Deciding to return back to Dwaraka, Srikrishna took leave of the Pandavas. He worshipped Vyasa and other Maharishis. In turn, they too reverentially worshipped Srikrishna. Along with Satyaki and Uddhama, He sat in the chariot and was just about to leave when he noticed Uttara, daughter of King Virata and wife of Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu, rushing towards him in great fright. She prayed to him in the following manner:
Pāhi pāhi mahā-yogin deva-deva jagat-pate
Nānyaṁ tvad abhayaṁ paśye yatra mṛtyuḥ parasparam
O Maha yogi! O Deva deva! O Lord of this universe! Kindly protect me! In this world where people kill each other, there is none apart from You who can offer me protection! O Prabhu! O Ishwara! A burning iron arrow is heading towards me. I do not mind if it were to kill me, but O Lord, it should not harm the baby in my womb.”
Listening to this prayer of Uttara, Srikrishna, the Supreme Lord who considers devotees as his children, instantaneously realized that this arrow had been launched by Ashwatthama, the son of Drona. He further understood that in order to eliminate the entire lineage of Pandavas from earth, Ashwatthama had directed the weapon towards them.
Exactly at that moment, 5 fiercely burning arrows were rapidly coming towards the Pandavas. For self protection, the 5 Pandavas immediately took up their bows and arrows. Noticing this plight of the Pandavas, who had utmost devotion towards Him, Srikrishna at once used his weapon the Sudarshana chakra (discus) and protected them.
In order to protect this last descendent of the Kuru lineage Srikrishna, who is the Self (atma) within every being and who is the Lord of all Yogis, entered into Uttara’s womb and enveloping the fetus with his power of illusion (maya shakti), protected it.
Brahmāstra is an undefeatable weapon. Even then, this supremely powerful weapon was neutralized and pacified in front of Vishnu’s power and radiance. It retracted from Uttara’s womb and went away.
Shounaka, please do not consider this to be an extremely astonishing event as this Lord is the storehouse of all miracles! To that Supreme Lord who is devoid of birth and who, with His power of illusion (maya shakti) creates, sustains and absorbs this entire material creation, this is not at all an extraordinary deed!
Kunti Devi observed her sons, the Pandavas as well as their wife Draupadi, being saved from this Brahmastra. She now addressed the Lord, who had accomplished such a supreme deed and who was about to begin his journey, in the following manner:
Namasye puruṣaṁ tvādyam īśvaraṁ prakṛteḥ param
Alakṣyaṁ sarva-bhūtānām antar bahir avasthitam
O Krishna! You are the original being (ādi Puruśa). You are the energy that monitors all the planes of existence. You are beyond illusion (māya shakti). You are beyond the understanding of the senses. You reside not only within the hearts of all beings but also outside of it. I offer obeisance to You, O Lord!
Due to the spiritual ignorance (ajnana) of people, You appear as if you are covered by the veil of illusion. However in reality You are beyond the grasp of direct visible proofs (pratyakṣa pramāṇa i.e. firm knowledge that emerges when a subject is grasped directly through the senses)”.
Here the Lord has not covered Himself with a veil. The illusion of the people has put a veil upon Him. People are covered with a veil of illusion. When they remove this veil of illusion, He will shine.
“O Lord, how then am I to realize or understand You, who are indestructible? A foolish man cannot recognize an actor who is in his costume. Likewise the human being who has an egoistic attachment towards the body and who is infatuated towards it cannot recognize You as the Supreme Paramātma.
Even the best yogis who are at the highest state of enlightenment, who have an inner mind that is totally pure and who possess supreme discriminatory capacities, worship You through the path of devotion (bhakti yoga). This incarnation of Yours is solely for this purpose. How can we, the ordinary women, realize and understand Your original true form, which even supreme Yogis fail to understand in totality?
You have saved us from the terrible weapon that had been thrown by Ashwatthama. Only due to this protection given by You, O Lord, we are still alive. O Lord, who has preached the Bhagavad Geeta! O Lord of this Universe! We pray that at all times difficulties should land upon us. This is because during difficulties, we will be having your darshan”.
Swamiji explains: Do you understand this? Real devotees never pray that difficulties should be taken away from them. Praying that all hardships be taken away, means true devotion is lacking in the person. It means he is attaching a value to his devotion. It is trading. It ends with that transaction. True devotees pray that troubles should come to them. Even in Purandaradasa keertana, this is seen, “O Lord, it is enough if I have your compassion. Nothing else matters”, he says.
Om Sriman Narayana!