Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Historical Works > Mahabharata > Sabha Parva

Sabha Parva


Chapter One

Maya Danava Erects the Imperial Court


Before Lord Krishna and Arjuna had gone a great distance, the demon Maya Danava fell at their feet pleading, "You have spared my life, and for this I am very grateful. My name is Maya Danava, the architect of the demons. Please allow me to show appreciation for your merciful act."

Since the demon was looking at Arjuna, Arjuna replied, "I do not want anything in return for saving your life. It is my principle never to accept charity for performing a good deed. However, if you want to offer a gift, then ask Krishna what you can do for Him."

Lord Krishna thought for a moment and said, "You are the architect of the demons, capable of performing many wonderful feats. The Pandavas are very dear to me, and, therefore, I want you to construct an imperial court for them that will excel all on earth." Maya Danava readily agreed, and together they departed for Indraprastha.

Upon reaching the royal palace, Arjuna related to Yudhisthira all events that had transpired in relation to the burning of the Khandava forest. Maya Danava was then introduced to Yudhisthira, who welcomed him with great honor. Maya Danava greatly appreciated the humility of the King and considered him a saint amongst the kshatriyas. They then began discussions about the construction of an assembly hall that would have no equal in the universe. Maya Danava chose a plot of land that was 90,000 feet square to begin his work.

Now that Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had lived Indraprastha for some time, He desired to return to His own capital, Dvaraka. The Pandavas were very reuluctant to let Him go. "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead," Yudhisthira lovingly said; "that brightest moon that guides our boat to safety. You have given us everything, and, therefore, how can we agree to Your leaving us at this time? You are Hrishikesha, the master of our mind and senses. Please stay and always direct our thoughts and actions.

Lord Krishna declined the loving offer of Yudhisthira, but reassured His devotee that He would return whenever Yudhisthira called for Him. Lord Krishna then took leave of His Aunt Kunti, who affectionately smelled His head and embraced Him. He satisfied His sister Subhadra with sweet words and bestowed many blessings upon her. Then Lord Keshava ascended His chariot, and Yudhisthira took up the reins. Arjuna and Bhima stood on either side and fanned Him with chamara whisks. Nakula and Sahadeva stood behind, holding an umbrella over the Lord of the universe.

When the chariot had gone about two miles, Lord Krishna requested the Pandavas to return to their capital. He then affectionately bade farewell to the five brothers and proceeded toward Dvaraka. The Pandavas could not take their attention off the Supreme Person because of His exquisite beauty. Their eyes followed Him a great distance until He could be seen no more. They were unsatiated with the sight of Lord Krishna, and their minds accompanied Him to the city of Dvaraka. The Pandavas returned to the city of Indraprastha, but they always contemplated the transcendental qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 Maya Danava was busy with preparations for constructing the great assembly hall. He approached Arjuna and informed him, "Near Mount Kailasa there are many jewels that I have secretly hidden. To the east of Mount Kailasa there is also a lake called Bindu, wherein lies a mace that was thrown by a king of the demons after killing his enemies. That mace is equal in power to a hundred thousand maces. It is a fit weapon for Bhima, even as the Gandiva is for you. Also, in the lake is a large conchshell named Devadatta which belongs to Varuna. The blast of that conchshell can be heard in all directions. I will bring that conch as a gift." Maya then took leave of Arjuna and wenl to Mount Kailasa.

Maya Danava searched for his great quantity of jewels and found them. He also entered Lake Bindu and found the powerful club and the conchshell Devadatta. He took those back to Indraprastha and presented the club to Bhimasena and the conchshell to Arjuna. The sound of this conchshell could break the heart of any opponent.

Maya then began to construct the great royal assembly house. It took him a full fourteen months, but it was, indeed, magnificent. The columns were golden and radiated an effulgence like the sun itself. The walls were embedded with thousands of multi-colored jewels, and the effulgence of the precious gems illuminated the entire palace. Within the palace Maya Danava placed water ponds that were lined with highly polished stone and filled with lotuses whose leaves resembled dark colored emeralds and whose stalks were made of precious jewels. There were also other flowers with golden leaves. The water was crystal clear and filled with a variety of fishes and tortoises of a golden hue. The pond was surrounded by a flight of crystal stairs, and it was difficult to understand where was water and where was land. Flowers inside and outside the palace bloomed in all seasons and were the finest variety.

When the palace was completed, Maya Danava informed Maharaja Yudhisthira, and a great celebration was planned. Thousands of brahmanas came and invoked auspiciousness by chanting the Vedic hymns. Maharaja Yudhisthira gave thousands of cows in charity and fed the brahmanas sumptuously. He then entered this most opulent royal assembly court accompanied by his brothers. Kings and sages from every country came to see the wonderful Sabha (Royal court), and upon seeing it, they were struck with wonder. The fame of the assembly hall built by Maya spread far and wide, and even the demigods came to see it. Some of the princes who visited at this time stayed in Indraprastha to learn the science of archery from Arjuna. Chief amongst these princes was Satyaki, or Yuyudhana. He was a cousin of Lord Krishna. This was a happy time for the Pandavas, but it was like the lull before the storm. They were destined to enjoy their kingdom for only a few months more.

During this time Subhadra gave birth to a son named Abhimanyu. He was born with many auspicious marks. The astrologers foretold that he would be a great warrior and add fame to the Pandava dynasty. Draupadi also gave birth to a child by each of her husbands. From Yudhisthira, Prativindhya took birth, and Bhima's son was Sutasoma. Arjuna's son was Shrutakirti. Nakula's son was Sataneeka, and Sahadeva's son was Shrutasena. The sons matured with the good qualities of their fathers, including mastering the science of weapons.

One day while the Pandavas were sitting in their imperial assembly court, the great rishi Narada Muni came to see them. The Pandavas rose with excited hearts and offered their respects to the great sage. They seated him properly and washed his feet, offering him all kinds of presentations for his pleasure. Narada Muni was then shown the royal assembly hall by Maharaja Yudhisthira, and Narada appreciated the wonderful workmanship. When Narada was again seated, Yudhisthira began to inquire from the exalted sage, "My dear lord, you have traveled through the three worlds, and seen many elegant imperial assembly halls like the one I have. Can you tell me about them?"

"Yes, I have seen all the great sabhas of the universe," Narada smilingly said. "I will tell you about them. However, I have never seen an assembly hall anywhere that was built of such rare precious stones and jewels. This sabha defeats the beauty of the Sudharma imperial court in the heavenly planets."

Narada then described the different assembly houses, such as those of Indra and Yamaraja. He told Maharaja Yudhisthira that in the imperial court of Yamaraja there were many kings from the Kuru house, including Pandu and others. Narada then went on to describe the royal courts of Varuna and Kuvera.

When the narration was finished, the hall was silent. Narada waited for Yudhisthira to speak. "My lord," inquired Yudhisthira, "I have been listening to all the descriptions of the differnet sabhas, and I have noticed one thing. Most of the kings who were lords of this earth are all in the assembly house of Yamaraja rather than Indra's. Even my father, the great Pandu, was not in Indra's abode, as I was thinking all these years. I have heard from you that Harischandra of the solar dynasty is sitting on the throne of Indra. What pious activities did Harischandra perform that my father did not? My father was the purest of men and never spoke a word of untruth. He was a saint amongst the kingly order. Please tell me why my father is not in the court of Indra."

Narada, who had come just to discuss this point, replied, "Certainly, I shall tell you. The great Harischandra was the son of Trishanku, the favorite of the sage Visvamitra. Harischandra was a powerful monarch and had conquered all the kingdoms of the earth. Because of his pious activities, he was able to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. For this reason he is able to share the same throne with Indra. The king who performs the Rajasuya sacrifice receives immense benefit in the heavenly realm. While I was in Yamaraja's abode, I met your father. He told me, 'My sons have become powerful on earth. If Yudhisthira performs the Rajasuya, I will be transferred to Indraloka, and also his fame will be spread far and wide.' This is the desire of your father. With your four brothers to help you and with Lord Krishna on your side, it will be possible for you to perform the Rajasuya. However, you must first conquer all the earthly kings. It is not an easy task, but I know you are capable of it. Reflecting on this, do as you think fit. I will go to Dvaraka City and request Lord Krishna to help you." Narada then left Indraprastha and ascended into the heavens, constantly chanting the glories of Lord Krishna.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the First Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, Maya Danava Erects an Imperial Court.



Chapter Commentary


Lord Krishna is the origin of all incarnations. He is the original Personality of Godhead, the master of all heavenly gods. As stated in Bhagavad-gita 4.8, "In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants as well as to establish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium." Before the appearance of Lord Krishna, Bhumi, the superintending deity of this earth, requested relief from the unnecessary military forces which burdened her. The demigods headed by Lord Brahma then went to the ocean of milk to pray to Lord Vishnu. Kshirodakasayi Vishnu answered the prayers of Brahma and appeared as the son of Devaki. Lord Krishna knows past, present and future. He could foresee the battle of Kurukshetra and its outcome. He remembered how in Vaikuntha His two doorkeepers Jaya and Vijaya had been cursed by the four Kumaras to come to this material world. Jaya and Vijaya were to act as enemies of the Lord and allow Him to exhibit His fighting tendency.

The first births of Jaya and Vijaya were as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. They were killed by the Lord in His incarnations as Lord Nrisimhadeva and Lord Varaha respectively. In the next birth they were Ravana and Kumbhakarna, and they were killed by the Lord in His incarnation as Lord Ramachandra. Now they had taken birth as Shishupala and Dantavakra and were destined to be killed by Lord Krishna. Krishna decided that Shishupala should die in an imperial court constructed by the demon Maya.

The Pandavas were always situated in a state of spiritual perfection. Due to their intimate association with the Lord, they could not forget Him at any time. They remembered His beautiful features, his loving glances and joking words. They remembered His unparaleled prowess and all of His pastimes. This is the process of transcending this material world. The kingdom of God is within all of us, and it has to be awakened by the process of hearing, chanting and remembering the Name, features and activities of the Supreme Godhead. What was available to the Pandavas is available to all of us by hearing the glories of the Lord from the Lord's bonafide representatives and scriptures. Hearing and chanting will lead to absorption in the Lord which will take one beyond this world of birth and death.



Chapter Two

King Yudhisthira Prepares for a Rajasuya Sacrifice


King Yudhisthira, having heard the advice of Narada, sighed heavily and engaged his thoughts in the matter of the Rajasuya sacrifice. He assembled his counsellors and ministers in the imperial court and worshiped them accordingly. They also venerated him in return. They then began to discuss preparations for the Rajasuya sacrifice. King Yudhisthira wanted to determine the ultimate good for all his citizens and not simply for his own personal glorification. That foremost of all virtuous men was always kind to his subjects and worked for the welfare of all without making distinctions. Being devoid of arrogance and anger, King Yudhisthira always said, "Give unto each his due." The citizens responded to such righteousness with the sounds, "Blessed be Dharma (Yudhisthira)! Blessed be Dharma!"

Receiving paternal assurance from Maharaja Yudhisthira, the citizens in his kingdom never harbored ever the the slightest hostile feeling towards him. He therefore came to be known as Ajatrashatru (one with no enemy at all). The king cherished every citizen in his state as a personal family member.

Bhima, also, governed the citizens justly. Arjuna, the carrier of the Gandiva bow, protected everyone from any external enemies. The wise Sahadeva administered justice impartially, and Nakula behaved towards all with a humility that was inherant in him. Owing to the natural good qualities of the Pandavas, the kingdom became free from disputes and fear of any kind. The citizens were attentive to their respective occupations and there was no such thing as unemployment. In King Yudhisthira's kingdom every one joyfully executed his occupational duties. The rain became so abundant that the fields produced more than their usual amount. The kingdom of the Pandavas grew in prosperity.

In consequence of the King's virtues, the money lenders, the cowherdsmen, the farmers and the traders grew in prosperity. During the reign of King Yudhisthira, whoever was devoted to truth, never experienced extortion, recession, fear of disease, fire, or death by poisoning or incantations. It was never heard at any time that thieves or royal favorites ever behaved inimically toward the King or towards one another. In other words, there was no crime in Maharaja Yudhisthira's domain.

Kings from other countries were always desiring to serve King Yudhisthira in order to please and worship him. The merchants of different classes were always happy to bring their taxes levied on their respective occupations. Whatever countries King Yudhisthira conquered, the citizens, from brahmanas to shudras, became more attached to him than to their own fathers and mothers.

After assembling his ministers and brothers, King Yudhisthira repeatedly questioned them about the possibility of performing the Rajasuya sacrifice. The ministers, as a body, then responded to the King, "O prince of the Kuru race, all in this assembly have concluded that you are worthy of the attributes of an emperor. Therefore, the time for you to perform the auspicious Rajasuya sacrifice in now. The time for that sacrifice, in which ascetic rishis kindle the six fires with mantras from the Sama Veda, has come for you in consequence of your kingly possessions. At the conclusion of the Rajasuya sacrifice, when the performer is installed as the world sovereign, he is rewarded the fruits of all other sacrifices, including the agnihotra. You are quite able, O noble King, to perform this sacrifice. Therefore, make your resolution to perform the Rajasuya without any further discussion."

King Yudhisthira, that foremost emperor, having heard the decision of his ministers agreed mentally. However, he again consulted with his brothers, the brahmanas, with Dhaumya, Dwaipayana and others. He wanted to be sure that this was not his own personal desire, but the desire of the Supreme. The King possessed great wisdom and had subjugated his mind and senses. He took everything into consideration including his own strength and means, the circumstances of time and place and his income and expenditure. He knew that the wise never grieve after giving full thoughtfulness to all points.

Thinking that the sacrifice should not commence only on his desire, the pious King Yudhisthira thought Lord Krishna to be the proper person to make the final decision. He knew Lord Krishna possessed infinite prowess and wisdom. He knew also that the Lord was birthless although apparently taking birth. Reflecting on the Godly qualities of Lord Krishna, Maharaja Yudhisthira concluded that there was nothing unknown to Him. Maharaja Yudhisthira, therefore, humbly requested Narada to go to Dvaraka to convey his desires to Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, lived in the city of Dvaraka along with his sixteen thousand one hundred and eight queens. He built a separate palace for each and every one of them, and each queen thought that Krishna was living with her alone. The Lord would perform certain morning duties, and after He had completed them, He would leave His palaces and go to the Sudharma imperial court. His charioteer Daruka would come with the Lord's chariot, bow down before the Lord, and stand with folded hands, intimating that the chariot was ready. Holding on to His charioteer's hands, Lord Krishna would mount the chariot, together with Uddhava and Satyaki. While sitting on the dazzling chariot, Lord Krishna appeared more beautiful than the sun rising on the Eastern horizon. When the Lord was about to leave His palaces, all the queens and palace ladies would look at Him with shy, loving glances. The Lord would respond in a loving way, making separation very difficult. He attracted their hearts so much so that they could not forget Him for a moment during their daily activities. The Lord would say good-bye in all the sixteen thousand palaces, and again He would become one and enter the Sudharma Imperial court in procession with other members of the Yadu dynasty.

Then Lord Krishna, attended by all the Vrishnis, would enter the Imperial Royal court named Sudharma. The Sudharma Imperial Court had been taken away from the heavenly planets and reestablished in Dvaraka City. The uniqueness of the Royal Court was that anyone who entered it would be freed from the six kinds of material waves, namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. As long as one remained in that imperial court of Sudharma, he would not be infected by these six material pangs.

After entering the imperial assembly house, Lord Krishna sat on the exalted royal throne, emanating a radiant aura of transcendental effulgence. In the midst of all the famed heroes of the Yadu dynasty, Lord Krishna resembled the full moon, surrounded by the multitude of luminious stars. In the imperial court professional jesters would enterain the Lord by displaying various comic moods. The jesters would joke in such a way that the Lord and His associates would laugh heartedly, refreshing the morning mood. One by one actors, female dancers and musicians would begin their respective functions to please the Lord and put Him in a happy mood. The dramatic actors would relive the lives of great kings and incarnations of the Lord, and the dancing girls would separately display their artistic movements. These performers would dance and sing to the sounds of mridangas (drum), vinas (stringed instrument), flutes, symbols and conchshells followed by the sound of the murajas, another type of drum.

Along with the melodic sounds of the instuments, the professional poets (sutas) chroniclers (magadhas) and panegyrists (vandinahs) would recite the Lord's glories. In the imperial court highly pious brahmanas were heard fluently and devotionally chanting the Vedic hymns, while other brahmanas narrated histories of past kings of pious renown. In this way, the residents of Dvaraka City would offer their respective services to the Supreme Personality of Godhead just to please Him. The Lord, accompanied by the other members of the Yadu dynasty, would be very much pleased to accept the loving devotion of His eternal associates.

Once, while this festive mood was in progress, a man arrived at the door of the imperial court, and with the permission of Lord Krishna, he was admitted into the assembly by the doorkeeper. The man bowed down to the Lord and then stood before Him with joined palms. With the permission of the Lord he then began to describe how King Jarasandha conquered all other kingdoms and how many kings did not accept subjugation before Jarasandha. As a result of their refusal, all of them, numbering twenty thousand, were arrested and incarcerated. This man was a messenger from these imprisoned kings, and he now presented their pleas before Lord Krishna , "O Krishna, Krishna, O inconceivable Soul, O destroyer of all fear for Your surrendered devotees, despite our unsurrendered mentality, we have come to You for shelter out of fear of material existence. People in this world are always diverted by sinful activities and are thus bewildered about their real duty, which is to worship You according to Your will. Devotional service to You is the only activity that would truly bring them good fortune. Let us offer our obeisances unto You, the all-powerful Lord, who appears as eternal time and frustrates one's stubborn hope for a long life in this world. You are the predominating Lord of the universe and have descended into this world with Your personal potency to protect the saintly devotees and annhilate the wicked. We cannot understand, O Lord, how anyone can transgress Your supreme will and still continue to enjoy his fruitive work.

"O Lord, we are encaged in these material bodies, and are thus always full of fear. We bear the burden of the illusory happiness of kings, which is just like a dream. Thus we have rejected the inner happiness of the soul, which comes by rendering unmotivated and selfless devotional service to You. Because of our wretched attachments, we simply suffer in this life under the enchantment of Your deluding energy. Therefore, since Your lotus feet relieve the material affliction of those who surrender to You, please release us from the shackles of our past sinful activities, which have now manifested in the form of the Magadha King, Jarasandha. Wielding alone the prowess of ten thousand maddened elephants, he has arrested us and locked us in his prison just as a lion captures sheep.

"O wielder to the disc! Your strength is unlimited and beyond human comparison, and thus seventeen times You crushed Jarasandha in battle. But then, absorbed in Your own pastimes, he appeared to defeat You once. Now he is so filled with pride that he thinks he can harass those who are Your devoted followers. O unconquerable Lord, You have descended to protect the pious and to annihilate those opposed to Your supreme will. Please fulfill Your mission by killing this Jarasandha."

"This is the appeal of the kings imprisoned by Jarasandha," the envoy continued. "They are aspiring for Your personal association, having surrendered to Your lotus feet. Please shower your grace and causeless mercy upon these afflicted souls."

After the representative of the imprisoned kings had thus spoken, Narada rishi, the sage amongst the demigods, suddenly appeared in that assembly. Bearing golden matted locks on his head and emanating a cooling effulgent aura, the sage entered the imperial court like the radiant solar orb. Lord Krishna is the worshipable deity for even planetary rulers like Brahma, Shiva, Indra, Surya, Chandra, Varuna and others, yet as soon as He saw Narada Muni, He humbly and joyfully stood up along with the other members of the Yadu dynasty to receive the powerful sage. To set an example of how to receive a saintly person, He then offered His respectful obeisances by bowing His head.

Knowing that Lord Krishna was setting an example for the kingly order, Narada accepted the seat offered to him. Lord Krishna worshiped the sage with full paraphernalia according to scriptural injunctions and gratified him with reverence. He then spoke the following truthful and pleasing words, "It is certain that today the entire universe, and certainly our small assembly, has attained freedom from all fear, for such is the influence of a great personality like yourself. There is nothing unknown to you within the cosmic manifestation of the Supreme Lord. Certainly you have visited Indraprastha and the Pandavas headed by King Yudhisthira. Therefore please tell Us how the Pandavas are faring and what plans they intend to execute for the welfare of the entire world."

