28 / Releasing Nanda Maharaja from the Clutches of Varuna
The Govardhana ceremony took place on the new moon day. After this, there were torrents of rain and hailstorms imposed by King Indra for seven days. Nine days of the waxing moon having passed, on the tenth day King Indra worshiped Lord Krsna, and thus the matter was satisfactorily settled. After this, on the eleventh day of the full moon, there was Ekadasi. Maharaja Nanda observed fasting for the whole day, and just early in the morning of the Dvadasi, the day after Ekadasi, he went to take bath in the River Yamuna. He entered deep into the water of the river, but he was arrested immediately by one of the servants of Varunadeva. These servants brought Nanda Maharaja before the demigod Varuna and accused him of taking a bath in the river at the wrong time. According to astronomical calculations, the time in which he took bath was considered demoniac. The fact was, Nanda Maharaja wanted to take a bath in the River Yamuna early in the morning before the sunrise, but somehow or other he was a little too early, and he bathed at an inauspicious time. Consequently he was arrested.

The god of the waters was holding Nanda captive underneath the sea.

When Nanda Maharaja was taken away by Varuna's servants, his companions began to call loudly for Krsna and Balarama. Immediately Krsna and Balarama could understand that Nanda Maharaja was taken by Varuna, and thus They went to the abode of Varuna, for They were pledged to give protection. The inhabitants of Vrndavana, the unalloyed devotees of the Lord, having no shelter other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, naturally cried to Him for help, exactly like children who do not know anything but the protection of their parents. Demigod Varuna received Lord Krsna and Balarama with great respect and said, "My dear Lord, actually at this very moment, because of Your presence, I am materially defeated. Although I am the proprietor of all the treasures in the water, I know that such possessions do not make for a successful life. But this moment, as I look at You, my life is made completely successful because by seeing You I no longer have to accept a material body. Therefore, O Lord, Supreme Personality of Godhead, Supreme Brahman and Supersoul of everything, let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You. You are the supreme transcendental personality; there is no possibility of imposing the influence of material nature upon You. I am very sorry that by being foolish, by not knowing what to do or what not to do, I have mistakenly arrested Your father, Nanda Maharaja. So I beg Your pardon for the offense of my servants. I think that it was Your plan to show me Your mercy by Your personal presence here. My dear Lord Krsna, Govinda, be merciful upon me--here is Your father. You can take him back immediately."
In this way Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, rescued His father and presented him before his friends with great jubilation. Nanda Maharaja was surprised that, although the demigod was so opulent, he offered such respect to Krsna. That was very astonishing to Nanda, and he began to describe the incident to his friends and relatives with great wonder.
Actually, although Krsna was acting so wonderfully, Maharaja Nanda and mother Yasoda could not think of Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Instead, they always accepted Him as their beloved child. Thus Nanda Maharaja did not accept the fact that Varuna worshiped Krsna because Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rather he took it that because Krsna was such a wonderful child He was respected even by Varuna. The friends of Nanda Maharaja, all the cowherd men, became eager to know if Krsna were actually the Supreme Personality and if He were going to give them all salvation. When they were all thus consulting among themselves, Krsna understood their minds, and in order to assure them of their destiny in the spiritual kingdom, He showed them the spiritual sky. Generally, ordinary persons are engaged simply in working hard in the material world, and they have no information that there is another kingdom or another sky, which is known as the spiritual sky, where life is eternal, blissful, and full of knowledge. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, a person returning to that spiritual sky never returns to this material world of death and suffering.
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always anxious to give information to the conditioned soul that there is a spiritual sky far, far beyond this material sky, transcendental to the innumerable universes created within the total material energy. Krsna is, of course, always very kind to every conditioned soul, but, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, He is especially inclined to the devotees. Hearing their inquiries, Krsna immediately thought that His devotees in Vrndavana should be informed of the spiritual sky and the Vaikuntha planets therein. Within the material world, every conditioned soul is in the darkness of ignorance. This means that all conditioned souls are under the concept of this bodily existence.
Everyone is under the impression that he is of this material world, and with this concept of life, everyone is working in ignorance in different forms of life. The activities of the particular type of body are called karma, or fruitive action. All conditioned souls under the impression of the bodily concept are working according to their particular types of body. These activities are creating their future conditional life. Because they have very little information of the spiritual world, they do not generally take to spiritual activities, which are called bhakti-yoga. Those who successfully practice bhakti-yoga, after giving up this present body, go directly to the spiritual world and become situated in one of the Vaikuntha planets. The inhabitants of Vrndavana are all pure devotees. Their destination after quitting the body is Krsnaloka. They even surpass the Vaikunthalokas. The fact is, those who are always engaged in Krsna consciousness and mature, pure devotional service are given the chance, after death, to gain Krsna's association in the universes within the material world. Krsna's pastimes are continually going on, either in this universe or in another universe. Just as the sun globe is passing through many places across this earthly planet, so Krsna-lila, or the transcendental advent and pastimes of Krsna, are also going on continually, either in this or another universe. The mature devotees, who have completely executed Krsna consciousness, are immediately transferred to the universe where Krsna is appearing. In that universe the devotees get their first opportunity to associate with Krsna personally and directly. The training goes on, as we see in the Vrndavana lila of Krsna within this planet. Krsna therefore revealed the actual feature of the Vaikuntha planets so that the inhabitants of Vrndavana could know their destination.
Thus Krsna showed them the eternal ever-existing spiritual sky which is unlimited and full of knowledge. Within this material world there are different gradations of forms, and according to the gradations, knowledge is proportionately manifested. For example, the knowledge in the body of a child is not as perfect as the knowledge in the body of an adult man. Everywhere there are different gradations of living entities, in aquatic animals, in the plants and trees, in the reptiles and insects, in birds and beasts and in the civilized and uncivilized human forms of life. Above the human form of life there are demigods, Caranas and Siddhas on up to Brahmaloka where Lord Brahma lives, and among these demigods there are always different gradations of knowledge. But past this material world, in the Vaikuntha sky, everyone is in full knowledge. All the living entities there are engaged in devotional service to the Lord, either in the Vaikuntha planets or in Krsnaloka.
As it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, full knowledge means knowing Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Vedas and Bhagavad-gita it is also stated that in the brahmajyoti or spiritual sky there is no need of sunlight, moonlight, or electricity. All those planets are self-illuminating, and all of them are eternally situated. There is no question of creation and annihilation in the brahmajyoti, spiritual sky. Bhagavad-gita also confirms that beyond the material sky there is another eternal spiritual sky where everything is eternally existing. Information of the spiritual sky can be had only from great sages and saintly persons who have already surpassed the influence of the three material modes of nature. Unless one is constantly situated on that transcendental platform, it is not possible to understand the spiritual nature.
Therefore it is recommended that one should take to bhakti-yoga and keep himself engaged twenty-four hours in Krsna consciousness, which places one beyond the reach of the modes of material nature. One in Krsna consciousness can easily understand the nature of the spiritual sky and Vaikunthaloka. The inhabitants of Vrndavana, being always engaged in Krsna consciousness, could therefore very easily understand the transcendental nature of the Vaikunthalokas.
Thus Krsna led all the cowherd men, headed by Nanda Maharaja, to the lake where Akrura was later shown the Vaikuntha planetary system. They took their bath immediately and saw the real nature of the Vaikunthalokas. After seeing the spiritual sky and the Vaikunthalokas, all the men, headed by Nanda Maharaja, felt wonderfully blissful, and coming out of the river, they saw Krsna, who was being worshiped with excellent prayers.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Twenty-eighth Chapter of Krsna, "Releasing Nanda Maharaja from the Clutches of Varuna."

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