Enlisting the help and cooperation of powerful demons like Jarasandha, Pralamba, Baka, Putana and many others, the mighty Kamsa embarked on his persecution of the Yadu dynasty. With the escalating danger, the Yadavas abandoned their kingdom and sought shelter elsewhere, in the Kuru and Pancala kingdoms. Some, however, became servants of Kamsa. After Kamsa murdered the first six sons of Devaki, Krishna’s plenary portion, Ananta, entered her womb, arousing in her both extreme pleasure
and great fear.
To protect His personal devotees, the Yadavas, from Kamsa’s persecution, the Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered yogamaya as follows: “Go to Vraja, the home of many cowherds, where Rohini, the spouse of Vasudeva, resides at the home of King Nanda. Within Devaki’s womb lies My plenary portion, Sankarsana or Sesa. Transfer Him to the womb of Rohini. I shall then personally appear, with My six opulences, as the child of Devaki and you will be born as the daughter of Mother Yasoda, King Nanda’s queen.
Rohini’s Son will be known as Sankarsana for having been transferred from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s. He will also be known as Rama for His highly pleasing nature, and as Balarama for His great physical strength.”
Chanting the Vedic mantra ‘om’, yogamaya departed on her mission. At once she set out for Nanda-gokula, where she quickly accomplished the Lord’s directives. When Devaki’s fetus was transferred to Rohini by yogamaya, Devaki was said to have had a miscarriage. Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of all and He who vanquishes the fear of His devotees, came into Vasudeva’s mind with His full opulences. With the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his heart, Vasudeva shone with the Lord’s transcendental effulgence. He appeared luminous like a second sun. It was difficult to
look at or approach him, due to his dazzling effulgence.
Soon the all-auspicious Supreme Personality of Godhead was conveyed from Vasudeva’s mind to Devaki’s mind. Now carrying the original consciousness of everyone, the Cause of all causes, Lord Krishna, within her womb, Devaki became exceedingly beautiful, even as the eastern sky becomes beautiful by hosting the rising moon. She had the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the foundation of the whole cosmos, within her, but due to being conned to the prison house of Kamsa, she was like a brilliant recovered by thick walls, or like one who has great knowledge, but cannot impart it to others. Due to the Lord’s presence, Devaki shone with a brightness that illumined the entire space where she was con ned.
Seeing her joyous radiance, Kamsa thought grimly: “Vishnu, who will kill me, is now certainly within Devaki, for she has never looked so radiant and jubilant. What should I do? She is a woman, my sister, and pregnant. If I kill her, it will surely ruin my reputation and destroy my opulence and duration of life. A very cruel person is as good as dead, even while living, for whether living or dead, everyone hates him; and after death, he certainly goes to hell.”
Thinking these dark thoughts, Kamsa, although always inimical to the Lord, abstained from the heinous act of killing his sister. He would wait until He was born and then do what was necessary. Whether sitting on his throne or within his apartment, whether lying on his bed or, indeed, while doing anything – eating, sleeping, walking –Kamsa always visualized his enemy, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hrishikesha.Truly, by always thinking of his omnipresent enemy, Kamsa became indirectly Krishna
Meanwhile, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, together with great sages like Vyas and Narada, and great demigods like Chandra, Indra and Varuna, approached the delivery room of Devaki, remaining unseen by others, and all joined together in offering obeisances and prayers to the Lord. “O Lord, You never break Your word, which is ever perfect and cannot be thwarted by anyone. You are the Supreme Truth, and only the truthful can achieve Your favor. You are the fundamental principle of everything and are known as antaryami, the inner force. You are equal to all, and Your teaching applies to all, for all time. Therefore we offer our obeisances to You and surrender to You. Please give us protection.
