svayaṁ nigṛhya bubhuje
ugrasenam — unto Ugrasena; ca — and; pitaram — who was his own father; yadu — of the Yadu dynasty; bhoja — of the Bhoja dynasty; andhaka — of the Andhaka dynasty; adhipam — the king; svayam — personally; nigṛhya — subduing; bubhuje — enjoyed; śūrasenān — all the states known as Śūrasena; mahā-balaḥ — the extremely powerful Kaṁsa.
Kaṁsa, the most powerful son of Ugrasena, even imprisoned his own father, the King of the Yadu, Bhoja and Andhaka dynasties, and personally ruled the states known as Śūrasena.
The state known as Mathurā was also included within the states known as Śūrasena.
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS CHAPTER
Regarding transmigration of the soul, Śrīla Madhvācārya gives the following notes. When one is awake, whatever one sees or hears is impressed upon the mind, which later works in dreams to show one different experiences, although in dreams one appears to accept a different body. For example, when one is awake one does business and talks with customers, and similarly in dreams one meets various customers, talks about business and gives quotations. Madhvācārya says, therefore, that dreams take place according to what one sees, hears and remembers. When one reawakens, of course, one forgets the body of the dream. This forgetfulness is called apasmṛti. Thus we are changing bodies because we are sometimes dreaming, sometimes awake and sometimes forgetful. Forgetfulness of our previously created body is called death, and our work in the present body is called life. After death, one cannot remember the activities of one’s previous body, whether imaginary or factual.
The agitated mind is compared to agitated water reflecting the sun and the moon. Actually the sun and moon reflected on the water do not exist there; nonetheless, they are reflected according to the movements of the water. Similarly, when our minds are agitated, we wander in different material atmospheres and receive different types of bodies. This is described in Bhagavad-gītā as guṇa-saṅga. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya. Madhvācārya says, guṇa-nubaddhaḥ san. And Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva (Cc. Madhya 19.151). The living entity rotates up and down throughout the universe, sometimes in the upper planetary system, sometimes in the middle and lower planetary systems, sometimes as a man, sometimes a god, a dog, a tree and so on. This is all due to the agitation of the mind. The mind must therefore be steadily fixed. As it is said, sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. One should fix one’s mind at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, and then one will become free from agitation. This is the instruction of the Garuḍa Purāṇa, and in the Nāradīya Purāṇa the same process is described. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, yānti deva-vratā devān. The agitated mind goes to different planetary systems because it is attached to different kinds of demigods, but one does not go to the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by worshiping the demigods, for this is not supported by any Vedic literature. Man is the architect of his own fortune. In this human life one has the facility with which to understand one’s real situation, and one can decide whether to wander around the universe forever or return home, back to Godhead. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (aprāpya māṁ nivartante mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani).
There is no such thing as chance. When a tree is burning in a forest fire and although the nearest tree is spared a distant tree catches fire, this may appear to be chance. Similarly, one may seem to get different types of bodies by chance, but actually one receives these bodies because of the mind. The mind flickers between accepting and rejecting, and according to the acceptance and rejection of the mind, we receive different types of bodies, although we superficially seem to obtain these bodies by chance. Even if we accept the theory of chance, the immediate cause for the change of body is the agitation of the mind.
Notes on aṁśa. This chapter describes that Kṛṣṇa appeared aṁśena, with His parts and parcels or His partial manifestation. In this connection, Śrīdhara Svāmī says that Kṛṣṇa is one hundred percent Bhagavān (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam). Because of our imperfections, however, we cannot appreciate Kṛṣṇa in fullness, and therefore whatever Kṛṣṇa exhibited when present on earth was but a partial manifestation of His opulence. Again, Kṛṣṇa appeared with His plenary expansion Baladeva. Kṛṣṇa, however, is full; there is no question of His appearing partially. In the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī says that to accept that Kṛṣṇa was partially manifested would contradict the statement kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that the word aṁśena means that Kṛṣṇa appeared with all His plenary expansions. The words aṁśena viṣṇoḥ do not mean that Kṛṣṇa is a partial representative of Viṣṇu. Rather, Kṛṣṇa appeared in fullness, and He manifests Himself partially in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. In other words, Lord Viṣṇu is a partial representation of Kṛṣṇa; Kṛṣṇa is not a partial representation of Viṣṇu. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, Chapter Four, this subject matter is explained very clearly. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura also notes that no one can describe Kṛṣṇa in fullness. Whatever descriptions we find in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are partial explanations of Kṛṣṇa. In conclusion, therefore, the word aṁśena indicates that Lord Viṣṇu is a partial representation of Kṛṣṇa, not that Kṛṣṇa is a partial representation of Viṣṇu.
Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī has explained the word dharma-śīlasya. The exact meaning of dharma-śīla is “an unadulterated devotee.” Real dharma consists of full surrender to Kṛṣṇa (sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja). One who has fully surrendered to Kṛṣṇa is actually religious. One such religious person was Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Anyone who accepts the principle of surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord, giving up all other systems of religion, is actually dharma-śīla, perfectly religious.
The word nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ refers to one who no longer has any material desires (sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam). One may have many material desires because of contamination in this material world, but when one is completely free from all material desires, he is called nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa, which indicates that he no longer has any thirst for material enjoyment. Svāmin kṛtārtho ’smi varaṁ na yāce (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya). Materialistic persons want some material profit from executing devotional service, but this is not the purpose of service. The perfection of devotional service lies in complete surrender unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, with no material desires. One who surrenders in this way is already liberated. Jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate. One who is always busy serving Kṛṣṇa, in whatever condition he may live, is understood to be liberated even in this life. Such a person, who is a pure devotee, does not need to change his body; indeed, he does not possess a material body, for his body has already been spiritualized. An iron rod kept constantly within a fire will ultimately become fire, and whatever it touches will burn. Similarly, the pure devotee is in the fire of spiritual existence, and therefore his body is cin-maya; that is, it is spiritual, not material, because the pure devotee has no desire but the transcendental desire to serve the Lord. In text four the word upagīyamānāt is used: nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānāt. Who will chant the glories of the Lord unless he is a devotee? Therefore the word nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ indicates the devotee, and no one else. These are the remarks of ācāryas like Vīrarāghava Ācārya and Vijayadhvaja. To desire anything other than devotional service will diminish one’s freedom from material desires, but when one is free from all such desires one is called nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ.
Vinā paśu-ghnāt. The word paśu means “animal.” An animal killer, paśu-ghna, cannot enter into Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, therefore, animal killing is completely prohibited.
Uttamaśloka-guṇānuvādāt. The word uttamaśloka means “one who is famous as the best of those who are good.” The Lord is good in all circumstances. That is His natural reputation. His goodness is unlimited, and He uses it unlimitedly. A devotee is also sometimes described as uttamaśloka, meaning that he is eager to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead or the Lord’s devotees. Glorifying the Lord and glorifying the Lord’s devotees are the same. Or, rather, glorifying the devotee is more important than glorifying the Lord directly. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura explains this fact: chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā, nistāra pāyeche kebā. One cannot be liberated from material contamination without sincerely serving a devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
Bhavauṣadhāt means “from the universal remedy.” Chanting the holy name and glorifying the Supreme Lord are the universal remedy for all the miseries of materialistic life. Persons who desire to be freed from this material world are called mumukṣu. Such persons can understand the miseries of materialistic life, and by glorifying the activities of the Lord they can be released from all these miseries. The transcendental sound vibrations concerning the Lord’s name, fame, form, qualities and paraphernalia are all nondifferent from the Lord. Therefore the very sound vibration of the Lord’s glorification and name are pleasing to the ears, and by understanding the absolute nature of the Lord’s name, form and qualities the devotee becomes joyful. Even those who are not devotees, however, enjoy the pleasing narrations of the Lord’s transcendental activities. Even ordinary persons not very much advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness take pleasure in describing the narrations depicted in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When a materialistic person is purified in this way, he engages in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Because glorification of the Lord’s pastimes is very pleasing to the ear and heart of the devotee, it is simultaneously his subject and object.
