Kṛṣṇa Erects the Dvārakā Fort

After his death, Kaṁsa’s two wives became widows. According to Vedic civilization, a woman is never independent. She has three stages of life: In childhood a woman should live under the protection of her father, a youthful woman should live under the protection of her young husband, and in the event of the death of her husband she should live either under the protection of her grown-up children, or if she has no grown-up children, she must go back to her father and live as a widow under his protection. It appears that Kaṁsa had no grown-up sons. After becoming widows, his wives returned to the shelter of their father. Kaṁsa had two queens. One was Asti, and the other Prāpti, and both happened to be the daughters of King Jarāsandha, the lord of the Bihar province (known in those days as Magadharaja). After reaching home, both queens explained their awkward position following Kaṁsa’s death. The King of Magadha, Jarāsandha, was mortified on hearing their pitiable condition due to the slaughter. When informed of the death of Kaṁsa, Jarāsandha decided on the spot that he would rid the world of all the members of the Yadu dynasty. He decided that since Kṛṣṇa had killed Kaṁsa, the whole dynasty of the Yadus should be killed. 

He began to make extensive arrangements to attack the kingdom of Mathurā with his innumerable military phalanxes, consisting of many thousands of chariots, horses, elephants and infantry soldiers. Jarāsandha prepared thirteen such military phalanxes in order to retaliate the death of Kaṁsa. Taking with him all his military strength, he attacked the capital of the Yadu kings, Mathurā, surrounding it from all directions. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who appeared as an ordinary human being, saw the immense strength of Jarāsandha, which appeared as an ocean about to cover a beach at any moment. He also perceived that the inhabitants of Mathurā were overwhelmed with fear. He began to think within Himself about the situation of His mission as an incarnation and how to tackle the present situation before Him. His mission was to diminish the overburdened population of the whole world; therefore He took the opportunity of facing so many men, chariots, elephants, and horses. The military strength of Jarāsandha had appeared before Him, and He decided to kill the entire force of Jarāsandha so that they would not be able to go back and again reorganize their military strength. 

While Lord Kṛṣṇa was thinking in that way, two military chariots, fully equipped with drivers, weapons, flags and other implements, arrived for Him from outer space. Kṛṣṇa saw the two chariots present before Him, and immediately addressed His attendant brother, Balarāma, who is also known as Saṅkarṣaṇa: “My dear elder brother, You are the best among the Āryans, You are the Lord of the universe, and specifically, You are the protector of the Yadu dynasty. The members of the Yadu dynasty sense great danger before the soldiers of Jarāsandha, and they are very much aggrieved. Just to give them protection, Your chariot is also here, filled with military weapons. I request You to sit down on Your chariot and kill all these soldiers, the entire military strength of the enemy. Naturally, both of Us have descended on this earth just to annihilate such unnecessary bellicose forces and to give protection to the pious devotees. So we have the opportunity to fulfill Our mission. Please let Us execute it.” Thus Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the descendants of the Gadaha King, Daśārha, decided to annihilate the thirteen military companies of Jarāsandha. 

Kṛṣṇa went upon the chariot on which Dāruka was the driver and with a small army, and to the blowing of conchshells, He came out of the city of Mathurā. Curiously enough, although the other party was equipped with greater military strength, just after hearing the vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s conchshell, their hearts were shakened. When Jarāsandha saw both Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, he was a little bit compassionate, because both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma happened to be related to him as grandsons. He specifically addressed Kṛṣṇa as Puruṣādhama, meaning the lowest among men. Actually Kṛṣṇa is known in all Vedic literatures as Puruṣottama, the highest among men. Jarāsandha had no intention of addressing Kṛṣṇa as Puruṣottama, but great scholars have determined the true meaning of the word puruṣādhama to be “one who makes all other personalities go downward.” Actually no one can be equal to or greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

Jarāsandha said, “It will be a great dishonor for me to fight with boys like Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.” Because Kṛṣṇa had killed Kaṁsa, Jarāsandha specifically addressed Him as the killer of His own relatives. Kaṁsa had killed so many of his own nephews, yet Jarāsandha did not take notice of it; but because Kṛṣṇa had killed His maternal uncle, Kaṁsa, Jarāsandha tried to criticize Him. That is the way of demoniac dealing. Demons do not try to find their own faults but try to find the faults of their friends. Jarāsandha also criticized Kṛṣṇa for not even being a kṣatriya. Because He was raised by Mahārāja Nanda, Kṛṣṇa was not a kṣatriya, but a vaiśya. Vaiśyas are generally called guptas, and the word gupta can also be used to mean “hidden.” So Kṛṣṇa was both hidden and raised by Nanda Mahārāja. Jarāsandha accused Kṛṣṇa of three faults: that He killed His own maternal uncle, that He was hidden in His childhood, and that He was not even a kṣatriya. And therefore Jarāsandha felt ashamed to fight with Him. 

