KRISHNA'S STORY: THE FALL OF KAMSA
Kamsa was the cruel ruler of Mathura. He was a despot of the worst type, and crushed all opposition to his ungodly ambition of becoming the lord of the universe. He, however, had a soft corner for his sister Devaki, and celebrated her marriage with Vasudeva in great style. After the marriage, he himself drove the chariot carrying Devaki and her husband to their new home. On the way, a mysterious voice warned, “The eighth child by this couple shall kill thee.” On hearing this, Kamsa flew into his most vicious temper at once and drew his sword to chop off the heads of Devaki and Vasudeva. Devaki begged for mercy and promised to surrender to him all the children that may be born to her. This appealed to him and thus were spared the lives of Devaki and Vasudeva. However, the newly weds were put in to a strongly guarded jail.
One after the other, seven children were taken away from the parents as soon as they were born and killed at the behest of the cruel Kamsa. Soon, Devaki was due to deliver her eighth child. This time the guards were doubled, chains were strengthened and the vigilant jail officers were alerted. The long-awaited day came! It was a dark night and the rain was pouring heavily. The guards who were keeping vigil fell asleep one by one.
And suddenly, Vasudeva heard a voice!
“Take me to Gokul to Nanda’s house. A girl was born there just now. Leave me there and bring that child back here!", said the voice. It was the Lord himself! Vasudeva was aghast!
"No, I must be hallucinating!", he thought, "This is not possible."
Nevertheless, Vasudeva made an attempt and went forward. The chains binding him dropped down all of a sudden! The doors opened of their own accord! So Vasudeva took the child and set out in the stormy weather as he was instructed. The flooded Jamuna river gave way for him to walk across. At Nanda’s house all lay fast asleep. Vasudeva quietly exchanged the children and returned to the prison. The rain pelted on, the doors slowly clanged back, and the chains bound him once again.
Soon, the baby started her innocent but incessant cry. The guards woke up. And the news spread like wildfire! Kamsa hurried down to the jail, snatched the baby from the heart-broken parents, whirled it in the air and was about to dash it against a stone...!
But the baby slipped from his hands and rose high up in the sky. It was Goddess Maya. As she went, she said, “I would have killed you myself but I forgive you, for you touched my feet even though it was only to kill me. Remember, the boy who is to kill you is already born; he is in Gokul. Be warned!” So saying, she disappeared in to the skies.
At Gokul, Nanda and Yashoda were surprised at finding a boy when they thought it was a girl! But they forgot everything in their ecstasy!
Meanwhile, Kamsa would not stop at anything. He hatched many a plot to kill all the children of Krishna’s age. Many were killed. But Krishna seemed to thrive on such plots! Each time Kamsa’s cruel and crafty emissaries reached Him, Krishna would turn their plots back on them with a mischievous smile. It was simply child's play for Him!
Right from childhood, Krishna was full of irrepressible energy. He was all fun, frolic and adventure. He would steal milk, curd and butter from the homes of the Gopis and share them with His friends. Soon, each had something or the other to complain about Him.
Once the Gopis complained collectively to Yashoda and suggested tying him down. But no rope would suffice to encircle Him, the Viswaroopin, try as might the Gopis! Yashoda then took a very small rope to tie Him. And lo and behold, the Lord succumbed to her love rather than the Gopis’ pride. On another occasion, it was complained that He had eaten mud. On Yashoda’s orders He opened His mouth, wherein she saw the entire universe and turned her face away, wondering yet again whether she was hallucinating! Nevertheless, each Gopi was secretly enchanted by Him!
Krishna's favorite pass-time was to play the flute. In the magic of His music, the whole world was mesmerised. All His wrong-doings were forgiven and forgotten! He brought immense joy in the life of everyone around Him! Krishna in Brindavanam was an embodiment of joie-de-vivre.
Meantime, Kamsa hadn't forgotten about Krishna. In fact, he was even more determined to kill him. He laid an elaborate plot this time. He invited Krishna and His brother Balarama to a wrestling match at Mathura. A well-built wrestler was to combat Krishna and kill him in the midst of the crowd. As it turned out, Krishna not only overpowered the giant-wrestler and killed him, but also attacked Kamsa and put an end to his tyranny.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On the occasion of Krishna Jayanti, let us pray to the Lord with a simple Gitam in raga Kalyani that you are all familiar with!
Compiled by: Nitya Vijaykumar & Kiranavali
Posted on September 3, 2002