In this world there are three kinds of men: those who are liberated, those trying to be liberated, and those entangled in sense enjoyment. Of these three, those who are already liberated chant and hear the holy name of the Lord, knowing perfectly that to glorify the Lord is the only way to keep oneself in a transcendental position. Those who are trying to be liberated, the second class, may regard the chanting and hearing of the Lord’s holy name as a process of liberation, and they too will feel the transcendental pleasure of this chanting. As for karmīs and persons engaged in sense gratification, they also may take pleasure in hearing the pastimes of the Lord, like His fighting on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra and His dancing in Vṛndāvana with the gopīs.
The word uttamaśloka-guṇānuvāda refers to the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord, such as His affection for mother Yaśodā and His friends the cowherd boys and His loving attitude toward the gopīs. The Lord’s devotees like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira are also described by the qualification uttamaśloka-guṇānuvāda. The word anuvāda refers to describing the qualities of the Supreme Lord or His devotees. When these qualities are described, other devotees are interested in hearing them. The more one is interested in hearing about these transcendental qualities, the more one transcendentally enjoys. Everyone, therefore, including the mumukṣus, the vimuktas and the karmīs, should chant and hear the glories of the Lord, and in this way everyone will benefit.
Although the sound vibration of the transcendental qualities of the Lord is equally beneficial to all, for those who are muktas, liberated, it is especially pleasing. As described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Eighth Canto, Third Chapter, verse 20, because pure devotees, who no longer have any material desires, surrender fully to the lotus feet of the Lord, they always merge in the ocean of bliss by chanting and hearing the Lord’s holy name. According to this verse, devotees like Nārada and other residents of Śvetadvīpa are seen always engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord because by such chanting they are always externally and internally blissful. The mumukṣus, persons desiring to be liberated, do not depend on the pleasures of the senses; instead, they concentrate fully on becoming liberated by chanting the holy name of the Lord. Karmīs like to create something pleasing to their ears and hearts, and although they sometimes like to chant or hear the glories of the Lord, they do not do it openly. Devotees, however, always spontaneously hear, chant about and remember the activities of the Lord, and by this process they are fully satisfied, even though these may seem like topics of sense gratification. Simply by hearing the transcendental narrations of the Lord’s activities, Parīkṣit Mahārāja was liberated. He was therefore śrotramano-’bhirāma; that is, he glorified the process of hearing. This process should be accepted by all living entities.
To distinguish persons who are bereft of these transcendental pleasures, Parīkṣit Mahārāja has used the words virajyeta pumān. The word pumān refers to any person, whether man, woman or in-between. Because of the bodily conception of life, we are subject to lamentation, but one who has no such bodily conceptions can take pleasure in transcendental hearing and chanting. Therefore a person fully absorbed in the bodily concept of life is surely killing himself by not making spiritual progress. Such a person is called paśu-ghna. Especially excluded from spiritual life are the animal hunters, who are not interested in hearing and chanting the holy name of the Lord. Such hunters are always unhappy, both in this life and in the next. It is therefore said that a hunter should neither die nor live because for such persons both living and dying are troublesome. Animal hunters are completely different from ordinary karmīs, and thus they have been excluded from the process of hearing and chanting. Vinā paśu-ghnāt. They cannot enter into the transcendental pleasure of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord.
The word mahā-ratha refers to a great hero who can fight alone against eleven thousand other heroes, and the word atiratha, as found in text five, refers to one who can fight against an unlimited number. This is mentioned in the Mahābhārata as follows:
yodhayed yas tu dhanvinām
mahā-ratha iti smṛtaḥ
amitān yodhayed yas tu
samprokto ’tirathas tu saḥ
This is the description given in the Bṛhad-vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.
