Salutations to Sri Krishna, the Lord of Gopis, the charioteer of Arjuna, the destroyer of sins, the teacher of mankind, Lord of Lakshmi, beloved of Rukmini, Radha and Satyabhama, who is an embodiment of Bliss, who is the Universe itself and who bore the Govardhana hill on the tip of His little finger.
Bhudevi was very much oppressed by the burden of several Asuras in the form of haughty kings. Therefore she sought refuge in Brahma. Brahma said, Lord Narayana is going to incarnate in the house of Vasudeva as Krishna. Adisesha will be born as his elder brother to do service to Him. The celestial women also will be born in the world to serve Him. The sages will take the form of cows. You will not be troubled any more. Lord Krishna will punish the wicked and establish Dharma.
Ugrasena, the king of Mathura, had a beautiful wife, who was barren. One day, when walking in a wood, she lost her companions; and when alone a demon becoming enamored of her assumed her husband’s form, and as a result a son was born, who was named Kansa.
Kansa was the crown prince of Mathura. His father, King Ugrasena was old and most of the power was already in the hands of Kansa. The people of Mathura looked upon Kansa with disfavor and fear, as he was known for his cruel and wicked deeds. But there was one person Kansa really cared for – his cousin Devaki.
Devaki was a beautiful young lady, pious and good-natured. When her wedding was fixed with Vasudeva, a young man of noble birth, who was also a friend of her brother. Kansa was overjoyed. After the wedding celebrations were over, King Ugrasena bid a tearful farewell to Devaki who was almost like a daughter to him. Vasudeva and Devaki sat in the chariot laden with wedding gifts. Kansa himself offered to drive the chariot to escort his sister to her new home. Suddenly, like a clap of thunder, a voice was heard across the heavens, which shattered the joyous mood of all. ‘O foolish Prince! What are you so happy about? Know that the eighth son born to this sister of yours will bring you to your death.’
On hearing this divine prophecy, Kansa immediately pulled out his sword and caught Devaki by her hairs. His face red with anger, he shouted at the voice he had heard. "I shall kill Devaki now, before she bears any child who can harm me." He raised his sword to cut off her head when Vasudeva stopped him. "O great prince, think of your reputation when people come to know that you have killed a helpless, innocent woman, that too your sister," pleaded Vasudeva. "If you spare Devaki’s life, I promise you that I shall hand over to you any child born to us."
Kansa thought for a while and agreed. He ordered that the pair should be kept in captivity and should be informed immediately if any child was born to this pair. Knowing that King Ugrasena would not condone his treatment of Devaki while he was ruler, Kansa went to the palace with his followers and imprisoned his father. Thus usurping the throne, he crowned himself as the new king of Mathura. Kansa was a cruel ruler and day-by-day his atrocities also increased. People bean to leave in dread as his reign of terrorism continued.
Kansa killed the first six children born to Devaki in prison. He was under the impression that he had destroyed Devaki’s children, but this was not the case. The children that were handed over to him were children of Hiranyakashipu, whom Lord Vishnu slew in Narsingha Avatara, who were brought from the nether regions by Yogamaya, “the great illusory energy of Lord Vishnu,” and lodged in Devaki’s womb in order that the cruel Kansa might be deluded. Lord Vishnu said to goddess Yoga Maya: “Go to the nether regions and by my command conduct successively six of their princes to be conceived by Devaki. When these shall have been put to death by Kansa, the seventh conception shall be formed of a portion of Shesha (the serpent deity), who is part of me; and this you shall transfer before the time of birth to Rohini, another wife of Vasudeva, who resides at Gokula.” The child who was born thus was Balarama. “The report to Kansa will be that Devaki miscarried. I will myself become incarnate in her eighth conception; and you shall lodge as the embryo offspring of Yashoda, the wife of the Gopa named Nanda. In the night of the eighth of the dark half of the month Nabhas I shall be born; and you will be born at the same time to Yashoda. Encouraged and aided by my power, Vasudeva shall bear me to the bed of Yashoda, and you to the bed of Devaki. Kansa shall take you and hold you up to dash you against a stone; but you shall escape into the sky, where Indra shall meet and do homage to you through reverence of me.”
Yoga Maya agreed and went to the earth and acted accordingly. The all-pervading Lord entered the mind of Vasudeva in full form. Devaki shone with the holy spirit of the universal Lord imparted mentally by Vasudeva. Vasudeva and Devaki did severe penance in their former lives to have Krishna as their child.
Kamsa was more watchful at the eighth time. He kept Devaki and Vasudeva under close custody. Krishna was born in the prison house as ordained by Vishnu.
Brahma with Rudra, and Rishis like Narada, and Devas came and praised the God in the womb:"O blessed Mother Devaki! the supreme Lord has incarnated in you for our glory and well-being and the welfare of this world at large. Your son will become a Saviour. Kamsa will be destroyed soon. Fear not.
Then the auspicious hour came. The star Rohini was shining. It was Vijaya Muhurta. The elements were extremely pleasant at the birth of Krishna. Winds were blowing auspiciously. The stars were shining with lustre. The lakes were filled with lotuses. Lord Krishna incarnated at midnight on this earth. The gods played divine music. The Kinnaras and Gandharvas sang. Siddhas and Charanas praised. The Vidyadharas (various grades of celestial beings) danced along with Apsaras, sages and Devas. There was a rain of flowers from the heavens in joy.
Vishnu incarnated with lotus eyes, with four hands, armed with conch, disc, mace and lotus, with the diamond Kausthuba, with the mark Srivatsa adorning the chest, wearing silk Pitambara, with ear ornaments made of diamonds, with the crown made of several emeralds, with bracelets in the lower and upper arms and valuable waist-string. Vasudeva saw this marvel of a divine child.
The Lord said, Let both of you often meditate with love on Me as a son. You will obtain eternal bliss and immortality.