Part only. ---------- Chapter One Questions by Vidura Sukadeva Gosvami said: After renouncing his prosperous home and entering the forest, King Vidura, the great devotee, asked this question of His Grace Maitreya Rsi. What else is there to say about the residential house of the Pandavas? Sri Krsna, the Lord of everything, acted as your minister. He used to enter that house as if it were His own, and He did not take any care of Duryodhana's house. The King asked Sukadeva Gosvami: Where and when did the meeting and discussion take place between Saint Vidura and His Grace Maitreya Muni? Kindly oblige, my lord, and describe this to us. Saint Vidura was a great and pure devotee of the Lord, and therefore his questions to His Grace Rsi Maitreya must have been very purposeful, on the highest level, and approved by learned circles. Sri Suta Gosvami said: The great sage Sukadeva Gosvami was highly experienced and was pleased with the King. Thus being questioned by the King, he said to him, "Please hear the topics attentively." Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: King Dhrtarastra became blind under the influence of impious desires to nourish his dishonest sons, and thus he set fire to the lacquer house to burn his fatherless nephews, the Pandavas. The King did not forbid his son Duhsasana's abominable action of grabbing the hair of Draupadi, the wife of the godly King Yudhisthira, even though her tears washed the red dust on her breast. Yudhisthira, who was born without any enemy, was unfairly defeated in gambling. But because he had taken the vow of truthfulness, he went off to the forest. When he came back in due course and begged the return of his rightful share of the kingdom, he was refused by Dhrtarastra, who was overwhelmed by illusion. Lord Krsna was sent by Arjuna into the assembly as the spiritual master of the whole world, and although His words were heard by some [like Bhisma] as pure nectar, it was not so for the others, who were completely bereft of the last farthing of past pious works. The King [Dhrtarastra or Duryodhana] did not take the words of Lord Krsna very seriously. When Vidura was invited by his elder brother [Dhrtarastra] for consultation, he entered the house and gave instructions which were exactly to the point. His advice is well known, and instructions by Vidura are approved by expert ministers of state. [Vidura said:] You must now return the legitimate share to Yudhisthira, who has no enemies and who has been forbearing through untold sufferings due to your offenses. He is waiting with his younger brothers, among whom is the revengeful Bhima, breathing heavily like a snake. Surely you are afraid of him. Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, has accepted the sons of Prtha as His kinsmen, and all the kings of the world are with Lord Sri Krsna. He is present in His home with all His family members, the kings and princes of the Yadu dynasty, who have conquered an unlimited number of rulers, and He is their Lord. You are maintaining offense personified, Duryodhana, as your infallible son, but he is envious of Lord Krsna. And because you are thus maintaining a nondevotee of Krsna, you are devoid of all auspicious qualities. Relieve yourself of this ill fortune as soon as possible and do good to the whole family! While speaking thus, Vidura, whose personal character was esteemed by respectable persons, was insulted by Duryodhana, who was swollen with anger and whose lips were trembling. Duryodhana was in company with Karna, his younger brothers and his maternal uncle Sakuni. Who asked him to come here, this son of a kept mistress? He is so crooked that he spies in the interest of the enemy against those on whose support he has grown up. Toss him out of the palace immediately and leave him with only his breath. Thus being pierced by arrows through his ears and afflicted to the core of his heart, Vidura placed his bow on the door and quit his brother's palace. He was not sorry, for he considered the acts of the external energy to be supreme. By his piety, Vidura achieved the advantages of the pious Kauravas. After leaving Hastinapura, he took shelter of many places of pilgrimages, which are the Lord's lotus feet. With a desire to gain a high order of pious life, he traveled to holy places where thousands of transcendental forms of the Lord are situated. He began to travel alone, thinking only of Krsna, through various holy places like Ayodhya, Dvaraka and Mathura. He traveled where the air, hill, orchard, river and lake are all pure and sinless and where the forms of the Unlimited decorate the temples. Thus he performed the pilgrim's progress. While so traversing the earth, he simply performed duties to please the Supreme Lord Hari. His occupation was pure and independent. He was constantly sanctified by taking his bath in holy places, although he was in the dress of a mendicant and had no hair dressing nor a bed on which to lie. Thus he was always unseen by his various relatives. Thus, when he was in the land of Bharatavarsa traveling to all the places of pilgrimage, he visited Prabhasaksetra. At that time Maharaja Yudhisthira was the emperor and held the world under one military strength and one flag. At the place of pilgrimage at Prabhasa, it came to his knowledge that all his relatives had died due to violent passion, just as an entire forest burns due to fire produced by the friction of bamboos. After this he proceeded west, where the River Sarasvati flows. On the bank of the River Sarasvati there were eleven places of pilgrimage, namely, (1) Trita, (2) Usana, (3) Mahu, (4) Prthu, (5) Agni, (6) Asita, (7) Vayu, (8) Sudasa, (9) Go, (10) Guha