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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Canto-10 > Part-1 > The advent of Lord Krishna



      The advent of Lord Krishna.



     Previously, Shukadeva Gosvami had elaborately described the two kshatriya dynasties- the Surya-vamsha and the Soma-vamsha. At the end of the ninth canto, the appearance of Lord Krishna in the Soma dynasty was described.

     Maharaja Parikshit desired to hear more about Lord Krishna’s pastimes and character, from beginning to end, and so he said, “Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually relished by those who are no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of the material world. Such descriptions are the correct medicine for the conditioned souls that are undergoing repeated birth and death (bhava-aushadha). Who, other than a butcher, or one desiring to kill his own self, would not want to hear such descriptions?”

     “Taking the boat of Krishna’s lotus feet, my grandfather, Arjuna, crossed the ocean of the battlefield of Kurukshetra, in which mighty warriors like Bhishma resembled great fish that could easily swallow him. By the mercy of Lord Krishna, my grandfathers crossed that ocean as easily as one steps over the water contained in a calf’s hoofprint.” 

     “O great sage, you know everything about Krishna. Please describe all of His activities, for I have full faith and I am very eager to hear about them. Being on the verge of death, I have made a vow to fast, foregoing even water. And yet, because I am drinking the nectar of topics about Krishna that is flowing from your lotus mouth, my hunger and thirst, which are intensely difficult to bear, cannot hinder me.”

      Shukadeva Gosvami responded by narrating Lord Krishna’s pastimes, as follows. Once, when Mother Earth was overburdened by the excessive military strength of demons posing as kings, she became very distressed. Assuming the form of a cow, with tears in her eyes, just to invoke his compassion, she approached Lord Brahma to inform him of her misfortune.

       After hearing of Bhumi’s plight, Lord Brahma himself felt aggrieved. Taking Bhumi with him, Lord Brahma first informed the other demigods, headed by Lord Shiva. Then they all went to the shore of the Milk Ocean, wherein Lord Kshirodakashayi Vishnu lies on the White Island (Svetadvipa).

     There, the demigods worshiped the Supreme God of all gods, Lord Vishnu, by reciting the Vedic mantras known as Purusha-sukta. At first, there was apparently no response, but as Lord Brahma sat in the trance of meditation, a message was transmitted from Lord Vishnu, which he alone could hear within his heart. 

     Lord Brahma then informed the demigods, “Even before we submitted our petition, the Supreme Lord was well aware of the earth’s distress. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, will soon appear as the son of Vasudeva, to diminish the burden of the earth by annihilating the miscreants. To assist Him, all of you should appear by your plenary portions as the Lord’s sons and grandsons in the Yadu dynasty. All the wives of the demigods should also appear, just for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord.”

     “The principal manifestation of Lord Krishna is Sankarshana, who is also known as Ananta, and He is the source of all incarnations within the universe. Before Krishna’s appearance, the original Sankarshana will appear as Baladeva, as will the potency of the Lord, Vishnu-maya. The Supreme Lord’s potency is essentially one, but acts internally as yoga-maya and externally as maha-maya, as required.”    

     After advising the demigods and pacifying Mother Earth, Lord Brahma returned to his own abode.

Formerly, the head of the Yadu dynasty, Shurasena (according to the Vaishnava-toshani of Sanatana Gosvami, he was a son of Kartaviryarjuna) established his capital at Mathura. Mathura is intimately connected with Lord Krishna, for He eternally lives there. Vasudeva, the son of Shurasena, married Devaki.

After the marriage, Devaki’s father, King Devaka, out of great affection, gave her a dowry of four hundred elephants that were decorated with golden garlands, ten thousand horses, eighteen hundred chariots, and two hundred very beautiful young maidservants who were fully decorated with ornaments. 

Vasudava mounted his chariot to return home, and to please his sister, Kansa, the son of Ugrasena, picked up the reins to drive. As they departed, conch shells, bugles, and various drums were sounded, and as they proceeded, thousands of golden chariots surrounded them.

     Suddenly, an unembodied voice from the sky announced, “Kansa, you foolish rascal! You are driving the chariot for your sister, even though her eighth child will kill you!”

     Six sons of Marichi had been cursed to take birth from Devaki’s womb and be killed by Kansa, who was a condemned, envious and sinful member of the Bhoja dynasty. To facilitate his destruction, the demigods had spoken invisibly from the sky. Upon hearing this, Kansa let go of the reins, grabbed Devaki by the hair with his left hand, and with his right hand took out his sword to kill her.

     Although certainly astonished, the greatly fortunate Vasudeva spoke to Kansa, in the hopes of pacifying him: “My dear brother-in-law, how can such a qualified person as yourself kill a woman, his own sister, on the day of her marriage?”

     “You are certainly very intelligent, and so please consider this. Everyone is destined to die, either today or after one hundred years. Under divine supervision, when this body is returned to the elements, one receives another body, according to his fruitive activities. Just as, while walking on the road one places one foot after the other, or as an insect moves from one leaf of a plant to the next, so the conditioned soul accepts one body and then later on gives it up to take shelter of another.” 

