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Chapter 44: Birth of Krishna and Balarama

Posted by Arun Mohan ~ on ~ 0 comments

Krishna was born during turbulent times in Mathura, the city of Kunti’s birth. The Mother Earth, who was upset with the burden of sins committed by evil kings and rulers, requested Brahma (the creator) to do anything for mankind. Brahma urged Lord Vishnu (the preserver), who assured him that he would soon be born on earth to destroy harsh forces. One such evil force was Kamsa (or Kansa), the ruler of Mathura and his citizens were totally scared of him. Shortly after Surasena had given Kunti away in adoption, his nephew called Kamsa disbanded the Yadava ruling council. Kamsa then declared himself the ruler of Mathura with the support of his father-in-law, Jarasandha, the great king of Magadha. Jarasandha married his two daughters Asti and Prapti to Kamsa. All those who protested disband were either killed or imprisoned.

Kamsa’s younger sister, Devaki had married Kunti’s elder brother, Vasudeva. On the wedding day, voice from the sky was heard with a prediction that Devaki's eighth son would be the destroyer of Kamsa. The terrified Kamsa immediately wanted to kill his sister by his sword but Vasudeva intervened and persuaded to let her live on condition that Vasudeva would hand over every new born child to him. Kamsa relented but jailed both Devaki and her husband Vasudeva.
When Devaki gave birth to her first child, Kamsa stormed into the prison and killed the newborn by smashing its head. In this way, he killed the first six sons of Devaki as soon as they were born. Devaki was beside herself. She did not want to bear any more children, but Vasudeva consoled Devaki that the sacrifice of seven children is necessary so that the eighth child would save the people of Mathura from Kamsa. The sages who visited Vasudeva and Devaki revealed them that the six children died at birth was a punishment for them as they angered sages with their misbehavior in their past life. Devaki suffered the pain of watching them die at birth, since in her past life; she angered sages by stealing their cows. They also revealed them that the seventh child would be the herald of God and the eighth would be God himself.

After several days, Devaki conceived the seventh child. A goddess called Yogamaya is created which is the Lord’s divine power. Yogamaya then magically transported the unborn child from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb. Rohini was Vasudeva’s first wife, who was now living in the house of Vasudeva’s brother, Nanda and his wife Yashoda in the village of cowherds, Gokul. The child thus conceived in one womb is transported to another. Thus Balarama was born as the seventh child of Devaki from Rohini’s womb. Vasudeva then informed Kamsa that fear had caused Devaki to miscarry and lose her seventh child. Again after several days, Devaki conceived the eighth child. He slipped out of his mother’s womb nine months later on a dark and stormy ashtami night. It is actually the eighth night of the waning moon. The wind and the rain blew out all the lights in Mathura. The child is dark as night and also attractive as the sun. Yogamaya caused the whole city to sleep and advised Vasudeva to carry him to the house of Nanda in Gokula right after his birth, where Nanda's wife Yashoda had given birth to a daughter. After that to exchange his child and bring the Yashoda’s daughter back to prison. The daughter born to Yashoda was none other than goddess Durga, who was reborn as Yogamaya.

Remembering the divine advice from Yogamaya, Vasudeva grasped the child to his bosom, but found that his legs were in chains. Suddenly the chains in his legs were automatically broken and the huge iron-barred doors of prison are opened. Vasudeva started to walk towards Gokula.  While crossing the river Yamuna, he grasped the child to his bosom. The rain fell and unbelievably a multi-mouthed snake followed him from behind and provided shelter over Vasudeva and the child. When Vasudeva reached Gokula, he found that the doors of Nanda's house were open. He exchanged his child with the Yashoda’s daughter and hurried back to prison with the baby girl.

The next day, Kamsa came to know about the birth of eighth child. He rushed inside the prison and was surprised to see a baby girl. But it doesn’t stop him from killing the baby. When he intent on dashing her head to the ground, the baby skipped from his hand and flew into the sky. The baby then transformed into the goddess Yogamaya with eight arms each one bearing magnificent weapons. She announced that the killer of Kamsa was born somewhere else.  And that Kamsa would die as foretold.
Note: Balarama was an incarnation of Adi-Ananta-Sesha, the serpent who was the bed of Lord Vishnu. Balarama is also considered as the avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Balarama was conceived when God plucked a white hair from his chest and placed it in Devaki’s womb and Krishna was conceived when God plucked a black hair from his chest and placed it in Devaki’s womb. Thus Balarama and Krishna became the eighth and ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu.


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