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Krishna marries five princesses.
After escaping from the house of shellac, the Pandavas and their mother, Kuntidevi, were detected at Draupadi’s svayamvara, and thereafter, they returned to Hastinapura. Once, desiring to visit the Pandavas, Lord Krishna journeyed to Hastinapura in royal style, accompanied by a large entourage.
When the Pandavas saw that the Lord had come, they quickly stood up all together, like persons awakening from a state of unconsciousness. Krishna bowed down at Yudhisthira and Bhima’s feet, He firmly embraced Arjuna, and accepted Nakula and Sahadeva’s obeisances.
After Krishna had been nicely seated, the Pandavas’ wife, Draupadi, timidly approached and offered her obeisances. Satyaki also accepted a seat of honor, after being worshiped by the Pandavas, and the Lord’s other companions were seated in various places.
Later on, Krishna went to see His aunt, Queen Kunti. After Krishna had touched her feet, Kuntidevi lifted Him up and embraced Him, her eyes moist with affection. Krishna inquired about her welfare, and in turn, Kuntidevi asked about Vasudeva and others in Dvaraka. Becoming choked up with emotion, Kunti remembered the many troubles that she and her sons had endured, acknowledging that it was only due to Krishna’s mercy that they were always protected from danger.
Thereafter, at Yudhisthira’s request, Krishna remained at Hastinapura during the months of the rainy season, thus enlivening all of the city’s inhabitants, who were thus able to see Him, face to face.
One day, Krishna and Arjuna mounted Arjuna’s chariot, which was decorated with the flag of Hanuman, and went to hunt in a large forest filled with fierce animals. Krishna wanted to see how Arjuna was mastering the use of weapons, for in the future, he would have to face many formidable foes. Armed with his bow and two inexhaustible quivers, Arjuna killed many tigers, boar, buffalo, rurus, sarabhas, gavayas, rhinos, black deer, rabbits and porcupine. The animals that were fit to be offered in sacrifice were then sent back to Maharaja Yudhisthira.
After some time, Arjuna felt tired and thirsty, and so he went, along with Krishna, to the banks of the River Yamuna. After bathing and drinking the clear water, as the great warriors were relaxing, they saw a very attractive girl walking nearby. Krishna asked Arjuna to go and speak to that exceptional young girl, who was possessed of fine bodily features and a very beautiful face.
After approaching her, Arjuna asked, “My dear girl, you are so beautiful with your firm breasts. Who are you, where are you from and why are you loitering here, alone in this secluded place? I can only guess that you are searching for a suitable husband. If you can disclose your purpose, I shall try to satisfy you.”
Shri Kalindi replied, “I am the daughter of the sun-god, and I desire to get as my husband the most excellent and munificent Lord Vishnu. For this purpose, I have been performing austerities. I shall accept no husband other than He, the abode of the goddess of fortune. Please petition the Supreme Personality on my behalf, so that he may be pleased with me. My name is Kalindi, and I am the presiding deity of this river. I live in a mansion within the water that was built for me by my father. There, I will stay until I meet Lord Achyuta.”
Arjuna returned to where Krishna was seated and relayed the girl’s message to Him. Of course, Krishna was already aware of everything, and without delay, He placed Kalindi upon Arjuna’s chariot and all together they returned to Maharaja Yudhisthira.
Sometime thereafter, Maharaja Yudhisthira requested Lord Krishna to help in the construction of a suitable residence. The Lord then summoned the celestial architect, Vishvakarma, and ordered him to construct a wonderful city, just according to Maharaja Yudhisthira’s desire. After the completion of this city, named Indraprastha, Maharaja Yudhisthira requested Krishna to remain there for some time, and so the Lord consented.
(When Lord Krishna first came from Dvaraka to see the Pandavas, it is clearly stated in the Bhagavatam that He came to Indraprastha. But, as the story unfolds, the construction of Indraprastha is placed after the marriage of Kalindi with Krishna. Therefore, Shrila Prabhupada has said that Krishna first of all met the Pandavas at Hastinapura. Shrila Jiva Gosvami explains that the sequence is this: First, the Khandava forest was burned, then Kalindi was found, and then Indraprastha was constructed. Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti says that Indraprastha was constructed before the burning of the Khandava forest, and thus before Krishna married Kalindi. The disciples of Shrila Prabhupada, who translated this section of Bhagavatam, say that Shukadeva Gosvami, while describing the construction of Indraprastha, is describing a previous event.)
