An Instructional Episode from Vedic History

Tri-Loka = Three Locations, Upper-Swarga, Bhu-Middle and Patala-Lower. Earth is in the Middle Realms and Negativity comes with the territory. Such Negativity is inbuilt by the Creator. Why? As a reminder to our true selves, the Soul, the Jiva-Atman, that these Tri – Loka material realms are not are real home.

Thus no matter a Being’s position or predicament outside of the Vai-Kunta (No-Anxiety) Spiritual Realms, there will always be anxiety and negativity. This is an undeniable fact regardless of the location, the society or the people or personalities involved.

Shatadanva Murdered Satrajit in the presence of his Daughter and Wife of Lord Krishna, Satyabhama

The ancient tale of the Shyamantaka, as recorded in the Srimad Bhagavat Purana, makes this vividly obvious. The Shyamantaka Jewel was a miraculous Gold producing Gem. The legend around it is a tale of human frailties and societal pithiness, jealousy, intrigue, mystery and murder. Initially, Lord Krishna himself was suspected of murder, then after the brutal murder of his father-in-law, Satrajit, Krishna and Balarama tracked down and killed the murderer Shatadanva in a cross continental chase.

This tale took place in Dwarka, the famous now sunken city built by Krishna and Balarama. It had been created as a refuge for the Yadus/the Yadavas. A group of residents of this city of Dwarka, and actual members of Krishna’s own clan, decided to murder Satrajit. Why? There were actually two camps involved.

Satrajit offers his Daughter Satyabhama in Marriage to Lord Krishna

One group was outraged after Satrajit gave his daughter Satyabhama in marriage to Lord Krishna. “The chief conspirator was Śatadhanvā. Along with others, Śatadhanvā wanted to marry Satyabhāmā, the beautiful daughter of Satrājit. Satrājit had promised that he would give his beautiful daughter in charity to various candidates, but later on the dec wasision was changed, and Satyabhāmā was given to Kṛṣṇa along with the Syamantaka jewel.” Krsna Book

The other group of conspirators, albeit with nobler intentions, was led by Krishna and Balarama’s uncle and cousin Akrura and Kritavarma. “Akrūra and Kṛtavarmā joined the conspiracy because they wanted the Shyamantaka jewel for Kṛṣṇa. They knew that Kṛṣṇa wanted the jewel and that Satrājit had not delivered it properly.” Krsna Book

Their response? Break into Satrajits home and knife him to death in front of his entire family including his daughter Satyabhama, the wife of Lord Krishna.

Krishna and Balarama Prepare to Kill Shatadanva

It is an incredible story of greed, jealousy, spite, murder and retribution. ‘The Killing of Satrajit and Shatadanva‘ Krsna Book by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

“When Kṛṣṇa was informed by Satyabhāmā of the murder of His father-in-law, He began to lament like an ordinary man. His great sorrow is, again, a strange thing. Lord Kṛṣṇa has nothing to do with action and reaction, but because He was playing the part of a human being He expressed His full sympathy for the bereavement of Satyabhāmā, and His eyes filled with tears upon hearing about the death of His father-in-law. He thus began to lament, “Oh, what unhappy incidents have taken place!” In this way both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, along with Satyabhāmā, the wife of Kṛṣṇa, immediately returned to Dvārakā and began to make plans to kill Śatadhanvā and take away the jewel. Although he was a great outlaw in the city, Śatadhanvā was still very much afraid of Kṛṣṇa’s power, and thus he became most afraid on Kṛṣṇa’s arrival.”

Despite the outwardly tragic circumstances, Lord Krishna, the all positive and prosperous supreme personality, brought all auspiciousness. As a direct result of his recovering the Shyamantaka Gem, Lord Krishna married two more beautiful princesses, Jambhavati and Satyabhama.

Chapter 57: Satrâjit Murdered, the Jewel Stolen and Returned Again (C)

(1)The son of Vyâsa said: ‘When Krishna heard [the rumor] that the sons of Pându and queen Kuntî had burned to death [in the house of lac], He who exactly knew what had transpired, together with Balarâma went to the Kuru kingdom for His family obligations. (2) Meeting Bhîshma, Kripa, Vidura, Gândhârî and Drona They equally sorrowful said: ‘Ah how painful this is!’

(3) [Meanwhile in Krishna’s absence in Dvârakâ] Akrûra and [the Bhoja] Kritavarmâ saw an opportunity and said to S’atadhanvâ [‘hundredbow’, a bad character]: ‘Why not take the jewel? (4) He [Satrâjit] promised us his gem of a daughter, but ignoring us he gave her to Krishna. Why then should Satrâjit not follow his brother [in death, see 10.56: 13 and *]?’ (5) Thus influenced by the two that most wicked man, in his sinfulness shortening his lifespan, killed out of greed Satrâjit while he was sleeping [compare 1.17: 39]. (6) As the women [in Satrâjit’s residence] helplessly cried calling for help after he had killed him like a butcher kills animals, he took the jewel and disappeared.

(7)When Satyabhâmâ saw that her father had been killed, she thrown in grief lamented: ‘Oh father, alas oh father, with you being killed I am killed!’ and then she fainted. (8) Putting the corpse in a large vessel of oil she went to Hastinâpura to Krishna who [already] knew of the situation, and related sorrowfully the murder of her father. (9) The Lords hearing that, oh King, imitating the human ways both lamented with eyes full of tears: ‘Oh what a tragedy fell upon us!’

