57. Five Queens Married by Krsna
3 / Five Queens Married by Kåñëa
There was a great rumor that the five Päëòava brothers, along with their mother Kunté, had, under the plan of Dhåtaräñöra, died in a fire accident in the house of shellac in which they were living. But then the five brothers were detected at the marriage ceremony of Draupadé; so again another rumor spread that the Päëòavas and their mother were not dead. It was a rumor, but actually it was so; they returned to their capital city, Hastinäpura, and people saw them face to face. When this news was carried to Kåñëa and Balaräma, Kåñëa wanted to see them personally, and therefore Kåñëa decided to go to Hastinäpura.
This time, Kåñëa visited Hastinäpura in state, as a royal prince, accompanied by His commander-in-chief, Yuyudhäna, and by many other soldiers. He had not actually been invited to visit the city, yet He went to see the Päëòavas out of His affection for His great devotees. He visited the Päëòavas without warning, and all of them got up from their respective seats as soon as they saw Him. Kåñëa is called Mukunda because as soon as one comes in constant touch with Kåñëa or sees Him in full Kåñëa consciousness, one immediately becomes freed from all material anxieties. Not only that, but he immediately becomes blessed with all spiritual bliss.
On receiving Kåñëa, the Päëòavas became very enlivened, just as if awakened from unconsciousness or from loss of life. When a man is lying unconscious, his senses and the different parts of his body are not active, but when he regains his consciousness, the senses immediately become active. Similarly, the Päëòavas received Kåñëa as if they had just regained their consciousness, and so they became very much enlivened. Lord Kåñëa embraced every one of them, and by the touch of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Päëòavas immediately became freed from all reactions of material contamination, and therefore they were smiling in spiritual bliss. By seeing the face of Lord Kåñëa, everyone was transcendentally satisfied. Lord Kåñëa, although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was playing the part of an ordinary human being, and thus He immediately touched the feet of Yudhiñöhira and Bhéma because they were His two older cousins. Arjuna embraced Kåñëa as a friend of the same age, whereas the two younger brothers, namely Nakula and Sahadeva, touched the lotus feet of Kåñëa to show Him respect. After an exchange of greetings according to the social etiquette befitting the position of the Päëòavas and Lord Kåñëa, Kåñëa was offered an exalted seat. When He was comfortably seated, the newly married Draupadé, young and very beautiful in her natural feminine gracefulness, came before Lord Kåñëa to offer her respectful greetings. The Yadavas who accompanied Kåñëa to Hastinäpura were also very respectfully received; specifically, Sätyaki, or Yuyudhäna, was also offered a nice seat. In this way, when everyone else was properly seated, the five brothers took their seats nearby Lord Kåñëa.
After meeting with the five brothers, Lord Kåñëa personally went to visit Çrématé Kuntédevé, the mother of the Päëòavas, who was also the paternal aunt of Kåñëa. In offering His respects to His aunt, Kåñëa also touched her feet. Kuntédevé's eyes became wet, and, in great love, she feelingly embraced Lord Kåñëa. She then inquired from Him about the well-being of her paternal family members--her brother Vasudeva, his wife, and other members of the family. Similarly, Kåñëa also inquired from His aunt about the welfare of the Päëòava families. Although Kuntédevé was related to Kåñëa by family ties, she knew immediately after meeting Him that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She remembered the past calamities of her life and how by the grace of Kåñëa the Päëòavas and their mother had been saved. She knew perfectly well that no one, without Kåñëa's grace, could have saved them from the fire accident designed by Dhåtaräñöra and his sons. In a choked up voice, she began to narrate before Kåñëa the past history of their life.
Çrématé Kunté said: "My dear Kåñëa, I remember the day when You sent my brother Akrüra to gather information about us. This means that You always remember us automatically. When You sent Akrüra, I could understand that there was no possibility of our being put into danger. All good fortune in our life began when You sent Akrüra to us. Since then, I have been convinced that we are not without protection. We may be put into various types of dangerous conditions by our family members, the Kurus, but I am confident that You remember us and that you always keep us safe and sound. Devotees who simply think of You are always immune from all kinds of material dangers, and what to speak of ourselves, who are personally remembered by You. So, my dear Kåñëa, there is no question of bad luck; we are always in an auspicious position because of Your grace. But because You have bestowed a special favor on us, people should not mistakenly think that You are partial to some and inattentive to others. You make no such distinction. No one is Your favorite and no one is Your enemy. As the Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are equal to everyone, and everyone can take advantage of Your special protection. The fact is that although You are equal to everyone, You are especially inclined to the devotees who always think of You. The devotees are related to You by ties of love. As such, they cannot forget You even for a moment. You are present in everyone's heart, but because the devotees always remember You, You also respond accordingly. Although the mother has affection for all the children, she takes special care of the one who is fully dependent. I know certainly, my dear Kåñëa, that being seated in everyone's heart, You always create auspicious situations for Your unalloyed devotees."
