Duryodhana, the son of Dhrtarastra, had a marriageable daughter by the name of Lakshmana. She was a very highly qualified girl of the Kuru dynasty, and many princes wanted to marry her. In such cases, the svayamvara ceremony is held so that the girl may select her husband according to her own choice. In Lakshmana’s svayamvara assembly, when the girl was to select her husband, Samba appeared. He was a son of Krsna’s by Jambavati, one of Lord Krsna’s chief wives. This son Samba was so named because be was a pet child and always lived close to his mother. The name Samba indicates a son who is very much his mother’s pet. Amba means “mother,” and sa means “with.” So this special name was given to him because he always remained with his mother. He was also known as Jambavati-suta for the same reason. As previously explained, all the sons of Krsna were as qualified as their great father. Samba wanted Duryodhana’s daughter, Lakshmana, although she was not inclined to have him. Therefore Samba kidnapped Lakshmana by force from the svayamvara assembly.
Because Samba took Lakshmana away from the assembly by force, all the members of the Kuru dynasty, such as Dhrtarashtra, Bhishma, Vidura and Arjuna, thought it an insult to their family tradition that the boy, Samba, could possibly have kidnapped their daughter. Therefore, all of them, under the counsel of the elder members of the Kuru family, decided to arrest the boy but not kill him. After consultation and after receiving permission from the elder members of the Kuru dynasty, such as Bhishma and Dhrtarshtra, five great warriors—Karna, Shala, Bhuri, Yajnaketu and Duryodhana, the father of the girl—who were all maha-rathas and who were guided by the great fighter Bhishmadeva, attempted to arrest the boy Samba.
Alone, he turned toward them and took his nice bow, posing exactly as a lion stands adamant in the face of other animals. Karna, leading the party, challenged Samba, “Why are you fleeing? Just stand, and we shall teach you a lesson!” When challenged by another kshatriya to stand and fight, a kshatriya cannot run away; he must fight. Therefore, Samba accepted the challenge and stood alone before them, but as soon as he did so he was overpowered by showers of arrows shot by all the great warriors. Samba fought them with great talent. with great difficulty and after a severe fight, they deprived Samba of his chariot and were able to arrest him. Thus, the warriors of the Kuru dynasty accepted their great victory and took their daughter, Lakshmana, away from him. Thereafter, they entered the city of Hastinapura in great triumph.
The great sage Narada immediately carried the news to the Yadu dynasty that Samba had been arrested and told them the whole story. The members of the Yadu dynasty became very angry at Samba’s being arrested, and improperly so by six warriors. Now, with the permission of the head of the Yadu dynasty, King Ugrasena, they prepared to attack the capital city of the Kuru dynasty.
Although Lord Balarama knew very well that by slight provocation people are prepared to fight with one another in the Age of Kali, He did not like the idea that the two great dynasties, the Kuru dynasty and the Yadu dynasty, would fight amongst themselves, even though they were influenced by Kali-yuga. “Instead of fighting with them,” He wisely thought, “let Me go there and see the situation, and let Me try to see if the fight can be settled by mutual understanding.” Balarama’s idea was that if the Kuru dynasty could be induced to release Samba along with his wife, Lakshmana, then the fight could be avoided. He therefore immediately arranged for a nice chariot to go to Hastinapura, accompanied by learned priests and brahmanas, as well as by some of the elder members of the Yadu dynasty. He was confident that the members of the Kuru dynasty would agree to this marriage and avoid fighting with the Yadus. As Lord Balarama proceeded toward Hastinapura in His chariot, accompanied by the brahmanas and elders, He looked like the moon shining in the clear sky amongst the glittering stars. When Lord Balarama reached the precincts of the city of Hastinapura, He did not enter but stationed Himself in a camp outside the city, in a small garden house. Then He asked Uddhava to meet with the leaders of the Kuru dynasty and inquire from them whether they wanted to fight with the Yadu dynasty or to make a settlement. Uddhava went to see the leaders of the Kuru dynasty, and he met all the important members, including Bhishmadeva, Dhrtarastra, Dronacarya, Duryodhana and Bahlika. After offering them due respects, he informed them that Lord Balarama had arrived at the garden outside the city gate.
