Sannyāsīs are generally meant to travel all over the country for preaching work, but during the four months of the rainy season in India, from July through October, they do not travel but take shelter in one place and remain there without moving. This nonmovement of the sannyāsī is called Cāturmāsya-vrata. When a sannyāsī stays in one place for these four months, the local inhabitants of that place take advantage of his presence to become spiritually advanced.
Arjuna, in the dress of a tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī, remained in the city of Dvārakā for the four months of the rainy season, devising a plan whereby he could get Subhadrā as his wife. None of the inhabitants of Dvārakā, including Lord Balarāma, could recognize the sannyāsī to be Arjuna; therefore all of them offered their respects and obeisances to the sannyāsī without knowing the actual situation.
One day Lord Balarāma invited this particular sannyāsī to lunch at His home. Balarāmajī very respectfully offered him all kinds of palatable dishes, and the so-called sannyāsī was eating sumptuously. While eating at the home of Balarāmajī, Arjuna was simply looking at beautiful Subhadrā, who was very enchanting to great heroes and kings. Out of love for her, Arjuna’s eyes brightened, and he looked at her with glittering eyes. Arjuna decided that somehow or other he would achieve Subhadrā as his wife, and his mind became agitated on account of this strong desire.
Arjuna, the grandfather of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, was himself extraordinarily beautiful, and his bodily structure was very attractive to Subhadrā, who decided within her mind that she would accept only Arjuna as her husband. As a simple girl, she was smiling with great pleasure, looking at Arjuna. Thus Arjuna also became more and more attracted by her. In this way, Subhadrā dedicated herself to Arjuna, and he resolved to marry her by any means. He then became absorbed twenty-four hours a day in thought of how he could get Subhadrā as his wife. He was afflicted with the thought of getting Subhadrā and had not a moment’s peace of mind.
Once upon a time, Subhadrā, seated on a chariot, came out of the palace fort to see the gods in the temple. Arjuna took this opportunity, and with the permission of Vasudeva and Devakī he kidnapped her. After getting on Subhadrā’s chariot, he prepared himself for a fight. Taking up his bow and holding off with his arrows the soldiers ordered to check him, Arjuna took Subhadrā away. While Subhadrā was thus being kidnapped by Arjuna, her relatives and family members began to cry, but still he took her, just as a lion takes his prey and departs. When it was disclosed to Lord Balarāma that the so-called sannyāsī was Arjuna, who had planned such a device simply to take away Subhadrā, and that he had actually taken her, He became very angry. Just as the waves of the ocean become agitated on a full-moon day, Lord Balarāma became greatly disturbed.
Lord Kṛṣṇa was in favor of Arjuna; therefore, along with other members of the family, He tried to pacify Balarāma by falling at His feet and begging Him to pardon Arjuna. Kṛṣṇa convinced Lord Balarāma that Subhadrā was attached to Arjuna, and thus Balarāma became pleased to know that she wanted Arjuna as her husband. The matter was settled, and to please the newly married couple Lord Balarāma arranged to send a dowry consisting of an abundance of riches, including elephants, chariots, horses, menservants and maidservants.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit was very eager to hear more about Kṛṣṇa, and so, after finishing the narration of Arjuna’s kidnapping Subhadrā, Śukadeva Gosvāmī began to narrate another story, as follows.
There was a householder brāhmaṇa in the city of Mithilā, the capital of the kingdom of Videha. This brāhmaṇa, whose name was Śrutadeva, was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Because he was fully Kṛṣṇa conscious and always engaged in the service of the Lord, he was completely peaceful in mind and detached from all material attraction. He was very learned and had no desire other than to be fully situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Although in the order of householder life, he never took great pains to earn anything for his livelihood; he was satisfied with whatever he could achieve without much endeavor, and somehow or other he lived in that way. Every day he would get the necessities of life in just the quantity required, and not more. That was his destiny. The brāhmaṇa had no desire to get more than what he needed, and thus he was peacefully executing the regulative principles of a brāhmaṇa’s life, as enjoined in the revealed scriptures.
Fortunately, the King of Mithilā was as good a devotee as the brāhmaṇa. The name of this famous king was Bahulāśva. He was very well established in his reputation as a good king, and he was not at all ambitious to extend his kingdom for the sake of sense gratification. As such, both the brāhmaṇa and King Bahulāśva remained pure devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa in Mithilā.
Since Lord Kṛṣṇa was very merciful toward these two devotees, King Bahulāśva and the brāhmaṇa Śrutadeva, He one day asked His driver, Dāruka, to take His chariot into the capital city of Mithilā. Lord Kṛṣṇa was accompanied by the great sages Nārada, Vāmadeva, Atri, Vyāsadeva, Paraśurāma, Asita, Aruṇi, Śukadeva, Bṛhaspati, Kaṇva, Maitreya, Cyavana and others. Lord Kṛṣṇa and the sages passed through many villages and towns, and everywhere the citizens would receive them with great respect and offer them articles in worship. To the citizens who came to see the Lord and all the assembled sages, it seemed as though the sun were present along with his various satellite planets. In that journey, Lord Kṛṣṇa and the sages passed through the kingdoms of Ānarta, Dhanva, Kuru-jāṅgala, Kaṅka, Matsya, Pāñcāla, Kuntī, Madhu, Kekaya, Kośala and Arṇa, and thus all the citizens of these places, both men and women, could see Lord Kṛṣṇa face to face. In this way they enjoyed celestial happiness, with open hearts full of love and affection for the Lord, and when they saw the face of the Lord, it seemed to them that they were drinking nectar through their eyes. When they saw Kṛṣṇa, all the ignorant misconceptions of their lives dissipated. When the Lord passed through the various countries and the people came to visit Him, simply by glancing over them the Lord would bestow all good fortune upon them and liberate them from all kinds of ignorance. In some places the demigods would join with the human beings, and their glorification of the Lord would cleanse all directions of all inauspicious things. In this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa gradually reached the kingdom of Videha.