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Lord Krishna blesses the liberated kings.
(Lord Krishna returns to Hastinapura)
Jarasandha had defeated 20,800 kings, and then kept them imprisoned for a long time within a mountain cave that was part of a great fort. When the kings emerged from the fortress, they appeared dirty and emaciated, their faces dried up from malnutrition. Their clothes were old and torn, and their bodies had become very slack and frail, practically invalid.
After having suffered so much, when the kings saw the beautiful four-armed form of the Lord before them, they gazed upon Him to their full hearts’ content. Indeed, the kings seemed to drink the Lord’s beauty through their eyes, and all their past sins were eradicated, so that without reservation, they surrendered themselves by bowing down their heads at His lotus feet.
The ecstasy of beholding the Lord also dispelled the weariness of their imprisonment. With folded hands, they stood up and prayed, “Obeisances unto You, Lord of the demigods and destroyer of Your surrendered devotees’ distress. O Krishna, just as You have saved us from the clutches of Jarasandha, please save us from the imprisonment of material existence, which has made us so despondent.”
“We no longer blame Jarasandha, for it is actually by Your mercy that we fell down from our position of royal opulence. Blinded by the intoxication of wealth, prestige and power- we fought one another and harassed our own subjects. In this way, we arrogantly disregarded Your Lordship. Now, in our weakened condition, we can understand the futility of trying to enjoy the false happiness of sense gratification. Just as someone may consider a mirage in the desert to be a pool of water, foolish persons consider the illusory transformations of maya to be substantial.”
“Now that You have mercifully destroyed our pride, we simply hope to be able to remember Your lotus feet. Never again will we hanker for a great position in this world, for it must be maintained by engaging the material body in very hard labor. And, the material body itself is a source of disease and other miseries, and it is declining toward death at every moment. Please bless us so that we may never forget Your lotus feet, even though we may continue in the cycle of repeated birth and death. Again and again, we offer our obeisances unto You, Lord Krishna, who vanquishes the suffering of all who surrender unto You.”
The Supreme Personality of Godhead then said, “My dear Kings, from now on you will have firm devotion to Me, just as you desire. Your decision to turn away from the path of increasing material enjoyment and engage in My devotional service is a sign of your good fortune. Continue to rule your subjects, according to the principles of religion, and thus make them happy in all respects. While engaging in family life and experiencing the dualities of happiness and distress, always keep your minds fixed on Me. Remain self-satisfied and detached from the body while concentrating your minds upon Me, and in this way, you will ultimately come to Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth.”
Krishna then arranged for many male and female servants to bathe, groom, and take care of the kings in all respects. The Lord told Sahadeva, the son of Jarasandha, to honor the kings with gifts of clothing, jewelry, garlands and sandalwood paste. After the kings had bathed and dressed, Lord Krishna saw that they were sumptuously fed. Being thus freed from all tribulations and honored by Lord Mukunda, the kings’ faces shone brightly, just like the moon at the end of the rainy season.
Finally, Krishna arranged for the kings to be seated upon fine chariots, and after pleasing them with gracious words, He sent them off to their respective kingdoms. While going, the kings could only think of Krishna, and upon arriving home, they described to their associates all that the Lord had done. Thereafter, they ruled their kingdoms according to the directions the Lord had given them.
After receiving worship from Sahadeva, Lord Krishna departed, along with Bhima and Arjuna. When they arrived at Indraprastha, the victorious heroes blew their conch shells, bringing joy to their well-wishing friends and sorrow to their enemies. By hearing this sound, the residents of Indraprastha could understand that the King of Magadha had been put to rest, and Maharaja Yudhisthira felt that his desires were now fulfilled.
Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna went and offered their respects to Yudhisthira and told him all that had happened. By hearing this wonderful narration of how the Lord had bestowed such favor upon him, Maharaja Yudhisthira became practically stunned due to great affection. Indeed, he remained speechless for some time, as tears glided down from his eyes.