Māyā-manuṣyasya (10.1.17). Because of being covered by yoga-māyā (nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ), Kṛṣṇa is sometimes called māyā-manuṣya, indicating that although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He appears like an ordinary person. A misunderstanding arises because yoga-māyā covers the vision of the general public. The Lord’s position is actually different from that of an ordinary person, for although He appears to act like an ordinary man, He is always transcendental. The word māyā also indicates “mercy,” and sometimes it also means “knowledge.” The Lord is always full of all transcendental knowledge, and therefore although He acts like a human being, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full of knowledge. In His original identity, the Lord is the controller of māyā (mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram). Therefore the Lord may be called māyā-manuṣya, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead playing like an ordinary human being, although He is the controller of both the material and spiritual energies. The Lord is the Supreme Person, Puruṣottama, but because we are deluded by yoga-māyā, He appears to be an ordinary person. Ultimately, however, yoga-māyā induces even a nondevotee to understand the Lord as the Supreme Person, Puruṣottama. In Bhagavad-gītā we find two statements given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the devotees, the Lord says:
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (Bg. 10.10) Thus for the willing devotee the Lord gives intelligence by which to understand Him and return home, back to Godhead. For others, for nondevotees, the Lord says, mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-plundering, inevitable death.” A devotee like Prahlāda enjoys the activities of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, whereas nondevotees like Prahlāda’s father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, meet death before Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva. The Lord therefore acts in two ways, by sending some onto the path of repeated birth and death and sending others back home, back to Godhead.
The word kāla, meaning “black,” indicates the color of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Rāmacandra, who both look blackish, give liberation and transcendental bliss to Their devotees. Among persons possessing material bodies, sometimes someone is able to subject death to his own will. For such a person, death is almost impossible because no one wants to die. But although Bhīṣmadeva possessed this power, Bhīṣma, by the supreme will of the Lord, died very easily in the Lord’s presence. There have also been many demons who had no hope of salvation, yet Kaṁsa attained salvation by the supreme will of the Lord. Not to speak of Kaṁsa, even Pūtanā attained salvation and reached the level of the Lord’s mother. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, therefore, was very eager to hear about the Lord, who has inconceivable qualities by which to give liberation to anyone. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, at the point of his death, was certainly interested in his liberation. When such a great and exalted personality as the Lord behaves like an ordinary human being although possessing inconceivable qualities, His behavior is called māyā. Therefore the Lord is described as māyā-manuṣya. This is the opinion of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. Mu refers to mukti, or salvation, and ku refers to that which is bad or very obnoxious. Thus muku refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who saves one from the bad condition of material existence. The Lord is called mukunda because He not only saves the devotee from material existence but offers him transcendental bliss in love and service.
As for Keśava, ka means Brahmā, and īśa means Lord Śiva. The Personality of Godhead captivates both Lord Brahmā and Lord Mahādeva, or Śiva, by His transcendental qualities. Therefore He is called Keśava. This opinion is given by Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī commentary.
It is said that all the demigods, accompanied by Tri-nayana, Lord Śiva, went to the shore of the Ocean of Milk and offered their prayers through the mantra known as Puruṣa-sūkta. From this statement it is understood that the demigods cannot directly approach Lord Viṣṇu, who lies on the Ocean of Milk, or enter His abode. This is also clearly stated in the Mahābhārata, Mokṣa-dharma, and the next chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has His abode in Goloka (goloka-nāmni nija-dhāmni tale ca tasya). From Lord Kṛṣṇa come the catur-vyūha, the quadruple expansions Saṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Vāsudeva. There are innumerable brahmāṇḍas, all of which emanate from the pores of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and in every brahmāṇḍa there is a Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is a partial expansion of Aniruddha. This Aniruddha is a partial expansion of Pradyumna, who is partially represented as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Supersoul of all living entities. These Viṣṇu expansions are different from Kṛṣṇa, who resides in Goloka Vṛndāvana. When it is said that the demigods offered prayers to the Lord by chanting the Puruṣa-sūkta, this indicates that they pleased the Lord by enunciating prayers of bhakti.
The word vṛṣākapi refers to one who satisfies His devotee in every way and frees His devotee from all material anxieties. Vṛṣa refers to religious performances like sacrifices. Even without the execution of sacrifices, the Lord can still enjoy the supermost comforts of the heavenly planets. The statement that Puruṣottama, Jagannātha, would appear in the house of Vasudeva distinguishes the Supreme Personality of Godhead from ordinary persons. The statement that He personally appeared indicates that He did not send His plenary expansion. The word priyārtham indicates that the Lord appeared to please Rukmiṇī and Rādhārāṇī. Priyā means “the most beloved.”
