Lord Shiva Blesses Kamsa
Thousands of years ago the planet Earth was overburdened by with many sinful Kings. These kings had created huge disturbances to their subjects. They had stop all forms of religious practices and worship to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Visnu.
Unable to carry the sinful burden of these powerful rulers, Mother Earth, known as Bhumi, assumed the form of a cow and approached Lord Brahma to invoke the Lord’s compassion. Weeping she explained to the lord of how she is being harassed by the demoniac kings. She asked Lord Brahma to intervene to save the Earth.
Lord Brahma, along with all the demigods headed by Lord Siva began travelling to the Ocean of milk, where The Personality of Godhead, Sri Visnu resides. There they offered the Purusha-sukta prayers to Lord Visnu. Lord Brahma then went into deep meditation and after some time Lord Visnu personally appeared to him. Lord Brahma then relayed the distress of Mother Earth and explained about an evil, demoniac King named Kamsa. Lord Visnu immediately called upon his Sudharsan Chakra to kill Kamsa however, Lord Brahma informed Him of the benediction that was given by Lord Shiva to Kamsa.
Once before King Kamsa did severe austerities to become immortal. For many, many thousands of years He stood on one leg with his hands raised high in the air. In this way he pleased Lord Shiva who then asked Kamsa what benediction he desired. Kamsa asked to become immortal but, Lord Shiva said that it is not possible to become immortal because in this material nature no one can become immortal. Then Lord Shiva gave him the benediction, that the eighth son of someone, who is very dear to him, will be able to kill him. Kamsa pondered on this and thought how is it that the eighth son of someone close to him will be able to kill him. He then accepted the benediction of Lord Shiva.
Lord Brahma told Lord Visnu that the only way to kill Kamsa is if Lord Visnu Himself takes birth in the womb of Kamsa sister Devaki. Lord Visnu then accepted this and said that He will appear as His original Self, as Lord Krsna. He told Lord Brahma to tell all the demigods to take birth on the earth planet in order to assist him.
Meanwhile in Goloka Vrndavan (in the spiritual Sky), The Original Supreme Personality Of Godhead, Sri Vrndavan Candra, Sri Krsna was making all the arrangements for His pastimes down on the earth planet. After every 28 cycles of the yugas, Sri Krsna appears in His original form on Earth and it so happened that this was that 28th cycle.
Underneath a Tamal Tree, Lord Krsna sat down with Srimati Radharani and conversed with Her about His appearance on earth. He wanted Her to come as well.
Srimati Radharani told Lord Krsna that She cannot go because there were no Yamuna River and No Govardhan Hill. Krsna then pointed to Srimati Radharani and told Her to see that Yamuna River and Govardhan Hill had already appeared on the earth planet. Srimati Radharani then agreed to go but She made one condition. She said that She is the most chaste lady of Vraja and She will not see any man before She sees Her Lord Krsna. Therefore, She told Lord Krsna that when she appears on Earth, she will appear with her eyes closed.
The Birth of Kamsa
On planet Earth, King Surasena was ruling. He had a son by the name of Vasudeva and He decided to marry his son to Devaki, the daughter of Devaka. Kamsa being the cousin brother of Devaki had decided to be the Chariot driver on their wedding day.
Although born in a pious family, Kamsa had some deep-rooted secrets. He was the son of king Ugrasena and Padmavati. Padmavati was a very beautiful lady of extraordinary beauty. Maharaj Ugrasena was very happy with his bride and stayed happily with her. But Padmavati being very much attached to her paternal home would often make trips to stay with them. Her parents lived in a mountainous region. It was a beautiful and serene place with cool flowing waterfalls, exotic birds and bubble bees. Every day Padmavati would go with her girl friend associates and play in these exquisite meadows.
On one such day Drumila, the King of the demons, by his mystic powers was flying in the sky. He noticed all the young girls playing. But his attention was distracted by the special beauty of Padmavati. Being a demon his lusty desire began to overcome him. He noticed the red dot on the forehead and the red line on her hair, but he had not a care and decided that he will enjoy this beauty. Being a demon he could understand that Padmavati was the wife of Ugrasena and by the help of mystic powers, he shape-shifted himself into Ugrasena.
