Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 5 - Chapter 3

Chapter III

THUS eulogized by the gods, Devakī bore in her womb the lotus-eyed deity, the protector of the world.

The sun of Achyuta rose in the dawn of Devakī 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 Janārdana 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 Ānakadundubhi beheld the child, of the complexion of the lotus leaves, having four arms, and the mystic mark Śrīvatsa on his breast, he addressed him in terms of love and reverence, and represented the fears he entertained of Kaṁsa:

"Thou art born," said Vāsudeva, "O sovereign god of gods, bearer of the shell, the discus, and the mace; but now in mercy withhold this thy celestial form, for Kaṁsa will assuredly put me to death when he knows that thou hast descended in my dwelling."

Devakī 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 Kaṁsa, the impious son of Diti, know of thy descent."

To these applications Bhāgavat 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 Vāsudeva, taking the baby, went out that same night; for the guards were all charmed by Yoganidrā, as were the warders at the gates of Mathurā, and they obstructed not the passage of Ānakadundubhi.

To protect the infant from the heavy rain that fell from the clouds of night, Śeṣa, the many-headed serpent, followed Vāsudeva, and spread his hoods above their heads;

and when the prince, with the child in his arms, crossed the Yamunā 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 Kaṁsa; but they beheld him not.

At the same time Yaśodā was also under the influence of Yoganidrā, whom she had brought forth as her daughter, and whom the prudent Vāsudeva took up, placing his son in her place by the side of the mother: he then quickly returned home.

When Yaśodā 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.

Vāsudeva, bearing off the female infant of Yaśodā, reached his mansion unobserved, and entered and placed the child in the bed of Devakī: he then remained as usual.

The guards were awakened by the cry of the new-born baby, and, waking up they sent word to Kaṁsa that Devakī had borne a child. Kaṁsa immediately repaired to the residence of Vāsudeva, where he seized upon the infant.

In vain Devakī 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 Kaṁsa:

"What avails it thee, Kaṁsa, 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 rājā.