28 / Draupadi Meets the Queens of Krsna
There were many visitors who came to see Krsna, and among them were the Pandavas, headed by King Yudhisthira. After talking with the gopis and bestowing upon them the greatest benediction, Lord Krsna came to welcome King Yudhisthira and other relatives who had come to see Him. He first of all inquired from them whether their situation was auspicious. Actually, there is no question of ill fortune for anyone who sees the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, yet when Lord Krsna, as a matter of etiquette, inquired from King Yudhisthira about his welfare, the King became very happy by such a reception and began to address the Lord thus: "My dear Lord Krsna, great personalities and devotees in full Krsna consciousness always think of Your lotus feet and remain fully satisfied by drinking the nectar of transcendental bliss. The nectar which they constantly drink sometimes comes out of their mouths and is sprinkled on others as the narration of Your transcendental activities. This nectar coming from the mouth of a devotee is so powerful that if one is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to drink it, he immediately becomes freed from the continuous journey of birth and death. Our material existence is caused by our forgetfulness of Your personality, but fortunately, the darkness of forgetfulness is immediately dissipated if one is privileged to hear about Your glories. Therefore, my dear Lord, where is the possibility of ill fortune for one who is constantly engaged in hearing Your glorious activities?
"Since we are fully surrendered unto You and have no other shelter than Your lotus feet, we are always confident of our good fortune. My dear Lord, You are the ocean of unlimited knowledge and transcendental bliss. The result of the action of mental concoction is to exist in the three temporary phases of material life--wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep. But these conditions cannot exist in Krsna consciousness. All such reactions are invalidated by practice of Krsna consciousness. You are the ultimate destination of all liberated persons. Out of Your independent will only, You have descended on this earth by the use of Your own internal potency, yogamaya, and in order to reestablish the Vedic principles of life, You have appeared just like an ordinary human being. Since You are the Supreme Person, there cannot, therefore, be any ill luck for one who has fully surrendered unto You."
When Lord Krsna was busy meeting various kinds of visitors and while they were engaged in offering prayers to the Lord, the female members of the Kuru dynasty and the Yadu dynasty took the opportunity of meeting with one another and engaging in talk of Lord Krsna's transcendental pastimes. The first inquiry was made by Draupadi to the wives of Lord Krsna. She addressed them: "My dear Rukmini, Bhadra, Jambavati, Satya, Satyabhama, Kalindi, Saibya, Laksmana, Rohini and all other wives of Lord Krsna, will you please let us know how Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, accepted you as His wives and married you in pursuance of the marriage ceremonies of ordinary human beings?"
To this question, the chief of the queens, Rukminidevi, replied, "My dear Draupadi, it was practically a settled fact that princes like Jarasandha and others wanted me to marry King Sisupala, and, as is usual, all the princes present during the marriage ceremony were prepared with their armor and weapons to fight with any rival who dared to stop the marriage. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead kidnapped me the way a lion takes away a lamb from the flock. This was not, however, a very wondrous act for Lord Krsna, because anyone who claims to be a very great hero or king within this world is subordinate to the lotus feet of the Lord. All the kings touched their helmets to the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. My dear Draupadi, it is my eternal desire that life after life I may be engaged in the service of Lord Krsna, who is the reservoir of all pleasure and beauty. This is my only desire and ambition in life."
After this, Satyabhama began to speak. She said, "My dear Draupadi, my father was very much afflicted on the death of his brother, Prasena, and he falsely accused Lord Krsna of killing his brother and stealing the Syamantaka jewel, which had actually been taken by Jambavan. Lord Krsna, in order to establish His pure character, fought with Jambavan and rescued the Syamantaka jewel, which was later delivered to my father. My father was very much ashamed and sorry for accusing Lord Krsna of his brother's death. After getting back the Syamantaka jewel, he thought it wise to rectify his mistake, so although he had promised others my hand in marriage, he submitted the jewel and myself at the lotus feet of Krsna, and thus I was accepted as His maidservant and wife."
After this, Jambavati replied to Draupadi's question. She said, "My dear Draupadi, when Lord Krsna attacked my father Jambavan, the King of the rksas, my father did not know that Lord Krsna was his former master, Lord Ramacandra, the husband of Sita. Not knowing the identity of Lord Krsna, my father remained continually engaged in fighting with Him for twenty-seven days. After this period, when he became very tired and fatigued, he could understand that since no one but Lord Ramacandra could defeat him, his opponent, Lord Krsna, must be the same Lord Ramacandra. He thus came to his senses and not only immediately returned the Syamantaka jewel, but in order to satisfy the Lord, he presented me to Him to become His wife. In this way I was married to the Lord, and thus my desire to remain life after life as a servitor of Krsna was fulfilled."
