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Krishna rescues Nanda Maharaja from the abode of Varuna.
Govardhana Puja was performed on the new-moon day, and then there was rain for seven days. On the tenth day, Indra worshiped Krishna, and on Ekadashi, Nanda Maharaja fasted. Then, early in the morning of Dvadashi, Nanda went to bathe in the Yamuna. However, because he entered deep into the water while disregarding the fact that it was an inauspicious time of night, a demon servant of Varuna arrested Nanda Maharaja and brought him before his master.
When the cowherd men who had accompanied Nanda Maharaja failed to see him come out of the water, they cried out, “O Krishna! O Rama!” Krishna heard these loud cries and immediately understood what had happened, and so He quickly departed for the court of Varuna.
Upon Krishna’s arrival, Varuna worshiped Him with elaborate offerings. Being highly pleased, he then said, “My dear Lord, by seeing You, my body has fulfilled its proper function, for the goal of my life has been achieved. My obeisances unto You, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Soul. Your father, seated here, was brought to me by a foolish, ignorant servant who did not understand his proper duty. Therefore, please forgive us. Now, please return home with Your father.”
Thereafter, when Lord Krishna returned with His father, everyone was overjoyed to see them. Nanda Maharaja was very impressed to see Varuna’s opulence, but he became even more astonished to see how the demigod had given such respect to his son. Therefore, Nanda excitedly described all this to his cowherd friends, although he still could not think of his son as being the Supreme Lord. He simply thought that Varuna had respected Krishna so much because He is such a wonderful child.
After hearing about this pastime with Varuna, all the cowherd men became convinced that Krishna must be the Supreme Lord. They wondered, “Will Krishna take us back to His transcendental abode?”
Being omniscient, Krishna could very well understand the feelings of the cowherd men. Desiring to show them compassion, Krishna thought: “People in this material world are wandering up and down, to higher and lower destinations, which they achieve as a result of activities performed according to their desires and without full knowledge. Thus people cannot properly understand what their destination will be.”
Having thus deeply considered the situation, Krishna mercifully revealed to the cowherd men His transcendental abode, situated in the unlimited spiritual effulgence of brahmajyoti, which is beyond the darkness of this material world. Krishna took the cowherd men to Brahma-hrada, the same lake by the River Yamuna where Akrura would later on be shown Vaikuntha. In that transcendental abode, the cowherd men saw Krishna, being worshiped by the hymns of the Vedas.
After coming out of the water, all of the cowherd men felt wonderfully blissful.