56. The Killing of Satrajit and Satadhanva
2 / The Killing of Saträjit and Çatadhanvä
After Akrüra visited Hastinäpura and reported the condition of the Päëòavas to Kåñëa, there were further developments. The Päëòavas were transferred to a house which was made of shellac and was later on set ablaze, and everyone understood that the Päëòavas along with their mother, Kunté, had been killed. This information was also sent to Lord Kåñëa and Balaräma. After consulting together, They decided to go to Hastinäpura to show sympathy to Their relatives. Kåñëa and Balaräma certainly knew that the Päëòavas could not have been killed in the devastating fire, but in spite of this knowledge They wanted to go to Hastinäpura to take part in the bereavement. On arriving in Hastinäpura, Kåñëa and Balaräma first of all went to see Bhéñmadeva because he was the chief of the Kuru dynasty. They then saw Vidura, Gändhäré and Droëa. Other members of the Kuru dynasty were not sorry, because they wanted the Päëòavas and their mother to be killed. But some family members, headed by Bhéñma, were actually very sorry for the incident, and Kåñëa and Balaräma expressed equal sorrow, without disclosing the actual situation.
When Kåñëa and Balaräma were away from the city of Dvärakä, there was a conspiracy to take away the Syamantaka jewel from Saträjit. The chief conspirator was Çatadhanvä. Along with others, Çatadhanvä wanted to marry Satyabhämä, the beautiful daughter of Saträjit. Saträjit had promised that he would give his beautiful daughter in charity to various candidates, but later on the decision was changed, and Satyabhämä was given to Kåñëa along with the Syamantaka jewel. Saträjit had no desire to give the jewel away along with his daughter, and Kåñëa, knowing his mentality, accepted his daughter but returned the jewel. After getting back the jewel from Kåñëa, he was satisfied and kept it with him always. But in the absence of Kåñëa and Balaräma there was a conspiracy by many men, including even Akrüra and Kåtavarmä, who were devotees of Lord Kåñëa, to take the jewel from Saträjit. Akrüra and Kåtavarmä joined the conspiracy because they wanted the jewel for Kåñëa. They knew that Kåñëa wanted the jewel and that Saträjit had not delivered it properly. Others joined the conspiracy because they were disappointed in not having the hand of Satyabhämä. Some of them incited Çatadhanvä to kill Saträjit and take away the jewel.
The question is generally raised, Why did a great devotee like Akrüra join this conspiracy? And why did Kåtavarmä, although a devotee of the Lord, join the conspiracy also? The answer is given by great authorities like Jéva Gosvämé and others that although Akrüra was a great devotee, he was cursed by the inhabitants of Våndävana because of his taking Kåñëa away from their midst. Because of his wounding their feelings, Akrüra was forced to join the conspiracy declared by sinful men. Similarly, Kåtavarmä was a devotee, but because of his intimate association with Kaàsa, he was also contaminated by sinful reaction, and he also joined the conspiracy.
Being inspired by all the members of the conspiracy, Çatadhanvä one night entered the house of Saträjit and killed him while he was sleeping. Çatadhanvä was a sinful man of abominable character, and although due to his sinful activities he was not to live for many days, he decided to kill Saträjit while Saträjit was sleeping at home. When he entered the house to kill Saträjit, all the women there began to cry very loudly, but in spite of their great protests, Çatadhanvä mercilessly butchered Saträjit without hesitation, exactly as a butcher kills an animal in the slaughterhouse. Since Kåñëa was absent from home, His wife Satyabhämä was also present on the night Saträjit was murdered, and she began to cry, "My dear father! My dear father! How mercilessly you have been killed!" The dead body of Saträjit was not immediately removed for cremation because Satyabhämä wanted to go to Kåñëa in Hastinäpura. Therefore the body was preserved in a tank of oil so that Kåñëa could come back and see the dead body of Saträjit and take real action against Çatadhanvä. Satyabhämä immediately started for Hastinäpura to inform Kåñëa about the ghastly death of her father.
When Kåñëa was informed by Satyabhämä of the murder of His father-in-law, He began to lament like an ordinary man. His great sorrow is, again, a strange thing. Lord Kåñëa has nothing to do with action and reaction, but because He was playing the part of a human being He expressed His full sympathy for the bereavement of Satyabhämä, and His eyes filled with tears upon hearing about the death of His father-in-law. He thus began to lament, "Oh, what unhappy incidents have taken place!" In this way both Kåñëa and Balaräma, along with Satyabhämä, the wife of Kåñëa, immediately returned to Dvärakä and began to make plans to kill Çatadhanvä and take away the jewel. Although he was a great outlaw in the city, Çatadhanvä was still very much afraid of Kåñëa's power, and thus he became most afraid on Kåñëa's arrival.
