11 Aug The appearance of Lord Krishna
Once upon a time, Mother Earth was very much worried because many evil kings were ruling over the world. Mother Earth, whose divine name is Bhu-Devi or Bhumi, took a form of a cow and approached Lord Brahma to ask for help. Lord Brahma is the father of the Universe, taking care that the world runs smoothly and justly. Lord Brahma, Bhumi, and other demigods approached Lord Vishnu who lives on the shores of the milk ocean, in the divine land called Shvetadvipa. Lord Vishnu heard their prayers and promised to them: „Soon, I will come down to earth as the son of Vasudeva, to save all the devotees and to kill all the demons. All of you demigods should take birth on earth in the Yadu family.“
Sometime later, Vasudeva, the son of the Yadu king Shurasena, married beautiful princess Devaki, daughter of King Ugrasena. Her brother Kamsa drove them to their new home on a wonderful golden chariot. Accompanying them, there were hundreds of other nice chariots with horses and elephants, along with wonderful music from conch shells, bugles, and drums. Suddenly, a great voice was heard from the sky: „Kamsa, you are such a fool! You are driving your sister in the chariot, but the eighth son of her will kill you.“ Hearing this, Kamsa became afraid. Immediately he caught Devaki’s hair and raised his sword to kill her. But, her fearless husband Vasudev stopped him, promising to give all the children Devaki will bear to Kamsa. Knowing that Vasudeva is a nobleman who always keeps his promise, Kamsa did not kill Devaki. But, to feel more secure, he locked Vasudeva, Devaki, and his father Ugrasena in prison, and made himself the new king. He began to disturb the whole Yadu family and he killed the six baby boys born to Devaki and Vasudeva, one after another. Before it was born, the seventh baby was taken by the magic wings of Krishna’s fairy sister Yogamaya from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini, who became the new mother of the seventh baby, Balarama. Then Krishna was ready to come as the eighth son of Devaki – the baby Kamsa feared the most.
At the time of Krishna’s birth, there were good signs everywhere. The stars moved to good positions in the skies. The rivers were full of clear flowing waters and the lakes were full of lotus flowers. The forests were full of beautiful singing birds and dancing peacocks. The soft winds smelled of sweet flowers. The angels on the sky began to sing heavenly songs, accompanied by the dancing of Apsaras, heavenly dancers. And the great sages and demigods showered flowers from the skies.
Then in the darkness of night, during a heavy rainstorm, Lord Vishnu appeared before Devaki and Vasudeva. They saw their beautiful baby son with four hands holding a conch shell, club, disc, and lotus flower, illuminating the room with His effulgence. He was dressed in soft yellow silk, valuable golden bracelets, bangles, earrings, and other ornaments all over His body. He had a lovely curly black hair and wore a helmet on His head. Vasudeva and Devaki, full of wonder, offered their prayers with folded hands: „ Our Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead and You have so kindly appeared as our son to kill the demonic kings of the world like Kamsa. As soon as he knows You are here, he will try to hurt you. So please, hide Your four-armed form from our eyes!“
Krishna answered: „I know you are worried about Me out of great love and are afraid of Kamsa. Therefore, take Me now to Gokula Vrindavana and exchange Me with the daughter who has just been born to Yashoda.“ Then, the Lord turned Himself into an ordinary small baby.
Vasudeva put his little son in his hands and quietly took Him out of the prison. Yogamaya put her magic spell on the doorkeepers and everyone else in the Kamsa’s palace, who slept very nicely. The night was dark and rainy. While Vasudeva carried little Krishna in the heavy rain, Lord Ananta Shesha spread His serpent hood over Vasudeva’s head like an umbrella. They came to the Yamuna River which was roaring with big waves and foam. But the river opened the way for them to pass. On the other side, Vasudeva went to the home of Nanda Maharaja in Vrindavana, where everyone was also sleeping. He walked inside quietly and put Krishna down next to mother Yashoda. Then he picked up Yashoda’s baby girl and went back with her to the prison of Kamsa, where he put her down, next to Devaki. He locked everything very well, so Kamsa could not see what has happened during the night.
As soon as the baby girl started to cry, the doorkeepers woke up and went to tell the news to Kamsa. Kamsa, terrified, hurried to the prison and looked at the bad of Devaki. Quietly, Devaki asked: „My dear brother, please do not kill this baby girl. You will not be killed by a girl, but by my eighth son.“ The cruel Kamsa did not listen to her but grabbed the baby to throw her down hard on the stone. But the baby miraculously slipped out of his hands and went up in the sky, transforming herself into the wonderful goddess Durga. She wore a beautiful dress, flower garlands, and shining ornaments. In her eighth hands, she held weapons: a bow, spear, arrows, bell, conch shell, disc, club, and shield. From above the sky, the goddess Durga shouted at Kamsa: „You rascal, you can not kill me! The child who will kill you is already born somewhere in this world. And do not be so cruel to your poor sister.“ Saying that she disappeared. And Kamsa? Kamsa became even more afraid than before. He ordered his soldiers to kill all children born within the last ten days. From that moment on, he was not able to peacefully think, eat, walk, talk, rest, or sleep. All-day and all-night he was thinking of how Krishna could come to kill him at any moment.
In Vrindavana, the village of cowherd man headed by Nanda Maharaja, it was declared that the boy was born to Yashoda. To celebrate the birth of his son, Nanda Maharaja gave away many hundreds of decorated cows, mountains of grains, valuable cloth, and ornaments to the priests- brahmanas, musicians, and singers. The priests chanted hymns for the good fortune of the child. All the cowherd man and their wives, the gopis, dressed up nicely and brought gifts to the newborn child. According to the custom, the gopis gave their blessings to the baby by sprinkling Him, and everyone around, with the mixture of turmeric powder, oil, yogurt, milk, and water. Seeing the fun, the cowherd man in turn joyfully threw yogurt, milk, and water on the gopis. Then everyone began to throw butter on each other! Nanda Maharaja was very happy to see them all enjoying Krishna’s birth celebration, praying to God to always protect his child.
This story is based on the description from canto 10 of Bhagavata Purana, a sacred scripture of ancient India, with translation and commentary of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.