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Birth of Lord Krishna

Birth of Lord Krishna: Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Krishna was born in a tense historical period proceeding a devastating war. The warring factions built up so many weapons that the burden on the earth became unbearable. Finally the goddess of Earth took the form of a cow and prayed to Lord Brahma for relief. Lord Brahma called all the demigods to the shore of the Milk Ocean to hear Mother Earth and to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu. Lord Brahma fell into trance reciting the Vedic hymns known as the Purusa-sukta and heard the voice of Lord Vishnu. Then he announced, “O demigods hear from me the words of God. He is aware of the distress on Earth and wants you demigods to incarnate as sons and daughters in the Yadu dynasty. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, will personally appear as the son of Vasudeva. Therefore you will all have the benediction of joining the eternal pastimes of Lord Krishna.”

Lord Brahma consoled the cow and sent her home, then returned to his planet, Brahmaloka. The demigods then began to take birth in the Yadu dynasty, awaiting the appearance of Lord Krishna. The members of the Yadu dynasty, headed by Vasudeva and Devaki, along with their friends, relatives and well- wishers were all demigods. The residents of Vrindavana, headed by King Nanda, Queen Yasoda and Queen Rohini, were also demigods.

King Kansa was another relative in the family however he was not a demigod. He usurped the throne of his father, Ugrasena, and put him in prison. When Devaki, a member of Ugrasena’s family, married Vasudeva, she received a large dowry of elephants, horses, chariots and servants. After the wedding, Kamsa took the reins of the wedding chariot and started to escort the couple home. Along the way, a voice from the sky addressed him: “You foolish king, the eighth son of Devaki will kill you!”

Kansa pulled Devaki down by her hair, drew his sword and prepared to kill her on the spot, but Vausdeva begged for his bride’s life and promised to let him kill the eighth child, so that the oracle would not be fulfilled. Kansa agreed to spare her life, but locked Vasudeva and Devaki in a stone prison. Thereafter, he mercilessly killed the first six sons of Devaki. Devaki’s seventh son miscarried but mystically transferred to the womb of Queen Rohini in Vrindavana. This became Krishna’s older brother, Balarama. Soon thereafter, Devaki became pregnant with her eighth child.

After Krishna’s birth, Kamsa tried to kill Krishna’s younger sister Yoga maya, but she rose to the sky in her eight-armed form.
After Krishna’s birth, Kamsa tried to kill Krishna’s younger sister Yoga maya, but she rose to the sky in her eight-armed form.

Krishna was born at the stroke of midnight in His four-armed Vishnu form, dressed in silk and jewels, carrying the four weapons: the conch, disc, club and lotus. His parents prayed for Him to turn Himself into an ordinary baby so they could hide Him from Kansa. The Lord advised Vasudeva to take him to Vrindavana and exchange him with a girl that had just been born there. Then He turned Himself into a baby.

Magically, the guards in Kansa’s prison fell asleep, and all the iron shackles, chains and locks automatically opened. Without questioning this, Vasudeva took the child and departed for Vrindavana. Like the story of Moses, the story of Krishna also includes a parting of the waters, allowing Vasudeva to carry Krishna across the Jamuna River to Vrindavana. When Vasudeva reached the house of Nanda, all the cowherds were asleep. Thus he placed his own son on the bed of Yasoda, picked up her newborn girl and returned to the prison of Kansa.

There was a chance Kansa would spare the child because the omen said it would be the eighth son that would kill him. Devaki pleaded with him, but Kansa pulled the baby girl from her arms and dashed her against a stone. The girl slipped from his hands and rose above his head as the eight-armed form of Goddess Durga, dressed in fine garments and jewels. She said, “The enemy you contemplate is living somewhere else. You are a fool to hurt innocent children. Krishna will kill you.”

Kansa became remorseful and begged Devaki and Vasudeva to forgive him for his sins. He released them from their shackles and fell down on their feet, crying tears of regret. The next day, however, Kamsa’s ministers advised him to give up his sentimental attitude and take action to kill all newborn children in the region. They also advised him to disturb the demigods and saintly people.

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