The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Akrura returns with Krishna and Balarama which is chapter 39 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the thirty-ninth chapter of the Tenth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 39 - Akrūra returns with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Śuka continued:

1. Seated comfortably on a couch and received with high respect by Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, he (Akrūra) realized all the aspirations he cherished on his way to Gokula.

2. Is there anything unattainable to a person when the glorious Lord, the very abode of goddess Śrī, becomes propitious? However, those who are exclusively devoted to him expect nothing from him, Oh King!

3. When the supper was over, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī, enquired about the treatment meted out by Kaṃsa to his Kinsmen and his further plans in the matter.

The glorious Lord enquired:[1]

4. Oh gentle-natured uncle! It is good that you have come. I hope you had a comfortable journey. May be well with you all. Are all our (near and distant) kinsmen[2] and friends un-harassed (by Kaṃsa) and free from ailments?

5. Dear uncle! It is certainly not very consistent on my part to enquire after the welfare of our kinsmen and that of their descendants (or of the subjects in general), so long as this co-called maternal uncle Kaṃsa, the very bane (lit. disease) of the family, is prospering.

6. Alas! It is for my sake that my venerable parents, despite their innocence, had to undergo immense sufferings. It is for me that their sons were murdered and they had to remain in chains in the prison.

7. It is our good fortune that today we could have a sight of our relative—a sight I had been coveting for long. Oh gentle-natured uncle! Be pleased to explain to us the purpose of your visit. Oh uncle.

Śrī Śuka said:

8. When thus enquired by Lord Kṛṣṇa, Akrūra, the descendant of Madhu, described in details the history and rationale of Kaṃsa’s deep-rooted hostility to the Yadu clan, his attempts on the life of Vasudeva.

9. He reported to Kṛṣṇa the message (inviting them on the pretext of dhanur-yāga and the proposed attempt on their life through Cāṇūra and others) and the mission for which he had been deputed as an emissary by Kaṃsa and what Nārada had narrated to Kaṃsa about his (Kṛṣṇa’s) birth from Vasudeva.

10. On hearing the message from Akrūra, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the vanquishers of hostile warriors, laughed loudly, and they communicated to their foster-father Nanda the command of the king Kaṃsa.

11. He (Nanda) on his part ordered the cowherds.: “Let all the yield of cows (such as milk, ghee) as well as presents (of various kinds) as tribute, be taken with you. Let the bullock-carts be kept ready.

12. Tomorrow we have to go to Mathurā where we shall be paying as tribute the choicest products of our cows’ yield to the king. We shall also witness there a very grand festival for attending which (it is reported that) all the people from the country (of Śūrasena) are going.” Nanda, the Gopa chief, got this order proclaimed all over his Vraja, through the security officer of the Vraja.

13. The cowherd women (to whom Kṛṣṇa was their very life) were deeply distressed at heart on hearing that Akrūra had come to Vraja to take away Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa to the capital city (Mathurā).

14. Some had the splendour of their countenance withered by the hot breaths due to the agony of heart caused by hearing that news. Some became so much beside themselves through overwhelming grief that they got their garments loosened, bangles dropping and braids of hair dishevelled.

15. Through their concentrated contemplation on Kṛṣṇa, some Gopīs got all the functions of their sense-organs ceased and became insensible to this external world, as if they had ascended to the realm of the Supreme Self.

16. Some other Gopīs lost their consciousness as they remembered the wonderfully phrased speeches of Kṛṣṇa touching their very heart and expressed with warm loving smiles.

17-18. Musing over Kṛṣṇa’s extremely graceful gait and manner of behaviour, his amiable smiles and loving glances, his witty repartee dispelling sorrows and his extra-ordinary exploits, the Gopīs terrified and distressed at the very thought of impending separation, met together in groups and with tears flowing over their cheeks (faces) and hearts absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, they complained:

Gopīs said:

19. Alas! Oh Creator! You have not the slightest compassion anywhere in you, inasmuch as, you bring together embodied beings in friendliness and love and unnecessarily separate them before they have accomplished their desired object. Your whimsical behaviour is childish (lit. like the purposeless behaviour of a child).

20. It is not a good act (in fact a wicked) act on your part that you, having first manifested to us the countenance of Kṛṣṇa covered over with ringlets of dark hair, charming due to its beautiful cheeks and prominent nose, beautiful with a beaming smile that dispelled all grief, now takes it away from our view.

21. You are really cruel as (disguising yourself) under the nomenclature Akrūra[3], you like an irrational person, are depriving us of our very eye given by you to us. It is with that we visualized the excellence of your creative capacity (completely exhibited) even in a part (limb) of Kṛṣṇa, the slayer of Madhu.