"I have many times seen," Narada replied, "the insurmountable power of Your illusory energy, O infallible one. With this power You bewilder even the creator of this universe, Brahma. O Lord of infinite prowess, it does not surprise me that You disguise Yourself as an ordinary human being by Your own diverse energies while moving among the created beings, as fire covers its luster with smoke. Who can understand properly Your purpose? Simply by Your desire this material energy creates and also withdraws the cosmos, and the interim manifestation appears to have substantial existence. Obeisances to you, whose transcendental position is inconceivable. The conditioned soul bound by the repetition of birth and death does not know how to free himself the material tabernacle, which is the cause of his affliction. But You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, descend to this world in various incarnations to teach and illumine the soul's path back to the spiritual sky. Your glorious pastimes triumphantly dominate this universe and are the only panacea for the conditioned soul. Therefore, I surrender unto You.

"Nonetheless, O Supreme Truth, who plays the part of a human being, I shall relate to You what Your devotee Maharaja Yudhisthira, the son of Your Aunt Kunti, intends to do. Desiring unrivaled sovereignty, King Yudhisthira plans to worship You with the greatest fire sacrifice, the Rajasuya. 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 sacrifice only to get Your association and please You. Please bless his endeavor with Your personal presence. O Lord, exalted heavenly Gods and glorious kings, eager to see you, will all come to that best of sacrifices. O Lord, even mllechas and yavanas are purified by hearing and chanting Your glories and meditating upon You, the Absolute Truth. What then to speak of those who see and touch You?

"My dear Lord, You are the symbol of everything auspicious. Your transcendental name and fame is spread throughout the universe like an umbrella, gving a chance to the conditioned souls to revive their original nature as Your eternal servant. The transcendental water that washes Your lotus feet is known in the higher planetary systems as the Mandakini River, in the lower planetary systems as the Bhogavati and in this earthly planetary system as the Ganges. This sacred water flows throughout the entire universe, purifying wherever it goes."

Previous to Narada's arrival, the Yadus had been listening to the messenger from the imprisoned kings, and they were contemplating how to conquer Jarasandha. Therefore, they objected to the proposal of Narada out of a desire to subjugate the Magadha King. Seeing the differences of opinion, Lord Keshava turned to his servant Uddhava and smilingly requested him in the following words, "My dear Uddhava, you are always my well-wishing confidential friend, and because you possess the eye of wisdom, I wish to see everything through you because I believe that your counsel is always right. Therefore please advise us what should be done in this situation."

It was known to Uddhava that although Lord Krishna 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 Mahabharata Summation to the Second Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, King Yudhisthira Prepares for the Rajasuya Sacrifice.


Chapter Commentary


The greatness of King Yudhisthira is obvious from this chapter. Although surrounded by intelligent ministers, wise brahmanas, sages, and his brothers, still he did not want to make a decision without consulting Lord Krishna. He wanted to execute all duties on behalf of the Lord's desire. A surrendered soul wants to find out the will of the Lord and act accordingly. He never wants to act for his own sense gratification. Maharaja Yudhisthira did not want an unrivaled kingdom if it was opposed to the desire of the Lord. His only ambition was to gain the Lord's association and also give that association to others.

It is interesting to note that Maharaja Yudhisthira had no enemies in his kingdom. Everyone loved him as father, because they knew he cared about their ultimate welfare. It is stated that even in their minds the citizens never held hostile intentions towards the King. This kind of leader was a rare jewel indeed. If the present leaders of society could gain a taste for reading Shrimad Bhagavatam and Mahabharata, they might pick up the qualities of Maharaja Yudhisthira. It is hard to accept everyone as one's own family member unless one is an advanced devotee of the Lord. Because Maharaja Yudhisthira saw Lord Krishna in the heart of every living being, he treated everyone equally, irrespective of his caste.

There were no complaints in Maharaja Yudhisthira's kingdom, and, therefore, there was little need for a judicial system. Any complaints were brought directly to the king. Can you imagine not needing judges, lawyers and prosecutors? How much money would the taxpayers save? This kind of government exists when there a godly leader heading the government. Because current governments cater to the sense gratification of the citizens, there is constant bickering and quarrel. Each person is trained to look after his or her own selfish needs. Everyone is competing with all other persons. However, in Maharaja Yudhisthira's kingdom, everyone thought of the next person's welfare instead of his own. Such a kingdom is like the kingdom of God.

It is also interesting to note that there was no crime in Maharaja Yudhisthira's kingdom. Mother Earth supplied all necessities to man due to the piety of the King. There were ample jewels, gold, cloth, food, water and whatever else anyone desired. What was the need to steal? Mother Earth restricts the necessities of life when people are Godless. Today we feel the pinch of material life because we don't worshipm the Lord and follow His desires. Famine, drought, flooding, earthquakes, rampant diseases and other natural disasters are a direct result of not obeying the will of the Lord. A lot can be learned from the rule of Maharaja Yudhisthira.

Lord Krishna does not always do everything personally. He may act through His energies or through his devotees and representatives. Lord Krishna knew how to solve the dispute about whether to kill Jarasandha or to attend the Rajasuya sacrifice. However, he decided to give that decision through Uddhava. There will be a similar case after the Kurukshetra battle, when not even Lord Krishna could convince Yudhisthira that the battle was the desire of the Lord. It took Bhishma's instructions to convince Maharaja Yudhisthira. The Lord acts in mysterious ways and no one can understand His purpose. We only have to surrender to His Divine will.




Chapter Three

Lord Krishna journeys to Indraprastha City


Having heard the statements of Devarshi Narada, and understanding the opinions of both the assembly and Lord Krishna, the highly intelligent Uddhava began to speak, "O Lord, as the rishi advised, You should help Your cousin Yudhisthira fulfill his plan for performing the Rajasuya sacrifice, and You should also protect the kings who are begging for Your shelter. Only one who has conquered all opponents in every direction can perform the Rajasuya sacrifice, O almighty one. Thus, in my opinion, conquering Jarasandha will serve both purposes. By this decision the Rajasuya sacrifice will be performed, and You will save the imprisoned kings. Thus, Govinda, You will be glorified.

"The invincible King Jarasandha" Uddhava continued, "is as strong as ten thousand elephants. Indeed, other powerful warriors cannot defeat him. Only Bhima is equal to him in strength. He will be defeated by an equal opponent in duel, not when he is leading his hundred military divisions. Now, Jarasandha is so devoted to brahminical culture that he never refuses requests from brahmanas. Bhima should go to him disguised as a brahmana and beg charity. Thus he will obtain single combat with Jarasandha, and in Your presence Bhima will no doubt kill him. Even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva act only as Your instruments in cosmic creation and annihilation, which are ultimately done by You, the Supreme Lord, in Your invisible aspect of time.

"In their homes, the wives of the imprisoned kings sing of Your noble deeds-about how you will kill Jarasandha and deliver them. The gopis also sing Your glories--how You killed the crocodile enemy of Gajendra, the elephant king; Ravana, the enemy of Sita; and the enemies of Your own parents as well. So also do the sages who have obtained Your shelter glorify You, as do we ourselves. O Krishna, the killing of Jarasandha, which is certainly a reaction of his past sins, will bring immense benefit. Indeed, it will make possible the execution of the Rajasuya ceremony as You desire."

Devarshi Narada, the Yadu elders, the ministers and Lord Krishna all welcomed Uddhava's proposal, which was entirely auspicious and full of wisdom. Thereafter, Lord Shree Krishna, the chief of the Yadus, honored Narada Muni. After bowing down to the Lord, Devarshi Narada's senses were fully satisfied. Thus having heard the decision of the Lord and having been worshiped by Him, Narada placed the Lord firmly within his heart and graceful departed into the clear blue sky.

With pleasing words the Lord, who has eyes like lotus petals, addressed the messenger sent by the kings, "My dear messenger, I wish all good fortune to you, I shall arrange for the killing of King Magadha. Do not fear." Feeling satisfied at heart, the messenger departed and relayed the Lord's message to the imprisoned kings. Eager for freedom, they then waited anxiously for their meeting with the Lord of all sentient beings.

The almighty personality of Godhead, the son of Devaki, begged His superiors for permission to leave. Then He ordered His servants, headed by Daruka and Jaitra, to prepare for departure. Arrangements were made for His 16,108 queens, their children and baggage to be taken to Indraprastha. After taking leave of Lord Baladeva and King Ugrasena, Lord Krishna mounted His chariot marked with the insignia of Garuda and departed for Indraprastha. The vibrations of mridangas, bheris, kettledrums, conchshells and gomukhas filled the sky in all directions as the Lord set out on His journey. He was accompanied by the commanders of His chariot, elephant, calvary and infantry divisions. He was also surrounded on all sides by His personal body guards. Lord Achyuta's chaste wives, along with their children, followed the Lord on golden palanquins carried by stout armed men. The queens were adorned with fine clothing, ornaments, fragrant oils and flower garlands, and they were surrounded on all sides by soldiers carrying swords and shields.

On all sides of the procession were finely adorned women--attendants of the royal household, as well as courtesans. They rode on palanquins and camels, bulls and buffalo, donkeys, mules, bullock carts and elephants. Their conveyances were fully loaded with tents, blankets, clothes and other items for the trip. Lord Krishna's imperial procession was adorned with royal umbrellas, chamara fans and huge flagpoles with waving banners. During the day the sun's rays reflected brightly from the soldiers' finely polished weapons, jewelry, helmets and armor. Thus Lord Krishna's army, exuberant with shouts and clatter, appeared like an ocean stirring with agitated waves and timingila fish. The royal procession could be seen from one horizon to the other, so great was the number of men, women, animals and paraphernalia.

As He traveled through the provinces of Anarta, Sauvira, Marudesha and Vinashana, Lord Hari crossed rivers and passed mountains, cities, villages, cow pastures and stone quarries. The inhabitants of these regions perfected their eyesight by gazing on the transcendental features of the Lord. They waved their upper clothes and glorified the transcendental activities of the Lord. After crossing the rivers Drishadvati and Sarasvati, He passed through Panchala and Matsya and finally came to Indraprastha.

King Yudhisthira was delighted to hear that the Lord, whom ordinary citizens rarely see, had now arrived. Accompanied by his priests and dear associates, the King came out to meet Lord Krishna. As songs and musical instruments resounded along with the loud vibration of Vedic hymns, the King went forth with great reverence to meet Lord Hrishikesha, just as the senses go forth to meet the consciousness of life. The heart of King Yudhisthira melted with affection when he saw his dearmost friend, Lord Krishna, after such a long separation, and he embraced the Lord again and again. The eternal form of Lord Krishna is the everlasting residence of the goddess of fortune. As soon as King Yudhisthira embraced Him the King became free of all the contamination of material existence. He immediately felt transcendental bliss and merged in an ocean of jubilation. There were tears in his eyes, and his body trembled due to ecstasy. He completely forgot that he was living in this world. Then Bhima, his eyes brimming with affectionate tears, laughed with joy as he embraced his maternal cousin, Krishna. Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva also joyfully embraced their dearmost friend, the infallible Lord and tears of love fell profusely from their eyes.

After Arjuna had embraced Him once more and Nakula and Sahadeva had offered Him their obeisances, Lord Krishna bowed down to the brahmanas and elders present, thus properly honoring the respectable members of the Kuru, Shrinjaya and Kaikaya dynasties. Sutas, Magadhas, Gandharvas, Vandis, jesters and brahmanas all glorified the lotus-eyed Lord--some reciting prayers, some dancing and singing--as mridangas, conchshells, kettledrums, vinas, panavas and gomukhas resounded. Thus surrounded by His well-wishing relatives and praised on all sides, Lord Krishna, the crest jewel of the justly renowned, entered the decorated city.

The roads of Indraprastha were sprayed with fragrant water sprinkled from the trunks of intoxicated elephants, and colorful flags, golden gateways and full waterpots enhanced the city's splendor. Men and young girls were beautifully arrayed in fine, new garments, adorned with flower garlands and ornaments, and anointed with aromatic sandalwood paste. Every home displayed glowing lamps and respectful offerings, and from the holes of the latticed windows drifted incense, further beautifying the city. Colorful banners waved in the breeze, and the roofs were a series of finely carved golden domes situated on broad silver bases. Thus Lord Krishna saw the royal city of the Kuru King, Maharaja Yudhisthira.

When the young women of Indraprastha heard that Lord Krishna, the reservoir of pleasure for every eye, had arrived, they hurriedly went onto the royal streets to see Him. They abandoned their household duties and even left their husbands in bed, and in their eagerness, the knots of their hair and garments came loose. The royal streets being quite crowded with elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers, the women climbed to the top of their houses, where they caught sight of Lord Krishna and His queens. The city ladies scattered flowers upon the Lord, embraced him in their minds and expressed their heartfelt welcome with broadly smiling faces. Observing Lord Mukunda's wives passing on the well paved and ornately designed streets like stars accompanying the moon, the women exclaimed, "What pious activities and austerities have these ladies executed that grant them the joy of Lord Keshava's generous smiles and playful sidelong glances?"

Along the well decorated avenues of Indraprastha, citizens came forward holding auspicious offerings for Lord Krishna, and sinless leaders of occupational guilds came forward to worship the Lord. With wide-open eyes, the members of the royal household rushed forward in a flurry to lovingly greet Lord Mukunda, and thus the Lord entered the royal palace of King Yudhisthira. When Queen Kunti saw her nephew Krishna, the master of the three worlds, her heart filled with loving devotion. Rising from her couch with her daughter-in-law, Draupadi, Kunti embraced the Lord and all feelings of anxiety disappeared from her heart. King Yudhisthira respectfully brought Lord Govinda, the Supreme God of gods, to his personal quarters. The King was so overcome with joy that he could not remember all the rituals of worship.

Encouraged by Queen Kunti, Draupadi worshiped all of Lord Krishna's wives, including Rukmini, Satyabhama, Bhadra, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Nagnajiti, Lakshmana and the other queens of Lord Krishna who were present. Draupadi honored all of them with such gifts as clothing, flower garlands and jewelry. King Yudhisthira personally made arrangements for Krishna's comfort and saw to it that all who came along with Him--namely His queens, soldiers, ministers and secretaries--were comfortably situated. He arranged that they would experience a new feature of reception every day while staying as guests of the Pandavas.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Third Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, Lord Krishna Journeys to Indraprastha City.


Chapter Commentary


Lord Krishna displayed such opulence that only He could manifest. Parashara Muni has defined the Lord as full in six opulences: all wealth, all fame, all knowledge, all renunciation, all power and all beauty. These days we have trouble maintaining one wife, but here we see the Lord arranged a procession of 16,108 queens along with His children and servants. The Lord manifests such opulence, and He doesn't have to labor to do it. By His divine potency and will everything is arranged. In the ninth chapter of Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My will it is manifested again and again, and by My will it is annihilated at the end." The Lord simply desires and everything takes place.

The living beings in this world have to struggle hard to survive. They cannot simply desire and get what they want. It is said in the Bible that the Lord cursed Adam to work by the sweat of his brow for the sin of eating from the tree of knowledge. This world is a prison house for those who have rebeled in the kingdom of God. We have to work hard to gain little. In the Lord's Kingdom there are desire trees from which a person can choose whatever he likes to serve the Lord, chintamani prakara sadmansu kalpa vriksha. (B.S. 5.22) The word kalpa vriksha means desire tree from which one can choose anything that he likes. These trees do not exist in this world. However, when the Lord descends to this world, they are present in places like Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvaraka. The Lord manifests such opulences encouraging us to leave this world of woe and come back to the kingdom of God, our eternal home.



Chapter Four

King Jarasandha Slain


In the great assembly of respectable persons, citizens, friends, relatives, brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas, King Yudhisthira, in the presence of all, including his brothers, directly addressed Lord Krishna as follows, "O Krishna, I desire to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. That sacrifice, however, cannot be performed without the sanction of higher authorities. You know, O Krishna, everything about the means by which this sacrifice may be accomplished. That person alone can perfect this sacrifice in whom everything is possible, who is worshiped everywhere and who is the king of kings. My friends and counsellors have said that I should perform that sacrifice. However, My Lord, I desire to worship Your auspicious, opulent expansions by the Rajasuya sacrifice, the king of Vedic ceremonies. Please make our endeavor a success, my Lord. Purified persons who constantly serve, meditate upon and glorify Your shoes, which destroy everything inauspicious, are sure to obtain freedom from material existence, O lotus-naveled one. Even if they desire something in this world, they obtain it, whereas others-those who do not take shelter of You-are never satisfied, O Lord. Therefore, O Lord of lords, let the people of this world see the power of devotional service rendered to Your lotus feet. Please show them, O almighty one, the position of those Kurus and Shrinjayas who worship You, and the position of those who do not. Within Your mind there can be no such differentiation as "This one is mine, and that is another's," because You are the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Soul of all beings, always equipoised and enjoying transcendental happiness within Yourself. Just like the heavenly desire tree, You bless all who properly worship You, granting their desired fruits in proportion to the service they render You. There is nothing wrong in this.

"My dear Govinda, as far as the execution of this sacrifice is concerned, Your words of wisdom shall be my guide. Those who give me counsel, out of friendship, do not know the difficulties that are to be encountered. Others, from motives of self interest, say only what is agreeable. Men are seen to counsel according to their motivations. However, You, O Krishna, are above material motivation. You are Hrishikesha, the controller of desire and anger. It behoves You to tell me what will most benefit the world."

"O great king," Lord Krishna replied, "your decision is perfect, and thus your noble fame will spread to all the worlds, O tormentor of the foes. Indeed, for the benefit of the great sages, the forefathers and the heavenly gods, for Our well-wishing friends and, indeed, for all living beings, the performance of this king of Vedic sacrifices is desirable. First conquer all kings, bring the earth under your control and collect all the required paraphernalia; then execute this great sacrifice. These brothers of yours, O king, have taken birth as partial expansions of the various ruling heavenly gods. And you are so self controlled that you have conquered even Me, who am unconquerable for those who cannot control their senses. No one in this world, even a demigod--what to speak of an earthly king--can defeat My devotee with his strength, beauty, fame or riches.

"My dear King, you possess the proper qualifications essential to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. However, there is one impediment of which you must be informed. The numerous royal lines all represent themselves as descendants of Aila and Ikshvaku. These descendants are divided into a hundred separate dynasties. In this line the descendants of Yayati and Bhoja and numerous. At the present, O monarch, King Jarasandha, has subjugated many of these kshatriyas and incarcerated them. Jarasandha is now enjoying sovereignty over the middle portion of the earth. He has resolved to create disunion among the different dynasties.

"O Monarch, only a King who is the king of all kings can properly be called an emperor. Many Kings and princes have voluntarily taken his shelter. They include Shishupala, the mighty Vaka, who waits upon Jarasandha as his disciple. There is also Hansa, Dimvaka, Dantavakra, Karusha, Karava, and Meghavahana. King Bhagadatta, who is the old friend of your father, has bowed his head before Jarasandha. In his heart he has affection for you, but he regards you as a father regards his son, and not as a subordinate king looks upon an emperor. Paundraka, who represents himself as a divine personality and falsely bears My symbols of the conch, disc, lotus and mace, has also espoused the side of Jarasandha. Even King Bhishmaka, My father-in-law, has become a servitor of Jarasandha. Eighteen clans of the Bhojas have fled to the west out of fear of Jarasandha. So have the Surasenas, the Bhadrakas, the Vodhas, the Salwas, the Patachcharas, the Susthalas, the Kukuttas, the Kulindas, along with the Kuntis and many others have also fled their countries alarmed at the power of Jarasandha. The King of Magadha has conquered many lands and has imprisoned eighty-six kings. When the total of kings incarcerated reaches one hundred, he will sacrifice these noblemen before his deity, Lord Shiva. O King, before the Rajasuya sacrifice can be performed, Jarasandha must by slain and the imprisoned Kings released. Only then can one be truly called an emperor, one who rules over all other kings."

"O Janardana," Yudhisthira said, "we have also been frightened by the wickedness of this monarch. O infallible one, the might of Your arms is our refuge and strength. I am repeatedly depressed at the thought that Jarasandha cannot be slain. But what shall I say, O Keshava? You are my highest authority on everything. Please tell me, O Krishna, the history of this Jarasandha, his birth and how he obtained so much power. How is it that although You have conquered him eighteen times, he is still living?"

Lord Krishna replied, "Hear, O Monarch, the history behind this Jarasandha and his great power. There was a mighty King of the Magadhas named Brihadratha. He owned three Akshauhini divisions of troops and was very puffed up over his strength. He had married the two daughters of the King of Kashi. Many years passed, however, without obtaining a son.

