Chapter XLI - 152 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"In olden days, Mathura was the capital city of the Yadu dynasty. Within the precincts of this city, there lived a tributary ruler, a Yadu prince, Surasena by name. He had ten sons and five daughters; the eldest son was named Vasudeva. Kunthi was his eldest daughter. These princely families lived side by side, and the children grew. The flow of time sped fast, and urged by the force of historic cause, produced epoch-making consequences."

"Devaki, the daughter of Kamsa's paternal uncle, was given in marriage to Vasudeva; the marriage was celebrated on a grand scale. Rulers, kings and emperors, scholars, sages and saints assembled in large numbers. The city was packed with distinguished princes and personages. Kamsa took special interest in dealing out prolific and pompous hospitality to every one; he had no sisters of his own, he loved Devaki as his dearest self; so, he dowered her with costly raiments, precious jewels, and all the paraphernalia of regal glory. Every one was delighted at the grandeur of the festival. On the third day, the bride had to be sent to the groom's home with all customary presents and gifts; so Kamsa himself drove the newly weds in a magnificent chariot. When they were proceeding in a colourful procession through the decorated streets of the city, suddenly there was a brilliant lightning flash over the chariot; there was a blast of terrific sound as if the world was being destroyed by a deluge all in one gulp. The flash and the blast stunned prince and peasant into pillars of immobility. All music was silenced that very moment. That instant, the silence was broken by a few clear words that exploded through the sky."

"The words were: 'O, emperor Kamsa! You are behaving like a fool, unaware of coming events! This very sister whom you love as your own self, whom you are now taking so affectionately in this chariot with so much pomp and pleasure - she will bear as her eighth child the person who will deal you death! Reflect on that coming calamity.'"

"The shining figure that spoke these ominous words disappeared from the sky. The populace, the princes and the scholars who listened to the dreadful news of doom lost all trace of joy. Kamsa, on the chariot, was filled with a fury of fire. He lost control of himself; he was overcome by confusion; the reins fell off his grasp. His heart was aflame with hate. His thoughts fled fast into fiercer and fiercer fears. At last, they took a decisive turn. With the sister alive, the killer will be born; when the sister's life is cut, she cannot bring forth the person who can deal him death! Thinking in this strain, he lifted the sister from her seat at the back of the chariot, grasping her plaited hair! Forcing her to stand up, he pulled his sharp sword from out of its scabbard, with the vile intention of slicing off her head."

"Even the hardest heart recoiled from the awful sight. What a frightful thing was this, that he should attempt to kill the very sister whom he loved so long, so deeply and whom he was escorting with such gusto, was so stunning by its contrast. No one could do anything to avert the disaster."