Srimad Bhagavatam 01.07.50-52 - Krishna is Merciful and Powerful (download mp3)
by Gopinath Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
nakulaḥ sahadevaś ca
ye cānye yāś ca yoṣitaḥ
Nakula and Sahadeva [the younger brothers of the King] and also Sātyaki, Arjuna, the Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa, son of Devakī, and the ladies and others all unanimously agreed with the King.
tasya śreyān vadhaḥ smṛtaḥ
na bhartur nātmanaś cārthe
yo ’han suptān śiśūn vṛthā
Bhīma, however, angrily disagreed with them and recommended killing this culprit, who had murdered sleeping children for no purpose and for neither his nor his master’s interest.
draupadyāś ca catur-bhujaḥ
ālokya vadanaṁ sakhyur
idam āha hasann iva
Caturbhuja [the four-armed one], or the Personality of Godhead, after hearing the words of Bhīma, Draupadī and others, saw the face of His dear friend Arjuna, and He began to speak as if smiling.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa had two arms, and why He is designated as four-armed is explained by Śrīdhara Svāmī. Both Bhīma and Draupadī held opposite views about killing Aśvatthāmā. Bhīma wanted him to be immediately killed, whereas Draupadī wanted to save him. We can imagine Bhīma ready to kill while Draupadī is obstructing him. And in order to prevent both of them, the Lord discovered another two arms. Originally, the primeval Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa displays only two arms, but in His Nārāyaṇa feature He exhibits four. In His Nārāyaṇa feature He resides with His devotees in the Vaikuṇṭha planets, while in His original Śrī Kṛṣṇa feature He resides in the Kṛṣṇaloka planet far, far above the Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky. Therefore, if Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called catur-bhujaḥ, there is no contradiction. If need be He can display hundreds of arms, as He exhibited in His viśva-rūpa shown to Arjuna. Therefore, one who can display hundreds and thousands of arms can also manifest four whenever needed.
When Arjuna was perplexed about what to do with Aśvatthāmā, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as the very dear friend of Arjuna, voluntarily took up the matter just to make a solution. And He was smiling also.