“The fundamental cause of the material world and its many varieties is You, O Lord. You are its creator and maintainer, and after annihilation, You are He in whom all is conserved. Covered by Your external energy, conditioned souls fail to see You behind this cosmic manifestation, but they do not see things as they are. You are ever complete in knowledge, O Lord, and just to benedict living beings You manifest different incarnations, which are all transcendental. To the pious and religious, these incarnations are most pleasing, but to non-devotees they are Death Personified. By constantly meditating on Your lotus feet, O lotus-eyed Lord, and accepting Your lotus feet as the suitable boat to cross this ocean of conscience, we follow in the footsteps of great saints and sages. By this blissful process, we can cross this ocean of ignorance as quickly and as easily as stepping over the hoof print of a calf. O Lord, luminous like the blazing sun, You always want to fulfill Your devotees’ desires, and thus You are like a wish-full ling tree. When the holy teachers cross over the dangerous ocean by taking shelter of Your lotus feet, they leave behind a stout boat by which others may cross. Your lotus feet are Your causeless mercy for all who take shelter of them. Non-devotees may perform severe penances and austerities for the same end, and they may even think themselves very advanced and liberated, but their intelligence is not pure. They fall down from their supposed position of advancement due to having no appreciation for Your lotus feet.
“O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Madhava, Lord of the Goddess of Fortune, devotees completely in love with You may also fall from the path of pure devotion, but they never become non-devotees and You still protect them. Thus they can fearlessly pass over the heads of non-devotees and continue to advance in devotional service. O Lord, for cosmic maintenance, You manifest Your various incarnations, which are all transcendental, beyond nature’s modes. Your appearance bestows auspiciousness upon the living beings by instructing them how to perform Vedic practices, such as mystic yoga, ritualistic ceremonies, penances and austerities, and finally, samadhi: ecstatic absorption in thought of You.
“O Supreme Cause of all causes, only because Your transcendental body is beyond nature’s modes can we understand the difference between transcendence and matter, and only due to Your personal appearance can we understand the transcendence of Your Lordship. You are the Master and Controller of material nature. Unless one is blessed by Your personal presence, Your transcendental nature is very difficult to comprehend.
Your transcendental Name and Form, O Lord, are not knowable by any amount of mental speculation or imagination. Your Attributes, Names and Form are known only by pure devotional service. Even while engaged in apparently mundane activities, pure devotees – those whose minds and hearts are constantly absorbed in Your lotus feet and who constantly chant, hear, and meditate upon and cause others to contemplate Your transcendental Forms and Names – are truly always on the spiritual platform, and thus fully realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“How fortunate we are, O Lord, that earth’s heavy and demonic burden is immediately relieved by Your appearance! How fortunate we are to be able to see the all-auspicious marks of lotus, club, conch and disc that adorn Your lotus feet upon this Earth and the heavenly planets. You are not an ordinary living being, O Supreme Lord, appearing here by the reactions of fruitive activities. Your appearance here has no other cause than Your own most sweet and perfect will. Your Lordship formerly appeared in incarnations as a Fish, a Tortoise, a Horse, a Boar, a Man-Lion, a Swan, as Lord Rama, Lord Parasurama and Lord Vamana, just to show Your causeless mercy by protecting the world.
Now, kindly protect us again and show Your mercy by removing our disturbances. O Krishna, foremost of Yadus, we offer respectful obeisances to You. “Dear Mother Devaki, fortunately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in person and with all His expansions, is now within your womb. You have no need to fear Kamsa, who is destined to be slain by the Lord. Your Son, Krishna, is the Eternal Protector
of the whole Yadu dynasty.”
Thus having offered prayers to the Supreme Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Transcendence, the attendant demigods headed by Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, departed for their own abodes in the heavenly planets.
Srimad Bhagvatam mentions Devaki’s beauty twice: once while she is carrying Ananta Sesh, a plenary portion of the Godhead, and again when she is carrying the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Krsna, in her womb. As an iron rod in fire soon loses the gross quality of iron and takes on the more subtle quality of fire, so too the living entity in contact with the Supreme Lord ceases to be material and becomes radiant spirit. Devaki’s effulgent beauty was visible to Kamsa—proof that he was no ordinary being. Actually, Kamsa was a great devotee of the Lord. To serve the Lord’s transcendental plan he acted like a great demon. In this role as a demon, he appeared to suffer from the reactions of sinful karma; but since he was performing this pastime for the Lord’s pleasure, he always remained in the transcendental position. The part Kamsa played culminated in the Lord’s slaying Him and taking him back home, back to Godhead.