Next he turned toward Balarāma and addressed Him: “You, Balarāma! If You like You can fight along with Him, and if You have patience, then You can wait to be killed by my arrows. Thus You can be promoted to heaven.” It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that a kṣatriya can become benefited in two ways while fighting. If a kṣatriya gains victory in the fight, he enjoys the results of victory, but even if he is killed in the fight, he is promoted to the heavenly kingdom. 

After hearing Jarāsandha speak in that way, Kṛṣṇa answered: “My dear King Jarāsandha, those who are heroes do not talk much. Rather, they show their prowess. Because you are talking much, it appears that you are assured of your death in this battle. We do not care to hear you anymore, because it is useless to hear the words of a person who is going to die or one who is very distressed.” In order to fight with Kṛṣṇa, Jarāsandha surrounded Him from all sides with great military strength, and the sun appeared covered by the cloudy air and dust. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, the supreme sun, was covered by the military strength of Jarāsandha. Kṛṣṇa’s and Balarāma’s chariots were marked with pictures of Garuḍa and palm trees. The women of Mathurā were all standing on the tops of the houses and palaces and gates to see the wonderful fight, but when Kṛṣṇa’s chariot was surrounded by Jarāsandha’s military force, they became so frightened that some of them fainted. Kṛṣṇa saw Himself overwhelmed by the military strength of Jarāsandha. His small number of soldiers were being harassed by them, so He immediately took up His bow, named Śārṅga. 

He began to take His arrows from their case, and one after another He set them on the bowstring and shot them toward the enemy. They were so accurate that the elephants, horses and infantry soldiers of Jarāsandha were quickly killed. The incessant arrows thrown by Kṛṣṇa appeared as a whirlwind of blazing fire killing all the military strength of Jarāsandha. As Kṛṣṇa released His arrows, gradually all the elephants began to fall down, their heads severed by the arrows. Similarly, all the horses fell, and the chariots also, along with their flags. The chariot fighters and the chariot drivers fell as well. Almost all the infantry soldiers fell on the field of battle, their heads, hands and legs cut off. In this way, many thousands of elephants and horses were killed, and their blood began to flow just like the waves of a river. In that river, the severed arms of the men appeared to be snakes, their heads appeared to be tortoises, and the dead bodies of the elephants appeared to be small islands. The dead horses appeared to be sharks. By the arrangement of the supreme will, there was a great river of blood filled with paraphernalia. The hands and legs of the infantry soldiers were floating like seaweed, and the floating bows of the soldiers appeared to be waves of the river. And all the jewelry from the bodies of the soldiers and commanders appeared to be so many pebbles flowing down the river of blood. 

Lord Balarāma, who is also known as Saṅkarṣaṇa, began to fight with His club in such a heroic way that the river of blood created by Kṛṣṇa overflooded. Those who were cowards became very much afraid upon seeing the ghastly and horrible scene, and those who were heroes began to talk delightedly among themselves about the heroism of the two brothers. Although Jarāsandha was equipped with a vast ocean of military strength, the fighting of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma converted the whole situation into a ghastly scene which was far beyond ordinary fighting. Persons of ordinary mind cannot estimate how it could be possible, but when such activities are accepted as pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, under whose will everything is possible, then this can be understood. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is creating, maintaining and dissolving the cosmic manifestation by His will only. For Him to create such a vast scene of devastation while fighting with an enemy is not so wonderful. And yet, because Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were fighting with Jarāsandha just like ordinary human beings, the affair appeared to be wonderful. 

All the soldiers of Jarāsandha were killed, and he was the only one left alive. Certainly he became very depressed at this point. Śrī Balarāma immediately arrested him, just as, with great strength, one lion captures another lion. But while Lord Balarāma was binding Jarāsandha with the rope of Varuṇa and ordinary ropes also, Lord Kṛṣṇa, with a greater plan in mind for the future, asked Him not to arrest him. Jarāsandha was then released by Kṛṣṇa. As a great fighting hero, Jarāsandha became very much ashamed, and he decided that he would no longer live as a king, but would resign from his position in the royal order and go to the forest to practice meditation under severe austerities and penances. 

