37 / Akrura's Arrival in Vrndavana
Narada Muni did not mention Krsna's killing Vyomasura, which means that he was killed on the same day as the Kesi demon. The Kesi 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 Vyomasura was killed. Both demons were killed in the morning. Akrura was requested by Kamsa to arrive in Vrndavana by evening. After receiving instruction from Kamsa, Akrura started the next morning via chariot for Vrndavana. Because Akrura himself was a great devotee of the Lord, while going to Vrndavana he began to praise to the Lord. Devotees are always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna, and Akrura was constantly thinking of Lord Krsna's lotus eyes.
He did not know what sort of pious activities he must have done to gain an opportunity to go see Lord Krsna. Akrura thought that if Krsna willed, he would be able to see Him. Akrura considered himself most fortunate that he was going to see Krsna, whom great mystic yogis 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. Akrura also considered that he was very much favored by Kamsa, who was sending him to bring back Krsna and Balarama and thus enabling him to see the Lord. Akrura 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 Krsna.
"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," Akrura thought. He was thrilled with expectations of seeing the very lotus feet which are worshiped by great demigods like Brahma, Narada, and Lord Siva, which traverse the ground of Vrndavana, and which touch the breasts of the gopis covered with tinges of kunkuma. 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 Krsna, 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 Visnuloka because Krsna is the Supreme Visnu, 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."
Akrura knew beyond doubt that Lord Krsna is the Supreme Visnu. Lord Visnu glances over the material energy, and thus the cosmic manifestation comes into being. And although Lord Visnu 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, Krsna the original Visnu, by expansion of His internal potency, created the inhabitants of Vrndavana. In the Brahma-samhita it is also confirmed that the paraphernalia and abode of Krsna are expansions of His internal potency. The same internal potency is exhibited on earth as Vrndavana, where Krsna enjoys Himself with His parents and in the company of His friends, the cowherd boys and gopis. By the statement of Akrura, it is clear that, since Krsna is transcendental to the modes of material nature, the inhabitants of Vrndavana, who are engaged in loving service of the Lord, are also transcendental.
Akrura also considered the necessity of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. He thought that the transcendental activities, instructions, qualities and pastimes of Krsna are all for the good fortune of people in general. The people can remain constantly in Krsna 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 Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness is useless and lifeless.
Akrura thought, "That Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, 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 Krsna, and Krsna takes pleasure in giving them all sorts of protection. These activities of Krsna, His protection of the devotees and killing the demons, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, 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.
"Krsna, 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 Vrndavana, 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 Krsna are always worshiped by great mystic yogis, so I shall also worship His lotus feet and become one of His friends in Vrndavana like the cowherd boys. When I bow down before Lord Krsna 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. Krsna 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 Akrura expected blessings from the hand of Krsna. 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 Krsna accepted. Similarly, Bali Maharaja gave only three feet of land in charity to Vamanadeva, and he also offered a little water which Lord Vamanadeva accepted, and thereby Bali Maharaja attained the position of Indra. When the gopis were dancing with Krsna in the rasa dance, they became fatigued, and Krsna smeared His hand, which is as fragrant as a lotus flower, over the pearl-like drops of perspiration on the faces of the gopis, and immediately they became refreshed. Thus Akrura was expecting benediction from that supreme hand of Krsna. Krsna's hand is capable of bestowing benediction to all kinds of men if they take to Krsna consciousness. If one wants material happiness like the king of heaven, he can derive that benediction from the hand of Krsna; if one wants liberation from the pangs of material existence, he can also get benediction from the hand of Krsna; and if one in pure transcendental love for Krsna wants personal association and the touch of His transcendental body, he can also gain benediction from His hand.
Akrura was afraid, however, of being deputed by Kamsa, the enemy of Krsna. He thought, "I am going to see Krsna as a messenger of the enemy." And at the same time, he thought, "Krsna is in each and everyone's heart as the Supersoul, so He must know my heart." Although Akrura was trusted by the enemy of Krsna, his heart was clear. He was a pure devotee of Krsna. He risked Kamsa's wrath just to meet Krsna. He was certain that although he was going as a representative of Kamsa, Krsna would not accept him as an enemy. "Even though I am on a sinful mission, being deputed by Kamsa, 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 Krsna 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 Krsna and Balarama will call me, 'Akrura, 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-gita, 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-gita also declares that the Supreme Lord is responsive to the devotional service rendered by the devotee. Akrura thought that Krsna 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-caritamrta it is therefore explained that one should serve both the spiritual master and Krsna simultaneously and in that way make progress in Krsna consciousness. Service rendered to Krsna under the direction of the spiritual master is bona fide service because the spiritual master is the manifested representative of Krsna. Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur 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.
Akrura then thought, "When Krsna and Balarama 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 Kamsa and his friends."

