Unfortunately, this washerman was a servant of Kamsa and therefore could not appreciate the demand of Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the effect of bad association

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"Unfortunately, this washerman was a servant of Kaṁsa and therefore could not appreciate the demand of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the effect of bad association"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Unfortunately, this washerman was a servant of Kaṁsa and therefore could not appreciate the demand of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the effect of bad association. He could have immediately delivered the clothing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who promised him all good fortune, but being a servant of Kaṁsa, the sinful demon could not accept the offer.

When the news spread that Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the cowherd boys were within Mathurā City, all the inhabitants gathered, and the ladies and girls immediately went up to the roofs of the houses to see Them. They had been awaiting the arrival of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma with great anxiety, and in their extreme eagerness to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the ladies did not dress themselves very properly. Some of them placed their clothes in the wrong place. Some anointed their eyes on one side only, and some wore ankle bells only on one leg or wore only one earring. Thus in great haste, not even decorated properly, they went to see Kṛṣṇa from the roofs. Some of them had been taking their lunch, but as soon as they heard that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were in the city, they left their eating and ran to the roofs. Some of them were in the bathroom taking their baths, but without properly finishing their baths, they went to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Some were engaged in feeding their children breast milk, but they put their babies aside and went to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Passing by very slowly and smiling, Lord Kṛṣṇa immediately stole their hearts. He who is the husband of the goddess of fortune passed through the street like an elephant. For a very long time the women of Mathurā had heard about Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and Their uncommon characteristics, and they were very much attracted and eager to see Them. Now when they actually saw Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma passing on the street and saw Them sweetly smiling, the ladies’ joy reached the point of ecstasy. When they actually saw Them with their eyes, they took Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma within their hearts and began to embrace Them to their fullest desire. Their bodily hairs stood up in ecstasy. They had heard of Kṛṣṇa, but they had never seen Him, and now their longing was relieved. After going up on the roofs of the palaces of Mathurā, the ladies, their faces joyful, began to shower flowers upon Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. When the brothers were passing through the streets, all the brāhmaṇas in the neighborhood went out with sandal water and flowers and respectfully welcomed Them to the city. All the residents of Mathurā began to talk among themselves about the elevated and pious activities of the people of Vṛndāvana. The residents of Mathurā were surprised at the pious activities the cowherd men in Vṛndāvana must have performed in their previous lives to be able to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma daily as cowherd boys.

While Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were passing in this way, They saw a washerman and dyer of clothing. Kṛṣṇa was pleased to ask him for some nice clothing. He also promised that if the washerman would deliver the nicest dyed cloth to Him, the washerman would become very happy, and all good fortune would be his. Kṛṣṇa was not a beggar, nor was He in need of clothing, but by this request He indicated that everyone should be ready to offer Kṛṣṇa whatever He wants. That is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Unfortunately, this washerman was a servant of Kaṁsa and therefore could not appreciate the demand of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the effect of bad association. He could have immediately delivered the clothing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who promised him all good fortune, but being a servant of Kaṁsa, the sinful demon could not accept the offer. Instead of being pleased, he was very angry and refused the Lord’s request, saying, “How is it that You are asking for clothing which is meant for the King?” The washerman then began to instruct Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma: “My dear boys, in the future don’t be so impudent as to ask for things which belong to the King. Otherwise, You will be punished by the government men. They will arrest You and punish You, and You will be in difficulty. I have practical experience of this fact. Anyone who unlawfully wants to use the King’s property is very severely punished.”

On hearing this, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī, became very angry at the washerman, and striking him with the upper portion of His hand, He separated the man’s head from his body. The washerman fell down dead on the ground. In this way Lord Kṛṣṇa confirmed the statement of the Brahma-saṁhitā that every limb of His body is capable of doing everything He likes. Without a sword, but simply with His hand, He cut off the head of the washerman. This is proof that the Supreme Lord is omnipotent. If He wants to do something, He can do it without extraneous help.