The leaders of the Kuru dynasty, especially Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana, were joyful because they knew very well that Lord Balarama was a great well-wisher of their family. There were no bounds to their joy on hearing the news, and so they immediately welcomed Uddhava, and went to welcome Balarama.
Lord Balarama, in a great voice and very patiently, submitted before them the following words for their consideration: “My dear friends, this time I have come to you as a messenger with the order of the all-powerful King Ugrasena. Please, therefore, hear the order with attention and great care. Without wasting a single moment, please try to carry out the order. King Ugrasena knows very well that you warriors of the Kuru dynasty improperly fought with the pious Samba, who was alone, and that with great difficulty and unrighteous tactics you have arrested him. We have all heard this news, but we are not very much agitated because we are most intimately related to one another. I do not think we should disturb our good relationship; we should continue our friendship without any unnecessary fighting. Please, therefore, immediately release Samba and bring him, along with his wife, Lakshmana, before Me.”
When Lord Balarama spoke in a commanding tone full of heroic assertion, supremacy and chivalry, the leaders of the Kuru dynasty did not appreciate His statements. Rather, all of them became agitated, and with great anger they said, “Oh! These words are very astonishing but quite befitting the Age of Kali; otherwise how could Balarama speak so vituperatively? The language and tone used by Balarama are simply abusive, and due to the influence of this age it appears that the shoes befitting the feet want to rise to the top of the head, where the helmet is worn. We are connected with the Yadu dynasty by marriage, and because of this they have been given the chance to come live with us, dine with us and sleep with us; now they are taking advantage of these privileges. They had practically no position before we gave them a portion of our kingdom to rule, and now they are trying to command us. We have allowed the Yadu dynasty to use the royal insignias like the whisk, fan, conchshell, white umbrella, crown, royal throne, sitting place and bedstead, along with everything else befitting the royal order. They should not have used such royal paraphernalia in our presence, but we did not check them due to our family relationships. Now they have the audacity to order us to do things. Well, enough of their impudence! We cannot allow them to do any more of these things, nor shall we allow them to use these royal insignias. It would be best to take all these things away; it is improper to feed a snake with milk, since such merciful activities simply increase his venom. The Yadu dynasty is now trying to go against those who have fed them so nicely. Their flourishing condition is due to our gifts and merciful behavior, and still they are so shameless that they are trying to order us. How regrettable are all these activities! No one in the world can enjoy anything if members of the Kuru dynasty like Bhishma, Dronacarya and Arjuna do not allow them to. Exactly as a lamb cannot enjoy life in the presence of a lion, without our desire it is not even possible for the demigods in heaven, headed by King Indra, to find enjoyment in life, what to speak of ordinary human beings!” Actually the members of the Kuru dynasty were very much puffed up due to their opulence, kingdom, aristocracy, family tradition, great warriors, family members and vast, expansive empire. They did not even observe common formalities of civilized society, and in the presence of Lord Balarama they uttered insulting words about the Yadu dynasty. Having spoken in this unmannerly way, they returned to their city of Hastinpura.
Although Lord Balarama patiently heard their insulting words and simply observed their uncivil behavior, from His appearance it was clear that He was burning with anger and was thinking of retaliating with great vengeance. His bodily features became so much agitated that it was difficult for anyone to look at Him. He laughed very loudly and said, “It is true that if a man becomes too much puffed up because of his family, opulence, beauty and material advancement, he no longer wants a peaceful life but becomes belligerent toward all others. It is useless to give such a person good instruction for gentle behavior and a peaceful life; on the contrary, one should search out the ways and means to punish him.” Generally, due to material opulence a man becomes exactly like an animal. To give an animal peaceful instructions is useless, and the only means is argumentum ad baculum. In other words, the only means to keep animals in order is a stick. “Just see how impudent are the members of the Kuru dynasty! I wanted to make a peaceful settlement despite the anger of all the other members of the Yadu dynasty, including Lord Krsna Himself. They were preparing to attack the whole kingdom of the Kuru dynasty, but I pacified them and took the trouble to come here to settle the affair without any fighting. Yet these rascals behave like this! It is clear that they do not want a peaceful settlement, for they are factually warmongers. With great pride they have repeatedly insulted Me by calling the Yadu dynasty ill names.
