly in Kåñëa consciousness by discussing the Lord's transcendental form, qualities, pastimes, and paraphernalia. By doing so, the whole universe can actually live auspiciously and advance peacefully. But without Kåñëa consciousness, civilization is but a decoration for a dead body. A dead body may be decorated very nicely, but without consciousness such decorations are useless. Human society without Kåñëa consciousness is useless and lifeless.
Akrüra thought, "That Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, has now appeared as one of the descendants of the Yadu dynasty. The principles of religion are His enacted laws. Those who are abiding by such laws are the demigods, and those who are not abiding are demons. He has advented Himself to give protection to the demigods, who are very obedient to the laws of the Supreme Lord. The demigods and the devotees of the Lord take pleasure in abiding by the laws of Kåñëa, and Kåñëa takes pleasure in giving them all sorts of protection. These activities of Kåñëa, His protection of the devotees and killing the demons, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gétä, are always good for men to hear and narrate. The glorious activities of the Lord will ever increasingly be chanted by the devotees and demigods.
"Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the spiritual master of all spiritual masters; He is the deliverer of all fallen souls and the proprietor of the three worlds. Anyone is able to see Him by eyes smeared with love of Godhead. Today I shall be able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who by His transcendental beauty has attracted the goddess of fortune to live with Him perpetually. As soon as I arrive in Våndävana, I will get down from this chariot and fall prostrate to offer my obeisances to the Supreme Lord, the master of material nature and all living entities. The lotus feet of Kåñëa are always worshiped by great mystic yogés, so I shall also worship His lotus feet and become one of His friends in Våndävana like the cowherd boys. When I bow down before Lord Kåñëa in that way, certainly He will place His fearless lotus hand on my head. His hand is offered to all conditioned souls who take shelter under His lotus feet. Kåñëa is the ultimate goal of life for all people who fear material existence, and certainly when I see Him He will give me the shelter of His lotus feet. I am aspiring for the touch of His lotus-like hands on my head."
In this way Akrüra expected blessings from the hand of Kåñëa. He knew that Indra, who is the King of heaven and the master of the three worlds--the upper, middle, and lower planetary systems--was blessed by the Lord simply for his offering a little water which Kåñëa accepted. Similarly, Bali Mahäräja gave only three feet of land in charity to Vämanadeva, and he also offered a little water which Lord Vämanadeva accepted, and thereby Bali Mahäräja attained the position of Indra. When the gopés were dancing with Kåñëa in the räsa dance, they became fatigued, and Kåñëa smeared His hand, which is as fragrant as a lotus flower, over the pearl-like drops of perspiration on the faces of the gopés, and immediately they became refreshed. Thus Akrüra was expecting benediction from that supreme hand of Kåñëa. Kåñëa's hand is capable of bestowing benediction to all kinds of men if they take to Kåñëa consciousness. If one wants material happiness like the king of heaven, he can derive that benediction from the hand of Kåñëa; if one wants liberation from the pangs of material existence, he can also get benediction from the hand of Kåñëa; and if one in pure transcendental love for Kåñëa wants personal association and the touch of His transcendental body, he can also gain benediction from His hand.
Akrüra was afraid, however, of being deputed by Kaàsa, the enemy of Kåñëa. He thought, "I am going to see Kåñëa as a messenger of the enemy." And at the same time, he thought, "Kåñëa is in each and everyone's heart as the Supersoul, so He must know my heart." Although Akrüra was trusted by the enemy of Kåñëa, his heart was clear. He was a pure devotee of Kåñëa. He risked Kaàsa's wrath just to meet Kåñëa. He was certain that although he was going as a representative of Kaàsa, Kåñëa would not accept him as an enemy. "Even though I am on a sinful mission, being deputed by Kaàsa, when I approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I shall stand before Him with all humility and folded hands. Surely, He will be pleased with my devotional attitude, and maybe He will smile lovingly and look upon me and thereby free me from all kinds of sinful reaction. I shall then be on the platform of transcendental bliss and knowledge. Since Kåñëa knows my heart, certainly when I approach Him, He will embrace me. I am not only one of the members of the Yadu dynasty, but I am an unalloyed pure devotee. By His merciful embrace, my body, my heart and soul will be completely cleansed of the actions and reactions of my past life. When our bodies touch, I will immediately stand up with folded hands, with all humility. Certainly Kåñëa and Balaräma will call me, 'Akrüra, Uncle,' and at that time my whole life will be glorious. Unless one is recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his life cannot be successful."
It is clearly stated here that one should try to be recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead by one's service and devotion, without which the human form of life is condemned. As stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, the Supreme Lord, Personality of Godhead, is equal to everyone. He has no friends and no enemies. But He is inclined to a devotee who renders Him service with devotional love. The Bhagavad-gétä also declares that the Supreme Lord is responsive to the devotional service rendered by the devotee. Akrüra thought that Kåñëa was like the desire tree in the heavenly planets which gives fruit according to the desire of the worshiper. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is also the source of everything. A devotee must know how to render service unto Him and thus be recognized by Him. In the Caitanya-caritämåta it is therefore explained that one should serve both the spiritual master and Kåñëa simultaneously and in that way make progress in Kåñëa consciousness. Service rendered to Kåñëa under the direction of the spiritual master is bona fide service because the spiritual master is the manifested representative of Kåñëa. Çré Viçvanätha Cakravarté –häkur says that when one satisfies the spiritual master, he satisfies the Supreme Lord. It is exactly like service in a government office. One has to work under the supervision of the departmental head. If the supervisor of the department is satisfied with the service of a particular person, a promotion and increase in pay will automatically come.