"One day he went to the great sage named Chandra Kausika and served the rishi with great care. The sage became pleased with him and asked him to take a benediction. King Brihadratha then asked for a son who could continue his dynasty. While they were talking, a mango dropped from the tree into the muni's lap. The muni then said to the King, "Your desire shall be fulfilled." He then chanted mantras and handed over that mango to the King telling him to give half to each queen. The muni then went away. King Brihadratha cut the fruit in half and gave each queen a portion. In due course of time the queens became pregnant. The King was overjoyed and waited for the birth of the children.

"It so happened that both queens gave birth to fragmental children. A half of a child took birth from each of them. The queens were disgusted and arranged that the king throw the portions of the children in the forest. After this had been accomplished, a witch named Jara happened to come to the spot where the two halves were thrown. She loved human flesh and desired to take the newly found meal home with her. To make it easier to carry the halves, she joined them, and when she did, the two halves united and became one child. She was unable to carry the child because of its great weight. The child began to roar like a monsoon cloud, and she could not stop it. It so happened that the King was in the area, and hearing the crying of the child, he came to that spot. The Rakshasa woman then informed the monarch, 'O Brihadratha, here is your child that has been cast into the forest. I have found the child in two parts and, joining them, the child has become one. I have been living in your kingdom, and I am pleased with your rule. Take this child back for he is destined to become King.' The Rakshasa woman then gave the child to the King and disappeared from sight. Because the child was brought to life by this she-witch, he was given the name Jarasandha, which means one who was joined by the witch Jara."

Lord Krishna continued: "The child grew up to be as powerful as ten thousand elephants. When King Brihadratha saw the power and influence of his son, he crowned his son king and then entered the forest to perform austerities and penances. Jarasandha offered his two daughters, Asti and Prapti, to King Kamsa of Mathura. When I killed King Kamsa, I created an enmity with the powerful Jarasandha. Overcome with anger, Jarasandha took up his mace and released it a distance of ninety-nine yojanas (792 miles). It landed just outside the city of Mathura. Understanding his intentions, we prepared the city of Mathura for attack. We defeated him eighteen times, but still he persisted in fighting. On his eighteenth attempt, I was already engaged in obtaining Rukmini for My wife. I, therefore, ordered the city of Dvaraka built so that no other powerful kings could attack the Yadu dynasty while I was away. The time has now come for his death."

Upon hearing these nectarean words from the lotus mouth of the Supreme Lord, King Yudhisthira became joyful, and his face blossomed like a lotus. Lord Krishna then informed King Yudhisthira of the plan explained by Uddhava for conquering King Jarasandha. Bhimasena, Arjuna and Lord Krishna then started together for Girivraja, the capital city of Jarasandha. Attired in the dress of brahmanas, they looked wonderful and radiant. When the people saw them walking on the road, they regarded Jarasandha as already slain.

Upon reaching the region of Magadha, Lord Krishna exclaimed, "Behold, O Partha, the great capital of Girivraja, standing in all its splendor. Just see outside the city walls the vast ocean of cows and sheep. This majestic town has a water source that is inexhaustible. Just see the fine mansions symmetrically aligned. Indeed, it appears that this city is free from any kind of calamity. Just behold the five large hills that surround the city. They are covered with cooling shade trees, bearing flowers of every scent and color. It was here that the great sage Gautama had his ashrama for some time. Due to his presence, this place has become almost a heavenly abode. Even Manu has ordered that the land of Magadha never be afflicted with drought. Owning such a city, Jarasandha desires to become the emperor of the entire earth. We shall, however, humble his pride by slaying him in single combat."

Before entering the city, Bhima and Arjuna decided to pulverize Chaityaka peak near the city gate. This hill was one of the five that surrounded the city and it was dear to the inhabitants and also to King Jarasandha. On this hill King Brihadratha had once slain a cannibal named Rishava and made three drums from the Rakshasa's skin. When those drums were beaten, the reverberating sound echoed for one full month. With their mighty arms only, Bhima and Arjuna leveled the hill to the point where the drums were beaten, indicating their desire to place their feet on the head of their foe. With the power of their arms they broke down the peak, which was worshipped by the citizens of Girivraja.

Lord Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna then joyfully entered Girivraja in the guise of brahmanas. As they walked down the main road, they beheld the extraordinary arrangement of shops full of various edibles, hand crafted items and floral wreaths. Some of the shops were supplied with intricately carved articles of various qualities that any person might desire. The shop owners and other citizens of Magadha, beholding those heroes looking like elephants, with broad necks and chests, began to wonder about them. Lord Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna then chose garlands from the shop of one fortunate flower merchant and decorated their bodies with them. Their arms, which were broad like the trunks of trees, were then smeared with sandalwood paste by one merchant who pious activities had now fully fructified. Attired in robes of various colors and decked in garlands and earrings, the heroes approached King Jarasandha's palace. Those bulls among men passed through three gates that were heavily guarded with soldiers and men. They cheerfully entered the palace of King Jarasandha, and the King, seeing these extraordinary personalities approaching, exclaimed, "You are welcome in my kingdom." He rose to offer them proper sitting places. He washed their feet with honey and water, and offered them gifts of cows and wealth.

Partha and Bhima remained silent during the reception. Therefore, Lord Krishna informed King Jarasandha, "O monarch, these two brahmanas are in observance of a vow. Therefore, they will not speak until midnight when their vow will be completed. You may talk with them at that time." King Jarasandha then gave his guests comfortable quarters and retired to his own chambers.

King Jarasandha was famous for honoring brahmanas. Even if a brahmana requested an audience at midnight, he would grant it. Therefore, he rose at midnight and approached the quarters of his guests. Despite the strange attire of these brahmanas, he waited on them respectfully. He asked them to take their seats and then inquired from them, "It is well known to me that brahmanas observing vows of silence never attire themselves with garlands, and fragrant paste. Who are you? You are dressed as brahmanas, but your arms bear the marks of bowstrings. You lead me to believe that you are brahmanas, but you exude kshatriya energy. Tell me truly who you are. You have broken the peak of Chaityaka hill, and you have entered my city without fear of royal wrath. The quality of a brahmana dwells in his speech and not in his physical prowess. This destruction of Chaityaka hill is not suited to the order you profess. What is your motive for coming to me?"

Lord Krishna, in the dress of a brahmana, replied to the King: "O King, know us to be needy guests who have come to you from afar. We wish all good fortune to you. Please grant us whatever we desire. What can the tolerant not bear? What will the wicked not do? What will the generous not give in charity? And who will those with equal vision see as an outsider? He, indeed, is to be censured and pitied who, though able to do so, fails to achieve with his temporary body the lasting fame glorified by great saints. Harischandra, Rantideva, Unchavritti Mudgala, Bali, Shibi, the legendary hunter and pigeon, and many others have attained the permanent by means of the impermanent." Lord Krishna, in the garb of a brahmana, thus informed Jarasandha that fame is imperishable, but the body is perishable. If one can attain imperishable name and fame by sacrificing his perishable body, he becomes a very respectable figure in the history of human civilization.

While Lord Krishna was speaking in the garb of a brahmana, Jarasandha became convinced that the three of them were not actual brahmanas. The signs on their bodies indicated that they were kshatriyas. Their shoulders were marked with an impression due to carrying bows; they had beautiful bodily structure, and their voices were grave and commanding. Thus he definitely concluded that they were not brahmanas, but kshatriyas. He was also thinking that he had seen them somewhere before. Although these three persons were kshatriyas, they had come to his door begging alms like brahmanas. Therefore, he decided that he would fulfill their desires, in spite of their being kshatriyas. He thought in this way because their position had already been diminished by their appearing before him as beggars.

"Under the circumstances," he thought, "I am prepared to give them anything. Even if they ask for my body, I shall not hesitate to offer it to them." In this regard, he began to think of Bali Maharaja. Lord Vishnu in the dress of a brahmana appeared as a beggar before Bali, and in that way He snatched away all of his opulence and kingdom. He did this for the benefit of Indra, who, having been defeated by Bali Maharaja, was bereft of his kingdom. Although Bali Maharaja was cheated, his reputation as a great devotee who was able to give anything and everything in charity is still glorified throughout the three worlds. Bali Maharaja could guess that the brahmana was Lord Vishnu Himself and that He had come to him just to take away his opulent kingdom on behalf of Indra. Bali's spiritual master and family priest, Sukracharya, repeatedly warned him about this, and yet Bali did not hesitate to give in charity whatever the brahmana wanted, and at last he gave up everything to that brahmana.

"It is my strong determination," thought Jarasandha, "that if I can achieve immortal reputation by sacrificing this perishable body, I must act for that purpose; the life of a kshatriya who does not live for the benefit of the brahmana is certainly condemned."

Actually King Jarasandha was very liberal in giving charity to the brahmanas, and thus he informed Lord Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna, "My dear brahmanas, you can ask from me whatever you like. If you so desire, you can take my head also. I am prepared to give it."

After this, Lord Krishna addressed Jarasandha as follows: "My dear King, please note that we are not actually brahmanas, nor have we come to ask for foodstuffs or grains. We are all kshatriyas, and we have come to beg a duel with you. We hope that you will agree to this proposal. You may note that here is the second son of King Pandu, Bhimasena, and the third son of Pandu, Arjuna. As for Myself, you may know that I am your old enemy Krishna, the cousin of the Pandavas."

When Lord Krishna disclosed their disguise, King Jarasandha began to laugh very loudly, and then in great anger and in a grave voice he exclaimed, "You fools! If you want to fight with me, I immediately grant your request. But, Krishna, I know that You are a coward. I will not fight with You because You refused to face me in fighting and have left the battlefield. Out of fear of me You left Your own city, Mathura, and now You have taken shelter within the sea; therefore, I must refuse to fight with You. As far as Arjuna is concerned, I know that he is younger than I and is not an equal fighter. I refuse to fight with him because he is not in any way an equal competitor. But as far as Bhimasena is concerned, I think he is a suitable competitor to fight with me." After speaking in this way, King Jarasandha immediately handed a very heavy club to Bhimasena, and he himself took another, and thus all of them went outside the city walls to fight.

Bhimasena and King Jarasandha engaged themselves in fighting, and with their respective clubs, which were as strong as thunderbolts, they began to strike one another very severely, both of them being eager to fight. They were both expert fighters with clubs, and their techniques of striking one another were so beautiful that they appeared to be two dramatic artists dancing on a stage. The citizens of Magadha, consisting of thousands of brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras, women and the aged, all came out of the city to witness the combat. The crowd became so great that there was a solid mass of humanity with no space between bodies.

When the clubs of Jarasandha and Bhimasena loudly collided, they sounded like the impact of the big tusks of two fighting elephants, or like a thunderbolt in a flashing electrical storm. When two elephants fight together in a sugarcane field, each of them snatches a stick of sugarcane and, by catching it tightly in its trunk, strikes the other. Each elephant heavily strikes his enemy's shoulders, arms, collarbones, chest, thighs, waist, and legs, and in this way the sticks of sugarcane are smashed. Similarly, all the clubs used by Jarasandha and Bhimasena were broken, and so the enemies prepared to fight with their strong-fisted hands. Both Jarasandha and Bhimasena were very angry, and they began to smash each other with their fists. The striking of their fists sounded like the striking of iron bars or like the sound of thunderbolts, and they appeared to be like two elephants fighting. Unfortunately, however, neither was able to defeat the other because both were very expert in fighting, both were of equal strength, and their fighting techniques were equal also. Neither Jarasandha nor Bhimasena became fatigued or defeated in the fighting, although they struck each other continually. At the end of a day's fighting, both lived at night as friends in Jarasandha's palace, and the next day they fought again. In this way they passed twenty-seven days in fighting.

On the twenty-eighth day, Bhimasena told Krishna, "My dear Krishna, I must frankly admit that I cannot conquer Jarasandha." Lord Krishna, however, knew the mystery of the birth of Jarasandha. Jarasandha was born in two different parts from two different mothers. When his father saw that the baby was useless, he threw the two parts in the forest, where they were later found by a black-hearted witch named Jara. She managed to join the two parts of the body of the baby from top to bottom. Knowing this, Lord Krishna, therefore, also knew how to kill him. He gave hints to Bhimasena that since Jarasandha was brought to life by the joining of the two parts of his body, he could be killed by the separation of these two parts. Thus Lord Krishna transferred His power into the body of Bhimasena and informed him of the device by which Jarasandha could be killed. Lord Krishna immediately picked up a twig from a tree and, taking it in His hand, bifurcated it. In this way He hinted to Bhimasena how Jarasandha could be killed. Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is omnipotent, and if he wants to kill someone, no one can save that person. Similarly, if He wants to save someone, no one can kill him.

Informed by the hints of Lord Krishna, Bhimasena immediately took hold of Jarasandha's legs and threw him to the ground. When Jarasandha fell to the ground, Bhimasena immediately pressed one of Jarasandha's legs to the ground and took hold of the other leg with his two hands. Catching Jarasandha in this way, he tore his body in two, from the anus up to the head. As an elephant breaks the branches of a tree in two, so Bhimasena separated the body of Jarasandha. The citizens of Magadha who were standing nearby saw that the body of Jarasandha was now divided into two halves, so that each half had one leg, one thigh, one testicle, one breast, half a backbone, half a chest, one collarbone, one arm, one eye, one ear and half a face.

As soon as the news of Jarasandha's death was announced, all the citizens of Magadha began to cry, "Alas, alas," while Lord Krishna and Arjuna embraced Bhimasena to congratulate him. Although Jarasandha was killed, neither Krishna nor the two Pandava brothers made a claim to the throne. Their purpose in killing Jarasandha was to stop him from creating a disturbance against the proper discharge of world peace. A demon always creates disturbances, whereas a godly person always tries to keep peace in the world. The mission of Lord Krishna is to give protection to the righteous persons and to kill the demons who disturb a peaceful situation. Therefore Lord Krishna immediately called for the son of Jarasandha, whose name was Sahadeva, and with due ritualistic ceremonies He asked him to occupy the seat of his father and reign over the kingdom peacefully. Lord Krishna is the master of the whole cosmic creation, and He wants everyone to live peacefully and execute Krishna consciousness. After installing Sahadeva on the throne, He released all the kings and princes who had been imprisoned unnecessarily by Jarasandha.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata summation to the Fourth Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, King Jarasandha Slain.


Chapter Commentary


King Yudhisthira consistently shows the true qualities of a King. He did not want perform the Rajasuya sacrifice without consulting with the Supreme Lord. This is the example set by this great king. No leader should make important decisions without consulting with the Supreme Lord. The leader of a nation is supposed to be so pious as to have direct contact with the Lord for instituting the will of the Lord. Saintly kings like Dasaratha, Janaka, Yudhisthira, David, Solomon and others had direct communication with the Lord due to their being obedient servants of the Lord. The Lord reveals Himself to one who is surrendered and obedient.

King Yudhisthira was actually afraid to act for his personal sense gratification. To perform this sacrifice would mean that he would be the emperor of the world. It would mean that kings from all subordinated kingdoms would come and bow their heads at his feet. King Yudhisthira did not want this position unless the Supreme Lord sanctioned it. Maharaja Yudhisthira was a self realized soul. He had no need to be emperor of the world. He simple wanted to glorify Lord Krishna and surrender to His supreme will.

Lord Krishna again saved the Pandavas by instructing Bhima how to kill Jarasandha. Jarasandha was undefeatable by a mortal being. Even Bhima, the son of the Wind God, Vayu, had a difficult time killing Jarasandha. Lord Krishna entered Bhima's body by His personal strength and empowered him to kill Jarasandha, who was otherwise undefeatable. No one can thwart the will of the Lord. Lord Krishna and Balarama had descended on a mission to kill those who were opposed to religiosity. Jarasandha and demons like him were opposed to Krishna's plan and thus destined to be destroyed.




Chapter Five

Lord Krishna Benedicts the Imprisoned Kings


The kings and the princes released by Lord Krishna after the death of Jarasandha were rulers of different parts of the world. When they were released by the grace of Lord Krishna, they all looked very unhappy; their garments were dirty and torn, and their faces were almost dried up due to insufficient food and water. They were very weak due to hunger, and their faces had lost all beauty and luster. Because of the kings' long imprisonment, every part of their bodies had become slackened and invalid. But although suffering in that miserable condition of life, they had the opportunity to pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.

Now before them they saw the color of the transcendental body of Lord Krishna, exactly like the hue of a newly arrived cloud in the sky. He appeared before them nicely covered with yellow colored silken garments, with four hands like Vishnu, and carrying the different symbols of the club, the conchshell, the disc and the lotus flower. There were marks of golden lines on His chest, and the nipples of His breast appeared to be like the whorl of a lotus flower. His eyes appeared to be spread like the petals of a lotus flower, and His smiling face exhibited the symbol of eternal peace and prosperity. His glittering earrings were set beautifully, and His helmet was bedecked with valuable jewels. The Lord's necklace of pearls and the bangles and bracelets nicely situated on His body all shone with a transcendental beauty. The Kaustubha jewel hanging on His chest glittered with great luster, and the Lord wore a beautiful flower garland.

After so much distress, when the kings and princes saw Lord Krishna, with His beautiful transcendental features, they looked upon Him to their hearts' content, as if they were drinking nectar through their eyes, licking His body with their tongues, smelling the aroma of His body with their noses, and embracing Him with their arms. Just by dint of their being in front of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all reactions to their sinful activities were washed away. Therefore, without reservation, they surrendered themselves at the lotus feet of the Lord. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that unless one is freed from all kinds of sinful reactions, one cannot fully surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord. All the princes who saw Lord Krishna forgot all their past tribulations. With joined palms and with great devotion, they began to offer prayers to Lord Krishna, as follows.

"Dear Lord, O Supreme Godhead, master of all heavenly beings, You can immediately remove all Your devotees' pangs because Your devotees are fully surrendered unto You. O dear Lord Krishna, O eternal deity of transcendental bliss and knowledge, You are imperishable, and we offer our respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet. It is by Your causeless mercy that we have been released from the imprisonment of Jarasandha, but now we pray unto You to release us from the imprisonment with the illusory energy of this material existence. Please, therefore, stop our continuous cycle of birth and death. We now have sufficient experience of the miserable material condition of life in which we are fully absorbed, and having tasted its bitterness, we have come to take shelter under Your lotus feet.

"Dear Lord, O killer of the demon Madhu, we can now clearly see that Jarasandha was not at fault in the least; it is actually by Your causeless mercy that we were bereft of our kingdoms because we were very proud of calling ourselves rulers and kings. Any ruler or king who becomes too puffed up with false prestige and power does not get the opportunity to understand his real constitutional position and eternal life. Such foolish so-called rulers and kings become falsely proud of their position under the influence of Your illusory energy; they are like a foolish person who considers a mirage in the desert to be a reservoir of water. Foolish persons think that their material possessions will give them protection, and those who are engaged in sense gratification falsely accept this material world as a place of eternal enjoyment. O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, we must admit that, before this, we were puffed up with our material opulences. Because we were all envious of each other and wanted to conquer one another, we all engaged in fighting for supremacy, even at the cost of sacrificing the lives of many citizens."

The kings continued: "O Lord, we were simply engaged in the abominable task of killing citizens and alluring them to be unnecessarily killed, just to satisfy our political whims. We did not consider that Your Lordship is always present before us in the form of cruel death. We were so fooled that we became the cause of death for others, forgetting our own impending death. But, dear Lord, the retaliation of the time element, which is Your representative, is certainly insurmountable. The time element is so strong that no one can escape its influence; therefore, we have received the reactions of our atrocious activities, and we are now bereft of all opulences and stand before You like street beggars. We consider our position to be Your causeless, unalloyed mercy upon us because now we can understand that we were falsely proud and that our material opulences could be withdrawn from us within a second by Your will.

"By Your causeless mercy only, we are now able to think of Your lotus feet. This is our greatest gain. Dear Lord, it is known to everyone that the body is a breeding ground of diseases. Now we are sufficiently aged, and instead of being proud of our bodily strength, we are getting weaker day by day. We are no longer interested in sense gratification or the false happiness derived through the material body. By Your grace, we have now come to the conclusion that hankering after such material happiness is just like searching for water in a desert mirage. We are no longer interested in the results of our pious activities, such as performing great sacrifices in order to be elevated to the heavenly planets. We now understand that such elevation to a material standard of life in the heavenly planets may sound very relishable, but actually there cannot be any happiness within this material world.

