Kṛṣṇa Pleases His Devotees
For days together, Kṛṣṇa heard from Uddhava all the details of his visit to Vṛndāvana, especially the condition of His father and mother and of the gopīs and the cowherd boys. Lord Kṛṣṇa was fully satisfied that Uddhava was able to solace them by his instructions and by the message delivered to them.
Lord Kṛṣṇa then decided to go to the house of Kubjā, the hunchback woman who had pleased Him by offering Him sandalwood pulp when He was entering the city of Mathurā. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa always tries to please His devotees as much as the devotees try to please Kṛṣṇa. As the devotees always think of Kṛṣṇa within their hearts, Kṛṣṇa also thinks of His devotees within Himself. When Kubjā was converted into a beautiful society girl, she wanted Kṛṣṇa to come to her place so that she could try to receive and worship Him in her own way. Society girls generally try to satisfy their clients by offering their bodies for the men to enjoy. But this society girl, Kubjā, was actually captivated by a lust to satisfy her senses with Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa desired to go to the house of Kubjā, He certainly had no desire for sense gratification. By supplying the sandalwood pulp to Kṛṣṇa, Kubjā had already satisfied His senses. On the plea of her sense gratification, however, He decided to go to her house, not actually for sense gratification but to turn her into a pure devotee. Kṛṣṇa is always served by many thousands of goddesses of fortune; therefore He has no need to satisfy His senses by going to a society girl. But because He is kind to everyone, He decided to go there. It is said that the moon does not withhold its shining from the courtyard of a crooked person. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental mercy is never denied to anyone who has rendered service unto Him, whether through lust, anger, fear or pure love. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is stated that if one wants to serve Kṛṣṇa and at the same time wants to satisfy his own lusty desires, Kṛṣṇa will handle the situation so that the devotee forgets his lusty desires and becomes fully purified and constantly engaged in the service of the Lord.
To fulfill His promise, Kṛṣṇa, along with Uddhava, went to the house of Kubjā, who was very eager to get Kṛṣṇa for the satisfaction of her lusty desires. When Kṛṣṇa reached her house, He saw that it was completely decorated in a way to excite the lusty desires of a man. This suggests that there were many nude pictures, on top of which were canopies and flags embroidered with pearl necklaces, along with comfortable beds and cushioned chairs. The rooms were provided with flower garlands and were nicely scented with incense and sprinkled with scented water. And the rooms were illuminated by nice lamps.
When Kubjā saw that Lord Kṛṣṇa had come to her house to fulfill His promised visit, she immediately got up from her chair to receive Him cordially. Accompanied by her many girlfriends, she began to talk with Him with great respect and honor. After offering Him a nice place to sit, she worshiped Lord Kṛṣṇa in a manner just suitable to her position. Uddhava was similarly received by Kubjā and her girlfriends, but he did not want to sit on an equal level with Kṛṣṇa, and thus he simply sat down on the floor.
As one usually does in such situations, Kṛṣṇa entered the bedroom of Kubjā without wasting time. In the meantime, Kubjā took her bath and smeared her body with sandalwood pulp. She dressed herself with nice garments, valuable jewelry, ornaments and flower garlands. After chewing betel nut and other intoxicating eatables and spraying herself with scents, she appeared before Kṛṣṇa. Her smiling glance and moving eyebrows were full of feminine bashfulness as she stood gracefully before Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Mādhava, the husband of the goddess of fortune. When Kṛṣṇa saw Kubjā hesitating to come before Him, He immediately caught hold of her hand, which was decorated with bangles. With great affection, He dragged her near Him and made her sit by His side. Simply by having previously supplied pulp of sandalwood to the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, Kubjā became free from all sinful reactions and eligible to enjoy with Him. She then took Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet and placed them on her breasts, which were burning with the blazing fire of lust. By smelling the fragrance of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, she was immediately relieved of all lusty desires. She was thus allowed to embrace Kṛṣṇa with her arms and mitigate her long-cherished desire to have Him as a visitor in her house.
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that one must be freed of all material sinful reactions before one can engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Simply by supplying sandalwood pulp to Kṛṣṇa, Kubjā was thus rewarded. She was not trained to worship Kṛṣṇa in any other way; therefore she wanted to satisfy Him by her profession. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that the Lord can be worshiped even by one’s profession, if it is sincerely offered for the pleasure of the Lord. Kubjā told Kṛṣṇa, “My dear friend, kindly remain with me at least for a few days and enjoy with me. My dear lotus-eyed friend, I cannot leave You immediately. Please grant my request.”
