15 / Lord Krsna's Daily Activities
From the Vedic mantras we learn that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to do: na tasya karyam kranam ca vidyate. If the Supreme Lord has nothing to do, then how can we speak of the activities of the Supreme Lord? From the previous chapter it is clear that no one can act in the way that Lord Krsna does. We should clearly note this fact: the activities of the Lord should be followed, but they cannot be imitated. For example, Krsna's ideal life as a householder can be followed, but if one wants to imitate Krsna by expanding into many forms, that is not possible. We should always remember, therefore, that Lord Krsna, although playing the part of a human being, nevertheless simultaneously maintains the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We can follow Lord Krsna's dealing with His wives as an ordinary human being, but His dealing with more than sixteen thousand wives at one time cannot be imitated. The conclusion is that to become ideal householders we should follow in the footsteps of Lord Krsna as He displayed His daily activities, but we cannot imitate Him at any stage of our life.
Lord Krsna used to lie down with His sixteen thousand wives, but also He would rise up from bed very early in the morning, three hours before sunrise. By nature's arrangement the crowing of the cocks warns of the brahma-muhurta hour. There is no need of alarm clocks; as soon as the cocks crow early in the morning, it is to be understood that it is time to rise from bed. Hearing that sound, Krsna would get up from bed, but His rising early was not very much to the liking of His wives. The wives of Krsna were so much attached to Him that they would lie in bed embracing Him, but as soon as the cocks crowed, Krsna's wives would be very sorry and would immediately condemn the crowing.
In the garden within the compound of each palace there were parijata flowers. Parijata is not an artificial flower. We remember that Krsna brought the parijata trees from heaven and implanted them in all His palaces. Early in the morning, a mild breeze would carry the aroma of the parijata flower, and Krsna would smell it just after rising from bed. Due to this aroma, the honeybees would begin their humming vibration, and the birds also would begin their sweet chirping sounds. All together it would sound like the singing of professional chanters engaged in offering prayers to Krsna. Although Srimati Rukminidevi, the first queen of Lord Krsna, knew that brahma-muhurta is the most auspicious time in the entire day, she would feel disgusted at the appearance of brahma-muhurta because she was not very happy to have Krsna leave her side in bed. Despite Srimati Rukminidevi's disgust, Lord Krsna would immediately get up from bed exactly on the appearance of brahma-muhurta. An ideal householder should learn from the behavior of Lord Krsna how to rise early in the morning, however comfortably he may be lying in bed embraced by his wife.
After rising from bed, Lord Krsna would wash His mouth, hands and feet and would immediately sit down and meditate on Himself. This does not mean, however, that we should also sit down and meditate on ourselves. We have to meditate upon Krsna, Radha-Krsna. That is real meditation, Krsna is Krsna Himself; therefore He was teaching us that brahma-muhurta should be utilized for meditation on Radha-Krsna. By doing so, Krsna would feel very much satisfied, and similarly we will also feel transcendentally pleased and satisfied if we utilize the brahma-muhurta period to meditate on Radha and Krsna and if we think of how Sri Rukminidevi and Krsna acted as ideal householders to teach the whole human society to rise early in the morning and immediately engage in Krsna consciousness. There is no difference between meditating on the eternal forms of Radha-Krsna and chanting the mahamantra, Hare Krsna. As for Krsna's meditation, He had no alternative but to meditate on Himself. The object of meditation is Brahman, Paramatma or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Krsna Himself is all three: He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan; the localized Paramatma is His plenary partial expansion; and the all-pervading Brahman effulgence is the personal rays of His transcendental body. Therefore Krsna is always one, and for Him there is no differentiation. That is the difference between an ordinary living being and Krsna. For an ordinary living being there are many distinctions. An ordinary living being is different from his body, and he is different from other species of living entities. A human being is different from other human beings and different from the animals. Even in his own body, there are different bodily limbs. We have our hands and legs, but our hands are different from our legs. The hand cannot act like the leg, nor can the leg act like the hand. The eyes cannot hear like the ears, nor can the ears see like the eyes. All these differences are technically called svajtiya-vijtiya.