"We pray for Your Lordship to favor us by instructing us how to engage in the transcendental loving service of Your lotus feet so that we may never forget our eternal relationship with Your Lordship. We do not want liberation from the entanglement of material existence. By Your will we may take birth in any species of life; it does not matter. We simply pray that we may never forget Your lotus feet under any circumstances. Dear Lord, we now surrender unto Your lotus feet by offering our respectful obeisances unto You because You are the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Vasudeva. You are the Supersoul in everyone's heart, and You are Lord Hari, who can take away all miserable conditions of material existence. Dear Lord, Your name is Govinda, the reservoir of all pleasure. One who is engaged in satisfying Your senses automatically satisfies his own senses also, and therefore You are known as Govinda. Dear Lord, You are ever famous, for You can put an end to all miseries of Your devotees. Please, therefore, accept us as Your surrendered servants."

After hearing the prayers of the kings, Lord Krishna, who is always the protector of surrendered souls and the ocean of mercy for the devotees, replied to them as follows in His sweetly transcendental voice, which was grave and full of meaning. "My dear kings," He said, "I bestow upon you My blessings. From this day forth you will have firm devotion to me, the Supreme Self and the Lord of all that be. I assure you this will come to pass, just as you desire. Fortunately you have come to the proper conclusion, my dear kings, and what you have spoken is true. I can see that human beings' lack of self restraint, which stems from their intoxication with opulence and power, simply leads to madness. Haihaya, Nahusha, Vena, Ravana, Narakasura and many other rulers of demigods, men, and demons fell from their elevated positions because of infatuation with material opulence Understanding that this material body and everything connected with it have a beginning and an end, worship Me by Vedic sacrifices, and with clear intelligence protect your subjects in accordance with the principles of religion. As you live your lives, begetting generations of progeny and encountering happiness and distress, birth and death, always keep your minds fixed on Me. Be detached from the body and everything connected to it. Remaining self-satisfied, steadfastly keep your vows while concentrating your minds fully on Me. In this way you will ultimately attain Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth."

After delivering His instructions to the kings and princes, Lord Krishna immediately arranged for their comfort and asked many servants and maidservants to take care of them. Lord Krishna requested Sahadeva, the son of King Jarasandha, to supply all necessities to the kings and also asked him to show them all respect and honor. In pursuance of the order of Lord Krishna, Sahadeva offered them all honor, and presented them with ornaments, garments, garlands, and other paraphernalia. After taking their baths and dressing very nicely, the kings appeared happy and gentle. Then they were supplied food fit for kings. Lord Krishna supplied everything for their comfort, as was befitting their royal positions.

Since the kings were so mercifully treated by Lord Krishna, they felt great happiness, and all their bright faces appeared just like the stars in the sky after the end of the rainy season. They were all nicely dressed and ornamented, and their earrings glittered. Each one was then seated on a chariot bedecked with gold and jewels and drawn by decorated horses. After seeing that each was taken care of, Lord Krishna, in a sweet voice, asked them to return to their respective kingdoms. By His very liberal behavior, unparalleled in the history of the world, Lord Krishna released all the kings who had been in the clutches of Jarasandha, and being fully satisfied, the kings began to engage in chanting His holy name, thinking of His holy form, and glorifying His transcendental pastimes as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

So engaged, they returned to their respective kingdoms. The citizens of their kingdoms were very greatly pleased to see them return; and when they heard of the kind dealings of Lord Krishna, they all became very happy. The kings began to manage the affairs of their kingdoms in accordance with the instructions of Lord Krishna, and all those kings and their subjects passed their days very happily.

After thus causing the annihilation of Jarasandha by Bhimasena and after being properly honored by Sahadeva, the son of Jarasandha, Lord Krishna, accompanied by Bhimasena and Arjuna, returned to the city of Hastinapura. When they reached the precincts of Hastinapura, they blew their respective conchshells; and by hearing the sound vibrations and understanding who was arriving, everyone immediately became cheerful. But upon hearing the conchshells, the enemies of Krishna became very sorry. The citizens of Indraprastha felt their hearts become joyful simply by hearing the vibration of Krishna's conchshell because they could understand that Jarasandha had been killed. Now the performance of the Rajasuya sacrifice by King Yudhisthira was almost certain. Bhimasena, Arjuna, and Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, arrived before King Yudhisthira and offered their respects to the King. King Yudhisthira attentively heard the narration of the killing of Jarasandha and the setting free of the kings. He also heard of the tactics which were adopted by Krishna to kill Jarasandha. The king was naturally affectionate toward Krishna, but after hearing the story, he became even more bound in love for Krishna; tears of ecstasy glided from his eyes, and he became so stunned that he was almost unable to speak.

After the slaying Jarasandha, King Yudhisthira sent his brothers to conquer the other kings of the earth. He sent Arjuna to the north, Bhima to the east, Sahadeva to the south and Nakula to the west. The intention of the brothers was not to claim the thrones of these kings, but to defeat them, extract tribute and make them agree to King Yudhisthira's domination. After being subjected, the defeated kings were invited to Maharaja Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice.

Arjuna, the mighty bowman, first of all subjugated King Bhagadatta, who accepted subordination under King Yudhisthira. Arjuna then marched against King Vrihanta, and one kingdom after another was brought under the sway of Maharaja Yudhisthira. Arjuna conquered Modapura, the Northern Ulukas, the kshatriyas of Kashmira and the seven tribes called Utsava-sanketa. The mighty son of Kunti then defeated King Viswagaswa of the Puru race. He then conquered the Trigartas, the Daravas, the Kokonadas and various other kshatriyas. The prince of the Kuru race then took the delightful town of Avisari, and then brought under his sway the king of Uraga named Rochamana. The exalted son of Pandu then defeated the Daradas along with the Kambhojas. In a terrible battle Arjuna subjugated the Rishikas. At last having conquered all the land of the Himalayas and the Nishkuta mountains, that bull among men encamped at the white mountains.

Arjuna then subjugated the Kimpurushas ruled by Durmaputra. He then defeated the Guhakas from a country called Harataka. The Kuru prince then beheld the Manasa Ganga lake and other lakes sacred to the Rishis. At last the son of Pandu arrived in the country north of Harivarsha and desired to conquer it. Thereupon certain frontier guards endowed with huge bodies approached him with gallant hearts and advised him, "O son of Pritha, this tract of land can never be conquered by you. If you value your well being, please return to your kingdom, for any human who enters this region, will surely perish. We are satisfied with you prowess; O hero, your conquest must stop here. This is where the northern Kurus live, and war does not exist here. Even if you were to enter this region, you could not see anything for human eyes cannot perceive the subtle forms that exist here. If, however, you desire something, please tell us so that we may do your bidding."

"If your land cannot be seen by human beings," Arjuna said, "then I shall not enter it. However, I desire that some offering be paid to King Yudhisthira as tribute." Immediately, guards brought celestial cloths made of the finest silk, and they also brought dazzling jeweled ornaments and skins. After conquering all countries of the north and extracting tribute and subordination from those kings, Arjuna brought back the enormous wealth to King Yudhisthira. The wealth consisted of unseen jewels and gems, and horses from the species called Tittiri and Kalmasha, whose color was like that of parrot wings and peacocks, and who were endowed with the speed of the wind.

As ordered by King Yudhisthira, Bhima marched toward the east with a great army. Within a short time that bull of the Bharata race conquered the Gandakas, Videhas and the Dasarnas. The king of the Dasarnas was named Sudharman. He fought a fierce battle with Bhima using only his mighty arms. Bhima was so pleased with the King that he made him commander in chief of his forces. Bhima then defeated Rochamana, the king of Aswamedha. Bhima then marched into Pulinda and brought Sukumara and King Sumitra under his sway. Bhima then challenged Shishupala and the Chedis. However, Shishupala treated Bhima with great respect and offered him his kingdom. Bhima requested Shishupala to be present for the Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhisthira. Bhima then subjugated the Koshalas, the northern Koshalas, and the king of Ayodhya. The mighty son of Kunti then defeated the warriors from Vatsabhumi and the king of the Bhargas. He defeated Janaka, the king of the Videhas, then the Kiratas, then the son of Jarasandha, Sahadeva. Bhima encountered Karna and defeating him made him pay tribute to Maharaja Yudhisthira. Paundraka, who was later killed by Lord Krishna, was also subjugated by Bhima. After defeating innumerable monarches and exacting tribute from them all of them, he marched back to Indraprastha. The illustrious son of Kunti brought back a downpour of wealth consisting of coins and gems counted in hundreds and millions. He offered the entire wealth at the feet of Yudhisthira, the great.

Sahadeva, on the order of Maharaja Yudhisthira, marched toward the southern countries. He defeated the Surasenas, the Matsyas and brought under his sway Dantavakra, the mighty king of Adhirajas. He conquered the Nishadas and the kings of Avanti, Vinda and Anuvinda. He brought under Maharaja Yudhisthira's rule, King Bhishmaka and the king of the Koshalas. Sahadeva then fought with Mainda and Dvivida, the kings of Kishkinda. Then Sahadeva encountered his toughest challenge at Mahismati; he fought with king Nila, who was aided by Agni, the fire god. The encounter between the two forces was fierce, terrible and bloody, and before long Agni, the fire god, was scorching the front line of chariots, elephants and soldiers in Sahadeva's army. Witnessing the possible extinction of his army, Sahadeva did not know what to do.

Agni had taken the side of King Nila because of the King's beautiful daughter. When the girl was young, she used to stay near the sacrificial fire causing it to blaze forth. As it came to pass, King Nila's sacrificial fire, even if fanned, would not blaze up till agitated by the gentle breath from the girl's fair lips. It came to be known that Agni desired the beautiful young girl for his wife. The girl also accepted a proposal from Agni. One day the deity assuming the form of a brahmana was happily enjoying the company of the young girl when he was discovered by the King. The King was enraged and ordered the brahmana to be punished according to law. However, Agni flamed up in wrath, and the King, struck with wonder, immediately offered his daughter to the fire god. Accepting the King's daughter for his wife, Agni requested the king to take a benediction. The King asked that his troops would never panic while engaged in battle. From that time on any king who was foolish enough to attack Mahismati had his troops consumed by fire. Now the same thing was happening to Sahadeva's troops.

The mighty son of Pandu, however, stood his ground like an unmovable mountain. He purified himself and touched water. He then pacified the fire god with sweet words. Agni approached Sahadeva and gave him assurance, "O thou of the Kuru race, cease from offering prayers. I was only testing you. I know your purpose for subjugating the kings of the earth. However, O best of the Bharata race, as long as there is a descendant of King Nila's line, I will protect this town of Mahismati. I will, however, satisfy your desire." Agni then disappeared and soon King Nila appeared at Agni's request and paid tribute to King Yudhisthira.

Sahadeva then continued his conquest and soon received tribute from King Rukmi of Bhojakata and conquered all the kings of the south. He even exacted tribute from Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana and ruler of Lanka. Sahadeva, after accumulating vast hordes of wealth, returned to King Yudhisthira and presented all that he had collected.

Nakula, the heroic son of Pandu, went toward the east and collected tribute from those monarches who accepted King Yudhisthira's rule. He conquered the Dasarnas, the Karnatas, the Amvasthas, the Malavas and the Mlechcha tribes of the East. When Nakula came to Dvaraka, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Lord, gladly accepted the subjugation of King Yudhisthira, for the Lord is always conquered by the devotion of devotees. He is known as Ajita, unconquerable, but He is conquered by the love of His devotees. Nakula then approached his uncle, King Salya, who gladly accepted subordination under King Yudhisthira. King Salya bestowed upon Nakula large amounts of jewels and gold coins. So great was the treasure that Nakula exacted from various kings that ten thousand camels could carry it only with great difficulty. He entered Indraprastha and offered all that wealth at the feet of his brother, the magnanimous King Yudhisthira.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Fifth Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, Lord Krishna benedicts the Imprisoned Kings.


Chapter Commentary


The imprisoned kings could easily see the result of misusing political power. As soon as a king or a nation becomes rich in material opulences, it wants to dominate other nations by military aggression. Similarly, mercantile men want to monopolize a certain type of business and control other mercantile groups. Degraded by false prestige and infatuated by material opulences, human society, instead of striving for Krishna consciousness, creates havoc and disrupts peaceful living. Thus men naturally forget the real purpose of life: to attain the favor of Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is unfortunate that living beings have to learn the hard way. If we simply by follow the instructions of Lord Krishna, peaceful living automatically follows.

In Lord Krishna's instructions to the imprisoned kings, he gives the perfect example of a Krishna conscious society. If the people of the world divide the whole society, into four orders for material and spiritual progress, and following the instructions of Krishna as stated in Bhagavad-gita, the entire human society will undoubtedly be happy. Presently people don't know how to be happy. Because, by ignoring the instructions of the Lord and guided by their personal motivations, they have created hell on earth. Five thousand years ago the earth needed a cleansing of evil kings, and so also, today, the earth needs a thorough cleansing of the ungodly. Once this is done, the earth will again begin to prosper under God conscious leadership.



Chapter Six

Shishupala's Liberation


The kingdom of Maharaja Yudhisthira continued to prosper, and he was able to give full protection to his citizens, both materially and spiritually, because he always spoke of the Absolute Truth. His humble nature and his devotion to truth always kept his would be enemies in check. The citizens happily engaged in their respective occupational duties. Due to the rule of the pious monarch, there was as much rain in the kingdom as the citizens desired. All cities and towns in Maharaja Yudhisthira's kingdom became highly prosperous. Indeed, cow protection, farming and trading flourished beyond the expectations of the vaishya class. During the reign of Maharaja Yudhisthira, robbers and thieves never cheated anyone because there was plenty for all. There were no droughts, floods, plagues, earthquakes, famine, fires, or premature deaths in the kingdom of Maharaja Yudhisthira. In order to please Maharaja Yudhisthira, the kings of the earth used to serve him, worship him or offer tribute to that king of kings. The large treasure house of the emperor was so filled with hoards of wealth that it could not be emptied by a hundred years of charity. Seeing the state of his treasury, Maharaja Yudhisthira set his heart on performing the Rajasuya sacrifice.

Maharaja Yudhisthira's friends, ministers and officers, separately and together, approached him and advised, "The time has come, O exalted one, for the performance of the Rajasuya sacrifice. All arrangements should be made as soon as possible."

While these discussions were going on, Lord Hari (Krishna), the omniscient and oldest person of all, arrived in the kingdom of Maharaja Yudhisthira. That Supreme Lord has been described by those possessing knowledge as the omniscient Supersoul of every being, as the soul of the Vedas, as the foremost of all existences in the universe, as the origin of all things, as the cause of all causes, as that in which all things come to be resolved, and as the lord of the past, present and future. He has been called Keshava, the slayer of the Keshi demon, the dispeller of all fear in times of distress and the annihilator of all foes. That Supreme Personality of Godhead, being pleased by the devotion of Maharaja Yudhisthira, entered the pious city of Indraprastha, bringing with Him a large mass of treasure, including an inexhaustible ocean of gems that would be the envy of any enemy.

The capital of the Bharata dynasty was gladdened by Lord Krishna's presence just as a dark region becomes joyful by the sun's rising, or as one feels a cool gentle breeze on a hot summer day. The citizens of Indraprastha greeted that Lord of Lords with all the devotion in their hearts. Approaching Him lovingly and with due respect, Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired of His welfare. Offering Lord Krishna a seat of honor, Maharaja Yudhisthira, who was accompanied by Dhaumya, Vyasadeva, the sacrificial priests and Bhima and Arjuna, addressed Lord Krishna as follows, "My dear Lord Krishna, it is by your grace that this entire earth has been brought under my sway. And it is through your mercy that I have obtained the vast wealth in my treasury. I desire to devote that wealth according to scripture unto the direction of superior brahmanas and the carrier of the sacrificial libations. I am asking Your permission, O thou of the Dasarha race, to perform this sacrifice along with my brothers. My dear Krishna, O eternal form of bliss and knowledge, all the exalted directors of the affairs of this material world, including Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and King Indra, are always anxious to receive and carry out orders from You; and whenever they are fortunate enough to receive such orders, they immediately obey them in their hearts. O Krishna, You are unlimited, and although we sometimes think of ourselves as royal kings and rulers of the world and become puffed up over our paltry positions, we are very poor in heart. Actually, we are fit to be punished by You, but the wonder is that instead of punishing us, You so kindly and mercifully accept our orders and carry them out properly. Others are very surprised that Your Lordship can play the part of an ordinary human, but we can understand that You are performing these activities just like a stage actor. Your real position is always exalted, exactly like that of the sun, which always remains at the same temperature both during the time of its rising and the time of its setting. Although we feel the difference in temperature between the rising and the setting sun, the temperature of the sun never changes. You are always transcendentally equipoised, and thus You are neither pleased nor disturbed by any condition of material affairs. You are the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, and for You there are no relativities. My dear Madhava, You are never defeated by anyone. Material distinctions - 'This is me.' 'This is you.' 'This is mine.' 'This is yours.'--are all conspicuous by dint of their absence in You. Such distinctions are visible in the lives of everyone, even the animals, but those who are pure devotees are freed from these false distinctions. Since these distinctions are absent in Your devotees, they cannot possibly be present in You."

After satisfying Lord Krishna in this way, King Yudhisthira arranged to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. He invited all the qualified brahmanas and sages to take part and appointed them to different positions as priests in charge of the sacrificial arena. He invited the most expert brahmanas and sages, whose names are as follows: Krishna-dvaipayana Vyasadeva, Bharadvaja, Sumantu, Gautama, Asita, Vashistha, Chyavana, Kanva, Maitreya, Kavasa, Trita, Visvamitra, Vamadeva, Sumati, Jaimini, Kratu, Paila, Parasara, Garga, Vaisampayana, Atharva, Kasyapa, Dhaumya, Parasurama, Sukracharya, Asuri, Vitihotra, Madhucchanda, Virasena, and Akritavrana. Besides all these brahmanas and sages, he invited such respectful senior members of the Kuru Dynasty as Dronacharya, Bhishma, the grandfather of the Kurus, Kripacharya, and Dhritarastra. He also invited all the sons of Dhritarastra, headed by Duryodhana, and the great devotee Vidura was also invited. Kings from different parts of the world, along with their ministers and secretaries, were also invited to see the great sacrifice performed by King Yudhisthira, and the citizens, comprising learned brahmanas, chivalrous kshatriyas, well-to-do vaishyas, and faithful shudras, all visited the ceremony.

The kings who came for the Rajasuya sacrifice were received by Maharaja Yudhisthira and treated to heavenly opulence. All those monarches were assigned to mansions that equaled the abodes of the heavenly gods. The mansions were white as clouds and high as mount Kailasa. There were beautifully designed and filled with ornate furniture. They were enclosed with high boundary walls and surrounded by gardens and water tanks filled with lotus flowers. The lattice windows were covered with gold, and the walls were covered with rows of pearls and other valuable gems. The floors, too, were made of gems, and some were covered with costly carpets. Flower garlands hung here and there, and scented perfumes filled the air. These mansions were covered in white marble and looked like the the snow capped mountains of the Himalayas. The doors and entrances were uniformly set and were wide enough to admit a crowd. Adorned with various costly articles and built with various metals, they looked like the peaks of Mount Himavat. The kings of the earth were very satisfied with the reception of Maharaja Yudhisthira.

The brahmana priests and sages in charge of the sacrificial ceremony broke the sacrificial ground with a golden plow, and they initiated King Yudhisthira as the performer of the great sacrifice, in accordance with Vedic rituals. Long years ago, when Varuna performed a similar sacrifice, all the sacrificial utensils were made of gold. In the Rajasuya sacrifice of King Yudhisthira, all the utensils required for the sacrifice were also golden.

In order to participate in the great sacrifice performed by King Yudhisthira, all the exalted demigods like Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, and Indra the King of heaven, accompanied by their associates, as well as the predominating deities of higher planetary systems like Gandharvaloka, Siddhaloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, Nagaloka, Yakshaloka, Rakshasaloka, Pakshiloka and Charanaloka, as well as famous kings and their queens, were all present by the invitation of King Yudhisthira. All the respectable sages, kings and demigods who assembled there unanimously agreed that King Yudhisthira was quite competent to take the responsibility of performing the Rajasuya sacrifice; no one was in disagreement on this fact. All of them knew thoroughly the position of King Yudhisthira; because he was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, no accomplishment was extraordinary for him.

