Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Krishna - The Dark Lord of Dwaraka - Prelude - Part 1 of 4

Sage Kashyap was generally considered as the father of humans, daityas and the entire animal and bird kingdom. He had married the thirteen daughters of Daksha. Among the 13 women, Aditi and Diti were the eldest.
Aditi was the mother of the Devas – Indra and the other Adityas who ruled over the world. Diti, was the mother of the Daityas. However unfortunately more often than not, Diti's children were killed by Aditi's children in various battles. Angered by this Diti once prayed to her husband for a powerful son. By the blessings of her husband, she carried a powerful child in her womb.
When Aditi saw Diti, she got worried because she knew that such a child would become more powerful than her own son Indra and overthrow him from the heavens. Deciding to take matters into her own hand, Aditi went to Indra. 'Son! You are now the king of the Devas and you rule the entire heavens!'
Indra narrowed his eyes studying his mother 'Something seems to be worrying you, mother! What is it?'
'Diti!' Aditi said by way of explanation. She sighed as she continued. 'More often than not, you and Diti's children have fought countless battles and many times her children have been routed in the battles!'
Indra did not say anything as his mother continued. 'However, this time I think that Diti has outdone herself! She has asked for a child who is as powerful as you are!' Aditi looked at Indra worried. 'Have you seen how radiant Diti looks?' Aditi let out a long suffering sigh. 'I am afraid! Every time I see Diti, I get afraid! I am afraid that if you let the child come to the world....it would mean your end!'
Indra was shocked at his mother's words at first. But then he realized that his mother's words were true. The Daityas were always fighting with the Devas for the control over the three worlds. If Diti's child was indeed very powerful....Indra took a deep breath nodding to himself. He turned to his mother. 'I will see what I can do!'
That evening, Indra went to Diti. 'Mother! You are carrying a child and look at you!' Indra said feigning a concern he definitely did not feel. 'You are lean and pitifully thin! Please...let me take care of you!'
Without suspecting anything, Diti let Indra come inside the house. Indra looked after Diti and won her over with his help. One night when Diti was tiredly sleeping Indra pulled out his Vajrayudha. Using his powers he entered Diti's womb and there he cut the womb into seven pieces (Some Puranas mention this number as 49). 
The children in the womb started crying as Indra pulled his Vajrayudha. Worried that Diti would wake up and realize that something was wrong, Indra said soothingly to the foetus. 'Ma Ruta!' (Ma Ruta is Sanskrit means 'Do not cry!')
However Diti immediately woke up as she felt the womb shudder. Diti knew something was wrong and she also felt that Indra was responsible. Unable to contain herself, Diti cursed Indra. 'You hurt the child in my feotus to keep yourself as the king of the three worlds, did you not? The three worlds that you claim to rule....' Diti said scornfully. 'You will never be able to rule it peacefully!' She thundered angrily.
Indra appeared before Diti with the Vajrayudha in his hand as he stood aghast and stared at Diti. 'But it was my mother...who...' Indra stopped talking as Diti flared up even more.
'So Aditi asked you to do this? I curse her too!' Diti yelled angrily. 'I curse her that she would be in prison and she would also watch as her children get slaughtered before her eyes and she would not be able to stop it!' Diti heaved angrily.
Diti was about to open her mouth again, when Sage Kashyap came inside. He saw Indra with the Vajrayudha and he had also heard the last few words of Diti. He looked at Diti. 'Please give up your anger! Do not worry! Your children are still safe! The children that you have in your womb, they would be called as the Marutha...they would be powerful and they would become allies of Indra!'
Diti breathed a little easy. She had wanted one powerful child, more powerful than Indra. But then now having seven powerful children was better than nothing. She decided to give up her anger.
Indra was however flabbergasted. 'She cursed....she cursed me and mother!' He whispered looking horrified.
'I am afraid you will have to suffer her curse....So will Aditi! ' Sage Kashyap said with finality...

In another incident, Sage Kashyap was once performing a yagna. However the yagna was a powerful one and he could not find a suitable cow for the sake of performing the yagna. Finally Sage Kashyap stole Lord Varuna's cow - Kamadhenu.
Lord Varuna was aghast that such a great sage would do something like this. Lord Varuna tried asking the sage to give it back and the sage blatantly refused. 
Having no other choice, Lord Varuna approached Lord Brahma and told him about the sage's deeds. 'Lord Brahma! I....cannot believe that Sage Kashyap would do something like this....The calves of Kamadhenu they keep whimpering for her....Please Lord....do something!'
Lord Brahma was terribly angry that sage Kashyap would do something like this. 'KASHYAP!' He thundered angrily. 'Go and be born in the Yadu dynasty and take care of the cows....Only then you will understand the pain of the calves separated from their mother...!'


