Getting the dust of Krishna’s lotus feet

This spiritual lecture based on Srimad-Bhagavatam discusses the prayer to Lord Krishna, glorifying the dust of His lotus feet.

kadamba tree

Lecture by Sri Stoka Krishna Dasa on January 9, 2011
Srimad-Bhagavatam – 10.16.37

na naka prstham na ca sarva bhaumam
na paramesthyam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga siddhir apunar bhavam va
vanchanti yat pada rajah prapannah


Those who have attained the dust of Your lotus feet never hanker for the kingship of heaven, limitless sovereignty, the position of Brahma or ruler ship over the earth. They are not interested even in the perfections of yoga or in liberation itself.


This is a prayer by the Nagapatnis (the wives of the Kaliya serpent) to Krishna. This prayer explains the philosophy of Krishna consciousness very nicely.

Meaning of this verse: Those who are blessed with the dust of Your lotus feet do not care even for the highest post of Lord Brahma nor the kingship of heavenly planets nor do they care for the sovereignty of this planet nor do such persons desire to rule the planets above this earth such as siddha loka, nor do they aspire for the mystic powers achieved by the yoga process. Nor do the pure devotees aspire for liberation by becoming one with You.

The background for this prayer: There was a serpent, Kaliya who was staying in a lake along the river Yamuna in Vrindavan. Kaliya was poisoning the water of that lake and also emitting poisonous fumes. All the trees and plants surrounding that lake had completely dried up and any bird that just flew over this lake would instantaneously fall dead because of inhaling the poisonous fumes. Such a deadly serpent was living there with his wives, the Nagapatnis.

Krishna along with His cowherd boyfriends and some cows came to that lake. As they were thirsty some of them drank the Yamuna water and instantaneously died. Krishna could understand that they died due to drinking the poisonous water. He simply glanced at them and revived them. He decided to purify the waters of that lake. He climbed up a Kadamba tree which was surviving because Garuda, the eternal carrier of the Supreme Lord who knew that Krishna would take action in the future had put some nectar into this tree to preserve it. From the top of that tree Krishna jumped into the lake. In spite of all the beautiful bodily features of Krishna, Kaliya could not tolerate Him coming into that lake. He grabbed and held Him very tightly within his coils.

When the cowherd boys and the cows saw Krishna in that way, they were stunned. Due to their intense love and affection for Him, they began to think that Krishna may be killed by Kaliya. And then there were some bad omens manifest. Because of this, Nanda Maharaj and the other cowherd men and women began to consider that there is some danger that has come to Krishna who had gone to the forest without Balaram. They rushed out of their village and began searching for Him. They came to that lake and saw Krishna in the grips of Kaliya.

When Krishna saw Nanda Maharaj, Yashoda and other cowherd men becoming very anxious for Him, He decided to take action against Kaliya. He began to expand His body and Kaliya began to feel the pressure, and he let go Krishna from his grip. Krishna immediately jumped on the hood of Kaliya who had 1000 hoods. When Kaliya tried to attack Krishna by trying to bite Him, He would jump and actually subdue that hood with which Kaliya tried to bite Him. In this way it appeared like Krishna, was performing a wonderful dance and the demigods from the heavenly planets began to sing and play musical instruments seeing Him so beautifully dancing on the hoods of Kaliya.


After sometime, Kaliya felt that he had lost all his strength and was emitting poisonous fumes. When all the poison in his body was emptied, he started vomiting blood. Kaliya’s life had almost come to an end, when the Nagapatnis came there to worship Krishna. They recognized who He is because they are devotees. They began to offer nice prayers. One of the prayers they offered is – “Those who are blessed with the dust of Your lotus feet don’t care for any of these things. We are astonished how this sinful Kaliya could get the dust of Your lotus feet. He has got this body of a serpent full of poison because of his past sinful activities. So how is it that he is getting the dust of Your lotus feet which is aspired for by the greatest of yogis, tapasvis, jnanis, and even Lakshmi Devi herself?”

Those who are blessed with the dust of the lotus feet become pure devotees. They don’t have desire to occupy even the post of Brahma – na naka prstham. They do not aspire for any mystic powers or even liberation. Such is the wonderful quality of getting the dust of Krishna’s lotus feet on one’s head.

So they are praying to Krishna – “Your punishing Kaliya is Your great mercy upon this fellow that otherwise he had to suffer in worst kind of hell with so many lives. So he is completely freed from all sinful reactions. We do not know what kind of pious activities he has performed in the past.”

So this is the position of a devotee who is Krishna conscious. Prabhupada and the acharyas in this parampara are offering us this particular benediction that Nagapatnis have glorified about Kaliya. Unlike other demons, Kaliya was not killed by Krishna because he was fortunate to have such great devotees as his wives, he was blessed.

Prabhupada is telling us to chant Hare Krishna and get the blessings of Krishna in such a way that our heart will become cleansed of all material desires. That is possible only by Krishna’s mercy, by getting the dust of Krishna’s lotus feet. And that has been made possible for all of us simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra.

(The above transcripts have been edited for better readability. However they have not been verified and confirmed by the original speaker.)

Sri Stoka Krishna Dasa is a full-time missionary with ISKCON since 1989. He is presently the Governing Body Commissioner – ISKCON Bangalore Group of Temples and Treasurer & Governing Council Member, ISKCON Bangalore Society.