The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is also described in the Brahma-saṁhitā as the abode of cintāmaṇi. That abode of Lord Kṛṣṇa, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There the trees are called desire trees, and the cows are called surabhi. The Lord is served there by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune. His name is Govinda, the Primeval Lord, and He is the cause of all causes. There the Lord plays His flute, His eyes are like lotus petals, and the color of His body is like that of a beautiful cloud. On His head is a peacock feather. He is so attractive that He excels thousands of Cupids. Lord Kṛṣṇa gives only a little hint in the Gītā of His personal abode, which is the supermost planet in the spiritual kingdom. But in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Kṛṣṇa actually appears with all His paraphernalia and demonstrates His activities in Vṛndāvana, then at Mathurā, and then at Dvārakā. The subject matter of this book will gradually reveal all these activities.
The family in which Kṛṣṇa appeared is called the Yadu dynasty. This Yadu dynasty belongs to the family descending from Soma, the god in the moon planet. There are two different kṣatriya families of the royal order, one descending from the king of the moon planet and the other descending from the king of the sun planet. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears, He generally appears in a kṣatriya family because He has to establish religious principles, or the life of righteousness. The kṣatriya family is the protector of the human race, according to the Vedic system. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as Lord Rāmacandra, He appeared in the family descending from the sun-god, known as the Raghu-vaṁśa; and when He appeared as Lord Kṛṣṇa, He did so in the family known as the Yadu-vaṁśa. There is a long list of the kings of the Yadu-vaṁśa in the Ninth Canto, Twenty-fourth Chapter, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. All of them were great, powerful kings. Kṛṣṇa’s father’s name was Vasudeva, son of Śūrasena, descending from the Yadu dynasty. Actually, the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not belong to any dynasty of this material world, but the family in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears becomes famous, by His grace. For example, sandalwood is produced in the states of Malaya. Sandalwood has its own qualifications apart from Malaya, but because accidentally this wood is mainly produced in the states of Malaya, it is known as Malayan sandalwood. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, belongs to everyone, but just as the sun rises from the east, although there are other directions from which it could rise, so by His own choice the Lord appears in a particular family, and that family becomes famous.
As explained above, when Kṛṣṇa appears, all His plenary expansions appear with Him. Kṛṣṇa appeared along with Balarāma (Baladeva), who is known as His elder brother. Balarāma is the origin of Saṅkarṣaṇa, of the quadruple expansion. Balarāma is also the plenary expansion of Kṛṣṇa. In this book, the attempt will be made to show how Kṛṣṇa appeared in the family of the Yadu dynasty and how He displayed His transcendental characteristics. This is very vividly described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam—specifically, the Tenth Canto—and thus the basis of this book will be the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
The pastimes of the Lord are generally heard and relished by liberated souls. Those who are conditioned souls are interested in reading stories of the material activities of some common man. Although similar narrations describing the transcendental activities of the Lord are found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other Purāṇas, the conditioned souls still prefer to study ordinary narrations. They are not so interested in studying the narrations of the pastimes of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa. And yet the descriptions or the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa are so attractive that they are relishable for all classes of men. There are three classes of men in this world. One class consists of liberated souls, another consists of those who are trying to be liberated, and the third consists of materialistic men. Whether one is liberated or is trying to be liberated, or is even grossly materialistic, the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa are worth studying.
Liberated souls have no interest in materialistic activities. The impersonalist theory that after liberation one becomes inactive and need not hear anything does not prove that a liberated person is actually inactive. A living soul cannot be inactive. He is active either in the conditioned state or in the liberated state. A diseased person, for example, is also active, but his activities are all painful. The same person, when freed from the diseased condition, is still active, but in the healthy condition the activities are full of pleasure. Similarly, the impersonalists only seek to get free from the diseased, conditioned activities, but they have no information of activities in the healthy condition. Those who are actually liberated and in full knowledge take to hearing the activities of Kṛṣṇa; such engagement is pure spiritual activity.
It is essential for persons who are actually liberated to hear about the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. That is the supreme relishable subject matter for one in the liberated state. Also, if persons who are trying to be liberated hear such narrations as the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then their path of liberation becomes very clear. The Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. By studying the Gītā, one becomes fully conscious of the position of Lord Kṛṣṇa; and when he is situated at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, he understands the narrations of Kṛṣṇa as described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Lord Caitanya has therefore advised His followers that their business is to propagate kṛṣṇa-kathā.