Chapter XLII - 158 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"One night, lying on the floor of the prison room, Devaki developed labour pains; she fixed her mind on God, and looked intently at the flame of the little oil lamp, anxiously asking herself, 'What is to happen to me? What lies in the future for me?' Suddenly, the flame went out, and darkness filled the cell. Just then, she beheld an effulgent form, casting a strange splendour, standing before her. She wondered who it might be; she called on Vasudeva, afraid that it might be Kamsa in that shape; she was lost in confusion and doubt, about the identity of the phenomenon before her."

"Suddenly, the form became clear! It was armed with the conch, the discus, and the mace; the fourth hand was held in the Abhaya pose (the pose that indicates that one need have no fear). It said softly and sweetly, 'Do not grieve. I am Naryana. I am to be born in a few moments as your son, with intent to wipe off all your travails, in answer to the promise I made when you visualised Me as a result of your earnest asceticism. Do not be anxious about Me. Be but witnesses of the drama that is about to be staged. In all the fourteen worlds, there is no one born or to be born who can inflict on Me the least harm; be assured of that. Even when some little anxiety affects you as a consequence of affection for the child you bore and of delusion fogging the mind, you will be able to witness immediately miracles that will reveal My nature."

"No sooner am I born than the shackles will fall off from your hands and feet. The doors of the prison will open by themselves. Take Me from here without any one's knowledge to the home of Nanda in Gokula, and place Me by the side of his wife, Yasoda, who is having labour pains this very moment. Bring from her side the baby girl that she has delivered, back into this prison and keep her with you. Then, send word to Kamsa. Until he gets the news, no one either in Mathura or Gokula will notice you, or apprehend you; I shall arrange it so.' He shone in divine splendour and blessing Devaki and Vasudeva, He entered the womb of Devaki as an orb of light. Within minutes, the child was born."

The time was 3.30 a.m., the auspicious hour of Brahma-muhurtham. The Vishnu-maya (divine power to delude) brought sleep, sudden and log-like, on all the guards and on all the watch and ward. They fell in their places and were caught in sleep. The thick iron chains that bound the hands and feet of Vasudeva fell off, in a trice. The doors and the gates flew open. Though it was the darkest hour of the night, the cuckoo was cooing with a sudden spurt of joy; parrots were announcing the heavenly happiness they felt. The stars were twinkling, for each of them was smiling in inner joy. The Rain-God was showering flower-drops of rain on the earth below. Around the prison, flocks of birds clustered in happy song, twittering sweet melody."

"Vasudeva realised that all this was the manifestation of the charm of God; he turned his eye towards the new born child and was astounded at what he saw. Was it true? He asked himself. Or, was it a mental illusion? He was fixed to the spot, like a pillar. For, Maharaja! Encircling the babe was a brilliant halo of light! The babe laughed outright, seeing the mother and the father. It appeared the babe was about to speak out something! Yes. They heard the words. 'Now, without delay, take Me to Gokul.'"

"Vasudeva did not tarry. He spread an old Dhoti on a bamboo mat-let, and placed the babe on it; he tore the scarf of an old Sari of Devaki and covered the babe with it. Then he moved out of the open doors and gates, past the sleeping guards."