Then King Yudhiñöhira also praised Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality and universal friend of everyone, but because Kåñëa was taking special care of the Päëòavas, King Yudhiñöhira said: "My dear Kåñëa, we do not know what sort of pious activities we have executed in our past lives that have made You so kind and graceful to us. We know very well that the great mystics who are always engaged in meditation to capture You do not find it easy to obtain such grace, nor can they draw any personal attention from You. I cannot understand why You are so kind upon us. We are not yogés, but, on the contrary, we are attached to material contaminations. We are householders dealing in politics, worldly affairs. I do not know why You are so kind upon us."
Being requested by King Yudhiñöhira, Kåñëa agreed to stay in Hastinäpura for four months during the rainy season. The four months of the rainy season are called Cäturmäsya. During this period, the generally itinerant preachers and brähmaëas stop at a certain place and live under rigid regulative principles. Although Lord Kåñëa is above all regulative principles, He agreed to stay at Hastinäpura out of affection for the Päëòavas. Taking this opportunity of Kåñëa's residence in Hastinäpura, all the citizens of the town got the privilege of seeing Him now and then, and thus they merged into transcendental bliss simply by seeing Lord Kåñëa eye to eye.
One day while Kåñëa was staying with the Päëòavas, He and Arjuna prepared themselves to go to the forest to hunt. Both of them sat down on the chariot, which flew a flag with a picture of Hanumän. Arjuna's special chariot is always marked with the picture of Hanumän, and therefore his name is also Kapidhvaja. (Kapi means Hanumän, and dhvaja means "flag.") Thus Arjuna went to the forest with his bow and infallible arrows. He dressed himself with suitable protective garments, for he was to practice killing many enemies. He specifically entered that part of the forest where there were many tigers, deer and various other animals. Kåñëa did not go with Arjuna to practice animal killing because He doesn't have to practice anything; He is self-sufficient. He accompanied Arjuna to see how he was practicing because in the future he would have to kill many enemies. After entering the forest, Arjuna killed many tigers, boars, bison, gavayas (a kind of wild animal), rhinoceroses, deer, hares, porcupines and similar other animals, which he pierced with his arrows. Some of the dead animals, which were fit to be offered in the sacrifices, were carried by the servants and sent to King Yudhiñöhira. Other ferocious animals, such as tigers and rhinoceroses, were killed only to stop disturbances in the forest. Since there are many sages and saintly persons who are residents of the forests, it is the duty of the kñatriya kings to keep even the forest in a peaceful condition for living.
Arjuna felt tired and thirsty from hunting, and therefore he went to the bank of the Yamunä along with Kåñëa. When both the Kåñëas, namely Kåñëa and Arjuna (Arjuna is sometimes called Kåñëa, as is Draupadé), reached the bank of the Yamunä, they washed their hands and feet and mouths and drank the clear water of the Yamunä. While they were resting and drinking water, they saw a beautiful girl of marriageable age walking alone on the bank of the Yamunä. Kåñëa asked His friend Arjuna to go forward and ask the girl who she was. By the order of Kåñëa, Arjuna immediately approached the girl, who was very beautiful. She had an attractive body and nice glittering teeth and smiling face. Arjuna inquired, "My dear girl, you are so beautiful with your raised breasts--may I ask you who you are? We are surprised to see you loitering here alone. What is your purpose in coming here? We can guess only that you are searching after a suitable husband. If you don't mind, you can disclose your purpose. I shall try to satisfy you."
The beautiful girl was the river Yamunä personified. She replied, "Sir, I am the daughter of the sun-god, and I am now performing penance and austerity to have Lord Viñëu as my husband. I think He is the Supreme Person and just suitable to become my husband. I disclose my desire thus because you wanted to know it."
