I heard this story from a taxi driver in Mumbai. He was ferrying me to my office and we got chatting. He was from Benares, he said, the holy city. He had left his family there but had had to come to Mumbai to earn a living. But still he is in touch with his life there, he goes back every 5-6 months and had been doing this since 1976. Mumbai has changed so much he said since he first began driving through its streets. There was bhaichara, there was more understanding and less running around. Varanasi was always peaceful and he likes going back there to smell the different life it has, he said.
Ma Vindhyavasini and Ma Kali and Ma Ashtabhuja were three sisters. They lived in the kingdom of Kansa, a cruel king who is better known to us as the uncle of Krishna. Before Krishna Bhagwan was born, Kansa’s torture and oppression had made it impossible for the people to live in peace. The king would kill and imprison people at will. There was no one to stop him or control him. He had become mad with power and was not ready to listen to anyone. The people went to the three sisters because they were very powerful and the goddesses tried to convince Kansa to be a good king. After all he had to look after his people who looked up to him. But the Raja was so drunk in his greatness that he did not listen to them and kicked them out of his court. When he kicked them, the three landed in a trikona – a triangular formation – near Varanasi. Vindhyavasini devi landed at Vindhyachal a small town on the banks of Ganga and a short distance from her Kali and Ashtabhuja devis found themselves a home. Even today, when people visit the temples of Varanasi, they make sure that they do the trikona parikrama.
The goddesses decided to teach Kansa a lesson. And they got together and made a plan. They said that the only way to end his sinful rule would be to kill him and for that they decided that the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva would be Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu. Devaki was Kansa’s sister but she was a good woman and her husband was a pious man and they would be the best people to have Krishna as their son. When Kansa got to know this he threw his sister and her husband into prison. And every time they had a child, he went to their cell and killed it. It did not matter if it was a boy or a girl, he would smash the child on a stone and finish its life – such a cruel brother he was. When the eighth child was born inside the prison – it was the god Krishna — at the same time a daughter was born in Gokul. The daughter was AshtaBhuja devi (it could be Vindhyavasini devi also) and once Vasudeva had replaced her with Krishna as advised by the goddesses, Kansa came and snatched her from Devaki’s arms to kill her. But she slipped away and vanished into the sky from where she made an Akashvani: the boy born to kill you is alive and well in Gokul. Your end will be at his hands.
Kansa was trembling in fear but his cruelty only increased until Krishna came and killed him.
Story collected by: Arundhuti Dasgupta
Location: Uttar Pradesh but told by a cab driver in Mumbai
Told by: Taxi driver, Mumbai