Chapter Summary


The summary of the First Chapter is as follows. This chapter describes how Kamsa, frightened by hearing an omen about his being killed by the eighth son of Devaki, killed Devaki's sons one after another.

When Sukadeva Gosvami finished describing the dynasty of Yadu, as well as the dynasties of the moon-god and sun-god, Maharaja Parikshit requested him to describe Lord Krishna, who appeared with Baladeva in the Yadu dynasty, and how Krishna performed His activities within this world. Krishna is transcendental, the King said, and therefore to understand His activities is the occupation of liberated persons. Hearing of krishna-lila is the boat by which to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Except for an animal killer or one who is following a policy of suicide, every intelligent person must strive to understand Krishna and His activities.

Krishna was the only worshipable Deity for the Pandavas. When Maharaja Parikshit was in the womb of his mother, Uttara, Krishna saved him from the attack of the brahma-sastra. Now Maharaja Parikshit asked Sukadeva Gosvami how His Lordship Baladeva, the son of Rohini, could have appeared in the womb of Devaki. Why did Krishna transfer Himself from Mathura to Vrindavana, King Parikshit asked, and how did He live there with His family members? What did Krishna do in Mathura and Vrindavana, and why did He kill His maternal uncle Kamsa? For how many years did Krishna reside in Dvaraka, and how many queens did He have? Maharaja Parikshit asked Sukadeva Gosvami all these questions. He also requested Sukadeva Gosvami to describe other activities of Krishna about which he could not inquire.

When Sukadeva Gosvami began to speak about Krishna consciousness, Maharaja Parikshit forgot the fatigue brought about by his fasting. Enthusiastic to describe Krishna, Sukadeva Gosvami said, "Like the waters of the Ganges, descriptions of the activities of Krishna can purify the entire universe. The speaker, the inquirer and the audience all become purified."

Once when the entire world was overburdened by the increasing military power of demons in the form of kings, mother earth assumed the shape of a cow and approached Lord Brahma for relief, Sympathetic to mother earth's lamentation, Brahma, accompanied by Lord Siva and other demigods, took the cow-shaped mother earth to the shore of the milk ocean, where he offered prayers to please Lord Vishnu, who lay there on an island in transcendental ecstasy. Brahma thereafter understood the advice of Maha-Vishnu, who informed him that He would appear on the surface of the earth to mitigate the burden created by the demons. The demigods, along with their wives, should appear there as associates of Lord Krishna in the family of Yadu to increase the sons and grandsons in that dynasty. By the will of Lord Krishna, Anantadeva would appear first, as Balarama, and Krishna's potency, yogamaya, would also appear. Brahma informed mother earth about all this, and then he returned to his own abode.

After marrying Devaki, Vasudeva was returning home with her on a chariot driven by Kamsa, her brother, when an ominous voice addressed Kamsa, warning him that Devaki's eighth son would kill him. Upon hearing this omen, Kamsa was immediately ready to kill Devaki, but Vasudeva diplomatically began to instruct him. Vasudeva stressed that it would not be good for Kamsa to kill his younger sister, especially at the time of her marriage. Anyone who possesses a material body must die, Vasudeva advised him. Every living entity lives in a body for some time and then transmigrates to another body, but one is unfortunately misled into accepting the body as the soul. If a person under this mistaken conception wants to kill another body, he is condemned as hellish.

Because Kamsa was not satisfied by Vasudeva's instructions, Vasudeva devised a plan. He offered to bring Kamsa all of Devaki's children so that Kamsa could kill them. Why then should Kamsa kill Devaki now? Kamsa was satisfied by this proposal. In due course of time, when Devaki gave birth to a child, Vasudeva brought the newborn baby to Kamsa, who, upon seeing Vasudeva's magnanimity, was struck with wonder. When Vasudeva gave Kamsa the child, Kamsa, showing some intelligence, said that since he was to be killed by the eighth child, why should he kill the first? Although Vasudeva did not trust him, Kamsa requested Vasudeva to take the child back. Later, however, after Narada approached Kamsa and disclosed to him that the demigods were appearing in the Yadu and Vrishni dynasties and conspiring to kill him, Kamsa decided to kill all the children born in these families, and he also decided that any child born from the womb of Devaki must be killed. Thus he arrested and imprisoned both Devaki and Vasudeva and killed six of their sons, one after another. Narada had also informed Kamsa that in his previous birth Kamsa was Kalanemi, a demon killed by Vishnu. Consequently, Kamsa became a great enemy to all the descendants of the yadu-vamsa, the Yadu dynasty. He even arrested and imprisoned his own father, Ugrasena, for Kamsa wanted to enjoy the kingdom alone.

Krishna has threefold pastimes -- the Vraja-lila, Mathura-lila and Dvaraka-lila. As already mentioned, in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam there are ninety chapters, which describe all these lilas. The first four chapters describe Brahma's prayers for the relief of the earth's burden, and they also describe the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Chapters Five through Thirty-nine recount Krishna's pastimes in Vrindavana. The Fortieth Chapter describes how Krishna enjoyed in the water of the Yamuna and how Akrura offered prayers. Chapters Forty-one through Fifty-one, eleven chapters, tell of Krishna's pastimes in Mathura, and Chapters Fifty-two through Ninety, thirty-nine chapters, relate Krishna's pastimes in Dvaraka.

Chapters Twenty-nine through Thirty-three describe Krishna's dancing with the gopis, known as the rasa-lila. Therefore these five chapters are known as rasa-pancadhyaya. The Forty-seventh Chapter of the Tenth Canto is a description known as the bhramara-gita.