Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 4 Chapter 22



Chapter XXII

On the part incarnations of the several Devas

1. Janamejaya asked:

O grandfather! What bad act did that child commit, that no sooner he was born than he was killed by Kamsa?

2. Especially, Mahāṛṣi Nārada is the best amongst the Munis and foremost amongst the Brahmā-vids (Knowers of Brahmā), always doing virtuous acts, and learned; why did he become the agent in this very sinful act?

3. Pundits declare that the doers and stimulators of any evil deed both are equally responsible; then how is it that Nārada, being the best of the Munis, instigated the wicked Kamsa to do this evil act!

4. I am very much in doubt on this point. Kindly describe, in detail, the act that the child did as the result of which he had to meet with this fate of being killed.

5. Vyāsa said:

The Devarṣi Nārada is always fond of seeing quarrels brought about amongst parties; he always likes thus to see the fun. Here specially to serve the god’s purpose he went to Kamsa and incited him to such an act.

6. Really he never intends to speak a lie; he is always truth speaking; pure hearted, and always ready to serve the gods.

7. Thus the six sons were born to Devakī; and Kamsa, too, killed those six sons consecutively as they were born. These six sons named Ṣaḍgarbha, were killed just after their births, owing to their having been previously cursed.

8. O King! Hear why they were cursed before. In the reign of Svāyambhūva Manu, were born to Urṇā; the wife of Mahāṛṣi Marīchi, the six powerful sons, all of a virtuous disposition.

9-11. Once, on an occasion, the Prajāpati Brahmā, on seeing his daughter, became passionate, and was ready to hold sexual intercourse with her. At this, those six sons laughed at him. Brahmā cursed them saying:

“You all go quickly and take your birth in the wombs of the Asuras.”

Therefore those six sons became the sons of Kālanemi in their first birth. At their second birth, they became the sons of Hiraṇya Kaśipu. This second time they had the fear of curse in their minds and therefore were born endowed with knowledge.

12. In this birth they became peaceful and, collecting all their energies, they began to practise austerities. Brahmā was pleased at this and asked the Ṣaḍgarbha to take boons.

13. Brahmā said:

O my sons! I was very angry to you before and cursed you; now I am very much pleased with you; ask boons from me that you all desire.

14-15. Vyāsa said:

Hearing Brahmā’s words, they were very glad and becoming very anxious to secure their objects of desire, said O our grand sire! Today thou art pleased unto us; now favour us with our desired boons. That we may be invulnerable to all the Devas, human beings, the big serpents the Gandharvas, and the Lord of Siddhas, (semi-divine beings supposed to be of great purity and holiness and said to be particularly characterised by eight supernatural faculties called Siddhis).

16. Vyāsa said:

Brahmā told them “What you have asked, you would certainly get; O blessed ones! Better go now; my words will be found to be literally true. No doubt in this.”

17-19. Granting them boons, Brahmā went away; they then became very glad.

O best of Kurus! Hiraṇya Kaśipu began to think:

“My sons now have pleased the Grandsire Brahmā and are now regardless of me”

and got very angry and said:

You all are become very proud on account of receiving boons; and since you have ceased your good feelings towards me I also henceforth cut off my connection with you. Now better go to Pātāla; you will be known in this world as Ṣaḍgarbha.

20-21. At present you would be always involved in deep sleep and remain in Pātāla for many years; and when you will be born one after another in the womb of Devakī, then your father Kālanemi of previous birth will be born as Kamsa; and he would be cruel hearted and surely kill you all, no sooner you be born.

22. Vyāsa said:

Thus because they were cursed, they took their births repeatedly and Kamsa, too, being urged on by the same curse, killed those sons of Devakī, the Ṣaḍgarbha, no sooner they were born.

23-24. In the seventh womb of Devakī, Ananta made his appearance. The foetus in the womb was attracted by Yoga Māyā and placed in the womb of Rohiṇī. But there was the rumour that there was miscarriage in the womb of Devakī in the fifth month; and this became known to the public.

25. Kamsa came to know that there had been miscarriage. That wicked soul became exceedingly glad to hear this gladdening news.

26. And at about this time the Bhagavān, the Protector of the devotee appeared in the eighth womb of Devakī to serve the purpose of the gods and to relieve the load of the Earth.