The girl continued, "My dear sir, I know you are the hero Arjuna; so I may further say that I'll not accept anyone as my husband besides Lord Viñëu, because He is the only protector of all living entities and the bestower of liberation for all conditioned souls. I shall be thankful unto you if you pray to Lord Viñëu to become pleased with me." The girl Yamunä knew it well that Arjuna was a great devotee of Lord Kåñëa and that if he would pray, Kåñëa would never deny his request. To approach Kåñëa directly may sometimes be futile, but to approach Kåñëa through His devotee is sure to be successful. She further told Arjuna, "My name is Kälindé, and I live within the water of the Yamunä. My father was kind enough to construct a special house for me within the waters of the Yamunä, and I have vowed to remain in the water as long as I cannot find Lord Kåñëa." The message of the girl Kälindé was duly carried to Kåñëa by Arjuna although Kåñëa, as the Supersoul of everyone's heart, knew everything. Without further discussion, Kåñëa immediately accepted Kälindé and asked her to sit down on the chariot. Then all of them approached King Yudhiñöhira.
After this, Kåñëa was asked by King Yudhiñöhira to help in constructing a suitable house to be planned by the great architect Viçvakarmä, the celestial engineer in the heavenly kingdom. Kåñëa immediately called for Viçvakarmä, and He made him construct a wonderful city according to the desire of King Yudhiñöhira. When this city was constructed, Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira requested Kåñëa to live with them a few days more in order to give them the pleasure of His association. Lord Kåñëa accepted the request of Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira and remained there for many days more.
In the meantime, Kåñëa engaged in the pastime of offering Khäëòava Forest, which belonged to King Indra. Kåñëa wanted to give it to Agni, the fire-god. Khäëòava Forest contained many varieties of drugs, and Agni required to eat them for rejuvenation. Agni, however, did not touch Khäëòava Forest directly, but requested Kåñëa to help him. Agni knew that Kåñëa was very much pleased with him because he had formerly given Him the Sudarçana disc. So in order to satisfy Agni, Kåñëa became the chariot driver of Arjuna, and both went to the Khäëòava Forest. After Agni had eaten up the Khäëòava Forest, he was very much pleased. This time, he offered a specific bow known as Gäëòéva, four white horses, one chariot, and an invincible quiver with two specific arrows considered to be talismans, which had so much power that no warrior could counteract them. When the Khäëòava Forest was being devoured by the fire-god, Agni, there was a demon of the name Maya who was saved by Arjuna from the devastating fire. For this reason, that former demon became a great friend of Arjuna, and in order to please Arjuna he constructed a nice assembly house within the city constructed by Viçvakarmä. This assembly house had some corners so puzzling that when Duryodhana came to visit this house he was misdirected, accepting water as land and land as water. Duryodhana thus became insulted by the opulence of the Päëòavas, and he became their determined enemy.
After a few days, Kåñëa took permission from King Yudhiñöhira to return to Dvärakä. When He got permission, He went to His country, accompanied by Sätyaki, the leader of the Yadus who were living in Hastinäpura with Him. Kälindé also returned with Kåñëa to Dvärakä. After returning, Kåñëa consulted many learned astrologers to find the suitable moment at which to marry Kälindé, and then He married her with great pomp. This marriage ceremony gave much pleasure to the relatives of both parties, and all of them enjoyed the great occasion.
The kings of Avantépura (now known as Ujjain) were named Vinda and Anuvinda. Both kings were under the control of Duryodhana. They had one sister named Mitravindä, who was a very qualified, learned and elegant girl. She was the daughter of one of Kåñëa's aunts. She was to select her husband in the assembly of princes, but she strongly desired to have Kåñëa as her husband. During the assembly for selecting her husband, however, Kåñëa was present, and He forcibly carried away Mitravindä in the presence of all other royal princes. Being unable to resist Kåñëa, the princes were left simply looking at each other.
After this incident, Kåñëa married the daughter of the King of Koçala. The King of Koçala Province was called Nagnajit. He was very pious and was a follower of the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. His most beautiful daughter was named Satyä. Sometimes Satyä was called Nagnajité, for she was the daughter of King Nagnajit. King Nagnajit wanted to give the hand of his daughter to any prince who could defeat seven very strong, stalwart bulls maintained by him. No one in the princely order could defeat the seven bulls, and therefore no one could claim the hand of Satyä. The seven bulls were very strong, and they could hardly bear even the smell of any prince. Many princes approached this kingdom and tried to subdue these bulls, but instead of controlling them, they themselves were defeated. This news was spread all over the country, and when Kåñëa heard that the girl Satyä could be achieved only by defeating the seven bulls, He prepared Himself to go to the kingdom of Koçala. With many soldiers, He approached that part of the country, known as Ayodhyä, making a regular state visit.
When it was known to the King of Koçala that Kåñëa had come to ask the hand of his daughter, he became very pleased. With great respect and pomp, he welcomed Kåñëa to the kingdom. When Kåñëa approached him, he offered Him a suitable sitting place and articles for reception. Everything appeared to be very elegant. Kåñëa also offered him respectful obeisances, thinking him to be His future father-in-law.
