Arjuna, who apparently had not left Dvārakā because he had to fulfill his promise to the brāhmaṇa, was called at night when the brāhmaṇa’s wife was to give birth to the child. While going to the maternity home to attend to the delivery case of the brāhmaṇa’s wife, Arjuna remembered Lord Śiva, and not his friend Kṛṣṇa; he thought that since Kṛṣṇa could not give protection to the brāhmaṇa, it was better to take shelter of Lord Śiva. This is another instance of how a person takes shelter of the demigods. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ (BG 7.20). “A person who loses his intelligence because of greed and lust forgets the Supreme Personality of Godhead and takes shelter of the demigods.” Of course, Arjuna was not an ordinary living entity, but because of his friendly dealings with Kṛṣṇa he thought that Kṛṣṇa was unable to give protection to the brāhmaṇa and that he would do better to remember Lord Śiva. Later it was proved that Arjuna’s taking shelter of Lord Śiva instead of Kṛṣṇa was not at all successful. Arjuna, however, did his best by chanting different mantras, and he shot arrows up and down to guard the maternity home from all directions. The brāhmaṇa’s wife delivered a male child, and as usual the child began to cry. But suddenly, within a few minutes, both the child and Arjuna’s arrows disappeared into the sky.
It appears that the brāhmaṇa’s house was near Kṛṣṇa’s residence and that Lord Kṛṣṇa was enjoying everything that was taking place, apparently in defiance of His authority. It was He who played the trick of taking away the brāhmaṇa’s baby as well as the arrows, including the one given by Lord Śiva, of which Arjuna was so proud. Anta-vat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām: “Less intelligent men take shelter of the demigods due to bewilderment and are satisfied with the temporary benefits they award.”
In the presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa and others, the brāhmaṇa began to accuse Arjuna: “Everyone see my foolishness! I put my faith in the words of Arjuna, who is impotent and who is expert only in false promises. How foolish I was to believe Arjuna. He promised to protect my child when even Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa had failed. If such great personalities could not protect my child, then who can do so? I therefore condemn Arjuna for his false promise, and I also condemn his celebrated bow Gāṇḍīva and his impudence in declaring himself greater than Lord Balarāma, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. How can anyone save my child, who has already been transferred to another planet? Due to sheer foolishness only, Arjuna thought he could bring back my child from another planet.”
Thus condemned by the brāhmaṇa, Arjuna empowered himself with a mystic yoga perfection so that he could travel to any planet to find the brāhmaṇa’s baby. It seems that Arjuna had mastered the mystic yoga power by which yogīs can travel to any planet they desire. He first of all went to the planet known as Yamaloka, where the superintendent of death, Yamarāja, lives. There he searched for the brāhmaṇa’s baby, but was unable to find him. He then immediately went to the planet where the King of heaven, Indra, lives. When unable to find the baby there, he went to the planet of the fire demigod, then to the planet of the Nirṛti demigod, and then to the moon planet. Then he went to Vāyuloka and Varuṇaloka. When unable to find the baby on those planets, he went down to the Rasātala planet, the lowest of the planetary systems. After traveling to all these different planets, he finally went to Brahmaloka, where even mystic yogīs cannot go. By the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna had that power, and he went above the heavenly planets to Brahmaloka. When he was unable to find the baby even after searching all possible planets, he then attempted to throw himself into a fire, since he had promised the brāhmaṇa he would do so if unable to bring back his baby. Lord Kṛṣṇa, however, was very kind toward Arjuna because Arjuna was the most intimate friend of the Lord. Lord Kṛṣṇa persuaded Arjuna not to enter the fire in disgrace. Kṛṣṇa indicated that since Arjuna was His friend, if he were to enter the fire in hopelessness, indirectly it would be a blemish on Him. Lord Kṛṣṇa therefore checked Arjuna, assuring him that He would find the baby. He told Arjuna, “Do not foolishly commit suicide.”
After addressing Arjuna in this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa called for His transcendental chariot. He mounted it along with Arjuna and proceeded north. Lord Kṛṣṇa, the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, could have brought the child back without effort, but we should always remember that He was playing the part of a human being. As a human being has to endeavor to achieve certain results, so Lord Kṛṣṇa, like an ordinary human being, or like His friend Arjuna, left Dvārakā to bring back the brāhmaṇa’s baby. By appearing in human society and exhibiting His pastimes as a human being, Kṛṣṇa definitely showed that there was not a single personality greater than He. “God is great.” That is the definition of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So at least within this material world, while He was present, Kṛṣṇa proved that there was no greater personality within the universe.
Seated on His chariot with Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa proceeded north, crossing over many planetary systems. These are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as sapta-dvīpa. Dvīpa means “island.” These planets are sometimes described in the Vedic literature as dvīpas. The planet on which we are living is called Jambūdvīpa. Outer space is taken as a great ocean of air, and within that great ocean of air there are many islands, which are the different planets. On each and every planet there are oceans also. On some of the planets the oceans are of salt water, and on some of them there are oceans of milk. On others there are oceans of liquor, and on others there are oceans of ghee or oil. There are different kinds of mountains also. Each and every planet has a different type of atmosphere.
Kṛṣṇa passed over all these planets and reached the covering of the universe. This covering is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as great darkness. The material world as a whole is described as dark. In the open space there is sunlight, and therefore it is illuminated, but in the covering, because of the absence of sunlight, it is naturally dark. When Kṛṣṇa approached the covering layer of this universe, the four horses which were drawing His chariot—Śaibya, Sugrīva, Meghapuṣpa and Balāhaka—all hesitated to enter the darkness. This hesitation is also a part of the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa because the horses of Kṛṣṇa are not ordinary; it is not possible for ordinary horses to go all over the universe and then enter into its outer covering layers. As Kṛṣṇa is transcendental, His chariot and His horses and everything about Him are also transcendental, beyond the qualities of this material world. We should always remember that Kṛṣṇa was playing the part of an ordinary human being, and His horses also, by the will of Kṛṣṇa, played the parts of ordinary horses in hesitating to enter the darkness.