Maharaja Yudhisthira requested certain persons to help him with the sacrifice. He appointed Bhima to superintend the food department and other enjoyable things. He asked Ashvatthama to wait on and serve the needs of any brahmana who came to the sacrifice. Sanjaya was appointed to serve and offer worship to all kings who came to the sacrifice. Bhishma and Drona were appointed to see that no detail of the reception was neglected. Kripa was appointed to look after the diamonds, pearls, other gems and gold that was offered to King Yudhisthira. He was also in charge of distribution of gifts to brahmanas. Balhika, Dhritarastra, Somadatta, and Jayadratha went about enjoying themselves as lords of the sacrifice. Duryodhana was requested to become the receiver of tributes that were brought by kings. Whatever was offered to King Yudhisthira as gifts was counted by Duryodhana and stored properly. Vidura was put in charge of distributing charity at the right time and to proper persons. Lord Krishna, the center of all worlds and round whom every creature moved, was engaged by His own will in washing the feet of the brahmanas.

King Yudhisthira, himself, brought a large amount of wealth to the sacrificial arena. Everyone honored Maharaja Yudhisthira with large presents of jewels. And each king made a present of his wealth, flattering himself with the proud belief that the jewels he gave would enable King Yudhisthira to complete his sacrifice.

The learned brahmanas and priests saw to it that the sacrifice by Maharaja Yudhisthira was performed in exactly the same way as in bygone ages by the demigod Varuna. According to the Vedic system, whenever there is an arrangement for sacrifice, the members participating in the sacrifice are offered the juice of the soma plant. The juice of the soma plant is a kind of life-giving beverage. On the day of extracting the soma juice, King Yudhisthira very respectfully received the special priest who had been engaged to detect any mistake in the formalities of sacrificial procedures. The Vedic mantras must be enunciated perfectly and chanted with the proper accent; if the priests who are engaged in this business commit any mistake, the referee priest immediately corrects the procedure, and thus the ritualistic performances are perfectly executed. Unless it is perfectly executed, a sacrifice cannot yield the desired result.

Another important procedure is that the most exalted personality in the assembly of such a sacrificial ceremony is first offered worship. After all arrangements were made for Yudhisthira's sacrifice, the next consideration was who should be worshipped first in the ceremony. This particular ceremony is called Agrapuja. Agra means first, and puja means worship. In the sacrificial assembly, all the members were very exalted. Some proposed to elect one person as the perfect candidate for accepting Agrapuja, and others proposed someone else.

Then Bhishma, the son of Shantanu, spoke giving his opinion, "As the sun is the center of all luminescing objects, so Krishna is the center of all living beings. Our sacrificial altar is illuminated and blessed by His presence as a sunless region is blessed by the sun. Therefore, I feel that Krishna should be the first worshiped in this assembly."

Bhishma, the great grandsire of the Kurus, then ordered Sahadeva to offer the Agrapuja to Lord Krishna. However, Shishupala could not bear to see that worship offered to Lord Krishna. He spoke up influenced by envy and hatred, "O descendant of the Kuru race, this Krishna does not deserve royal worship as if he were a king. You sons of Pandu are acting like children. Bhishma, the son of Ganga, obviously, possesses little knowledge. He deserves to be censured amongst the honest and wise. How does this one of the Yadu dynasty, who is not even a king, deserve worship before all the exalted kings present? Krishna is not certainly the oldest in age, for here is His father, Vasudeva. If you regard Krishna as a well wisher, there is a greater well wisher present here as King Drupada. When Drona is present, how could you regard Krishna as a greater preceptor? Do you regard Krishna as greater in wisdom than Dvaipayana Vyasa? Amongst the warriors present, the great Bhishma, who can die only at his will, stand supreme. How could Krishna receive worship before him? When Ashvatthama, the knower of every branch of knowledge is present, how could you worship Krishna? When Duryodhana, the bull of the Bharata race, is present how could Krishna be worshipped first? Passing over Kripa, the preceptor of the Bharata princes, why have you worshiped Krishna? When Bhishmaka, Rukmi, Ekalavya, Salya or Karna are present, how could you worship Krishna? This slayer of Madhu is neither a sacrificial priest, nor a preceptor, nor a king. With what understanding have you worshiped Krishna? O chief of the Kurus, you have rejected qualified persons to be first worshiped from motives for gain. If you had planned to worship this Krishna, then why have you brought all these kings here to be insulted? This wretch born of the Vrishni race has caused the slaying of King Jarasandha by unrighteous means. O Yudhisthira, you have abandoned righteousness today."

Then turning to Lord Krishna, Shishupala, who was bringing death upon his head, spoke the following death knell of words, "O Janardana, why have You accepted the position of being first worshiped? You have acted like a dog that laps up clarified butter stolen from the sacrifice. O slayer of Madhu, as a wife is to one without virile power, as a fine play is to one who is blind, so this royal worship is to thee who are not even a king."

Having spoken these words, Shishupala rose from his seat, and accompanied by many kings, attempted to leave the assembly. King Yudhisthira hastily ran after Shishupala and tried to correct his wayward mentality, "O Lord of the earth, what you have said is scarcely proper for you. It is improper and highly sinful. Do not insult Bhishma by saying that he does not know what virtue is. Behold these many kings, older than you, who approve of the worship of Krishna. It behoves you to follow their example. O ruler of Chedi, Bhishma knows Lord Krishna in truth. You must learn from him the glory of Krishna."

Bhishma then spoke up in the assembly of kings, "He who does not approve of the worship of Krishna, the oldest person in the universe, deserves no soft words of conciliation. Any warrior of the Kshatriya race, who defeats all other warriors in battle and then sets his opponent free, becomes the preceptor of his opponent. I do not behold in this assembly of kings even one ruler who has not been subdued in battle by Krishna. The whole universe without limit can be found in Krishna. He deserves, not only the worship of all kings here, but of every living being. Therefore we worship Krishna as the oldest, but who remains ever fresh and as the foremost of all living beings. I have, O Shishupala, waited upon many sages experienced in knowledge. These wise men have explained to me in detail the glory of Krishna. I have heard many times the divine acts performed by Janardana since His birth. We do not, O King of Chedi, worship Krishna in hope of obtaining material benefits. All good men on earth worship that one who has no origin and who is the source of happiness for every creature. We have offered to Him the first worship because in Him resides all beauty, knowledge, power, renunciation, fame and glory.

"There is none in this assembly who we have not taken into consideration. Lord Krishna is the foremost among the brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras. As far as knowledgeable persons are concerned, He is the most learned in Vedas; indeed, He is the source of all Vedic knowledge. In this eminent person resides liberality, cleverness, knowledge of the Vedas, bravery, modesty, achievements, infinite intelligence, humility, beauty, firmness, contentment and prosperity. All these dwell in Achyuta, the infallible one. Therefore, O Kings, it behooves you to offer first worship to Krishna, the Lord of all beings.

"Hrishikesha is the sacrificial priest, the guru, the king, the best friend; and therefore He has been offered first worship. Krishna is the source of this universe and into who this universe will dissolve. Indeed this universe of mobile and immobile creatures has sprung into existence by the grace of Krishna only. He is the unmanifest primal cause, the creator, the eternal Lord and protector of all creatures. Therefore, why doesn't He of unfading glory deserve to be worshiped first. This Shishupala is a mere child, because he doesn't not know this Supreme Lord of all lords."

When Bhishma had stopped speaking, Sahadeva responded to the offensive words of Shishupala, "If there be any king amongst you who cannot bear to see Keshava, the killer of the Keshi demon, as the first person worshiped, I will place my foot on his head." When Sahadeva lifted his foot, no king challenged him. Suddenly, a shower of flowers fell on Sahadeva and an unembodied voice exclaimed, "Excellent! Excellent!"

Then Narada, clad in black deerskin and speaking of both the past and future, spoke the following words with the clearest import, "Those men who will not worship the lotus-eyed Krishna should be regarded as dead although life may reside in the body. In fact, one who does not regard Krishna as the first person to be worshiped should not be seen or spoken to."

When their was grumbling among the followers of Shishupala and the matter remained undecided, Sahadeva again began to speak in favor of Lord Krishna. He said, "Lord Krishna, the best amongst the members of the Yadu dynasty and the protector of His devotees, is the most exalted personality in this assembly. Therefore I think that He should without any objection be offered the honor of being worshiped first. Although demigods such as Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Indra, the King of the heavenly planets, and many other exalted personalities are present in this assembly, no one can be equal to or greater than Krishna in terms of time, space, riches, strength, reputation, wisdom, renunciation or any other consideration. Anything which is considered opulent is present originally in Krishna. As an individual soul is the basic principle of the growth of his material body, similarly Krishna is the Supersoul of this cosmic manifestation. All kinds of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, such as the performance of sacrifices, the offering of oblations in the fire, the chanting of the Vedic hymns and the practice of mystic yoga--all are meant for realizing Krishna. Whether one follows the path of fruitive activities or the path of philosophical speculation, the ultimate destination is Krishna; all bona fide methods of self-realization are meant for understanding Krishna. O respectable persons present, it is superfluous to speak about Krishna, because every one of you exalted personalities know the Supreme Brahman, Lord Krishna, for whom there are no material differences between body and soul, between energy and the energetic, or between one part of the body and another. Since everyone is a part and parcel of Krishna, there is no qualitative difference between Krishna and all living entities. Everything is an emanation of Krishna's energies, the material and spiritual energies. Krishna's energies are like the heat and light of the fire; there is no difference between the quality of heat and light of the fire itself.

"Also, Krishna can do anything He likes with any part of His body. We can execute a particular action with the help of a particular part of our body, but He can do anything and everything with any part of His body. And because His transcendental body is full of knowledge and bliss in eternity, he doesn't undergo the six kinds of material changes--birth, existence, growth, fruitive action, dwindling and vanishing. Unforced by any external energy, He is the supreme cause of the creation, maintenance and dissolution of everything that be. By the grace of Krishna only, everyone is engaged in the practice of religiousness, the development of economic conditions, the satisfaction of the senses and, ultimately, the achievement of liberation from material bondage. These four principles of progressive life can be executed by the mercy of Krishna only. He should therefore be offered the first worship of this great sacrifice, and no one should disagree. As by watering the root, the watering of the branches, twigs, leaves and flowers is automatically accomplished, or as by supplying food to the stomach, the nutrition and metabolism of all parts of the body are automatically established, so by offering the first worship to Krishna, everyone present in this meeting--including the great demigods--will be satisfied. If anyone is charitably disposed, it will be very good for him to give in charity only to Krishna, who is the Supersoul of everyone, regardless of his particular body or individual personality. Krishna is present as the Supersoul in every living being; and if we can satisfy Him, then automatically every living being becomes satisfied."

After this speech was delivered, all the members present in that great sacrificial assembly applauded, confirming his words continuously by saying, "Everything that you have said is completely perfect. Everything that you have said is completely perfect." King Yudhisthira, after hearing the confirmation of all present, especially of the brahmanas and learned sages, finished worshiping Lord Krishna according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions. First of all, King Yudhisthira--along with his brothers, wives, children, other relatives and ministers-washed the lotus feet of Lord Krishna and sprinkled the water on their heads. After this, Lord Krishna was offered various kinds of silken garments of yellow color, and heaps of jewelry and ornaments were presented before Him for His use.

King Yudhisthira felt such ecstasy by honoring Krishna, who was his only lovable object, that tears glided down from his eyes; and although He wanted to, he could not see Lord Krishna very well. Lord Krishna was thus worshiped by King Yudhisthira. At that time all the members present in that assembly stood up with folded hands and began to chant, "Jaya! Namah! Namah!" When all joined together to offer their respectful obeisances to Krishna, there were showers of flowers from the sky.

After the Agrapuja had been completed, King Shishupala could not tolerate such honor being offered to Krishna nor hear the glorification of His qualities. Instead of being happy to hear the glories of the Lord, he became very angry. When everyone offered respect to Krishna by standing up, Shishupala remained in his seat; but when he became angry at Krishna's being honored, Shishupala stood up suddenly, and raising his hand, began to speak very strongly and fearlessly against Lord Krishna. He spoke in such a way that Lord Krishna could hear him very distinctly.

 "Ladies and gentlemen, I can appreciate now the statement of the Vedas that, after all, time is the predominating factor. In spite of all endeavors to the contrary, the time element executes its own plan without opposition. For example, one may try his best to live, but when the time for death comes, no one can check it. I see here that although there are many stalwart personalities present in this assembly, the influence of time is so strong that they have been misled by the statement of a boy who has foolishly spoken about Krishna. There are many learned sages and elderly persons present, but still they have accepted the statement of a foolish boy. This means that by the influence of time, even the intelligence of such honored persons as are present in this meeting can be misdirected. I fully agree with the respectable persons present here that they are competent enough to select the personality who can be first worshiped, but I cannot agree with the statement of a boy like Sahadeva, who has spoken so highly about Krishna and has recommended that Krishna is fit to accept the first worship in the sacrifice. I can see that in this meeting there are many personalities who have undergone great austerities, who are highly learned and who have performed many penances. By their knowledge and direction, they can deliver many persons who are suffering from the pangs of material existence. There are great rishis here whose knowledge has no bounds, as well as many self- realized persons and brahmanas also; and therefore, I think that any one of them could have been selected for the first worship because they are worshipable even by the great demigods, kings and emperors. I cannot understand how you could have selected this cowherd boy, Krishna, and have left aside all these other great personalities. I think Krishna to be no better than a crow! How can He be fit to accept the first worship in this great sacrifice?

"We cannot even ascertain as yet to which caste this Krishna belongs or what His actual occupational duty is. Krishna does not belong to a respectable family. He is so independent that no one knows His principles of religious life. It appears that He is outside the jurisdiction of all religious principles. He always acts independently, not caring for the Vedic injunctions and regulative principles. Therefore He is devoid of all good qualities." Shishupala indirectly praised Krishna by saying that He is not within the jurisdiction of Vedic injunction. This is true because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That He has no qualities means that Krishna has no material qualities; and because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He acts independently, not caring for conventions or social or religious principles.

Shishupala continued: "Under these circumstances, how can He be fit to accept the first worship in the sacrifice? Krishna is so foolish that He has left Mathura, which is inhabited by highly elevated persons following the Vedic culture, and He has taken shelter in the ocean, where there is not even talk of the Vedas. Instead of living openly, He has constructed a fort within the water and is living in an atmosphere where there is no discussion of Vedic knowledge. And whenever He comes out of the fort, He simply harasses the citizens like a dacoit, thief or rogue."

Shishupala went crazy because Krishna was elected the supreme first- worshiped person in that meeting, and he spoke so irresponsibly that it appeared that he had lost all his good fortune. Being overcast with misfortune, Shishupala continued to insult Krishna further, and Lord Krishna patiently heard him without protest. Just as a lion does not care when a flock of jackals howl, Lord Krishna remained silent and unprovoked. Krishna did not reply to even a single accusation made by Shishupala, but all the members present in the meeting, except for a few who agreed with Shishupala, became very agitated because it is the duty of any respectable person not to tolerate blasphemy against God or His devotee. Some of them, who thought that they could not properly take action against Shishupala, left the assembly in protest, covering their ears with their hands in order not to hear further accusations. Thus they left the meeting condemning the action of Shishupala. It is the Vedic injunction that whenever there is blasphemy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one must immediately leave. If he does not do so, he becomes bereft of pious activities and is degraded to the lower condition of life.

All the kings present, belonging to the Kuru dynasty, Matsya dynasty, Kekaya dynasty and Shrinjaya dynasty, became very angry and immediately took up their swords and shields to kill Shishupala. Bhimasena became overwhelmed with rage and stood up to fight with Shishupala. However, Bhishma grabbed him and would not let him proceed further. Bhishma then spoke to Bhima to pacify his anger, "This Shishupala in not destined to be killed by you. The force, under which the King of Chedi boasts so foolishly, is scarcely of his own, but the Lord of the universe. O Bhima, what king is there who would dare abuse me as this wretch, already possessed by death, has done today. This king of Chedi is without doubt under the influence of Lord Hari's energy. And surely the Lord desires to take him back to Vaikuntha. Due to the Lord's influence, Shishupala roars like a lion caring little for all kings present.

"Listen as I relate his history. Shishupala was born with four hands and three eyes, and upon his birth, he screamed like an ass. His parents were intently thinking of abandoning him for fear that he was a demon. Just when they were about to rid themselves of the child, a voice from the heavens spoke, 'Do not abandon this child. He will prove to be a powerful warrior and will obtain all good fortune. He is not destined to die in his childhood. The person that will kill him has been born into this world already.'

Bhishma continued, "Hearing the unembodied voice, the mother inquired, 'Who will be the slayer of my son?' The invisible being replied, 'The child will lose his two extra arms and eye when he is placed on the lap of a certain guest, and it will be that person who will slay your son.' Although the child was placed upon the lap of thousands of kings and princes, still the prophecy did not come true. One day Lord Krishna and Balarama came to the kingdom of the Chedis. They worshipped Their aunt and were given a fitting reception. When They took their seats, the queen brought the child to Krishna and placed it in His lap. The child immediately lost his two extra arms and the third eye. The queen in great anxiety then begged a benediction from Lord Krishna, 'O mighty armed Krishna, please grant me that You will excuse the offences of my son Shishupala.' Lord Krishna replied, 'O my aunt, I say that I will pardon one hundred offences committed by your son. Do not grieve for his life.' O Bhima, this King is not destined to be killed by you. He has already committed over one hundred offences, and he will soon be killed by the Lord of the universe, Himself."

Shishupala did not become even slightly agitated by Bhishma's words. Many of the kings present were ready to kill him for his offenses to Lord Krishna and others. He did not care to think of the pros and cons of his foolish talking; and when he saw that all the kings were ready to kill him, instead of stopping, he stood to fight with them and took up his sword and shield. When Lord Krishna saw that they were going to engage in fighting in the arena of the auspicious Rajasuya yajna, He personally pacified them. Out of His causeless mercy He Himself decided to kill Shishupala. When Shishupala was abusing the kings who were about to attack him, Lord Krishna took up His disc, which was as sharp as the blade of a razor, and immediately separated the head of Shishupala from his body.

When Shishupala was thus killed, a great roar and howl went up from the crowd of that assembly. Taking advantage of that disturbance, the few kings who were supporters of Shishupala quickly left the assembly out of fear of their lives. But despite all this, the fortunate Shishupala's spirit soul went to Krishna and worshiped him and then immediately merged into the body of Lord Krishna in the presence of all members, exactly as a burning meteor falls to the surface of the globe. Shishupala's soul merging into the transcendental body of Krishna fulfilled the the four Kumara's curse of Jaya and Vijaya, who fell to the material world from the Vaikuntha planets. For their return to the Vaikuntha world, it was arranged that both Jaya and Vijaya for three consecutive births would act as deadly enemies of the Lord, and at the end of these lives they would again return to the Vaikuntha world and serve the Lord as His associates.

After the salvation of Shishupala, King Yudhisthira rewarded all the members present in the sacrificial assembly. He sufficiently remunerated the priests and the learned sages for their engagement in the sacrifice. After the sacrifice, King Yudhisthira stood in the midst of all the learned sages and brahmanas, and he seemed exactly like the King of heaven and thus looked very beautiful. King Yudhisthira sufficiently rewarded all the demigods who participated in the sacrifice, and being greatly satisfied, all of them left praising the King's activities and glorifying Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna thus enabled the performance of the Rajasuya yajna arranged by King Yudhisthira to be successfully completed, and, being requested by His cousins and relatives, He remained in Hastinapura for a few months more.

Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Sixth Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, Shishupala's Liberation.



Chapter Commentary


In this day and age it is not possible to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. No one has sufficient wealth nor does anyone have complete sovereignty of the world. The demigods will not attend a sacrifice in Kali yuga, and there are no learned brahmanas or priests available; therefore, all such sacrifices are forbidden by the shastras. The only sacrifice recommended in the shastras is the chanting of the Holy Names of God, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare\ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This simple sacrifice has been enunciated by the incarnation for this age of Kali, Shree Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He is non different from Lord Krishna Himself. The Lord has given this easy process to the fallen people of this age, because no one can perform sacrifices like the Rajasuya or ashvamedha. This easy sacrifice of chanitng the holy names can be performed by anyone; and when the Holy Names are chanted without offense, the Supreme Lord becomes as pleased as when opulent sacrifices were performed in previous ages.