The bodily limitation whereby one part of the body cannot act as another part is totally absent in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between His body and Himself. He is completely spiritual, and therefore there is no material difference between His body and His soul. Similarly, He is not different from His millions of incarnations and plenary expansions. Baladeva is the first expansion of Krsna, and from Baladeva expand Sankarsana, Vasudeva, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. From Sankarsana there is again an expansion of Narayana, and from Narayana there is a second quadruple expansion of Sankarsana, Vasudeva, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Similarly there are innumerable expansions of Krsna, but all of them are one. Krsna has many incarnations, such as Lord Nrsimha, Lord Boar, Lord Fish and Lord Tortoise, but there is no difference between Krsna's original two-handed form, like that of a human being, and these incarnations of gigantic animal forms. Nor is there any difference between the action of one part of His body and that of another. His hands can act as His legs, His eyes can act as His ears, or His nose can act as another part of His body. Krsna's smelling and eating and hearing are all the same. We limited living entities have to use a particular part of our body for a particular purpose, but there is no such distinction for Krsna. In the Brahma-samhita it is said, angani yasya sakalendriya-vrtti: He can perform the activities of one limb with any other limb. So by analytical study of Krsna and His person, it is concluded that He is the complete whole. When He meditates, therefore, He meditates on Himself. The self-meditation by ordinary men, designated in Sanskrit as so 'ham, is simply imitation. Krsna may meditate on Himself because He is the complete whole, but we cannot imitate Him and meditate on ourselves. Our body is a designation; Krsna's body is not a designation. Krsna's body is also Krsna. There is no existence of anything foreign in Krsna. Whatever there is in Krsna is also Krsna. He is therefore the supreme, indestructible, complete existence, or the supreme truth.
Krsna's existence is not relative existence. Everything else but Krsna is a relative truth, but Krsna is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Krsna does not depend on anything but Himself for His existence. Our existence, however is relative. For example, only when there is the light of the sun, the moon or electricity are we able to see. Our seeing, therefore, is relative, and the light of the sun and moon and electricity is also relative; they are called illuminating only because we see them as such. Dependence and relativity do not exist in Krsna. His activities are not dependent on anyone else's appreciation, nor does He depend on anyone else's help. He is beyond the existence of limited time and space, and because He is transcendental to time and space, He cannot be covered by the illusion of maya, whose activities are limited. In the Vedic literature we find that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has multi-potencies. Since all such potencies are emanations from Him, there is no difference between Him and His potencies. Certain philosophers say, however, that when Krsna comes He accepts a material body. But even if it is accepted that when He comes to the material world He accepts a material body, it should be concluded also that because the material energy is not different from Him, this body does not act materially. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, therefore, that He appears by His own internal potency, atma-maya.
Krsna is called the Supreme Brahman because He is the cause of creation, the cause of maintenance and the cause of dissolution. Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu and Lord Siva are different expansions of these material qualities. All these material qualities can act upon the conditioned souls, but there is no such action and reaction upon Krsna because these qualities are all simultaneously one with and different from Him. Krsna Himself is simply sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, the eternal form of bliss and knowledge, and because of His inconceivable greatness, He is called the Supreme Brahman. His meditation on Brahman or Paramatma or Bhagavan is on Himself only and not on anything else beyond Himself. This meditation cannot be imitated by the ordinary living entity.
After His meditation, the Lord would regularly bathe early in the morning with clear sanctified water. Then He would change into fresh clothing, cover Himself with a wrapper and then engage Himself in His daily religious functions. Out of His many religious duties, the first was to offer oblations into the sacrificial fire and silently chant the Gayatri mantra. Lord Krsna, as the ideal householder, executed all the religious functions of a householder without deviation. When the sunrise became visible, the Lord would offer specific prayers to the sun-god. The sun-god and other demigods mentioned in the Vedic scriptures are described as different limbs of the body of Lord Krsna, and it is the duty of the householder to offer respects to the demigods and great sages, as well as the forefathers.
As it is said in the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord has no specific duty to perform in this world, and yet He acts just like an ordinary man living an ideal life within this material world. In accordance with Vedic ritualistic principles, the Lord would offer respects to the demigods. The regulative principle by which the demigods and forefathers are worshiped is called tarpana, which means pleasing. One's forefathers might have to take a body on another planet, but by performance of this tarpana system, they become very happy wherever they may be. It is the duty of the householder to make his family members happy, and by following this tarpana system he can make his forefathers happy also. As the perfect exemplary householder, Lord Sri Krsna followed this tarpana system and offered respectful obeisances to the elderly, superior members of His family.
