56. The Killing of Satrajit and Satadhanva

2 / The Killing of Satrajit and Satadhanva
After Akrura visited Hastinapura and reported the condition of the Pandavas to Krsna, there were further developments. The Pandavas were transferred to a house which was made of shellac and was later on set ablaze, and everyone understood that the Pandavas along with their mother, Kunti, had been killed. This information was also sent to Lord Krsna and Balarama. After consulting together, They decided to go to Hastinapura to show sympathy to Their relatives. Krsna and Balarama certainly knew that the Pandavas could not have been killed in the devastating fire, but in spite of this knowledge They wanted to go to Hastinapura to take part in the bereavement. On arriving in Hastinapura, Krsna and Balarama first of all went to see Bhismadeva because he was the chief of the Kuru dynasty. They then saw Vidura, Gandhari and Drona. Other members of the Kuru dynasty were not sorry, because they wanted the Pandavas and their mother to be killed. But some family members, headed by Bhisma, were actually very sorry for the incident, and Krsna and Balarama expressed equal sorrow, without disclosing the actual situation.
When Krsna and Balarama were away from the city of Dvaraka, there was a conspiracy to take away the Syamantaka jewel from Satrajit. The chief conspirator was Satadhanva. Along with others, Satadhanva wanted to marry Satyabhama, the beautiful daughter of Satrajit. Satrajit had promised that he would give his beautiful daughter in charity to various candidates, but later on the decision was changed, and Satyabhama was given to Krsna along with the Syamantaka jewel. Satrajit had no desire to give the jewel away along with his daughter, and Krsna, knowing his mentality, accepted his daughter but returned the jewel. After getting back the jewel from Krsna, he was satisfied and kept it with him always. But in the absence of Krsna and Balarama there was a conspiracy by many men, including even Akrura and Krtavarma, who were devotees of Lord Krsna, to take the jewel from Satrajit. Akrura and Krtavarma joined the conspiracy because they wanted the jewel for Krsna. They knew that Krsna wanted the jewel and that Satrajit had not delivered it properly. Others joined the conspiracy because they were disappointed in not having the hand of Satyabhama. Some of them incited Satadhanva to kill Satrajit and take away the jewel.
The question is generally raised, Why did a great devotee like Akrura join this conspiracy? And why did Krtavarma, although a devotee of the Lord, join the conspiracy also? The answer is given by great authorities like Jiva Gosvami and others that although Akrura was a great devotee, he was cursed by the inhabitants of Vrndavana because of his taking Krsna away from their midst. Because of his wounding their feelings, Akrura was forced to join the conspiracy declared by sinful men. Similarly, Krtavarma was a devotee, but because of his intimate association with Kamsa, he was also contaminated by sinful reaction, and he also joined the conspiracy.
Being inspired by all the members of the conspiracy, Satadhanva one night entered the house of Satrajit and killed him while he was sleeping. Satadhanva 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 Satrajit while Satrajit was sleeping at home. When he entered the house to kill Satrajit, all the women there began to cry very loudly, but in spite of their great protests, Satadhanva mercilessly butchered Satrajit without hesitation, exactly as a butcher kills an animal in the slaughterhouse. Since Krsna was absent from home, His wife Satyabhama was also present on the night Satrajit was murdered, and she began to cry, "My dear father! My dear father! How mercilessly you have been killed!" The dead body of Satrajit was not immediately removed for cremation because Satyabhama wanted to go to Krsna in Hastinapura. Therefore the body was preserved in a tank of oil so that Krsna could come back and see the dead body of Satrajit and take real action against Satadhanva. Satyabhama immediately started for Hastinapura to inform Krsna about the ghastly death of her father.
When Krsna was informed by Satyabhama 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 Krsna 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 Satyabhama, 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 Krsna and Balarama, along with Satyabhama, the wife of Krsna, immediately returned to Dvaraka and began to make plans to kill Satadhanva and take away the jewel. Although he was a great outlaw in the city, Satadhanva was still very much afraid of Krsna's power, and thus he became most afraid on Krsna's arrival.
Understanding Krsna's plan to kill him, he immediately went to take shelter of Krtavarma. But on being approached by him, Krtavarma said, "I shall never be able to offend Lord Krsna and Balarama because They are not ordinary persons. They are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Who can be saved from death if he has offended Balarama and Krsna? No one can be saved from Their wrath." Krtavarma further said that Kamsa, although powerful and assisted by many demons, could not be saved from the wrath of Krsna, and what to speak of Jarasandha, who had been defeated by Krsna eighteen times and each time had to return from the fighting in disappointment.