Those were the times when Hiranyakasipu, the terrible asura was ruling the earth like a dictator. It was at that time that there was an asura called Kalanemi. He had six pious sons – Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripumardhana and Krodhahantha. The six sons also called as Sada-Garbhas were exceptionally devoted to Lord Vishnu.
Ignoring Hiranyakasipu, the Sada-Garbhas prayed to Lord Brahma. They performed severe penance and austerities and finally pleased with them Lord Brahma appeared before them.
'My Lord! You have come!' They said enthusiastically.
Lord Brahma nodded. 'I know of your pious nature and I am very pleased with you! Please ask me any boon of your choice!'
The Sada-Garbha nodded their head. 'Please grant us a boon that we would not be hurt by any humans, animals or divine or the Demi-Gods! And if you are very pleased with us, grant us the boon that even the great sages would not be able to hurt us with their curses!' Lord Brahma knew that the Sada-Garbhas would not hurt others in any manner and happily granted the boon to the six of them.
However the Sada-Garbhas were in a world of trouble. Hiranyakasipu was thoroughly annoyed with the Sada-Garbhas. 'You approached Lord Brahma! And you wanted protection!' Hiranyakasipu was disgusted. 'I am the only God you should worship. Not Brahma or Vishnu!'He thundered. Angrily he looked at all of them. 'You think Brahma's boon will protect you!' He sneered. 'I curse you that you will be killed by your own father!'

Krishna - The Dark Lord of Dwaraka - Prelude - Part 2 of 4

Surasena and Mathura were the two kingdoms where most of the Yadavas lived. (The Yadavas were the descendants of Yadu, the son of Yayati)
It was the times when Sura was the king of Surasena.
Mathura was ruled by Ugrasena. Ugrasena had a brother Devaka. Kamsa was the son of Ugrasena and Devaki was the daughter of Devaka.
Kamsa, the crown prince of Mathura had no sisters of his own and because of this he loved his cousin sister like his own sister.
Vasudeva, the king of Mathura had six wives whom he loved dearly – Pauravi, Rohini, Bhadra, Madira, Rochana and Ila. It was proposed that Devaki the princess of Mathura should also be married to Vasudeva. Both Vasudeva and Devaki agreed gladly and the marriage was performed with great pomp and show.
Kamsa looked at his radiant sister and decided that Devaki would be very happy as the wife of Vasudeva and himself drove the couple in the chariot around the kingdom....
A loud voice cracked through the skies as Kamsa brought the chariot to a sudden skidding halt. 'YOU FOOL!' The voice jeered at him. 'What are you so happy about? Why are you so happy about the marriage of Devaki with Vasudeva? Do you not realize the consequences of this marriage? The eighth child born to Vasudeva and Devaki would be reason of your death!'
A sudden hush fell over the crowd as the voice stopped just as suddenly as it had started.
Everyone watched the crown prince.....A choleric rage spread through the face of Kamsa. With a snarl he threw down the reins of the chariot and stormed towards Devaki. Forgotten was the fact that he loved this woman as his own sister. Forgotten was the fact that he himself had approved of the marriage with his whole heart...All that mattered to Kamsa now was that Devaki had to cease to exist. Only if she died....Kamsa could live...
Devaki tried to calm down her brother but knew that he was beyond reason. Kamsa pulled out his sword and was about to attack a defenceless person, when Vasudeva interfered.
'KAMSA! The minute a person is born, his death is also written!' Vasudeva said retraining Kamsa with great difficulty. 'If the voice from the heaven speaks the truth then, Devaki's son may the instrument of your death.....Death is not something to be feared! It is natural!'
Kamsa did not even listen to a single word that Vasudeva said. He continued forward with his sword.
'DEVAKI IS NOT YOUR ENEMY!' Vasudeva shouted desperately. Kamsa stopped as he looked at Vasudeva. 'Your enemy is Devaki's son! Spare her life and...' Vasudeva swallowed as he realized that he was about to make a dangerous promise and also knew that he had no other choice if he had to save Devaki's life. '...I will give you all her children as soon as they are born!' Vasudeva said slowly, looking straight at Kamsa, praying....really praying that Kamsa listened to reason.
Kamsa looked at Devaki and then at Vasudeva and lowered his sword. 'I....I....Make sure you keep up your promise! Because if not....' Kamsa looked dangerously as he shoved the sword angrily inside the scabbard and huffed away from there, without completing the sentence.
The procession was cut short very quick as Vasudeva and Devaki went to the palace set aside for them...

