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praviṣṭam udakaṁ niśi
Nanda Mahārāja was intent on breaking his fast during the Dvādaśī day, of which there remained only a few minutes. Thus he entered the water to bathe at an inauspicious time, before the first dawn light.
The servant of Varuṇa who arrested Nanda Mahārāja is stated here to be an asura, or demon, for obvious reasons. First, the servant was foolishly ignorant of Nanda Mahārāja’s position as the pastime father of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Also, Nanda Mahārāja’s intention was to carry out the injunctions of scripture; therefore Varuṇa’s servant should not have arrested Nanda on the technical grounds that he bathed in the Yamunā at an inauspicious time. Later in this chapter Varuṇa himself will say, ajānatā māmakena mūḍhena: “This was done by my ignorant servant, who is a fool.” This foolish servant did not understand the position of Kṛṣṇa or Nanda Mahārāja or devotional service to the Lord.
In conclusion, it is clear that Lord Kṛṣṇa wanted to give His personal audience to Varuṇa and simultaneously accomplish other didactic purposes. Thus this wonderful pastime will now unfold.