As he was returning home with other royal friends, however, they advised him not to retire, but to regain strength to fight again with Kṛṣṇa in the near future. The princely friends of Jarāsandha began to instruct him that ordinarily it would not have been possible for him to have been defeated by the strength of the Yadu kings, but the defeat which he had experienced was simply due to his ill luck. The princely order encouraged King Jarāsandha. His fighting, they said, was certainly heroic; therefore, he should not take his defeat very seriously, as it was due only to his past mistakes. After all, there was no fault in his fighting. 

In this way, Jarāsandha, the King of Magadha province, having lost all his strength and having been insulted by his arrest and subsequent release, could do nothing but return to his kingdom. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa conquered the soldiers of Jarāsandha. Although Kṛṣṇa’s army was tiny in comparison to Jarāsandha’s, not a pinch of His strength was lost, whereas all of Jarāsandha’s men were killed. 

At that time the denizens of heaven became very pleased and began to offer their respects by chanting in glorification of the Lord and by showering Him with flowers. They accepted the victory with great appreciation. Jarāsandha returned to his kingdom, and Mathurā city was made safe from the danger of an imminent attack. The citizens of Mathurā organized the combined services of a circus of professional singers, like sūtas, māgadhas, and poets who could compose nice songs, and they began to chant the victory glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When Lord Kṛṣṇa entered the city after the victory, many bugles, conches and kettledrums were sounded, and the vibrations of various musical instruments, like bherya, tūrya, vīṇā, flute and mṛdaṅga—all joined together to make a beautiful reception. While Kṛṣṇa was entering, the whole city was very much cleansed, all the different streets and roads were sprinkled with water, and the inhabitants, being joyous, decorated their respective houses, roads and shops with flags and festoons. The brāhmaṇas chanted Vedic mantras at numerous places. The people constructed road crossings, entrances, lanes and streets. When Lord Kṛṣṇa was entering the nicely decorated city of Mathurā in a festive attitude, the ladies and girls of Mathurā prepared different kinds of flower garlands to make the ceremony more auspicious. In accordance with the Vedic custom, they took yogurt mixed with freshly grown green grass and began to strew it here and there to make the victory jubilation even more auspicious. As Kṛṣṇa passed through the street, all the ladies and women began to regard Him with great affection. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma carried various kinds of booty, ornaments and jewels carefully collected from the battlefield and presented them to King Ugrasena. Kṛṣṇa thus offered His respect to His grandfather because he was at that time the crowned king of the Yadu dynasty. 

Jarāsandha, the King of Magadha, not only besieged the city of Mathurā once, but he attacked it seventeen times in the same way, equipped with the same number of military phalanxes. Each and every time, he was defeated, and all his soldiers were killed by Kṛṣṇa, and each time he had to return disappointed in the same way. Each time, the princely order of the Yadu dynasty arrested Jarāsandha in the same way and again released him in an insulting manner, and each time Jarāsandha shamelessly returned home. 

While Jarāsandha was attempting one such attack, a Yavana king somewhere to the south of Mathurā became attracted by the opulence of the Yadu dynasty and also attacked the city. It is said that the King of the Yavanas, known as Kālayavana, was induced to attack by Nārada. This story is narrated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa. Once, Gargamuni, the priest of the Yadu dynasty, was taunted by his brother-in-law. When the kings of the Yadu dynasty heard the taunt they laughed at him, and Gargamuni became angry at the Yadu kings. He decided that he would produce someone who would be very fearful to the Yadu dynasty, so he pleased Lord Śiva and received from him the benediction of a son. He begot this son, Kālayavana, in the wife of a Yavana king. This Kālayavana inquired from Nārada, “Who are the most powerful kings in the world?” Nārada informed him that the Yadus were the most powerful. Being thus informed by Nārada, Kālayavana attacked the city of Mathurā at the same time that Jarāsandha attempted to attack it for the eighteenth time. Kālayavana was very anxious to declare war on a king of the world who would be a suitable combatant for him, but he had not found any. However, being informed about Mathurā by Nārada, he thought it wise to attack this city. When he attacked Mathurā he brought with him thirty million Yavana soldiers. When Mathurā was thus besieged, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa began to consider how much the Yadu dynasty was in distress, being threatened by the attacks of two formidable enemies, Jarāsandha and Kālayavana. Time was growing very short. Kālayavana was already besieging Mathurā from all sides, and it was expected that the next day Jarāsandha would also come, equipped with the same number of divisions of soldiers as in his previous seventeen attempts. Kṛṣṇa was certain that Jarāsandha would take advantage of the opportunity to capture Mathurā when it was also being besieged by Kālayavana. He therefore thought it wise to take precautionary measures to defend the strategic points of Mathurā. If both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were engaged in fighting with Kālayavana at one place, Jarāsandha might come at another place to attack the whole Yadu family and take his revenge. Jarāsandha was very powerful, and having been defeated seventeen times, he might vengefully kill the members of the Yadu family or arrest them and take them to his kingdom. Kṛṣṇa therefore decided to construct a formidable fort in a place where no two-legged animal, either man or demon, could enter. He decided to keep His relatives there so that He would then be free to fight with the enemy. It appears that formerly Dvārakā was also part of the kingdom of Mathurā, because in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that Kṛṣṇa constructed a fort in the midst of the sea. Remnants of the fort which Kṛṣṇa constructed are still existing on the Bay of Dvārakā. 

