Srimad Bhagavatam 12.01.01-02 - Knowing Krishna and Kali in Essence (download mp3)
by Radha Gopinath Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yo ’ntyaḥ purañjayo nāma
tasyāmātyas tu śunako
hatvā svāminam ātma-jam
kartā yat-pālakaḥ sutaḥ
bhavitā rājakas tataḥ
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The last king mentioned in our previous enumeration of the future rulers of the Māgadha dynasty was Purañjaya, who will take birth as the descendant of Bṛhadratha. Purañjaya’s minister Śunaka will assassinate the king and install his own son, Pradyota, on the throne. The son of Pradyota will be Pālaka, his son will be Viśākhayūpa, and his son will be Rājaka.
The vicious political intrigue described here is symptomatic of the Age of Kali. In the Ninth Canto of this work, Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes how the great rulers of men descended from two royal dynasties, that of the sun and that of the moon. The Ninth Canto’s description of Lord Rāmacandra, a most famous incarnation of God, occurs in this genealogical narration, and at the end of the Ninth Canto Śukadeva describes the forefathers of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma. Finally, the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa and that of Lord Balarāma are mentioned within the context of the narration of the moon dynasty.
The Tenth Canto is devoted exclusively to a description of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes in Vṛndāvana, His teenage activities in Mathurā and His adult activities in Dvārakā. The famous epic Mahābhārata also describes the events of this period, focusing upon the five Pāṇḍava brothers and their activities in relation with Lord Kṛṣṇa and other leading historical figures, such as Bhīṣma, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Droṇācārya and Vidura. Within the Mahābhārata is Bhagavad-gītā, in which Lord Kṛṣṇa is declared to be the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, of which we are presently translating the twelfth and final canto, is considered a more advanced literature than the Mahābhārata because throughout the entire work Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth and supreme source of all existence, is directly, centrally and irrefutably revealed. In fact, the First Canto of the Bhāgavatam describes how Śrī Vyāsadeva composed this great work because he was dissatisfied with his rather sporadic glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Mahābhārata.
Although Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam narrates the histories of many royal dynasties and the lives of innumerable kings, not until the description of the present age, the Age of Kali, do we find a minister assassinating his own king and installing his son on the throne. This incident resembles Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s attempt to assassinate the Pāṇḍavas and crown his son Duryodhana king. As the Mahābhārata describes, Lord Kṛṣṇa thwarted this attempt, but with the departure of the Lord for the spiritual sky, the Age of Kali became fully manifested, ushering in political assassination within one’s own house as a standard technique.