Kṛṣṇa Enters Mathurā
While Akrūra was offering his prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord disappeared from the water, exactly as an expert dramatic actor changes his dress and assumes his original feature. After the viṣṇu-mūrti disappeared, Akrūra got out of the water. Finishing the rest of his ritualistic performance, he went near the chariot of Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa and was struck with wonder. Kṛṣṇa asked whether he had seen something wonderful within the water or in space. Akrūra said, “My dear Lord, all wonderful things that are happening within this world, either in the sky or in the water or on the land, are factually appearing in Your universal form. So when I have seen You, what wonderful things have I not seen?” This statement confirms the Vedic version that one who knows Kṛṣṇa knows everything and that one who has seen Kṛṣṇa has seen everything, regardless of how wonderful a thing may be. “My dear Lord,” Akrūra continued, “there cannot be anything more wonderful than Your transcendental form. When I have seen Your transcendental form, what is there left to see?”
After saying this, Akrūra immediately started driving the chariot, and by the end of the day they reached the precincts of Mathurā. As they rode from Vṛndāvana to Mathurā, all the passersby along the way who saw Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma could not help but look at Them again and again. In the meantime, the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, headed by Nanda and Upananda, had already reached Mathurā by going through the forest, and they were awaiting the arrival of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma in a garden. Upon reaching the entrance to Mathurā, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma got down from the chariot and shook hands with Akrūra. Kṛṣṇa informed him, “You may go home now because We shall enter Mathurā later, along with Our associates.” Akrūra replied, “My dear Lord, I cannot go to Mathurā alone, leaving You aside. I am Your surrendered servant. Please do not try to avoid me. Please, come along with me, with Your elder brother and cowherd boyfriends, and sanctify my house. My dear Lord, if You come, my home will be sanctified by the dust of Your lotus feet. The water emanating from the perspiration of Your lotus feet, namely the Ganges, purifies everyone, including the forefathers, the fire god and all other demigods. Bali Mahārāja has become famous simply by washing Your lotus feet, and he enjoyed all material opulences and later on was elevated to the highest position of liberation. The Ganges water not only sanctifies the three worlds but is carried on the head of Lord Śiva. The ancestors of Bhagīratha, sanctified by this water, achieved the heavenly planets. O Supreme Lord of lords! O master of the universe! One can achieve piety simply by hearing about Your transcendental pastimes. O Supreme Nārāyaṇa, who are praised with select verses, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”
On hearing this, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, replied, “Akrūra, I shall surely come to your home with My elder brother, Balarāma, but only after killing all the demons who are envious of the Yadu dynasty. In this way I shall please all My relatives.” Akrūra became a little disappointed by these words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but he could not disregard the order. He therefore entered Mathurā and informed Kaṁsa about the arrival of Kṛṣṇa, and then he entered his own home.
After Akrūra’s departure, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the cowherd boys entered Mathurā to see the city. They observed that the gate of Mathurā was made of first-class marble, very well constructed, and that the doors were made of pure gold. There were gorgeous orchards and gardens all around, and the whole city was encircled by canals so that no enemy could enter very easily. They saw that all the crossroads were decorated with gold and that there were copper and brass storehouses for stocking grain. And there were many rich men’s houses, all appearing symmetrical, as if constructed by one engineer. The houses were decorated with costly jewels, and each and every house had nice compounds of trees bearing fruits and flowers. The corridors and verandas of the houses were decorated with silk cloth and embroidery work in jewels and pearls. In front of the balcony windows were pigeons and peacocks walking and cooing. All the grain dealers’ shops within the city were decorated with different kinds of flowers and garlands, newly grown grass and pleasing flowers like narcissus and roses. The entrance doors of the houses were decorated with waterpots filled with water. A mixture of water, yogurt, sandalwood pulp and flowers was sprinkled all around the doors, which were also decorated with burning lamps of different sizes. Over all the doors were decorations of fresh mango leaves and silk festoons.
When the news spread that Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the cowherd boys were within Mathurā City, all the inhabitants gathered, and the ladies and girls immediately went up to the roofs of the houses to see Them. They had been awaiting the arrival of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma with great anxiety, and in their extreme eagerness to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the ladies did not dress themselves very properly. Some of them placed their clothes in the wrong place. Some anointed their eyes on one side only, and some wore ankle bells only on one leg or wore only one earring. Thus in great haste, not even decorated properly, they went to see Kṛṣṇa from the roofs. Some of them had been taking their lunch, but as soon as they heard that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were in the city, they left their eating and ran to the roofs. Some of them were in the bathroom taking their baths, but without properly finishing their baths, they went to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Some were engaged in feeding their children breast milk, but they put their babies aside and went to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Passing by very slowly and smiling, Lord Kṛṣṇa immediately stole their hearts. He who is the husband of the goddess of fortune passed through the street like an elephant. For a very long time the women of Mathurā had heard about Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and Their uncommon characteristics, and they were very much attracted and eager to see Them. Now when they actually saw Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma passing on the street and saw Them sweetly smiling, the ladies’ joy reached the point of ecstasy. When they actually saw Them with their eyes, they took Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma within their hearts and began to embrace Them to their fullest desire. Their bodily hairs stood up in ecstasy. They had heard of Kṛṣṇa, but they had never seen Him, and now their longing was relieved. After going up on the roofs of the palaces of Mathurā, the ladies, their faces joyful, began to shower flowers upon Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. When the brothers were passing through the streets, all the brāhmaṇas in the neighborhood went out with sandal water and flowers and respectfully welcomed Them to the city. All the residents of Mathurā began to talk among themselves about the elevated and pious activities of the people of Vṛndāvana. The residents of Mathurā were surprised at the pious activities the cowherd men in Vṛndāvana must have performed in their previous lives to be able to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma daily as cowherd boys.
While Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were passing in this way, They saw a washerman and dyer of clothing. Kṛṣṇa was pleased to ask him for some nice clothing. He also promised that if the washerman would deliver the nicest dyed cloth to Him, the washerman would become very happy, and all good fortune would be his. Kṛṣṇa was not a beggar, nor was He in need of clothing, but by this request He indicated that everyone should be ready to offer Kṛṣṇa whatever He wants. That is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Unfortunately, this washerman was a servant of Kaṁsa and therefore could not appreciate the demand of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the effect of bad association. He could have immediately delivered the clothing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who promised him all good fortune, but being a servant of Kaṁsa, the sinful demon could not accept the offer. Instead of being pleased, he was very angry and refused the Lord’s request, saying, “How is it that You are asking for clothing which is meant for the king?” The washerman then began to instruct Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma: “My dear boys, in the future don’t be so impudent as to ask for things which belong to the king. Otherwise, You will be punished by the government men. They will arrest You and punish You, and You will be in difficulty. I have practical experience of this fact. Anyone who unlawfully wants to use the king’s property is very severely punished.”
On hearing this, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī, became very angry at the washerman, and striking him with the upper portion of His hand, He separated the man’s head from his body. The washerman fell down dead on the ground. In this way Lord Kṛṣṇa confirmed the statement of the Brahma-saṁhitā that every limb of His body is capable of doing everything He likes. Without a sword, but simply with His hand, He cut off the head of the washerman. This is proof that the Supreme Lord is omnipotent. If He wants to do something, He can do it without extraneous help.
After this ghastly incident, the employees of the washerman immediately dispersed, leaving the clothing. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma took possession of it and dressed according to Their choice; the rest of the clothes were offered to the cowherd boys, who also used them as they desired. What they did not use remained there. Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the boys then proceeded along the main road. In the meantime, a devotee-tailor took the opportunity of service and prepared some nice clothes from the cloth for Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Thus being very nicely attired, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma looked like elephants dressed with colored clothing on the full-moon day or the dark-moon day. Kṛṣṇa was very much pleased with the tailor and gave him the benediction of sārūpya-mukti, which means that after leaving his body he would be liberated and would attain a four-handed body exactly like that of Nārāyaṇa in the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Kṛṣṇa also granted him that as long as he would live he would earn sufficient opulence to be able to enjoy sense gratification. By this incident Kṛṣṇa proved that those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees will not be lacking material enjoyment of sense gratification. They will have sufficient opportunity for such things, but after leaving this body they will be allowed to enter the spiritual planets of Vaikuṇṭha-loka or Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana.
After dressing nicely, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma went to a florist of the name Sudāmā. As soon as They reached the precinct of his house, the florist immediately came out and with great devotion fell down on his face to offer his respectful obeisances. He offered a nice seat to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and asked his assistant to bring out flowers, betel nuts and pulp of candana. The florist’s welcome greatly satisfied the Lord.
The florist very humbly and submissively offered his prayers to the Lord, saying, “My dear Lord, because You have come to my place, I think all my forefathers and all my worshipable superiors are pleased and delivered. My dear Lord, You are the supreme cause of all causes of this cosmic manifestation, but for the benefit of the residents of this earthly planet, You have appeared with Your plenary portion to give protection to Your devotees and annihilate the demons. You are equally disposed as the friend of all living entities; You are the Supersoul, and You do not discriminate between friend and enemy. Yet You are pleased to give Your devotees the special result of their devotional activities. My Lord, I am praying that You please tell me whatever You wish me to do, because I am Your eternal servant. If You would order me to do something, it would be a great favor to me.” The florist, Sudāmā, was greatly pleased within his heart by seeing Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma in his place, and thus, as his choicest desire, he made two exquisite garlands of various flowers and presented them to the Lord. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were very much pleased with his sincere service, and Kṛṣṇa offered the florist His salutation and benedictions, which He is always prepared to bestow upon the surrendered souls. When the florist was offered benedictions, he begged from the Lord that he might remain His eternal servant in devotional service and by such service do good to all living creatures. By this, it is clear that a devotee of the Lord in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should not be satisfied simply by his own advancement in devotional service; he must be willing to work for the welfare of all others. This example was followed by the Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana. It is therefore stated in a prayer about them, lokānāṁ hita-kāriṇau: Vaiṣṇavas, or devotees of the Lord, are not selfish. Whatever benefits they derive from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as benedictions they want to distribute to all other persons. That is the greatest of all humanitarian activities. Being satisfied with the florist, Lord Kṛṣṇa not only gave him whatever benedictions he wanted, but over and above that He offered him all material opulences, family prosperity, a long duration of life and whatever else his heart desired within the material world.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the forty-first chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “Kṛṣṇa Enters Mathurā.”