Bhagawatam 051 – Arjuna grieves that Krishna has left earth

Arjuna who was choked due to intense grief, was neither able to answer the questions properly nor was he able to express his grief accurately. He continued, “I was able to recover and return to King Virata, the cows that Kauravas had stolen from him. I could forcibly seize the crowns of the Kauravas which were bedecked with precious stones and which represented their strength and might”.

The design, shape and the decorations of the crown worn by a warrior is an indicator of the individual prowess and position. Seizing them forcibly indicates humiliating them.

“How could I have accomplished this feat if not for Srikrishna’s loving grace upon me? The vast army of Kauravas led by chieftains such as Bheeshma, Karna, Shalya and Dronacharya was undefeatable. These unsurpassed chieftains moved their chariots in weird arrangements, adding to the glory of the Kaurava army. Even before my gaze could fall upon them, Krishna would gaze at them. With just that gaze He would draw from these warriors, their might and enthusiasm completely.

The generals of the Kaurava army such as Bheeshma, Drona, Karna, Susharma, Shalya, Ashwatthama, Saindhava, Bāhlika and others attacked me with powerful and violent weapons during the war. Just as the fearful and destructive weapons of Hiraṇyakaśipu could not harm Prahlāda, the supreme devotee of Lord Narasimha, these brutal weapons of the Kauravas could not harm me even slightly. By whose grace could this be possible? Was this not Krishna’s grace?

The Supreme Lord gives himself away totally to his devotees. Eminent persons worship the holy feet of this Lord solely for the purpose of attaining liberation. Oh, I was so foolish and ignorant I desired that such Supreme Lord should be my charioteer during the war.

During the war when my horses were tired, I would descend from the chariot so as to fetch water for them. The enemies would not dare to attack me with their weapons during such times. But for His power and greatness, how else could this happen?

It was my absolute foolishness that I did not realize His glory at that point of time. Now I am able to see the Lord’s grace and glory at every step. Although in some corner of my heart I knew He was the Supreme Lord, I failed to grasp His complete essence then.

O great king! Srikrishna, out of great love, would with a smile on His face ridicule me jocularly. At the same time He would lovingly speak to me addressing me as ‘Kuru-nandana’, ‘O Son of Kunti’, ‘Arjuna’, and ‘O dear friend’. Recollecting all those loving words my heart is devastated.

While sitting, standing, sleeping, eating and in all other activities I would constantly compete with Him. Boasting about my glory and greatness I would address him as ‘O friend’, ‘O truthful one’ and ridicule Him. Srikrishna was so large hearted that He forgave these unpardonable sins of mine committed in foolishness, just as a true friend would forgive his friend, or just as a father would forgive his son.

Now I realize that I, the sinner, have been separated from my dearest friend. My heart is totally void. When I was trying to save His wives, evil minded ordinary cowherd boys, stopped my chariot and effortlessly defeated me in a fight. They beat me up as easily as one beats a woman. The same chariot, the very same horses, the same Gandiva bow and arrows failed to have any impact on them. That Arjuna in front of whom even great emperors used to bow in reverence was defeated by ordinary cowherd boys.

In the past it was Krishna who was energizing them all. Now in His absence all these are devoid of energy. At that time I failed to realize His greatness. Now in His absence I am able to understand. The same horses, the same bow, the same arrows, the same chariot have become lusterless. I, the great Arjuna, have been reduced to a state wherein even women can easily defeat me.

All these appear illusory like toys created by a magician using his illusory knowledge. What am I to do with them? Just like a seed sowed in the barren land, all this knowledge is of no use now. All this is akin to pouring ghee on the ashes.

O great emperor! You enquired about our relatives in Dwaraka. The Yadavas cursed by Vedic Brahmins, lost their power of intellect and reasoning in totality. Having consumed excessive liquor, in an inebriated state, they fought and destroyed themselves completely. Only 4 or 5 amongst them are still alive.

I believe that all this nothing but the play of the Supreme Lord Krishna. In front of His eyes, his entire clan was destroyed. Thus it has to be His intention. He must have done that to ensure that he does not leave anything behind.

It is purely his grace that at times people protect each other. At another time they destroy each other. The Yadavas were so attached and friendly towards each other. If such people have killed each other, then surely it has to be His intention only!

O emperor! Just as large sea animals swallow the smaller ones; just as the strong eat up the weak; Krishna has caused the stronger Yadu to killer the weaker ones. Through this he has reduced the burden of the earth. Just as He wiped away from earth the Kauravas who were filled with tamasic traits, now he caused the Yadus to fight amongst themselves.

My dear brother! The words of Krishna, which were corresponding to matters based on time and space, used to reduce the burning heat from my heart. Such was His talk! These words come back to my memory now and are pulling my mind”.

Thus, when Arjuna, with a pure heart and with feelings of total affection was contemplating upon Srikrishna’s lotus feet, his pure mind was absolved of all grief. Due to contemplating upon Srikrishna’s lotus feet, desires and all other forms of impurities were totally destroyed from Arjuna’s intellect. Due to the passage of time, Arjuna who was totally engrossed in duties and in luxuries, had completely forgotten the Bhagavad Geeta which Srikrishna, the Supreme Lord had preached to him at the beginning of the war. Now he remembered it completely! With this his grief was totally washed away.

Arjuna attained Supreme Knowledge (Brahma jnana). As spiritual ignorance (ajnana) was totally destroyed in him, his attachment towards this gross body disappeared. He was able to get rid of these worldly bondages that cause repeated cycle of re-births (samsāra). He was able to discard all forms of differentiations and dualities. He no longer grieved.

Having learnt that Srikrishna, the Supreme Lord, had discarded His physical form and that Yadu clan was totally destroyed, Yudhisthira stabilized his mind completely and decided firmly that he too should ascend heaven (swargārohana).

Datta Narayana!


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