Even the King of heaven, Indra, abides by the order of the Yadu dynasty; and you consider King Ugrasena, the head of the Bhojas, Vrshnis, Andhakas and Yadavas, to be the leader of a small phalanx! Your conclusion is wonderful! You do not care for King Ugrasena, whose order is obeyed even by King Indra. Consider the exalted position of the Yadu dynasty. They have forcibly used both the assembly house and the parijata tree of the heavenly planets, and still you think that they cannot order you. Don’t you even think that Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can sit on the exalted royal throne and command everyone? All right! If your thinking is like that, you deserve to be taught a very good lesson. You have thought it wise that the royal insignias like the whisk, fan, white umbrella, royal throne and other princely paraphernalia not be used by the Yadu dynasty. Does this mean that even Lord Krsna, the Lord of the whole creation and the husband of the goddess of fortune, cannot use this royal paraphernalia? The dust of Krsna’s lotus feet is worshiped by all the great demigods. The Ganges water inundates the whole world, and since it emanates from His lotus feet, its banks have turned into great places of pilgrimage. The principal deities of all planets engage in His service and consider themselves most fortunate to take the dust of the lotus feet of Krsna on their helmets. Great demigods like Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and even the goddess of fortune and I are simply plenary parts of His spiritual identity, and still you think that He is not fit to use the royal insignia or even sit on the royal throne? Alas, how regrettable it is that these fools consider us, the members of the Yadu dynasty, to be like shoes and themselves like helmets. It is clear now that these leaders of the Kuru dynasty have become mad over their worldly possessions and opulence. Every statement they made was full of crazy proposals. I should immediately take them to task and bring them to their senses. If I do not take steps against them, it will be improper on My part. Therefore, on this very day I shall rid the whole world of any trace of the Kuru dynasty. I shall finish them off immediately!” While talking like this, Lord Balarama seemed so furious that He looked as if He could burn the whole cosmic creation to ashes. When all the members of the Kuru dynasty saw that their city was about to fall into the water of the Ganges, and when they heard their citizens howling in great anxiety, they immediately came to their senses and understood what was happening. Thus without waiting another second they brought forward their daughter Lakshmana. They also brought Samba, who had forcibly tried to take her away, keeping him in the forefront with Lakshmana at his back. All the members of the Kuru dynasty appeared before Lord Balarama with folded hands just to beg the pardon of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now using good sense, they said, “O Lord Balarama, reservoir of all pleasures, You are the maintainer and support of the entire cosmic situation. Unfortunately we were all unaware of Your inconceivable potencies. Dear Lord, please consider us most foolish. Our intelligence was bewildered and not in order. Therefore we have come before You to beg Your pardon. Please excuse us. This caused a great tremor throughout Hastinapura, as if there had been an earthquake, and it seemed that the whole city would be dismantled.
When all the members of the Kuru dynasty saw that their city was about to fall into the water of the Ganges, and when they heard their citizens howling in great anxiety, they immediately came to their senses and understood what was happening. Thus without waiting another second they brought forward their daughter Lakshmana. They also brought Samba, who had forcibly tried to take her away, keeping him in the forefront with Lakshmana at his back. All the members of the Kuru dynasty appeared before Lord Balarama with folded hands just to beg the pardon of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now using good sense, they said, “O Lord Balarama, reservoir of all pleasures, You are the maintainer and support of the entire cosmic situation. Unfortunately we were all unaware of Your inconceivable potencies. Dear Lord, please consider us most foolish. Our intelligence was bewildered and not in order. Therefore we have come before You to beg Your pardon. Please excuse us. We are now completely surrendered unto You. Please, therefore, be merciful upon us and give us Your protection.” When the prominent members of the Kuru dynasty, from grandfather Bhishmadeva to Arjuna and Duryodhana, had offered their respectful prayers in that way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Balarama, immediately became softened and assured them that there was no cause for fear and that they need not worry.
Ref >> Srila Prabhupada Vani.