The gopīs cried all night before the departure of Kṛṣṇa. As soon as the sun rose, Akrūra finished his morning bath, got on the chariot and started for Mathurā with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Nanda Mahārāja and the cowherd men got up on bullock carts after loading them with big earthen pots filled with yogurt, milk, ghee and other milk products, and then they began to follow the chariot of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. In spite of Kṛṣṇa’s asking the gopīs not to obstruct Their way, they all surrounded the chariot and stood up to see Kṛṣṇa with pitiable eyes. Kṛṣṇa was very much affected upon seeing the plight of the gopīs, but His duty was to start for Mathurā, for this was foretold by Nārada. Kṛṣṇa therefore consoled the gopīs. He told them that they should not be aggrieved: He was coming back very soon after finishing His business. But they could not be persuaded to disperse. The chariot, however, began to head west, and as it proceeded, the minds of the gopīs followed it as far as possible. They watched the flag on the chariot as long as it was visible; finally they could see only the dust of the chariot in the distance. The gopīs did not move from their places but stood until the chariot could not be seen at all. They remained standing still, as if they were painted pictures. All the gopīs decided that Kṛṣṇa was not returning immediately, and with greatly disappointed hearts they returned to their respective homes. Being greatly disturbed by the absence of Kṛṣṇa, they simply thought all day and night about His pastimes and thus derived some consolation.
The Lord, accompanied by Akrūra and Balarāma, traveled in the chariot with great speed toward the bank of the Yamunā. Simply by taking a bath in the Yamunā, anyone can diminish the reactions of his sinful activities. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma took Their baths in the river and washed Their faces. After drinking the transparent, crystal-clear water of the Yamunā, They took Their seats again on the chariot. The chariot was standing underneath the shade of big trees, and the two brothers sat down there. Akrūra then took Their permission to also take a bath in the Yamunā. According to Vedic ritual, after taking a bath in a river, one should stand at least half submerged and murmur the Gāyatrī mantra. While he was standing in the river, Akrūra suddenly saw Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa within the water. He was surprised to see Them there because he was confident that They were sitting on the chariot. Confused, he immediately came out of the water and went to see where the boys were, and he was very much surprised to see that They were sitting on the chariot as before. When he saw Them on the chariot, he began to wonder whether he had mistakenly seen Them in the water. He therefore went back to the river. This time he saw not only Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa there but many of the demigods and all the Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Gandharvas. They were all bowing down before the Lord. He also saw Lord Śeṣa Nāga, with thousands of hoods. Lord Śeṣa Nāga was covered with bluish garments, and His necks were all white. The white necks of Śeṣa Nāga appeared exactly like snowcapped mountains. On the coiled lap of Śeṣa Nāga, Kṛṣṇa was sitting very soberly, with four hands. His eyes were like the reddish petals of the lotus flower.
In other words, after returning to the Yamunā, Akrūra saw Balarāma turned into Śeṣa Nāga and Kṛṣṇa turned into Mahā-Viṣṇu. He saw the four-handed Supreme Personality of Godhead, smiling very beautifully. He was very pleasing to all and was looking toward everyone with a merciful glance. He appeared beautiful with His raised nose, broad forehead, attractive ears and reddish lips. His arms, reaching to the knees, were very strongly built. His shoulders were high, His chest was very broad, and His neck was shaped like a conchshell. His navel was very deep, and His abdomen was marked with three lines. His hips were broad and big, resembling those of a woman, and His thighs resembled the trunks of elephants. The other parts of His legs, the joints and lower extremities, were all very beautiful, the nails of His feet were dazzling, and His toes were as beautiful as the petals of the lotus flower. His helmet was decorated with very valuable jewels. There was a nice belt around His waist, and He wore a sacred thread across His broad chest. Bangles were on His hands, and armlets on the upper portion of His arms. He wore bells on His ankles. He possessed dazzling beauty, and His palms were like lotus flowers. He was further beautified by the different emblems of the viṣṇu-mūrti—the conchshell, club, disc and lotus flower—which He held in His four hands. His chest was marked with the particular signs of Viṣṇu, and He wore fresh flower garlands. All in all, He was very beautiful to look at. Akrūra also saw His Lordship surrounded by intimate associates like the four Kumāras—Sanaka, Sanātana, Sananda and Sanat-kumāra—and other associates like Sunanda and Nanda, as well as demigods like Brahmā and Lord Śiva. The nine great learned sages were there, and also devotees like Prahlāda and Nārada and the eight Vasus. All were engaged in offering prayers to the Lord with clean hearts and pure words. After seeing the transcendental Personality of Godhead, Akrūra immediately became overwhelmed with joy and great devotion, and all over his body there was transcendental shivering. Although for the moment he was bewildered, he retained his clear consciousness and bowed down his head before the Lord. With folded hands and faltering voice, he began to offer prayers to the Lord.