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Krishna and Balarama enter Mathura.
While Akrura was offering his prayers, Krishna withdrew His form from within the water. At this, Akrura quickly came out of the water and returned to the chariot in an astonished state of mind.
Lord Krishna asked Akrura, “Did you see something wonderful on the earth, in the sky, or in the water? From you appearance, I think that you have.”
Shri Akrura replied, “Whatever wonderful things the earth, sky or water contain, all exist in You alone. When I am seeing You, what wonderful thing have I not seen?”
Akrura, the son of Gandhini, then resumed the journey, and by the end of the day he reached Mathura, along with Krishna and Balarama. Wherever they passed along the way, the village people had crowded to look upon the sons of Vasudeva with great pleasure.
Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men had taken the forest path, a shortcut. Because they had reached Mathura first, they stopped at a garden on the outskirts of town to wait for Krishna and Balarama.
After joining the cowherd men, Krishna took Akrura by the hand and smilingly said, “Take the chariot and enter the city ahead of us and go to your home. We will rest here awhile and then take a tour of Mathura.”
Shri Akrura said, “O Lord, I do not wish to enter the city alone. I am Your devotee, and so it is not proper for You to abandon me because You are always affectionate toward Your servants. Please come to my house now, along with Your elder brother, the cowherd men and Your companions.”
“I am an ordinary householder attached to fruitive rituals and so please purify my house with the dust of Your lotus feet. O Lord of lords, O Supreme Lord Narayana, I offer You my obeisances.”
Krishna then said, “I will come to your house later on with My elder brother, but first I must satisfy My friends and well-wishers by killing the enemy of the Yadu dynasty.”
Being a little disappointed, Akrura entered Mathura with a heavy heart. After informing King Kansa of the success of his mission, he went home.
In the evening, Krishna entered Mathura, which had been very nicely decorated for the festivities. The city gates and household entrances had archways and doors made of gold. Beautifying the city were many pleasant gardens and parks. The residential buildings were palatial and they were arranged symmetrically, as if designed by a single engineer. The city resounded with the cries of peacocks and other birds that perched in the balconies or on the roofs of the houses. All the streets were sprinkled with water, and flower petals and grains had been strewn everywhere.
All the entrances were decorated with pots filled with water, mango leaves and ribbons, and they were smeared with yogurt and sandalwood paste. Near the pots were rows of lamps, bunches of flowers, flags and the trunks of banana and betelnut trees.
After hearing of Krishna and Balarama’s arrival, all of the people came out of their houses to see Them. Many of the women assembled on the roofs of their houses as the sons of Vasudeva, surrounded by Their cowherd boyfriends, entered the city on the King’s road. In their haste, some of the women had put their clothes and ornaments on backwards, others forgot an earring or ankle bell, while still others applied make-up to one eye but not the other. Those who were eating, abandoned their meals. Others left their baths unfinished. Women who were asleep suddenly awoke because of the commotion, and those who were breast-feeding their infants put them aside.
Passing by slowly, with the gait of a regal elephant, Krishna created a festival for the ladies’ eyes. The ladies of Mathura had repeatedly heard about Krishna, and now that they actually saw Him, their hearts melted. They felt honored that He was sprinkling upon them the nectar of His glances and broad smiles. Taking Him into their hearts through their eyes, the ladies embraced Him, so that they forgot all of the distress caused by His absence. Their lotus faces blooming with affection, the ladies threw showers of flowers upon Lord Balarama and Lord Krishna.
Brahmanas standing by the side of the road made offerings of yogurt, pots full of water, garlands, fragrances and sandalwood paste, as well as other items of worship.
The ladies of Mathura exclaimed, “O, what severe austerities the gopis must have performed to be able to regularly see Krishna and Balarama, who are the greatest source of pleasure for all!”
While going, Krishna spotted a washerman and He said, “Please give nice clothing to the two of Us, for We certainly deserve the best. If you give us this charity, you will undoubtedly receive great benefit.”
This washerman was an arrogant servant of Kansa. Being angry and insulted, he replied, “You impudent boys! You are accustomed to roaming about the forests and hills, and now You dare to put on clothes like these? The clothes that You are asking for belong to the King! Fools, go away at once, if You wish to stay alive. When someone is too bold, the King’s men arrest him and take away all his property after killing him.”
Hearing this brazen speech, Krishna became angry, and merely with His fingertips He severed the man’s head from his body. At this, the washerman’s assistants dropped their bundles of clothes and fled in all directions. Krishna and Balarama then put on the garments that especially pleased Them, and the rest of the clothes were distributed to the cowherd boys. Whatever clothe remained lay scattered on the ground.
A devotee tailor then came forward, and by adding some cloth, he arranged the Lord’s dress in a very fashionable manner. Indeed, both Krishna and Balarama looked uniquely distinctive, dressed in Their wonderfully ornamented outfits. They resembled a pair of young elephants, one white and the other black, decorated for a festive occasion.
Krishna was very pleased with the tailor. He therefore blessed him so that after death, he would attain the liberation of having a form similar to the Lord’s- and even in this life would enjoy great opulence, physical strength, influence, memory and sensory vigor.
Krishna and Balarama then visited the house of the florist, Sudama. Upon seeing the two Lords, Sudama quickly stood up and then bowed down, touching his head to the ground. After offering Them nice seats and bathing Their feet, Sudama worshiped Krishna, Balarama and Their companions with arghya, flower garlands, pan, sandalwood paste and other presentations.
Sudama then said, “O Lord, because of Your coming here, my birth is now sanctified. Please order me, Your servant, to do whatever You wish. To be engaged by You in some service is certainly a great blessing for anyone.”
Sudama, who understood the Lord’s desire, then offered with great pleasure, two special garlands made of the freshest, most fragrant flowers. Being beautifully adorned with these garlands, Krishna and Balarama were delighted, as were Their companions. The two Lords then offered Sudama, who was bowing down before Them, whatever benedictions he desired.
Sudama replied that he desired to have unshakable devotion for Krishna, friendship with His devotees, and transcendental compassion for all living beings. Krishna granted these benedictions and also presented him with strength, long life, fame, beauty, and ever-increasing prosperity for his family. Krishna and Balarama then bade farewell and departed.