The first son of Devaki was named Kirtiman (The first son has also been named as Smara in some other part of the Purana). Devaki watched in horror as Vasudeva took the new born baby with him.
'WHAT ARE YOU DOING?' Devaki shrieked trying to stop Vasudeva.
'Keeping my promise!' Vasudeva said feeling very angry with himself as he took the baby with him. He went to Kamsa's palace and offered the child to him.
Kamsa looked at Vasudeva and then at the child with a look of wonder in his face. He smiled. 'I do not know what to say! I knew you were a man of your word! And I am pleased! But the voice said that Devaki's eighth child was going to kill me! This is your first child! I see no harm in letting him be alive! Take him back!' Kamsa said quietly.
Vasudeva looked shocked and was about to happily take the child back when...
'Narayana! Narayana!' Both the men turned to see Sage Narada standing inside the palace with his trademark tamboora.
Vasudeva bowed to the sage first. Kamsa was irked. Everything about the sage irked him. Right from the look, to the tamboora....Kamsa realized that the name uttered by the sage was what made him angry most...Reluctantly he bowed to the sage.
Narada looked at the baby and then looked at Vasudeva. 'Please leave the child here, Prince Vasudeva! I wish to talk to Kamsa, privately!'
Flustered Kamsa led Sage Narada to the inner room. The sage looked shrewdly at Kamsa. 'What were you about to do, Kamsa?'
Kamsa frowned. 'What do you mean? I asked Vasudeva to take back...'
'I know!' Narada said impatiently. 'Are you a fool?' Narada thundered angrily as Kamsa watched perplexed. 'Do you even understand what you were about to do?'
Kamsa looked blankly as Narada sighed. 'Of course! How can I expect you to remember? I said 'Narayana's name....It annoyed you, did it not?'
Kamsa again nodded his head having no clue as to what the sage was going to say. 'Do you know who you were in your last birth?' Sage Narada said softly. Kamsa felt a throbbing headache as he mutely shook his head.
'You were born as Kalanemi, a great asura! And as Kalanemi you were killed by Lord Vishnu in your previous life!' Kamsa had a vision of huge asura, being killed....by a divine being. Kamsa blinked as Sage Narada nodded his head. 'Lord Vishnu is your enemy! And do you know that in this time, many devas have been born among the Yadavas under the command of Lord Vishnu! Right from Nanda, the cowherd head in Gokula to any of the powerful Yadava from your clan – They were born for the destruction of evil, everywhere! And you are just willing to let a child born among the Yadavas, to live?' Narada demanded angrily.
'But...but the voice said....' Kamsa said feeling very foolish.
'The voice said Devaki's eighth child would kill you, I know!' Narada cut in impatiently. Narada produced a lotus flower in his hand. A lotus flower with eight petals. Narada rotated it before Kamsa. 'Which is the first petal here, Kamsa? Which is the eighth petal?'
Narada did not need to speak anymore. Kamsa furiously got up realizing that he was about to make a folly in letting the first child of Devaki live....All the Yadavas were his enemy, all of them were loyal to Lord Vishnu....He should not let any of them alive...Or they would kill him.
Kamsa stormed out of the room and much to the horror of Vasudeva killed the first child.
Narada watched the entire scene with sad eyes as he went out. The Sada Garbhas could not live on earth...Because that was who the first child was. The first Sadha Garbha. An ordinary mortal life was not meant for any of the Sadha Garbhas. They were meant for salvation and a complete release from the eternal circle of life....And they could attain it only when Hiranyakasipu's curse was fulfilled. And for this they had to be killed by their own father – Kalanemi, who was now born as Kamsa....
Sage Narada passed Vasudeva and Devaki's palace which was filled with weeping and shrieking cries of Devaki as Vasudeva was trying to console Devaki, on the loss of her child....
Sage Narada smiled sadly. Neither Vasudeva nor Devaki knew who they were either. Sage Kashyap was Vasudeva and Devaki...had to face her punishment for what she had done to Diti when she had been Aditi.....
Devaki lost six sons this way – Smara, Udgita, Parishvanga, Patanga, Kshudrabhit and Ghrini.

Unfortunately Sage Narada's words proved dangerous for all of the Yadavas. Kamsa now started hating all the Yadavas and constantly harassed them. Kamsa even imprisoned his own father Ugrasena and took over the entire kingdom. The Yadavas fled the kingdom and settled in other kingdoms....