Understanding Kåñëa's plan to kill him, he immediately went to take shelter of Kåtavarmä. But on being approached by him, Kåtavarmä said, "I shall never be able to offend Lord Kåñëa and Balaräma because They are not ordinary persons. They are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Who can be saved from death if he has offended Balaräma and Kåñëa? No one can be saved from Their wrath." Kåtavarmä further said that Kaàsa, although powerful and assisted by many demons, could not be saved from the wrath of Kåñëa, and what to speak of Jaräsandha, who had been defeated by Kåñëa eighteen times and each time had to return from the fighting in disappointment.
When Çatadhanvä was refused help by Kåtavarmä he went to Akrüra and implored him to help. Akrüra also replied, "Both Balaräma and Kåñëa are Themselves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and anyone who knows Their unlimited strength would never dare to offend Them or fight with Them." He further informed Çatadhanvä, "Kåñëa and Balaräma are so powerful that simply by willing They are creating the whole cosmic manifestation, maintaining it and dissolving it. Unfortunately, persons who are bewildered by the illusory energy cannot understand the strength of Kåñëa, although the whole cosmic manifestation is fully under His control." He cited, as an example, that Kåñëa, even at the age of seven years, had lifted Govardhana Hill and had continued to hold up the mountain for seven days, exactly as a child carries a small umbrella. Akrüra plainly informed Çatadhanvä that he would always offer his most respectful obeisances to Kåñëa, the Supersoul of everything that is created and the original cause of all causes. When Akrüra also refused to give him shelter, Çatadhanvä decided to deliver to the hands of Akrüra the Syamantaka jewel. Then, riding on a horse which could run at great speed and up to four hundred miles at a stretch, he fled the city.
When Kåñëa and Balaräma were informed of the flight of Çatadhanvä, They mounted Their chariot, its flag marked by the picture of Garuòa, and followed immediately. Kåñëa was particularly angry with Çatadhanvä and wanted to kill him because he had killed Saträjit, a superior personality. Saträjit happened to be the father-in-law of Kåñëa, and it is the injunction of the çästras that anyone who has rebelled against a superior person, or guru-druha, must be punished in proportion to the volume of offense. Because Çatadhanvä had killed His father-in-law, Kåñëa was determined to kill him by any means.
Çatadhanvä's horse became exhausted and died near a garden house in Mithilä. Unable to take help of the horse, Çatadhanvä began to run with great speed. In order to be fair to Çatadhanvä, Kåñëa and Balaräma also left Their chariot and began to follow Çatadhanvä on foot. While both Çatadhanvä and Kåñëa were running on foot, Kåñëa took His disc and cut off the head of Çatadhanvä. After Çatadhanvä was killed, Kåñëa searched through his clothing for the Syamantaka jewel, but He could not find it. He then returned to Balaräma and said, "We have killed this person uselessly because the jewel is not to be found on his body." Çré Balaräma suggested, "The jewel might have been kept in custody of another man in Dvärakä, so You'd better return and search it out." Çré Balaräma expressed His desire to remain in Mithilä City for some days because He enjoyed an intimate friendship with the King. Therefore, Kåñëa returned to Dvärakä, and Balaräma entered the city of Mithilä.
When the King of Mithilä saw the arrival of Çré Balaräma in his city, he became most pleased and received the Lord with great honor and hospitality. He presented many valuable presents to Balarämajé in order to seek His pleasure. At this time Çré Balaräma lived in the city for several years as the honored guest of the King of Mithilä, Janaka Mahäräja. During this time, Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhåtaräñöra, took the opportunity of coming to Balaräma and learning from Him the art of fighting with a club.
After killing Çatadhanvä, Kåñëa returned to Dvärakä, and in order to please His wife Satyabhämä, He informed her of the death of Çatadhanvä, the killer of her father. But He also informed her that the jewel had not been found in his possession. Then, according to religious principles, Kåñëa, along with Satyabhämä, performed all kinds of ceremonies in honor of the death of His father-in-law. In that ceremony all the friends and relatives of the family joined together.