(10)The Supreme Lord then went back to His capital with His wife and elder brother, prepared to kill S’atadhanvâ and take the jewel from him. (11) When he heard about it, he in fear took action to save his life and asked Kritavarmâ for assistance. But he told him: (12-13) ‘I cannot commit such an offense against the Lords Râma and Krishna. How can anyone who causes Them trouble find happiness? Kamsa and his followers lost their wealth and lives because they hated Them and Jarâsandha lost after seventeen battles [even] his chariot!’

(14)Turned down by him, he next begged Akrûra for help. But he said likewise: ‘Who, knowing the strength of the Lordships, can oppose Them? (15-17) He who maintains, creates and destroys this universe as a pastime, He whose purpose is not even known to the secondary creators [headed by Brahmâ] who are bewildered by His invincible [mâyâ] potency, He who playing as a child of seven years old uprooted a mountain that He held up with a single hand like a boy holds a mushroom [see 10.25], Him, Krishna the Supreme Lord to whose wondrous acts there is no end, I worship. I offer my obeisances to Him who, as the source of all existence, is the Supreme Soul, the immovable center.’

(18)S‘atadhanvâ also being rejected by him, left the precious jewel with him, mounted a horse that could cover a hundred yojanas and took off. (19) Krishna and Râma mounted the chariot with the emblem of Garuda and pursued the murderer of Their respected senior with the fasted horses, oh King. (20) In a park in a suburb of Mithilâ S’atadhanvâ’s horse collapsed. He abandoned it and continued on foot in terror, with a furious Krishna after him who also ran. (21)With him on the run the Lord, on foot, severed with His sharp edged disc, his head from his body and then searched his upper and lower garments for the gem. (22) Not finding the stone, Krishna went near His elder brother and said: ‘S’atadhanvâ was killed in vain, he did not carry the jewel.’

(23)Balarâma then said: ‘S’atadhanvâ must have left the rock with some person, therefore go [back] to the city [of Dvârakâ] and search for him. (24) l myself wish to pay a visit to the king of Videha [the later Janaka, see 9.10: 11] who is most dear to Me.’ Having said this the descendant of Yadu oh King, entered Mithilâ [the capital of Videha]. (25) Seeing Him, the king of Mithilâ immediately, with a mind full of love, rose to his feet and honored Him who was so worshipable with all available means, as was prescribed. (26) He, the Mighty One, honored by the affectionate great soul Janaka, lived there in Mithilâ for several years. During that time He taught Duryodhana to wield the club.

(27)When Kes’ava the Almighty Lord arrived in Dvârakâ, He, to comfort His beloved [the grieving Satyabhâmâ], told her about the demise of S’atadhanvâ and the failure to get hold of the jewel. (28) He, the Supreme Lord, together with all friends then saw to it that the necessary ritual duties for the funeral of the deceased relative [Satrâjit] were performed. (29) As soon as the ones responsible, Akrûra and Kritavarmâ, heard that S’atadhanvâ had been killed, they out of fear went into exile, somewhere outside of Dvârakâ. (30) With Akrûra in exile ill omens arose for the residents of Dvârakâ. They continually experienced physical and mental troubles and had problems with other living beings and the higher powers [natural disasters included, compare1.141.17: 19**]. (31) Some citizens my dear, were thus lost in guesses, forgetting completely what traditionally was said about Him, the refuge of the sages. How can with Him being present any calamity arise? (32) [They said:] ‘When Indra withheld the rains, the king of Benares [Kâs’î, see also 9.17: 4] gave his daughter Gândinî to S’vaphalka [Akrûra’s father, 9.24: 15] who visited him. Thereupon it indeed rained in Kâs’î. (33) Wherever Akrûra stays, his son who has his [father’s] prowess, lord Indra will shower rains and no painful disturbances or untimely deaths will be seen.’

(34)Hearing these words of the elders, Janârdana, convinced that this [absence of Akrûra] was not the only explanation for the omens happening [***], ordered that Akrûra should be brought back. (35-36) Greeting him with respect and honor and pleasantly discussing topics, He, fully aware of everything that went on in his heart, smiled and said: ‘We of course, oh master of charity, are already familiar with the fact that you at present are in the possession of the opulent Syamantaka jewel that S’atadhanvâ entrusted to you. (37) Since Satrâjit had no sons it are his daughter’s sons [she ànd her sons] who should receive his inheritance after having presented water, offerings and having cleared his remaining debts. (38-39) Nevertheless, the jewel should stay with you, because it is for others impossible to manage, oh trustworthy keeper of the vows. My brother however, does not fully believe Me concerning the gem. To bring peace to My relatives, please show it to Us now oh most fortunate soul who with your altars of gold uninterrupted continue with your sacrifices.’ (40) Thus won over by the conciliatory words, the son of S’vaphalka took the gem hidden in his garment and handed over the jewel that shone as brilliant as the sun. (41) After showing the Syamantaka jewel to His relatives, [and thus] doing away with the emotions [of the accusations] against Him, the Lord returned it to him. (42) Whoever recites, hears or remembers this narration full of the prowess of the Supreme Controller Vishnu that most auspiciously removes all distress, will attain peace and drive away his sins and bad reputation.’ 

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