43. The Killing of Kamsa
43 / The Killing of Kaàsa
After Kaàsa's wrestlers expressed their determination, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the killer of Madhu, confronted Cäëüra, and Lord Balaräma, the son of Rohiëé, confronted Muñöika. Kåñëa and Cäëüra and then Balaräma and Muñöika locked themselves hand to hand, leg to leg, and each began to press against the other with a view to come out victorious. They joined palm to palm, calf to calf, head to head, chest to chest and began to strike each other. The fighting increased as they pushed one other from one place to another. One captured another and threw him down on the ground, and another rushed from the back to the front of another and tried to overcome him with a hold. The fighting increased step by step. There was picking up, the dragging and pushing, and then the legs and hands were locked together. All the arts of wrestling were perfectly exhibited by the parties, as each tried his best to defeat his opponent.
But the audience in the wrestling arena was not very satisfied because the combatants did not appear to be equally matched. They considered Kåñëa and Balaräma to be mere boys before the wrestlers Cäëüra and Muñöika, who were huge men as solid as stone. Being compassionate and favoring Kåñëa and Balaräma, many members of the audience began to talk as follows. "Dear friends, there is danger here." Another said, "Even in front of the King this wrestling is going on between incompatible sides." The audience had lost their sense of enjoyment. They could not encourage the fighting between the strong and the weak. "Muñöika and Cäëüra are just like thunderbolts, as strong as great mountains, and Kåñëa and Balaräma are two delicate boys of very tender age. The principle of justice has already left this assembly. Persons who are aware of the civilized principles of justice will not remain to watch this unfair match. Those taking part in this wrestling match are not very much enlightened; therefore whether they speak or remain silent, they are being subjected to the reactions of sinful activities." "But my dear friends," another in the assembly spoke out, "just look at the face of Kåñëa. There are drops of perspiration on His face from chasing His enemy, and His face appears like the lotus flower with drops of water. And do you see how the face of Lord Balaräma has turned especially beautiful? There is a reddish hue on His white face because He is engaged in a strong wrestling match with Muñöika."
Ladies in the assembly also addressed one another, "Dear friends, just imagine how fortunate the land of Våndävana is where the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself is present, always decorated with flower garlands and engaged in tending cows along with His brother, Lord Balaräma. He is always accompanied by His cowherd boy friends, and He plays His transcendental flute. The residents of Våndävana are fortunate to be able to constantly see the lotus feet of Kåñëa and Balaräma, which are worshiped by great demigods like Lord Çiva and Brahmä and the goddess of fortune. We cannot estimate how many pious activities were executed by the damsels of Vrajabhümi so that they were able to enjoy the Supreme Personality of Godhead and look on the unparalleled beauty of His transcendental body. The beauty of the Lord is beyond compare. No one is higher or equal to Him in beauty of complexion or bodily luster. Kåñëa and Balaräma are the reservoir of all kinds of opulence--namely wealth, strength, beauty, fame, knowledge and renunciation. The gopés are so fortunate that they can see and think of Kåñëa twenty-four hours a day, beginning from their milking the cows or husking the paddy or churning the butter in the morning. While engaged in cleaning their houses and washing their floors, they are always absorbed in the thought of Kåñëa."
The gopés give a perfect example of how one can execute Kåñëa consciousness even if he is in different types of material engagement. By constantly being absorbed in the thought of Kåñëa, one cannot be affected by the contamination of material activities. The gopés are, therefore, perfectly in trance, samädhi, the highest perfectional stage of mystic power. In the Bhagavad-gétä, it is confirmed that one who is constantly thinking of Kåñëa is a first-class yogi among all kinds of yogés. "My dear friends," one lady told another, "we must accept the gopés' activities to be the highest form of piety; otherwise, how could they have achieved the opportunity of seeing Kåñëa both morning and evening when He goes to the pasturing ground with His cows and cowherd boy friends and returns in the evening? They frequently see Him playing on His flute and smiling very brilliantly."