and (11) Sraddhadeva. Vidura visited all of them and duly performed rituals. There were also many other temples of various forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Visnu, established by great sages and demigods. These temples were marked with the chief emblems of the Lord, and they reminded one always of the original Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna. Thereafter he passed through very wealthy provinces like Surat, Sauvira and Matsya and through western India, known as Kurujangala. At last he reached the bank of the Yamuna, where he happened to meet Uddhava, the great devotee of Lord Krsna. Then, due to his great love and feeling, Vidura embraced him [Uddhava], who was a constant companion of Lord Krsna and formerly a great student of Brhaspati's. Vidura then asked him for news of the family of Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead. [Please tell me] whether the original Personalities of Godhead, who incarnated Themselves at the request of Brahma [who is born out of the lotus flower from the Lord] and who have increased the prosperity of the world by elevating everyone, are doing well in the house of Surasena. [Please tell me] whether the best friend of the Kurus, our brother-in-law Vasudeva, is doing well. He is very munificent. He is like a father to his sisters, and he is always pleasing to his wives. O Uddhava, please tell me how is Pradyumna, the commander-in-chief of the Yadus, who was Cupid in a former life? Rukmini bore him as her son from Lord Krsna, by the grace of brahmanas whom she pleased. O my friend, [tell me] whether Ugrasena, the King of the Satvatas, Vrsnis, Bhojas and Dasarhas, is now doing well. He went far away from his kingdom, leaving aside all hopes of his royal throne, but Lord Krsna again installed him. O gentle one, does Samba fare well? He exactly resembles the son of the Personality of Godhead. In a previous birth he was born as Karttikeya in the womb of the wife of Lord Siva, and now he has been born in the womb of Jambavati, the most enriched wife of Krsna. O Uddhava, does Yuyudhana fare well? He learned the intricacies of the military art from Arjuna and attained the transcendental destination which is very difficult to reach even for great renouncers. Please tell me whether Akrura, the son of Svaphalka, is doing well. He is a faultless soul surrendered unto the Personality of Godhead. He once lost his mental equilibrium due to his ecstasy of transcendental love and fell down on the dust of a road which was marked with the footprints of Lord Krsna. As the Vedas are the reservoir of sacrificial purposes, so the daughter of King Devaka-bhoja conceived the Supreme Personality of Godhead in her womb, as did the mother of the demigods. Is she [Devaki] doing well? May I inquire whether Aniruddha is doing well? He is the fulfiller of all the desires of the pure devotees and has been considered from yore to be the cause of the Rg Veda, the creator of the mind and the fourth Plenary expansion of Visnu. O sober one, others, such as Hrdika, Carudesna, Gada and the son of Satyabhama, who accept Lord Sri Krsna as the soul of the self and thus follow His path without deviation--are they well? Also let me inquire whether Maharaja Yudhisthira is now maintaining the kingdom according to religious principles and with respect for the path of religion. Formerly Duryodhana was burning with envy because Yudhisthira was being protected by the arms of Krsna and Arjuna as if they were his own arms. [Please tell me] whether the unconquerable Bhima, who is like a cobra, has released his long-cherished anger upon the sinners? The field of battle could not tolerate even the wonderful playing of his club when he stepped on the path. [Please tell me] whether Arjuna, whose bow bears the name Gandiva and who is always famous amongst the chariot warriors for vanquishing his enemies, is doing well. He once satisfied Lord Siva by covering him with arrows when Siva came as an unidentified false hunter. Are the twin brothers who are protected by their brothers doing well? Just as the eye is always protected by the eyelid, they are protected by the sons of Prtha, who snatched back their rightful kingdom from the hands of their enemy Duryodhana, just as Garuda snatched nectar from the mouth of Indra, the thunderbolt carrier. O my lord, is Prtha still living? She lived only for the sake of her fatherless children; otherwise it was impossible for her to live without King Pandu, who was the greatest commander and who alone conquered the four directions simply with the help of a second bow. O gentle one, I simply lament for he [Dhrtarastra] who rebelled against his brother after death. By him I was driven out of my own house, although I am his sincere well-wisher, because he accepted the line of action adopted by his own sons. I am not astonished at this, having traveled over the world without being seen by others. The activities of the Personality of Godhead, which are like those of a man in this mortal world, are bewildering to others, but I know of His greatness by His grace, and thus I am happy in all respects. Despite His being the Lord and being always willing to relieve the distress of sufferers, He [Krsna] refrained from killing the Kurus, although they committed all sorts of sins and although He saw other kings constantly agitating the earth by their strong military movements carried out under the dictation of three kinds of false pride. The appearance of the Lord is manifested for the annihilation of the upstarts. His activities are transcendental and are enacted for the