51 / Krsna, the Ranchor
When Mucukunda, the celebrated descendant of the Iksvaku dynasty, was favored by Lord Krsna, he circumambulated the Lord within the cave and then came out. On coming out of the cave, Mucukunda saw that the stature of the human species had surprisingly been reduced to pigmy size. Similarly, the trees had also far reduced in size, and Mucukunda could immediately understand that the current age was Kali-yuga. Therefore, without diverting his attention, he began to travel north. Eventually he reached the mountain known as Gandhamadana. It appeared there were many trees on this mountain, such as sandalwood and other flower trees, the flavor of which made anyone joyful who reached them. He decided to remain in that Gandhamadana Mountain region in order to execute austerities and penances for the rest of his life. It appears that this place is situated in the northernmost part of the Himalayan Mountains, where the abode of Nara-Narayana is situated. This place is still existing and is called Badarikasrama. In Badarikasrama he engaged himself in the worship of Lord Krsna, forgetting all pain and pleasure and the other dualities of this material world. Lord Krsna also returned to the vicinity of the city of Mathura and began to fight with the soldiers of Kalayavana and kill them one after another. After this, He collected all the booty from the dead bodies, and under His direction, it was loaded on bullock carts by big men and brought back to Dvaraka.
Meanwhile, Jarasandha again attacked Mathura, this time with bigger divisions of soldiers, numbering twenty-three aksauhinis.
Lord Sri Krsna wanted to save Mathura from the eighteenth attack of the great military divisions of King Jarasandha. In order to prevent further killing of soldiers and to attend to other important business, Lord Krsna left the battlefield without fighting. Actually He was not at all afraid, but He pretended to be an ordinary human being frightened by the immense quantity of soldiers and resources of Jarasandha. Without any weapons He left the battlefield. Although His lotus feet were as soft as the petals of the lotus flower, He proceeded for a very long distance on foot.
This time, Jarasandha thought that Krsna and Balarama were very much afraid of His military strength and were fleeing from the battlefield. He began to follow Them with all his chariots, horses and infantry. He thought Krsna and Balarama to be ordinary human beings, and he was trying to measure the activities of the Lord. Krsna is known as Ranchor, which means "one who has left the battlefield." In India, especially in Gujarat, there are many temples of Krsna which are known as temples of Ranchorji. Ordinarily, if a king leaves the battlefield without fighting he is called a coward, but when Krsna enacts this pastime, leaving the battlefield without fighting, He is worshiped by the devotee. A demon always tries to measure the opulence of Krsna, whereas the devotee never tries to measure His strength and opulence, but always surrenders unto Him and worships Him. By following the footsteps of pure devotees we can know that Krsna, the Ranchorji, did not leave the battlefield because He was afraid, but because He had some other purpose. The purpose, as it will be revealed, was to attend to a confidential letter sent by Rukmini, His future first wife. The act of Krsna's leaving the battlefield is a display of one of His six opulences. Krsna is the supreme powerful, the supreme wealthy, the supreme famous, the supreme wise, the supreme beautiful; similarly He is the supreme renouncer. Srimad-Bhagavatam clearly states that He left the battlefield in spite of having ample military strength. Even without His militia, however, He alone would have been sufficient to defeat the army of Jarasandha, as He had done seventeen times before. Therefore, His leaving the battlefield is an example of His supermost opulence of renunciation.
After traversing a very long distance, the brothers pretended to become very tired. To mitigate Their weariness They climbed up a very high mountain several miles above sea level. This mountain was called Pravarsana due to constant rain. The peak was always covered with clouds sent by Indra. Jarasandha took it for granted that the two brothers were afraid of his military power and had hidden Themselves at the top of the mountain. First he tried to find Them, searching for a long time, but when he failed he decided to trap and kill Them by setting fires around the peak. He therefore surrounded the peak with oil and set it on fire. As the blaze spread more and more, Krsna and Balarama jumped from the top of the mountain down to the ground--a distance of eighty-eight miles. Thus, while the peak was burning up, Krsna and Balarama escaped without being seen by Jarasandha. Jarasandha concluded that the two brothers had been burned to ashes and that there was no need of further fighting. Thinking himself successful in his efforts, he left the city of Mathura and returned to his home in the kingdom of Magadha. Gradually Krsna and Balarama reached the city of Dvaraka, which was surrounded on all sides by the sea.
