Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Daily Activities
From the Vedic mantras we learn that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to do: na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate. But if the Supreme Lord has nothing to do, how can we speak of the activities of the Supreme Lord? From the previous chapter it is clear that no one can act the way Lord Kṛṣṇa does. We should clearly note this fact: the activities of the Lord should be followed, but they cannot be imitated. For example, Kṛṣṇa’s ideal life as a householder can be followed, but if one wants to imitate Kṛṣṇa by expanding into many forms, that is not possible. We should always remember, therefore, that Lord Kṛṣṇa, although playing the part of a human being, simultaneously maintains the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We can follow Lord Kṛṣṇa’s dealings with His wives as an ordinary human being, but His dealings with more than sixteen thousand wives at one time cannot be imitated. The conclusion is that to become ideal householders we should follow in the footsteps of Lord Kṛṣṇa as He displayed His daily activities, but we cannot imitate Him at any stage of our life.
Lord Kṛṣṇa used to lie down with His sixteen thousand wives, but He would also rise from bed very early in the morning, three hours before sunrise. By nature’s arrangement the crowing of the cocks warns of the brāhma-muhūrta hour. There is no need of alarm clocks: as soon as the cocks crow early in the morning, it is to be understood that it is time to rise from bed. Hearing that sound, Kṛṣṇa would get up from bed, but His rising early was not very much to the liking of His wives. The wives of Kṛṣṇa were so much attached to Him that they would lie in bed embracing Him, and as soon as the cocks crowed, Kṛṣṇa’s wives would be very sorry and would immediately condemn the crowing.
In the garden within the compound of each palace there were pārijāta flowers. The pārijāta is not an artificial flower. We remember that Kṛṣṇa brought the pārijāta trees from heaven and planted them in all His palaces. Early in the morning, a mild breeze would carry the aroma of the pārijāta flower, and Kṛṣṇa would smell it just after rising from bed. Due to this aroma, the honeybees would begin their humming vibration, and the birds also would begin their sweet chirping sounds. All together it would sound like the singing of professional chanters engaged in offering prayers to Kṛṣṇa. Although Śrīmatī Rukmiṇī-devī, the first queen of Lord Kṛṣṇa, knew that brāhma-muhūrta is the most auspicious time in the entire day, she would feel disgusted at the appearance of brāhma-muhūrta because she was not very happy to have Kṛṣṇa leave her side in bed. Despite Śrīmatī Rukmiṇī-devī’s disgust, Lord Kṛṣṇa would immediately get up from bed exactly on the appearance of brāhma-muhūrta. An ideal householder should learn from the behavior of Lord Kṛṣṇa how to rise early in the morning, however comfortably he may be lying in bed embraced by his wife.
After rising from bed, Lord Kṛṣṇa would wash His mouth, hands and feet and would immediately sit down and meditate on Himself. This does not mean, however, that we should also sit down and meditate on ourselves. We have to meditate upon Kṛṣṇa, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. That is real meditation. Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇa Himself; therefore He was teaching us that brāhma-muhūrta should be utilized for meditation on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. By such meditation Kṛṣṇa would feel very much satisfied, and similarly we will also feel transcendentally pleased and satisfied if we utilize the brāhma-muhūrta period to meditate on Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and if we think of how Śrī Rukmiṇī-devī and Kṛṣṇa acted as ideal householders to teach the whole human society to rise early in the morning and immediately engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no difference between meditating on the eternal forms of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and chanting the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa. As for Kṛṣṇa’s meditation, He had no alternative but to meditate on Himself. The object of meditation is Brahman, Paramātmā or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa Himself is all three: He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān; the localized Paramātmā is His plenary partial expansion; and the all-pervading Brahman effulgence is the personal rays of His transcendental body. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is always one, and for Him there is no differentiation. That is the difference between an ordinary living being and Kṛṣṇa. For an ordinary living being there are many distinctions. An ordinary living being is different from his body, and he is different from other species of living entities. A human being is different from other human beings and different from the animals. Even in his own body, there are different bodily limbs. We have our hands and legs, but our hands are different from our legs. The hand cannot act like the leg, nor can the leg act like the hand. The ears can hear but the eyes cannot, and the eyes can see but the ears cannot. All these differences are technically called svajātīya-vijātīya.
