“’My dear brother-in-law, please consider that you have no danger from your sister. You are awaiting some danger because you have heard a prophetic voice in the sky. But the danger is to come from the sons of your sister, who are not present now. And who knows? There may or may not be sons in the future. Considering all this, you are safe for the present. Nor is there cause of fear from your sister. If there are any sons born of her, I promise that I shall present all of them to you for necessary action.’” (Vasudeva speaking to Kamsa, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 1)
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, dharma, and a subsequent rise in irreligion, adharma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends as Himself to handle the situation. It stands to reason that extraordinary circumstances would be necessary; otherwise every minute of every day would feature a new avatara arriving from the spiritual world.
The Supreme Lord is already everywhere. He accomplishes omnipresence through the feature known as Paramatma. This is the all-pervading witness, who is something like a neutral bystander. Residing inside of my heart, He takes note of everything that I do. In this role He does not influence decisions, unless specifically requested to do so.
The time of Kamsa presiding over the town of Mathura triggered the descent of the Supreme Lord in full. The Sanskrit is krishnas tu bhagavan svayam. There are many incarnations of the Almighty, but Krishna is considered God as Himself.
Upon reading of the external events that preceded Krishna’s arrival, there may be some question as to the behavior of the participants. If every action was not performed in the exact, perfect sequence, perhaps the delight of mother Devaki may never have arrived.
1. Why did Vasudeva and Devaki continue to have children?
“The story begins with Vasudeva returning home with his new bride. Since Kamsa was the cousin-brother to the bride, per custom he accompanied the newlyweds. En route to the destination, a voice from the sky suddenly shocked the world. It announced that Devaki’s eighth child would be Kamsa’s doom.
“Kamsa was ready to kill Devaki on the spot, so attached to the temporary body was he. Vasudeva stepped in and ameliorated the disturbance felt by the king of Mathura. Vasudeva promised to hand over every child born to the couple. This way Kamsa would have no reason to fear.
“I like how the saintly Vasudeva was able to think on his feet, to quickly find a solution when time was running out. The larger question is why would the couple continue to have children. If they knew that Kamsa would kill the newborns, in the graphic manner that he was to display, why take the risk? Pregnancy does not carry a guarantee; the ordeal can be quite stressful for the mother. Why not avoid the issue altogether?”
2. What made Kamsa worthy of punishment?
“From the behavior to follow, including the impulse to kill his own sister, we understand that Kamsa was a bad character. He was not a nice guy, even though Narada Muni had no problem visiting and speaking with him. I guess saintly people are neutral in that regard; they are above the dichotomies of good and evil in a material existence.
“The story begins with the voice from the sky, though. It was announcing destiny. Why would Devaki’s son be Kamsa’s death? What had the leader done up to that point to deserve punishment? There must be some history as a precursor.”
3. Why did the voice speak to Kamsa?
“Couldn’t the newlyweds live in peace? Why force them to struggle? If the voice from the sky just kept quiet, there would not have been an issue. Shri Krishna still could have emerged from the mother’s womb and set foot in the path of destruction for the great asura. From what transpired, the akasha-vani only made things worse.”
Narada Muni, the great travelling saint representing the Vedic tradition, is known to meddle in affairs in order to further the business of the demigods. The devas, who reside in the heavenly realm, were the ones who initially approached Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to descend to earth and relieve the burden of the influential and steadily rising asura class.
Narada Muni convinced Kamsa to be more on alert than he was. After their discussion, Kamsa decided to imprison Vasudeva and Devaki. Therefore, at that point there was no advantage to not having children. They would stay in prison forever, as long as Kamsa continued to remain afraid. At least with further children appearing, there was the chance that one of them might indeed be Vishnu, who would rescue the parents.
Narada informed Kamsa that in a previous life he was the demon named Kalanemi. Vishnu had killed Kalanemi, and what often occurs is that the rival to the Supreme Lord has to take multiple births to be killed multiple times, prior to achieving liberation. Therefore, it was in Kamsa’s destiny to be killed directly by the hand of God.
The voice from the sky ignited the reaction for the proper chain of events. If Kamsa never knew, then Devaki would never be in prison. If she wasn’t in distress at the time of birth, Krishna would never have been transferred to the nearby town of Gokula. This was done in secret, in the middle of the night by the father, Vasudeva.
These are some of the intricacies to the elaborate production put on by the greatest artistic mind in the universe. The ups and downs, the highs and lows, and the thrill-packed moments are embellishments to the wonderful drama that is associated with the advent of the Supreme Lord, whose appearance is still remembered, honored and glorified to this day.
Accompanying sister sent,
Back on that chariot went.
But arriving voice from the sky,
With message of importance high.
That Devaki’s eighth child to kill,
Terror in Kamsa’s heart to fill.
But destiny unfolding proper way,
Meant for Krishna in Gokula to stay.
Categories: the three