Seeing Krsna's footprints Akrura became overwhelmed with ecstasy and wept as his body trembled.

In this way, Akrura, who was the son of Svaphalka, meditated on Sri Krsna on his journey from Mathura. He reached Vrndavana by the end of the day. Akrura passed the whole journey without knowing how long it took. When he reached Vrndavana, the sun was setting. As soon as he entered the boundary of Vrndavana, he saw the footprints of the cows and Lord Krsna's footprints, impressed with the signs of His sole, the flag, trident, thunderbolt and lotus flower. Upon seeing the footprints of Krsna, Akrura 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 Krsna, Akrura fell flat on his face and began to roll on the ground.
Akrura's journey to Vrndavana is exemplary. One who intends to visit Vrndavana should follow the ideal footsteps of Akrura and always think of the pastimes and activities of the Lord. As soon as one reaches the boundary of Vrndavana, he should immediately smear the dust of Vrndavana over his body without thinking of his material position and prestige. Narottamadasa Thakur has sung in his celebrated song, Visaya-chariya kave suddha have mana: "When my mind will be purified after leaving the contamination of material sense enjoyment, I shall be able to visit Vrndavana." Actually, one cannot go to Vrndavana by purchasing a ticket. The process of going to Vrndavana is shown by Akrura.
When Akrura entered Vrndavana, he saw Krsna and Balarama engaged in supervising the milking of the cows. Krsna was dressed in yellow garments and Balarama in bluish. Akrura also saw that Krsna's eyes were exactly like the beautifully grown lotus flower of the autumn season. He saw both Krsna and Balarama in the spring of Their youth. Although both were similar in bodily features, Krsna was blackish in complexion, whereas Balarama 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, Akrura actually saw Krsna and Balarama, face to face. Although They were the most influential personalities, They were glancing at him with smiling faces. Akrura could understand that both Krsna and Balarama 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. Akrura greatly appreciated the aroma of flowers and sandalwood and Their bodily presence. He considered himself very fortunate to see Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His plenary expansion, Balarama, face to face, for he knew that They were the original personalities of the creation.
As stated in the Brahma-samhita, Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead and the cause of all causes. Akrura 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, Akrura immediately got down from his chariot and fell flat, just like a rod, before Krsna and Balarama. 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 Krsna'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 Krsna, who is very kind to His devotees, raised Akrura with His hand and embraced him. It appeared that Lord Krsna was very pleased with Akrura. Balarama also embraced Akrura. Taking him by the hand, Krsna and Balarama 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 Akrura was thus comfortably seated, both Krsna and Balarama offered Him a cow in charity and then brought very palatable dishes of eatables, and Akrura accepted them. When Akrura finished eating, Balarama 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 Krsna 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. Krsna and Balarama welcomed Akrura just befitting his exalted position.
After Akrura was thus properly received and seated, Nanda Maharaja, the foster father of Krsna, said, "My dear Akrura, what shall I inquire from you? I know that you are being protected by Kamsa, who is most cruel and demoniac. His protection is just like the slaughterhouse keeper's protection of animals he will kill in the future. Kamsa 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 Mathura?" 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 Maharaja spoke to Akrura with pleasing words, Akrura forgot all the fatigue of his day's journey from Mathura to Vrndavana.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Thirty-seventh Chapter of Krsna, "Akrura's Arrival in Vrndavana."

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