Qualities of Vasudeva Devaki and Kamsa

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.04.05 - Qualities of Vasudeva Devaki and Kamsa (download mp3)
by Hare Krsna Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.4.5
bahavo himsita bhratah
sisavah pavakopamah
tvaya daiva-nisrstena
putrikaika pradiyatam

My dear brother, by the influence of destiny you have already killed many babies, each of them as bright and beautiful as fire. But kindly spare this daughter. Give her to me as your gift.

Here we see that Devaki first focused Kamsa's attention on his atrocious activities, his killing of her many sons. Then she wanted to compromise with him by saying that whatever he had done was not his fault, but was ordained by destiny. Then she appealed to him to give her the daughter as a gift. Devaki was the daughter of a ksatriya and knew how to play the political game. In politics there are different methods of achieving success: first repression (dama), then compromise (sama), and then asking for a gift (dana). Devaki first adopted the policy of repression by directly attacking Kamsa for having cruelly, atrociously killed her babies. Then she compromised by saying that this was not his fault, and then she begged for a gift. As we learn from the history of the Mahabharata, or "Greater India," the wives and daughters of the ruling class, the ksatriyas, knew the political game, but we never find that a woman was given the post of chief executive. This is in accordance with the injunctions of Manu-samhita, but unfortunately Manu-samhita is now being insulted, and the Aryans, the members of Vedic society, cannot do anything. Such is the nature of Kali-yuga.

Nothing happens unless ordained by destiny.

tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah
tal labhyate duhkhavad anyatah sukham
kalena sarvatra gabhira-ramhasa
(SB 1.5.18)

Devaki knew very well that because the killing of her many children had been ordained by destiny, Kamsa was not to be blamed. There was no need to give good instructions to Kamsa. Upadeso hi murkhanam prakopaya na santaye (Canakya Pandita). If a foolish person is given good instructions, he becomes more and more angry. Moreover, a cruel person is more dangerous than a snake. A snake and a cruel person are both cruel, but a cruel person is more dangerous because although a snake can be charmed by mantras or subdued by herbs, a cruel person cannot be subdued by any means. Such was the nature of Kamsa.