At one time was the capital city of Bharat-Varsha - The Earth
Bits and Pieces
The present city of Delhi was formerly known as Hastinapura because it was first established by King Hasti. It is also known as the city of elephants.
There are certain particular marks on the feet of the Lord which distinguish the Lord from others. The marks of a flag, thunderbolt, and instrument to drive an elephant, umbrella, lotus, disc, etc., are on the bottom of the Lord’s feet. These marks are impressed upon the soft dust of the land where the Lord traverses. The land of Hastinapura was thus marked while Lord Sri Krishna was there with the Pandavas, and the kingdom of the Pandavas thus flourished by such auspicious signs. Kunti devi pointed out these distinguished features.
The Battle of Kurukshetra was actually fought by the will of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, as it is evident from His version, and only by His will was Yudhisthira placed on the throne of Hastinapura. Therefore, factually no sin whatsoever touched the Pandavas, who were only the order carriers of the Lord. For others, who declare war out of personal interest, the whole responsibility lies on them.
The law of inheritance by the firstborn, was also prevalent in the Vedic days when Maharaja Yudhisthira ruled the earth and seas. In those days the King of Hastinapura (now part of New Delhi) was the emperor of the world, including the seas, up to the time of Maharaja Pariksit, the grandson of Maharaja Yudhisthira. Maharaja Yudhisthira’s younger brothers were acting as his ministers and commanders of state, and there was full cooperation between the perfectly religious brothers of the King. Maharaja Yudhisthira was the ideal king or representative of Lord Sri Krishna to rule over the kingdom of earth and was comparable to King Indra, the representative ruler of the heavenly planets. The demigods like Indra, Candra, Surya, Varuna and Vayu are representative kings of different planets of the universe, and similarly Maharaja Yudhisthira was also one of them, ruling over the kingdom of the earth.
Sri Krishna was to start for Dvaraka, His own kingdom, after the Battle of Kurukshetra and Yudhisthira’s being enthroned, but to oblige the request of Maharaja Yudhisthira and to show special mercy to Bhismadeva, Lord Krishna stopped at Hastinapura, the capital of the Pandavas. The Lord decided to stay especially to pacify the aggrieved King as well as to please Subhadra, sister of Lord Sri Krishna. Subhadra was especially to be pacified because she lost her only son, Abhimanyu, who was just married. The boy left his wife, Uttara, mother of Maharaja Pariksit. The Lord is always pleased to satisfy His devotees in any capacity.
There were hundreds of ladies in the palace of Hastinapura. All of them were affectionate to Krishna. All of them were relatives also. When they saw that Krishna was going away from the palace for His native place, they were very anxious for Him, and as usual tears began to roll down their cheeks. They thought, at the same time, that tears at that moment might be a cause of misfortune for Krishna; therefore they wanted to check them. This was very difficult for them because the tears could not be checked. Therefore, they smeared their tears in their eyes, and their hearts throbbed. Therefore ladies who were the wives and daughters-in-law of those who died in the battlefield never came in direct contact with Krishna. But all of them heard of Him and His great activities, and thus they thought of Him, talked of Him, His name, fame, etc., and became affectionate also, like those who were in direct contact. Therefore directly or indirectly anyone who thinks of Krishna, talks of Krishna or worships Krishna becomes attached to Him. Because Krishna is absolute, there is no difference between His name, form, quality, etc. Our intimate relation with Krishna can be confidentially revived by our talking of, hearing of, or remembering Him. It is due to his spiritual potency.
While the Lord was departing from the palace of Hastinapura, different types of drums —like the mrdunga, dhola, nagra, dhundhuri and dundubhi—and flutes of different types, the vina, gomukha and bheri, all sounded together to show Him honor.
Why was the King of Hastinapura, at least till the time of Maharaja Pariksit, accepted as the Emperor of the world? The only reason is that the people of the world were happy because of the good administration of the emperor. The happiness of the citizens was due to the ample production of natural produce such as grains, fruits, milk, herbs, valuable stones, minerals and everything that the people needed. They were even free from all bodily miseries, anxieties of mind, and disturbances caused by natural phenomena and other living beings. Because everyone was happy in all respects, there was no resentment, although there were sometimes battles between the state kings for political reasons and supremacy. Everyone was trained to attain the highest goal of life, and therefore the people were also enlightened enough not to quarrel over trivialities. The influence of the age of Kali gradually infiltrated the good qualities of both the kings and the citizens, and therefore a tense situation developed between the ruler and the ruled, but still even in this age of disparity between the ruler and the ruled, there can be spiritual emolument and God consciousness. That is a special prerogative.
Maharaja Pariksit the grandson of Maharaja Yudhisthira resided in his capital Hastinapura, situated near present Delhi, and the River Yamunä flows down past the city. Naturally the King would take shelter of the River Yamuna because she was flowing past his palace door. And as far as sanctity is concerned, the River Yamuna is more directly connected with Lord Krishna than the Ganges. The Lord sanctified the River Yamuna from the beginning of His transcendental pastimes in the world. While His father Vasudeva was crossing the Yamuna with the baby Lord Krishna for a safe place at Gokula on the other bank of the river from Mathura, the Lord fell down in the river, and by the dust of His lotus feet the river at once became sanctified.
Even five thousand years ago, Lord Krishna’s capital, Dvaraka, was well planned, and similar other cities—Mathura and Hastinapura (now New Delhi)—were also well planned. Thus the planning of cities and towns is not a modern innovation but was existing in bygone ages.