Following this, Sri Balarama married Revati, daughter of King Raivata, ruler of the Anarta province. This is explained in the Ninth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. After the marriage of Baladeva, Krsna married Rukmini. Rukmini was the daughter of King Bhismaka, ruler of the province known as Vidarbha. Just as Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, Rukmini is the supreme goddess of fortune, Maha-Laksmi. According to the authority of Caitanya-caritamrta, the expansion of Krsna and Sri Radharani is simultaneous; Krsna expands Himself into various Visnu-tattva forms, and Srimati Radharani expands Herself into various sakti-tattva forms by Her internal potency, as multi-forms of the goddess of fortune.
According to Vedic convention, there are eight kinds of marriages. In the first-class marriage system, the parents of the bride and bridegroom arrange the marriage date. Then, in royal style, the bridegroom goes to the house of the bride, and in the presence of brahmanas, priests and relatives, the bride is given in charity to the bridegroom. Besides this, there are other systems, such as the gandharva and raksasa marriages. Rukmini was married to Krsna in the raksasa style because she was kidnapped by Him the presence of His many rivals, like Sisupala, Jarasandha, Salva and others. While Rukmini was being given in charity to Sisupala, she was snatched from the marriage arena by Krsna, exactly as Garuda snatched the pot of nectar from the demons. Rukmini, the only daughter of King Bhismaka, was exquisitely beautiful. She was known as Ruciranana, which means "one who has a beautiful face, expanding like a lotus flower."
Devotees of Krsna are always anxious to hear about the transcendental activities of the Lord. His activities of fighting, kidnapping and running away from the battlefield are all transcendental, being on the absolute platform, and devotees take a transcendental interest in hearing of them. The pure devotee does not make the distinction that some activities of the Lord should be heard and others should be avoided. There is, however, a class of so-called devotees known as prakrta sahajiya who are very interested in hearing about Krsna's rasa-lila with the gopis, but not about His fighting activities with His enemies. They do not know that His bellicose activities and His friendly activities with the gopis are equally transcendental, being on the absolute platform. The transcendental pastimes of Krsna described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam are relished by pure devotees through submissive aural reception. They do not reject even a drop.
The story of Krsna's marriage with Rukmini is described as follows. The King of Vidarbha, Maharaja Bhismaka, was a very qualified and devoted prince. He had five sons and only one daughter. The first son was known as Rukmi; the second, Rukmaratha; the third, Rukmabahu; the fourth and youngest, Rukmakesa; and the fifth, Rukmamali. The brothers had one young sister, Rukmini. She was beautiful and chaste and was meant to be married to Lord Krsna. Many saintly persons and sages like Narada Muni and others used to visit the palace of King Bhismaka. Naturally Rukmini had a chance to talk with them, and in this way she obtained information about Krsna. She was informed about the six opulences of Krsna, and simply by hearing about Him, she desired to surrender herself to His lotus feet and become His wife. Krsna had also heard of Rukmini. She was the reservoir of all transcendental qualities: intelligence, liberal-mindedness, exquisite beauty and righteous behavior. Krsna therefore decided that she was fit to be His wife. All of the family members and relatives of King Bhismaka decided that Rukmini should be given in marriage to Krsna. However her elder brother, Rukmi, despite the desire of the others, arranged for her marriage with Sisupala, a determined enemy of Krsna. When the black-eyed, beautiful Rukmini heard the settlement, she immediately became very morose. However, being a king's daughter, she understood political diplomacy and decided that there was no use in simply being morose. Some steps should be taken immediately. After some deliberation, she decided to send a message to Krsna, and so that she might not be deceived, she selected a qualified brahmana as her messenger. Such a qualified brahmana is always truthful and is a devotee of Visnu. Without delay, the brahmana was sent to Dvaraka.
Reaching the gate of Dvaraka, the brahmana informed the doorkeeper of his arrival, and the doorkeeper led him to the place where Krsna was sitting on a golden throne. Since the brahmana had the opportunity of being Rukmini's messenger, he was fortunate enough to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is the original cause of all causes. A brahmana is the spiritual teacher of all the social divisions. Lord Sri Krsna, in order to teach everyone the Vedic etiquette of how to respect a brahmana, immediately got up and offered him His throne. When the brahmana was seated on the golden throne, Lord Sri Krsna began to worship him exactly in the manner in which the demigods worship Krsna. In this way, He taught everyone that worshiping His devotee is more valuable than worshiping Himself.