In the commentary of Śrī Vīrarāghava Ācārya, the following extra verse is accepted after text twenty-three:
viṣṇuṁ tarpayituṁ surāḥ
“O demigods, even great sages, following the order of Viṣṇu, appeared in the forms of cows and calves to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by delivering milk.”
Rāmānujācārya sometimes accepts Baladeva as a śaktyāveśa-avatāra, but Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has explained that Baladeva is an expansion of Kṛṣṇa and that a part of Baladeva is Saṅkarṣaṇa. Although Baladeva is identical with Saṅkarṣaṇa, He is the origin of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Therefore the word svarāṭ has been used to indicate that Baladeva always exists in His own independence. The word svarāṭ also indicates that Baladeva is beyond the material conception of existence. Māyā cannot attract Him, but because He is fully independent, He can appear by His spiritual potency wherever He likes. Māyā is fully under the control of Viṣṇu. Because the material potency and Yoga-māyā mingle in the Lord’s appearance, they are described as ekānaṁśā. Sometimes ekānaṁśā is interpreted to mean “without differentiation.” Saṅkarṣaṇa and Śeṣa-nāga are identical. As stated by Yamunādevī, “O Rāma, O great-armed master of the world, who have extended Yourself throughout the entire universe by one plenary expansion, it is not possible to understand You fully.” Therefore ekāṁśā refers to Śeṣa-nāga. In other words, Baladeva, merely by His partial expansion, sustains the entire universe.
The word kāryārthe refers to one who attracted the pregnancy of Devakī and bewildered mother Yaśodā. These pastimes are very confidential. The Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered Yoga-māyā to bewilder His associates in His pastimes and bewilder demons like Kaṁsa. As stated previously, yoga-māyāṁ samādiśat. To give service to the Lord, Yoga-māyā appeared along with Mahā-māyā. Mahā-māyā refers to yayā sammohitaṁ jagat, “one who bewilders the entire material world.” From this statement it is to be understood that Yoga-māyā, in her partial expansion, becomes Mahā-māyā and bewilders the conditioned souls. In other words, the entire creation has two divisions — transcendental, or spiritual, and material. Yoga-māyā manages the spiritual world, and by her partial expansion as Mahā-māyā she manages the material world. As stated in the Nārada-pañcarātra, Mahā-māyā is a partial expansion of Yoga-māyā. The Nārada-pañcarātra clearly states that the Supreme Personality has one potency, which is sometimes described as Durgā. The Brahma-saṁhitā says, chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā. Durgā is not different from Yoga-māyā. When one understands Durgā properly, he is immediately liberated, for Durgā is originally the spiritual potency, hlādinī-śakti, by whose mercy one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead very easily. Rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmād. The mahā-māyā-śakti, however, is a covering of Yoga-māyā, and she is therefore called the covering potency. By this covering potency, the entire material world is bewildered (yayā sammohitaṁ jagat). In conclusion, bewildering the conditioned souls and liberating the devotees are both functions belonging to Yoga-māyā. Transferring the pregnancy of Devakī and keeping mother Yaśodā in deep sleep were both done by Yoga-māyā. Mahā-māyā cannot act upon such devotees, for they are always liberated. But although it is not possible for Mahā-māyā to control liberated souls or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, she did bewilder Kaṁsa. The action of Yoga-māyā in presenting herself before Kaṁsa was the action of Mahā-māyā, not Yoga-māyā. Yoga-māyā cannot even see or touch such polluted persons as Kaṁsa. In Caṇḍī, in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, Eleventh Chapter, Mahā-māyā says, “During the twenty-eighth yuga in the period of Vaivasvata Manu, I shall take birth as the daughter of Yaśodā and be known as Vindhyācala-vāsinī.”