As the girls played, Padmavati saw the form of her husband appear. They both enjoyed themselves in the romantic atmosphere. But after conception, Padmavati noticed her husband’s touch was too heavy and not gentle. She sensed that there was something wrong with the personality of her husband. With a shocked expression, she asked him who he was. The King of the demons then revealed his true self. Padmavati broke down and began crying expressing her disappointment that her chastity had been broken.
In due course of time Padmavati gave birth to a baby boy called Kamsa. Therefore, although Kamsa was born in a pious family, he still had demoniac mentalities of Drumila.
Kamsa was a mighty warrior and over the years he had made allies with many demoniac personalities. Using his mystic powers he searched for different demons throughout the universes. He went everywhere and made friends with them all. When Kamsa saw Dhenukasura, he challenged him to fight and he smashed Dhenuka into the ground until Dhenuka begged for mercy. Kamsa said only if you surrender. From That day on Dhenuka was his surrendered servant.
Then Kamsa was looking for more to fight. He came before Agasura, a snake demon. He challenged him with strong words. Agasura opened his mouth out wide, but Kamsa wrapped himself around the throat of Agasura. Agasura’s throat was so big that Kamsa had to use his entire body to strangle Agha and then Choking Agha surrendered to Kamsa.
One time the Kesi demon whose in the form of a horse came charging to Kamsa. Kamsa just picked him up and threw him aside. Kesi fell hard, spitting blood. In this way Kesi joined the ranks of Kamsa’s demon army.
One particular day, while Kamsa was the crowned prince, a huge wild Elephant by the name of Kuvalayāpida (KOO-VA-LA-YA-PI-DA) entered Mathura. This KOOVALAYAPIDA was like a mad elephant and was destroying Mathura.
Kamsa just picked up the elephant threw him far away out of Mathura. The owner of the elephant, who was another demoniac king, Jarasanda was very impressed at the strength of Kamsa and gave the the elephant to Kamsa. He had also given his daughter as a bride to Kamsa. In this way Kamsa had aligned himself with the family of Jarasanda. Jarasanda was also a powerful King and he had many demons supporting him. In this way Kamsa’s army grew bigger and a more powerful pact was created.
Kamsa hears of his coming death
In his previous birth Vasudev was Kashyapa Muni and he had two wives Aditi and Kadru. Aditi became Devaki and Kadru became Rohini. Whenever Krsna appears on this earth planet these personalities take the form of His parents.
On the day of Vasudev and Devaki’s marriage Kamsa was the chariot driver of the couple. As he took them to the bridegrooms house a celestial voice in the sky spoke to Kamsa.
Hearing this voice, without any hesitation, Kamsa immediately caught hold of Devaki’s hair, unsheathed sword and was about to kill her. Kamsa the valiant warrior and conquer of all demons was ready to kill his sister out of fear of death.
Vasudeva was astonished at Kamsa’s behavior, and in order to pacify the cruel, shameless brother-in-law, he began to speak as follows, with great reason and evidence. He said, “My dear brother-in-law Kamsa, you are the most famous king of the Bhoja dynasty, and people know that you are the greatest warrior and a valiant king. How is it that you are so infuriated that you are prepared to kill a woman who is your own sister at this auspicious time of her marriage? Why should you be so much afraid of death? Death is already born along with your birth. From the very day you took your birth, you began to die. Suppose you are twenty-five years old; that means you have already died twenty-five years. Every moment, every second, you are dying. Why then should you be so much afraid of death? Final death is inevitable. You may die either today or in a hundred years; you cannot avoid death. Why should you be so much afraid? Death means annihilation of the present body. As soon as the present body stops functioning and mixes with the five elements of material nature, the living entity within the body accepts another body, according to his present actions and reactions. It is just like when a man walks on the street: he puts forward his foot, and when he is confident that his foot is situated on sound ground, he lifts the other foot. In this way, one after another, the bodies change and the soul transmigrates. See how the plant worms change from one twig to another so carefully. Similarly, the living entity changes his body as soon as the higher authorities decide on his next body. As long as a living entity is conditioned within this material world, he must take material bodies one after another. His next particular body is offered by the laws of nature, according to the actions and reactions of this life.“
Vasudeva then tried to reason with his brother-in-law and suggested that Kamsa need not be afraid of his sister Devaki but only the eighth child of Devaki. Vasudeva told Kamsa that he will bring every child that is born from the womb of Devaki to him.
