The birth of Krishna


Six sons of Devaki were killed, one by one, by Kansa. The seventh, the abode of Vishnu, whom they call Ananta, appeared in the womb of Devaki, causing both joy and grief to his parents.

Vishnu, summoned Yoga Maya and commanded her as follows. “Rohini, wife of Vasudeva, dwells in Gokula the kingdom of Nanda. The child in the womb of Devaki is my Sesha.  Draw it out and place it in the womb of Rohini.”

By inducing the sleep of  Yoga Maya, she removed the child from the womb of Devaki to that of Rohini. People thought Devaki had miscarried.

Then Bhagavan, entered the Manas of Vasudeva in part. Devaki bore in her Manas this part of Achyuta. Her lustre being confined to the prison-room could not please others. Kansa saw an unusual glow round his sister such as he had never witnessed before. He exclaimed “Surely Hari is born in this womb, He who is to take away my life. Am I then to kill my sister? But the killing of a pregnant female, my own sister, will ruin my fame, my wealth and my life. What shall I do this day?”

Kansa by his own persuasion restrained himself from doing any violent act and he waited with feelings of bitterness for the time when Hari was to be born. But whether sitting or lying down, eating or walking, he thought of Vishnu and saw Him everywhere in the Universe.

In time, when all nature looked still and there was joy in heaven and earth, Sri Krishna was born under the influence of the Rohini constellation. It was all dark at dead of night. He had four hands bearing Sankha, Chakra, Gada, and Padma. The mark of Srivatsa the Kaustubha gem, the yellow cloth, the crown on the head glittering with stones, the brilliant ear-rings all marked Him out as the Purusha, and Vasudeva and Devaki adored Him as such. Devaki asked him to withdraw his lordly form with four hands. Then He assumed the form of an ordinary child.

Directed by Him, Vasudeva took Him to Vraja, the Kingdom of Nanda. The fetters loosened. The gate opened wide. The gate keepers fell into deep sleep. Though there was a heavy downpour of rain, the serpent Sesha gave shelter under his thousand hoods. The river Yamuna, deep in flood, fretting and foaming under the storm, made way for Vasudeva. The Gopas were all fast asleep in Vraja. Vasudeva placed his own son by the side of Yasoda and took her new born daughter away and placed her near Devaki. He then put on his fetters and remained confined as before. Yasoda knew that she had a child, but the labour pains and sleep made her quite forget the sex of the child.

The gates closed again, the gate-keepers woke up and, on hearing a child’s voice, they forthwith informed their King. Kansa had been anxiously waiting for the birth of this child. So he lost no time in getting up and appearing before Devaki. He snatched away the child from her. Devaki remonstrated with her brother praying for the life of her daughter. Kansa did not heed  her words. He raised the child aloft and cast it down to strike it against a stone. The child slipped away from his

hands, and rose high up. This younger born of Vishnu appeared with eight hands, bearing eight weapons, — Dhanus (bow) Sula (spear) Isha (arrow), Charma (hide protector), Asi (sword), Sankha (conch), Chakra (Disc), and Gada (club). She had divine garlands and garments and was adorned with ornaments. Siddhas, Charanas, Gandharvas, Apsarasas, Kinnaras and Nagas worshiped her with profuse offerings.

She thundered forth, “What if I am killed. He who shall make an end of you, is born somewhere else. Do not kill other children in vain.”

Kansa was wonder-struck. He removed the fetters of Vasudeva and Devaki and begged their pardon, saying, “Like a Rakshasa, I have killed your sons. I do not know what fate awaits me after death.”

Kansa then called the Daityas together. These sworn enemies of the Devas heard their master .  Kansa directed the Kamarupa (forms at will) bearing Asuras to oppress all good people and they readily took to their work.