Nilanjana retells a well-known story from the Bhagavatam, a Krishna lore, about how Kamsa killed six children born to his sister, Devaki, out of fear. Read more in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Devaki and Vasudeva stayed in a palace that was specially built for them. In course of time, Devaki gave birth to her first son. He was named ‘Kirtiman’. As promised, Vasudeva took his first child to Kamsa. Vasudeva was a wise man known for his equanimity and he did not hesitate to keep his promise. Kamsa was pleased with this noble gesture. He smiled at his new-born nephew and handed him back to his father. Kamsa explained, “The prophecy is that your eighth child will kill me. So why should I harm the first-born?” Vasudeva went back but was not sure that Kamsa would not change his mind.
It is believed that for Narayana’s avatar to be born adharma (unrighteousness) should be rampant. Sage Narada paid a visit to Kamsa to update him on the state of affairs. The sage informed Kamsa that the belief was that many devas (divine beings) were taking birth in Gokula. This was reportedly the preparation that Narayana was undertaking for his own birth into the world of mortals. Sage Narada also added, “The eighth child does not necessarily mean the eighth-born. Since numbers and time are just concepts, if one counts backward from eight, then the first-born can also be the eighth. If counted from the second then the first-born will again become the eighth. Who knows who is eighth and who not? Should one be so careless?” The sage disappeared after planting this seed of doubt in Kamsa’s mind.
Kamsa was sure that he did not want to take any risks. He marched into Devaki’s palace, snatched the child away from his mother and killed him. He repeated the same act of brutal violence for the next five children that Devaki gave birth to. Having lost her six children to her evil brother, Devaki’s sorrow knew no bounds!
Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana.
(To be continued)
Photos from the internet.
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