What Makes Krishna's Pastimes Sweet

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.90.43-47 - What Makes Krishna's Pastimes Sweet (download mp3)
by Raj Gopal Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.90.43
 daiteya ye su-darunah
te cotpanna manusyesu
 praja drpta babadhire

The savage descendants of Diti who had been killed in past ages in battles between the demigods and demons took birth among human beings and arrogantly harassed the general populace.

SB 10.90.44
tan-nigrahaya harina
 prokta deva yadoh kule
avatirnah kula-satam
 tesam ekadhikam nrpa

To subdue these demons, Lord Hari told the demigods to descend into the dynasty of Yadu. They comprised 101 clans, O King.

SB 10.90.45
tesam pramanam bhagavan
 prabhutvenabhavad dharih
ye canuvartinas tasya
 vavrdhuh sarva-yadavah

Because Lord Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Yadavas accepted Him as their ultimate authority. And among them, all those who were His intimate associates especially flourished.

SB 10.90.46
na viduh santam atmanam
 vrsnayah krsna-cetasah

The Vrsnis were so absorbed in Krsna consciousness that they forgot their own bodies while sleeping, sitting, walking, conversing, playing, bathing and so on.

SB 10.90.47
tirtham cakre nrponam yad ajani yadusu svah-sarit pada-saucam
 vidvit-snigdhah svarupam yayur ajita-para srir yad-arthe ’nya-yatnah
yan-namamangala-ghnam srutam atha gaditam yat-krto gotra-dharmah
 krsnasyaitan na citram ksiti-bhara-haranam kala-cakrayudhasya

The heavenly Ganges is a holy place of pilgrimage because her waters wash Lord Krsna’s feet. But when the Lord descended among the Yadus, His glories eclipsed the Ganges as a holy place. Both those who hated Krsna and those who loved Him attained eternal forms like His in the spiritual world. The unattainable and supremely self-satisfied goddess of fortune, for the sake of whose favor everyone else struggles, belongs to Him alone. His name destroys all inauspiciousness when heard or chanted. He alone has set forth the principles of the various disciplic successions of sages. What wonder is it that He, whose personal weapon is the wheel of time, relieved the burden of the earth?

From beginning to end, the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam has been exclusively dedicated to reciting the pastimes of Lord Krsna in Vrndavana, Mathura and Dvaraka. As Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti points out, this verse sums up the Tenth Canto by mentioning five special glories of Sri Krsna that even His expansions, plenary portions and incarnations do not display.

First, Lord Krsna’s reputation eclipsed that of the holy Ganges when He descended into the Yadu dynasty. Previous to this, Mother Ganges was the most sacred of all tirthas, being the water that had bathed Lord Vamanadeva’s lotus feet. Another river, the Yamuna, became even greater than the Ganges by contacting the dust from Sri Krsna’s feet in the districts of Vraja and Mathura:

ganga-sata-guna prayo
 mathure mama mandale
yamuna visruta devi
 natra karya vicarana

“The renowned Yamuna in My domain of Mathura is hundreds of times greater than the Ganges. About this there can be no dispute, O goddess.” (Varaha Purana)

Second, Lord Krsna gave liberation not only to His surrendered devotees but also to those who considered themselves His enemies. Devotees like the cowherd girls of Vraja and others attained His personal association by entering into His eternal pleasure pastimes in the spiritual world, while inimical demons killed by Him attained the sayujya-mukti of merging into His divine form. When He was present on this earth, Lord Krsna’s compassion extended to His family, friends and servants, and also to His enemies and their families, friends and servants. Great authorities like Lord Brahma have mentioned this fact: sad-vesad iva putanapi sa-kula tvam eva devapita. “My Lord, You have already given Yourself to Putana and her family members simply because she dressed herself as a devotee.” (Bhag. 10.14.35)

Third, Goddess Laksmi, Lord Narayana’s constant companion, whom great demigods serve menially to win her slight favor, was unable to win the privilege of joining the intimate company of Lord Krsna’s devotees in Vraja. Despite her eagerness to participate in the rasa dance and other pastimes enacted by Sri Krsna, and despite the severe austerities she underwent to achieve that end, she could not transcend her natural mood of reverence. The sweetness and intimacy Lord Krsna manifested in Vrndavana constitute a unique kind of opulence found nowhere else, even in Vaikuntha. As Sri Uddhava says:

yan martya-lilaupayikam sva-yoga-
 maya-balam darsayata grhitam
vismapanam svasya ca saubhagarddheh
 param padam bhusana-bhusanangam

“To exhibit the strength of His spiritual potency, Lord Krsna manifested a form just suitable for His humanlike pastimes in the material world. This form was wonderful even for Him and was the supreme abode of the wealth of good fortune. Its limbs were so beautiful that they increased the beauty of the ornaments worn on different parts of His body.” (Bhag. 3.2.12)

Fourth, the name Krsna is superior to the name Narayana and to those of all of Lord Krsna’s other expansions. These two syllables — krs and na — combine together to destroy all inauspiciousness and illusion. When recited, the name Krsna becomes sruta-matha; that is to say, the recitation of Krsna’s name totally crushes (mathnati) the excellence of all other spiritual practices described in the revealed scriptures (sruta). In the words of the Brahmanda Purana:

sahasra-namnam punyanam
 trir avrttya tu yat phalam
ekavrttya tu krsnasya
 namaikam tat prayacchati

“By uttering the single name of Krsna just once, one attains the same benefit as that gained by reciting Lord Visnu’s thousand names three times.”

Fifth, Lord Krsna solidly reinstated dharma, the bull of religion, on his four legs of compassion, austerity, cleanliness and truth. Thus dharma could once again become go-tra, the protector of the earth. Sri Krsna also established the religious function of Govardhana-puja to honor His favorite hill, the cows and the brahmanas. He also became the hill (gotra) Himself, assuming its form to accept the cowherds’ offerings. Moreover, He cultivated the dharma, or loving nature, of Vraja’s divine cowherds (gotras), whose love for Him has never been equaled.

These are just a few of the wonderful features of Lord Krsna’s unique personality.