He first of all constructed a very strong wall covering ninety-six square miles, and the wall itself was within the sea. It was certainly wonderful and was planned and constructed by Viśvakarmā. No ordinary architect could construct such a fort within the sea, but an architect like Viśvakarmā, who is considered to be the engineer among the demigods, can execute such wonderful craftsmanship anywhere in any part of the universe. If huge planets can be floated in weightlessness in the outer space by the arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, surely the architectural construction of a fort within the sea covering a space of ninety-six square miles was not a very wonderful act. 

It is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that this new, well-constructed city, developed within the sea, had regular planned roads, streets and lanes. Not only were there well-planned roads, streets and lanes, but there were well-planned paths and gardens filled with plants known as kalpavṛkṣas, or desire trees. These desire trees are not like the ordinary trees of the material world; the desire trees are found in the spiritual world. By Kṛṣṇa’s supreme will, everything is possible, so such desire trees were planted in the city of Dvārakā constructed by Kṛṣṇa. The city was also filled with many palaces and gopuras, or big gates. These gopuras are still found in some of the larger temples. They are very high and constructed with extreme artistic skill. Such palaces and gates held golden waterpots (kalaśa). These waterpots on the gates or in the palaces are considered to be auspicious signs. 

Almost all the palaces were skyscrapers. In each and every house there were big pots of gold and silver and grains stocked in underground rooms. And there were many golden waterpots within the rooms. The bedrooms were all bedecked with jewels, and the floors were mosaic pavements of marakata jewels. The Viṣṇu Deity, worshiped by the descendants of Yadu, was installed in each house in the city. The residential quarters were so arranged that the different castes, brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras, had their respective quarters. It appears from this that the caste system was existing even at that time. In the center of the city there was another residential quarter made specifically for King Ugrasena. This place was the most dazzling of all the houses. 

When the demigods saw that Kṛṣṇa was constructing a particular city of His own choice, they sent the celebrated pārijāta flower of the heavenly planet to be planted in the new city, and they also sent a parliamentary house, Sudharmā. The specific quality of this assembly house was that anyone participating in a meeting within it would overcome the influence of invalidity due to old age. The demigod Varuṇa also presented a horse, which was all white except for black ears and which could run at the speed of the mind. Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods, presented the art of attaining the eight perfectional stages of material opulences. In this way, all the demigods began to present their respective gifts according to their different capacities. There are thirty-three million demigods, and each of them is entrusted with a particular department of universal management. All the demigods took the opportunity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s constructing a city of His own choice to present their respective gifts, making the city of Mathurā unique within the universe. This proves that there are undoubtedly innumerable demigods, but none of them are independent of Kṛṣṇa. As stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa is the supreme master, and all others are servants. So all the servants took the opportunity of rendering service to Kṛṣṇa when He was personally present within this universe. This example should be followed by all, especially those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious, for they should serve Kṛṣṇa by their respective abilities. 

When the new city was fully constructed according to plan, Kṛṣṇa transferred all the inhabitants of Mathurā and entrusted Śrī Balarāma as the city father. After this He consulted with Balarāma, and being garlanded with lotus flowers, He came out of the city to meet Kālayavana, who had already seized Mathurā without taking up any weapons. 