Devaki did not know Krsna’s true identity. Otherwise, she would not have been able to genuinely display her transcendental maternal love. Since Kamsa had killed her previous six children, she had a real fear for the life of her seventh child. Therefore, just to show compassion upon Devaki and to further the Lord’s transcendental plan, the Internal Potency of the Lord, Yogamaya, transferred her seventh child to the womb of Rohini.
Godhead has many potencies, usually divided into three: internal, external, and marginal. His devotees, His spiritual abode, and His transcendental activities are affected by the internal potency. The material world is the creation of the external energy. The living beings have independence to align themselves with either the internal or the external potency. Therefore, situated in between, they are known as the marginal energy. When the living being surrenders to the control of the internal potency, he takes on the quality of the internal potency. But if he surrenders to the external energy, which induces a sense of separateness from God, then Maya traps him, covering him with ignorance. Acting like a child of the external energy, the conditioned soul perceives himself separate from the Lord. Although all three energies belong to the Lord, the internal is called chief because of its high service and self- realization.
The freedom to choose either Krsna or Maya is the heart of devotional life. This free choice is how we show our love for God. Choosing Krsna’s will is devotional love; choosing our personal gratification is self-love. Bhaktivinode Thakur has rightly said, “Liberty . . . is the principle which we must consider the most valuable gift from God.”
The internal energy is ever cognizant of its dependence on the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Energetic. In one sense, the energy and the energetic are one. Yet in another sense, they are different. They are one in quality, but different in quantity. Consider the example of electricity. The electricity in your home is one with the powerhouse, its generating source. But at the same time, it is also different. The amount of electricity in the home is infinitesimal in comparison to the potential out put of the power house.
Similarly, any manifested power in God’s creation is one in quality with God, its source, yet infinitesimal in quantitative expression. Godhead is revealed to the conditioned soul both as the Supreme Powerful and the Supreme Power. This combination is the significance of our worshipping Radha-Krsna, Sita-Ram, and Vishnu-Devi. According to Vaishnav philosophy, one should never separate the energy and the energetic. Materialistic persons generally try to separate them, since they have more appreciation for the power_something they can see with their physical eyes and use to gratify their material senses. The source of power, The All-Powerful, however,demands their subordination and service.
Bhaktivinode warns that “Liberty abused causes degradation.” (Ibid) Certainly, by worshiping the energy, one can very quickly receive material boons_another reason why energy-worship is popular. But energy-worshippers cannot attain the ultimate boon of liberation. Such foolish persons want to see themselves separate from the Lord and in control of His energy. Consequently, Maya covers them even more, so that they dream that they are the material body of pleasure and pain. This increase of dualistic ignorance condemns them to continued existence in the material world. On the other hand, truly intelligent persons, concerned about the soul’s liberation, worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the energetic source of all, together with His energy, which is always subordinate to Him. This dedication to the energy and energetic source combined is the reason we bow down and worship Radha-Krsna, the Complete and Perfect Whole, the Original Entity, Who is male and female in One, the Source of All and the End of All.
He is inconceivable and unknowable by empiric knowledge or mental speculation. Yet, by His causeless mercy, He is knowable_-not by the head, through reason_but by the heart, through love and devotion.
The Birth of Lord Krishna
At the most auspicious time for His appearance – when the whole universe was surcharged with the qualities of peace, beauty and goodness; when all the planets and stars were auspicious and peaceful and all directions were extremely pleasing; when the earth’s towns and villages seemed all fortunate; when the rivers and lakes were full of clear water and beautiful lilies and lotuses; when the trees and plants were bursting with foliage, fruits and flowers, as well as exotic birds and bees sweetly singing f or t he demi gods ; when soft breezes were blowing, carrying fragrant aromas of flowers; when brahmanas were
engaged in ritualistic ceremonies with fires ignited according t o Vedic principles burning steadily and brightly despite the breeze – the birthless Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, was ready to appear, and thus the brahmanas and saints, who had been so disturbed by Kamsa and his fellow demons, experienced peace in their hearts and kettledrums resounded in the heavens.
