In the earlier blog, we centered our attention on Devaki, Lord Krishna’s biological mother, in order to understand another thread of the story and also to know the reasons behind the inordinate amount of tragedy that Devaki faced in her lifetime. As mentioned earlier, to truly understand this side of events, one must look at two storylines. The story of Devaki’s earlier life as Aditi, the 1st reincarnation of Prsni, has already been told. Now it’s time to discuss the second thread.
Maharshi Marici and Urna Devi had six demi-god like sons. Their names were Smara, Udgitha, Parisvanga, Patanga, Ksudrabhrta and Ghrni. The story goes that once the Universal Grandsire, Brahma, was running after his daughter Saraswati, trying to placate her for some reason. These six boys happened to chance upon this scene and were impudent enough to laugh at the scenario.
Unfortunately for them, Brahma noticed, and enraged, he cursed them to be born as Daityas in their next lifetime. By virtue of this curse, they were born as sons of Kalanemi and grandsons of Hiranyakasipu in their next birth. Now Hiranyakasipu was one of the most famous offsprings of Diti, hence a very powerful Daitya, who hated Brahma. But these six sons were nothing like their grandfather or father and secretly admired Brahma.
Secretly admiring him was fine, but they went to the extent of performing severe austerities for receiving a boon from him. Brahma, pleased with their dedication, appeared to them, and gave them the boon of protection from death in that lifetime. But things went wrong when Hiranyakasipu found out about this. Enraged that they would worship the God that he hated and that he couldn’t even harm them because of the boon that they had received from Brahma, he cursed them.
The curse dictated that in their next lifetime they would all be killed by their father upon birth. These six sons were the same six sons that Devaki gave birth to. She named them Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripumardana and Krodhahanta. Together, they are known as Sad-Garbha. They were killed by Kansa upon birth, who was, as mentioned earlier, a reincarnation of Kalanemi. Hence, Hiranyakasipu’s curse was fulfilled.
The seventh time Devaki was pregnant, it was Balaram in her womb, but by divine design, this fetus was transferred to Vasudev’s other wife’s womb. This wife was Rohini, who was safe in Gokul. Hence Balaram was saved and here in Mathura, it seemed like Devaki had gone through a miscarriage. Finally, the eighth time, she was pregnant with Lord Krishna.
Much later, after Krishna had grown up and was visiting Devaki and Vasudev, Devaki placed a request before him. She had heard how he had brought Sandipani Muni’s son back to life and trusted that he could do the same with the six sons that she had lost. This is when Krishna travelled to Sutala Puri, where the souls of these six sons were residing, under the King of the Daityas, Bali.
When he explained their history to Bali, Bali released them to Krishna, who in turn took them back to Devaki. After a brief reunion of Mother and sons, they finally broke free of their curse and returned to the abode of the demi-gods.
Thus with this, we have completed discussing all the threads that have led up to the events of the night of Janmashtami. In the next blog, we will look at the last, most known and the most popular set of events and with that, we will conclude this series of blogs.