After this, Kalindi said, "My dear Draupadi, I was engaged in great austerities and penances in order to get Lord Krsna as my husband. When Lord Krsna became aware of this fact, He very kindly came to me along with His friend Arjuna and accepted me as His wife. Lord Krsna then took me away from the bank of Yamuna, and since then I have been engaged in the house of Lord Krsna as a sweeper. And the Lord is treating me as His wife."
After this, Mitravinda said, "My dear Draupadi, there was a great assembly of princes at my svayamvara ceremony. Lord Krsna was also present in that meeting, and He accepted me as His maidservant by defeating all the princes present there. He immediately took me away to Dvaraka, exactly as a lion takes a deer from a pack of dogs. When I was thus taken away by Lord Krsna, my brothers wanted to fight with Him, and later on they were defeated. Thus my desire to become the maidservant of Krsna life after life was fulfilled."
After this, Satya addressed Draupadi in this way: "My dear Draupadi, my father arranged for an assembly for my svayamvara, [the personal selection of a husband], and in order to test the strength and heroism of the prospective bridegrooms, my father stipulated that they each fight with his seven ferocious bulls, which had long, serpentine horns. Many heroic prospective bridegrooms tried to defeat the bulls, but unfortunately they were all severely struck, and they returned to their homes as defeated invalids. When Lord Sri Krsna came and fought with the bulls, they were just like playthings for Him. He captured the bulls and roped each one of them by their nostrils. Thus they came under His control, just like a goat's small kids come very easily under the control of children. My father became very pleased and married me with Lord Krsna in great pomp, giving as my dowry many divisions of soldiers, horses, chariots and elephants, along with hundreds of maidservants. Thus Lord Krsna brought me to His capital city, Dvaraka. On the way back, He was also assaulted by many princes, but Lord Krsna defeated all of them, and thus I have the privilege of serving His lotus feet as a maidservant."
After this, Bhadra began to speak. She said, "My dear Draupadi, Lord Krsna is the son of my maternal uncle. Fortunately, I became attracted to His lotus feet. When my father understood these feelings of mine, he personally arranged for my marriage, inviting Lord Krsna to marry me and giving Him in dowry one aksauhini, or division of armed forces, along with many maidservants and other royal paraphernalia. I do not know whether I shall be able to have the shelter of Lord Krsna life after life, but still I pray to the Lord that wherever I may take my birth I may not forget my relationship with His lotus feet."
Then Laksmana said, "My dear Queen, many times I have heard the great sage Narada glorifying the pastimes of Lord Krsna. I became attracted to the lotus feet of Krsna when I heard Narada say that the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, was also attracted to His lotus feet. Since then I have always been thinking of Him, and thus my attraction for Him has increased. My dear Queen, my father was very affectionate toward me. When he understood that I was attracted to Krsna, he devised a plan. His plan was like that devised by your father; during the svayamvara, the prospective bridegrooms had to pierce the eyes of a fish with their arrows. The difference between the competition in your svayamvara and mine was that in your case the fish was hanging openly on the ceiling, in clear view, but in my case the fish was covered with a cloth and could only be seen by the reflection of the cloth in a pot of water. That was the special feature of my svayamvara.
"The news of this device was spread all over the world, and when the princes heard of it, they arrived at my father's capital city from all directions, fully equipped with armor and guided by their military instructors. Each one of them desired to win me as his wife, and one after another they raised the bow and arrow which was left there for piercing the fish. Many could not even join the bowstring to the two ends of the bow, and without attempting to pierce the fish, they simply left the bow as it was and went away. Some with great difficulty drew the string from one end to the other, and being unable to tie the other end, they were suddenly knocked down by the spring-like bow. My dear Queen, you will be surprised to know that at my svayamvara meeting there were many famous kings and heroes present. Heroes like Jarasandha, Ambastha, Sisupala, Bhimasena, Duryodhana and Karna were, of course, able to string the bow, but they could not pierce the fish, because it was covered, and they could not trace it out from the reflection. The celebrated hero of the Pandavas, Arjuna, was able to see the reflection of the fish on the water, but although with great caution he traced out the location of the fish and shot an arrow, he did not pierce the fish in the right spot. His arrow at least touched the fish, and so he proved himself better than all other princes.
"All the princes who had tried to pierce the target were disappointed, being baffled in their attempts, and some candidates had even left the place without making an attempt, but when at last Lord Krsna took up the bow, He was able to tie the bowstring very easily, just as a child plays with a toy. He placed the arrow, and looking only once at the reflection of the fish in the water, He shot the arrow, and the pierced fish immediately fell down. This victory of Lord Krsna was accomplished at noon, during the moment called abhijit, which is astronomically calculated as auspicious. At that time the vibration of 'Jaya! Jaya!' was heard all over the world, and from the sky came sounds of drums beat by the denizens of heaven. Great demigods were overwhelmed with joy and began to shower flowers on the earth.
