How Could Kamsa Be So Cruel

[The Krishna Book]“There are many instances in the history of the world of persons in the royal order who have killed father, brother, or a whole family and friends for the satisfaction of their ambitions. There is nothing astonishing about this, for the demoniac can kill anyone for their nefarious ambitions.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 1)

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“I guess every person has their breaking point, the line in the sand, if you will. It is the limit to the kind of bad behavior they are willing to tolerate. Not that there is something we can really do about it, but at some point we have to speak up.

“For instance, in some societies the practice of animal killing is so widespread that it is really pointless to raise an objection. Who will listen? My friend supports the behavior. My neighbor has no problem with it. Every person in government feasts off the results on a daily basis. What will my crying do?

“There are other behaviors, such as the killing of innocent children in the womb, against which we can raise opposition. I can find sympathizers. People will be more open to hearing the different points of view.

“Well, from reading the Krishna book I find it particularly troubling that King Kamsa of Mathura would throw innocent children against a stone slab. Yes, I understand that his actions are really no different than what takes place today with abortion, both early in the term and recently as late as the time of birth. But still, how could someone stoop so low?”

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes the comparison to royal leaders from recent history. We see in the United States of America that sometimes brothers fought and killed each other in battle, such as during the Civil War.

[civil war]The idea is that power becomes the sole ambition, and nothing will get in the way of fulfilling that ambition. Shri Krishna, the person Kamsa was really afraid of, teaches that kama, combined with krodha, is the all-devouring enemy.

श्री-भगवान् उवाच
काम एष क्रोध एष
महाशनो महा-पाप्मा
विद्ध्य् एनम् इह वैरिणम्

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam

“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)

This is an important principle to learn because no one is immune to the effects. It is not like we can take a vaccine to protect against kama. It is not that only the alcoholic will be unable to control their senses. A person can be fully sober today and in a moment everything can change.

This is wonderfully illustrated in the Ramayana poem of Maharishi Valmiki. A similar setting of a royal household, one of the queens to the pious king suddenly turns envious. She was previously happy and peaceful, without a rivalry against the children born of the other queens.

Some carefully placed words from her servant turned things in an instant. That queen then demanded that her husband remove the chief prince from the kingdom, not to return for fourteen years. She wanted her own son to be installed as the next king, even though it went against the rules of succession.

[The Krishna Book]Kamsa was in self-preservation mode. He was fighting a losing battle against destiny, which warned him of the imminent end. Alas, even killing the innocent children born to his sister Devaki did not do the job. Shri Krishna cannot be killed by the asuras. Rather, He is the great enemy of the atheists. Appearing as ruthless time, His swift punch would deliver the fate that Kamsa could not run away from.

In Closing:

Society turning on another,
Where even brother killing brother.

Behavior of Kamsa to understand,
Where infants on stone to land.

Kama the enemy devouring all,
Eventually that asura to fall.

Of cruelty to level hard to believe,
But punishment from punch to receive.

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