His next duty was to give cows in charity to the brahmanas. Lord Krsna used to give as many as 13,084 cows. Each of them was decorated with a silken cover and pearl necklace, their horns were covered with gold plating, and their hooves were silver-plated. All of them were full of milk, due to having their first-born calves with them, and they were very tame and peaceful. When the cows were given in charity to the brahmanas, the brahmanas also were given nice silken garments, and each was given a deerskin and sufficient quantity of sesame grains. The Lord is generally known as go-brahmana-hitaya ca, which means that His first duty is to see to the welfare of the cows and the brahmanas. Thus He used to give cows in charity to the brahmanas, with opulent decorations and paraphernalia. Then, wishing for the welfare of all living entities, He would touch auspicious articles such as milk, fire, honey, ghee (clarified butter), gold, jewels and fire. Although the Lord is by nature very beautiful due to the perfect figure of His transcendental body, still He would dress Himself in yellow colored garments and put on His necklace of Kaustubha jewels. He would wear flower garlands, smear His body with the pulp of sandalwood and decorate Himself with other similar cosmetics and ornaments. It is said that the ornaments themselves became beautiful upon being placed on the transcendental body of the Lord. After decorating Himself in this way, the Lord would then look at marble statues of the cow and calf and visit temples of God or demigods like Lord Siva. There were many brahmanas who would come daily to see the Supreme Lord before taking their breakfast; they were anxious to see Him, and He welcomed them.
His next duty was to please all kinds of men belonging to the different castes, both in the city and within the palace compound. He made them happy by fulfilling their different desires, and when the Lord saw them happy He also became very much pleased. The flower garlands, betel nuts, sandalwood pulp and other fragrant cosmetic articles which were offered to the Lord would be distributed by Him, first to the brahmanas and elderly members of the family, then to the queens, then to the ministers, and if there were still some balance He would utilize it for His own personal use. By the time the Lord finished all these daily duties and activities, His charioteer Daruka would come with His wonderful chariot to stand before the Lord with folded hands, intimating that the chariot was ready, and the Lord would come out of the palace to travel. Then the Lord, accompanied by Uddhava and Satyaki, would ride on the chariot just as the sun-god rides on his chariot in the morning, appearing with his blazing rays on the surface of the world. When the Lord was about to leave His palaces, all the queens would look at Him with feminine gestures. The Lord would respond to their greetings with smiles, attracting their hearts so much so that they would feel intense separation from the Lord.
Then the Lord would go to the assembly house known as Sudharma. It may be remembered that the Sudharma assembly house was taken away from the heavenly planet and was reestablished in the city of Dvaraka. The specific significance of the assembly house was that anyone who entered it would be freed from the six kinds of material pangs, namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. These are the webs of material existence, and as long as one remained in that assembly house of Sudharma he would not be infected by these six material webs. The Lord would say good-bye in all the sixteen thousand palaces, and again He would become one and enter the Sudharma assembly house in procession with other members of the Yadu dynasty. After entering the assembly house, He used to sit on the exalted royal throne and would be seen to emanate glaring rays of transcendental effulgence. In the midst of all the great heroes of the Yadu dynasty, Krsna resembled the full moon in the sky, surrounded by multi-luminaries. In the assembly house there were professional jokers, dancers, musicians and ballet girls, and as soon as the Lord sat on His throne they would begin their respective functions in order to please the Lord and put Him in a happy mood. First of all the jokers would talk in such a way that the Lord and His associates would enjoy their humor which would refresh the morning mood. The dramatic actors would then play their parts, and the dancing ballet girls would separately display their artistic movements. All these functions would be accompanied by the beating of mrdanga drums and the sounds of the vina and flutes and bells, followed by the sound of the pakhvaj, another type of drum. Along with these musical vibrations, the auspicious sound of the conchshell would also be added. The professional singers called sutas and magadhas would sing, and others would perform their dancing art. In this way, as devotees, they would offer respectful prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes the learned brahmanas present in that assembly would chant Vedic hymns and explain them to the audience to their best knowledge, and sometimes some of them would recite old historical accounts of the activities of prominent kings. The Lord, accompanied by His associates, would be very much pleased to hear them.
Once upon a time, a person arrived at the gateway of the assembly house who was unknown to all the members of the assembly, and with the permission of Lord Krsna he was admitted into the assembly by the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper was ordered to present him before the Lord, and the man appeared and offered his respectful obeisances unto the Lord with folded hands. It had happened that when King Jarasandha conquered all other kingdoms many kings did not bow their heads before Jarasandha, and as a result of this all of them, numbering twenty thousand, were arrested and made his prisoners. The man who was brought before Lord Krsna by the doorkeeper was a representative messenger from all these imprisoned kings. Being duly presented before the Lord, the man began to explain the actual situation as follows:
"My dear Lord, You are the eternal form of transcendental bliss and knowledge. As such, You are beyond the reach of the mental speculation or vocal description of any materialistic man within this world. A slight portion of Your glories can be known by persons who are fully surrendered unto Your lotus feet, and by Your grace only such persons become freed from all material anxieties. My dear Lord, I am not one of these surrendered souls; I am still within the duality and illusion of this material existence. I have therefore come to take shelter of Your lotus feet, for I am afraid of the cycle of birth and death. My dear Lord, I think that there are many living entities like me who are eternally entangled in fruitive activities and their resultant reactions. They are never inclined to follow Your instructions by performance of devotional service, although it is pleasing to the heart and most auspicious for one's existence. On the contrary, they are against the path of Krsna conscious life, and they are wandering within the three worlds impelled by the illusory energy of material existence.
