Then the Lord would go to the assembly house known as Sudharmā. It may be remembered that the Sudharmā assembly house was taken away from the heavenly planets and established in the city of Dvārakā. The specific significance of the assembly house was that anyone who entered it would be freed from the six kinds of material pangs, namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. These are the whips of material existence, and as long as one remained in that Sudharmā assembly house he would not be affected by these six material whips. The Lord would say good-bye in all the sixteen thousand palaces, and again He would become one and enter the Sudharmā assembly house in procession with other members of the Yadu dynasty. After entering the assembly house, He used to sit on the exalted royal throne and would be seen to emanate glaring rays of transcendental effulgence. In the midst of all the great heroes of the Yadu dynasty, Kṛṣṇa resembled the full moon in the sky surrounded by multiluminaries. In the assembly house were professional jokers, dancers, musicians and ballet girls, and as soon as the Lord sat on His throne they would begin their respective functions to please the Lord and put Him in a happy mood. First of all the jokers would talk in such a way that the Lord and His associates would enjoy their humor, which would refresh the morning mood. The dramatic actors would then play their parts, and the dancing ballet girls would separately display their artistic movements. All these functions would be accompanied by the beating of mṛdaṅga drums and the sounds of the vīṇā, flutes and bells, followed by the sound of the muraja, another type of drum. To these musical vibrations, the auspicious sound of the conchshell would be added. The professional singers called sūtas and māgadhas would sing, and others would perform their dancing art. In this way, as devotees, they would offer respectful prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes the learned brāhmaṇas present in that assembly would chant Vedic hymns and explain them to the audience to the best of their knowledge, and sometimes some of them would recite old historical accounts of the activities of prominent kings. The Lord, accompanied by His associates, would be very much pleased to hear them.
Once upon a time, a person arrived at the gateway of the assembly house who was unknown to all the members of the assembly, and with the permission of Lord Kṛṣṇa he was admitted into the assembly by the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper was ordered to present him before the Lord, and the man appeared and offered his respectful obeisances unto the Lord with folded hands. It had happened that when King Jarāsandha conquered all other kingdoms, many kings did not bow their heads before Jarāsandha, and consequently all of them, numbering twenty thousand, were arrested and made his prisoners. The man brought before Lord Kṛṣṇa by the doorkeeper was a messenger from all these imprisoned kings. Being duly presented before the Lord, the man began to relay a message from the kings, as follows.
“ ‘Dear Lord, You are the eternal form of transcendental bliss and knowledge. As such, You are beyond the reach of the mental speculation or vocal description of any materialistic man within this world. A slight portion of Your glories can be known by persons fully surrendered unto Your lotus feet, and, by Your grace only, such persons become freed from all material anxieties. Dear Lord, we are not among these surrendered souls; we are still within the duality and illusion of this material existence. We therefore take shelter of Your lotus feet, for we are afraid of the cycle of birth and death. Dear Lord, we think that there are many living entities like us who are eternally entangled in fruitive activities and their reactions. They are never inclined to follow Your instructions by performing devotional service, although it is pleasing to the heart and most auspicious for one’s existence. On the contrary, they are against the path of Kṛṣṇa conscious life, and they are wandering within the three worlds, impelled by the illusory energy of material existence.
“ ‘Dear Lord, who can estimate Your mercy and Your powerful activities? You are present always as the insurmountable force of eternal time, baffling the indefatigable desires of the materialists, who are thus repeatedly confused and frustrated. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto You in Your form of eternal time. Dear Lord, You are the proprietor of all the worlds, and You have incarnated Yourself with Your plenary expansion Lord Balarāma. It is said that Your appearance in this incarnation is for the purpose of protecting the faithful and destroying the miscreants. Under the circumstances, how is it possible that miscreants like Jarāsandha can put us into such deplorable conditions of life against Your authority? We are puzzled at the situation and cannot understand how it is possible. It may be that Jarāsandha has been deputed to give us such trouble because of our past misdeeds, but we have heard from revealed scriptures that anyone who surrenders unto Your lotus feet is immediately immune to the reactions of sinful life. We therefore offer ourselves wholeheartedly unto Your shelter, and we hope that Your Lordship will now give us full protection. We have now come to the real conclusion of our lives. Our kingly positions were nothing but the reward of our past pious activities, just as our suffering imprisonment by Jarāsandha is the result of our past impious activities. We realize now that the reactions of both pious and impious activities are temporary and that we can never be happy in this conditioned life. The material body is awarded to us by the modes of material nature, and on account of this we are full of anxieties. The material condition of life simply involves bearing the burden of this dead body. As a result of fruitive activities, we have thus been subjected to being beasts of burden for these bodies, and, being forced by conditioned life, we have given up the pleasing life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now we realize that we are the most foolish persons. We have been entangled in the network of material reactions due to our ignorance. We have therefore come to the shelter of Your lotus feet, which can immediately eradicate all the results of fruitive action and thus free us from the contamination of material pains and pleasures.