As stated in the Vedic versions, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has multipotencies. According to expert opinion, Kubjā represents the bhū-śakti potency of Kṛṣṇa, just as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī represents His cit-śakti potency. Although Kubjā requested Kṛṣṇa to remain with her for some days, Kṛṣṇa politely impressed upon her that it was not possible for Him to stay. Kṛṣṇa visits this material world occasionally, whereas His connection with the spiritual world is eternal. Kṛṣṇa is always present either in the Vaikuṇṭha planets or in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet. The technical term of His presence in the spiritual world is aprakaṭa-līlā.
After satisfying Kubjā with sweet words, Kṛṣṇa returned home with Uddhava. There is a warning in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Kṛṣṇa is not very easily worshiped, for He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the chief among the viṣṇu-tattvas. To worship Kṛṣṇa or have association with Him is not very easy. Specifically, there is a warning for devotees attracted to Kṛṣṇa through conjugal love: it is not good for them to desire sense gratification by direct association with Kṛṣṇa. Actually, the activities of sense gratification are material. In the spiritual world there are symptoms like kissing and embracing, but there is no sense-gratificatory process as it exists in the material world. This warning is specifically for those known as sahajiyās, who take it for granted that Kṛṣṇa is an ordinary human being. They desire to enjoy sex life with Him in a perverted way. In a spiritual relationship, sense gratification is most insignificant. Anyone who desires a relationship of perverted sense gratification with Kṛṣṇa must be considered less intelligent. His mentality requires to be reformed.
After a while, Kṛṣṇa fulfilled His promise to visit Akrūra at his house. Akrūra was in relationship with Kṛṣṇa as His servitor, and Kṛṣṇa wanted to get some service from him. He went there accompanied by Lord Balarāma and Uddhava. When Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Uddhava approached the house of Akrūra, Akrūra came forward, embraced Uddhava and offered respectful obeisances, bowing down before Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Uddhava offered him obeisances in turn and were offered appropriate sitting places. When all were comfortably seated, Akrūra washed their feet and sprinkled the water on his head. Then he offered nice clothing, flowers and sandalwood pulp in regular worship. All three of them were very satisfied by Akrūra’s behavior. Akrūra then bowed down before Kṛṣṇa, putting his head on the ground. Then, placing Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet on his lap, Akrūra gently began to massage them. When Akrūra was fully satisfied in the presence of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, his eyes filled with tears of love for Kṛṣṇa, and he began to offer his prayers as follows.
“My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, it is very kind of You to have killed Kaṁsa and his associates. You have delivered the whole family of the Yadu dynasty from the greatest calamity. The Yadus will always remember Your saving of their great dynasty. My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, both of You are the original personality from whom everything has emanated, the original cause of all causes. You have inconceivable energy, and You are all-pervasive. There is no cause and effect, gross or subtle, but You. You are the Supreme Brahman realized through the study of the Vedas. By Your inconceivable energy, You are actually visible before us. You create this cosmic manifestation by Your own potencies, and You enter into it Yourself. As the five material elements – earth, water, fire, air and sky – are distributed in everything manifested by different kinds of bodies, so You alone enter the various bodies created by Your own energy. You enter the body as the individual soul and, independently, as the Supersoul.” It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that the material body is created by Kṛṣṇa’s inferior energy, that the living entities – the individual souls – are His parts and parcels, and that the Supersoul is His localized representation. Thus while the material body, the living entity and the Supersoul constitute an individual living being, originally they are all different energies of the one Supreme Lord.
Akrūra continued: “In the material world, You create, maintain and dissolve the whole manifestation by the interactions of the three material qualities, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. But You are not implicated in the activities of those material qualities, for Your supreme knowledge is never overcome like the knowledge of the individual living entity.”
The Supreme Lord enters the material cosmos and causes creation, maintenance and destruction in their due course, whereas the part-and-parcel living entity enters the material elements and has his material body created for him. The difference between the living entity and the Lord is that the living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and has the tendency to be overcome by the interactions of the material qualities. Kṛṣṇa, the Para-brahman, or the Supreme Brahman, being always situated in full knowledge, is never overcome by such activities. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is called Acyuta, meaning “He who never falls down.” Kṛṣṇa’s knowledge of His spiritual identity is never overcome by material action, whereas the minute part-and-parcel living entities are prone to forget their spiritual identity due to material action. The individual living entities are eternally part and parcel of God, minute sparks of the original fire, Kṛṣṇa. As sparks are prone to be extinguished, but not the blazing fire, so the living entities can be overcome by material activities, whereas Kṛṣṇa never can.
