Kansa: The despotic ruler of Mathura (I)
In the previous blog, we discussed the background of the birth of Lord Krishna. In this blog, we begin with the actual story. And the story begins with King Kansa, who was infamously known as the despotic ruler of the kingdom of Mathura.
Mathura, before Kansa came into power, had a very benevolent King and Queen. King Ugrasena and Queen Padmavati were ideal rulers. Things went wrong when once Queen Padmavati was tricked by a powerful wandering Gandharva into thinking that he was her husband, Ugrasena. By the time Padmavati realized that she had been tricked, she had already conceived. The child born to her was thus half human and half gandharva, a reincarnation of the demon Kalanemi, who had been vanquished by Vishnu himself in another lifetime.
Kansa proved to be a very capable commander under Ugrasena. When he stormed the Magadhan territory with his army, the Magadh King, Jarasandha, was so impressed with him that he offered his daughters, Asti and Prapti, in marriage to him. However, Kansa and Jarasandha were doing more than just establishing familial ties; they were also forging a mutually beneficial alliance. On the day of the marriage, Jarasandha arrived in Mathura with the entire Magadhan army, a move that was unexpected and definitely not required in royal marriage proceedings.
The intent behind this became clear when Jarasandha and Kansa cornered Ugrasena inside the castle premises and stated to him that they thought that it was time for him to retire as King and pass on the throne to Kansa. When Ugrasena refused and said that Kansa must wait for the appropriate time, he was threatened with mass destruction of the Kingdom and its people; both the armies stationed outside were just awaiting orders from their commanders.
Hence Ugrasena, seeing no other way out, and fearing for the lives of innocent people, gave up the crown to Kansa. Soon after, Kansa announced his coronation ceremony to the people of Mathura. Kansa was no Ugrasena, and the people suffered from the beginning under his despotic rule. But even a tyrant has a soft corner for at least one person. Kansa loved his cousin sister Devaki very much, and eventually, Devaki became his Achilles’ ankle.
In the next blog, we shall look at the union of Devaki and Vasudev and why Kansa, who had arranged the marriage himself, wanted to kill Devaki.
Janmashtami: The saga of the birth of Lord Krishna
There is a beginning and an end to every story and the story of Lord Krishna is perhaps one of the greatest you will ever come across. Janmashtami is soon approaching, and we at Krishna Bhumi, felt like this was the ideal time to delve into this mesmerizing tale. But when talking of Janmashtami, we immediately jump to the night that Nanda Gopal was born. But that is the end of the tale; wouldn’t you like to know where it all began? In this series of blogs, we take you back right to the beginning, all you have to do is read…
Part 1: How it all began…
Long ago, in the era of Svayambhuva Manu, Lord Brahma instructed Prajapati Sutapa and his wife Prsni to generate offspring in order to populate the material world. While performing her duties though, Prsni always had Lord Vishnu in her mind. 12,000 years, the both of them performed their duties and for 12,000 years, the Lord was always in Prsni’s thoughts. One fine day, pleased with such devotion, the Lord appeared before the couple and asked them what boon they wanted.
Prsni expressed her desire to be a mother to him and her wish was granted. She was told that thrice would she and her husband be parents to him. Soon after, Prsni was pregnant, and 9 months later she gave birth to the Lord in the form of a son. This son was named Prsnigarbha. This was in the Satya Yuga. In the Treta Yuga, Prajapati Sutapa and Prsni were reincarnated as Kasyapa Muni and Aditi and drawn together by divine machinations; Lord Vishnu took birth as their son, Upendra. Being of dwarf form in that birth, he was more popularly known as Vamanadeva.
Finally in Dwapar Yuga, the Earth deity, Bhudevi, tired of the planet being ruled impiously because of many asuras, who had taken birth in human form, in powerful Kshatriya families, appealed to Lord Vishnu to take birth on Earth again and bring the situation under control. This is when Lord Vishnu declared that he will take birth in his original form in order to bring peace and order on Earth again. Prajapati Sutapa and Prsni, Vasudev and Devaki in this lifetime, would be the parents. And demigods were urged to take birth in various Yadu families to get things ready and provide support when needed.
Now that you know the background, in the next blog we shall delve into the lives of Kansa, Vasudev and Devaki. The parents who gave birth to Lord Krishna and the maternal uncle who wanted him dead as soon as he was born.
Paying homage to Lord Krishna, Radha Rani and the Gopis, in the form of a ‘Raas Leela Sthali’
The proposal submitted by ‘The Vrindavan Bangar Gram Sabha’, for a Maharasa Van Pariyojna in Vrindavan, has been approved by the U.P government. As Vrindavan too moves ahead with the rest of the country, there must be some areas that keep the ancient culture and traditions alive. This is exactly what the Gram Sabha members are hoping to achieve with the restoration and preservation of this Raas Leela Sthali.
35 hectares of land have been demarcated for this project, between Jagannath Ghat and Pani Ghat, on the Parikrama Marg. Encroachment removal and ground levelling work has already been started. Very soon this area will be lush and green with various kinds of trees. Brajwasis, people from NGO’s or governmental agencies are all welcome to volunteer when the tree plantation drive starts.
The idea is to boost the tourism in Vrindavan, to offer a glimpse of ancient Vrindavan to pilgrims and to hold religious events like Kumbh Mela in these premises.