Srimad Bhagavatam 01.11.24 - Spiritual Culture to appreciate Krishna (download mp3)
by Radha Gopinath Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
rāja-mārgaṁ gate kṛṣṇe
harmyāṇy āruruhur vipra
When Lord Kṛṣṇa passed over the public roads, all the ladies from the respectable families of Dvārakā went up to the roofs of their palaces just to have a look at the Lord. They considered this to be the greatest festival.
To have a look at the Lord is a great festive occasion undoubtedly, as it was considered by the metropolitan ladies of Dvārakā. This is still followed by the devout ladies of India. Especially during the days of the Jhulana and Janmāṣṭamī ceremonies, the ladies of India still throng up in the greatest number at the temple of the Lord, where His transcendental eternal form is worshiped. The transcendental form of the Lord installed in a temple is not different from the Lord personally. Such a form of the Lord is called arca-vigraha, or arcā incarnation, and is expanded by the Lord by His internal potency just to facilitate the devotional service of His innumerable devotees who are in the material world. The material senses cannot perceive the spiritual nature of the Lord, and therefore the Lord accepts the arca-vigraha, which is apparently made of material elements like earth, wood and stone, but actually there is no material contamination. The Lord being kaivalya (one alone), there is no matter in Him. He is one without a second, and therefore the almighty Lord can appear in any form without being contaminated by the material conception. Therefore, festivities in the temple of the Lord, as held generally, are like festivals performed during the manifestive days of the Lord of Dvārakā, about five thousand years ago. The authorized ācāryas, who know the science perfectly, install such temples of the Lord under regulative principles just to offer facilities to the common man, but persons who are less intelligent, without being conversant with the science, mistake this great attempt to be idol worship and poke their nose into that to which they have no access. Therefore, the ladies or men who observe festivals in the temples of the Lord just to have a look at the transcendental form are a thousand times more glorious than those who are nonbelievers in the transcendental form of the Lord.
It appears from the verse that the inhabitants of Dvārakā were all owners of big palaces. This indicates the prosperity of the city. The ladies got up on the roofs just to have a look at the procession and the Lord. The ladies did not mix with the crowd on the street, and thus their respectability was perfectly observed. There was no artificial equality with the man. Female respectability is preserved more elegantly by keeping the woman separate from the man. The sexes should not mix unrestrictedly.