Kamsa knew that Vasudeva was a man of his word, and so he let Devaki go. Thereafter year after year Devaki gave birth to eight male children and one daughter. When the first child was born, Vasudev keeping to his words, brought the child to Kamsa.
Kamsa’s previous life
‘Kamsa became satisfied by the action of Vasudeva. He was surprised to see Vasudeva keeping his promise, and being compassionate upon him and pleased, he began to speak as follows: “My dear Vasudeva, you need not present this child to me. I am not in danger from this child. I have heard that the eighth child born of you and Devaki will kill me. Why should I accept this child unnecessarily? You can take him back.“
At that time the great sage Nārada came to see Kamsa. He was informed of Kamsa’s becoming compassionate to Vasudeva and returning his firstborn child. Nārada was very eager to accelerate the descent of Lord Krsna as soon as possible. He therefore informed Kamsa that in Vrndāvana personalities like Nanda Mahārāja and all the other cowherd men and their wives, as well as on the other side Vasudeva, his father Sūrasena and all his relatives born in the family of Vrsni of the Yadu dynasty, along with all their friends and well-wishers, were demigods. Nārada warned Kamsa to be careful of them, since Kamsa and his friends and advisors were all demons. Demons are always afraid of demigods and so after being thus informed by Nārada about the appearance of the demigods in different families, Kamsa at once became very much alarmed. He understood that since the demigods had already appeared, Lord Visnu must be coming soon. He at once arrested both his brother-in-law Vasudeva and Devaki and put them behind prison bars.
Within the prison, shackled in iron chains, Vasudeva and Devaki gave birth to a male child year after year, and Kamsa, thinking each of the babies to be the incarnation of Visnu, killed them one after another. He was particularly afraid of the eighth child, but after the visit of Nārada, he came to the conclusion that any child might be Krsna . Therefore it was better to kill all the babies who took birth from Devakī and Vasudeva.
Kamsa was made aware of his previous birth by the grace of Nārada. He learned that in his previous birth he had been a demon of the name Kālanemi and that he had been killed by Visnu .
Once Lord Brahma had become attracted to his own daughter named Vak. All the demigods had observed this but was not disrespectful to Lord Brahma. Marici, a great sage had six sons. These boys laughed at the behaviour of Lord Brahma. Because of causing this offense to Lord Brahma these six boys had fell down from their saintly position and took birth as demons.
They became the sons of Kalanemi and grandsons of Hiranyakasipu. These boys also wanted to become immortal so they began performing austerities to worship the demigods. Hiranyakasipu heard of this and became very angry. He was upset that his grandson was not worshipping him but worshipping the demigods. He then cursed them that in the next lives they will be killed by their father.
Kalanemi was a great demon. He was an enemy of Lord Visnu. After the churning of the Milk Ocean, Kalanemi was riding on a lion, holding a Trident in his hand. When he saw the Supreme Lord Visnu coming down on Garuda he threw the Trident at Him. Lord Visnu, who is unconquerable, defeated Kalanemi and killed him. The spiritual master of the demons then took the dead body of Kalanemi. He gave it sanjivani herbs and brought Kalanemi back to life. Kalanemi then preformed tapasya (austerities) to Lord Brahma. When Lord Brahma requested his desires, Kalanemi said that he wants a benediction that no demigod, no living entity of this creation can kill him and that he will have great strength to conquer all directions. Lord Brahma gave him this benediction and in his next life he became Kamsa.
The six sons of Kalanemi took birth as sons of Devaki and one by one they were killed by Kamsa.
Source: As told by HG Atma-tattva Das and HH Radhanath Swami