In that meeting, King Śiśupāla was also present. He was an avowed enemy of Kṛṣṇa for many reasons, especially because of Kṛṣṇa's having stolen Rukmiṇī from his intended marriage ceremony. Therefore, he could not tolerate such honoring of Kṛṣṇa and glorification of His qualities. Instead of being happy to hear the glories of the Lord, he became very angry. When everyone offered respect to Kṛṣṇa by standing up, Śiśupāla remained in his seat, but as he became angrier at Kṛṣṇa's being honored, he stood up suddenly, raised his hand and spoke very strongly and fearlessly against Lord Kṛṣṇa in such a way that Lord Kṛṣṇa could hear him distinctly.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I can appreciate now the statement of the Vedas that, after all, time is the predominating factor. In spite of all endeavors to the contrary, the time element executes its own plan without opposition. For example, one may try his best to live, but when the time for death comes, no one can check it. I see here that although many stalwart personalities are present in this assembly, the influence of time is so strong that they have been misled by the statement of a boy who has foolishly spoken about Kṛṣṇa. Many learned sages and elder persons are present, but still they have accepted the statement of a foolish boy. This means that by the influence of time even the intelligence of such honored persons as those present in this meeting can be misdirected. I fully agree with the respectable persons present here that they are competent to select the personality who can be worshiped first, but I cannot agree with the statement of a boy like Sahadeva, who has spoken so highly about Kṛṣṇa and has recommended that Kṛṣṇa is fit to accept the first worship in the sacrifice. I can see that in this meeting there are many personalities who have undergone great austerities, who are highly learned, and who have performed many penances. By their knowledge and direction, they can deliver many persons who are suffering from the pangs of material existence. There are great ṛṣis here whose knowledge has no bounds, as well as many self-realized persons and brāhmaṇas also, and therefore I think that any one of them could have been selected for the first worship because they are worshipable even by the great demigods, kings and emperors. I cannot understand how you have selected this cowherd boy, Kṛṣṇa, and have left aside all these great personalities. I think Kṛṣṇa to be no better than a crow—how can He be fit to accept the first worship in this great sacrifice?
"We cannot even ascertain which caste this Kṛṣṇa belongs to or what His actual occupational duty is." Actually, Kṛṣṇa does not belong to any caste, nor does He have to perform any occupational duty. It is stated in the Vedas that the Supreme Lord has nothing to do as His prescribed duty. Whatever has to be done on His behalf is executed by His different energies.
Śiśupāla continued: "Kṛṣṇa does not belong to a high family. He is so independent that no one knows His principles of religious life. Indeed, it appears that He is outside the jurisdiction of all religious principles. He always acts independently, not caring for the Vedic injunctions and regulative principles. Therefore He is devoid of all good qualities." Śiśupāla indirectly praised Kṛṣṇa by saying that He is not within the jurisdiction of Vedic injunctions. This is true because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That He has "no good qualities" (guṇaiḥ hīnaḥ) means that Kṛṣṇa has no material qualities, and because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He acts independently, not caring for conventions in social or religious principles.
Śiśupāla continued: "Under these circumstances, how can He be fit to accept the first worship in the sacrifice? Kṛṣṇa is so foolish that He has left Mathurā, which is inhabited by highly elevated persons following the Vedic culture, and has taken shelter in the ocean, where there is not even talk of the Vedas. Instead of living openly, He has constructed a fort within the water and is living in a place where there is no discussion of Vedic knowledge. And whenever He comes out of the fort, He simply harasses the citizens like a dacoit, thief or rogue."
Śiśupāla went crazy because of Kṛṣṇa's being elected the supreme, first-worshiped person in that meeting, and he spoke so irresponsibly that it appeared he had lost all his good fortune. Being overcast with misfortune, Śiśupāla continued to insult Kṛṣṇa, and Lord Kṛṣṇa patiently heard him without protest. Just as a lion does not care when a flock of jackals howl, Lord Kṛṣṇa remained silent and unprovoked. Kṛṣṇa did not reply to even a single accusation made by Śiśupāla, but all the members present in the meeting, except for a few who agreed with Śiśupāla, were very much agitated because it is the duty of any respectable person not to tolerate blasphemy against God or His devotee. Some of them, who thought that they could not properly take action against Śiśupāla, left the assembly in protest, covering their ears with their hands in order not to hear further accusations. Thus they left the meeting, condemning the action of Śiśupāla. It is the Vedic injunction that whenever there is blasphemy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one must immediately leave. If he does not do so, he becomes bereft of his pious activities and is degraded to a lower condition of life.
All the kings present, belonging to the Kuru dynasty, Matsya dynasty, Kekaya dynasty and Sṛñjaya dynasty, were very angry and immediately took up their swords and shields to kill Śiśupāla, who was so foolish that he was not even slightly agitated, although all the kings present were ready to kill him. Śiśupāla did not care to think of the pros and cons of his foolish talking, and instead of stopping when he saw that all the kings were ready to kill him, he stood to fight with them and took up his sword and shield. When Lord Kṛṣṇa saw that they were going to fight in the arena of the auspicious Rājasūya-yajña, He personally pacified them. Out of His causeless mercy He Himself decided to kill Śiśupāla. When Śiśupāla was abusing the kings who were about to attack him, Lord Kṛṣṇa took up His disc, as sharp as the blade of a razor, and immediately separated Śiśupāla's head from his body.
When Śiśupāla was thus killed, a great roar and howl went up from the crowd. Taking advantage of that disturbance, the few kings who were supporters of Śiśupāla quickly left the assembly out of fear for their lives. Then the fortunate Śiśupāla's spirit soul immediately merged into the body of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the presence of all, exactly as a burning meteor falls to the surface of the globe. The merging of Śiśupāla's soul into the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa reminds us of the story of Jaya and Vijaya, who fell to the material world from the Vaikuṇṭha planets upon being cursed by the four Kumāras. For their return to the Vaikuṇṭha world, it was arranged that both Jaya and Vijaya, for three consecutive births, would act as deadly enemies of the Lord, and that at the end of these lives they would return to the Vaikuṇṭha world and serve the Lord as His associates.
Although Śiśupāla acted as the enemy of Kṛṣṇa, he was not for a single moment out of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He was always absorbed in thought of Kṛṣṇa, and thus he first got the salvation of sāyujya-mukti, merging into the existence of the Supreme, and was finally reinstated in his original position of personal service. The Bhagavad-gītā corroborates the fact that one who is absorbed in the thought of the Supreme Lord at the time of death immediately enters the kingdom of God after quitting his material body.