The concluding portion of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes is found in the Ninetieth Chapter of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and in this chapter Śukadeva Gosvāmī wanted to explain how Kṛṣṇa lived happily at Dvārakā (His capital city) with all opulences. Kṛṣṇa’s opulence of strength has already been displayed in His different pastimes, and now it will be shown how His residence at Dvārakā displayed His opulences of wealth and beauty. In this material world, which is only a perverted reflection of the spiritual world, the opulences of wealth and beauty are considered to be the highest of all opulences. Therefore, while Kṛṣṇa stayed on this planet as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His opulences of wealth and beauty had no comparison within the three worlds. Kṛṣṇa enjoyed sixteen thousand beautiful wives, and it is most significant that He lived at Dvārakā as the only husband of these hundreds and thousands of beautiful women. It is specifically stated in this connection that He was the only husband of sixteen thousand wives. It is, of course, not unheard of in the history of the world that a powerful king would keep many hundreds of queens, but although such a king might be the only husband of so many wives, he could not enjoy all of them at one time. Kṛṣṇa, however, enjoyed all of His sixteen thousand wives simultaneously.
Although it may be said that yogīs also can expand their bodies into many forms, the yogis’ expansion and Lord Kṛṣṇa’s expansion are not one and the same. Kṛṣṇa is therefore sometimes called yogeśvara, the master of all yogīs. In the Vedic literature we find that the yogī Saubhari Muni expanded himself into eight. But that expansion was like a television expansion. The television image is manifested in millions of expansions, but those expansions cannot act differently; they are simply reflections of the original and can only act exactly as the original does. Kṛṣṇa’s expansion is not material like the expansion of the television or the yogī. When Nārada (a great sage) visited the different palaces of Kṛṣṇa, he saw that Kṛṣṇa, in His different expansions, was variously engaged in each and every palace of the queens.
It is also said that Kṛṣṇa lived at Dvārakā as the husband of the goddess of fortune. Queen Rukmiṇī (Kṛṣṇa chief queen) is the goddess of fortune, and all the other queens are her expansions. So Kṛṣṇa, the chief of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty, enjoyed with the goddess of fortune in full opulence. The queens of Kṛṣṇa are described as permanently youthful and beautiful. Although Kṛṣṇa had grandchildren and great-grandchildren, neither Kṛṣṇa nor His queens looked older than sixteen or twenty years of age. The young queens were so beautiful that when they moved they appeared like lightning moving in the sky. They were always dressed with excellent ornaments and garments and were always engaged in sportive activities like dancing, singing or playing ball on the roofs of the palaces. The dancing and tennis playing of girls in the material world appear to be perverted reflections of the original pastimes of the original Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and His wives.
The roads and streets of the city of Dvārakā were always crowded with elephants, horses, chariots and infantry soldiers. When elephants are engaged in service, they are given liquor to drink, and it is said that the elephants in Dvārakā were given so much liquor that they would sprinkle a great quantity of it on the road and still would walk on the streets intoxicated. The infantry soldiers passing on the streets were profusely decorated with golden ornaments, and horses and golden chariots plied along the streets. In all directions of Dvārakā City, wherever one would turn his eyes he would find green parks and gardens, and each of them was filled with trees and plants laden with fruits and flowers. Because there were so many nice trees of fruits and flowers, all the sweetly chirping birds and buzzing bumblebees joined together to make sweet vibrations. The city of Dvārakā thus fully displayed all opulences. The heroes in the dynasty of Yadu (Kṛṣṇa’s extended family) used to think themselves the most fortunate residents of the city, and actually they enjoyed all transcendental facilities.
All the sixteen thousand palaces of Kṛṣṇa’s queens were situated in this beautiful city of Dvārakā, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme eternal enjoyer of all these facilities, expanded Himself into sixteen thousand forms and simultaneously engaged in different family affairs in those sixteen thousand palaces. In each and every one of the palaces there were nicely decorated gardens and lakes. The crystal-clear water of the lakes contained many blooming lotus flowers of different colors like blue, yellow, white and red, and the saffron powder from the lotus flowers was blown all around by the breeze. All the lakes were full of beautiful swans, ducks and cranes, crying occasionally with melodious sounds. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa sometimes entered those lakes, or sometimes the rivers, with His wives and enjoyed swimming pastimes with them in full jubilation. Sometimes the wives of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who were all goddesses of fortune, would embrace the Lord in the midst of the water while swimming or taking bath, and the red vermilion of kuṅkuma decorating the beauty of their breasts would adorn the chest of the Lord with a reddish color.