Kinnaras sang auspicious songs; Siddhas and Charanas offered propitious prayers, and Vidyadharas danced in ecstasy. The demigods showered flowers joyously and clouds mildly thundered, like ocean waves. At that time, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, who is in everyone’s heart, manifested from Devaki’s heart in the dense darkness of her prison cell, like the full moon rising in the east. Vasudeva saw his newborn son’s lotus eyes, and His four arms bearing a conch, disc, club and lotus. His chest had the mark of Srivatsa, and from His neck hung the glowing Kaustubha jewel. His blackish body, like a dense cloud, was dressed in yellow silk and upon His full head of hair held was a gorgeous helmet. His ears were decorated with sparkling Vaidurya gem earrings and He wore an excellently gleaming belt, armlets, bangles and various other wonderful ornaments.
Sri Sukadeva Goswami continued his enthralling discourse: “When Vasudeva saw his amazing child, he was wonderstruck. In transcendental ecstasy he mentally collected and distributed ten thousand cows to the brahmanas. O descendant of Bharata, King Pariksit, when Vasudeva realized that his Son was Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he became fearless. With folded hands he bowed his head and with concentrated attention offered prayers to the Lord, who brightly illumined the place
by His innate powers.”
Vasudeva said: “O Lord, You are beyond material existence, the Person Supreme, the Supersoul of all. Your Form is perceived by knowledge that is transcendental, revealing Your Supreme Personality of Godhead. I now comprehend Your nature perfectly. O Lord, You are the One who created this whole cosmos in the beginning by Your own external energy. After its creation with those modes – goodness, passion and ignorance – You appear to be within it, although, in truth, You are not.
“Despite Your being perceived by senses, You cannot be known by the senses, as You are, in truth, nor comprehended by the mind nor described by any material means. With senses, we may perceive something, but not everything. You are beyond the range of these senses. Although You are present in nature’s modes, You are not affected by them. You are the prime factor of everything, the omnipresent, undivided Supersoul. Thus, for You nothing is external or internal. You never entered Devaki’s womb, for You were never absent.
“One who thinks that his material body, a product of nature’s three modes, to be independent of the Supreme is ignorant of material existence’s root, and is thus a fool. The learned know that without support from the soul, the material body and senses would be illusory. Vedic scholars know, O Lord, that creation, maintenance and annihilation of the whole cosmos are all done by You, the great non-doer, beyond modes and changeless in Your spiritual identity. In You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are no contradictions, because the modes are all under Your control and everything transpires
automatically. O Lord, although Your Form is transcendental to nature’s modes, You assume the luminous white color of Vishnu in goodness just to maintain the three worlds. For creation, which is enveloped with passion, You look reddish. At the end, for annihilation, which is hidden in ignorance, You appear to be very dark or blackish. O Protector of creation, You have now manifested in my house to protect the world. It is certain that You will destroy all the military forces that are moving over the face of the Earth under the command of so-called politicians, dressed like kshatriyas, but who are, in fact, demons.They too will be killed by You, for the welfare of the innocent masses.
“O Lord of the demigods, after hearing the heavenly omen that his killer would take birth in our home, cruel Kamsa has killed so many of Your senior brothers and now, as soon as he hears of Your birth, he will come with weapons to slay You.” Having thus seen that her Son bore all the marks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Devaki began to pray to the Lord, being very fearful of Kamsa, saying: “My dear Lord, You are Brahman, the greatest of all, as effulgent as the sun. You know no material cause, and You have no material desire. Therefore, the Vedas declare You to be the substance. You are, therefore, the origin of all Vedic statements, and one who knows You, knows everything. Everything emanates from You, the Supreme Cause of all causes, the light of all transcendental knowledge.
“After millions of years and cosmic annihilations, You alone remain and are known as Ananta Sesa-naga. This creation works under the control of almighty Time, which is but Your manifestation as Lord Vishnu. I surrender to You, O Lord. In the material world, no one can free themselves from birth, death, old age and disease, even by fleeing to higher planets. But with Your appearance, O Lord, Death Personified is fleeing from You, and those who have taken shelter of Your lotus feet are sleeping in perfect peace.
“O Lord, because You dissipate the fears of Your devotees, please save us and protect us from our terrible fear of Kamsa. Please make Your Form as Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, invisible to those with material vision only. Due to Your appearance, O Madhusudana, I am becoming more and more fearful of what he may do to You. Therefore, please make it impossible for sinful Kamsa to understand that You have taken birth from my womb.