Akrüra and Kåtavarmä, who were prominent members in the conspiracy to kill Saträjit, had incited Çatadhanvä to kill him, but when they heard of the death of Çatadhanvä at Kåñëa's hand, and when they heard also that Kåñëa had returned to Dvärakä, they both immediately left Dvärakä. The citizens of Dvärakä felt themselves threatened with pestilence and natural disturbances due to the absence of Akrüra from the city. This was a kind of superstition because while Lord Kåñëa was present there could not be any pestilence, famine or natural disturbances. But in the absence of Akrüra there were some disturbances in Dvärakä. Once in the province of Käçé within the barricade of Väräëasé there was severe drought and practically no rainfall. At that time the King of Käçé arranged the marriage of his daughter, known as Gändiné, with Çvaphalka, the father of Akrüra. This was done by the King of Käçé on the advice of an astrologer, and actually it so happened that after the marriage of the King's daughter with Çvaphalka there was sufficient rainfall in the province. Due to this supernatural power of Çvaphalka, his son Akrüra was also considered equally powerful, and people were under the impression that wherever Akrüra or his father remained, there would be no natural disturbance, famine or drought. That kingdom is considered to be happy where there is no famine, pestilence, or excessive heat and cold and where people are happy mentally, spiritually and bodily. As soon as there is some disturbance, people consider the cause to be due to the absence of an auspicious personality in the city. Thus there was a rumor that because of the absence of Akrüra inauspicious things were happening. After the departure of Akrüra, some of the elderly members of the town began to perceive that there were also inauspicious signs due to the absence of the Syamantaka jewel. When Lord Çré Kåñëa heard these rumors spread by the people He decided to summon Akrüra from the kingdom of Käçé. Akrüra was Kåñëa's uncle; therefore, when he came back to Dvärakä Lord Kåñëa first of all welcomed him as befitting a superior person. Kåñëa is the Supersoul in everyone's heart; He knows everything going on in everyone's heart. He knew everything that had happened in connection with Akrüra's conspiracy with Çatadhanvä. Therefore, He smilingly began to address Akrüra.
Addressing him as the chief among magnificent men, Kåñëa said, "My dear uncle, it is already known to Me that the Syamantaka jewel was left by Çatadhanvä with you. Presently there is no direct claimant of the Syamantaka jewel, for King Saträjit has no male issue. His daughter Satyabhämä is not very anxious for this jewel, yet her expected son, as grandson of Saträjit, would, after performing the regulative principles of inheritance, be the legal claimant of the jewel." Lord Kåñëa indicated by this statement that Satyabhämä was already pregnant and that her son would be the real claimant for the jewel and would certainly take the jewel from him.
Kåñëa continued, "This jewel is so powerful that no ordinary man is able to keep it. I know that you are very pious in activities, so there is no objection to the jewel being kept with you. There is one difficulty, and that is that My elder brother, Çré Balaräma, does not believe My version that the jewel is with you. I therefore request you, O large-hearted one, to show Me the jewel before My other relatives so that they may be pacified. You cannot deny that the jewel is with you because from various kinds of rumors we can understand that you have enhanced your opulence and are performing sacrifices on an altar made of solid gold." The properties of the jewel were known: wherever the jewel remained, it would produce for the keeper almost nine mounds of pure gold daily. Akrüra was getting gold in that proportion and was distributing it very profusely at sacrificial performances. Lord Kåñëa cited Akrüra's lavishly spending in gold as positive evidence of his possessing the Syamantaka jewel.
When Lord Kåñëa, in friendly terms and in sweet language, impressed Akrüra about the real fact and Akrüra understood that nothing could be concealed from the knowledge of Çré Kåñëa, he brought the valuable jewel, shining like the sun and covered by cloth, and presented it before Kåñëa. Lord Kåñëa took the Syamantaka jewel in His hand and showed it to all His relatives and friends present there and then again returned the jewel to Akrüra in their presence so that they would know that the jewel was actually being kept by Akrüra in Dvärakä City.
This story of the Syamantaka jewel is very significant. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is said that anyone who hears the story of the Syamantaka jewel or describes it or simply remembers it will be free from all kinds of defamation and the reactions of all impious activities and thus will attain the highest perfectional condition of peace.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Volume, Second Chapter, of Kåñëa, "The Killing of Saträjit and Çatadhanvä."