Kṛṣṇa and Śrīdāmā were very intimate friends, yet Śrīdāmā, out of anger with Kṛṣṇa, challenged Him. When both of them began to fight, all the friends on the bank of the Yamunā enjoyed the wonderful fighting of the two friends. They prepared some arrows for mock-fighting, and Kṛṣṇa began to throw his arrows at Śrīdāmā. Śrīdāmā began to block these arrows by whirling his pole, and by Śrīdāmā's chivalrous activities, Kṛṣṇa became very satisfied. Such mock-fighting generally takes place amongst chivalrous persons and creates wonderful excitement for all viewers.
There is a statement in the Hari-vaṁśa that sometimes Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa fought in the presence of Kuntī, and Arjuna would be defeated by Kṛṣṇa.
In such chivalrous fighting between friends, there is sometimes bragging, self-complacence, pride, power, taking to weapons, challenging and standing as opponent. All of these symptoms become impetuses to chivalrous devotional service.
One friend challenged Kṛṣṇa thus: "My dear friend Dāmodara, You are an expert only in eating. You have defeated Subala only because he is weak and You adopted cheating means. Don't advertise Yourself to be a great fighter by such action. You have advertised Yourself as a serpent, and I am the peacock who will now defeat You." The peacock is the ablest enemy of the serpent.
In such fighting between friends, when the self-advertisement becomes personal, learned scholars say it is sub-ecstasy. When there is a roaring challenge, certain kinds of movement for fighting, enthusiasm, no weapons and assurance given to frightened witnesses—all these chivalrous activities are called sub-ecstasy.
One friend addressed Kṛṣṇa in this manner: "My dear Madhusūdana, You know my strength, yet You are encouraging Bhadrasena, and not me, to challenge mighty Baladeva. By this action You are simply insulting me because my arms are as strong as the bolts of the gate!"
A devotee once said, "My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, may Your challenger, Śrīdāmā, become glorious for his chivalrous activities, such as vibrating like a thunder cloud and roaring like a lion. May all glories go to Śrīdāmā's chivalrous activities!" Chivalrous activities in the matter of fighting, charity, mercy and execution of religious rituals are called constitutional; whereas the expression of pride, emotions, endurance, kindness, determination, jubilation, enthusiasm, jealousy and remembrance are called unconstitutional. When Stokakṛṣṇa, one of the many friends of Kṛṣṇa, was fighting with Him, his father chastised him for fighting with Kṛṣṇa, who was the life and soul of all residents of Vṛndāvana. Upon hearing these chastisements, Stokakṛṣṇa stopped his fighting. But Kṛṣṇa continued to challenge him, and thus, in order to meet the challenge, Stokakṛṣṇa took his pole and began to display his dexterity by whirling it.
Once Śrīdāmā challenged Bhadrasena and said to him, "My dear friend, you needn't be afraid of me yet. I shall first of all defeat our brother Balarāma, then I shall beat Kṛṣṇa, and then I shall come to you." Bhadrasena therefore left the party of Balarāma and joined Kṛṣṇa, and he agitated his friends as much as the Mandara Hill had agitated the whole ocean. By his roaring sounds he deafened all his friends, and he enthused Kṛṣṇa with his chivalrous activities.
Once Kṛṣṇa challenged all His friends and said, "My dear friends, just see—I am jumping with great chivalrous prowess. Please do not flee away." Upon hearing these challenging words, another friend named Varūthapa counter-challenged the Lord and struggled against Him.