“O Lord, all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, Your four-armed transcendental Form is unnatural to us earthlings. Please cover this form and appear just like an ordinary child so we can try to hide You. The whole cosmos, with all its moving and non-moving beings, enters Your transcendental body at the time of annihilation and is held there very easily. Now Your same transcendental Form appears to have taken birth from my womb. No one can understand this and thus I shall be an object of scorn.”
The Supreme Personality of Godhead replied: “O Mother, most chaste lady, in your former birth during the Svayambhuva millennium, you were called ‘Prsni’ and Vasudeva, my father was called ‘Sutapa.’ Lord Brahma ordered you two to create progeny, and for that purpose you controlled your senses and underwent great austerities. Together, you endured wind, rain and sun, heat and cold, and all kinds of climactic disturbances. Practicing pranayama and yoga, you controlled your bodily airs and by eating only fallen leaves and air, you purified your minds of all contamination. Desiring a benediction from Me, you thus worshiped Me with peacefulness. Twelve thousand celestial years were spent in tapasya and consciousness of Me.
“At the end of that time, I was very satisfied with you. Being the best of benefactors, I appeared before you and offered a benediction. You asked to have a Son just like Me. Being husband and wife but childless, you wanted a Son like Me, and so were attracted by sex desire in transcendental love under the influence of Devamaya. Thus you never desired liberation from the material world. After receiving My benediction, I disappeared and you engaged in sex to obtain a Son like Me. Your desire was soon ful lled. Finding no one as elevated in simplicity and other good qualities as you, I took birth in this world
as Prishnigarbha, the Son of Prsni.
“I appeared again for you two in the next millennium. You were my mother, known as ‘Aditi’, and Vasudeva, my father, was called ‘Kasyapa’, and I was called ‘Upendra’. Due to My stature as a dwarf, I was also called ‘Vamana’. O chaste Mother, I, the same person, have again for the third time appeared as your Son. My words are true! This Form of Lord Vishnu is just to help you recall My previous births. Had I appeared only as an ordinary child, you might doubt that the Supreme Personality of Godhead
had indeed appeared as your Son.
“Although you and your husband think of Me constantly as your Son, you should also know that I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By thus constantly thinking of Me with loving affection, be assured that you will attain the highest perfection and return Home, back to Godhead.”
Sukadeva Goswami said: “Having thus instructed His mother and father, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, became silent. By His internal energy, He then became an ordinary, two-armed human baby. According to the plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva was inspired by the Lord to take the newborn baby out of the delivery room, and simultaneously, yogamaya, the Lord’s spiritual energy, was born as the daughter of King Nanda and Queen Yasoda in Vraja.”
By the power of yogamaya, the dungeon door keepers were cast into a deep slumber. As Vasudeva approached the strongly pinned and locked doors, they automatically opened. Since it was thundering and raining outside, the Lord’s expansion as Ananta-naga manifested behind Vasudeva with his hoods expanded over him to protect the baby like a giant umbrella. Due to heavy rains sent by Indra, the Yamuna River was roaring and foaming with fiercely churning waves. But even as Lord Ramacandra was allowed passage over the Indian Ocean to Lanka, Vasudeva fearlessly forged ahead and crossed the river.
Reaching the house of King Nanda, Vasudeva noticed that the entire household was deep in slumber. Placing his Son on Yasoda’s bed and taking her daughter, yogamaya, he quickly returned to Kamsa’s prison house in Mathura. There he placed the little girl in Devaki’s bed, reshackled himself and waited. Weakened by her labor pains, Mother Yasoda slept very deeply and was unable to remember whether she had given birth to a boy or girl.
The birth of Krsna is always an occasion of joy. The elation reflects in the beauty of nature, which increases magnificently; auspiciousness permeates the whole world. No one need strive to make things fortunate. Simply by Krsna’s presence, good fortune automatically appears. Just as there can be no question of darkness when the sun shines, similarly there can be nothing less than perfection when Krsna is present.
