Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Anxiety and Joy – XXXI

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nilanjana recounts the story of Krishna’s birth, the baby swapping, celebrations in Gokul and the evil counsel of Kamsa’s ministers, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.

A man is known by the company he keeps. When Kamsa was in the presence of Devaki and Vasudev, good sense had prevailed on him. However, when he solicited the counsel of his ministers he went back to his old form. His mind was clouded after his ministers spoke with hatred about the Divine. They told Kamsa that the child is definitely hidden somewhere and it would be stupid to not do anything about it. After all, he was the king and he would be really careless if he chose to ignore the death threat that already existed.

The ministers also reminded Kamsa of his valour and power. They told him that Narayana is hiding somewhere. Shiva, also known as Ardhanarishvara (literally meaning half woman-half man), is but half a man. Brahma is far inferior to Narayana or Shiva. Hence, nobody can ever touch him.

They further advised that roots of the enemies should be pulled out when they are tender. Hence the sensible thing to do is to kill all children around who are less than one year old.

Kamsa forgot all his good qualities and got carried away by the evil counsel of his ministers. He decided to figure out ways to kill the children who were less than one year old. After considering quite a few plans, he finally arrived at a master-plan. He called upon Putana, the wife of one of his mentors to execute his plan.

***

Meanwhile, it was celebration time at Gokula. Since nobody knew of Vishnumaya and the baby-swapping, they assumed that a boy was born to Yashoda. The little child was very beautiful and the whole of Gokula rejoiced. Nanda did his best to perform all the rituals appropriate at that point in time.

Nature was making merry. The whole of Gokula donned a look of celebration. The houses were decorated; streets were sprinkled with perfumed water. People dressed up and were making merry.

Nanda was one of the many vassals of Kamsa. The time had come for his annual visit to Mathura. This was a custom those days when the vassal had to go to meet the king and make his contribution to the treasury.

Since Nanda was in town, Vasudev went to meet him as they were old friends. He congratulated Nanda on the birth of his son. However, Nanda expressed his sorrow over the misfortune that Devaki and Vasudev had undergone. He knew that Kamsa had killed all their children. In course of the conversation, Vasudev warned Nanda that evil omens were apparently visible in Gokula and Nanda should hurry back to his wife and child as soon as he can.

***

Putana was loyal to her king. When Kamsa requested her to help him out, she immediately agreed without a qualm…

[To be continued]

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.

 ©Nilanjana Dey

Photos from the internet.

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A story-teller at heart, Nilanjana Dey is on a journey to experiment with fiction and poetry. Her first novel, largely aimed towards children, is titled ‘The Adventures of Puti – The Cheese Trail’. Her poems have been published at various prestigious portals. An alumni of English Literature from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), she is a marketing and communication professional based in Mumbai. She volunteers with a Mumbai based NGO working with the marginalised sections of the society.