Once upon a time while Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were living peacefully in Their great city of Dvārakā, there was the rare occasion of a full solar eclipse, such as takes place at the end of every kalpa, or day of Brahmā. At the end of every kalpa the sun is covered by a great cloud, and incessant rain covers the lower planetary systems up to Svargaloka. By astronomical calculation, people were informed about this great eclipse prior to its taking place, and therefore everyone, both men and women, decided to assemble at the holy place in Kurukṣetra known as Samanta-pañcaka.
The Samanta-pañcaka pilgrimage site is celebrated because Lord Paraśurāma performed great sacrifices there after killing all the kṣatriyas in the world twenty-one times. When Lord Paraśurāma killed all the kṣatriyas, their accumulated blood flowed like a stream. Lord Paraśurāma dug five big lakes at Samanta-pañcaka and filled them with this blood. Lord Paraśurāma is viṣṇu-tattva. As stated in the Īśopaniṣad, viṣṇu-tattva cannot be contaminated by any sinful activity. Yet although Lord Paraśurāma is fully powerful and uncontaminated, in order to exhibit ideal character He performed great sacrifices at Samanta-pañcaka to atone for His so-called sinful killing of the kṣatriyas. By His example, Lord Paraśurāma established that the killing art, although sometimes necessary, is not good. Lord Paraśurāma considered Himself culpable for the sinful killing of the kṣatriyas; therefore, how much more culpable are we for such abominable unsanctioned acts. Thus, from time immemorial the killing of living entities is prohibited all over the world.
Taking advantage of the occasion of the solar eclipse, all important persons from all parts of Bhārata-varṣa visited the holy place of pilgrimage. Some of the important personalities are mentioned as follows. Among the elderly persons were Akrūra, Vasudeva and Ugrasena, and among the younger generation were Gada, Pradyumna, Sāmba and many other members of the Yadu dynasty who had come there with a view to atone for sinful activities accrued in the course of discharging their respective duties. Because almost all the members of the Yadu dynasty went to Kurukṣetra, some important personalities, like Aniruddha, the son of Pradyumna, and Kṛtavarmā, the commander in chief of the Yadu dynasty, along with Sucandra, Śuka and Sāraṇa, remained in Dvārakā to protect the city.