In due time, the brahmana took his bath, accepted his meals and took to rest on a bedstead completely bedecked with soft silk. As he was resting, Lord Sri Krsna silently approached and, with great respect, put the brahmana's legs on His lap and began to massage them. In this way, Krsna appeared before the brahmana and said, "My dear brahmana, I hope that you are executing the religious principles without any difficulty and that your mind is always in a peaceful condition." Different classes of people in the social system are engaged in various professions, and when one inquires as to the well-being of a particular person, it must be done on the basis of that person's occupation. Therefore, when one inquires as to the welfare of a brahmana, the questions should be worded according to his condition of life so as not to disturb him. A peaceful mind is the basis for becoming truthful, clean, equipoised, self-controlled and tolerant. Thus by attaining knowledge and knowing its practical application in life, one becomes convinced about the Absolute Truth. The brahmana knew Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and still he accepted the respectful service of the Lord on the grounds of Vedic social convention. Lord Sri Krsna was playing just like a human being. Belonging to the ksatriya division of the social system, and being a young boy, it was His duty to show respect to such a brahmana.
Lord Krsna continued: "O best of all the brahmanas, you should always remain satisfied because if a brahmana is always self-satisfied he will not deviate from his prescribed duties; and simply by sticking to one's prescribed duties, everyone, especially the brahmanas, can attain the highest perfection of all desires. Even if a person is as opulent as the King of heaven, Indra, if he is not satisfied he inevitably has to transmigrate from one planet to another. Such a person can never be happy under any circumstances; but if a person's mind is satisfied, even if he is bereft of his high position, he can be happy living anywhere and everywhere."
This instruction of Krsna to the brahmana is very significant. The purport is that a true brahmana should not be disturbed in any situation. In this modern age of Kali-yuga, the so-called brahmanas have accepted the abominable position of the sudras or less than sudras and still want to pass as qualified brahmanas. Actually, a qualified brahmana always sticks to his own duties and never accepts those of a sudra or of one less than a sudra. It is advised in the authorized scriptures that a brahmana may, under awkward circumstances, accept the profession of a ksatriya or even a vaisya, but never is he to accept the profession of a sudra. Lord Krsna declared that a brahmana should never be disturbed by any adverse conditions of life if he scrupulously sticks to his religious principles. In conclusion, Lord Sri Krsna said: "I offer My respectful obeisances to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas, because the brahmanas are always self-satisfied, and the Vaisnavas are always engaged in actual welfare activities for the human society. They are the best friends of the people in general; both are free from false egoism and are always in a peaceful condition of mind."
Lord Krsna then desired to know about the rulers (ksatriyas) in the brahmana's kingdom, so He inquired whether the citizens of the kingdom were all happy. A king's qualification is judged by the temperament of the people in the kingdom. If they are very happy in all respects, it is to be understood that the king is honest and executing his duties rightly. Krsna said that the king in whose kingdom the citizens are happy is very dear to Him. Of course Krsna could understand that the brahmana had come with a confidential message; therefore He said, "If you have no objection, I am giving you permission to speak about your mission." Thus, being very satisfied by these transcendental pastimes with the Lord, the brahmana narrated the whole story of his mission to come and see Krsna. He got out the letter which Rukmini had written to Krsna and said, "These are the words of Princess Rukmini: 'My dear Krsna, O infallible and most beautiful one, any human being who happens to hear about Your transcendental form and pastimes immediately absorbs through his ears Your name, fame and qualities; thus all his material pangs subside, and he fixes Your form in his heart. Through such transcendental love for You, he sees You always within himself; and by this process all his desires become fulfilled. Similarly, I have heard of Your transcendental qualities. I may be shameless in expressing myself so directly, but You have captivated me and taken my heart. You may suspect that I am an unmarried girl, young in age, and may dobut my steadiness of character, but my dear Mukunda, You are the supreme lion among the human beings, the supreme person among persons. Any girl, although not yet out of her home, or any woman who may be of the highest chastity, would desire to marry You, being captivated by Your unprecedented character, knowledge, opulence and position. I know that You are the husband of the goddess of fortune and that You are very kind toward Your devotees; therefore I have decided to become Your eternal maidservant. My dear Lord, I dedicate my life and soul unto Your lotus feet. I have accepted Your Lordship as my selected husband, and I therefore request You to accept me as Your wife. You are the supreme powerful, O lotus-eyed one. Now I belong to You. If that which is enjoyable for the lion to eat is taken away by the jackal, it will be a ludicrous affair; therefore I request You to immediately take care of me before I am taken away by Sisupala and other princes like him. My dear Lord, in my previous life I may have done public welfare work like digging wells and growing trees, or pious activities such as performing ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices and serving the superior spiritual master, the brahmanas and Vaisnavas. By these activities, perhaps I have pleased the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. If this is so, then I wish that You, Lord Krsna, the brother of Lord Balarama, would please come here and catch hold of my hand so that I may not be touched by Sisupala and his company.'"
