After returning from the spiritual kingdom, which he was able to visit personally with Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna was very much astonished. He thought to himself that although he was only an ordinary living entity, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa it had been possible for him to see the spiritual world. Not only had he seen the spiritual world, but he had also personally seen the original Mahā-Viṣṇu, the cause of the material creation. It is said that Kṛṣṇa never goes out of Vṛndāvana: vṛndāvanaṁ parityajya pādam ekaṁ na gacchati. Kṛṣṇa is supreme in Mathurā, He is more supreme in Dvārakā, and He is most supreme in Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Dvārakā are displayed by His Vāsudeva portion, yet there is no difference between the Vāsudeva portion manifested in Mathurā and Dvārakā and the original manifestation of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. In the beginning of this book we have discussed that when Kṛṣṇa appears, all His incarnations, plenary portions and portions of the plenary portions come with Him. Thus some of His different pastimes are manifested not by the original Kṛṣṇa Himself but by His expansions.
Why Arjuna was puzzled by Kṛṣṇa’s going to see Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu in the spiritual world is fully discussed in the commentaries of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, as follows. It is understood from the speech of Mahā-Viṣṇu that He was very eager to see Kṛṣṇa. It may be said, however, that since Mahā-Viṣṇu took away the brāhmaṇa’s sons, He must certainly have gone to Dvārakā to do so. Therefore, why did He not see Kṛṣṇa there? A possible answer is that unless Kṛṣṇa gives His permission, He cannot be seen even by Mahā-Viṣṇu, lying in the Causal Ocean of the spiritual world. Thus Mahā-Viṣṇu took away the brāhmaṇa’s sons one after another just after their births so that Kṛṣṇa would come personally to the Casual Ocean to retrieve them, and then Mahā-Viṣṇu would be able to see Him there. If that is so, the next question is this: Why would Mahā-Viṣṇu come to Dvārakā personally if He were not able to see Kṛṣṇa? Why did He not send some of His associates to take away the sons of the brāhmaṇa? A possible answer is that it is very difficult to put any of the citizens of Dvārakā into trouble in the presence of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, because it was not possible for any of Mahā-Viṣṇu’s associates to take away the brāhmaṇa’s sons, He personally came to take them.
Another question may also be raised: The Lord is known as brahmaṇya-deva, the worshipable Deity of the brāhmaṇas, so why was He inclined to put a brāhmaṇa into such a terrible condition of lamentation over one son after another until the tenth son was taken away? The answer is that Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu was so eager to see Kṛṣṇa that He did not hesitate even to give trouble to a brāhmaṇa. Although giving trouble to a brāhmaṇa is a forbidden act, Lord Viṣṇu was prepared to do anything in order to see Kṛṣṇa—He was so eager to see Him. After losing each of his sons, the brāhmaṇa would come to the gate of the palace and accuse the King of not being able to give the brāhmaṇas protection and of thus being unfit to sit on the royal throne. It was Mahā-Viṣṇu’s plan that the brāhmaṇa would accuse the kṣatriyas and Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa would be obliged to come see Him to take back the brāhmaṇa’s sons.
Still another question may be raised: If Mahā-Viṣṇu cannot see Kṛṣṇa, then how was Kṛṣṇa obliged to come before Him after all to take back the sons of the brāhmaṇa? The answer is that Lord Kṛṣṇa went to see Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu not exactly to take away the sons of the brāhmaṇa but only for Arjuna’s sake. His friendship with Arjuna was so intimate that when Arjuna prepared himself to die by entering a fire, Kṛṣṇa wanted to give him complete protection. Arjuna, however, would not desist from entering the fire unless the sons of the brāhmaṇa were brought back. Therefore Kṛṣṇa promised him, “I shall bring back the brāhmaṇa’s sons. Do not try to commit suicide.”
If Lord Kṛṣṇa were going to see Lord Viṣṇu only to reclaim the sons of the brāhmaṇa, then He would not have waited until the tenth son was taken. But when the tenth son was taken away by Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu, and Arjuna was therefore ready to enter the fire because his promise was going to prove false, that serious situation made Lord Kṛṣṇa decide to go with Arjuna to see Mahā-Viṣṇu. It is said that Arjuna is an empowered incarnation of Nara-Nārāyaṇa. He is even sometimes called Nara-Nārāyaṇa. The Nara-Nārāyaṇa incarnation is also one of Lord Viṣṇu’s plenary expansions. Therefore, when Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna went to see Lord Viṣṇu, it is to be understood that Arjuna visited in His Nara-Nārāyaṇa capacity, just as Kṛṣṇa, when He displayed His pastimes in Dvārakā, acted in His Vāsudeva capacity.
After visiting the spiritual world, Arjuna concluded that whatever opulence anyone can show within the material or spiritual worlds is all a gift of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa is manifested in various forms, as viṣṇu-tattva and jīva-tattva, or, in other words, as svāṁśa and vibhinnāṁśa. Viṣṇu-tattva is known as svāṁśa, and jīva-tattva is known as vibhinnāṁśa. He can, therefore, display Himself by His different transcendental pastimes, in the portion of either svāṁśa or vibhinnāṁśa, as He likes, but still He remains the original Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The concluding portion of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes is found in the Ninetieth Chapter of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and in this chapter Śukadeva Gosvāmī wanted to explain how Kṛṣṇa lived happily at Dvārakā with all opulences. Kṛṣṇa’s opulence of strength has already been displayed in His different pastimes, and now it will be shown how His residence at Dvārakā displayed His opulences of wealth and beauty. In this material world the opulences of wealth and beauty are considered the highest of all opulences, yet they are only a perverted reflection of these opulences in the spiritual world. Therefore, while Kṛṣṇa stayed on this planet as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His opulences of wealth and beauty had no comparison within the three worlds. Kṛṣṇa enjoyed sixteen thousand beautiful wives, and it is most significant that He lived at Dvārakā as the only husband of these thousands of beautiful women. This is specifically stated—that He was the only husband of sixteen thousand wives. It is of course not unheard of in the history of the world that a powerful king would keep many hundreds of queens, but although such a king might be the only husband of so many wives, he could not enjoy all of them at one time. Lord Kṛṣṇa, however, enjoyed all of His sixteen thousand wives simultaneously.
Although it may be said that yogīs also can expand their bodies into many forms, the yogī’s expansion and Lord Kṛṣṇa’s expansion are not the same. Kṛṣṇa is therefore sometimes called Yogeśvara, the master of all yogīs. In the Vedic literature we find that the yogī Saubhari Muni expanded himself into eight. But that expansion was like a television expansion. The television image is manifested in millions of expansions, but those expansions cannot act differently; they are simply reflections of the original and can only act exactly as the original does. Kṛṣṇa’s expansion is not material, like the expansion of the television or the yogī. When Nārada visited the different palaces of Kṛṣṇa, he saw that Kṛṣṇa, in His different expansions, was variously engaged in each and every palace of the queens.