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Krishna kills Kamsa
|Spouse||Asti and Prapti (daughters of Jarasandha)|
|Dynasty||Surasena or Yadu|
Kamsa (Sanskrit: कंस, kansa) was the tyrant ruler of the Vrishni kingdom with its capital at Mathura. He is the cousin of Devaki, the mother of the god Krishna—who slew Kamsa. Kamsa is described as human in early sources and a rakshasa (demon) in the Puranas. His royal house was called Bhoja and another of his names was Bhojapati.
Kamsa was born to King Ugrasena a Yadava king and Queen Padmavati. However, out of ambition and upon the advice of his personal confidantes, Banasura and Narakasura, Kamsa decided to overthrow his father and install himself as the King of Mathura. Therefore, upon the guidance of another advisor, Chanur, Kamsa decided to marry Asti and Prapti, the daughters of Jarasandha, King of Magadha.
After a heavenly voice prophesied that Devaki's eighth son will slay him, he imprisoned Devaki and her husband Vasudeva and killed all their children; however the eighth son, Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu, was transported to Gokul, where he was raised in the care of Nanda, the head of cowherds. Kamsa sent a host of demons to kill the child Krishna, all of whom Krishna killed. Finally, Krishna arrived in Mathura and slew his uncle Kamsa.
In reality, Kamsa was not the biological son of Ugrasena. Once a Gandharva with powers to read the minds was wandering. Ugrasena's wife was having sexual thoughts for her husband. Gandharva, able to read her mind transformed into Ugrasena and participated in the act with her. Ugrasena's wife realized that he was not Ugrasena which led to the gandharva revealing his true form. Gandharva tells about the power of the child who is going to take birth, describing this child being between a human and a Gandharva, however, an angered Ugrasena's wife in rage curses the child to become the ill-named Rakshasa. Gandharva fearing the curse being directed at him, adds to the curse and even he curses the child that he will be troubled by his own and flees the place. In fact, Kamsa in his previous birth was a demon called Kalanemi, who was slain by Lord Vishnu.
In childhood, Kamsa was trained by the other Yadavas, who were famous warriors. Kamsa acquired Jarasandha's attention when the latter tried to invade Mathura. Kamsa single-handedly routed Jarasandha's army. The latter was impressed and made Kamsa his son-in-law. With Jarasandha's support, Kamsa became even more powerful. He vanquished the very gods Indra, Varuna and Kubera in battles and forced Indra to rain on his kingdom.
Annexation of kingdom
During his wedding in Mathura, Jarasandha brought over his army to escort the Princesses Asti and Prapti. Using the army of Magadha as his political cover, Kamsa overthrew his father after he refused to voluntarily retire from his position. This was done within the confines of the royal palace and the public was not informed. After Ugrasena failed to show up for public events, Kamsa announced his coronation.
His warning issued by Yogmaya
Kamsa was told, in a prophecy, that the eighth child of Devaki will kill him. Hearing that, he wanted to kill Devaki, but Vasudeva managed to save her life by promising Kamsa that he (Vasudeva) himself will deliver Devaki's all their children to Kamsa. Kamsa accepted that promise and spared Devaki because she herself was not a threat to him. In the confines of the prison, Devaki repeatedly conceived and cruel Kamsa murdered the first six children.
Just before the birth of the seventh child, Lord Vishnu summoned Goddess Yogmaya, an eight-handed woman holding different weapons in her hands and wearing different coloured garments. Shri Hari or Bhagawan Vishnu asked her to transfer the embryo of Shesha Naaga from Devaki to Vasudeva's other wife Rohini in Gokulam. This child was named Balarama, Shri Krishna's elder brother. Whereas, Lord shri Hari-Vishnu Himself, was soon to appear as the eighth son of Devaki, he ordered Yogamaya (who, shall be known with different names by her devotees such as Durga, Bhadrakali, Narayani, Chandika, Vaishnavi, Sharada, Ishaani, Vijaya, Chin Bhavani, Amba and Ambika) to take birth from the womb of Yashoda. According to Shri Hari-Vishnu's orders, Yogmaya transferred Shesha from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini. Facilitating God Vishnu's descent or avatar, Yogmaya (as the controller of the darkness and ignorance) had put the guards of Kamsa to sleep or a state of trance. At this time, Vasudev, obeying Shri Hari's order, took BalKrishna to Nand- Yashoda's house, bringing back the Baby girl, Durga, who was the incarnation of Yogmaya. Presuming this baby as Devaki's eighth child, Kamsa was about to kill her by crashing her down on the ground, but the girl slipped out of his hands. Taking her cosmic form, the eight-handed Durga warned Kamsa, "The eighth child, who shall kill you, has been born. He is in Gokul!"
The seventh child, Balarama, was saved when he was moved to Rohini's womb. The eighth child born to Devaki and Vasudeva was Krishna. Krishna was saved from Kamsa's wrath and raised by Vasudeva's relative Nanda and Yasoda, a cowherd couple.
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- Media related to Kamsa at Wikimedia Commons