When Lord Kåñëa, the Supersoul of every living being, understood that the ladies in the assembly were anxious for Him, He decided not to continue wrestling but to kill the wrestlers immediately. The parents of Kåñëa and Balaräma, namely Nanda Mahäräja, Yaçodä, Vasudeva and Devaké, were also very anxious because they did not know the unlimited strength of their children. Lord Balaräma was fighting with the wrestler Muñöika in the same way that Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was fighting and wrestling with Cäëüra. Lord Kåñëa appeared to be cruel to Cäëüra, and He immediately struck him thrice with His fist. The great wrestler was jolted, to the astonishment of the audience. Cäëüra then took his last chance and attacked Kåñëa, just as one hawk swoops upon another. Folding his two hands, he began to strike the chest of Kåñëa, but Lord Kåñëa was not even slightly disturbed, no more than an elephant that is hit by a flower garland. Kåñëa quickly caught the two hands of Cäëüra and began to wheel him around, and simply by this centrifugal action, Cäëüra lost his life. Kåñëa then threw him to the ground. Cäëüra fell just like the flag of Indra, and all his nicely decorated ornaments were scattered hither and thither.
Muñöika also struck Balaräma, and Balaräma returned the stroke with great force. Muñöika began to tremble, and blood and vomit flowed from his mouth. Distressed, he gave up his vital force and fell down just as a tree falls down in a hurricane. After the two wrestlers were killed, a wrestler named Küöa came forward. Lord Balaräma immediately caught him in His left hand and killed him nonchalantly. Another wrestler of the name Çala came forward, and Kåñëa immediately kicked him and cracked his head. Another wrestler named Toçala came forward and was killed in the same way. Thus all the great wrestlers were killed by Kåñëa and Balaräma, and the remaining wrestlers began to flee from the assembly out of fear for their lives. All the cowherd boy friends of Kåñëa and Balaräma approached Them and congratulated Them with great pleasure. While drums beat and they talked of the victory, the leg bells on the feet of Kåñëa and Balaräma tinkled.
All the people gathered there began to clap in great ecstasy, and no one could estimate the bounds of their pleasure. The brähmaëas present began to praise Kåñëa and Balaräma ecstatically. Only Kaàsa was morose; he neither clapped nor offered benediction to Kåñëa. Kaàsa resented the drums' being beaten for Kåñëa's victory, and he was very sorry that the wrestlers had been killed and had fled the assembly. He therefore immediately ordered the drum playing to stop and began to address his friends as follows: "I order that these two sons of Vasudeva be immediately driven out of Mathurä. The cowherd boys who have come with Them should be plundered and all their riches taken away. Nanda Mahäräja should immediately be arrested and killed for his cunning behavior, and the rascal Vasudeva should also be killed without delay. Also my father, Ugrasena, who has always supported my enemies against my will, should be killed."
When Kaàsa spoke in this way, Lord Kåñëa became very angry with him, and within a second He jumped over the high guards of King Kaàsa. Kaàsa was prepared for Kåñëa's attack, for he knew from the beginning that He was to be the cause of his death. He immediately unsheathed his sword and prepared to answer the challenge of Kåñëa with sword and shield. As Kaàsa wielded his sword up and down, hither and thither, Lord Kåñëa, the supreme powerful Lord, caught hold of him with great force. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the shelter of the complete creation and from whose lotus navel the whole creation is manifested, immediately knocked the crown from the head of Kaàsa and grabbed his long hair in His hand. He then dragged Kaàsa from his seat to the wrestling dais and threw him down. Then Kåñëa at once straddled his chest and began to strike him over and over again. Simply from the strokes of His fist, Kaàsa lost his vital force.
In order to assure His parents that Kaàsa was dead, Lord Kåñëa dragged him just as a lion drags an elephant after killing it. On sight of this, there was a great roaring sound from all sides, as some spectators expressed their jubilation and others cried in lamentation. From the day Kaàsa heard that he would be killed by the eighth son of Devaké, he was always thinking of Kåñëa twenty-four hours a day without any stoppage--even while he was eating, while he was walking, while he was breathing--and naturally he got the blessing of liberation. In the Bhagavad-gétä it is stated, sadä tad-bhäva-bhävitaù: a person gets his next life according to the thoughts in which he is always absorbed. Kaàsa was thinking of Kåñëa with His wheel, which means Näräyaëa who holds a wheel, conchshell, lotus flower and club.