Krishna - The Dark Lord of Dwaraka - Prelude - Part 3 of 4

Kamsa behaved more and more as a tyrant and was particularly vicious to the other wives of Vasudeva. The wives fled and hid in the various villages in the outskirts of Mathura.
Rohini who was the sister of Yashoda, fled and stayed at Gokula with Yashoda and her husband Nanda, who was the chief of the cowherds there.
The Brahma Vairvatha Purana has a very interesting story in this connection.
In the times of old, when Kashyap had married the thirteen daughters of Daksha, he would spend equal times with all his wives and keep them happy. At one such time, when he was with Kadru, the mother of all the Nagas, the eldest sister Aditi was impatiently waiting for Kashyap to come home. When Aditi realized that Kashyap was delayed because he was at Kadru's house, Aditi cursed Kadru to be born as a human.
It is said that it was because of the curse that Kadru was born as Rohini, one of the wives of Vasudeva.
(The Harivamsa gives another account for the incarnation of Rohini. The story says that Sage Kashyap stole Varuna's cow with the help of two of his wives – Aditi and Surabhi. Because of this they were cursed to be born as cowherds. Sage Kashyap was born as Vasudeva, Aditi was born as Devaki and Surabhi was born as Rohini.)
Nanda and Yashoda who were the chief of the cowherds in the village of Gokula have a very interesting story behind them.
The eldest Vasu of the heavens was Drona and his wife was the pious Dhara. Together the two of them performed penance for many many years. The only reason they performed the penance was to see Lord Narayana with their own eyes. After long years of penance they heard the glorious voice of the Lord. 'Not only would you see the Lord, you would bring him up, in your next lives!'
It is said that Drona and Dharma were born as Nanda and Yashoda for this very reason.
After the death of her first six sons, Devaki was now carrying her seventh child.
Lord Vishnu in the heavens, knew that now that the six Sadha-Garbhas were released from their bondage, the next child of Devaki could not be allowed be to be killed.
He smiled as he called for Maya, the Goddess of Illusion. 'The seventh child of Devaki is Aadi Sesha! Devaki is in prison and she cannot bring up her seventh child! You may have to transfer the womb to another mother!'
Goddess Maya understood as she came to earth. Using her powers, she transferred the child in Devaki's womb to a safe place....far away.
Devaki was shocked when she felt something different. Something had changed. As Devaki realized what it was, she broke out weeping.

In the village of Gokula, Rohini was astonished, because she was suddenly looking radiant. She felt an intense power within her and slowly realized that a child was growing in her womb....

After the birth of the six children of Devaki, Kamsa was keeping a close watch on her. He was shocked when he saw that the seventh child was no longer in Devaki's womb. Now Kamsa was even more worried. Was the child which was going to be born now, the seventh child or the eighth child? He wondered.
Fuming Kamsa decided that Devaki and Vasudeva had to be under constant vigil and put them in prison.

Rohini became the surrogate mother of the seventh child of Devaki and she gave birth to a beautiful and strong child, who was named as Rama. 

