These small, concentrated chapters furnish a setting for the poem.
In this chapter it is told that all grown males of Krishna's dynasty were destroyed as a result of a boyish prank. Maybe the prank was used as an excuse by Krishna to do away with many kinfolks. Anyway, here is how it came about:
Many great sages had gathered near Krishna's capital Dvarka on the West Coast of India. The young boys of the family also arrived. These boys dressed someone to look like a pregnant woman about to give birth, and asked the sages about the so-called pregnancy. The sages cursed the mocking boys by saying, "She will give birth to a club that will destroy your family."
When Krishna's family members lifted the garment they found a club. To nullify the curse they had the club ground to powder and thrown into the sea, but that was not good enough to avert it. A fish swallowed the last remaining lump of iron, and the waves carried all the bits of ground powder to the shore. There they were absorbed into a grove of canes. Fishermen caught the fish, and a hunter used the iron lump found in its belly to fashion an arrow - an arrow that eventually hit Krishna in the foot and caused his death.
The second chapter of the eleventh canto tells of nine boys who were well versed in knowledge of the self, fixed in their goal and striving for perfection. The nine travelled everywhere as they wished. At the end of the chapter is taught that a first-class devotee keeps the Supreme Lord perpetually fastened to his own heart with ropes of affection.
This chapter tells how to become free from maya (normally understood as illusion). Accepting a blessed guru, the disciple gradually comes to develop good qualities. Whatever one finds pleasing or enjoyable he should at once offer to the Lord, the Supreme Brahman.
Getting satisfied and happy, the devotee crosses over maya. When the heart is purified, one can directly perceive and becomes liberated.
The Supersoul effects the work of creation and has given instructions in spiritual knowledge.
Presuming themselves to be great scholars, some are fixed in family life, attached to mundane gossip and indifferent to higher pursuits. They are quite maddened by material opulences and pleasures - but to become disentangled from such life should be good, say the Vedas.
Hari appears in the hearts of devotees.
In his chapter Brahma and other gods asked Krishna to go away, and how Uddhava got distressed by antecipating it, and prayed that he might go with Krishna, he too.
In the meantime Krishna called together the wise members of his family and dynasty and reminded them of the brahmanas' curse. And Uddhava approached Krishna in a secluded place and begged Krishna to carry him with him.