After the return of their wives from Kṛṣṇa, the brāhmaṇas engaged in the performance of sacrifices began to regret their sinful activities in refusing food to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They could finally understand their mistake; engaged in the performance of Vedic rituals, they had neglected the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had appeared just like an ordinary human being and asked for some food. They began to condemn themselves after seeing the faith and devotion of their wives. They regretted very much that, although their wives were elevated to the platform of pure devotional service, they themselves could not understand even a little bit of how to love and offer transcendental loving service to the Supreme Soul. They began to talk among themselves: “To hell with our being born brāhmaṇas! To hell with our learning all the Vedic literatures! To hell with our performing great sacrifices and observing all the rules and regulations! To hell with our family! To hell with our expert service in performing the rituals exactly according to the description of the scriptures! To hell with it all, for we have not developed transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the speculation of the mind, body and senses.”
The learned brāhmaṇas, expert in Vedic ritualistic performances, were properly regretful, because if one does not develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all discharge of religious duties is simply a waste of time and energy. They continued to talk among themselves: “The external energy of Kṛṣṇa is so strong that it can create illusion to overcome even the greatest mystic yogī. Although we expert brāhmaṇas are considered to be the teachers of all other sections of human society, we also have been illusioned by the external energy. Just see how fortunate these women are! They have so devotedly dedicated their lives to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, that they could easily do what is ordinarily so difficult: they gave up their family connections, which are just like a dark well for the continuation of material miseries.” Women in general, being very simple at heart, can very easily take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and when they develop love of Kṛṣṇa they can easily get liberation from the clutches of māyā, which are very difficult for even so-called intelligent and learned men to surpass.
The brāhmaṇas continued: “According to Vedic injunction, women are not allowed to undergo the purificatory process of initiation by the sacred thread, nor are they allowed to live as brahmacāriṇīs in the āśrama of the spiritual master, nor are they advised to undergo the strict disciplinary procedures, nor are they very expert in discussing the philosophy of self-realization. And by nature they are not very pure, nor are they very much attached to auspicious activities. Therefore, how wonderful it is that these women have developed transcendental love for Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of all mystic yogīs! They have surpassed all of us in firm faith and devotion unto Kṛṣṇa. Although we are considered to be masters in all purificatory processes, we did not actually know what their goal is because we are too much attached to the materialistic way of life. Even though we were reminded of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma by the cowherd boys, we disregarded Them. We now think that the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply played a trick of mercy on us by sending His friends to beg food from us. Otherwise, He had no need to send them. He could have satisfied their hunger then and there just by willing to do so.”
If someone denies the self-sufficiency of Kṛṣṇa on hearing that He was tending the cows for His livelihood, or if someone doubts His not being in need of the food, thinking that He was actually hungry, then such a person should understand that the goddess of fortune is always engaged in His service. In this way the goddess can break her faulty habit of restlessness. In Vedic literatures like the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that Kṛṣṇa is served in His abode with great respect by not only one goddess of fortune but many thousands. Therefore it is simply illusion for one to think that Kṛṣṇa begged food from the brāhmaṇas. It was actually a trick to show them mercy by teaching them that they should accept Him in pure devotional service instead of engaging in ritualistic ceremonies. The Vedic ceremonial paraphernalia, the suitable place, the suitable time, the different grades of articles for performing the ritualistic ceremonies, the Vedic hymns, the process of sacrifice, the priest who is able to perform the sacrifice, the fire, the demigods, the performer of the sacrifice and the religious principles are all meant for understanding Kṛṣṇa, for Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu and the Lord of all mystic yogīs.
“Because He has appeared as a child in the dynasty of the Yadus, we were so foolish that we could not understand that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” the brāhmaṇas said. “But on the other hand, we are very proud because we have such exalted wives who have developed pure transcendental service of the Lord without being shackled by our rigid opposition. Let us therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, under whose illusory energy, called māyā, we are absorbed in fruitive activities. We therefore pray to the Lord to be kind enough to excuse us because we are simply captivated by His external energy. We transgressed His order without knowing His transcendental glories.”
The brāhmaṇas repented their sinful activities. They wanted to go personally to offer their obeisances unto Him, but being afraid of Kaṁsa, they could not go to Kṛṣṇa and surrender unto Him. In other words, it is very difficult for one to surrender fully unto the Personality of Godhead without being purified by devotional service. The example of the learned brāhmaṇas and their wives is vivid. The wives of the brāhmaṇas, because they were inspired by pure devotional service, did not care for any kind of opposition. They immediately went to Kṛṣṇa. But the brāhmaṇas, although they had come to know the supremacy of the Lord and were repenting, were still afraid of King Kaṁsa because they were too much addicted to fruitive activities.