understanding of all persons. Otherwise, since the Lord is transcendental to all material modes, what purpose could He serve by coming to earth? O my friend, please, therefore, chant the glories of the Lord, who is meant to be glorified in the places of pilgrimage. He is unborn, and yet He appears by His causeless mercy upon the surrendered rulers of all parts of the universe. Only for their interest did He appear in the family of His unalloyed devotees the Yadus. Chapter Two Remembrance of Lord Krsna Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: When the great devotee Uddhava was asked by Vidura to speak on the messages of the dearest [Lord Krsna], Uddhava was unable to answer immediately due to excessive anxiety at the remembrance of the Lord. He was one who even in his childhood, at the age of five years, was so absorbed in the service of Lord Krsna that when he was called by his mother for morning breakfast, he did not wish to have it. Uddhava thus served the Lord continually from childhood, and in his old age that attitude of service never slackened. As soon as he was asked about the message of the Lord, he at once remembered all about Him. For a moment he remained dead silent, and his body did not move. He became absorbed in the nectar of remembering the Lord's lotus feet in devotional ecstasy, and he appeared to be going increasingly deeper into that ecstasy. It was so observed by Vidura that Uddhava had all the transcendental bodily changes due to total ecstasy, and he was trying to wipe away tears of separation from his eyes. Thus Vidura could understand that Uddhava had completely assimilated extensive love for the Lord. The great devotee Uddhava soon came back from the abode of the Lord to the human plane, and wiping his eyes, he awakened his reminiscence of the past and spoke to Vidura in a pleasing mood. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Vidura, the sun of the world, Lord Krsna, has set, and our house has now been swallowed by the great snake of time. What can I say to you about our welfare? This universe with all its planets is most unfortunate. And even more unfortunate are the members of the Yadu dynasty because they could not identify Lord Hari as the Personality of Godhead, any more than the fish could identify the moon. The Yadus were all experienced devotees, learned and expert in psychic study. Over and above this, they were always with the Lord in all kinds of relaxations, and still they were only able to know Him as the one Supreme who dwells everywhere. Under no circumstances can the words of persons bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord deviate the intelligence of those who are completely surrendered souls. Lord Sri Krsna, who manifested His eternal form before the vision of all on the earth, performed His disappearance by removing His form from the sight of those who were unable to see Him [as He is] due to not executing required penance. The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yoga-maya. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes were wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuntha. Thus His [Sri Krsna's] transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments. All the demigods from the upper, lower and middle universal planetary systems assembled at the altar of the rajasuya sacrifice performed by Maharaja Yudhisthira. After seeing the beautiful bodily features of Lord Krsna, they all contemplated that He was the ultimate dexterous creation of Brahma, the creator of human beings. The damsels of Vraja, after pastimes of laughter, humor and exchanges of glances, were anguished when Krsna left them. They used to follow Him with their eyes, and thus they sat down with stunned intelligence and could not finish their household duties. The Personality of Godhead, the all-compassionate controller of both the spiritual and material creations, is unborn, but when there is friction between His peaceful devotees and persons who are in the material modes of nature, He takes birth just like fire, accompanied by the mahat-tattva. When I think of Lord Krsna--how He was born in the prison house of Vasudeva although He is unborn, how He went away from His father's protection to Vraja and lived there incognito out of fear of the enemy, and how, although unlimitedly powerful, He fled from Mathura in fear--all these bewildering incidents give me distress. Lord Krsna begged pardon from His parents for Their [Krsna's and Balarama's] inability to serve their feet, due to being away from home because of great fear of Kamsa. He said, "O mother, O father, please excuse Us for this inability." All this behavior of the Lord gives me pain at heart. Who, after smelling the dust of His lotus feet even once, could ever forget it? Simply by expanding the leaves of His eyebrows, Krsna has given the deathblow to those who were burdening the earth. You have personally seen how the King of Cedi [Sisupala] achieved success in yoga practice, although he hated Lord Krsna. Even the actual yogis aspire after such success with great interest by performance of their various practices. Who can tolerate separation from Him? Certainly others who were fighters on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra were purified by the onslaught of Arjuna's arrows, and while seeing the lotuslike face of Krsna, so pleasing to the eyes, they achieved the abode of the Lord. Lord Sri Krsna is the Lord of all kinds of threes and is independently supreme by achievement of all kinds of fortune. He is worshiped by the eternal maintainers of the creation, who offer Him the paraphernalia of worship by touching their millions of helmets to His feet. Therefore, O Vidura, does it not pain us, His servitors, when we remember that He [Lord Krsna] used to stand before King Ugrasena, who was sitting on the royal throne, and used to submit explanations before him, saying, "O My lord, please let it be known to you"? Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than He who granted the position of mother to a she-demon [Putana] although she was unfaithful and she prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast? I consider the demons, who are inimical toward the Lord, to be more than the devotees because while fighting with the Lord, absorbed in thoughts of enmity, they are able to see the Lord carried on the shoulder of Garuda, the son of Tarksya [Kasyapa], and carrying the wheel weapon in His hand. The Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, being prayed to by Brahma to bring welfare to the earth, was begotten by Vasudeva in the womb of his wife Devaki in the prison of the King of Bhoja. Thereafter, His father, being afraid of Kamsa, brought Him to the cow pastures of Maharaja Nanda, and there He lived for eleven years like a covered flame with His elder brother, Baladeva. In His childhood, the Almighty Lord was surrounded by cowherd boys and calves, and thus He traveled on the shore of the Yamuna River, through gardens densely covered with trees and filled with vibrations of chirping birds. When the Lord displayed His activities just suitable for childhood, He was visible only to the residents of Vrndavana. Sometimes He would cry and sometimes laugh, just like a child, and while so doing He would appear like a lion cub. While herding the very beautiful bulls, the Lord, who was the reservoir of all opulence and fortune, used to blow His flute, and thus He enlivened His faithful followers, the cowherd boys. The great wizards who were able to assume any form were engaged by the King of Bhoja, Kamsa, to kill Krsna, but in the course of His pastimes the Lord killed them as easily as a child breaks dolls. The inhabitants of Vrndavana were perplexed by great difficulties because a certain portion of the Yamuna was poisoned by the chief of the reptiles [Kaliya]. The Lord chastised the snake-king within the water and drove him away, and after coming out of the river, He caused the cows to drink the water and proved that the water was again in its natural state. The Supreme Lord, Krsna, desired to utilize the opulent financial strength of Maharaja Nanda for worship of the cows, and also He wanted to give a lesson to Indra, the King of heaven. Thus He advised His father to perform worship of go, or the pasturing land and the cows, with the help of learned brahmanas. O sober Vidura, King Indra, his honor having been insulted, poured water incessantly on Vrndavana, and thus the inhabitants of Vraja, the land of cows, were greatly distressed. But the compassionate Lord Krsna saved them from danger with His pastime umbrella, the Govardhana Hill. In the third season of the year, the Lord enjoyed as the central beauty of the assembly of women by attracting them with His pleasing songs in an autumn night brightened by moonshine. Chapter Three The Lord's Pastimes Out of Vrndavana Sri Uddhava said: Thereafter Lord Krsna went to Mathura City with Sri Baladeva, and to please Their parents They dragged Kamsa, the leader of public enemies, down from his throne and killed him, pulling him along the ground with great strength. The Lord learned all the Vedas with their different branches simply by hearing them once from His teacher, Sandipani Muni, whom He rewarded by bringing back his dead son from the region of Yamaloka. Attracted by the beauty and fortune of Rukmini, the daughter of King Bhismaka, many great princes and kings assembled to marry her. But Lord Krsna, stepping over the other hopeful candidates, carried her away as His own share, as Garuda carried away nectar. By subduing seven bulls whose noses were not pierced, the Lord achieved the hand of Princess Nagnijiti in the open competition to select her bridegroom. Although the Lord was victorious, His competitors asked the hand of the princess, and thus there was a fight. Well equipped with weapons, the Lord killed or wounded all of them, but He was not hurt Himself. Just to please His dear wife, the Lord brought back the parijata tree from heaven, just as an ordinary husband would do. But Indra, the King of heaven, induced by his wives (henpecked as he was), ran after the Lord with full force to fight Him. Narakasura, the son of Dharitri, the earth, tried to grasp the whole sky, and for this he was killed by the Lord in a fight. His mother then prayed to the Lord. This led to the return of the kingdom to the son of Narakasura, and thus the Lord entered the house of the demon. There in the house of the demon, all the princesses kidnapped by Narakasura at once became alert upon seeing the Lord, the friend of the distressed. They looked upon Him with eagerness, joy and shyness and offered to be His wives. All those princesses were lodged in different apartments, and the Lord simultaneously assumed different bodily expansions exactly matching each and every princess. He accepted their hands in perfect rituals by His internal potency. Just to expand Himself according to His transcendental features, the Lord begot in each and every one of them ten offspring with exactly His own qualities. Kalayavana, the King of Magadha and Salva attacked the city of Mathura, but when the city was encircled by their soldiers, the Lord refrained from killing them personally, just to show the power of His own men.