The bodily limitation whereby one part of the body cannot act as another part is totally absent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between His body and Himself. He is completely spiritual, and therefore there is no difference between His body and His soul. Similarly, He is not different from His millions of incarnations and plenary expansions. Baladeva is the first expansion of Kṛṣṇa, and from Baladeva expand Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. From Saṅkarṣaṇa there is an expansion of Nārāyaṇa, and from Nārāyaṇa there is a second quadruple expansion of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Similarly, there are innumerable other expansions of Kṛṣṇa, but all of them are one. Kṛṣṇa has many incarnations, such as Lord Nṛsiṁha, Lord Boar, Lord Fish and Lord Tortoise, but there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa’s original two-handed form, like that of a human being, and these incarnations of gigantic animal forms. Nor is there any difference between the action of one part of His body and that of another. His hands can act as His legs, His eyes can act as His ears, or His nose can act as another part of His body. Kṛṣṇa’s smelling and eating and hearing are all the same. We limited living entities have to use a particular part of the body for a particular purpose, but there is no such distinction for Kṛṣṇa. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said, aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti: Kṛṣṇa can perform the activities of one limb with any other limb. So by analytical study of Kṛṣṇa and His person, it is concluded that He is the complete whole. When He meditates, therefore, He meditates on Himself. Self-meditation by ordinary men, designated in Sanskrit as so ’ham, is simply imitation. Kṛṣṇa may meditate on Himself because He is the complete whole, but we cannot imitate Him and meditate on ourselves. Our body is a designation superimposed upon our self, the soul. Kṛṣṇa’s body is not a designation: Kṛṣṇa’s body is also Kṛṣṇa. There is no existence of anything foreign in Kṛṣṇa. Whatever there is in Kṛṣṇa is also Kṛṣṇa. He is therefore the supreme, indestructible, complete existence, or the Supreme Truth.
Kṛṣṇa’s existence is not relative existence. Everything else but Kṛṣṇa is a relative truth, but Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Kṛṣṇa does not depend on anything but Himself for His existence. Our existence, however, is relative. For example, only when there is the light of the sun, the moon or electricity are we able to see. Our seeing, therefore, is relative, and the light of the sun and moon and electricity is also relative; they are called illuminating only because we see them as such. But dependence and relativity do not exist in Kṛṣṇa. His activities are not dependent on anyone else’s appreciation, nor does He depend on anyone else’s help. He is beyond the existence of limited time and space, and because He is transcendental to time and space He cannot be covered by the illusion of māyā, whose activities are limited. In the Vedic literature we find that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has multipotencies. Since all such potencies are emanations from Him, there is no difference between Him and His potencies. Certain philosophers say, however, that when Kṛṣṇa comes He accepts a material body. But even if it is accepted that when He comes to the material world He accepts a material body, it should be concluded also that because the material energy is not different from Him, this body does not act materially. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, therefore, that He appears by His own internal potency, ātma-māyā.
Kṛṣṇa is called the Supreme Brahman because He is the cause of creation, the cause of maintenance and the cause of dissolution. Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva are different expansions of these material qualities. All these material qualities can act upon the conditioned souls, but there is no such action and reaction upon Kṛṣṇa because these qualities are all simultaneously one with and different from Him. Kṛṣṇa Himself is simply sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, the eternal form of bliss and knowledge, and because of His inconceivable greatness, He is called the Supreme Brahman. His meditation on Brahman or Paramātmā or Bhagavān is on Himself only and not on anything else beyond Himself. This meditation cannot be imitated by the ordinary living entity.
After His meditation, the Lord would regularly bathe early in the morning with clear, sanctified water. Then He would change into fresh clothing, cover Himself with a wrapper and engage in His daily religious functions. Out of His many religious duties, the first was to offer oblations into the sacrificial fire and silently chant the Gāyatrī mantra. Lord Kṛṣṇa, as the ideal householder, executed all the religious functions of a householder without deviation. When the sunrise became visible, the Lord would offer specific prayers to the sun god. The sun god and other demigods mentioned in the Vedic scriptures are described as different limbs of the body of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and it is the duty of the householder to offer respects to the demigods and great sages, as well as the forefathers.
As it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord has no specific duty to perform in this world, and yet He acts just like an ordinary man living an ideal life within this material world. In accordance with Vedic ritualistic principles, the Lord would offer respects to the demigods. The regulative principle by which the demigods and forefathers are worshiped is called tarpaṇa, which means “pleasing.” One’s forefathers may have to take a body on another planet, but by performance of this tarpaṇa system they become very happy wherever they may be. It is the duty of the householder to make his family members happy, and by following this tarpaṇa system he can make his forefathers happy also. As the perfect exemplary householder, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa followed this tarpaṇa system and offered respectful obeisances to the elderly, superior members of His family.