27-28. The King said:

O best of Munis! “You have described the part incarnations of

(1) Kaśyapa as Vāsudeva and

(2) of Bhagavān Hari to relieve the burden of the Goddess Earth as prayed by Her; and

(3) of Ananta Deva;

but you have not described the part incarnations of the other Devas. How the other Devas incarnated as their parts on this earth, kindly describe them now.”

29. Vyāsa said:

The part incarnations of Suras and Asuras on this earth, and their names I am now saying to you in brief; hear:

30-32. Vasudeva was the part incarnation of Kaśyapa, Devakī was of Aditi, Baladeva of Ananta; Vāsudeva Śrī Kṛṣṇa of Śrīmān Nārāyaṇa;

the son of Dharma existing even at that time in his physical body; Arjuṇa of Nara, the younger brother of Nārāyaṇa.

33. Yudhisṭhīra was part incarnate of Dharma, Bhimasena of Vāyu, the powerful twins of Mādri, Nakula and Sahadeva, of Aśvīni-Kumāras?

34. The valiant hero Karna, born of Kunti, was part incarnate of the Sun, and the high minded Vidura, the knower of the Supreme Essence, was incarnate of Yama, the king Dharmarāja. Droṇa, the Āchārya of the Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas was the part incarnate of Brihaspati; and his son Aśvatthāmā was part incarnate of Rudra Deva.

35. Śantanu was the part incarnate of the Ocean; his wife, of the river Ganges in human farm. It is stated in the Purāṇas that the king Devaka was part incarnate of the Lord of Gandharvas.

36-41. The Grand-father of the Kaurāvas, the foremost of the heroes, Bhīśma Deva was the incarnate of Vasu; Virāta, the Lord of Matsya was the part incarnate of Maruts; Dhritarāṣṭra, of the Daitya Hamsa, the son of Ariṣṭa Nemi; Kripā and Krita Varmā, of Maruts; Duryodhana, of Kali and Śakuni of Dvāpara; Suvarchākhya Somapraru, of the son of the Moon; Dhriṣṭadyumna was part incarnate of Fire and Śikhaṇḍī of Rākṣasa; Pradyumna was part incarnate of Sanatkumāra; the king Drupada was part incarnate of Varuṇa; Draupadī, of Lakṣmī; Draupadī’s five sons of Viśva-devas; Kuntī was incarnate of Siddhi; Mādri of Dhriti; Gāndhārī of Mati; the wives of Śrī Kṛṣṇa were the heavenly public women; thus all the Devas came as their part incarnations, urged on by Indra.

42-43. Amongst the Asuras, Śiśupāla was the incarnate of Hiraṇya Kaśipu; Jārāsandha, of Biprachitti, Śalya, of Prahlāda; Kamsa, of Kālanemi and Keśī of Haya Śirā. The Asura named Ariṣṭa of the form of a cow that was killed by Kṛṣṇa was the son of Bali.

44. Dhriṣṭaketu was part incarnate of Anuhrādha, Bhagadatta of Vāskala; Pralamba, of Lamba; Dhenuka, of Khara.

45. Chāṇūra and Muśṭika, the two athletes, were part incarnates of Vārāha, and Kiśora, the two dreadful Daityas.

46-47. Kubalaya, the elephant of Kamsa, was part incarnate of Ariṣṭa, the sun of Diti. Vakī was the daughter of Bali, Vaka was her younger.

The powerful son of Droṇa, Aśvatthāmā, though known as the part incarnate of Rudra, was really born of the four parts of Yama, Rudra, Cupidity and Anger.

48-49. The Daityas and Rākṣasas that were born to relieve the heavy burden of the Earth were all incarnates of Asuras.

O king! I have thus narrated to you in order the incarnations of the Suras and Asuras, as they are stated duly in the Puranas.

50-51. When Brahmā and the other Devas went to Viṣṇu and prayed to Him then Hari gave to Brahmā one hair of a black colour and one hair of a white colour. The Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa was born of that black hair and Śaṇkarśaṇa Baladeva was born of the white hair. They were both the incarnations of Viṣṇu.

Note: here the black is the younger and the stronger; and they also represent the polarities. The Jīvas are points of those hairs.

52. He who hears with devotion the story of these part incarnations becomes freed of all sins and passes away his time merrily, surrounded by his circle of friends; there is no doubt in this.

Thus ends the 22nd chapter in 4th book of Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam the Mahā Purāṇam, of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa on the part incarnations of the several Devas.