“Within the prison, shackled in iron chains, Vasudeva and Devaki gave birth to a male child year after year, and Kamsa, thinking each of the babies to be the incarnation of Vishnu, killed them one after another. He was particularly afraid of the eighth child, but after the visit of Narada, he came to the conclusion that any child might be Krishna. Therefore it was better to kill all the babies who took birth of Devaki and Vasudeva.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 1)
It is a way to give praise to someone who has just endured a tremendous struggle. They fell on hard times, where they could barely function as an adult human being. There was no guarantee of emerging alive on the other side, so some plaudits are due.
“See that person? They beat cancer. It was a tremendous ordeal. They cried so many times. They thought they wouldn’t make it, but they have the fighting spirit. Tremendous credit due.”
The wise person understands that no one actually survives, in the long term. There is no such thing as a cancer survivor or a survivor of some mysterious new disease that spreads throughout the world. This is because when there is birth, death is certain. That death is an agent of time, which is all-devouring.
King Kamsa had good fortune in the arrival of a voice from the sky, though he didn’t take it that way. Rare it is to receive prior notice to the end of the line, and there are different manners of accepting such information. For Kamsa, the king of Mathura, there was only one choice: mitigation.
1. Kill Devaki
The voice arrived at a strange time, though who would actually anticipate an akasha-vani, no matter what the situation? Kamsa was escorting his sister to her new family. Devaki and Vasudeva were newlyweds. Following tradition, Kamsa accompanied Devaki as a way to ease the tension, to smooth the transition into a new life.
It was during that trip that a voice from the sky warned Kamsa that Devaki’s eighth child would be his angel of death. Kamsa’s initial instinct was to kill Devaki, on the spot. This would preserve life, which was most important to him. Never mind the right to existence for others. The selfish leader cared only about himself.
2. Kill Devaki’s children
Vasudeva fortunately came to the rescue. Not with physical force, but with words of persuasion. He promised to hand over to Kamsa every child born; thus there was no reason for violence at the moment. Kamsa was so moved by these words that he had a complete change of heart. He acted peacefully towards his sister and her husband.
Narada Muni paid a visit one time and did not like seeing this. His purpose was to accelerate the events written by destiny, to have the Supreme Lord Vishnu appear as the eighth child to Devaki. Therefore, Narada stirred the pot by talking to Kamsa. He convinced the leader to be afraid of Devaki and her husband, since all signs pointed to the Divine advent. There were demigods appearing in nearby families, and so many people were anticipating Vishnu’s arrival.
Kamsa then imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva. Kamsa took each child that was born and threw it against stone. Abortion in the visible sense, leaving no mistake. The issue was that even this mitigation did not work. Higher powers were at play, and so the eighth child was born in secret, without others knowing.
In the middle of night, Shri Krishna appeared from Devaki’s womb. He was then transferred to the nearby town of Gokula, where a baby swap took place. Vasudeva returned with the female child who was just born to mother Yashoda. Kamsa then later tried to kill that baby, but it was actually Durga Devi. She revealed her true form and mocked Kamsa for such an attempt, informing him that the eighth child had already successfully taken birth.
3. Kill Krishna
Two plans failed, but one more to go. Just find baby Krishna and kill Him. Kamsa hired the best assassins he knew. These were asuras of the worst mentality. They had no reservations about inflicting violence on innocent children.
Sadly for the leader of Mathura, even this mitigation attempt did not work. God cannot be killed. He cannot be harmed in any way, but the asuras never learn their lesson. They are always trying to measure up, but they fall well short in comparison. Destiny was set, and the demoniac Kamsa would soon receive the proper rewards for his heinous behavior.
Asuras never to learn,
Only punishment to earn.
Which slated already,
Despite opposition steady.
But here directly from hand,
When avatara to land.
Though Kamsa with best mitigation,
True that sky’s vibration.
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