We should try to better understand the position of Shishupala. Although Shishupala acted as the enemy of Krishna, he was not for a single moment out of Krishna consciousness. He was always absorbed in thought of Krishna, and thus he got first the salvation of sayujya-mukti, merging into the existence of the Supreme, and finally became reinstated in his original position of personal service. The Bhagavad-gita corroborates the fact that if one is absorbed in the thought of the Supreme Lord at the time of death, he immediately enters the kingdom of God after quitting his material body. The story of the fall of Jaya and Vijaya from the Vaikuntha planets to the material world is described in the Seventh Canto of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The killing of Shishupala has a direct link with that narration of jaya and Vijaya, but the most important instruction that we get from this incident is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, being absolute, can give salvation to everyone, whether one acts as His enemy or as His friend. It is, therefore, a misconception that the Lord acts with someone in the relationship of a friend and with someone else in the relationship of an enemy. His being an enemy or friend is always on the absolute platform. There is no material distinction.

Another point to be found in this chapter is that Shishupala's blasphemy of Lord Krishna was actually glorification. Shishupala made the statement that Lord Krishna does not belong to any caste. Actually, Krishna does not belong to any caste, nor does He have to perform any occupational duty. It is stated in the Vedas that the Supreme Lord has nothing to do as His prescribed duty. Whatever has to be done on His behalf is executed by His different energies. He is transcendental to the caste system. Indeed, he is the cause of the Varnashrama system as stated in Bhagavad-gita, "The four orders of occupation were created by Me according to quality and work." (B.g. 3.14) Since Krishna is the creator of this system, He is not subject to it. Therefore, Shishupala was correct when he said, "We do not know to what caste this Krishna belongs."

Shishupala was also correct when he said that Krishna was not a king of this world. Krishna is much greater than a worldly king. He is the Supreme Godhead. There is no need for Him to become a worldly king in order to show His divinity. His kingdom is not of this world, but of the kingdom of God. The president of the United States very rarely visits a prison, although he controls it, because of the rebelliousness of the inmates. The Supreme Lord is very kind in that He sometimes visits this world to encourage the living beings to come back to the kingdom of God. Some of the inhabitants of this world of birth and death do not recognize the Lord and rebel against Him.




Chapter seven

Duryodhana Embarassed at the Palace of King Yudhisthira


King Yudhisthira was known as Ajatrashatru, or a person who has no enemy. Therefore, when all men, all demigods, all kings, sages and saints saw the successful termination of the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by King Yudhisthira, they became very happy. King Yudhisthira, was a great soul. His congenial disposition attracted everyone as his friend, and therefore he was known as Ajatrashatru, one who never created an enemy.

After Shishupala had died by the mercy of Lord Krishna and had become merged in the spiritual existence, and after the end of the Rajasuya sacrifice, when all friends, guests and well-wishers had been sufficiently honored and rewarded, King Yudhisthira went to bathe in the Ganges. While traveling in procession, different musical instruments, such as mridangas, conchshells, drums, kettledrums and bugles, vibrated. In addition, the ankle bells of the dancing girls jingled. Many groups of professional singers played vinas, flutes, gongs and cymbals, and thus a tumultuous sound vibrated in the sky. The princely guests from many kingdoms, like Shrinjaya, Kambhoja, Kuru, Kekaya and Kosala, were present with their different flags and gorgeously decorated elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers. All were passing in a procession to the Ganges, and King Yudhisthira was in the forefront.

The sacrificial heads, such as the priests, religious ministers and brahmanas, were all were loudly chanting the Vedic hymns. The demigods, the inhabitants of the Pitriloka and Gandharvaloka, as well as many sages, showered flowers from the sky. The men and women of Indraprastha, their bodies smeared with scents and floral oils, were nicely dressed in colorful garments and decorated with garlands, jewels and ornaments. They were all enjoying the ceremony, and they threw other liquid substances like water, oil, milk, butter and yogurt. Some even smeared these on each other's bodies. In this way, they were enjoying the occasion. The professional prostitutes were also engaged by jubilantly smearing these liquid substances on the bodies of the men, and the men reciprocated in the same way. All the liquid substances had been mixed with turmeric and saffron, and their color was lustrous yellow.

In order to witness the avabhrita bath of King Yudhisthira, many wives of the demigods had come in different airplanes, and they were visible in the sky. Similarly, the queens of the royal family arrived on different palanquins. There were gorgeously decorated and protected by bodyguards. During this time, Lord Krishna, the maternal cousin of the Pandavas, and His special friend Arjuna, were both throwing the liquid substances on the bodies of the queens. The queens became bashful, but at the same time their beautiful smiling brightened their faces. Because of the liquid substances thrown on their bodies, the saris covering them became completely wet. The different parts of their beautiful bodies, particularly their breasts and waists, became partially visible because of the wet cloth. The queens also brought in buckets of liquid substances and sprinkled them on the bodies of their husbands. As they engaged in such jubilant activities, their hair fell loose, and the flowers decorating their bodies began to fall. When Lord Krishna, Arjuna and the queens were thus engaged in these jubilant activities, persons who were not clean in heart became agitated by lustful desires. Such behavior between pure males and females is enjoyable, but persons who are materially contaminated become lustful.

King Yudhisthira, in a gorgeous chariot yoked by excellent horses, was present with his queens, including Draupadi and others. The festivities of the sacrifice were so beautiful that it appeared as if Rajasuya was standing there in person with the functions of the sacrifice.

Following the Rajasuya sacrifice, there was the Vedic ritualistic duty known as patnisamyaja. This sacrifice was performed along with one's wife, and it was also performed by the priests of King Yudhisthira. When Queen Draupadi and King Yudhisthira were taking their avabhrita bath, the citizens of Hastinapura as well as the demigods began to beat on drums and blow trumpets out of feelings of happiness, and there was a shower of flowers from the sky. When the King and the Queen finished their bath in the Ganges, all the other citizens, consisting of all the varnas or castes--the brahmanas, the kshatriyas, the vaishyas, and the shudras--took their baths in the Ganges. Bathing in the Ganges is recommended in the Vedic literature because by such bathing one becomes freed from all sinful reactions.

After taking his bath, King Yudhisthira dressed in a new silken cloth and chaddar and decorated himself with valuable jewelry. The King not only dressed himself and decorated himself, but he also gave clothing and ornaments to all the priests and to the others who had participated in the yajnas. In this way, they were all worshiped by King Yudhisthira. He constantly worshiped his friends, his family members, his relatives, his well-wishers and everyone present, and because he was a great devotee of Lord Narayana, or because he was a Vaishnava, he therefore knew how to treat everyone well.

When everyone was refreshed after bathing and was dressed in silken clothing with jeweled earrings, flower garlands, turbans, long chaddars and pearl necklaces, they looked, altogether, like the denizens from heaven. This was especially true of the women who were very nicely dressed. Each wore a golden belt around the waist. They were all smiling. Spots of tilaka and curling hair were scattered here and there. This combination was very attractive.

Persons who had participated in the Rajasuya sacrifice--including the most cultured priests, the brahmanas who had assisted in the performance of the sacrifice, the citizens of all varnas, kings, demigods, sages, saints and citizens of the Pitriloka--were all very much satisfied by the dealings of King Yudhisthira, and at the end they happily departed for their residences. While returning to their homes, they talked of the dealings of King Yudhisthira, and even after continuous talk of his greatness they were not satiated, just as one may drink nectar over and over again and never be satisfied. After the departure of all others, Maharaja Yudhisthira restrained the inner circle of his friends, including Lord Krishna, by not allowing them to leave. Lord Krishna could not refuse the request of the King. He therefore sent back all the heroes of the Yadu dynasty, like Samba and others. All of them returned to Dvaraka, and Lord Krishna personally remained in order to give pleasure to the King.

In the material world, everyone has a particular type of desire to be fulfilled, but one is never able to fulfill his desire to his full satisfaction. But King Yudhisthira, because of his unflinching devotion to Krishna, could fulfill all his desires successfully by the performance of the Rajasuya yajna. From the description of the execution of the Rajasuya yajna, it appears that such a function is a great ocean of opulent desires. It is not possible for an ordinary man to cross over such an ocean; nevertheless, by the grace of Lord Krishna, King Yudhisthira was able to cross over it very easily, and thus he became freed from all anxieties.

When Duryodhana saw that Maharaja Yudhisthira had become very famous after performance of the Rajasuya yajna and was fully satisfied in every respect, he began to burn with the fire of envy because his mind was always poisonous. For one thing, he envied the imperial court which had been constructed by the demon Maya for the Pandavas. The court was excellent in its puzzling artistic workmanship and was befitting the position of great princes, kings or leaders of the demons. In that great palace, the Pandavas were living with their family members, and Queen Draupadi was serving her husbands very peacefully. And because in those days Lord Krishna was also there, the palace was also decorated by His thousands of queens. When the queens, with their heavy breasts and thin waists, moved within the palace, and their ankle bells rang very melodiously with their movement, the whole palace appeared to be more opulent than the heavenly kingdoms. Because a portion of their breasts was sprinkled with saffron powder, the pearl necklaces on their breast appeared to be reddish. With their full earrings and flowing hair, the queens appeared very beautiful.

After looking at such beauties in the palace of King Yudhisthira, Duryodhana became envious. He became especially envious and lustful upon seeing the beauty of Draupadi because he had cherished a special attraction for her from the very beginning of her marriage with the Pandavas. In the marriage selection assembly of Draupadi, Duryodhana had also been present, and with other princes he had been very much captivated by Draupadi's beauty, but he had failed to achieve her.

Shortly after the completion of the Rajasuya sacrifice, King Yudhisthira was sitting on the golden throne in the palace constructed by the demon Maya. His four brothers and other relatives, as well as his great well-wisher, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, were present and the material opulence of King Yudhisthira seemed no less than that of Lord Brahma.

While he was sitting on the imperial throne surrounded by his friends, and the reciters were offering prayers to him in the form of nice songs, Duryodhana, and his younger brother were marveling over the opulence of the palace created by the demon Maya. While wandering through the palace they came upon a crystal floor. The king mistaking it for a pool of water lifted up his royal robes. He appeared foolish for doing so, and when he learned the floor was not actually water, he appeared embarrassed and angry. Nonetheless, he continued to inspect the palace and suddenly came upon a crystal pool adorned with lotus flowers with crystal petals. This time he was convinced it was land; and as he walked forward, he fell into the lake and all his clothes became wet.

By the craftsmanship of the demon Maya, the palace was so decorated in different places that one who did not know the tricks would consider water to be land and land to be water. Duryodhana was also illusioned by this craftsmanship; and when he was crossing water thinking it to be land, he fell down. When Duryodhana, out of his foolishness, had thus fallen, Lord Krishna's queens enjoyed the incident by laughing. King Yudhisthira could understand the feelings of Duryodhana, and he tried to restrain the queens from laughing, but Lord Krishna indicated that King Yudhisthira should not restrain them from enjoying the incident. Krishna desired that Duryodhana might be fooled in that way and that all of them might enjoy his foolish behavior. Seeing Duryodhana fallen into the lake, Bhima laughed loudly. Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva also laughed at the foolishness of Duryodhana. When everyone laughed, Duryodhana felt very insulted, and his hair stood up in anger. Being thus insulted, he started to leave the palace, bowing his head. He was silent and did not protest. He again lifted up his clothes to pass over what he thought was water. Again it was only land and everyone laughed. Becoming more and more indignant, the king attempted to leave through a crystal door that he thought was open. When he bumped into the crystal door, he backed off with his brain reeling. He then went to another door and thinking it was a crystal door attempted to open it with his outstretched hands. The door was actually open and he fell down in his attempt. And coming upon another door that was really open, Duryodhana thought it was closed and went away from it.

When Duryodhana left in such an angry mood, King Yudhisthira regretted the incident, and became very sorry. But despite all occurrences, Krishna was silent. He did not say anything against or in favor of the incident. It appeared that Duryodhana had been put into illusion by the supreme will of Lord Krishna, and this incident increased the enmity between the two sects of the Kuru dynasty. It appeared that it was a part of Krishna's plan in His mission to decrease the burden of the world.


Thus Ends Mahabharata Summation to Chapter Seven of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, Duryodhana Embarrassed at the Palace of King Yudhisthira.


Chapter Commentary


Maharaja Yudhisthira was able to treat everyone equally. The Mayavadi philosophers' endeavor to see everyone as God is an artificial way towards oneness, but a Vaishnava or a devotee of Lord Narayana sees every living entity as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, a Vaishnava's treatment of other living entities is on the absolute platform. Since one cannot treat one part of his body differently from another part because they all belong to the same body, so a Vaishnava does not see a human being as distinct from an animal because in both of them he sees the soul and the Supersoul seated simultaneously. Maharaja Yudhisthira was endowed with such a spiritual vision, and, therefore, seeing Lord Krishna in everyone's heart, he treated everyone kindly.

One may wonder why Lord Krishna allowed everyone to laugh at Duryodhana's foolishness if the Lord is equal to everyone. Although Duryodhana is also part and parcel of Krishna, he was acting enviously of the Pandavas. The Lord had descended to protect His devotees and to kill the envious. However, both groups got liberation. The Pandavas and other devotees got liberation by favorable devotion. Shishupala, Duryodhana, Kamsa and others got liberation by being envious of the Lord and thus being killed by the Lord. When the demons are killed by the Lord, they attain to favorable devotion and enter the kingdom of God. Thus the Lord is truly equal to all.





Chapter Eight

The Evil Plan


After Duryodhana left Indraprastha, he was burning with envy. He could not stand to see the opulence of the Pandavas. After the incident of falling into the pond and hearing Bhima laugh at him, Duryodhana was determined to destroy the Pandavas. He confided in his uncle Shakuni, "O uncle, the Kings of the earth are now subordinate to Yudhisthira due to the strength of Arjuna's Gandiva bow, given to him by Agni, the fire god. After completing the Rajasuya sacrifice, the Pandavas have brought all the kings of the world under their sway. This envy is burning my heart day and night. Did you see how Shishupala was killed by Krishna? Shishupala had no one to support him in that fight. The Pandavas are supported by Krishna and Balarama, and the whole Yadu and Vrishni dynasties. King Drupada and his sons have also taken their side. I cannot live seeing the Pandavas prosper. I will take poison or throw myself in fire, but I will not maintain my life while the Pandavas grow in opulence. With Karna, Drona, Bhishma, Kripa, and my brothers, I will attack them and take away their wealth. Let us quickly organize our troops and exterminate them."

Shakuni, who was evil from birth, then gave the following foolish advice, "Krishna, Arjuna, Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva and Drupada and his sons can never be subjugated in battle even by the heavenly gods themselves. However, listen, O King, to the means by which Yudhisthira may be defeated. The son of Kunti, Yudhisthira, is very fond of playing dice, although he does not play well. If he is challenged, he will not refuse. I am skillful at dice, and there is no one on earth who is my equal. If I play for you, I can win the kingdom of the Pandavas with out shedding any blood. The dice will prove to be more deadly than the sword."

"Let us present our plan to my father," Duryodhana joyfully responded, "and then take the necessary action."

When Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura, he informed his father through Shakuni that he was very morose and unhappy. Dhritarastra then called for Duryodhana and inquired from him, "My dear son, why are you so unhappy. This vast wealth of mine is under your control. No one in this court opposes your desires. You have an opulent treasury, the finest food, the finest bed, the fastest horses and all these servants wait at your command. Therefore, do not be unhappy."

Duryodhana replied to his father, "I eat the finest foods and dress in the most opulent clothes, but these do not satisfy me for my heart is full of jealousy. Having seen Yudhisthira's prosperity, whatever I enjoy brings me no happiness. The opulence of Pandu's sons diminishes my pride, and I have become pale. Yudhisthira is supporting 88,000 brahmanas, and at his palace he is feeding them daily off golden plates. The King of Kambhoja has sent to him hundreds and thousands of she elephants and thirty thousand she-camels. O my father, the lords of the earth brought for Yudhisthira's pleasure heaps of jewels and gems, and unlimited amounts of gold. Thousands of chariots and horses of the finest quality were brought to the Rajasuya sacrifice. Never before have I seen or heard of such wealth. Even the heavenly gods do not possess such wealth. I think that Lord Brahma and Yudhisthira are now equal in their opulence. There was so much wealth brought to the Rajasuya sacrifice that it could not be brought into the Palace. It was left outside the palace to be dealt with at a later time. Seeing the great opulence of Yudhisthira, my heart burns and I cannot enjoy peace."

At this time Shakuni, who possessed a wicked heart, offered ill advice to the King, "My dear King, I know a way by which Duryodhana's heart may be pacified. I am very expert in gambling and throwing dice. Yudhisthira also likes to play, but doesn't play well. If Duryodhana challenges him to play at dice, I will throw the dice and secure their kingdom from them. Without any bloodshed the kingdom of the Pandavas will belong to Duryodhana."

"I will consult Vidura, the possessor of great wisdom," Dhritarastra replied. "After talking with him, I will inform you of the judgement in respect to this affair. However, I warn you not to be jealous of the Pandavas. He who becomes envious of anothers' wealth suffers the pangs of death. Yudhisthira does not know about deception, and therefore, always treats you as a friend. If he is not jealous of you, why should you be jealous of him? One who covets the possessions of others is never remembered in the records of history, but on other hand, one who strives to acquire his own wealth by honest means attains lasting fame. I look on both of you as my own sons, therefore give up this jealousy."

"The Kings of Hastinapura are the Kings of the world," Duryodhana angrily replied. "Is it not right to bring every direction under our rule? Isn't one who gives pain to another considered to be one's enemy? While I was walking in the assembly hall built by the demon Maya, I slipped and fell into the water. At that time Bhima laughed at me, and anger sprung up in my heart; and if Krishna had not been there, I would have slain Vrikodara. It is natural to have enemies and friends. They have been chosen by providence. The Pandavas are my determined enemies, and I will destroy them. I will not be content until I have accomplished this, O Bharata; do not let the opulence of the enemy increase. If you consult with Vidura, he will advise you to desist. And if you do not carry out this plan, I will kill myself. And when I am dead, you and Vidura can be happy without me."

Hearing these painful words, Dhritarastra, through affectionate weakness for his son, gave the following order, "Let an assembly house be constructed at Jayanta immediately. It must be built of the finest quality. The columns must be made of gold and the walls studded with the most precious gems. Report to me when it is complete."

Dhritarastra then sent for Vidura and in private informed him of the deceptive scheme. The intelligent Vidura, when he heard of Shakuni's plan, knew that the age of Kali had arrived. He tried to persuade the blind King, "O exalted King, I do not approve of this idea of a gambling match. You should act in such a way that no quarrels arise between your sons and the sons of your brother."

"O Vidura," Dhritarastra replied, "if the demigods are merciful to us nothing will happen in the gambling match. Besides it is a friendly gesture between cousins. As long as I am there along with Bhishma, Drona and Yourself, what harm can come? Therefore, go to Indraprastha and invite the Pandavas to Hastinapura. This is my resolution, and I do not want to hear anything more. I regard fate as supreme." Hearing the words of the blind King, Vidura concluded that his dynasty was doomed and in great sorrow went to Bhishma to inform him of the affair.

Following Dhritarastra's order, Vidura went to Indraprastha, where he was received warmly by Yudhisthira and the others. After being given a comfortable seat, Yudhisthira inquired, "You do not seem to be very happy. Are you not well? Is there someone in Hastinapura who is not in good health? Please tell us what is within your mind." Vidura repeated the order given by Dhritarastra, the order to come and visit the new assembly hall built in Jayanta and to engage in game of dice.

"If we engage in a game of dice," Yudhisthira replied, "we might quarrel. What do you think is the best policy for us to follow? We will pursue the counsel that you offer."

"I know that gambling is the root of all evil," Vidura said. "I tried to persuade the King to desist from this action, but he would not heed my advice. Shakuni, the King of Gandhara, is ready to play for Duryodhana. He is a great wizard at this game, and you will certainly lose. Knowing all this, judge for yourself what action to take."

"It would seem" Yudhisthira replied, "that Duryodhana is determined to win our wealth by deceitful means. This whole cosmic manifestation is under the the control of higher authorities. No one is free to act in the way he pleases. I do not desire to gamble; however, it is the duty of a kshatriya to accept challenges in the matter of gambling and fighting. I cannot refuse them."

After making his decision, Yudhisthira made arrangements for their journey to Hastinapura. The next day Yudhisthira, along with his brothers, set out for the capital of the Kurus, taking with them their queens and servants.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Eighth Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, The Evil Plan.



Chapter Commentary


Duryodhana could not be satisfied even with the immense wealth of his father. This is the nature of materialistic persons. The heart burns with lust and greed, and they are never satisfied. Duryodhana thought Yudhisthira to be his enemy, but the actual enemy was in his heart. In the third chapter of Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna told Arjuna, "It is lust only, Arjuna, born out of the mode of passion, and later transformed into wrath, which is the all devouring sinful enemy of this world." (B.g. 3.37) Lusty desires can never be satisfied. Once one desire is fulfilled, another arises like a blazing fire. These desires whip the living being and don't allow him to be content. Only when this enemy is defeated within can there be real peace.