Akrūra continued: “Less intelligent men misunderstand Your transcendental form to be made of material energy. But that concept is not at all applicable to You. Actually, You are all-spiritual, and there is no difference between You and Your body. Therefore, there is no question of Your being conditioned or liberated. You are ever liberated in any condition of life. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, only fools and rascals consider You an ordinary man. To consider Your Lordship one of us, conditioned by the material nature, is a mistake due to our imperfect knowledge. When people deviate from the original knowledge of the Vedas, they try to identify the ordinary living entities with Your Lordship, who have appeared on this earth in Your original form to reestablish the real knowledge that the living entities are neither one with nor equal to the Supreme God. My dear Lord, You are always situated in uncontaminated goodness (śuddha-sattva). Your appearance is necessary to reestablish actual Vedic knowledge, as opposed to the atheistic philosophy which tries to establish that God and the living entities are one and the same. My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, this time You have appeared in the home of Vasudeva as His son, with Your plenary expansion, Śrī Balarāma. Your mission is to kill all the atheistic royal families and destroy their huge military strength. You have advented Yourself to minimize the burden of the world, and to fulfill this mission You have glorified the dynasty of Yadu by appearing as one of its members.
“My dear Lord, today my home has been purified by Your presence. I have become the most fortunate person in the world. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshipable by all different kinds of demigods, Pitās, kings, emperors and other living entities and who is the Supersoul of everything, has come into my home. The water of His lotus feet purifies the three worlds, and now He has kindly come to my place. Who in the three worlds among factually learned men will not take shelter of Your lotus feet and surrender unto You? Who, knowing well that no one can be as affectionate as You are to Your devotees, is so foolish that he will decline to become Your devotee? Throughout the Vedic literature it is declared that You are the dearmost friend of every living entity. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, completely capable of fulfilling the desires of Your devotees. You are the real friend of everyone. In spite of giving Yourself to Your devotees, You are never depleted of Your original potency. Your potency neither decreases nor increases in volume.
“My dear Lord, it is very difficult for even great mystic yogīs and demigods to ascertain Your movements or approach You, yet out of Your causeless mercy You have kindly consented to come to my home. This is the most auspicious moment in the journey of my material existence. By Your grace only, I can now understand that my home, my wife, my children and my worldly possessions are all bonds to material existence. Please cut the knot and save me from this entanglement of false society, friendship and love.”
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was very much pleased by Akrūra’s offering of prayers. With His smile captivating Akrūra more and more, the Lord replied to his submissive devotional statements with the following sweet words: “My dear Akrūra, in spite of your submissiveness, I consider you My superior, on the level with My father and teacher and most well-wishing friend. You are therefore to be worshiped by Me, and since you are My uncle I am always to be protected by you. I desire you to maintain Me, for I am one of your own children. Apart from this filial relationship, an exalted devotee like you is always to be worshiped by everyone. Anyone who desires good fortune must offer his respectful obeisances unto personalities like you, who are greater than the demigods. People worship the demigods when in need of some sense gratification, and the demigods offer benedictions to their devotees after being worshiped. But a devotee like you, Akrūra, is always ready to offer people the greatest benediction. A saintly person or devotee is free to offer benedictions to everyone, whereas the demigods can offer benedictions only after being worshiped. One can take advantage of a place of pilgrimage only after going there, and worshiping a particular demigod involves waiting a long time for the fulfillment of one’s desire, but saintly persons like you, My dear Akrūra, can immediately fulfill all the desires of a devotee. My dear Akrūra, you are always Our friend and well-wisher. You are always ready to act for Our welfare. Kindly, therefore, go to Hastināpura and see what arrangement has been made for the Pāṇḍavas.”
Kṛṣṇa was anxious to know about the sons of Pāṇḍu because at a very young age they had lost their father. Being very friendly to His devotees, Kṛṣṇa was anxious to know about them, and therefore He deputed Akrūra to go to Hastināpura and get information of the real situation. Kṛṣṇa continued: “I have heard that after King Pāṇḍu’s death, his young sons – Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva – along with their widowed mother, have come under the charge of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who is to look after them as their guardian. But I have also heard that Dhṛtarāṣṭra is not only blind from birth but also blind in his affection for his cruel son Duryodhana. The five Pāṇḍavas are the sons of King Pāṇḍu, but Dhṛtarāṣṭra, due to Duryodhana’s plans and designs, is not favorably disposed toward them. Kindly go there and study how Dhṛtarāṣṭra is dealing with the Pāṇḍavas. On receipt of your report, I shall consider how to favor them.” In this way the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, ordered Akrūra to go to Hastināpura, and then He returned home, accompanied by Balarāma and Uddhava.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the forty-eighth chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “Kṛṣṇa Pleases His Devotees.”