The distinction between the two māyās — Yoga-māyā and Mahā-māyā — is described as follows. Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā with the gopīs and the gopīs’ bewilderment in respect to their husbands, fathers-in-law and other such relatives were arrangements of Yoga-māyā in which Mahā-māyā had no influence. The Bhāgavatam gives sufficient evidence of this when it clearly says, yoga-māyām upāśritaḥ. On the other hand, there were asuras headed by Śālva and kṣatriyas like Duryodhana who were bereft of devotional service in spite of seeing Kṛṣṇa’s carrier Garuḍa and the universal form, and who could not understand Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This was also bewilderment, but this bewilderment was due to mahā-māyā. Therefore it is to be concluded that the māyā which drags a person from the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called jaḍa-māyā, and the māyā which acts on the transcendental platform is called yoga-māyā. When Nanda Mahārāja was taken away by Varuṇa, he saw Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, but nonetheless he thought of Kṛṣṇa as his son. Such feelings of parental love in the spiritual world are acts of yoga-māyā, not of jaḍa-māyā, or mahā-māyā. This is the opinion of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
Śūrasenāṁś ca. The son of Kārtavīryārjuna was Śūrasena, and the countries he ruled were also called Śūrasena. This is noted by Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī commentary.
In regard to Mathurā, we find this quotation:
brahma-jñānena yena vā
tat-sāra-bhūtaṁ yad yasyāṁ
mathurā sā nigadyate
When a self-realized soul acts in his transcendental position, his situation is called Mathurā. In other words, when one acts in the process of bhakti-yoga, he may live anywhere, but actually he lives in Mathurā, Vṛndāvana. Devotion to Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, is the essence of all knowledge, and wherever such knowledge is manifested is called Mathurā. Also, when one establishes bhakti-yoga, excluding all other methods, one’s situation is called Mathurā. Yatra nityaṁ sannihito hariḥ: the place where Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, lives eternally is called Mathurā. The word nitya indicates eternality. The Supreme Lord is eternal, and His abode is also eternal. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ. Although the Lord is always stationed in His abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, He is present everywhere in fullness. This means that when the Supreme Lord descends to the surface of the world, His original abode is not vacant, for He can remain in His original abode and simultaneously descend upon Mathurā, Vṛndāvana, Ayodhyā and other places. He does not need to descend, since He is already present there; He simply manifests Himself.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has addressed Mahārāja Parīkṣit as tāta, or “beloved son.” This is due to parental love in the heart of Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Because Kṛṣṇa was soon coming as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī, out of parental affection Śukadeva Gosvāmī addressed Mahārāja Parīkṣit as tāta, “my dear son.”
In the Viśva-kośa dictionary, the word garbha is explained: garbho bhrūṇe arbhake kukṣāv ity ādi. When Kaṁsa was about to kill Devakī, Vasudeva wanted to dissuade him by the diplomacy of sāma and bheda. Sāma means “pacifying.” Vasudeva wanted to pacify Kaṁsa by indicating relations, gain, welfare, identity and glorification. Reference to these five concerns constitutes sāma, and Vasudeva’s presentation of fear in two situations — in this life and the next — is called bheda. Thus Vasudeva used both sāma and bheda to pacify Kaṁsa. Praising Kaṁsa’s qualifications was glorification, and praising him as a descendant of the bhoja-vaṁśa appealed to sambandha, relationship. Speaking of “your sister” was an appeal to identity. Speaking about killing a woman raises questions about fame and welfare, and arousing fear of the sinful act of killing one’s sister during her marriage ceremony is an aspect of bheda. The Bhoja dynasty refers to those who were simply interested in sense gratification and were therefore not very aristocratic. Another meaning of bhoja is “fighting.” These were indications of defamation for Kaṁsa. When Vasudeva addressed Kaṁsa as dīna-vatsala, this was excessive praise. Kaṁsa would accept calves as a form of revenue from his poor constituents, and therefore he was called dīna-vatsala. Vasudeva knew very well that he could not by force rescue Devakī from the imminent danger. Devakī was actually the daughter of Kaṁsa’s uncle, and therefore she is described as suhṛt, meaning “relative.” It is stated that Kaṁsa refrained from killing his close relation Devakī because if he had killed her, a great fight would have ensued among the other members of the family. Kaṁsa refrained from provoking this great danger of a family fight, for it would have caused many persons to lose their lives.