In this age the way to conquer the internal enemy is to slay him with the chanting of the Holy Names of God. This process will stop the blazing fire of lust within the heart and conquer the real foe. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given us this sublime process to stop the repetition of birth and death. He has requested everyone to chant the Maha-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The translation of this is, "O energy of the Lord, O my Lord, please engage me in Thy loving service." Lord Chaitanya left no hard and fast rules on which name of God you may chant for the Lord has hundreds and thousands of names. However, everyone He met He requested them to chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, for this great mantra would deliver everyone in the age. The important point is to chant the holy name dear to you and conquer the enemy within.

At present nations are forming peace conferences to pacify the waring factions of the world, but until there is internal peace, there can be no external peace. In the name of God and religion, people perform greedy and lusty acts, because they have not subdued the real enemy within--lust and greed. Duryodhana could never be contented as long as he could not recognize his real enemy. Yudhisthira had conquered this enemy, and because he was at peace within, he was at peace without. His name is Ajatrashatru, one whose enemy was never born. That means that he never saw anyone as an enemy, even though others looked at him differently. His heart was completely situated on the transcendental platform of love for God.

When Vidura heard the evil plan to steal the wealth of the Pandavas, he knew the age of Kali had arrived. Kali Yuga means the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Before the age of Kali, kings were rajarshis, godly men in the dress of kings. Duryodhana was the first king to exhibit the qualities of Kali Yuga: envy, lust, greed, anger, etc. Therefore, Vidura, due to his vast knowledge and realization, could immediately understand that the age of Kali was here because Duryodhana envied the godly and pious Pandavas. Although Kali Yuga is an iron age of bad qualities, where the people are sunk in ignorance, still there is great mercy in this age. Just by chanting the Holy Names of God, one can stop the repetition of birth and death and go back to the kingdom of God.


Chapter Nine

The Gambling Match


The Pandavas soon arrived at Hastinapura, the Kuru capital, where they were offered a superficial welcome by Dhritarastra and supplied rooms that were beautifully furnished. They spent the night in those apartments, and the next day they were taken by Dhritarastra to the new imperial court at Jayanta. Following them were Duryodhana and his one hundred brothers, Shakuni and the other members of the Kuru race such as Bhishma, Somadatta and Bhurishravas. The Pandavas were shown the assembly hall, and out of courtesy the Pandavas expressed appreciation for the beauty of the royal assembly court. However, it did not measure up to the beauty of the imperial court built by the demon Maya. Duryodhana and his followers were indifferent to the assembly house; their minds were fixed on the gambling match.

After the hall had been inspected, Shakuni suggested that they sit down and play a game of dice. However, Yudhisthira advised, "Gambling is deceitful, sinful, and there is no kshatriya prowess in it. When there is no morality in such action, why do you praise gambling in this way? The wise do not advise playing with one who is expert in dice. O Shakuni, do not try to subjugate us by deceitful means. Victory in battle without deception and wickedness is the mark of a true warrior."

"It is from a desire to be victorious" Shakuni replied, "that one person approaches another for gambling. But such a desire is not really dishonest. One who is expert in gambling approaches another to defeat that person. Similarly, one who is the expert in the use of weapons approaches a weaker enemy with the idea of defeating him. This is the practice in every contest. The motive is victory. If you think that my intentions are deceptive, then you may desist from play."

"Since you have challenged me," Yudhisthira said, "I will not withdraw. This is my established vow. We are all under the control of destiny. Who in this assembly shall be my opponent? Who will match their skill against mine? Let the play begin."

The scheming Duryodhana joyfully suggested, "O monarch, I shall supply gems and jewels and every kind of wealth. However, my uncle Shakuni shall roll the dice for me."

Not agreeing with the terms, Yudhisthira replied, "Gambling for one's own sake is allowed, but a substitute is never sanctioned."

"I see nothing wrong in this arrangement," Shakuni spoke up. "It is evident that you want to avoid playing by offering some excuse. If you do not want to play, then tell us frankly." Yudhisthira could not reply, and the game of dice began.

When the gambling match commenced, the hall filled up with princes and kings. Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Vidura took their seats, but their hearts were not in this game. It was unprincipled and started with a sinsiter intention. King Dhritarastra also took his seat along with many others. They were anxious for the game to begin.

"O King," Yudhisthira said, "here I have an excellent wealth of pearls, originated from the churning of the milk ocean. They are set in gold and radiant in beauty. What will you wager?"

"I have many jewels and own a great fortune," Duryodhana replied, "but I am not proud of it. Throw the dice, and we will see who is the winner."

Then Shakuni, a past master in the art of gambling, took up the dice and threw them exclaiming, "Look, I have won!"

Yudhisthira then wagered, "I have many dazzling jars of jewelry in my treasury, inexhaustible gold, and a mountain of silver and other minerals. This, O King, is the wealth that I will wager."

Shakuni threw the dice and exclaimed, "Look I have won!" Time after time Yudhisthira would stake his wealth, and time after time Shakuni would win, and the only sound that could be heard was, "Look I have won!" Yudhisthira lost his jewels, his gold, his silver, his army, his chariots, his horses, his slaves and his kingdom. Yudhisthira kept losing steadily watching everything being devoured by the demon Shakuni.

During the course of the gambling, Vidura could see that the Pandavas were about to lose everything. He, therefore, tried to advise Dhritarastra, "Dear brother, listen to my words, even if they are not pleasing to your ears. A sick man will not relish the medicine the doctor prescribes. Do you remember the time when this son of yours was born and brayed like a jackal. A jackal is living in your house in the form of Duryodhana. He will bring about the destruction of the Bharata race. At the time of his birth, I told you to cast him aside and save the Kuru dynasty, but you did not take my advice, and now you will have to pay heavily. This injustice in the form of a gambling match will not go unpunished. You will suffer greatly in old age because of the deaths of your sons at the hands of the Pandavas. Gambling is the foundation of all sin, and leads one to hellish life. Your son does not have the strength to fight with the Pandavas in a manly war. He is cheating them with the help of this prince of the cheaters. Please do not allow gambling match to continue, or it will have gruesome results. I urgently request you to stop this game." This advice was bitter medicine the King did not want to take, and, therefore, he did not respond to Vidura.

However, Duryodhana heard Vidura's advice and responded harshly, "O Vidura, you are always glorifying the sons of Pandu and neglecting us. You do not regard us as your children. Your tongue and mind are reflecting what is in your heart. You have been maintained by us like a serpent in our lap. The wise have said that there is no greater vice than to injure one's master. Why do you not fear this sin? We are now prevailing over our enemies, and we have now acquired great riches. Therefore, O parasite, why do you try to obstruct us? Do not imagine that you are our master. We did not ask you for your counsel, so why give it? One should not give shelter to another who is the friend of foes."

Vidura then tried again to persuade his brother, "I have always been a well wishing friend to you and your family, but this injustice will not be tolerated. I am not partial to any section of the family-either the sons of Pandu or your sons. However, I am partial to those who are honest and just, and indifferent to those who are dishonest and crooked. Your son, O King, is dishonest, and his actions are proving it. If you allow impious actions to continue, you will have to reap the impious repercussions that will come in the future. We have never seen in the history of the world honest kings acting like your son. On the contrary, only the most vindictive of wicked kings act in the way Duryodhana is acting. He is an enemy in your own camp. Therefore, at your command, O King, allow Arjuna to kill this unscrupulous person." Again these words of wisdom fell on deaf ears and the gambling match continued.

By this time Shakuni had exploited everything and inquired of Yudhisthira, "What now will you wager?"

"Here is my brother Nakula" Yudhisthira replied, "who is a powerful warrior. He is what I shall now stake in this gambling match."

Saying this much Shakuni rolled the dice and said, "Look, I have won. Now what will you bet?"

"Here is my brother Sahadeva," Yudhisthira replied, "who knows all the principles of morality. He is my wager in this gambling match."

Shakuni then rolled the dice exclaiming, "Look Yudhisthira, I have won. Now what will be your wager? You still have Arjuna and Bhimasena."

"O wretched person," Yudhisthira replied, "you are cheating by playing a game of crooked dice. You are trying to create disunion between us who are of one heart. However, I am not the controller of destiny, and, therefore, I will wager this brother of mine Arjuna, who is the foremost archer in the world."

Shakuni then rolled the dice and laughingly exclaimed, "Look, I have won! Now what will you wager?"

"I have Bhima," Yudhisthira replied, "who is capable of subduing all warriors on the field of battle. I will wager this brother of mine."

Shakuni then pitched the dice and said, "Look Yudhisthira, I have won. Now what is there left to wager?"

Yudhisthira then replied to the sinful Shakuni, "I have myself who am the oldest of my brothers and who is the King of Indraprastha. I will wager myself."

After saying this much, Shakuni rolled the dice and exclaimed, "You have permitted yourself to be won, O King. Is there anything left for you to wager? I think you still have one thing left in your possession. Why don't you stake Draupadi in this gambling match. By her you can win yourself back."

"The beautiful Draupadi" Yudhisthira replied, "is still in my possession. Making her as my wager, I will play with you, O best of the charlatans."

When King Yudhisthira had made this last wager, there was a cry of anguish among the elders present. Bhishma, Drona and Kripa were covered with perspiration, and Vidura, holding his head between his hands, sat like one who had lost all reason. He sat with his face downward and was breathing heavily like a snake. Dhritarastra was the only one of the elders who was elated at heart. He repeatedly asked, "What has been won? What now has been won?" He could not conceal his emotions. Karna and Duhshasana were laughing loudly, but others were crying in the assembly. Picking up the dice that were loaded in his favor, Shakuni rolled them and exclaimed, "Look, I have won everything!" With these words the entire assembly hall was shocked into silence.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Ninth Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, The Gambling Match.


Chapter Commentary


Those who are demoniac by nature are always envious of those who are godly. The Pandavas were great devotees of the Lord and possessed divine qualities. They appeared to be temporarily defeated in the wicked gambling match arranged by the sinful son of Dhritarastra. Because the cause of the Pandavas was just and because they were always taking shelter of Lord Krishna, they were destined to have their wealth returned and the offenders were to be punished. As stated in the final verse of Bhagavad-gita, "Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion." (B.g. 18.78) In summary, one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can never be vanquished in his struggle for existence in this material world.

As stated by Vidura, gambling is the root of all evil. There are four pillars of sinful life: illicit sex, gambling, meat eating and intoxication. When living beings take shelter of these four sinful activities, they are under the influence of Kali yuga. At the time of Maharaja Yudhisthira, there was no adultery, no gambling casinos, no slaughter houses and no LSD, cocaine, crack, whiskey, beer or other forms of intoxication. These types of sinful activities are indulged in by persons in the modes of passion and ignorance, but were unknown in Maharaja Yudhisthira's kingdom.

When Vidura heard of the plan for the gambling match, he knew that Kali yuga had begun. This type of cheating was just unheard of amongst the royal order. Before the age of Kali, the monarchial regimes were anxious to be known in the history books for their morality and honesty. Dishonest rulers were marked down and cursed. The only reason this sinister gambling match didn't succeed was because of the presence of Lord Krishna on Earth. However, the day Lord Krishna left this world, Kali began his nefarious work with full force. We are only 5,000 years into the Kali yuga and already the four sinful pillars are taken for granted and are in full swing. No one is shocked by them. Practically every corner has a bar; adultry is no longer looked upon as sinful; 99% of the population eats meat; and a vast majority of people drink intoxicating beverages. Vidura told Dhritarastra that there would be a heavy reaction to cheating at dice. However, Dhritarastra was blind to what was right and what was wrong. Similarly, saintly persons have repeatedly warned human society of the reactions to sinful life. Nonetheless, people do not listen. When there are earthquakes, world wars, incurable diseases, famine, floods, depressions, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other disturbances, people cannot understand that these are reactions to sinful life. However, human beings are too absorbed in sinful life to want to renounce it and be happy. Sinful life and their concomitment reactions are destined to increase as the Kali yuga progresses.



Chapter Ten

Lord Krishna Protects Draupada


After obtaining Draupadi in the crooked game of dice, Duryodhana turned to Vidura and proudly said, "Come, Vidura, bring Draupadi, the dear wife of the Pandavas. Let her enter the chambers meant for the serving maids. She must now sweep the palace floors and take the position suited for a menial servant."

Outraged, Vidura replied, "Do you not know, O fiend, that by speaking such words, you are strangling yourself with a rope? Do you not understand that you are standing on the edge of a cliff? You are like a deer trying to provoke tigers to rage. If you provoke the Pandavas further, you will certainly enter the regions of Yamaraja. It is my judgement that you cannot take Draupadi as a slave, for she has been won after Yudhisthira ceased to be his own master. Draupadi is not your slave, and you should not insult her. Yudhisthira had no right to use Draupadi as a wager when he had already lost himself. I am warning you against the terrible wrath of the Pandavas. If you do not heed my words, you will experience your demise, along with all your brothers and friends. Hell is already preparing to receive the host of the Kuru House."

These words which were well spoken fell on deaf ears, and in unhappiness, Vidura said, "What can I do? There is none so blind as one who will not see, and there is none so deaf as he who refuses to hear." Vidura said no more.

Intoxicated with pride Duryodhana, the lowest among men ordered, "We have heard enough from Vidura. Bring Draupadi here immediately!"

He then commanded the door guard, "Bring Draupadi here. You have nothing to fear from the Pandavas. It is just Vidura who speaks like a madman, but who has no power. He is not in truth our well wisher."

The doorguard then went to the chambers of Draupadi and informed her of the events that transpired, "My dear queen of the Pandavas, your husband Yudhisthira, in the fever of gambling, has lost you in a bet with Duryodhana. You have now become the slave of Dhritarastra's son, and he wishes to see you in court to be put to work as a menial maidservant."

Draupadi anxiously inquired, "What kind of folly are you speaking? What King is there that would wager his own wife. He must certainly have been intoxicated with gambling or else how could he have done such a thing!"

"Yudhisthira, while gambling with Shakuni, lost all his wealth and kingdom," The doorguard replied. "He then lost his brothers and then himself, and finally he lost you in the gambling match."

"Go to the assembly hall," Draupadi requested, "and ask Yudhisthira whom he lost first, himself or me. After finding this out, you may take me to the assembly hall."

The messenger then came back to the assembly hall and repeated what Draupadi had said. He then addressed Yudhisthira, "Draupadi has asked, 'Whose lord were you when you lost me in the gambling match? Did you lose yourself first or me?'" Yudhisthira simply lowered his head and could not say anything like a person who had lost all reason.

"Let the princess of Panchala," Duryodhana ordered, "come here and ask the question herself. Let everyone hear the words that are spoken between the queen and her husband."

The doorkeeper then went again to Krishna (Draupadi) and told her all that was said. She then requested the guard, "Go back again to the court and ask my husband what I should do. I will obey him and no one else."

The servant then went to the assembly and repeated the request to Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira then ordered, "Tell Draupadi that she should come here and ask her question to the elders present."

Duryodhana then commanded the servant to go to the quarters and bring the princess at once. The doorkeeper, however, was afraid of Draupadi's wrath and was hesitant to go. Duryodhana then turned to Duhshasana and ordered him, "O Duhshasana, this servant is afraid of these orders. Therefore, go yourself and forcibly bring her to our presence."

Hearing the command of his brother, which was unknowingly meant for his death, Duhshasana went to chambers of the queen and taunted her, "Come, come, O Krishna, princess of Panchala, you have been won by us. Come and accept the Kurus for your lords. You have been won fairly in a gambling match."

Draupadi was distraught by the words of Duhshasana, and rising from her seat, she ran towards Gandhari's quarters. Duhshasana ran after her and grabbed her by her long black curly hair that had been sanctified by the Rajasuya sacrificial waters. He then forcibly dragged Draupadi by her hair into the assembly hall while she was crying out, "My dear Lord Krishna, please save me! O my Lord, there is no shelter other than You!"

Duhshasana brought her into the assembly. Her clothes had been loosened, and her hair was no longer braided. She was terribly angry and screamed at Duhshasana, "In this assembly there are persons who are conversant with all the branches of the Vedas and are equal to Indra. I cannot stand before them in this state. O wretched person, do not drag me before them. My husbands will not pardon you. The others in this assembly will not rebuke you, and therefore, they possess the same mentality. Surely there is no more virtue in the Bharata dynasty, nor are the codes of kshatriya practice any longer in use or else how could these so-called kshatriyas tolerate this action. Both Drona and Bhishma have lost their prowess, for this crime is going unpunished."

Thus Draupadi cried in distress in the assembly, and casting a glance upon her enraged husbands, inflamed their hearts further. The Pandavas were not so distressed by the loss of there kingdom or wealth, as by that glance of Draupadi that was filled with anger and helplessness. And seeing Draupadi looking at her lords, Duhshasana dragged her more forcibly and addressed her, "slave!, slave!" and laughed aloud. Duryodhana, Karna and Shakuni also laughed to see Draupadi being pulled into the assembly.

Looking in the direction of the Kuru elders, she addressed Bhishma in the following words, "You are the residence of learning and morality. They say there is none wiser that you. Can you tell me whether or not I am a slave?"

"I am, indeed, at a loss to give you a proper answer," Bhishma replied. "Morality is very difficult to understand, and its laws are subtle. A man cannot wager something once he has lost himself. Therefore, Yudhisthira had no right to lose you. But then again a woman is always under the orders of her husband in all circumstances. He can call her his property even after he has lost himself. Accordingly, I can not surely say that you are free. Yudhisthira knew that Shakuni was a pastmaster in the art of gambling, and yet he played with him willingly enough. Though he was being defeated, Yudhisthira continued to play, and he used you as the wager. I am not able, therefore, to answer your question."

Draupadi's eyes were red with anger, and she angrily said to Shantanu's son, "The King was ordered to come to this charlatan's assembly, and he was made to play with this vicious, spineless Shakuni. How can it be said that he voluntarily chose to play? The chief of the Pandavas was deprived of his wealth by deceitful conduct. Here is this assembly are the elders of the Kurus. Let them decide what is to be done in this connection."

Looking at Draupadi whose words were like fire, Duhshasana laughed loudly and called her names. He bellowed, "You are the slave of Duryodhana; there is no need to consider the laws of Dharma. Your Dharma is to please your master Duryodhana."

Seeing the Pandavas in such a distraught condition, Vikarna, one of Dhritarastra's sons, said to all assembled, "Why is it that no one can answer Draupadi's question? If we do not judge the matter properly then we shall surely go to hell for our wrongdoing. How is it that Bhishma and Dhritarastra, who are the elders of the Kurus, do not say anything about this injustice? Why is it that Kripa and the son of Bharadvaja, Drona, do not say anything? If you will not say anything, then I will give my opinion in this regard. It is a well known fact that there are four vices of kings. That is hunting, drinking, gambling and too much attachment for women. The man that is addicted to these lives a life forsaking virtue. And people do not respect a King who is attached to sinful life. This son of Pandu, while forced to engage in one of these sinful acts, made Draupadi a wager. The King, having lost himself first, made Draupadi a wager, and the unscrupulous Shakuni with wicked intentions said that she could be made a wager. Reflecting on all these circumstances, I regard Draupadi a free woman and not a slave."

Hearing these truthful words, a loud roar rose from those present in the assembly, and they applauded Vikarna for his clear thinking. However, Karna, deprived of his senses through anger, rebuked Vikarna as follows, "Vikarna, you are only a boy, and your wisdom is childish. All the elders here are in agreement that Draupadi is a slave of the Kurus. If she were not a slave, do you think that her husbands would allow her to be brought into the royal court. You say that it is not right to call her a slave, but there is no need to consider Dharma in the case of the Pandavas. O son of the Kuru race, the sages have ordained only one husband for one woman. This Draupadi, however, has many husbands, and is certainly considered unchaste. Therefore, to bring her into this assembly in front of many men and see her stripped naked will not embarrass her. She is a slave just like her lords. They do not deserve the clothes they are wearing. Duhshasana, take off the upper garments of these men and also those of Draupadi." Hearing the order of Karna, the Pandavas took off their upper garments and threw them on the floor.