One day, Krishna engaged in the pastime of offering the Khandava forest to Agni. There were many drugs growing in the forest that were required for Agni’s rejuvenation, but because the forest belonged to Indra, Agni could not touch it. Thus, he solicited Krishna’s help, knowing that the Lord was pleased with him for his gift of the Sudarshana chakra in the past.
To satisfy Agni, Krishna became Arjuna’s chariot driver, and in this way, He enabled the god of fire to devour the Khandava forest. Being very pleased, Agni gave Arjuna the Gandiva bow, four white horses, a wonderful chariot, and a pair of inexhaustible quivers that contained two special arrows that could not be counteracted.
While the forest was being burned, Arjuna
gave protection to a demon named Maya Danava, who then constructed a wonderful
assembly hall within the city made by Vishvakarma. This assembly hall was made
so cleverly that when Duryodhana visited the Pandavas, he mistook water as
solid floor and vice versa.
After being insulted as a result of his mistakes, Duryodhana became the determined enemy of the Pandavas.
After some time, Krishna took permission from Maharaja Yudhisthira and returned to Dvaraka, where He married Kalindi at an auspicious time.
Vinda and Anuvinda were the kings of Avantipura (present day Ujjain), and they were followers of Duryodhana. When it was time for their daughter’s svayamvara, they forbade her to select Krishna, even though she strongly desired to have the Lord as her husband. Krishna then appeared at the svayamvara of Princess Mitravinda, who was the daughter of His aunt, Rajadhidevi, and forcibly carried her away in the presence of the other princes, who were simply left staring at one another.
The pious Nagnajit, the king of Koshala, had a lovely daughter named Satya, or Nagnajiti. The King only wanted to give his daughter to one who could defeat seven very powerful bulls that were maintained by him, and that could not tolerate the smell of any warrior. Many princes had tried to defeat the bulls, but were themselves defeated, and when Lord Krishna heard of this, he went there.
The King was very pleased to see the Lord and worshiped Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna also greeted his future father-in-law very respectfully. Satya was very pleased by the arrival of Shri Krishna, for she had performed austerities for a very long time, while cherishing the hope of marrying Him.
King Nagnajit said, “O Narayana, Lord of the universe, You are full in Yourself, and so what can this insignificant person do for You?”
Being very comfortably seated, Krishna smilingly replied, “O ruler of men, learned authorities condemn the practice of begging for a kshatriya who is executing his religious duties. Even so, desiring your friendship, I ask for your daughter, although, in consideration of Our family tradition, We cannot offer any gifts in exchange.”
In this way, Krishna wanted to take the King’s daughter without fulfilling the condition of defeating the bulls.
However, the King did not want to break his vow, and so he said, “My Lord, who could be a better husband for my daughter than You? On Your body, the goddess of fortune resides, never leaving You for any reason. Still, just to ascertain the proper husband for my daughter, I previously set a condition to test the prowess of her suitors. These seven bulls are impossible to subdue, and they have already defeated many princes, breaking their limbs. If You can defeat them, O Lord, then You are the appropriate husband for my daughter.”
Just to satisfy the King, Krishna tightened His belt and expanded Himself into seven forms, each one catching a bull and bringing it under control. The Lord then tied up the bulls and began pulling them by the ropes, just as a child might play with wooden toys.
Being pleased and astonished, King Nagnajit immediately presented his daughter to Krishna with great pleasure. The marriage was then celebrated with great pomp, and all over the city there was celebration. As dowry, the King gave 10,000 cows, 3000 maidservants, 9000 elephants, 900,000 chariots, 90 million horses, and nine billion slaves.
His heart melting with affection, the King placed the bride and groom on their chariot and sent them off, surrounded by a great army. When the rival suitors that had previously been defeated by the King’s bulls heard of how Krishna had gained Satya’s hand in marriage, they enviously surrounded the Lord while He was on His way to Dvaraka, showering their arrows.
Arjuna, being always very eager to please his friend, Krishna, single-handedly answered the challenge. By driving off the princes without killing any of them, as easily as a lion chases away smaller animals.
Krishna then returned to Dvaraka, along with His dowry and Satya, and began to live there very happily. The Lord then married Bhadra, the daughter of his aunt Shrutakirti, of the Kekaya province. She had desired to marry Krishna, and so her brothers handed her over unconditionally.
Thereafter, Krishna forcibly kidnapped Lakshmana, the daughter of the king of Madra, from her svayamvara, just as Garuda once stole nectar from the demigods.