(1-6) S'rî S'uka said: 'Hearing that Lord Krishna had killed Naraka [see 10.59] and that He alone had married so many women, wanted Nârada to see that with his own eyes [and thought he]: 'How wonderful it is that He with a single body is married to that many, at the same time in sixteen thousand separate residences being alone with each of the women.' Thus eager to take a look came the sage of the gods to Dvârakâ, the place flowery with its parks and pleasure gardens resounding with the noise of flocks of birds and swarms of bees. Blooming blue lotuses [indîvaras], day-blooming ones [ambhojas], white esculent ones [kahlâras], moonlight-blooming lotuses [kumudas] and water lilies [utpalas] filled the lakes where the sounds were heard of swans and cranes. There were, embellished with crystal glass, silver and great emeralds, nine hundred thousand palatial mansions splendorously furnished with gold and jewels. They were systematically arranged with many avenues, roads, intersections and squares. With its assembly houses and charming temples for the gods, were its paths and courtyards, shopping streets and patios, all sprinkled with water and was the sun warded off by banners that waved from the flagpoles. (7-8) In the city there was an opulent quarter favored by all the different authorities. There had Tvashthâ [the architect Vis'vakarmâ], for the Lord [who resided there], in full exhibited his talents making the sixteen thousand residences for S'auri's wives as beautiful as could be. Nârada entered one of the great palaces. (9-12) The building was supported by coral pillars that were excellently covered with vaidûrya ['cat-eye' gemstone]. The walls were bedecked with sapphires and the floors shone everywhere. It was built with canopies that by Tvashthâ were constructed with hangings of pearls and had seats and beds made of ivory that were decorated with the finest jewels. There were well-dressed, adorned maidservants with lockets around their necks and finely clad men with turbans and armor, jewels and earrings. Many gem-studded lamps dispelled with their light the darkness and on the carved eaves, my best, danced the peacocks crying loudly about the clouds of aguru smoke they saw curling upwards from the latticed windows. (13) Inside saw the man of learning the Lord of the Sâtvatas together with His wife who fanned Him with a yak-tail fan with a golden handle. She on her turn was at every moment supported by a thousand maidservants equal to her in personal qualities, beauty, youth and fine dress. (14) The Supreme Lord, the best of all who are subservient to the dharma, noticing him, immediately rose from S'rî her couch and offered him, as He bowed down with joined palms, His own seat. (15) Even though He was the Supreme Guru of the Living Being, washed He his feet and carried He that water on His head; [the water to which] He as the master of the saintly justly carries the name of 'the Well-wisher of the Brahmins' [Brâhmanya deva] because one from the holy shrine of His feet finds complete purification [see also the stories of the Ganges 5.17 & 9.9]. (16) As enjoined by the scriptures having been of full worship with the devarishi did the Greatest Sage, the Original Nârâyana, the friend of Nara, converse with him in weighed words that were as sweet as nectar and asked: 'O Master what may We do for the Fortunate One?'
(17) S'rî Nârada said: 'It is not that surprising at all for You to show friendship with the people, o Almighty Ruler of All the Worlds who subdues all the envious, for You, widely acclaimed, are well known out of Your own will to have descended for the highest good of the continuation and the protection of the Living Being [*]. (18) Having seen Your pair of feet, that for Your devotees are the path of liberation upon which Lord Brahmâ and the other gods with their unfathomable intelligence meditate in the heart and which for those who are fallen in the well of a material existence are the shelter for deliverance, I ask for Your blessing to remember You so that I in my travels can constantly think of You.'