"My dear Lord, who can estimate Your mercy and Your powerful activities? You are present always as the insurmountable force of eternal time, engaged in baffling the indefatigable desires of the materialists, who are thus repeatedly becoming confused and frustrated. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You in Your form of eternal time. My dear Lord, You are the proprietor of all the worlds, and You have incarnated Yourself along with Your plenary expansion Lord Balarama. It is said that Your appearance in this incarnation is for the purpose of protecting the faithful and destroying the miscreants. Under the circumstances, how is it possible that miscreants like Jarasandha can put us into such deplorable conditions of life against Your authority? We are puzzled at the situation and cannot understand how it is possible. It may be that Jarasandha has been deputed to give us such trouble because of our past misdeeds, but we have heard from revealed scriptures that anyone who surrenders unto Your lotus feet immediately becomes immuned to the reactions of sinful life. I have therefore been deputed by all the imprisoned kings to whole-heartedly offer ourselves unto Your shelter, and we hope that Your Lordship will now give us full protection. We have now come to the real conclusion of our lives. Our kingly positions are nothing but the reward of our past pious activities, just as our suffering imprisonment by Jarasandha is the result of our past impious activities. We realize now that the resultant reactions of both pious and impious activities are temporary and that we can never be happy in this conditioned life. This material body is awarded to us by the modes of material nature, and on account of this we are full of anxieties. The material condition of life simply involves bearing the burden of this dead body. As a result of fruitive activities we have thus been subjected to being beasts of burden for these bodies, and being forced by conditional life, we have given up the pleasing life of Krsna consciousness. Now we realize that we are the most foolish persons. We have been entangled in the network of material reaction due to our ignorance. We have therefore come to the shelter of Your lotus feet, which can immediately eradicate all the results of fruitive action and thus free us from the contamination of material pains and pleasures.
"Dear Lord, because we are now surrendered souls at Your lotus feet, You can give us relief from the entrapment of fruitive action made possible by the form of Jarasandha. Dear Lord, it is known to You that Jarasandha possesses the power of ten thousand elephants, and with this power he has imprisoned us, just as a lion hypnotizes a flock of sheep. My dear Lord, You have already fought with Jarasandha eighteen times consecutively, out of which You have defeated him seventeen times by surpassing his extraordinarily powerful position. But in Your eighteenth fight, You exhibited Your human behavior, and thus it appeared that You were defeated. My dear Lord, we know very well that Jarasandha cannot defeat You at any time because Your power, strength, resources and authority are all unlimited. No one can equal You or surpass You. The appearance of defeat by Jarasandha in the eighteenth engagement is nothing but an exhibition of human behavior. Unfortunately, foolish Jarasandha could not understand Your tricks, and he has since then become puffed up over his material power and prestige. Specifically, he has arrested us and imprisoned us, knowing fully that as Your devotees, we are subordinate to Your sovereignty.
"Now I have explained the awful position, and Your Lordship can consider and do whatever You like. As the messenger and representative of all those imprisoned kings, I have submitted my words before Your Lordship and presented our prayers to You. All the kings are very anxious to see You so that they can all personally surrender at Your lotus feet. My dear Lord, be merciful upon them and act for their good fortune."
Lord Krsna immediately stood up along with His ministers and secretaries to receive the great sage Narada Muni.
At the very moment the messenger of the imprisoned kings was presenting his appeal before the Lord, the great sage Narada also arrived. Because he was a great saint, his hair was dazzling like gold, and when he entered the assembly house it appeared that the sun-god was personally present in the midst of the assembly. Lord Krsna is the worshipable master of even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, yet as soon as He saw that the sage Narada had arrived, He immediately stood up along with His ministers and secretaries to receive the great sage and offer His respectful obeisances by bowing His head. The great sage Narada took a comfortable seat, and Lord Krsna worshiped him with all paraphernalia, as required for the regular reception of a saintly person. While He was trying to satisfy Naradaji, Lord Krsna spoke the following words in His sweet and natural voice.