Krishna - The Dark Lord of Dwaraka - Prelude - Part 4 of 4

In the town of Gokula, Nanda was a happy man. His wife Yashoda was carrying a child and he had no doubt that the child was special. Everywhere the signs he saw showed that his wife was destined to bring up someone whom the entire world was going to look up to. His sister-in-law Rohini had just given birth to a strong son – Rama. Nanda was sure that his child and Rama would be good friends and play here in the fields of Gokula.
In Mathura, Kamsa was more than worried. Ever since Devaki miscarried and the seventh child was not born, he was worried. He could not help but feel that something was wrong and that he had missed something important. Something was happening right under his eye and he did not know what.....He had his sister and brother-in-law imprisoned and still that did not satisfy him. No matter where he looked, he saw a dark beautiful child look at him, sometimes with love and sometimes with anger....
Kamsa was sure because he was now seeing Devaki in person and that too daily. Her face was gaunt and in despair, but she was radiant almost.....powerful. Kamsa had no doubt that she carried within her, the child who was going to be the reason of his death. He doubled the guards around the prison, even tripled it....Still it did nothing to bring him peace of mind.
Devaki and Yashoda went into labour on the same day. Yashoda gave birth to a beautiful girl child and then something happened....The entire village of Gokula went into a trance and the effect slowly spread to all the places around. The kingdom of Mathura was also not spared. All the people went into a trance there too.
Devaki was looking at her beautiful black son and found no words to express her feeling. Looking at the face, she was able to forget everything. All that she had endured for him to be born...She just kept looking unable to say anything. That was when they both heard a voice.
'Mother! You in your previous lives were Prishni and Vasudeva was Sutapa. At that time, you performed such a powerful meditation that you could have even asked for Moksha and I would I have given it to you....But you did not!'
Devaki and Vasudeva felt all this unfolding in their mind as the voice continued. 'You said that the only desire you had was that you wanted me as your child! As Prishni and Sutapa, I was born as Prishnigarbha, and I fulfilled the boon you had asked. The next time you were reborn as Aditi and Kashyap! At that time I was born as Upendra, your youngest son! I was better known as Vamana at that time! And now that you have been born as Devaki and Vasudeva, I have been born to you, to keep my promise!'
Vasudeva and Devaki looked in wonder as the voice continued. 'Take me to Gokula! There you will find a girl child Maya born to Yashoda and Nanda. Leave me there and bring that child here....I will come back and protect you when the time in right!'
Vasudeva looked shocked. It was raining outside and the the guards had been tripled the previous day. 'How can I do that?'
The voice continued. 'The guards would not stop you and neither will Nature! Go now!'
Vasudeva nodded and picked up a basket and placed the child inside and after looking at the baby for one last time, he carried the basket on his head. To say that Vasudeva was shocked was probably an understatement because he found all the guards in a sleep so deep that nothing seemed to wake them up. The prison doors which Vasudeva was sure had been locked almost opened by itself as he walked out. He reached the outside gates and looked stunned as he saw the howling rain. He knew that it was not very smart to carry a young baby in such a weather. But he knew that he had no other choice. He did not know how long the guards would remain asleep and he had to cross the Yamuna in this weather.....He had to be quick about it.
He walked through the cities and found that other than the howling wind and the rain, there was no other noise anywhere. It almost looked like whatever reason the guards had slept, had also put the entire village to sleep....The rain....The rain bothered Vasudeva. Not because it was incessant, but because none of it reached him. It almost seemed like he was looking at the rain, but none of it fell on him....Vasudeva did not know but had he turned, he would seen a huge snake following him acting as an umbrella to protect the child and Vasudeva. Sesha, the thousand headed snake who was the bed for Lord Vishnu was now the umbrella protecting the child and Vasudeva from the rain.
Vasudeva reached the banks of the river Yamuna and there he was in for another rude shock. The rain had made the water from the river run over the banks and was threatening to flood the villages nearby. He did not have a clue as to what he had to do. He looked around when something happened. Something which he was not able to explain....something impossible. The waters in the Yamuna parted....Vasudeva looked on unable to believe because right there in the middle of the river, a path was formed, a path completely free of water. A path from one end of the bank to the other. Vasudeva hastily stepped into the path and walked straight. The Yamuna looked ferocious as he threatened to overrun the banks. But the minute the waters reached the path, the water just stopped....Vasudeva carried the child across the path and the minute he came out of the river he looked back and was shocked. The river was now back to its ferocious pounding and it looked like the nearby villages were all going to get flooded. Vasudeva quickly carried the child to the house of Nanda and there he heard the cry of the other child. Yashoda seemed deep in sleep. Taking a deep breath, Vasudeva placed the dark child on the bed and took Yashoda's child with him. He kissed the baby once again and walked out of the house without turning his head.
Vasudeva reached the prison the exact same way he had gone to Gokula and the minute he was back in the prison, the prison doors clanged shut. The child in his hands which had been quiet till then, suddenly burst out crying loudly like a new born baby.
The guards rushed inside hearing the cries of the baby and knowing that it was the eighth child of Devaki, one of them rushed to tell Kamsa, the news.
Kamsa who was already having trouble sleeping ever since he knew that Devaki was carrying the eighth child, woke up with a start. He rushed out to the prison with the guards and true enough found the eighth child in Devaki's hands.
Devaki was clutching the child safely in his hands trying to shield it for Kamsa. Kamsa thinking that he was looking at his killer, pushed Devaki aside and pulled the baby towards him.
'ITS JUST A CHILD! A BABY! WHAT DO YOU THINK SHE IS GOING TO DO YOU?' Devaki screamed trying to take back the wailing baby. Kamsa rudely pushed Devaki to a side. 'Today is the day I conquer my death! With my killer gone, I will live forever.....' Kamsa was about to kill the child when the child flew from his hands. Kamsa looked as much shocked as the guards and Vasudeva and Devaki when the fierce and beautiful Goddess Maya appeared before them.

'YOU FOOL! Did you really think you can kill the eighth child of Devaki so easily?' The eyes of the Goddess flashed angrily as she looked at Kamsa. 'The eighth child of Devaki is safe and he will come and kill you when it is the time for your death!' The Goddess smiled fiercely. 'Till the eighth child kills you....you will never never be able to sleep or have any peace of mind!' The Goddess vanished from there leaving the prison almost dark as the stunned people looked on.....