The storm, in which Vasudev carried Krsna from the prison of despair to a secret hiding place in Gokula, represents disturbances on the path to Krsna. But even when the process of opening up to Krsna becomes stressful, the Lord intervenes to clear the way.In the form of Ananta Sesh, He makes the way to Gokula safe and easy. Ananta Sesh, a plenary expansion of Vishnu, is the special protector of devotees. Indeed, He is so merciful that in His incarnation as Nityananda in Lord Chaitanya ‘s pastimes, He begged the Lord not to kill the demons’ physical existence, but to kill their demonic mentality. Nityananda knew that the all-auspicious sound vibration of the Holy Name, non different from the Lord, would automatically slay the demonic nature. He argued that if Lord Chaitanya would actually annihilate the demons, no one would be left, since in this age almost everyone is a demon.
One who wants to become fortunate simply has to know how to manifest Krsna in his life. Of course, in the highest sense, Krsna is everywhere. But we cannot realize His presence until we fulfill the conditions f or seeing Him. Krsna is, in fact, t he Lord of everything. But He does not reveal His omnipresence to us until we voluntarily and lovingly make Him the Lord of our life. Therefore, Krsna says: The Supreme Lord dwells mercifully in every heart; For all beings He takes the director’s part.
All are seated on this material machine, But due to ignorance, Supersoul is unseen. O Arjuna, surrender to Me utterly, By My grace, you’ll enjoy peace, wealth, and victory.
(Gita, Ch. 18)
The Lord is truely in everyone’s heart, but some know it and some do not. Some are blessed with transcendental knowledge, and some are covered with maya’s ignorance. Why? Why does the Lord bless some with knowledge and condemn others with ignorance? In the Sri Isopanishad He says that He is “supplying everyone’s desire.” (Mantra 8)
The Lord advises us to surrender to Him utterly. Yet, He does not force His desire upon us, because where there is force, there is no love. God wants us to love Him because He is love and because we can only know Him through love.
Lord Krsna tells Arjuna exactly the same:
The countenance you now so happily see,
Eludes mundane research and austerity.
Only by undivided devotional love
Can I be known as I am in heaven above.
Only by loving service am I known in truth;
Only by devotion am I won forsooth.
(Gita, Ch. 11)
Certainly the Whole, Krsna, The Absolute Truth, God by whatever name you call Him, is unknowable by empiric knowledge—experimental or speculative. The senses cannot perceive Him, nor can reason comprehend Him. Not even when aided by science, philosophy, or theology can the senses and reason approach Him. Furthermore, according to Bhaktivinode Thakur, “Our Shastras [scriptures]. . . do not contain all that we can get from the in nite Father. No book is without i ts errors. God’s revelation is Absolute Truth, but it is scarcely received and preserved in its natural purity. We have been advised in the 14th Chapter of the 11th Skandha [canto] of the Bhagavata [Srimad-Bhagavatam] to believe that Truth when revealed is Absolute, but it gets the tincture of the nature of the receiver . . . and is converted into error by continual exchange of hands from age to age.” (The Bhagavata, p. 28)
If one cannot know God, as He is, by empirical experience, by reason, by scripture, or by tradition, then what is the correct method? We can know Him by the heart through love. This method of knowing Him is the miracle and mystery of bhakti. According to Bhaktivinode Thakur, “The word [bhakti] has no equivalent in the English language. Piety, devotion, resignation, and spiritual love unalloyed, without any sort of petition except in the way of repentance, compose the highest principle of Bhakti.” (The Bhagavata, p. 18)
Someone may say, “How can the Absolute, the Whole, enter into a mortal womb, like Devaki’s? This objection is answered by Vasudev as follows:
Though You appear upon this Earth mundane,
Which Your external energies maintain,
The origin of energy is You,
To those whose perception is really true.
Krsna first lies on the Causal ocean as the Maha Vishnu, and from His breathing innumerable universes emanate. Then, the scripture says, He enters within each universe as the Garbhodakasayi Vishnu. Then again, He enters into the heart of each living being and even each atom, as Ksirodakasayi Vishnu. His entering the womb of Devaki is understood in the same way. By His own divine inconceivable potency, He appears to enter within; yet He does not cease to be all-pervading. In the same way the unbroken expanse of planetary water divides into seven oceans but still remains one. Similarly the all-pervading
Krsna simultaneously manifests in many individual forms but remains One. No one can fathom His greatness.