When Satyä, the daughter of King Nagnajit, understood that Kåñëa Himself had come to marry her, she was very much pleased that the husband of the goddess of fortune had so kindly come there to accept her. She had cherished the idea of marrying Kåñëa for a long time and was following the principles of austerities in order to obtain her desired husband. She then began to think, "If I have performed any pious activities to the best of my capacity and if I have sincerely thought all along to have Kåñëa as my husband, then Kåñëa may be pleased to fulfill my long-cherished desire." She began to offer prayers to Kåñëa mentally, thinking, "I do not know how the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be pleased upon me. He is the master and Lord of everyone. Even the goddess of fortune, whose place is next to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Lord Çiva, Lord Brahmä and many other demigods of different planets always offer their respectful obeisances unto the Lord. The Lord also sometimes descends on this earth in different incarnations in order to fulfill the desire of His devotees. He is so exalted and great that I do not know how to satisfy Him." She thought that the Supreme Personality of Godhead could be pleased only out of His own causeless mercy upon the devotee; otherwise, there was no other means to please Him. Lord Caitanya, in the same way, prayed in His Çikñäñöaka verses, "My Lord, I am Your eternal servant. Somehow or other I have fallen into this material existence. If You kindly pick Me up and fix Me as an atom of dust at Your lotus feet, it will be a great favor to Your eternal servant." The Lord can be pleased only by a humble attitude in the service spirit. The more we render service unto the Lord under the direction of the spiritual master, the more we make advancement on the path of approaching the Lord. We cannot demand any grace or mercy from the Lord because of our service rendered to Him. He may accept or not accept our service, but the only means to satisfy the Lord is through the service attitude, and nothing else.
King Nagnajit was already a pious king, and having Kåñëa in his palace, he began to worship Him to the best of his knowledge and capacity. He presented himself before the Lord thus: "My dear Lord, You are the proprietor of the whole cosmic manifestation, and You are Näräyaëa, the rest of all living creatures. You are self-sufficient and pleased with Your personal opulences, so how can I offer You anything? And how could I please You by such offering? It is not possible, because I am an insignificant living being. Actually I have no capacity to render any service unto You."
Kåñëa is the Supersoul of all living creatures, so He could understand the mind of Satyä, the daughter of King Nagnajit. He was also very much pleased with the respectful worship of the King in offering Him a sitting place, eatables, residence, etc. He was appreciative, therefore, that both the girl and the father of the girl were anxious to have Him as their intimate relative. He began to smile and in a great voice said, "My dear King Nagnajit, you know very well that anyone in the princely order who is regular in his position will never ask anything from anyone, however exalted he may be. Such requests by a kñatriya king from another person have been deliberately forbidden by the learned Vedic followers. If a kñatriya breaks this regulation, his action is condemned by learned scholars. But in spite of this rigid regulative principle, I am asking you for the hand of your beautiful daughter just to establish our relationship in return for your great reception of Me. You may also be pleased to be informed that in our family tradition there is no scope for our offering anything in exchange for accepting your daughter. We cannot pay any price which you may impose for delivering her." In other words, Kåñëa wanted the hand of Satyä from the King without fulfilling the condition of defeating the seven bulls.
After hearing the statement of Lord Kåñëa, King Nagnajit said, "My dear Lord, You are the reservoir of all pleasure, all opulences and all qualities. The goddess of fortune, Lakñméjé, always lives on Your chest. Under these circumstances, who can be a better husband for my daughter? Both myself and my daughter have always prayed for this opportunity. You are the chief of the Yadu dynasty. You may kindly know that from the very beginning I have made a vow to marry my daughter to a suitable candidate, one who can come out victorious in the test I have devised. I have imposed this test just to understand the prowess and position of my intended son-in-law. You are Lord Kåñëa, and You are the chief of all heroes. I am sure You shall be able to bring these seven bulls under control without any difficulty. Until now they have never been subdued by any prince; anyone who has attempted to bring them under control has simply had his limbs broken."
King Nagnajit continued his request: "Kåñëa, if You'll kindly bridle the seven bulls and bring them under control, then undoubtedly You will be selected as the desired husband of my daughter, Satyä." After hearing this statement, Kåñëa could understand that the King did not want to break his vow. Thus, in order to fulfill his desire, He tightened His belt and prepared to fight with the bulls. He immediately divided Himself into seven Kåñëas, and each one of Them immediately caught hold of a bull and bridled its nose, thus bringing it under control as if it were a plaything.
