kṛtvātaran vatsa-padaṁ sma yat-plavāḥ
jugopa kukṣiṁ gata ātta-cakro
mātuś ca me yaḥ śaraṇaṁ gatāyāḥ
antar bahiḥ pūruṣa-kāla-rūpaiḥ
prayacchato mṛtyum utāmṛtaṁ ca
māyā-manuṣyasya vadasva vidvan
pitāmahāḥ — my grandfathers, the five Pāṇḍavas (Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva); me — my; samare — on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra; amaram jayaiḥ — with fighters who could gain victory over the demigods on the battlefield; devavrata-ādya — Bhīṣmadeva and others; atirathaiḥ — great commanders in chief; timiṅgilaiḥ — resembling great timiṅgila fish, which can easily eat large sharks; duratyayam — very difficult to cross; kaurava-sainya-sāgaram — the ocean of the assembled soldiers of the Kauravas; kṛtvā — considering such an ocean; ataran — crossed it; vatsa-padam — exactly as one steps over a small hoofprint of a calf; sma — in the past; yat-plavāḥ — the shelter of the boat of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet; drauṇi — of Aśvatthāmā; astra — by the brahmāstra; vipluṣṭam — being attacked and burned; idam — this; mat-aṅgam — my body; santāna-bījam — the only seed left, the last descendant of the family; kuru-pāṇḍavānām — of the Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas (because no one but me lived after the Battle of Kurukṣetra); jugopa — gave protection; kukṣim — within the womb; gataḥ — being placed; ātta-cakraḥ — taking in hand the disc; mātuḥ — of my mother; ca — also; me — my; yaḥ — the Lord who; śaraṇam — the shelter; gatāyāḥ — who had taken; vīryāṇi — the glorification of the transcendental characteristics; tasya — of Him (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); akhila-deha-bhājām — of all the materially embodied living entities; antaḥ bahiḥ — inside and outside; pūruṣa — of the Supreme Person; kāla-rūpaiḥ — in the forms of eternal time; prayacchataḥ — who is the giver; mṛtyum — of death; uta — it is so said; amṛtam ca — and eternal life; māyā-manuṣyasya — of the Lord, who appeared as an ordinary human being by His own potency; vadasva — kindly describe; vidvan — O learned speaker (Śukadeva Gosvāmī).
Taking the boat of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, my grandfather Arjuna and others crossed the ocean of the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, in which such commanders as Bhīṣmadeva resembled great fish that could very easily have swallowed them. By the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa, my grandfathers crossed this ocean, which was very difficult to cross, as easily as one steps over the hoofprint of a calf. Because my mother surrendered unto Lord Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, the Lord, Sudarśana-cakra in hand, entered her womb and saved my body, the body of the last remaining descendant of the Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas, which was almost destroyed by the fiery weapon of Aśvatthāmā. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, appearing within and outside of all materially embodied living beings by His own potency in the forms of eternal time — that is, as Paramātmā and as virāṭ-rūpa — gave liberation to everyone, either as cruel death or as life. Kindly enlighten me by describing His transcendental characteristics.
As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.58):
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murāri, or the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoofprint. His goal is paraṁ padam, or Vaikuṇṭha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger at every step.”
One who seeks shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa is immediately protected by the Lord. As the Lord promises in Bhagavad-gītā (18.66), ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ: “I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” By taking shelter of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one comes under the safest protection. Thus when the Pāṇḍavas took shelter at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, all of them were on the safe side of the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, therefore, felt obliged to think of Kṛṣṇa in the last days of his life. This is the ideal result of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ. If at the time of death one can remember Kṛṣṇa, one’s life is successful. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, therefore, because of his many obligations to Kṛṣṇa, intelligently decided to think of Kṛṣṇa constantly during the last days of his life. Kṛṣṇa had saved the Pāṇḍavas, Mahārāja Parīkṣit’s grandfathers, on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, and Kṛṣṇa had saved Mahārāja Parīkṣit himself when he was attacked by the brahmāstra of Aśvatthāmā. Kṛṣṇa acted as the friend and worshipable Deity of the Pāṇḍava family. Moreover, apart from Lord Kṛṣṇa’s personal contact with the Pāṇḍavas, Kṛṣṇa is the Supersoul of all living entities, and He gives everyone liberation, even if one is not a pure devotee. Kaṁsa, for example, was not at all a devotee, yet Kṛṣṇa, after killing him, gave him salvation. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is beneficial to everyone, whether one is a pure devotee or a nondevotee. This is the glory of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Considering this, who will not take shelter at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is described in this verse as māyā-manuṣya because He descends exactly like a human being. He is not obliged to come here, like karmīs, or ordinary living beings; rather, He appears by His own internal energy (sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā) just to show favor to the fallen conditioned souls. Kṛṣṇa is always situated in His original position as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, and anyone who renders service to Him is also situated in his original, spiritual identity (svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ). This is the highest perfection of human life.