When Satadhanva was refused help by Krtavarma he went to Akrura and implored him to help. Akrura also replied, "Both Balarama and Krsna 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 Satadhanva, "Krsna and Balarama 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 Krsna, although the whole cosmic manifestation is fully under His control." He cited, as an example, that Krsna, 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. Akrura plainly informed Satadhanva that he would always offer his most respectful obeisances to Krsna, the Supersoul of everything that is created and the original cause of all causes. When Akrura also refused to give him shelter, Satadhanva decided to deliver to the hands of Akrura 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 Krsna and Balarama were informed of the flight of Satadhanva, They mounted Their chariot, its flag marked by the picture of Garuda, and followed immediately. Krsna was particularly angry with Satadhanva and wanted to kill him because he had killed Satrajit, a superior personality. Satrajit happened to be the father-in-law of Krsna, and it is the injunction of the sastras that anyone who has rebelled against a superior person, or guru-druha, must be punished in proportion to the volume of offense. Because Satadhanva had killed His father-in-law, Krsna was determined to kill him by any means.
Satadhanva's horse became exhausted and died near a garden house in Mithila. Unable to take help of the horse, Satadhanva began to run with great speed. In order to be fair to Satadhanva, Krsna and Balarama also left Their chariot and began to follow Satadhanva on foot. While both Satadhanva and Krsna were running on foot, Krsna took His disc and cut off the head of Satadhanva. After Satadhanva was killed, Krsna searched through his clothing for the Syamantaka jewel, but He could not find it. He then returned to Balarama and said, "We have killed this person uselessly because the jewel is not to be found on his body." Sri Balarama suggested, "The jewel might have been kept in custody of another man in Dvaraka, so You'd better return and search it out." Sri Balarama expressed His desire to remain in Mithila City for some days because He enjoyed an intimate friendship with the King. Therefore, Krsna returned to Dvaraka, and Balarama entered the city of Mithila.
When the King of Mithila saw the arrival of Sri Balarama in his city, he became most pleased and received the Lord with great honor and hospitality. He presented many valuable presents to Balaramaji in order to seek His pleasure. At this time Sri Balarama lived in the city for several years as the honored guest of the King of Mithila, Janaka Maharaja. During this time, Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhrtarastra, took the opportunity of coming to Balarama and learning from Him the art of fighting with a club.
After killing Satadhanva, Krsna returned to Dvaraka, and in order to please His wife Satyabhama, He informed her of the death of Satadhanva, 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, Krsna, along with Satyabhama, 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.
Akrura and Krtavarma, who were prominent members in the conspiracy to kill Satrajit, had incited Satadhanva to kill him, but when they heard of the death of Satadhanva at Krsna's hand, and when they heard also that Krsna had returned to Dvaraka, they both immediately left Dvaraka. The citizens of Dvaraka felt themselves threatened with pestilence and natural disturbances due to the absence of Akrura from the city. This was a kind of superstition because while Lord Krsna was present there could not be any pestilence, famine or natural disturbances. But in the absence of Akrura there were some disturbances in Dvaraka. Once in the province of Kasi within the barricade of Varanasi there was severe drought and practically no rainfall. At that time the King of Kasi arranged the marriage of his daughter, known as Gandini, with Svaphalka, the father of Akrura. This was done by the King of Kasi on the advice of an astrologer, and actually it so happened that after the marriage of the King's daughter with Svaphalka there was sufficient rainfall in the province. Due to this supernatural power of Svaphalka, his son Akrura was also considered equally powerful, and people were under the impression that wherever Akrura 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 Akrura inauspicious things were happening. After the departure of Akrura, 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 Sri Krsna heard these rumors spread by the people He decided to summon Akrura from the kingdom of Kasi. Akrura was Krsna's uncle; therefore, when he came back to Dvaraka Lord Krsna first of all welcomed him as befitting a superior person. Krsna 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 Akrura's conspiracy with Satadhanva. Therefore, He smilingly began to address Akrura.
Addressing him as the chief among magnificent men, Krsna said, "My dear uncle, it is already known to Me that the Syamantaka jewel was left by Satadhanva with you. Presently there is no direct claimant of the Syamantaka jewel, for King Satrajit has no male issue. His daughter Satyabhama is not very anxious for this jewel, yet her expected son, as grandson of Satrajit, would, after performing the regulative principles of inheritance, be the legal claimant of the jewel." Lord Krsna indicated by this statement that Satyabhama was already pregnant and that her son would be the real claimant for the jewel and would certainly take the jewel from him.
Krsna 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, Sri Balarama, 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. Akrura was getting gold in that proportion and was distributing it very profusely at sacrificial performances. Lord Krsna cited Akrura's lavishly spending in gold as positive evidence of his possessing the Syamantaka jewel.
When Lord Krsna, in friendly terms and in sweet language, impressed Akrura about the real fact and Akrura understood that nothing could be concealed from the knowledge of Sri Krsna, he brought the valuable jewel, shining like the sun and covered by cloth, and presented it before Krsna. Lord Krsna 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 Akrura in their presence so that they would know that the jewel was actually being kept by Akrura in Dvaraka City.
This story of the Syamantaka jewel is very significant. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam 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 Krsna, "The Killing of Satrajit and Satadhanva."

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