Rukmini's marriage with Sisupala was already settled; therefore she suggested that Krsna kidnap her so that this might be changed. This sort of marriage, in which the girl is kidnapped by force, is known as raksasa and is practiced among the ksatriyas, or the administrative, martial spirited type of men. Because her marriage was already arranged to take place the next day, Rukmini suggested that Krsna come there incognito to kidnap her and then fight with Sisupala and his allies like the King of Magadha. Knowing that no one could conquer Krsna and that He would certainly emerge victorious, she addressed Him as Ajita--the unconquerable. Rukmini told Krsna not to be concerned that many of her family members, including other women, might be wounded or even killed if the fighting took place within the palace. As the king of a country thinks of diplomatic ways to achieve his object, similarly Rukmini, being the daughter of a king, was diplomatic in suggesting how this unnecessary and undesirable killing could be avoided.
She explained that it was the custom of her family to visit the temple of the goddess Durga, their family deity, before a marriage. (The ksatriya kings were mostly staunch Vaisnavas, worshiping Lord Visnu in either the Radha-Krsna or Laksmi-Narayana form; still, for their material welfare they used to worship the goddess Durga. They never made the mistake, however, of accepting the demigods as the Supreme Lord on the level of Visnu-tattva, as did some less intelligent men.) In order to avoid the unnecessary killing of her relatives, Rukmini suggested that it would be easiest for Him to kidnap her while she was either going from the palace to the temple or else while she was returning home.
She also explained to Krsna why she was so anxious to be married to Him, even though her marriage was to take place with Sisupala, who was also qualified, being the son of a great king. Rukmini said that she did not think anyone was greater than Krsna, not even Lord Siva, who is known as Mahadeva, the greatest of all demigods. Lord Siva also seeks the pleasure of Lord Krsna in order to be delivered from his entanglement in the quality of ignorance within the material world. In spite of the fact that Lord Siva is the greatest of all great souls, mahatmas, he keeps on his head the purifying water of the Ganges, which emanates from a hole in this material universe made by the toe of Lord Visnu. Lord Siva is in charge of the material quality of ignorance, and in order to keep himself in a transcendental position, he always meditates on Lord Visnu. Therefore Rukmini knew very well that obtaining the favor of Krsna was not an easy job. If even Lord Siva must purify himself for this purpose, surely it would be difficult for Rukmini, who was only the daughter of a ksatriya king. Thus she desired to dedicate her life to observing severe austerities and penances, such as fasting and going without bodily comforts. If it were not possible in this lifetime to gain Krsna's favor by these activities, she was prepared to do the same lifetime after lifetime. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that pure devotees of the Lord execute devotional service with great determination. Such determination, as exhibited by Rukminidevi, is the only price for purchasing Krsna's favor and is the way to ultimate success in Krsna consciousness.
After explaining Rukminidevi's statement to Krsna, the brahmana said: "My dear Krsna, chief of the Yadu dynasty, I have brought this confidential message for You from Rukmini; now it is placed before You for Your consideration. After due deliberation You can act as You please, but if You want to do something, You must do it immediately. There is not much time left for action."
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Fifty-first Chapter of Krsna, "Krsna, the Ranchor."
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