When Kṛṣṇa came out of the city, Kālayavana, who had never seen Kṛṣṇa before, saw Him to be extraordinarily beautiful, dressed in yellow garments. Passing through his assembly of soldiers, Kṛṣṇa appeared like the moon in the sky passing through the assembled clouds. Kālayavana was fortunate enough to see the lines of Śrīvatsa, a particular impression on the chest of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the Kaustubha jewel which He was wearing. Kālayavana saw Him, however, in His Viṣṇu form, with a well-built body, with four hands, and eyes like newly blooming lotus petals. Kṛṣṇa appeared blissful, with a handsome forehead and beautiful face, with smiling restless eyes and moving earrings. Before seeing Kṛṣṇa, Kālayavana had heard about Him from Nārada, and now the descriptions of Nārada were confirmed. He noticed Kṛṣṇa’s specific marks and the jewels on His chest, His beautiful garland of lotus flowers, His lotus-like eyes and similar beautiful bodily features. He concluded that this beautiful personality must be Vāsudeva, because every description of Nārada’s which he had heard previously was substantiated by the presence of Kṛṣṇa. Kālayavana was very much astonished to see that He was passing through without any weapon in His hands and without any chariot. He was simply walking on foot. Kālayavana had come to fight with Kṛṣṇa, and yet he had sufficient principles not to take up any kind of weapon. He decided to fight with Him hand to hand. Thus he prepared to capture Kṛṣṇa and fight. 

Kṛṣṇa, however, went ahead without looking at Kālayavana, and Kālayavana began to follow Him with a desire to capture Him. But in spite of all his swift running, he could not capture Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa cannot be captured even by the mental speed attained by great yogīs. He can be captured only by devotional service, and Kālayavana was not practiced in devotional service. He wanted to capture Kṛṣṇa, and as he could not do so he was following Him from behind. 

Kālayavana began running very fast, and he was thinking, “Now I am nearer; I will capture Him,” but he could not. Kṛṣṇa led him far away, and He entered the cave of a hill. Kālayavana thought that Kṛṣṇa was trying to avoid fighting with him and was therefore taking shelter of the cave. He began to chastise Him with the following words: “Oh You, Kṛṣṇa! I heard that You are a great hero born in the dynasty of Yadu, but I see that You are verily running away from fighting, like a coward. It is not worthy of Your good name and family tradition.” Kālayavana was following, running very fast, but still he could not catch Kṛṣṇa because he was not freed from all contaminations of sinful life. 

According to the Vedic culture, anyone who does not live following the regulative principles of life observed by the higher castes like the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and even the laborer class is called mleccha. The Vedic social situation is so planned that persons who are accepted as śūdras can gradually be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇas by the cultural advancement known as saṁskāra, or the purificatory process. The version of the Vedic scriptures is that no one becomes a brāhmaṇa or a mleccha simply by birth; by birth everyone is accepted as śūdra. One has to elevate himself by the purificatory process to the stage of brahminical life. If he doesn’t, if he degrades himself further, then he is called mleccha. Kālayavana belonged to the class of mleccha and yavanas. He was contaminated by sinful activities and could not approach Kṛṣṇa. The principles from which higher class men are restricted, namely illicit sex indulgence, meat eating, gambling and intoxication, are part and parcel of the lives of the mlecchas and yavanas. Being bound by such sinful activities one cannot make any advancement in God realization. The Bhagavad-gītā confirms that only one who is completely freed from all sinful reactions can be engaged in devotional service or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. 

When Kṛṣṇa entered the cave of the hill, Kālayavana followed, chastising Him with various harsh words. Kṛṣṇa suddenly disappeared from the demon’s sight, but Kālayavana followed and also entered the cave. The first thing he saw was a man lying down asleep within the cave. Kālayavana was very anxious to fight with Kṛṣṇa, and when he could not see Kṛṣṇa, but saw instead only a man lying down, he thought that Kṛṣṇa was sleeping within this cave. Kālayavana was very puffed up and proud of his strength, and he thought Kṛṣṇa was avoiding the fight. Therefore, he very strongly kicked the sleeping man, thinking him to be Kṛṣṇa. The sleeping man had been lying down for a very long time. When he was awakened by the kicking of Kālayavana, he immediately opened his eyes and began to look around in all directions. At last he began to see Kālayavana, who was standing nearby. This man was untimely awakened and therefore very angry, and when he looked upon Kālayavana in his angry mood, rays of fire emanated from his eyes, and Kālayavana burned into ashes within a moment. 

Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Fiftieth Chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “Kṛṣṇa Erects the Dvārakā Fort.” 

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