First Canto Chapter Fifteen
In this chapter Arjuna explaining the destruction of the entire Yadu lineage, Krishna’s return to Vaikunṭha and the decision of the Pandavas to go off towards the Himalayas are covered.Seeing the ashen and lusterless face of Arjuna, the dearest friend of Krishna, who was anguished due to the separation from Him, people assembled there guessed that something was seriously wrong. Arjuna was so dejected and grief-stricken that he could not even get himself to speak.
For this reason his elder brother Yudhisthira questioned him in various ways with the hope that some question would trigger him to talk. But then Arjuna’s heart was so heavy with grief that, no matter what, words wouldn’t come out of his lips. Yudhisthira was unsure whether his younger brother had even heard the questions.
Arjuna’s lotus-like face was totally drained out and was lusterless. He was struggling hard to control and wipe away the tears of sorrow that were profusely flowing from his eyes. Due to intense love towards Krishna, who was no longer visible to him, his mind was greatly perturbed.
Recollecting all those beautiful moments that he had spent in close association with the Lord, recollecting the incident wherein the Lord had offered to be his charioteer, and recollecting their friendship, Arjuna while sobbing inconsolably, began to slowly speak in a hoarse voice that was choked with emotion:
“O King! My dear brother! Srikrishna, my closest relative, my friend and my God has cheated me and gone. When leaving, He has taken away with him my entire radiance which used to astonish even celestials.
Once life force (prana) leaves, the body is reduced to a corpse. To the supreme devotee of the Lord, separation from Him even for a second is traumatic. How can anything in this world appear joyful to one who is separated from His Lord?”
Arjuna, who considered Krishna as Paramatma, thought about Him every second. In every action, in every breath and at every second his thoughts used to be entirely focused upon Krishna. There was not a moment when he was separated from Him. If even for a second he failed to think of the Lord or the Lord was not visible to his eyes, he would be utterly dejected. At such moments, he would consider himself to be a living corpse, that’s all.
Arjuna continued, “During Draupadi’s swayamvara (selection of groom by the bride) many princes who had assembled there upon invitation from King Drupada, were arrogantly and lustily eyeing Draupadi. That Lord Srikrishna, due to whose grace I could vanquish their pride and radiance; that Lord, due to whose grace I could successfully string the bow, hit the Matsya yantra (fish eye) and obtain Draupadi’s hand in marriage, has now left me and gone away.
That Srikrishna, who by His mere presence filled me with the energy through which I could defeat all the Devatas led by Indra (lord of heaven) and offer the Khāṇḍava forest to Lord Agni, is now not to be seen.
That Srikrishna, by whose grace Yama created for us an exquisite royal court filled with wondrous sculpting, the royal court wherein you conducted the Rajasuya yagna for which kings from all corners of the world assembled and paid you tributes, is now not to be seen.
That Srikrishna, due to whose radiance the worshipful Bheema, who possesses the strength of 10,000 elephants, killed the mighty Jarāsandha who had suppressed thousands of kings under his feet; that Srikrishna, by whose grace Bheema released all those kings who were kept in captivity by Jarasandha for the purposes of sacrificial offering in the Bhairava yagna, is now not to be seen. These grateful kings who were thus set free offered tributes to you during your Rājasuya yagna.
O dear brother! During Rājasuya yagna, maha-abhisheka was performed to your wife’s hair. Thereafter, during the game of dice, those wicked men touched her purified hair and humiliated her in front of everyone in the royal court. At that time she sobbed piteously and fell at Krishna’s feet. Srikrishna, who ensured that the hair of these wives of the wicked Kauravas was loosened, due to the death of their husbands in the war, is no more.
When we were in exile, Duryodhana sent Maharishi Durvasa together with his 10,000 disciples to us so as to put us in great trouble. Exactly at that time Srikrishna arrived at our home. Eating those small remnants of food from the vessel in which it was cooked, Srikrishna protected us. By this act He abated the hunger of Durvasa and of his 10,000 disciples, and caused contentment to all the three lokas (planes of existence). Had it not been for Srikrishna, we would have been cursed by Mahamuni Durvasa. Srikrishna who had thus protected us, is now not with us.
It was due to the radiance of Lord Srikrishna that in the fight with Shiva, the Lord who wields the trident, I could cause astonishment to Him who was accompanied by his wife Parvati. Lord Shiva blessed me by giving me His Pāsupata weapon. Such Krishna has left us and gone away.
O my dear brother, due to His influence even guardian deities of the worlds handed over their weapons to me. Due to Srikrishna’s grace I was able to travel to heaven in this physical body and obtain half of Indra’s throne. Such Srikrishna is no more.
When I was relaxing in the celestial gardens in heaven, Lord Indra accompanied by hordes of other Devatas sought shelter in me and begged me to kill the demon Nivatakavaca. Using my Gandiva bow I killed all those demons. He with whose grace I was able to destroy these demons, that Supreme Lord, Paramatma, has cheated me and gone away”.
When we are completely grief-stricken, we say that the Lord has cheated us. Although it appears as if we are blaming Him, we actually are not. It is a satirical praise (ninda stuti) of the Lord. It is the intense love for Paramatma that makes them speak in that manner. We scold children but there is no anger in the harsh words we use against them. Satirical praise is akin to that.
“I could single-handedly cross that terrible ocean called Kaurava army, which contained gigantic whales such as Bheeshma, which was unimaginably deep, vast and which was impossible to cross over. This was possible purely because Krishna, my protector, was by my side”.
Datta Narayana! Datta Narayana!