Deadly Omens

[warning to Kamsa]“The procession was passing very pleasingly, and Kamsa was driving the chariot, when suddenly there was a miraculous sound vibrated from the sky which especially announced to Kamsa: ‘Kamsa: you are such a fool. You are driving the chariot of your sister and your brother-in-law, but you do not know that the eighth child of this sister will kill you.’” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 1)

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“The story of Shri Krishna’s advent is compelling, riveting, and nectar to the ears. Every person should become familiar with the accounts and descriptions provided in sacred texts like Shrimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana and others.

“There really is no excuse anymore, as His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has removed the difficult barrier in the modern day that is the Sanskrit language. Not just translating each shloka into English, he has presented everything in a narrative style, which is easier to read.

“Let’s study an incident right from the beginning. King Kamsa is following tradition by accompanying his just-married sister, Devaki, to the home of her new family. It is the final send-off. Amazing what women of the Vedic tradition endure. They bring such strength and dedication to the new husband, who is sure to be uplifted through this support.

“Something got in Kamsa’s way, however. The Sanskrit is akasha-vani. A voice from the sky. The message was a prophecy. Devaki’s eighth child would be Kamsa’s doom. My question is why Kamsa would listen to something like that? How could he validate that this voice was telling the truth? Was it really a deadly omen?”

Vedic culture provides information about both what can be seen and what cannot. For instance, the thick cloud cover in the sky this morning portends rainfall. The cool temperatures indicate that it won’t be pleasant to step outside later in the day.

This is an assessment based on obvious physical indications. Vedic teachings provide ways to predict the future based on not-so-obvious messages. It could be seeing a monkey in a dream. Sita Devi once remarked on this. When she met Shri Hanuman for the first time, while held in Lanka against her will, she thought that maybe she was dreaming. To see a monkey in a dream is a bad omen, but Hanuman was making her feel good. He was carrying the message from her husband, after all. This means that the vision of Hanuman was real.

[Shri Hanuman]In the case of Kamsa, there wasn’t any code to decipher. The voice flat out told him what was going to happen. Kamsa was essentially helping to seal his own demise by escorting his sister to her new home. He should think twice about what he was doing.

Kamsa was also of the asura mindset. A person concerned only with life, and namely that of their own. Preservation. Protection. How to prolong it to the best extent possible, for the singular purpose of enjoying the senses.

We see examples with government leaders of the modern day. They impose draconian restrictions on the people, in the name of public health, but if you listen closely you see that the motives are entirely selfish. The leaders themselves are afraid of catching some disease they know nothing about, so they force other people to suffer.

Asuras will always choose this option. The saintly person undergoes tremendous pain and sacrifice in order to lift others out of darkness and despair. This is a heroic mindset, as embodied by people like Hanuman. Kamsa, on the other hand, will put innocent people into hardship if it means that he can continue to live peacefully.

[warning to Kamsa]These were the contributing factors in his ultimate decision to imprison Devaki and her new husband, Vasudeva. The voice from the sky was telling the truth. There was nothing Kamsa could do to alter destiny. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, would emerge from the womb of Devaki and give further delight to the saintly people of the world. Kamsa’s days were numbered.

In Closing:

Days remaining to count,
Despite opposition to mount.

Where destiny to deny,
King Kamsa to try.

But telling the truth that voice,
Imprison and no other choice.

Shri Krishna eventually to arrive,
And asuras no more to thrive.

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