The shameless Duhshasana then began to pull at the upper garments of Draupadi, and Draupadi tried to stop him while looking in the direction of her husbands. When she saw that they could do nothing to help her, she took shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the only one who can give shelter in all circumstances. She threw her hands into the air praying, "O Govinda, O all pervading Lord of the universe, O Krishna, O Keshava, do You not see that I am being humiliated by the Kauravas. O husband of the goddess of fortune, O Lord of Vraja, You are present wherever Your devotees are singing Your glories. I surrender myself unto you! Please save me!" Upon hearing the words of Draupadi, Lord Krishna, the Supersoul in everyone's heart, immediately offered protection to His devotee.

Draupadi stopped trying to resist the advances of Duhshasana and fixed her mind at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. As Duhshasana pulled on the upper portion of her sari, the horrified audience looked on. The sinful demon was pulling at her clothes, but each time he pulled, the cloth was getting longer. The more he pulled, the more cloth there was, and soon there was a huge pile of cloth on the floor, enough for hundreds of saris. The kings present in the assembly began to applaud Draupadi and chastised the son of Dhritarastra with harsh words.

Seeing Draupadi in this humiliated condition, Bhima addressed the assembled kings, "Please hear the words I have to say. I shall in battle tear open by force the chest of this sinful Duhshasana and drink his life blood. I take this oath, and if not accomplished, I shall not attain the regions of my ancestors." All the warriors present acclaimed Bhima's vow and began to condemn Duryodhana and his followers. At that time Vidura spoke to those present in the assembly. He tried to convince them that the Vikarna's statements were truthful and that Draupadi was not a slave. No one responded to the words of Vidura for fear of Duryodhana.

When there was again silence in the assembly hall, Karna ordered Duhshasana, "Take away this maidservant to the inner chambers." Duhshasana forcibly grabbed Draupadi and began dragging her on the ground while she was crying and trembling. Draupadi broke away from him and addressed Bhishma again with the same question, "I am the wedded wife of the Pandavas. Please answer my question. Am I a servant maid or otherwise? This cruel Duhshasana is treating me harshly. I cannot bear this any longer. I will accept your decision, whatever it may be."

Hearing these lamentable words, Bhishma answered, "I have already said, O blessed lady, that the answer to this question of morality is equivocal. I am unable to answer the question that you have put forward. However, it is certain that all the Kauravas have become slaves to greed and deceitfulness. Because of this offensive act, the end of the Kuru race is close at hand. The other Kuru elders who sit with their heads down, like persons who have left their bodies, cannot answer your question. However, if you ask Yudhisthira, he will answer your question about whether you are a slave or not."

With a smirk on his face Duryodhana addressed Draupadi, "The answer to your question depends on your husbands. Let them declare in the midst of respectable persons whether Yudhisthira is their lord."

Bhima then spoke to the assembled warriors of the earth, "If this great King of the earth, Yudhisthira, were not our lord, we would never have forgiven the Kuru race for this incident. If he says that he has become a slave, then we too have become slaves. If this were not so, then I would have already crushed to death the one who has touched the hair of the princess Draupadi. I am restraining myself due to respect for my older brother and the requests of Arjuna. However, If Yudhisthira commands me, I will kill all of Dhritarastra's sons immediately."

Hearing the anger of Bhimasena, Duryodhana began to make fun of him. Laughing all the while, Duryodhana said to Yudhisthira, "O King, your brothers and Draupadi are waiting for an answer to this question. Please state whether Draupadi is my slave or still your wife."

After taunting him with these words and not receiving a reply, Duryodhana said, "Draupadi, I will answer your question. You are free and you may chose any amongst the great warriors for your husband." Duryodhana then laughed loudly; and when he saw that he had the attention of Bhima, he lifted his cloth and showed his naked thigh to Draupadi.

Seeing this, Bhima was overcome with an animosity that resembled universal devastation. He expanded his red eyes and declared to all assembled, "I say to all present that I shall break the thighs of Duryodhana, or else I shall never attain the higher regions after this life!"

Karna laughed at Bhima and said to Duhshasana, "Do not wait any longer. Take this maidservant Draupadi to the inner chambers." Duhshasana began to drag her away while she appealed to all the elders in the Kuru house, but it was no use.

Then Bhima again took a vow, "I am going to kill this sinful Duryodhana, and my brother Arjuna is going to kill Karna. This deceitful Shakuni will be killed by my brother Sahadeva. I take a vow that this will happen. I will kill Duryodhana and place my foot upon his head. I will also surely drink the blood of Duhshasana."

Arjuna then confirmed Bhima's vow, "Bhima, those who are living secure in their homes can never understand the danger that awaits them outside. Your words will come true. The earth will drink the blood of these four: Duryodhana, Duhshasana, Shakuni and Karna. There is no doubt about it."

Arjuna then took an oath, "I declare in the presence of all the kings assembled: I will kill this Karna and all his followers in a future war. I will kill all who are foolish enough to support him. The Himalayan mountains may move from their place, or the sun may fall out of its orbit, or the moon may lose its coolness, but I will never give up this vow until it is accomplished."

Sahadeva then addressed the assembly with his vow, "Shakuni, you are the lowest of men and a disgrace to the good name of the Gandharas. Because of your deception at dice, I swear that I will kill you and all your kinsmen. I hope that you will have the same courage on the battlefield that you have exhibited here in this gambling match."

Nakula then made his vow, "My brothers have sworn to kill their opponents. I promise in the presence of all assembled that I will kill the son of Shakuni, Uluka. All these persons mentioned will die on the battlefield."

After the Pandavas said this much, a jackal began to cry loudly in the assembly hall of Dhritarastra's palace. And when the jackal howled, the asses began to bray in response, indicating the loss of all good fortune to the Kauravas. All the elders present understood the meaning of those evil omens. To late in the day Dhritarastra, realizing the seriousness of the situation, admonished his son, "You have a wicked mind Duryodhana, and your downfall is sooner than you think. You have insulted the Pandava's wife, and certainly there is no hope for you."

Dhritarastra then spoke to Draupadi, hoping to console her and save the life of his relatives, "Please ask of me, O princess of Panchala, any benediction that you desire."

Draupadi replied, "I ask that my husband Yudhisthira be freed from slavery."

Dhritarastra granted the request and said, "You may take another benediction from me."

Draupadi said, "Please grant me that my husbands: Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva be freed from their bondage and their kingdom returned."

Dhritarastra granted the benediction and asked Draupadi to take a third benediction. Draupadi replied, "I will not ask for a third benediction. It has been said that a vaishya may ask one boon, a warrior two, and a brahmana may ask a hundred. Now that my husbands have been released from their bondage, they will be able to achieve prosperity by their own virtuous acts."

Karna then snickered and said to all assembled, "Fortunately for the Pandavas, Draupadi has become like a boat to save them from drowning in the ocean. They are indeed fortunate to be saved by a woman."

Ignoring the taunts of Karna, Yudhisthira approached Dhritarastra with joined palms requesting, "O King, you are our master. Command us as to what we should do. We desire to remain always obedient to you."

"O Ajatrashatru," Dhritarastra replied, "you are a blessed person. Go in peace to your kingdom and be happy. Take with you all your wealth. I am pleased with you humility and meekness. Where there is intelligence, there is tolerance. They are the best of men who do not remember the hostility of their enemies, that see the merits and not the faults of their foe. O child, do not remember the harsh words of Duryodhana. It was for seeing who were my friends and examining the weaknesses of my sons, that I allowed this gambling match to go on. O King, those among the Kurus, who have you for their ruler and Vidura for their counsellor, have, indeed, nothing to grieve for. Please, return now to Indraprastha, and let their be brotherly love between yourself and my sons."

After receiving permission from King Dhritarastra, that crest jewel of the Bharatas, King Yudhisthira, took leave of the Kuru elders and left the city of Hastinapura. He was accompanied by his brothers and the beautiful Draupadi.


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Tenth Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, Lord Krishna Protects Draupadi.


Chapter Commentary


Offences against devotees never go unpunished. When one offends great souls, one loses his opulence, life span and family, and he suffers greatly. The seed of the offense was planted during the gambling match. That seed later sprouted and bore its fruit on the Kurukshetra plain. Duryodhana lost everything because of his hatred for the Pandavas. All actions bear their fruit in due course. As stated in all scriptures, "Pride cometh before a fall." Duryodhana was full of false pride and not fit to rule. His downfall was only a matter of time.

A pious action will bear a pious result; an impious action will bring forth suffering. Sometimes people criticize God for allowing one person to be born in a suffering condition and another in an affluent condition. Actually, God has nothing to do with it. The Supreme Lord sends the holy scriptures and holy people to request everyone to follow His law. If people do not follow His law, they must suffer. The living being creates his own happiness and distress. God has stated, "Thou shalt not kill." Still people open slaughter houses and kill innocent animals. Jesus Christ opened the cages of the doves and lambs, and turned over the tables of the money changers declaring, "My father's house shall not be made a den of thieves." If he didn't allow animals to be sacrificed before God, then surely a slaughter house would be condemned. We have to learn to take seriously what the Lord wants of us. If we don't then we have to suffer.

One may rightly ask why Bhishma and Drona did not defend the Pandavas while the offenses were being committed. Bhishma could have stopped the whole affair at that moment. He could have killed Duryodhana and anyone else who opposed religiosity. For his failure to defend the Pandavas, he had to die during the Kurukshetra war. Was it because he was dependent on Duryodhana that he didn't speak out? No, the answer is that it was actually the Lord's desire. Many purposes were served by this one incident. One, Krishna wanted to show Draupadi and the world that He is the only shelter. If Bhishma had spoken out, then Draupadi could not have realized this, but would have become dependent on Bhishma instead of Lord Krishna. Secondly, because Bhishma ultimately chose the side of Duryodhana, Lord Krishna wanted to show the world that if even you are the greatest warrior in the world, if you oppose religious principles, you are destined to die.

Yudhisthira did not have to engage in gambling. He was intelligent and knew what was right and what was wrong. He was a pure devotee of the Lord. However, he felt the situation to be the desire of the Lord for a higher purpose. Pure devotees know the will of the Lord and act accordingly in all circumstances. He could have challenged Duryodhana to battle or he could have just refused to gamble with Shakuni. These things all seem the logical thing to do. However, Lord Krishna is not under the law of logic. We cannot figure out His divine plan. We can only submit to His divine will. No one will argue that the Pandavas or Bhishma were not pure devotees. Bhishma is one of the twelve mahajanas or authorities on devotional service. That is a rarely attained position. Therefore, it is concluded that Bhishma was bewildered by Lord Krishna's internal potency so that he could not take action to defend the Pandavas.



Chapter Eleven

The Pandavas Lose Their Kingdom


After the sons of Pandu had returned to their kingdom, Duhshasana went to his brother Duryodhana and complained, "After we had won the kingdom and made slaves of the Pandavas, our father has thrown it away. Call them back for another dice game and take their kingdom, before they have time to organize their forces and challenge us." Hearing Duhshasana agreeable words, Duryodhana, Shakuni and Karna, who were guided by lust and greed, united together and went to Dhritarastra with another dice match in mind.

Sitting respectfully before his father, Duryodhana spoke, "If, with the wealth of the Pandavas, we satisfy the Kings of the earth, then the Pandavas cannot harm us. The Pandavas are now like hot-tempered venomous serpents, and they are surely arranging to challenge us to battle. Upon leaving Hastinapura, Arjuna was grasping his bow, fiercely looking in all directions. Vikrodara, after ascending his chariot, was seen leaving the city whirling his mace. Nakula was holding a sword and shield and was prepared for war. Sahadeva and Yudhisthira have ascended their chariots with an anger like that of Yamaraja. Having been persecuted, they will not forgive us. Who among them can forget the insult to Draupadi? Therefore, before they become too powerful, we should again call them for a gambling match and exile them to the forest. Whoever wins at the game of dice must enter the forest for twelve years, and the thirteenth year must be spent in concealment. If they are recognized in the thirteenth year, they must again go to the forest for another twelve years. Either we or they shall live so. Shakuni will again throw the dice and win for us. Even if they succeed in observing the vow, we shall, in the meantime, have won the citizen's favor and the respect of the worldly kings. Having gathered a vast army, we will defeat them in battle. This plan we present before you, O King."

Dhritarastra, under the influence of all-devouring time, agreed with their proposal, and said, "Call back the Pandavas and let them again play for the sake of the kingdom."

Upon hearing Duryodhana's plan, Drona, Bhishma, Somadatta, Bahlika, Vidura, Bhurishravas and the son of Dhritarastra, Vikarna all said, "Do not agree with this plan, O King. Let their be peace between your sons and the sons of Pandu." Dhritarastra did not listen to their wisdom and summoned Pandu's sons to again gamble at dice.

It was at this time that the virtuous Gandhari approached her husband pleading, "When Duryodhana was born, the wise Vidura advised you, 'It would be better to kill this child than let him live, for he will spoil the whole Kuru race.' This son of ours cried upon his birth just like a jackal. It is not too late, even now, to cast him aside. The kingdom that you will obtain by crooked means will soon be wrenched from you."

When addressed in truthful words by his queen, Dhritarastra replied to her, "If the devastation of our dynasty has come, let it take place. I have not the power to control providence. Rather destiny is my master, and I am its servant. Let the Pandavas return and again gamble with my sons."

A messenger then approached Indraprastha, and in the presence of the Pandavas, gave the command of Dhritarastra. Yudhisthira could not refuse the order and again prepared to go to Hastinapura, knowing well the outcome of the gambling match. They again entered Hastinapura and sat down in the assembly hall to play another game of dice. The conniving Shakuni then said, "The King has given back your property and that is all well. But this time, O bull of the Bharata race, we will wager in the following manner. Who ever wins at one throw of the dice will see his opponent enter the forest for twelve years and a final year spent in disguise. If discovered in the thirteenth year, one has to again enter the forest for another twelve years. O Yudhisthira, with this as the wager, play with us at dice."

Yudhisthira, knowing well that a great karmic destruction of the Kuru dynasty was at hand, agreed with the proposal saying, "O Shakuni, how can a King like myself refuse when challenged to play dice? Therefore, let the play begin." Shakuni then took up the dice and cast them saying, "I have won."

When the Pandavas were defeated, they took off their royal dress and were given deer-skins as their garments. Duhshasana was very pleased with Shakuni's victory and announced to all assembled, "The absolute sovereignty of King Duryodhana has now begun. The sons of Pandu have been defeated and our goal has now been achieved. O Draupadi, what will you gain by following these men into the forest. Now is the time to pick a husband from among those heroes of the Kuru race. Why wait upon these poor men any longer?"

Upon hearing Duhshasana's distasteful words, Bhima approached him like a tiger chasing a deer and boldly said, "As you are piercing my ears with these arrow like words, I will pierce your heart on the field of battle and drink your blood. O spineless person, you have won only by the cheating methods of the Gandhara King. When I return from the forest, I will make good my vow."

Duhshasana laughed at Bhima's anger and began to dance around him saying, "O cow! O cow!" Bhima was forced to hold back his fury, but he did so being bound by the cord on proper behavior.

Yudhisthira then approached the blind King and said, "I bid farewell to you as well as Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and the others. I will again return after the thirteen year exile is finished."

Overcome with shame, none of those men could look at Yudhisthira or say anything to him. However, within their hearts they prayed for his welfare. Vidura then said, "Kunti is a princess by birth, and she should not go to the forest. I will keep her here in Hastinapura and protect her from any harm just as if she were my mother. O Yudhisthira, know that one who has been vanquished by sinful means need not be pained by such defeat. You also know every law of morality. Dhananjaya will be victorious in battle; Bhimasena will kill his enemies; Nakula will gain great wealth; and Sahadeva will obtain his goals. With learned brahmanas accompanying you to the forest, you need not fear anything. Draupadi will also assist you in your exile. You are all attached to one another and feel happiness in each others association. Go now, and we will again see you returned here safely and crowned with success." The Pandavas then left Hastinapura much to the distress of the citizens and those relatives who loved them very much.

Now that the Pandavas has had left for the forest, Dhritarastra could not find peace of mind. He called for Vidura and questioned him, "Please tell me in what state of mind the Pandavas left Hastinapura. I desire to hear everything, O Ksatta [Vidura]."

Vidura then replied to the King, "Yudhisthira, though robbed of his kingdom and wealth, he has not deviated from the path of virtuous kings. He has left Hastinapura blindfolded, or else with the anger of his eyes, he would have burned the whole city to ashes. Bhima has left the city stretching his mighty arms indicating to everyone that upon his return he will destroy your sons with his prowess. And Arjuna, the son of Kunti, has left Hastinapura scattering grains of sand indicating that upon his return he will rain arrows from the might of his Gandiva bow. Sahadeva has left the city smearing his body with dirt so that none will recognize his plight and take action against your sons, O King. Nakula has left the city in the same way. Draupadi has left the city Hastinapura dressed in one cloth and her hair unbraided indicating that upon her return, her husbands will destroy the Kuru host, and the wives of those who insulted her will have to dress in the same way. The learned Dhaumya has left the city walking in front of the Pandavas holding kusha grass and chanting mantras from the Sama Veda which relate to Yamaraja. This indicates that when the host of the Kurus are slain in battle, the priests of the Kurus will chant the Soma mantras for the benefit of the deceased. And also, O King, the citizens seeing the Pandavas leaving are cursing you and your family. Upon their leaving many evil omens appeared: flashes of lightning in the cloudless sky, the earth trembled, and Rahu began to devour the sun. Meteors fell from the firmament, and jackals began to howl. Birds like the crows began to shriek, indicating the destruction of the Kuru house."

While Dhritarastra and Vidura were thus talking with one another, the great sage Narada Muni appeared on the scene. He appeared in the Kuru's imperial court and spoke the following omen, "On the thirteenth year from today, on account of Duryodhana's offenses, the Kauravas will be crushed by the prowess of Bhima and Arjuna." Having said this much, the great sage Narada ascended by the airways; and the Kurus, who were left speechless, contemplated the awesome words of the rishi.

Fearful upon hearing the prophecy of Narada, Duryodhana along with Shakuni and Karna approached Drona and offered him the kingdom, considering him their protector. Drona then instructed them, "The brahmanas have said that the Pandavas, being of celestial origin, are incapable of being slain. However, because you have sought my shelter, I will act as your protector, but know that the cause is doomed. I have formerly deprived Drupada of his kingdom, and in revenge he has performed a sacrifice with the help of the brahmanas, Yaja and Upayaja, and thus he has received a son who will kill me. It is already known that the fire-born Dhristadyumna will slay me in battle. His birth is celestial, and he was born with golden armor and weapons. I am but a mortal of this world. Drupada and his followers have taken up the Pandava's cause. Enjoy your kingdom for a short while, O Duryodhana. When the Pandavas return from the forest, a great catastrophe will befall you."


Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Eleventh Chapter of the Sabha Parva, Entitled, The Pandavas Loose Their Kingdom.


Thus Ends the Sabha Parva section to the Summary Study of the Mahabharata.


Chapter Commentary


From the day Dhritarastra exiled the Pandavas, the blind King knew no peace. He spent his days and nights in anxiety thinking about the day when the Pandavas would return from the forest. When he turned his back on the ways of righteousness, he came face to face with anxiety and grief. Those who are attached to material possessions can never be happy. Here we see that although Dhritarastra was the king of the world, he was not content. He was worried that some day the Pandavas would come back from the forest and take his wealth and kill his sons. This is the nature of material attachment; it can never bring peace.

The only peaceful person is a devotee of Lord Krishna. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita, it is stated, "Because a devotee of Lord Krishna is desireless, he is peaceful. Fruitive workers desire material enjoyment, jnanis desire liberation, and yogis desire material opulence; therefore, they are all lusty and cannot be peaceful." Although the Pandavas were robbed of their wealth and had to reside in the forest for so many years, still they were quite happy because they had the association of Lord Krishna. They accepted Him as their friend, guide, spiritual master, and their only protector. They did not desire an opulent kingdom or great riches. They were perfectly satisfied in their friendship with the Supreme Lord Krishna. Thus the forest became like the spiritual world, and the court in Hastinapura became like a hellish planet because of offences committed against the pure devotees of the Lord.

Peace can only be found inwardly. Material possessions can never bring one peace. We come into this world with nothing, and we leave with nothing. Material possessions, if not used in the service of the Lord, simply are a source of anxiety. We constantly worry about who is going to take our material possessions. A rich person must constantly worry about the motivations of persons who try to become his friends. Real peace must be found by cleansing the heart. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. he is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme." (B.g. 5.24) In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means to attain peace is to chant the Holy Names of God, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Because Dhritarastra tried to find peace in material wealth, friends and family, he was in constant anxiety. The real wealth is hidden inside the heart.