(19) Next entered Nârada, my dear, another residence of a wife of Krishna, with the desire to know the mystical power of illusion [yogamâyâ] of the Master of All Masters of Yoga. (20-22) And there indeed he saw Him as well, with Uddhava playing a game of dice, being of worship with transcendental devotion and standing up in order to seat him and so on, asking him, as if He didn't know, 'When has your good self arrived? How can those [householders] who are not so complete, as We are, do what should be done for those [sannyâsîs] who are complete? Anyway, please tell Us, o brahmin, how to be a success in this birth', but Nârada, astonished, standing up said nothing and went to another palace. (23) And there he saw Govinda cuddling His small children. Then, in another house, he saw Him preparing for a bath. (24) Here he saw Him offering oblations and there worshiping the five sacrificial fires [see mahâ-yajñas] with the obligatory rituals; then He fed the twice-born and somewhere else He ate of what had remained from the sacrifices. (25) Somewhere of sunset-worship chanted He controlling His speech the mantra [see Gâyatrî and japa] and elsewhere moved He about with His sword and shield in the lanes of practice. (26) Here the Elder Brother of Gada, rode horses, elephants and chariots and there He was lying on His sofa being praised by bards. (27) This place He was consulting with advisers, Uddhava and others and that place was He engaged sporting in the water surrounded by dancing girls and other women. (28) Somewhere He donated excellent, well ornamented cows to the twice-born and elsewhere listened He to the auspicious classical stories [Purânas] and epic histories [Itihâsas]. (29) Laughing and joking with His beloved in this mansion, practiced He elsewhere the religion [dharma], the economy [artha] and the [kâma] physical lusts [to be regulated, see also purushârthas]. (30) Sitting alone in a place to meditate on the Original Person Transcendental to the Material Nature, rendered He in another place menial service to the elders being of worship with things they liked. (31) Planning for war with certain people here and elsewhere making peace, were Kes'ava together with Râma elsewhere heartening the welfare of the pious. (32) [He saw Him] arranging opulent weddings of daughters and sons at the right time according the vidhi with wives and husbands compatible to them. (33) [He saw how] with the people full of wonder about the celebrations with which the children of the Master of the Masters of Yoga were sent away from home and brought back. (34) With elaborate sacrifices in worship of all the gods being busy here was He there according the dharma in civil service arranging for wells, parks and monasteries and such. (35) For a hunting expedition He this place mounted His horse from Sindhî while He that place, surrounded by the most valorous Yadus, killed the animals to be offered in sacrifice [see **]. (36) Some place moved the Yogamaster about in disguise in the homes of His ministers, eager to find out with each of them what their mentality was. (37) Thereupon said Nârada to Hrishîkes'a, constraining his laughter to what he had seen unfolding of His yogamâyâ of assuming the human role: (38) 'From what we saw happening with the service at Your feet we [now] know of Your mystical potencies, potencies that even for the great mystics are hard to envision, o Lord of Yoga, o Supreme Soul. (39) Permit me to follow You in humility, o Godhead, I'll wander about Your places that are flooded with the fame and loudly sing about Your pastimes that purify all the worlds.'
(40) The Supreme Lord said: 'O brahmin, I am the speaker of it, the performer of it and the sanctioner teaching it to the world; situated in this spirit, o son, do not be disturbed.'
(41) S'rî S'uka said: 'Thus he saw [as no one else could see ***] Him present in one form in all the mansions where He performed the purifying spiritual duties for householders. (42) Having witnessed Krishna's unlimited prowess in the elaborate, manifold manifestation of His yogamâyâ, fell the seer filled with wonder in amazement. (43) With the artha, kâma and dharma [of household life, see also 7.14] thus by Lord Krishna's faithful heart thoroughly honored, went he satisfied away with Him in his mind all the time. (44) Thus following the path of human beings did Nârâyana, who for the welfare of everyone had manifested His potencies, my dear, enjoy, being satisfied by the shy affectionate glances and laughter of sixteen thousand of the finest consorts. (45) Whoever, my dear, but chants, listens or appreciates [reads about] the sensual activities which, inimitable in this world, are performed by Him who is the cause of the dissolution, generation and ongoing business of the universe, will develop devotion for the Supreme Lord, the path to liberation.'