Formerly an asura named Kālanemi had six sons, named Haṁsa, Suvikrama, Krātha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahantā. They were known as the ṣaḍ-garbhas, or six garbhas, and they were all equally powerful and expert in military affairs. These ṣaḍ-garbhas gave up the association of Hiraṇyakaśipu, their grandfather, and underwent great austerities to satisfy Lord Brahmā, who, upon being satisfied, agreed to give them whatever benediction they might desire. When asked by Lord Brahmā to state what they wanted, the ṣāḍ-garbhas replied, “Dear Lord Brahmā, if you want to give us a benediction, give us the blessing that we will not be killed by any demigod, mahoraga, Yakṣa, Gandharva-pati, Siddha, Cāraṇa or human being, nor by great sages who are perfect in their penances and austerities.” Brahmā understood their purpose and fulfilled their desire. But when Hiraṇyakaśipu came to know of these events, he was very angry at his grandsons. “You have given up my association and have gone to worship Lord Brahmā,” he said, “and therefore I no longer have any affection for you. You have tried to save yourselves from the hands of the demigods, but I curse you in this way: Your father will take birth as Kaṁsa and kill all of you because you will take birth as sons of Devakī.” Because of this curse, the grandsons of Hiraṇyakaśipu had to take birth from the womb of Devakī and be killed by Kaṁsa, although he was previously their father. This description is mentioned in the Hari-vaṁśa, Viṣṇu-parva, Second Chapter. According to the comments of the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī, the son of Devakī known as Kīrtimān was the third incarnation. In his first incarnation he was known as Smara and was the son of Marīci, and later he became the son of Kālanemi. This is mentioned in the histories.
An additional verse in this chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is accepted by the Madhvācārya sampradāya, represented by Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha. The verse is as follows:
vākyam etad uvāca ha
atha — in this way; kaṁsam — unto Kaṁsa; upāgamya — after going; nāradaḥ — the great sage Nārada; brahma-nandanaḥ — who is the son of Brahmā; ekāntam upasaṅgamya — after going to a very solitary place; vākyam — the following instruction; etat — this; uvāca — said; ha — in the past.
Translation: “Thereafter, Nārada, the mental son of Lord Brahmā, approached Kaṁsa and, in a very solitary place, informed him of the following news.”
The great saint Nārada descended from the heavenly planets to the forest of Mathurā and sent his messenger to Kaṁsa. When the messenger approached Kaṁsa and informed him of Nārada’s arrival, Kaṁsa, the leader of the asuras, was very happy and immediately came out of his palace to receive Nārada, who was as bright as the sun, as powerful as fire, and free from all tinges of sinful activities. Kaṁsa accepted Nārada as his guest, offered him respectful obeisances and gave him a golden seat, brilliant like the sun. Nārada was a friend of the King of heaven, and thus he told Kaṁsa, the son of Ugrasena, “My dear hero, you have satisfied me with a proper reception, and therefore I shall tell you something secret and confidential. While I was coming here from Nandakānana through the Caitraratha forest, I saw a great meeting of the demigods, who followed me to Sumeru Parvata. We traveled through many holy places, and finally we saw the holy Ganges. While Lord Brahmā was consulting the other demigods at the top of Sumeru Hill, I was also present with my stringed instrument, the vīṇā. I shall tell you confidentially that the meeting was held just to plan to kill the asuras, headed by you. You have a younger sister named Devakī, and it is a fact that her eighth son will kill you.” (Hari-vaṁśa, Viṣṇu-parva 1.2-16)
No one can blame Nāradajī for encouraging Kaṁsa to kill the sons of Devakī. The saint Nārada is always a well-wisher for human society, and he wanted the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, to descend to this world as soon as possible so that the society of demigods would be pleased and would see Kaṁsa and his friends killed by Kṛṣṇa. Kaṁsa would also attain salvation from his nefarious activities, and this too would very much please the demigods and their followers. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that Nārada Muni sometimes did things that were beneficial to the demigods and the demons simultaneously. Śrī Vīrarāghava Ācārya, in his commentary, has included the following half-verse in this regard: asurāḥ sarva evaita lokopadrava-kāriṇaḥ. Asuras are always disturbing elements for human society.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, First Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Advent of Lord Kṛṣṇa: Introduction.”