akrure prosite ’ristany
asan vai dvarakaukasam
sarira manasas tapa
In Akrura’s absence ill omens arose in Dvaraka, and the citizens began to suffer continually from physical and mental distresses, as well as from disturbances caused by higher powers and by creatures of the earth.
The word daivika here refers to disturbances caused by supernatural beings. These disturbances often manifest as natural calamities like earthquakes, tidal waves or extreme weather. Nowadays materialistic people attribute these disturbances to earthly causes, not realizing that they constitute punishment at the hands of superior beings. The word bhautikah refers to trouble caused by fellow creatures of the earth, such as human beings, animals and insects.
According to Srila Sridhara Svami, Akrura took the Syamantaka jewel and went to reside in the city of Benares, where he became known as Danapati, “the master of charity.” There he executed fire sacrifices on gold altars with elaborate assemblies of qualified priests.
Some residents of Dvaraka felt that the unusual calamities were due to Akrura’s absence, forgetting (as described in the next verse) that the Supreme Lord’s personal presence in Dvaraka precluded that possibility. Because when the Lord comes to earth His pastimes resemble those of human beings, the principle of “familiarity breeds contempt” comes into play. It appears that during the lives of many saintly persons and incarnations of God there always exists a class of people who fail to appreciate, or who only occasionally appreciate, the position of the great souls among them. On the other hand, the fortunate and enlightened souls who recognize the true position of the Lord and His associates are supremely blessed.