His next duty was to give cows in charity to the brāhmaṇas. Every day Lord Kṛṣṇa used to give many groups of 13,084 cows. Each of the cows was decorated with a silken cover and pearl necklace, their horns were covered with gold plating, and their hooves were silver-plated. All of them were full of milk, due to having their first-born calves with them, and they were very tame and peaceful. When the cows were given in charity to the brāhmaṇas, the brāhmaṇas also were given nice silken garments, and each was given a deerskin and sufficient quantity of sesame seeds. The Lord is generally known as go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca, which means that His first duty is to see to the welfare of the cows and the brāhmaṇas. Thus He used to give cows in charity to the brāhmaṇas, with opulent decorations and paraphernalia. Then, wishing for the welfare of all living entities, He would touch auspicious articles such as milk, honey, ghee (clarified butter), gold, jewels and fire. Although the Lord is by nature very beautiful due to the perfect figure of His transcendental body, He would dress Himself in yellow garments and put on His necklace of Kaustubha jewels. He would wear flower garlands, smear His body with the pulp of sandalwood and decorate Himself with similar cosmetics and ornaments. It is said that the ornaments themselves became beautiful upon being placed on the transcendental body of the Lord. After decorating Himself in this way, the Lord would then look at marble statues of the cow and calf and visit temples of God or demigods like Lord Śiva. There were many brāhmaṇas who would come daily to see the Supreme Lord before taking their breakfast; they were anxious to see Him, and He welcomed them.
His next duty was to please all kinds of men belonging to the different castes, both in the city and within the palace compound. He made them happy by fulfilling their different desires, and when the Lord saw them happy He also became very pleased. The flower garlands, betel nuts, sandalwood pulp and other fragrant cosmetic articles offered to the Lord would be distributed by Him, first to the brāhmaṇas and elderly members of the family, then to the queens, and then to the ministers, and if there were still some balance He would engage it for His own personal use. By the time the Lord finished all these daily duties and activities, His charioteer Dāruka would come with His wonderful chariot to stand before the Lord with folded hands, intimating that the chariot was ready, and the Lord would come out of the palace to travel. Then the Lord, accompanied by Uddhava and Sātyaki, would ride on the chariot just as the sun god rides on his chariot in the morning, appearing with his blazing rays on the surface of the world. When the Lord was about to leave His palaces, all the queens would look at Him with feminine gestures. The Lord would respond to their greetings with smiles, attracting their hearts so much that they would feel intense separation from Him.
Then the Lord would go to the assembly house known as Sudharmā. It may be remembered that the Sudharmā assembly house was taken away from the heavenly planets and established in the city of Dvārakā. The specific significance of the assembly house was that anyone who entered it would be freed from the six kinds of material pangs, namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. These are the whips of material existence, and as long as one remained in that Sudharmā assembly house he would not be affected by these six material whips. The Lord would say good-bye in all the sixteen thousand palaces, and again He would become one and enter the Sudharmā assembly house in procession with other members of the Yadu dynasty. After entering the assembly house, He used to sit on the exalted royal throne and would be seen to emanate glaring rays of transcendental effulgence. In the midst of all the great heroes of the Yadu dynasty, Kṛṣṇa resembled the full moon in the sky surrounded by multiluminaries. In the assembly house were professional jokers, dancers, musicians and ballet girls, and as soon as the Lord sat on His throne they would begin their respective functions to please the Lord and put Him in a happy mood. First of all the jokers would talk in such a way that the Lord and His associates would enjoy their humor, which would refresh the morning mood. The dramatic actors would then play their parts, and the dancing ballet girls would separately display their artistic movements. All these functions would be accompanied by the beating of mṛdaṅga drums and the sounds of the vīṇā, flutes and bells, followed by the sound of the muraja, another type of drum. To these musical vibrations, the auspicious sound of the conch shell would be added. The professional singers called sūtas and māgadhas would sing, and others would perform their dancing art. In this way, as devotees, they would offer respectful prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes the learned brāhmaṇas present in that assembly would chant Vedic hymns and explain them to the audience to the best of their knowledge, and sometimes some of them would recite old historical accounts of the activities of prominent kings. The Lord, accompanied by His associates, would be very pleased to hear them.
Once upon a time, a person arrived at the gateway of the assembly house who was unknown to all the members of the assembly, and with the permission of Lord Kṛṣṇa he was admitted into the assembly by the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper was ordered to present him before the Lord, and the man appeared and offered his respectful obeisances unto the Lord with folded hands. It had happened that when King Jarāsandha conquered all other kingdoms, many kings did not bow their heads before Jarāsandha, and consequently all of them, numbering twenty thousand, were arrested and made his prisoners. The man brought before Lord Kṛṣṇa by the doorkeeper was a messenger from all these imprisoned kings. Being duly presented before the Lord, the man began to relay a message from the kings, as follows.
