“Kamsa was made aware of his previous birth by the grace of Narada. He learned that in his previous birth he was a demon of the name Kalanemi and that he was killed by Vishnu. Having taken his birth in the Bhoja family, he decided to become the deadly enemy of the Yadu dynasty; Krishna was going to take birth in that family, and Kamsa was very much afraid that he would be killed by Krishna, just as he was killed in his last birth.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 1)
Narada understood what he was doing. The words were carefully chosen, delivered at the appropriate time. First there was the voice from the sky, which gave the warning to Kamsa that his end was imminent. A person should only be so fortunate, to be made aware of the exact means of their demise, which was guaranteed ever since the exit from the womb.
जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
The travelling preacher, the dedicated servant of the Supreme Lord, was informing the king of Mathura that the same angel of death soon to appear from the womb of Devaki had been an enemy to Kamsa in a previous birth.
Narada was looking for a particular response, and he got it, but Kamsa certainly could have accepted the information in a different way. A person not struggling with the drive for absolute power, with some sobriety in thought, would have picked up on a few amazing truths that Narada just revealed.
1. I have lived before
The information was that Kamsa was previously someone named Kalanemi. Never mind the exact circumstances. The name, the place, and the type of body could have been anything. From Vedic teachings we learn that a species is a specification of body type, consisting of gross and subtle elements. Due to the wide range of proportions and combinations, there can be up to 8,400,000 species.
Narada’s news meant that Kamsa had lived before. What a tremendous relief, to know that time didn’t begin with this very lifetime. There was an existence prior, where I was just as vibrant. Others were around to witness, to provide confirmation.
2. Death was not the end
As Kalanemi, death took place directly at the hands of Vishnu. This was Narada’s warning to take the message from the voice in the sky seriously. The voice had been telling the truth. Devaki’s eighth child was set to end Kamsa’s reign as king.
The same child had accomplished the deed previously. Narada knew this would instigate fear, but a wise person looks at the circumstances in a different way:
“Wow, not only have I lived before, but death wasn’t the total end to everything. I did take birth again. And what an honor to be killed directly by Vishnu. Amazing that He would consider me to be so special.”
3. Vishnu is more powerful than me
If Vishnu successfully targeted Kamsa in a previous birth, the plan to do so again would have to come to fruition. It would mean that Kamsa is not all-powerful. There was a previous existence, it ended, and another one began again. This one was set to expire, and Narada was kind enough to give the details of the finish line.
Kamsa did not think rationally. The demoniac are concerned only with the short-term. They do not understand the long-term consequences to denying the right to live for other innocent beings. They do not see that taking away someone else’s happiness and joy, unnecessarily, will eventually return to them like a boomerang heaved a great distance away. They fail to see the auspiciousness of the sudarshana-chakra, and how it always finds its intended target.
On target taking aim,
Disc of sudarshana the name.
Symbol against asuras spinning,
Punishment for accumulated sinning.
Kamsa after news from Narada hearing,
Still of imminent demise fearing.
Instead of honored to feel,
That Vishnu again to heal.
Categories: the three