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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

p. 502


Birth of Krishńa: conveyed by Vasudeva to Mathurá, and exchanged with the new-born daughter of Yaśodá. Kansa attempts to destroy the latter, who becomes Yoganidrá.

THUS eulogized by the gods, Devakí bore in her womb the lotus-eyed deity, the protector of the world. The sun of Achyuta rose in the dawn of Devakí to cause the lotus petal of the universe to expand. On the day of his birth the quarters of the horizon were irradiate with joy, as if moonlight was diffused over the whole earth. The virtuous experienced new delight, the strong winds were hushed, and the rivers glided tranquilly, when Janárddana was about to be born. The seas with their own melodious murmurings made the music, whilst the spirits and the nymphs of heaven danced and sang: the gods, walking the sky, showered down flowers upon the earth, and the holy fires glowed with a mild and gentle flame. At midnight, when the supporter of all was about to be born, the clouds emitted low pleasing sounds, and poured down rain of flowers.

As soon as Ánakadundubhi beheld the child, of the complexion of the lotus leaves, having four arms, and the mystic mark Śrívatsa on his breast, he addressed him in terms of love and reverence, and represented the fears he entertained of Kansa. "Thou art born," said Vasudeva, "O sovereign god of gods, bearer of the shell, the discus, and the mace; but now in mercy withhold this thy celestial form, for Kansa will assuredly put me to death when he knows that thou hast descended in my dwelling." Devakí also exclaimed, "God of gods, who art all things, who comprisest all the regions of the world in thy person, and who by thine illusion hast assumed the condition of an infant, have compassion upon us, and forego this thy four-armed shape, nor let Kansa, the impious son of Diti, know of thy descent."

To these applications Bhagavat answered and said, "Princess, in former times I was prayed to by thee and adored in the hope of progeny: thy prayers have been granted, for I am born thy son." So saying, he was silent: and Vasudeva, taking the babe, went out that same night; for the guards were all charmed by Yoganidrá, as were the warders at

p. 503

the gates of Mathurá, and they obstructed not the passage of Ánakadundubhi. To protect the infant from the heavy rain that fell from the clouds of night, Śesha, the many-headed serpent, followed Vasudeva, and spread his hoods above their heads; and when the prince, with the child in his arms, crossed the Yamuná river, deep as it was, and dangerous with numerous whirlpools, the waters were stilled, and rose not above his knee.. On the bank he saw Nanda and the rest, who had come thither to bring tribute due to Kansa; but they beheld him not 1. At the same time Yaśodá was also under the influence of Yoganidrá, whom she had brought forth as her daughter, and whom the prudent Vasudeva took up, placing his son in her place by the side of the mother: he then quickly returned home. When Yaśodá awoke, she found that she had been delivered of a boy, as black as the dark leaves of the lotus, and she was greatly rejoiced.

Vasudeva, bearing off the female infant of Yaśodá, reached his mansion unobserved, and entered and placed the child in the bed of Devakí: he then remained as usual. The guards were awakened by the cry of the new-born babe, and, starting up, they sent word to Kansa that Devakí had borne a child. Kansa immediately repaired to the residence of Vasudeva, where he seized upon the infant. In vain Devakí convulsively entreated him to relinquish the child: he threw it ruthlessly against a stone; but it rose into the sky, and expanded into a gigantic figure, having eight arms, each wielding some formidable weapon. This terrific being laughed aloud, and said to Kansa, "What avails it thee, Kansa, to have hurled me to the ground? he is born who shall kill thee, the mighty one amongst the gods, who was formerly thy destroyer. Now quickly secure him, and provide for thine own welfare." Thus having spoken, the goddess, decorated with heavenly perfumes and garlands, and hymned by the spirits of the air, vanished from before the eyes of Bhoja rájá 2.


503:1 The Bhágavata more consistently makes Vasudeva find Nanda and the rest fast asleep in their houses, and subsequently describes their bringing tribute or tax (kara) to Kansa.

503:2 Chief of the tribe of Bhoja, a branch of the Yádavas: see p. 424.

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