“‘Dear Lord, You are the eternal form of transcendental bliss and knowledge. As such, You are beyond the reach of the mental speculation or vocal description of any materialistic man within this world. A slight portion of Your glories can be known by persons fully surrendered unto Your lotus feet, and, by Your grace only, such persons become freed from all material anxieties. Dear Lord, we are not among these surrendered souls; we are still within the duality and illusion of this material existence. We therefore take shelter of Your lotus feet, for we are afraid of the cycle of birth and death. Dear Lord, we think that there are many living entities like us who are eternally entangled in fruitive activities and their reactions. They are never inclined to follow Your instructions by performing devotional service, although it is pleasing to the heart and most auspicious for one’s existence. On the contrary, they are against the path of Kṛṣṇa conscious life, and they are wandering within the three worlds, impelled by the illusory energy of material existence.
“‘Dear Lord, who can estimate Your mercy and Your powerful activities? You are present always as the insurmountable force of eternal time, baffling the indefatigable desires of the materialists, who are thus repeatedly confused and frustrated. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto You in Your form of eternal time. Dear Lord, You are the proprietor of all the worlds, and You have incarnated Yourself with Your plenary expansion Lord Balarāma. It is said that Your appearance in this incarnation is for the purpose of protecting the faithful and destroying the miscreants. Under the circumstances, how is it possible that miscreants like Jarāsandha can put us into such deplorable conditions of life against Your authority? We are puzzled at the situation and cannot understand how it is possible. It may be that Jarāsandha has been deputed to give us such trouble because of our past misdeeds, but we have heard from revealed scriptures that anyone who surrenders unto Your lotus feet is immediately immune to the reactions of sinful life. We therefore offer ourselves wholeheartedly unto Your shelter, and we hope that Your Lordship will now give us full protection. We have now come to the real conclusion of our lives. Our kingly positions were nothing but the reward of our past pious activities, just as our suffering imprisonment by Jarāsandha is the result of our past impious activities. We realize now that the reactions of both pious and impious activities are temporary and that we can never be happy in this conditioned life. The material body is awarded to us by the modes of material nature, and on account of this we are full of anxieties. The material condition of life simply involves bearing the burden of this dead body. As a result of fruitive activities, we have thus been subjected to being beasts of burden for these bodies, and, being forced by conditioned life, we have given up the pleasing life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now we realize that we are the most foolish persons. We have been entangled in the network of material reactions due to our ignorance. We have therefore come to the shelter of Your lotus feet, which can immediately eradicate all the results of fruitive action and thus free us from the contamination of material pains and pleasures.
“‘Dear Lord, because we are now surrendered souls at Your lotus feet, You can give us relief from the entrapment of fruitive action made possible by Jarāsandha. Dear Lord, it is known to You that Jarāsandha possesses the power of ten thousand elephants, and with this power he has imprisoned us, just as a lion hypnotizes a flock of sheep. Dear Lord, You have already fought with Jarāsandha eighteen times consecutively, out of which You have defeated him seventeen times by surpassing his extraordinarily powerful position. But in Your eighteenth fight You exhibited Your human behavior, and thus it appeared that You were defeated. Dear Lord, we know very well that Jarāsandha cannot defeat You at any time, for Your power, strength, resources and authority are all unlimited. No one can equal You or surpass You. Your apparent defeat by Jarāsandha in the eighteenth engagement was nothing but an exhibition of human behavior. Unfortunately, foolish Jarāsandha could not understand Your tricks, and he has since then become puffed up over his material power and prestige. Specifically, he has arrested and imprisoned us, knowing fully that as Your devotees we are subordinate to Your sovereignty.’”
The messenger concluded, “Now I have explained the awful position of the kings, and Your Lordship can consider and do whatever You like. As the messenger and representative of all those imprisoned kings, I have submitted my words before Your Lordship and presented their prayers to You. All the kings are very anxious to see You so that they can all personally surrender at Your lotus feet. My dear Lord, be merciful upon them and act for their good fortune.”
At the very moment the messenger of the imprisoned kings was presenting their appeal before the Lord, the great sage Nārada arrived. Because he was a great saint, his hair was dazzling like gold, and when he entered the assembly house it appeared that the sun god was personally present in the midst of the assembly. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the worshipable master of even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, yet as soon as He saw that the sage Nārada had arrived, He immediately stood up with His ministers and secretaries to receive the great sage and offer His respectful obeisances by bowing His head. The great sage Nārada took a comfortable seat, and Lord Kṛṣṇa worshiped him with all paraphernalia, as required for the regular reception of a saintly person. While trying to satisfy Nāradajī, Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke the following words in His sweet and natural voice.
