“While Vasudeva was carrying his son Krishna in the falling rain, Lord Shesha in the shape of a serpent spread His hood over the head of Vasudeva so that he would not be hampered by the rainfall. Vasudeva came onto the bank of the Yamuna and saw that the water of the Yamuna was roaring with waves and that the whole span was full of foam. Still, in that furious feature, the river gave passage to Vasudeva to cross, just as the great Indian Ocean gave a path to Lord Rama when He was bridging over the gulf.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 3)
If he were a contestant on a reality television show, Kamsa would have it made. Though the challenge might seem difficult, he would have everything at his disposal. No expense spared. No corner ignored. No resource under-utilized.
The goal was to prevent destiny, as previously proclaimed by a voice in the sky. The akasha-vani warned Kamsa that his sister Devaki’s eighth child would be his doom. Death and destruction. A forced exit from this world. Though it is guaranteed for every person, who would prefer to remain conscious of this underlying principle of an existence on a daily basis?
Kamsa thought that his life was too important. It had to be preserved; never mind the cost. Forget dharma for a second. The highest form of piety for him, at the local level, was self-preservation. The king wielded his authority and power to the severest extent.
We know that he had the prison walls keeping Devaki and her husband Vasudeva under a watchful eye. There were the prison guards. There was the knowledge that every child born up until that point had been detected by the state.
Since daivam [destiny] was to be delivered through the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, Kamsa required extra protection. There were other forces at play, not directly under his control, that would seem to aid his cause.
1. The dark of night
The eighth child finally did appear. It was the personal God, Narayana, who displayed His four-handed manifestation to the loving parents. Though Krishna was their newborn, He was Divine. That child assigned an important mission to the father.
Take Krishna to Gokula. Make sure no one finds out. In other words, escape from the prison, walk past the guards, and find your way to the other side of town, all by yourself, while carrying an infant.
Though Kamsa and everyone else in the kingdom were fast asleep, they had the dark of night on their side. Vasudeva did not get any help in seeing. He had to manage his way around the area, with limited vision, making sure not to trip over anything that would cause a noticeable sound. If Kamsa found out that Krishna had appeared, there would be severe consequences.
2. Pouring rain
Though Kamsa was asleep, he could count on nature to put obstacles along Vasudeva’s path. How do you combat pouring rain? You are carrying an infant. You can’t expose them to the elements. It would defeat the entire purpose.
3. A raging Yamuna River
Vasudeva managed to make it to the banks of the Yamuna River. Unfortunately, he found that the river was anything but calm. How was the father going to cross? All of this hard work and it would go for naught. At this point it was not humanly possible to continue.
Despite the many conditions favoring Kamsa and his life of adharma, Shri Krishna is the great purifier. He provides to the devotees what they lack and preserves what they have.
अनन्याश् चिन्तयन्तो मां
ये जनाः पर्युपासते
योग-क्षेमं वहाम्य् अहम्
ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
The effulgence from the transcendental body of Krishna was enough to see through the darkness. The trusted servant from Vaikuntha, Anantadeva, provided shelter from the pouring rain. He used his many hoods to create a makeshift umbrella, protecting the newborn.
The Yamuna River allowed Vasudeva to pass, in the same way that the ocean had previously let Shri Rama and friends cross to reach the island of Lanka. Though it looked like everything was favorable, anukula, for Kamsa, it was actually the other way around. By Krishna’s grace, the inauspicious can become auspicious.
Despite much attention paid,
Change in conditions made.
By Shri Krishna the one,
Who to Vasudeva to come.
Previously king anukula thought,
But child the unfavorable brought.
And father succeeding where,
Past every obstacle there.