"At that time, I entered the arena of competition, and the ankle bells on my legs were sounding very melodiously as I walked. I was nicely dressed with new silken garments, flowers were decorating my hair, and because of Lord Krsna's victory, I was in ecstatic joy and smiling very pleasingly. I was carrying in my hands a golden necklace bedecked with jewels, which was glittered at intervals. My curling hair encircled my face, which was shining with a bright luster due to the reflection of my various rings. My eyes blinking, I first of all observed all the princes present, and when I reached my Lord I very slowly placed the golden necklace on His neck. As I have already informed you, from the very beginning my mind had been attracted by Lord Krsna, and thus I considered the garlanding of the Lord to be my great victory. As soon as I placed my garland on the neck of the Lord, there sounded immediately the combined vibration of mrdangas, patahas, conchshells, drums, kettledrums and other instruments, causing a tumultuous sound, and while the music played, expert male and female dancers began to dance, and singers began to sing sweetly.
"My dear Draupadi, when I accepted Lord Krsna as my worshipable husband, and He also accepted me as His maidservant, there was a tumultuous roaring among the disappointed princes. All of them became very agitated because of their lusty desires, but without caring for them, my husband, in His form as the four-handed Narayana, immediately took me on His chariot, which was drawn by four excellent horses. Expecting opposition from the princes, He armored Himself and took up His bow named Sarnga, but our celebrated driver, Daruka, drove the beautiful chariot without a moment's delay toward the city of Dvaraka. Thus, in the presence of all the princes, I was carried away very quickly, exactly as a deer is carried away from the flock by a lion. Some of the princes, however, wanted to check our progress, and thus, equipped with proper weapons, they opposed us, just as dogs try to oppose the progressive march of a lion. At that time, due to the arrows released by the Sarnga bow of Lord Krsna, some of the princes were cut on their left hands, some of them lost their legs, and some lost their heads and their lives, and others fled from the battlefield.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead then entered the most celebrated city of the universe, Dvaraka, and as He entered the city, He appeared like the shining sun. The whole city of Dvaraka was profusely decorated on that occasion. There were so many flags and festoons and gates all over Dvaraka that the sunshine could not even enter the city. I have already told you that my father was very much affectionate to me, so when he saw that my desire was fulfilled by getting Lord Krsna as my husband, in great happiness he began to distribute to friends and relatives various kinds of gifts, such as valuable dresses, ornaments, bedsteads and sitting carpets. Lord Krsna is always self-sufficient, yet my father, out of his own accord, offered my husband a dowry consisting of riches, soldiers, elephants, chariots, horses and many rare and valuable weapons. He presented all these to the Lord with great enthusiasm. My dear Queen, at that time I could guess that in my previous life I must have performed some wonderfully pious activity, and as a result I can in this life be one of the maidservants in the house of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
When all the principal queens of Lord Krsna had finished their statements, Rohini, as the representative of the other sixteen thousand queens, began to narrate the incident of their becoming wives of Krsna.
"My dear Queen, when Bhaumasura was conquering all the world, he collected wherever possible all the beautiful daughters of the kings and kept us arrested within his palace. When news of our imprisonment reached Lord Krsna, He fought with Bhaumasura and released us. Lord Krsna killed Bhaumasura and all his soldiers, and although He had no need to accept even one wife, He nevertheless, by our request, married all sixteen thousand of us. My dear Queen, our only qualification was that we were always thinking of the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, which is the way to release oneself from the bondage of repeated birth and death. My dear Queen Draupadi, please take it from us that we are not after any opulence such as kingdom, empire, or a position of heavenly enjoyment. We do not want to enjoy such material opulences, nor do we desire to achieve the yogic perfections, nor the exalted post of Lord Brahma. Nor do we want any of the different kinds of liberation-- salokya, sarsti, samipya or sayujya. We are not at all attracted by any of these opulences. Our only ambition is to bear on our heads life after life the dust particles attached to the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. The goddess of fortune also desires to keep that dust on her breast, along with fragrant saffron. We simply desire this dust, which accumulates underneath the lotus feet of Krsna as He travels on the land of Vrndavana as a cowherd boy. The gopis especially, and also the cowherd men and the aborigine tribeswomen, always desire to become the grass and straw on the street of Vrndavana, to be trampled on by the lotus feet of Krsna. My dear Queen, we wish to remain as such life after life, without any other desire."
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Volume, Twenty-eighth Chapter, of Krsna, "Draupadi Meets the Queens of Krsna."

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