King Kamsa’s Atrocities
As soon as Vasudeva had put the little girl on Devaki’s bed and reshackled himself, the child began to scream, waking the guards. The guards quickly notified Kamsa of the birth of Devaki’s child, for he was anxiously awaiting the news so he could immediately take action. Quickly rising from his bed, his hair all disheveled, he hurried to Devaki’s bedside.
Terror-stricken, Devaki pleaded piteously with Kamsa, “Don’t kill my lovely baby girl. She can be a wife for your son. Please, my dear brother, to kill a woman is not good for your reputation. O brother, due to the prophecy you have killed so many of my sons, even though they were as bright and beautiful as re. Kindly spare this little girl and give her to me as a token of your love. I am very weak and lonely, deprived of all my children. Please, dear brother, I am your little sister and thus it would be auspicious for you to allow me to keep this little girl.”
Clutching her daughter desperately and weeping, Devaki pleaded with Kamsa for the baby’s life. Heartlessly cruel, he rebuked her, and wrenched the newborn from her arms.. Having abandoned all loving concern for his sister out of his selfishness and fear, Kamsa grabbed the baby by her legs and attempted to dash her head on a stone. The baby, who was actually yogamaya, the younger sister of Vishnu, slipped out of his hands and rose into the air as Devi, the Goddess Durga, replete with eight arms holding various weapons. Decorated with owe r gar lands , sandal wo od p ul p, excel lent garme nt s and
valuable jewels, the Goddess Durga brandished a bow, trident, arrows, shield, sword, conch, disc and club. Victoriously she cried, “O foolish Kamsa, what will you accomplish by killing me? Your enemy, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who will surely kill you, is already born somewhere else!”
Upon hearing Goddess Durga’s words, Kamsa was thunderstruck. Approaching his sister and brother-in-law, Devaki and Vasudeva, he immediately took off their shackles and spoke humbly: “O my dear sister and brother-in-law! How sinful I have been, just like a Rakshasa man-eater, killing so many of your sons. Cruelly and mercilessly I have violated friends and relatives, like the killer of brahmanas. I do not know what will be my fate, now or hereafter. Just see! Not only human mortals, but even higher powers lie. I am so foolish to have believed the heavenly omen and reacted by murdering my sister’s children.
“O great souls, Vasudeva and Devaki, your sons have reaped their own karma. Thus, do not lament for them. Everyone is under the control of the Supreme, and thus they cannot always live in peace together. Here on Earth, we experience that various products are manifest from earth, decay and then disappear, mixing again with the earth. In the same way, the conditioned living beings are embodied and then disembodied; but the living being, like the earth, remains unchanged and is never annihilated. If one
does not understand the innate position of both the eternal soul and the temporary body, he identifies himself with and feels affected by the union or separation that occurs with a family, society or nation. So long as such misidentification continues , he continues his material existence.
“I wish you all good fortune, my dear Devaki. Under the direction of Providence, everyone experiences the reactions of his own work. Thus, despite your sons having been tragically slain by me, do not grieve for them. In ignorance one thinks, ‘I am killed,’ or ‘I killed my enemy.’ So long as one thinks the self to be either killer or killed, he suffers responsibility for material affairs and thus suffers reactions of happiness and distress.”
Kamsa pleaded: “Dear sister and brother-in-law, you are both great souls, be merciful to
this wretch. Please excuse my heinous offenses.”
Having thus spoken, Kamsa fell at Vasudeva and Devaki’s feet, his eyes brimming with tears of regret. Deeply shaken by the words of Goddess Durga, Kamsa became full of familial affection for Vasudeva and Devaki, and immediately released them. Seeing her brother so repentant, Vasudeva and Devaki were relieved of their anger. Vasudeva spoke affectionately to Kamsa: “O noble Kamsa, only due to ignorance does one identify himself with the material body and bodily ego. You have spoken the correct philosophy. Lacking self-realization, one differentiates, ‘This is mine,’ and ‘This is yours.’ With such a vision of differentiation, one experiences lamentation, jubilation, envy, greed, fear, illusion and madness. They see only the apparent cause and try to counteract it, having no knowledge of the real cause, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Being thus spoken to in purity by Vasudeva and Devaki, Kamsa felt relieved and sent them home.