Śukadeva Gosvāmī informed Mahārāja Parīkṣit that for self-realization the austerities and penances performed by the queens at Dvārakā have no comparison. The objective of self-realization is one: Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, although the dealings of the queens with Kṛṣṇa appear just like ordinary dealings between husband and wife, the principal point to be observed is the queens’ attachment for Kṛṣṇa. The entire process of austerity and penance is meant to detach one from the material world and enhance one’s attachment to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa is the shelter of all persons advancing in self-realization. As an ideal householder, He lived with His wives and performed the Vedic rituals just to show less intelligent persons that the Supreme Lord is never impersonal. Kṛṣṇa lived with wives and children in all opulence, exactly like an ordinary conditioned soul, just to teach those souls who are actually conditioned that they must enter into the family circle of Kṛṣṇa, where He is the center. For example, the members of the Yadu dynasty lived in the family of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa was the center of all their activities.
Renunciation is not as important as enhancing one’s attachment to Kṛṣṇa. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is especially meant for this purpose. We are preaching the principle that it does not matter whether a man is a sannyāsī or gṛhastha (householder). One simply has to increase his attachment for Kṛṣṇa, and then his life is successful. Following in the footsteps of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one can live with his family members or within the society or nation, not for the purpose of indulging in sense gratification but to realize Kṛṣṇa by advancing in attachment for Him. There are four principles of elevation from conditioned life to the life of liberation, which are technically known as dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa (religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation). If one lives a family life following in the footsteps of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s family members, one can achieve all four of these principles of success simultaneously by making Kṛṣṇa the center of all activities.
It is already known to us that Kṛṣṇa had 16,108 wives. All these wives were exalted liberated souls, and among them Queen Rukmiṇī was the chief. After Rukmiṇī there were seven other principal wives, and the names of the sons of these eight principal queens have already been mentioned. Besides the sons born of these eight queens, Lord Kṛṣṇa had ten sons by each of the other queens. Thus altogether Kṛṣṇa’s sons numbered 16,108 times ten. One should not be astonished to hear that Kṛṣṇa had so many sons. One should always remember that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that He has unlimited potencies. He claims all living entities as His sons, so the fact that He had 161,080 sons attached to Him personally should be no cause for astonishment.
Among Kṛṣṇa’s greatly powerful sons, eighteen sons were mahā-rathas. The mahā-rathas could fight alone against many thousands of foot soldiers, charioteers, cavalry and elephants. The reputations of these eighteen sons are very widespread and are described in almost all the Vedic scriptures. The eighteen mahā-ratha sons are listed as Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Dīptimān, Bhānu, Sāmba, Madhu, Bṛhadbhānu, Citrabhānu, Vṛka, Aruṇa, Puṣkara, Vedabāhu, Śrutadeva, Sunandana, Citrabāhu, Virūpa, Kavi and Nyagrodha. Of these eighteen mahā-ratha sons of Kṛṣṇa, Pradyumna is considered the foremost. Pradyumna happened to be the eldest son of Queen Rukmiṇī, and he inherited all the qualities of his great father, Lord Kṛṣṇa. He married the daughter of his maternal uncle, Rukmī, and from that marriage Aniruddha was born. Aniruddha was so powerful that he could fight against ten thousand elephants. He married the granddaughter of Rukmī, the brother of his grandmother Rukmiṇī. Because the relationship between these cousins was distant, such a marriage was not uncommon. Aniruddha’s son was Vajra. When the whole Yadu dynasty was destroyed by the curse of some brāhmaṇas, only Vajra survived. Vajra had one son, whose name was Pratibāhu. The son of Pratibāhu was named Subāhu, the son of Subāhu was named Śāntasena, and the son of Śāntasena was Śatasena.