The impersonalists would not dare believe that in the spiritual world there are such varieties of enjoyment, but in order to demonstrate the factual, ever-blissful enjoyment in the spiritual world, Lord Kṛṣṇa descended on this planet and showed that the spiritual world is not devoid of such pleasurable facilities of life. The only difference is that in the spiritual world such facilities are eternal, never-ending occurrences, whereas in the material world they are simply impermanent perverted reflections. When Lord Kṛṣṇa was engaged in such enjoyment, the Gandharvas (demigods expert at dancing and music) and professional musicians would glorify Him with melodious musical concerts, accompanied by mṛdaṅgas, drums, kettledrums, stringed instruments and brass bugles, and the whole atmosphere would change into a greatly festive celebration. In a festive mood, the wives of the Lord would sometimes sprinkle water on the Lord’s body with a syringe-like instrument, and the Lord would similarly wet the bodies of the queens. When Kṛṣṇa and the queens engaged themselves in these pastimes, it seemed as if the heavenly king, Yakṣarāja, were engaged in such pastimes with his many wives. (Yakṣarāja is also known as Kuvera and is considered to be the treasurer of the heavenly kingdom within this universe.) When the wives of Lord Kṛṣṇa thus became wet, their breasts and thighs would increase in beauty a thousand times, and their long hair would fall down to decorate those parts of their bodies. The beautiful flowers which were placed in their hair would fall, and the queens, being seemingly harassed by the Lord’s throwing water at them, would approach Him on the plea of snatching the syringe-like instrument, and this attempt would create a situation wherein the Lord could embrace them as they willingly approached Him. Upon being embraced, the wives of the Lord would feel on their mouths a clear indication of conjugal love, and this would create an atmosphere of spiritual bliss. When the garland on the neck of the Lord then touched the breasts of the queens, their whole bodies became covered with saffron yellow. Being engaged in their celestial pastimes, the queens forgot themselves, and their loosened hair appeared like the beautiful waves of a river. When the queens sprinkled water on the body of Kṛṣṇa or He sprinkled water on the bodies of the queens, the whole situation appeared just like an elephant enjoying in a lake with many she-elephants.
After enjoying fully amongst themselves, the queens and Lord Kṛṣṇa would come out of the water, and their wet garments, which were very valuable, would be given up by them to be taken away by the professional singers and dancers. These singers and dancers had no other means of subsistence than the rewards of valuable garments and ornaments left by the queens and kings on such occasions. The whole system of society was so well planned that all the members of society in their different positions as brāhmaṇas (philosophers, teachers), kṣatriyas (warriors, kings) , vaiśyas (merchants, agriculturalists), and śūdras (workers, servants) had no difficulty in earning their livelihood. There was no competition among the divisions of society. The original conception of the caste system was so planned that one group of men engaged in a particular type of occupation would not compete with another group of men engaged in a different occupation.
In this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa used to enjoy the company of His sixteen thousand wives. Devotees of the Lord who want to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the mellow of conjugal love are elevated to the position of becoming wives of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa also keeps them always attached to Him by His kind behavior. Kṛṣṇa’s behavior with His wives, His movements, His talking with them, His smiling, His embracing, and similar other activities just like a loving husband kept them always very much attached to Him. That is the highest perfection of life. If someone remains always attached to Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that he is liberated, and his life is successful. With any devotee who loves Kṛṣṇa with his heart and soul, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates in such a way that the devotee cannot remain unattached to Him. The reciprocal dealings of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees are so attractive that a devotee cannot think of any subject matter other than Kṛṣṇa.
For all the queens, Kṛṣṇa only was their worshipable objective. They were always absorbed in thought of Kṛṣṇa, the lotus-eyed and beautifully blackish Personality of Godhead. Sometimes, in thought of Kṛṣṇa, they remained silent, and in great ecstasy of bhāva and anubhāva they sometimes spoke as if in delirium. Sometimes, even in the presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa, they vividly described the pastimes they had enjoyed in the lake or in the river with Him.