     “The mind is the subtle substance of which the body is created. This can be understood by considering these two examples. While dreaming, our mind creates a body- and while observing others, we forget our present body. So, please consider how our next body will be developed according to the activities of our mind, at present. When the moon is reflected on water, its shape becomes distorted due to movements of the water caused by the wind. Similarly, when the mind is materially absorbed, one acquires various forms of identity. Considering all this, you should refrain from the sinful act of killing your sister, which will simply cause suffering in future lives.”

     In this way, Vasudeva employed two elements of diplomacy- sama (pacification) and bheda (arousing fear). However, Kansa was a fiercely cruel person, and indeed, he was actually a follower of the Rakshasas. Therefore, he was not pacified by Vasudeva’s good instructions, nor did he become frightened of the consequences of performing a sinful act.

      Another name of Vasudeva was Anakadundubhi, because the demigods had sounded drums at his birth. When he saw that Kansa was still determined to kill Devaki, he began to consider the matter very deeply, for as long as one has intelligence and bodily strength, it is his duty to avoid death.

     While devising a plan of action, Vasudeva thought as follows: “By delivering my future sons to Kansa, I can save Devaki’s life. Maybe Kansa will die before the birth of my sons. Or, because this has been predicted, perhaps one of my sons will still be able to kill Kansa. After all, destiny is very strong and acts in its own way. When there is fire, it may spread to burn someone’s house, while another person’s house is spared. Who can explain how the fire spread in this way? Similarly, when one body is given up and another is accepted, there can be no other cause but unseen destiny.”    

     Although Vasudeva was in great anxiety, in the hopes of pleasing the cruel, shameless Kansa, he smilingly said, “O best of all sober-minded men, you have nothing to fear from Devaki, according to what the omen from the sky had proclaimed. The threat is from her future sons. Therefore, I promise that as soon as she gives birth to a son, I will place that child in your hands.”

     Vasudeva understood that the Supreme Lord would appear as His son. Because of this, it was quite proper for him to act diplomatically, for the purpose of saving, or serving, Krishna.

     Although Kansa was a sinful demon, he had faith in Vasudeva’s words, for the character of a pure devotee is certainly sublime. And, because Devaki was the daughter of Kansa’s uncle, killing her would certainly cause a family feud, resulting in many deaths. For these reasons, Kansa refrained from killing Devaki. Being very pleased, Vasudeva further pacified Kansa and then returned home.

     Each year thereafter, Devaki gave birth to a child. Vasudeva was very afraid of breaking his promise, and so, with an aggrieved heart, he delivered his first-born son, named Kirtiman, to Kansa. Although it was certainly very painful to keep his promise, Vasudeva was eager to see the appearance of his eighth son, and so he begot children as quickly as possible.

     Seeing Vasudeva so equipoised while giving up his child, Kansa became quite pleased and his feelings of compassion were invoked. With a smiling face, he said, “O Vasudeva, you can take your child and return home, for I have no fear of him. It is your eighth child that I worry about, for it was predicted that he would kill me.”

     Vasudeva returned home with his child, but he knew that Kansa could never be trusted, due to his demonic character and lack of self-control.

After hearing of Kansa’s leniency, Narada Muni visited him at Mathura, desiring to accelerate Lord Krishna’s appearance.

In Hari-vamsha it is described how Kansa received Narada very nicely. The devarshi then informed the King, “The demoniac persons who were burdening the earth are certainly going to be killed. You had better beware, because for this purpose, Lord Vishnu might appear as any of Devaki’s sons. For that reason, you should not spare any of her children.”

      By causing Kansa to act more sinfully, Narada thought that Krishna’s appearance would be hastened.

Narada then said, “My dear Kansa, all of the members of the Yadu and Vrishni dynasty, as well as many who appear to be your followers, are actually denizens of heaven that were born upon the earth to prepare for the Supreme Lord’s appearance. Similarly, all of the residents of Vrindavana are demigods, who have appeared in accordance with the order of Lord Vishnu.”

     After hearing from Narada, Kansa became fearful and apprehensive. He immediately arrested Vasudeva and Devaki, putting them in iron shackles. Indeed, Kansa arrested his father, Ugrasena, who was the king of the Yadu, Bhoja and Andhaka dynasties, so that he could personally rule the Shurasena kingdom, of which Mathura was a part.

    Kansa also learned from Narada that in his previous life he had been a great demon named Kalanemi, and had been killed by Lord Vishnu. After hearing Narada’s talks, Kansa became very envious of everyone connected with the Yadu dynasty.

     Year after year, as Devaki gave birth to sons, Kansa killed all of the babies, thinking them to be incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Kings who are greedy for sense gratification invariably kill their enemies indiscriminately. To satisfy their whims, they may kill anyone, even their own mother, father, brothers or friends.

     Hari-vamsha explains: Formerly, the asura Kalanemi had six sons- Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahanta. They had given up the association of their grandfather, Hiranyakashipu, so that they could perform austerities in the hopes of pleasing Lord Brahma. Kalanemi’s sons were able to receive benedictions from Brahma, but when Hiranyakashipu learned of this, he became angry for their having acted independently.

 Hiranyakashipu cursed them by saying, “In the future, your father will be born as Kansa and he kill you all when you appear as the sons of Devaki.”

According to the Vaishnava-toshani of Sanatana Gosvami, six sons of Devaki were previously sons of Marichi who were cursed by a brahmana to later on become the sons of Kalanemi.