“My dear great sage among the demigods, I think that now everything is well within the three worlds. You are perfectly eligible to travel everywhere in space – in the upper, middle and lower planetary systems of this universe. Fortunately, when we meet you we can very easily take information from Your Holiness of all the news of the three worlds, for within this cosmic manifestation of the Supreme Lord there is nothing concealed from your knowledge. You know everything, and so I wish to question you. Are the Pāṇḍavas doing well, and what is the present plan of King Yudhiṣṭhira? Will you kindly let Me know what they want to do at present?”
The great sage Nārada spoke as follows: “My dear Lord, You have spoken about the cosmic manifestation created by the Supreme Lord, but I know that You are the all-pervading creator. Your energies are so extensive and inconceivable that even powerful personalities like Brahmā, the lord of this particular universe, cannot measure Your inconceivable power. My dear Lord, You are present as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart by Your inconceivable potency, exactly like the fire which is present in everyone but which no one can see directly. In conditioned life, all living entities are within the jurisdiction of the three modes of material nature. As such, they are unable to see Your presence everywhere with their material eyes. By Your grace, however, I have seen many times the action of Your inconceivable potency, and therefore when You ask me for the news of the Pāṇḍavas, which is not at all unknown to You, I am not surprised at Your inquiry.
“My dear Lord, by Your inconceivable potencies You create this cosmic manifestation, maintain it and again dissolve it. Only by dint of Your inconceivable potency does this material world, although a shadow representation of the spiritual world, appear to be factual. No one can understand what You plan to do in the future. Your transcendental position is always inconceivable to everyone. As far as I am concerned, I can simply offer my respectful obeisances unto You again and again. In the bodily concept of existence, everyone is driven by material desires, and thus everyone develops new material bodies one after another in the cycle of birth and death. Being absorbed in such a concept of existence, one does not know how to get out of this encagement of the material body. By Your causeless mercy, my Lord, You descend to exhibit Your various transcendental pastimes, which are illuminating and full of glory. Therefore I have no alternative but to offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
“My dear Lord, You are the Supreme, Para-brahman, and Your pastimes as an ordinary human are another tactical resource, exactly like a play on the stage in which the actor plays parts different from his own identity. Because the Pāṇḍavas are Your cousins, You have inquired about them in the role of their well-wisher, and therefore I shall let You know about their intentions. Now please hear me.
“First I may inform You that King Yudhiṣṭhira has all material opulences which are possible to achieve in the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka. He has no material opulence for which to aspire, and yet he wants to perform the Rājasūya sacrifice only to get Your association and please You. King Yudhiṣṭhira is so opulent that he has attained all the opulences of Brahmaloka even on this earthly planet. He is fully satisfied, and he does not need anything more. He is full in everything, but now he wants to worship You to achieve Your causeless mercy, and I beg to request You to fulfill his desires. My dear Lord, in these great sacrificial performances by King Yudhiṣṭhira there will be an assembly of all the demigods and all the famous kings of the world.
“My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead. One who engages himself in Your devotional service by the prescribed methods of hearing, chanting and remembering certainly becomes purified from the contamination of the modes of material nature, and what to speak of those who have the opportunity to see You and touch You directly. My dear Lord, You are the symbol of everything auspicious. Your transcendental name and fame have spread all over the universe, including the higher, middle and lower planetary systems. The transcendental water which washes Your lotus feet is known in the higher planetary system as Mandākinī, in the lower planetary system as Bhogavatī, and in this earthly planetary system as the Ganges. This sacred, transcendental water flows throughout the entire universe, purifying wherever it flows.”
Just before the great sage Nārada arrived in the Sudharmā assembly house of Dvārakā, Lord Kṛṣṇa and His ministers and secretaries had been considering how to attack the kingdom of Jarāsandha. Because they were seriously considering this subject, Nārada’s proposal that Lord Kṛṣṇa go to Hastināpura for Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira’s great Rājasūya sacrifice did not much appeal to them. Lord Kṛṣṇa could understand the intentions of His associates because He is the ruler of even Lord Brahmā. Therefore, in order to pacify them, He smilingly said to Uddhava, “My dear Uddhava, you are always My well-wishing confidential friend. I therefore wish to see everything through you because I believe that your counsel is always right. I believe that you understand the whole situation perfectly. Therefore I am asking your opinion. What should I do? I have faith in you, and therefore I shall do whatever you advise.” It was known to Uddhava that although Lord Kṛṣṇa was acting like an ordinary man, He knew everything – past, present and future. However, because the Lord wanted to consult with him, Uddhava, in order to render service to the Lord, began to speak.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the seventieth chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Daily Activities.”