Śālva thought that he had become victorious, and with a roaring sound he addressed Lord Kṛṣṇa as follows: “You rascal, Kṛṣṇa! You kidnapped Rukmiṇī forcibly, even in our presence. You baffled my friend Śiśupāla and married Rukmiṇī Yourself. And in the great assembly at King Yudhiṣṭhira’s Rājasūya-yajña, while my friend Śiśupāla was a little absent-minded, You took an opportunity to kill him. Everyone thinks that You are a great fighter and that no one can conquer You. So now You’ll have to prove Your strength. I think that if You stand before me any longer, with my sharp arrows I shall send You to a place wherefrom You will never return.”
To this Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “Foolish Śālva, you are talking nonsensically. You do not know that the moment of death is already upon your head. Actual heroes do not talk much. They prove their prowess by practical exhibition of chivalrous activities.” After saying this, Lord Kṛṣṇa, in great anger, struck Śālva on the collarbone with His club so severely that Śālva began to vomit blood and tremble as if he were going to collapse from severe cold. Before Kṛṣṇa was able to strike him again, however, Śālva became invisible by his mystic power.
Within a few moments, a mysterious, unknown man came before Lord Kṛṣṇa. Crying loudly, he bowed down at the Lord’s lotus feet and said to Him, “Since You are the most beloved son of Your father, Vasudeva, Your mother, Devakī, has sent me to inform You of the unfortunate news that Śālva has arrested Your father and taken him away by force, just as a butcher mercilessly takes away an animal.” When Lord Kṛṣṇa heard this unfortunate news from the unknown man, He at first became most perturbed, just like an ordinary human being. His face showed signs of grief, and He began to cry in a piteous tone, “How could that happen? My brother, Lord Balarāma, is there, and it is impossible for anyone to conquer Balarāmajī. He is in charge of Dvārakā City, and I know He is always alert. How could Śālva possibly enter the city and arrest My father in that way? Whatever Śālva may be, his power is limited, so how could it be possible that he has conquered the strength of Balarāmajī and taken away My father, arresting him as described by this man? Alas! Destiny is, after all, very powerful.”
While Śrī Kṛṣṇa was thinking like this, Śālva brought before Him in custody a man exactly resembling Vasudeva, His father. These were all creations of the mystic power of Śālva.
Śālva addressed Kṛṣṇa, “You rascal, Kṛṣṇa! Look. This is Your father, who has begotten You and by whose mercy You are still living. Now just see how I kill Your father. If You have any strength, try to save him.” The mystic juggler Śālva, speaking in this way before Lord Kṛṣṇa, immediately cut off the head of the false Vasudeva. Then without hesitation he took away the dead body and got into his airplane. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the self-sufficient Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet because He was playing the role of a human being, He became very depressed for a moment, as if He had actually lost His father. But at the next moment He could understand that the arrest and killing of His father were demonstrations of the mystic powers which Śālva had learned from the demon Maya. Coming to His right consciousness, He could see that there was no messenger and no head of His father, but that Śālva had left in his airplane, which was flying in the sky. He then began to think of slaying Śālva.
Kṛṣṇa’s reaction is a controversial point among great authorities and saintly persons. How could Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the reservoir of all power and knowledge, be bewildered in such a way? Lamentation, aggrievement and bewilderment are characteristics of conditioned souls, but how can such things affect the person of the Supreme, who is full of knowledge, power and all opulence? Actually, it is not at all possible that Lord Kṛṣṇa was misled by the mystic jugglery of Śālva. He was displaying His pastime in playing the role of a human being. Great saintly persons and sages who are engaged in the devotional service of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa and who have thus achieved the greatest perfection of self-realization have transcended the bewilderments of the bodily concept of life. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of life for such saintly persons. How then could Kṛṣṇa have been bewildered by the mystic jugglery of Śālva? The conclusion is that Lord Kṛṣṇa’s bewilderment was another opulence of His supreme personality.