Nilanjana recounts the story of the birth of Krishna, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Devaki was glowing with her eighth child. The glow was rather unusual. The wise men knew that the divinity growing inside her was emanating this glow. Kamsa got the news that his sister was pregnant for the eighth time. The news of the glow reached him too. He was now sure that Narayana is going to be born this time. Though Devaki had been pregnant seven times before never before had she emanated such a glow. He wondered if he should kill her right away. But then he slowly got hold of himself, spared his sister and decided to kill the child when he is born. He increased the number of guards and kept waiting for the child to be born.
However, Kamsa had no peace of mind. He was obsessed with the eighth child of his sister. While sitting on his throne, he would wait and check if a child was already seated there, for his mind would delude him. He saw the child on his bed, on his dining plate and everywhere around. The thought of the child made sleep flee from him. It is believed that when one thinks of the divine all the time, he is surely going to attain moksha (liberation). To the divine, it does not matter whether the remembrance is owing to love or hatred. Continuously remembering is good enough.
The time for the birth of Krishna was drawing near. Nature was at her happiest best. The planets and stars were in positions that blessed the earth with peace and joy. The lakes were filled with flowers. The gentle breeze that kept blowing brought in scents of flowers. People were happy for no reason.
Finally, the night of Krishnaashtami, (the Ashtami [eight days of the waning moon] when Krishna was born) arrived. It was a dark and stormy night. The storm whizzed around as if it had an agenda. Dark clouds brought rain to the parched earth. The storm and the rain did not disturb anybody since people went to sleep. Right at midnight, Devaki gave birth to her eighth child. This sampurna avataar (complete incarnation) was born with all the glory associated with Narayana. He was dressed in yellow silk, with the jewel kaustubha, with the srivatsa mark on his chest holding the sankha(conch), chakra (discuss), gada (club) and padma (lotus). Devaki and Vasudev worshiped him as he spoke to Devaki, “In o
ne of your previous births, you had meditated on me very intensely. When I appeared in front of you, instead of asking for knowledge of the self or liberation, you asked for me to be born as your son. You were so deluded by maya at that point of time that you chose the ‘unreality’ of the form over the ‘reality’ of the self. You wish is fulfilled now. After this birth, you will attain moksha.”
Narayana then asked Vasudev to take him to Gokula to the house of Nanda whose wife Yashoda had already given birth to another child. Vasudev had to swap the children and bring Nanda’s child back. As Devaki and Vasudev were listening to Narayana intently, he assumed the form of a new-born human child. Vasudev placed him in a small wicker basket and covered him with his upper cloth.
However, the doorway was locked and Kamsa’s guards were around….
[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.
Photos from the internet.
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