According to the opinion of authorities, Kaàsa attained särüpya-mukti after death, that is to say he attained the same form as Näräyaëa (Viñëu). On the Vaikuëöha planets all the inhabitants have the same bodily features as Näräyaëa. After his death, Kaàsa attained liberation and was promoted to Vaikuëöhaloka. From this instance we can understand that even a person who thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as an enemy gets liberation and a place in a Vaikuëöha planet, so what to speak of the pure devotees who are always absorbed in favorable thoughts of Kåñëa? Even an enemy who is killed by Kåñëa gets liberation and is placed in the impersonal brahmajyoti. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all good, anyone thinking of Him, either as enemy or as friend, gets liberation. But the liberation of the devotee and the liberation of the enemy are not the same. The enemy generally gets the liberation of säyujya, and sometimes he gets särüpya liberation.
Kaàsa had eight brothers, headed by Kaìka. All of them were younger than he, and when they learned that their elder brother had been killed, they combined together and rushed towards Kåñëa in great anger to kill Him. Kaàsa and his brothers were all Kåñëa's maternal uncles. They were all brothers of Kåñëa's mother, Devaké. When Kåñëa killed Kaàsa He killed His maternal uncle, which is against the regulation of Vedic injunction. Although Kåñëa is independent of all Vedic injunction, He violates the Vedic injunction only in inevitable cases. Kaàsa could not be killed by anyone but Kåñëa; therefore Kåñëa was obliged to kill him. As far as Kaàsa's eight brothers were concerned, Balaräma took charge of killing them. Balaräma's mother, Rohiëé, although the wife of Vasudeva, was not the sister of Kaàsa; therefore Balaräma took charge of killing all of Kaàsa's eight brothers. He immediately took up an available weapon (most probably the elephant's tusk which He carried) and killed the eight brothers one after another, just as a lion kills a flock of deer. Kåñëa and Balaräma thus verified the statement that the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears to give protection to the pious and to kill the impious demons, who are always enemies of the demigods.
The demigods from the higher planetary systems began to shower flowers, congratulating Kåñëa and Balaräma. Among the demigods were powerful personalities like Lord Brahmä and Çiva, and all joined together in showing their jubilation over Kaàsa's death. There was beating of drums and showering of flowers from the heavenly planets, and the wives of the demigods began to dance in ecstasy.
The wives of Kaàsa and his eight brothers became aggrieved on account of their husbands' sudden deaths, and all of them were striking their foreheads and shedding torrents of tears. They were crying very loudly and embracing the bodies of their husbands. The wives of Kaàsa and his brothers began to lament, addressing the dead bodies: "Our dear husbands, you are so kind and are the protectors of your dependents. Now, after your death, we are also dead, along with your homes and children. We are no longer looking very auspicious. On account of your death, the auspicious functions which were to take place, such as the sacrifice of the bow, have all been spoiled. Our dear husbands, you treated persons ill who were faultless, and as a result you have been killed. This is inevitable because a person who torments an innocent person must be punished by the laws of nature. We know that Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the supreme master of everything and the supreme enjoyer of everything, and therefore anyone who neglects His authority can never be happy, and ultimately, as you have, he meets death."
Since Kåñëa was kind and affectionate to His aunts, He began to give them solace as far as was possible. The ritualistic ceremonies after death were then conducted under the personal supervision of Kåñëa because He happened to be the nephew of all the dead princes. After finishing this business, Kåñëa and Balaräma immediately released Their father and mother, Vasudeva and Devaké who had been imprisoned by Kaàsa. Kåñëa and Balaräma fell at Their parents' feet and offered them prayers. Vasudeva and Devaké had suffered so much trouble because Kåñëa was their son; it was beause of Kåñëa that Kaàsa was always giving them trouble. Devaké and Vasudeva were fully conscious of Kåñëa's exalted position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore, although Kåñëa touched their feet and offered obeisances and prayers to them, they did not embrace Him, but simply stood up to hear the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although Kåñëa was born as their son, Vasudeva and Devaké were always conscious of His position.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Forty-third Chapter of Kåñëa, "The Killing of Kaàsa."