"My dear great sage among the demigods, I think that now everything is well within the three worlds. You are perfectly eligible to travel everywhere in space in the upper, middle and lower planetary systems of this universe. Fortunately, when we meet you we can very easily take information from your holiness of all the news of the three worlds; within this cosmic manifestation of the Supreme Lord, there is nothing concealed from your knowledge. You know everything, and so I wish to question you. Are the Pandavas doing well, and what is the present plan of King Yudhisthira? Will you kindly let Me know what they want to do at present?"
The great sage Narada spoke as follows: "My dear Lord, You have spoken about the cosmic manifestation created by the Supreme Lord, but I know that You are the all-pervading creator. Your energies are so extensive and inconceivable that even powerful personalities like Brahma, the lord of this particular universe, cannot measure Your inconceivable power. My dear Lord, You are present as the Supersoul in everyone's heart by Your inconceivable potency, exactly like the fire which is present in everyone but which no one can see directly. In conditioned life, every living entity is within the jurisdiction of the three modes of material nature. As such, they are unable to see Your presence everywhere with their material eyes. By Your grace, however, I have seen many times the action of Your inconceivable potency, and therefore when You ask me for news of the Pandavas, which is not at all unknown to You, I am not surprised at Your inquiry. My dear Lord, by Your inconceivable potencies You create this cosmic manifestation, maintain it and again dissolve it. It is by dint of Your inconceivable potency only that this material world, although a shadow representation of the spiritual world, appears to be factual. No one can understand what You plan to do in the future. Your transcendental position is always inconceivable to everyone. As far as I am concerned, I can simply offer my respectful obeisances unto You again and again. In the bodily concept of knowledge, everyone is driven by material desires, and thus everyone develops new material bodies one after another in the cycle of birth and death. Being absorbed in such a concept of existence, one does not know how to get out of this encagement of the material body. Out of Your causeless mercy, my Lord, You descend to exhibit Your different transcendental pastimes, which are illuminating and full of glory. Therefore I have no alternative but to offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Parambrahman, and Your pastimes as an ordinary human are another tactical resource, exactly like a play on the stage in which the actor plays parts different from his own identity. You have inquired about Your cousins the Pandavas in the role of their well-wisher, and therefore I shall let You know about their intentions. Now please hear me. First of all may I inform You that King Yudhisthira has all material opulences which are possible to achieve in the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka. He has no material opulence for which to aspire, and yet he wants to perform the Rajasuya sacrifices only to get Your association and please You.
Narada informed Lord Krsna, ôKing Yudhisthira is so opulent that he has attained all the opulences of Brahmaloka even on this earthly planet. He is fully satisfied, and he does not need anything more. He is full in everything, but now he wants to worship You in order to achieve Your causeless mercy, and I beg to request You to fulfill his desires. My dear Lord, in these great sacrificial performances by King Yudhisthira there will be an assembly of all the demigods and all the famous kings of the world.
"My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead. One who engages himself in Your devotional service by the prescribed methods of hearing, chanting and remembering certainly becomes purified from the contamination of the modes of material nature, and what to speak of those who have the opportunity to see You and touch You directly. My dear Lord, You are the symbol of everything auspicious. Your transcendental name and fame have spread all over the universe, including the higher, middle and lower planetary systems. The transcendental water which washes Your lotus feet is known in the higher planetary system as Mandakini, in the lower planetary system as Bhogavati, and in this earthly planetary system as the Ganges. This sacred, transcendental water flows throughout the entire universe, purifying wherever it flows."
Just before the great sage Narada arrived in the Sudharma assembly house of Dvaraka, Lord Krsna and His ministers and secretaries had been considering how to attack the kingdom of Jarasandha. Because they were seriously considering this subject, Narada's proposal that Lord Krsna go to Hastinapura for Maharaja Yudhisthira's great Rajasuya sacrifice did not much appeal to them. Lord Krsna could understand the intentions of His associates because He is the ruler of even Lord Brahma. Therefore, in order to pacify them, He smilingly said to Uddhava, "My dear Uddhava, you are always My well-wishing confidential friend. I therefore wish to see everything through you because I believe that your counsel is always right. I believe that you understand the whole situation perfectly. Therefore I am asking your opinion. What should I do? I have faith in you, and therefore I shall do whatever you advise." It was known to Uddhava that although Lord Krsna was acting like an ordinary man, He knew everything--past, present and future. However, because the Lord was trying to consult with him, Uddhava, in order to render service to the Lord, began to speak.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Volume, Fifteenth Chapter, of Krsna, "Lord Krsna's Daily Activities."
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