Old King Ugrasena of Mathura had
two children, Prince Kamsa and Princess Devaki. While King Ugrasena was
a good king, Prince Kamsa was a ruthless tyrant. Now Princess Devaki was
to wed a nobleman named Vasudeva.
Kamsa out of the love he bore for
his sister decided to be the bride and groom's charioteer for the day.
While Kamsa drove the chariot bearing Devaki and Vasudeva out of the wedding hall, a voice from the heavens boomed informing Kamsa that Devaki's eight
child would be his slayer.
Kamsa being the superstitious type
would take no chances. He wanted to strike down Devaki that very moment.
Vasudeva intervened, he begged Kamsa not to slay Devaki and show her some
mercy. He further promised Kamsa that he would hand over any child born
to them, if he would let Devaki live. Now Kamsa not wanting to have the
blood of his sister on his hands agreed and instead placed them under house
Every time a child was born, the guards would inform Kamsa and he would take the child and kill it. Six
of Devaki and Vasudev's children met their death this way. It so happened
that the seventh child was born at night, and Devaki and Vasudeva seeing
the opportunity decided to try to save the child.
The guards were asleep, so Vasudeva
easily slid out of the palace undetected. He went to neighboring Gokul
and left the child with his second wife Rohini and quickly returned to
the palace (this child was named Balrama). In the morning he sent word
to Kamsa that the child was still born.
Kamsa was pleased, he knew the next
child was prophesized to be his slayer. Not wanting to take chances with
the birth of the eight child, Kamsa had Vasudeva and Devaki thrown into
the dungeon chained.
The eight child was born on the eight
night of the month of Shravan. It was raining heavily and the skies thundered
as if the Gods were trying to pay homage to the new born child. Then the
miracle happened, Vasudevas chains fell off and the prison door opened
by itself. Vasudeva found the guards to be asleep, so he decided that he
would escape with the child and leave him at his friend Nanda's place in
Picking up the child, Vasudeva placed
him in a basket. He then carried the basket on his head and made his way
to Gokul. Now Gokul was on the opposite bank of the river Yamuna. Because
of the thundering and the rain, the river Yamuna was in a state of turmoil.
Vasudeva, wondering how he would cross the river prayed for a miracle.
Then it happened!. The waters of the Yamuna parted and made way for him.
Vasudeva then crossed the Yamuna and reached Gokul.
On reaching Nanda's house in Gokul,
Vasudeva realised that Nanda's wife Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl.
While Nanda and Yashoda were asleep, he placed his child in the cradle
and took Nanda's daughter instead. He presumed that since it was a baby girl, Kamsa would not kill her. He then made the journey back to Mathura
and he took the baby girl with him. As soon as Vasudeva reached the dungeon,
the dungeon doors closed behind him and the baby girl started to cry. Awakened
by the cries, the guards rushed to tell Kamsa of the birth of the eight
Hearing the news, Kamsa rushed to
the dungeon and picked up the child and was about to dash it to the ground.
Vasudeva begged Kamsa not to kill the child as it was only a girl and that
a girl could do him no harm. The wicked Kamsa paid no heed and dashed the baby to the floor. As the baby was about to hit the floor, it suddenly
flew up and told Kamsa that the one who was born to kill him still lives
and is in Gokul. Then she disappeared.
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