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My God The Poor
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Related to Swami Vivekananda
March ahead to advaita
At The Parliament of Religions: Chicago 1893
Swami Vivekananda and Madame Calve
Nature of India's Contribution
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Sri Ramakrishna: A Brief life sketch
The Game of Ladder
Glory of Sri Ramakrishna
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What is Hinduism?
Gita: A Series
Path of Devotion in Gita
Karma Yoga in the Gita
Introduction to Katha Upanishad
Introduction to Isha Upanishad
Religious Social Movements
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Yoga: Part 1 | Yoga: Part 2
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Story of Sri Krishna: Part 1
'Whenever dharma or righteousness declines and unrighteousness is on rise I embody myself as an Incarnation - Avatara -' so declares Lord Krishna in the Gita. In Hindu mythology such incarnations are always of Lord Vishnu, the sustainer of the three worlds. Sri Krishna is no exception.
The ancient India was ridden with adharma - sense enjoyment, hatred, jealousy, exploitation and crimes on innocent people. The kings had forgotten their duties of protecting the people and ruling for the welfare of all. God and religion were swept under the carpet; forgotten in the sense gratification of the rich and the powerful.
Kamsa, the king of Mathura, was one such cruel king who ruled his kingdom heavy-handedly. Sycophancy, neglect of needs of the people, and exploitation of the weak was rampant. He drove out his father and took his throne per force. People were afraid of him, cursing his wickedness in silence, but without any power to dislodge him or openly revolt against him. And, as is customary, they all prayed to the Lord Almighty to embody as human being and relive them from their miseries by destroying the wicked King.
The gods in the heaven heard their prayers. Indra, the King of Heavenly Kingdom, was also worried about the growing power of wicked Kamsa who, Indra was afraid, might attack and snatch the Kingdom of Heaven from him. Thus, after consultations among themselves, all the heavenly gods approached Lord Vishnu in His abode at Vaikuntha and pleaded to save mankind as well as them from the evil propensities of Kamsa.
"O Lord of Lords, O savior of all, nothing is unknown to you. You know the condition of earthly people under the malevolent rule of Kamsa, and the threat he poses to the kingdom of heaven. Instead of dharma, adharma reigns supreme now. O destroyer of enemies, help us; help us. We take refuge in you," so prayed Indra to Lord Vishnu.
Reassuring the terrified and anxious gods, the Lord replied, "Have no worries anymore, for soon I will take birth on the Earth to put the unrighteous rule of Kamsa to an end. And behold! the sinner will also be destroyed along with all his power and supporters. I have decided to be born as his nephew, as the son of his sister Devaki."
Indian mythology is full of such wonderful complexities. The Lord taking birth in the family of the wicked king to destroy the wicked himself! Of course Kamsa had no prior knowledge of all these promises and plans of the Lord.
Kamsa gave his sister Devaki in marriage to a noble king Vasudeva, who was pious, god-fearing, righteous, and a devotee of Vishnu. Devaki herself was kind, compassionate, and devoted to God. Thus, the couple offered the perfect human conditions for the Lord to incarnate on the Earth as their son. During the marriage procession, as Kamsa himself was driving her sister to her husband's palace, there occurred an unusual forecast. A ringing voice echoed from the heavens:
"O fool Kamsa, Devaki and Vasudeva to whom you are so lovingly driving to their palace shall be the cause of your downfall and death. Listen, the eighth son of Devaki will be Lord Himself who would not spare you and your wicked supporters from total annihilation."
Kamsa was flabbergasted to hear such a strange and inauspicious forecast. Fear drenched his brow and his heart trembled in desperation. His wicked mind instantly decided to put an end to both his newly wedded sister and his brother-in-law. Taking out his sword he was about to attack Devaki, when Vasudeva intervened and said: "O Kamsa, how cruel you are! The sin you are going to commit of killing newly married younger sister will bring windfall of miseries and diseases to you. Even life in hell will not be sufficient penance for such a ghastly crime. I suggest an alternative; don't kill her, I give my word of honor that the eighth child that will be born to us will be handed over to you. Then there will be no danger to you; you can very easily kill the child."
Kamsa accepted the offer partly. He made the couple promise that every child born to them would be handed over within hours of birth, and he put his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva in the prison, soldiers constantly guarding the cell.
Continued ... 2.
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