Akrüra then thought, "When Kåñëa and Balaräma are pleased with my prayers, certainly They will take my hand, receive me within Their homes and offer me all kinds of respectable hospitalities, and They will surely ask me of the activities of Kaàsa and his friends."
In this way, Akrüra, who was the son of Çvaphalka, meditated on Çré Kåñëa on his journey from Mathurä. He reached Våndävana by the end of the day. Akrüra passed the whole journey without knowing how long it took. When he reached Våndävana, the sun was setting. As soon as he entered the boundary of Våndävana, he saw the footprints of the cows and Lord Kåñëa's footprints, impressed with the signs of His sole, the flag, trident, thunderbolt and lotus flower. Upon seeing the footprints of Kåñëa, Akrüra immediately jumped down from the chariot, out of respect. He became overwhelmed with all the symptoms of ecstasy; he wept, and his body trembled. Out of extreme jubilation upon seeing the dust touched by the lotus feet of Kåñëa, Akrüra fell flat on his face and began to roll on the ground.
Akrüra's journey to Våndävana is exemplary. One who intends to visit Våndävana should follow the ideal footsteps of Akrüra and always think of the pastimes and activities of the Lord. As soon as one reaches the boundary of Våndävana, he should immediately smear the dust of Våndävana over his body without thinking of his material position and prestige. Narottamadäsa –häkur has sung in his celebrated song, Viñaya-chäriyä kave çuddha have mana: "When my mind will be purified after leaving the contamination of material sense enjoyment, I shall be able to visit Våndävana." Actually, one cannot go to Våndävana by purchasing a ticket. The process of going to Våndävana is shown by Akrüra.
When Akrüra entered Våndävana, he saw Kåñëa and Balaräma engaged in supervising the milking of the cows. Kåñëa was dressed in yellow garments and Balaräma in bluish. Akrüra also saw that Kåñëa's eyes were exactly like the beautifully grown lotus flower of the autumn season. He saw both Kåñëa and Balaräma in the spring of Their youth. Although both were similar in bodily features, Kåñëa was blackish in complexion, whereas Balaräma was whitish. Both were the shelter of the goddess of fortune. They had well-constructed bodies, beautiful hands and pleasing faces, and They were as strong as elephants. Now, after seeing Their footprints, Akrüra actually saw Kåñëa and Balaräma, face to face. Although They were the most influential personalities, They were glancing at him with smiling faces. Akrüra could understand that both Kåñëa and Balaräma had returned from tending cows in the forest; They had taken Their baths and were dressed with fresh clothing and garlanded with flowers and necklaces made of valuable jewels. Their bodies were smeared with the pulp of sandalwood. Akrüra greatly appreciated the aroma of flowers and sandalwood and Their bodily presence. He considered himself very fortunate to see Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His plenary expansion, Balaräma, face to face, for he knew that They were the original personalities of the creation.
As stated in the Brahma-saàhitä, Kåñëa is the original Personality of Godhead and the cause of all causes. Akrüra could understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared personally for the welfare of His creation, to reestablish the principles of religion and to annihilate the demons. With Their bodily effulgence, the brothers were dissipating all the darkness of the world, as if They were mountains of sapphire and silver. Without hesitating, Akrüra immediately got down from his chariot and fell flat, just like a rod, before Kåñëa and Balaräma. Upon touching the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he became overwhelmed with transcendental bliss; his voice choked up and he could not speak. Due to Kåñëa's transcendental presence, incessant torrents of tears fell from his eyes. He remained stunned in ecstasy, as if devoid of all powers to see and speak. Lord Kåñëa, who is very kind to His devotees, raised Akrüra with His hand and embraced him. It appeared that Lord Kåñëa was very pleased with Akrüra. Balaräma also embraced Akrüra. Taking him by the hand, Kåñëa and Balaräma brought him to Their sitting room where They offered him a very nice sitting place and water for washing his feet. They also worshiped him with suitable presentations of honey and other ingredients. When Akrüra was thus comfortably seated, both Kåñëa and Balaräma offered Him a cow in charity and then brought very palatable dishes of eatables, and Akrüra accepted them. When Akrüra finished eating, Balaräma gave him betel nut and spices, as well as pulp of sandalwood, just to make him more pleased and comfortable. The Vedic system of receiving a guest was completely observed by Lord Kåñëa Himself to teach all others how to receive a guest at home. It is a Vedic injunction that even if a guest is an enemy, he should be received so well that he does not apprehend any danger from the host. If the host is a poor man, he should at least offer a straw mat as a sitting place and a glass of water to drink. Kåñëa and Balaräma welcomed Akrüra just befitting his exalted position.
After Akrüra was thus properly received and seated, Nanda Mahäräja, the foster father of Kåñëa, said, "My dear Akrüra, what shall I inquire from you? I know that you are being protected by Kaàsa, who is most cruel and demoniac. His protection is just like the slaughterhouse keeper's protection of animals he will kill in the future. Kaàsa is so selfish that he has killed the sons of his own sister, so how can I honestly believe that he is protecting the citizens of Mathurä?" This statement is most significant. If the political or executive heads of the state are simply interested in themselves, they can never look after the welfare of the citizens.
As Nanda Mahäräja spoke to Akrüra with pleasing words, Akrüra forgot all the fatigue of his day's journey from Mathurä to Våndävana.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Thirty-seventh Chapter of Kåñëa, "Akrüra's Arrival in Våndävana."

Purchase the Book
(1970 Edition, 2 Volumes, 400 pages each. Hard Cover, 70 color plates, 6"x9")
Purchase 2 Volume Set(s) of Krsna Book