|Canto 10: The Summum Bonum||Chapter 1: The Advent of Lord Kṛṣṇa: Introduction|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.1.65-66
ṛṣer vinirgame kaḿso
yadūn matvā surān iti
viṣṇuḿ ca sva-vadhaḿ prati
devakīḿ vasudevaḿ ca
nigṛhya nigaḍair gṛhe
jātaḿ jātam ahan putraḿ
ṛṣeḥ — of the great sage Nārada; vinirgame — on the departure (after giving information); kaḿsaḥ — Kaḿsa; yadūn — all the members of the Yadu dynasty; matvā — thinking of; surān — as demigods; iti — thus; devakyāḥ — of Devakī; garbha-sambhūtam — the children born from the womb; viṣṇum — (accepting) as Viṣṇu; ca — and; sva-vadham prati — fearing his own death from Viṣṇu; devakīm — Devakī; vasudevam ca — and her husband, Vasudeva; nigṛhya — arresting; nigaḍaiḥ — by iron shackles; gṛhe — confined at home; jātam jātam — each one who was born, one after another; ahan — killed; putram — the sons; tayoḥ — of Vasudeva and Devakī; ajana-śańkayā — with the doubt that they would be Viṣṇu.
After the departure of the great saint Nārada, Kaḿsa thought that all the members of the Yadu dynasty were demigods and that any of the children born from the womb of Devakī might be Viṣṇu. Fearing his death, Kaḿsa arrested Vasudeva and Devakī and chained them with iron shackles. Suspecting each of the children to be Viṣṇu, Kaḿsa killed them one after another because of the prophecy that Viṣṇu would kill him.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his notes on this verse, has mentioned how Nārada Muni gave Kaḿsa this information. This incident is described in the Hari-vaḿśa. Nārada Muni went to see Kaḿsa by providence, and Kaḿsa received him very well. Nārada, therefore, informed him that any one of the sons of Devakī might be Viṣṇu. Because Viṣṇu was to kill him, Kaḿsa should not spare any of Devakī's children, Nārada Muni advised. Nārada's intention was that Kaḿsa, by killing the children, would increase his sinful activities so that Kṛṣṇa would soon appear to kill him. Upon receiving the instructions of Nārada Muni, Kaḿsa killed all the children of Devakī one after another.
The word ajana-śańkayā indicates that Lord Viṣṇu never takes birth (ajana) and that He therefore appeared as Kṛṣṇa, taking birth just like a human being (mānuṣīḿ tanum āśritam). Kaḿsa attempted to kill all the babies born of Devakī and Vasudeva, although he knew that if Viṣṇu were born, He would not be killed. Actually it came to pass that when Viṣṇu appeared as Kṛṣṇa, Kaḿsa could not kill Him; rather, as foretold, it was He who killed Kaḿsa. One should know in truth how Kṛṣṇa, who takes His birth transcendentally, acts to kill the demons but is never killed. When one perfectly understands Kṛṣṇa in this way, through the medium of śāstra, one becomes immortal. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
janma karma ca me divyam
evaḿ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaḿ punar janma
naiti mām eti so 'rjuna
"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
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