A few days ago we celebrated Krishna Janmashtami. Would you like to hear the story of the birth that is the heart of all the festivities? This is how the story goes.
Mother earth, dismayed by the evils of the kings and rulers of her people, appealed to Lord Brahma. Brahma in turn consulted with Lord Vishnu. After much discussion, Lord Vishnu assured Lord Brahma that he would soon be born on earth to deal with these tyrannical forces.
One of these evil forces was the ruler of Mathura, Kamsa. His people were terrified of him. On the day Kamsa’s sister Devaki was married to Vasudeva, a voice from the sky prophesized that Devaki’s eighth son would be the one who destroyed Kamsa. In his fury at these words Kamsa raised his sword to kill his sister, but her new husband intervened, imploring Kamsa to spare his new bride. Vasudeva promised that if his wife was spared he would hand over every new born child to Kamsa. Kamsa agreed, but the couple.
When Devaki gave birth to her first child, a beautiful boy, Kamsa came to her prison cell and slaughtered the child. He continued this practice with Devaki’s first seven sons. When Devaki became pregnant again, she and Vasudeva started to lament their own fate and that of their next child. Lord Vishnu suddenly appeared before them that he himself would come to rescue them and the citizens of Mathura. He would come as their son and asked Vasudeva to take him to the house of his friend, the cow herd chief Nanda in Gokula, right after he was born. Nanda’s wife had just given birth to a daughter, and he was to exchange his son for Yashoda’s daughter and bring her back to prison. Vishnu assured them that nothing shall bar his path.