Kåñëa's dividing Himself into seven is very significant. It was known to Satyä, the daughter of King Nagnajit, that Kåñëa had already married many other wives, and still she was attached to Kåñëa. In order to encourage her, He immediately expanded Himself into seven. The purport is that Kåñëa is one, but He has unlimited forms of expansions. He married many hundereds of thousands of wives, but this does not mean that while He was with one wife the others were bereft of His association. Kåñëa could associate with each and every wife by His expansions.
When Kåñëa brought the bulls under His control by bridling their noses, their strength and pride were immediately smashed. The name and fame which the bulls had attained was thus vanquished. When the bulls had been bridled by Kåñëa, He pulled them strongly, just as a child pulls a toy wooden bull. Upon seeing this advantage of Kåñëa, King Nagnajit became very much astonished and immediately, with great pleasure, brought his daughter Satyä before Kåñëa and handed her over to Him. Kåñëa also immediately accepted Satyä as His wife. Then there was a marriage ceremony with great pomp. The queens of King Nagnajit also were very much pleased because their daughter Satyä got Kåñëa as her husband. Since the King and queens were very pleased on this auspicious occasion, there was a celebration all over the city in honor of the marriage. Everywhere was heard the sounds of the conchshell and kettledrum and various other vibrations of music and song. The learned brähmaëas began to shower their blessings upon the newly married couple. In jubilation, all the inhabitants of the city dressed themselves with colorful garments and ornaments. King Nagnajit was so pleased that he began to give a dowry to the daughter and son-in-law, as follows.
First of all he gave them ten thousand cows and three thousand well-dressed young maidservants, ornamented up to their necks. This system of dowry is still current in India especially for kñatriya princes. Also, when a kñatriya prince is married, at least a dozen maidservants of similar age are given along with the bride. After giving the cows and maidservants, the King also enriched the dowry by giving 9,000 elephants and a hundred times more chariots than elephants. This means that he gave 900,000 chariots. And he gave a hundred times more horses than chariots, or 90,000,000 horses, and a hundred times more slaves than horses. Such slaves and maidservants were maintained by the royal princes with all provisions, as if they were their own children or family members. After giving this dowry as described, the king of the Koçala Province bade his daughter and great son-in-law be seated on a chariot. He allowed them to go to their home, guarded by a division of well-equipped soldiers. When they were travelling fast to their new home, his heart became enlivened with affection for them.
Before this marriage of Satyä with Kåñëa, there had been many competitive engagements with the bulls of King Nagnajit, and many other princes of the Yadu dynasty and of other dynasties as well had tried to win the hand of Satyä. When the frustrated princes of the other dynasties heard that Kåñëa was successful in getting the hand of Satyä by subduing the bulls, naturally they became envious. While Kåñëa was traveling to Dvärakä, all the frustrated and defeated princes encircled Him and began to shower their arrows on the bridal party. When they attacked Kåñëa's party and threw arrows like incessant torrents of rain, Arjuna, the best friend of Kåñëa, took charge of the challenge, and he alone drove them off very easily to please his great friend Kåñëa on the occasion of His marriage. He immediately took up his bow of the name Gäëòéva and chased away all the princes; exactly as a lion drives away all other small animals simply by chasing them, Arjuna drove away all the princes without killing even one of them. After this, the chief of the Yadu dynasty, Lord Kåñëa, along with His newly married wife and a huge dowry, entered the city of Dvärakä with great pomp. Kåñëa then lived there with His wife very peacefully.
Kåñëa had another aunt, His father's sister, whose name was Çrutakérti, and who was married and lived in the Kekaya province. She had a daughter whose name was Bhadrä. Bhadrä also wanted to marry Kåñëa, and her brother handed her over to Him unconditionally. Kåñëa also accepted her as His bona fide wife. Thereafter, Kåñëa married a daughter of the king of the Madras province, and her name was Lakñmaëä. Lakñmaëä had all good qualities. She was also forcibly married by Kåñëa, who took her in the same way that Garuòa snatched the jar of nectar from the hands of the demons. Kåñëa kidnapped this girl in the presence of many other princes in the assembly of her svayaàvara. Svayaàvara is a ceremony in which the bride can select her own husband from an assembly of many princes.
The description of Kåñëa's marriage with the five girls mentioned in this chapter is not sufficient. He had many other thousands of wives besides them. The other thousands of wives were accepted by Kåñëa after killing one demon named Bhaumäsura. All these thousands of girls were held captive in the palace of Bhaumäsura, and Kåñëa released them and married them.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Volume, Third Chapter, of Kåñëa, "Five Queens Married by Kåñëa."