22. Alas! What a pity! The friendship of Nanda’s son is of a momentary nature. He is so much fond of new company that he does not condescend to cast a glance at us who have been eagerly longing for him and who, being beguiled by his enchanting acts, have openly accepted his slavery forsaking our homes, relatives, sons and husbands.

23. For the ladies of the city (Mathurā), their night will dawn very happily. All the benedictions have been (i.e. will be) definitely realized by them. For as Kṛṣṇa enters the city, they will drink (with their eyes) the countenance of the Lord of Vraja (Kṛṣṇa) full of intoxicating (yet) nectar-like smiles, the charm of which is enhanced by lovely side-glances.

24. Oh ladies! Even if Mukunda (Kṛṣṇa) is self-controlled and independent and has his relatives in Vraja, how can he ever return to us, poor rustic women, when his mind is captivated by the sweet, soft words, and fascinated by the bashful smiles and amorous deportment of the ladies of Mathurā.

25. Today, certainly there will be a high feast to the eyes of Dāśārhas, Bhojas, Andhakas, Vṛṣṇis and Sātvatas and those who will see passing by the road (in the chariot) Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī, the consort of goddess Śrī (Lakṣmī), the very abode of excellences.

26. As this fellow wants to carry off Kṛṣṇa who is dearer than life itself to us, beyond the known paths (to a far-off land beyond our reach), without (in any way) consoling deeply-grieving persons (like us), Akrūra (not cruel) ought not to be the name of such a ruthless fellow who is (as a matter of fact) extremely cruel.

27. Look! without feeling the slightest feeling (lit. witness) of sympathy or mercy he (Kṛṣṇa) has comfortably occupied his seat in the chariot; following him the haughty Gopas (cowherds) are hastily speeding up in their bullock carts. (This departure of Kṛṣṇa) is treated with indifference by the elders (of Vraja). It appears that hostile Destiny is working against us today.

28. Approaching Kṛṣṇa (the Lord of Lakṣmī) We shall dissuade him (from going). What can the elders of the family and relatives do unto us whose hearts have been rendered afflicted and melancholy by Fate, by bringing about separation from Mukunda (Kṛṣṇa) which is unbearable even for half a minute, (under such circumstances even death is no terror to us.)

29. Oh cowherd women! How can we get over without him the unending darkness of separation from him, with whom we felt like a moment the nights indulged in rāsa dance (and similar other sports) the charm of which was enhanced by his warm love, charming smiles, sweet whispers, playful glances and embraces?

30. How can we (even manage to) live without Kṛṣṇa who at the even tide, with Balarāma (the incarnation of Śeṣa) as his compassion, and surrounded by cowherds, used to enter Vraja, playing on his flute, and with his curly hair and wreaths of flowers soiled heavily with dust raised by the hoofs of the cattle, and captivate our hearts by casting at us his smiling side-glances?

Śrī Śuka said:

31. Talking to each other in this manner, and extremely distressed at the thought of separation from Kṛṣṇa, the women of Vraja whose hearts were deeply attached to Kṛṣṇa threw to winds their sense of bashfulness and cried loudly, (uttering his various names:) “Oh Govinda! Alas Dāmodara! Oh Mādhava”.

32.[4] When it was sun-rise, Akrūra finished his morning Sandhyā (prayer to the sun) and other religious duties, and drove his chariot (along with Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma) without paying any heed to the lamentations of womenfolk.

33. Cowherds, headed by Nanda, followed them closely in their bullock-carts taking with them abundant tribute in the form of pitchers full of the yield of cows (such as milk, curds, ghee).

34. The cowherd women also followed their beloved Kṛṣṇa feeling a bit delighted when he turned round and cast an affectionate glance at them and waited[5] for his command not to follow him.

35. Perceiving that the Gopīs were deeply tormented at his departure, Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Yadus, comforted them through a messenger that he would return soon.[6]

36. As long as the flag (of the chariot) was visible and as long as the dust raised by the chariot could be seen, they stood motionless like figures painted in pictures, as they had deputed their minds after him.

37. At long last, being disappointed at the return of Lord Kṛṣṇa, they too returned and for relieving themselves of the sorrow of separation, they spent days (and nights) in glorifying his deeds and pastimes in songs.

38. In his chariot swift in speed like the wind, the Lord along with Balarāma and Akrūra arrived (at noon) on the bank of the Yamunā that absolves one of all sins.

39. After (washing his hands and feet) performing the Acamana (ritual sipping of water), he drank the sweet crystalclear water of the Yamunā. Going near a grove of trees (where the chariot was standing), he got into it along with Balarāma.

40. Akrūra on his part seated them (comfortably) in the chariot, and (requesting them not to leave their seats as he was afraid of enemies) he took leave of them. Coming to the pool of Yamunā (known as ‘Ananta tīrtha’), he performed ablution according to śāstric injunctions.

41. As he plunged into the river water reciting the ancient Vedic mantras (of Agha-marṣaṇa), that Akrūra (being of purified mind) saw therein both Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa together.

42. ‘How is it that the two sons of Vasudeva who were seated in the chariot are down here? In that case they must not be in the chariot.’ With this suspicion, he emerged out of water and looked for them.

43. Perceiving both of them seated (in the chariot) as before, he took, a plunge again thinking, “Was my vision of them both in the water unreal?”

44-45. Again he saw in that very water, Śeṣa, the Lord of Serpents—a resplendent God with one thousand heads, with crowns adorning his one thousand hoods, wearing a blue garment, white as lotus-fibers, (enormous) like the white snowclad mountain Kailāsa with its (golden) peaks. He was being praised by Siddhas, Gāraṇas and Gandharvās as well as by Asuras, with their heads bowed down in salutation.

46. He saw on Śeṣa’s lap (coils) another (Supreme) Person (Lord Viṣṇu) bluish dark like a cloud in complexion, clad in yellow silken garment, with four arms, eyes reddish like lotus-petals and very serene and gentle in appearance.

47. He had a beautiful and gracious countenance with enchanting smiles and glances, well-shaped eyebrows, prominent nose, beautiful ears, charming cheeks and reddish lips.

48. He had long and mighty arms, high shoulders and broad chest—the home of the goddess Śrī, a conch-shaped neck, a deep navel and stomach shaped like a tender leaf with three folds.

49. He had well-formed loins and hips, pair of well- developed thighs like those of an elephant and a pair of beautiful knees and shapely shanks.

50. His ankles were prominent and were surrounded by the halo of light radiating from his reddish toe-nails. His lotusfeet were specially charming with petal-like tender toes and (a pair of) big toes.

51-52. He was shining brilliantly with a diadem, bracelets, armlets decked with the most precious jewels as well as with a girdle, a sacred thread, necklace, anklets and ear-rings. He held a lotus, conch, discus and a mace in each of his hands. He had the Śrī vatsa mark on his chest, and a resplendent Kaustubha gem was shining at his neck. He wore a garland of special sylvain flowers (called Vanamālā).

53-54. He was being praised in hymns with distinct words expressive of different sentiments, by his attendants, the prominent among whom were Sunanda and Nanda, by sages like Sanaka (and his three brothers Sanandana, Sanātana, Sanatkumāra), by the rulers of gods like god Brahmā, Rudra and others, by nine foremost of Brāhmaṇas (such as Marīci, Kāśyapa and others) and by the most prominent of the Lord’s pure-hearted devotees like Prahlāda, Nārada and Uparicara Vasu.

55. He was waited upon personally by the deities like Śrī (presiding deity over affluence), Puṣṭi (goddess of nourishment), Sarasvatī (presiding over speech), Kānti (goddess of beautiful complexion and splendour), Kīrti (presiding deity of fame), Tuṣṭi (goddess of contentment), Ilā (the Earth goddess), Ūrjā (goddess of energy and strength), Vidyā (goddess presiding over spiritual enlightenment), Avidyā (the goddess of Nescience), by Śakti (Power) and Māyā (the deluding potency of the Lord).

56-57. He was extremely delighted to have the vision of that Lord and overwhelmed with intense devotion and thrilled with joy (with his hair standing on their ends) his eyes wet with tears of love, Akrūra of the Sāttvata clan summoned courage, and bowed down with his head. And folding his pair of palms, with concentrated attention, he slowly began to praise in voice choked with emotions.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The following four verses (4,5,6 and 7) are not found in Padaratnāvalī’s text.

[2]:

Bhāvāratha Dīpikā explains: jñāti—near relatives. They are sapiṇḍa; bāndhavas are distant and hence a-sapiṇḍa.

[3]:

You will say it is Akrūra and not I, who is taking away Kṛṣṇa. It is not possible for others to do this. It is you who have come here under the name Akrūra—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā

[4]:

A Bhāvāratha Dīpikā gives an additional verse here:

krūram akrūrataḥ śrutvā kaṃsaṃ kaṃsaniṣūdanaḥ /
gopī-manorathārāmaḥ sa-rāmaḥ svapuraṃ yayau //

Having heard from Akrūra (the report about) cruel Kaṃsa, Kṛṣṇa, the slayer of Kaṃsa, the delight of the Gopīs (by fulfilling their desires) went to his capital (Mathurā) along with Balarāma.

[5]:

Waited for his reply to the message sent by them through an emissary and stood on an eminence within the range of his view—VT.

[6]:

VT. strongly objects to the interpretation: “I shall be sending you messages and thus see you through messengers though personally I cannot come”, for this contradicts the words of Kṛṣṇa’s special emissary Uddhava:

āgamiṣyatyadīrgheṇa kālena vrajam atyutaḥ /

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