Thursday, August 3, 2017

Revathi and Balarama - Part 2 of 2

"Why don't you tell us about yourself, king?" Krishna asked the king, as they had reached the kingdom of Dwaravathi. The moats of the country were drawn in and the princess and the king were treated with utmost respect.
It was only after this that Krishna started talking. Balarama for his part was strangely silent. If Krishna found that odd, he made no mention about it. But absolutely everyone could know that Krishna's eyes were looking unduly mischievous. Even more mischievous that he usually looked.
Kakudmi, unfortunately did not know much about Balarama and saw nothing unusual as he continued. "As I have told you, I am the king of Kusasthali." Kakudmi paused as he studied his beautiful daughter. She blushed slightly and she looked almost dazzlingly beautiful as Kakudmi turned to Krishna. "I wanted to find a good groom for my daughter."
Balarama nearly gasped as he caught himself at the last minute as the king continued. "I could not find anyone on earth or even among the Devas. So I approached Lord Brahma."
"Lord Brahma?" Krishna murmured. "You went to Satyaloka?" (Satyaloka is the realm where Lord Brahma resides.)
Kakudmi nodded as he realized that Krishna had understood his problem. But for the benefit of Balarama, Kakudmi continued. "When we arrived at Satyaloka, Lord Brahma was listening to the musical presentation of the Gandharvas, the musicians of the Devas."
Balarama frowned as Kakudmi continued. "I waited for the presentation to get over. That proved to be a mistake." Kakudmi said heavily.
"Mistake?" Balarama asked almost harshly.
"Yes." Kakudmi continued. "You see the time in the different realms pass differently. A few minutes in Satyaloka is a few years on earth. Me and my daughter were there for the entire musical presentation. So, by the time the presentation was over, all the people that I knew on earth were dead - even their families were all gone. Nothing remained."
"Then what happened?" Balarama asked and now he was really intrigued.
"At that time that I was talking to Lord Brahma, I did not realize this. I told him of my problem and asked him to suggest a good groom for my daughter." Kakudmi looked at the fierce eyes of Balarama and continued. "Brahma told me of what had happened and he instead told me another story and asked me to come back to Raivataka."
"What story?" Krishna asked, struggling not to smile. He just knew where this was going.
"He told me the story of Chakshush Manu, a powerful king who ruled over the earth." Kakudmi sounded worried as he looked at the two brothers.
"What about him?" Balarama demanded impatiently.
"Not him." Kakudmi corrected slowly. "His daughter - Jyotishmati."
"Who is Jyotishmati?" Balarama was almost exasperated as he threw up his hands in despair.
"Chakshush Manu conducted a great sacrifice and Jyotishmati was born from the fires. She was supposed to be a great beauty. When she grew up, she wanted to marry the mightiest man of them all."
"Ok." Balarama said realizing that he had to let the man go at his own pace.
"So, Jyotishmati first approached Indra."
"Indra?" Krishna asked and he rolled his eyes looking very mischievous.
Kakudmi nodded. "But Indra said that Vayu, the Lord of the Wind was stronger than him. And he sent Jyotishmati to the Lord of the Wind."
Balarama and Krishna looked at each other as Kakudmi continued. "Vayu said that he was not strong enough and that the earth was stronger than him and that the Goddess of the Earth would know who was stronger than Vayu."
Now, Balarama realized why Krishna had been smiling the whole time and he nearly blushed.
Naturally, Kakudmi did not realize this, as he continued. "The Earth Goddess told Jyotishmati that Sesha, the thousand headed Snake on which Lord Vishnu rested was even more powerful than the earth because Sesha held up the very earth on his head."
"Sesha?" Balarama nearly croaked as Krishna just could not stop laughing.
"But the story does not end there." Kakudmi said, not realizing the mood of the two brothers. "Lord Brahma it seems told Jyotishmati, that an incarnation of Lord Sesha would appear on earth, but he would appear 27 Yugas after she was born."
"Oh." Was all Balarama could manage as he was struggling not to look at laughing Krishna.
"Jyotishmati was furious with this, when Brahma told her that she would cross those 27 yugas and still marry the man." Kakudmi said as he looked at the two brothers a little hopefully. "I just do not know what this story has to do with me or my daughter."
Naturally, Revathi, the daughter of Kakudmi who was Jyotishmathi reincarnated, married Balarama, who was supposed to be the incarnation of Sesha, the thousand headed snake on which Lord Vishnu rests.

(The story of Jyotishmati, the daughter of Chakshush Manu, is found in the Garga Samhita.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Revathi and Balarama - Part 1 of 2

Jarasandha, the king of Magadha was the father-in-law of Kamsa. Jarasandha had married both his daughters Asti and Prapti to Kamsa.
When Krishna killed Kamsa, naturally, Jarasandha was infuriated with this.
Jarasandha collected a huge army and attacked Krishna's city of Mathura, not once, but eighteen times.
Krishna defeated Jarasandha seventeen times and all the times, he spared Jarasandha’s life.
In the eighteenth time, Jarasandha joined forces with another king called Kalayavana and they attacked Mathura on two fronts.
Krishna and Balarama had all their people moved to the kingdom of Dwaraka and with a skeletal army, they faced this dual attack.
Using the help of a great king by name Muchukunda, Krishna killed Kalayavana.
But then Krishna's problems were only half over, with the death of Kalayavana. They had decimated Kalayavana's army. Still Jarasandha's army were around them. And this time, Jarasandha had mustered a huge army.
Krishna and Balarama, instead of fighting Jarasandha, they ran from the battlefield.
Jarasandha probably did not know the fate of Kalayavana and thought that his plan of attacking Mathura on two fronts was finally succeeding.
Gloating with himself, he and army people gave a chase to the fleeing Yadava brothers.
The brothers ran hard and they reached a mountain called Pravarsana. (In Sanskrit, Pravarsana means the rainy mountains. It is believed that it is always raining at Pravarsana.)
The two brothers looked at the approaching army and started climbing up the mountain.
Jarasandha was gleeful when he saw the two brothers climb up the mountain.
Realizing that the two brothers were trapped in the mountain, Jarasandha ordered his men to set fire to the mountains on all sides.
Jarasandha and his men watched in a vicious satisfaction as the mountain burned magnificently. They just made sure that no one escaped the mountain.
Jarasandha went back to his kingdom, finally satisfied that he had avenged his son-in-law's killers.


Naturally, Krishna and Balarama escaped the fire. (Some Puranas mention that the two brothers jumped from the mountain for a distance of about 11 Yojanas to escape the fire! Incidentally, 1 Yojana is about 14.63 kilometers.)
It is believed that Krishna and Balarama framed their own deaths because they wanted to start afresh in the city of Dwaraka
Dwaraka was an extremely safe place as it was surrounded by the seas on all sides. Jarasandha could not attack them there.

And the reason, Krishna did not kill Jarasandha was that, it was important for Jarasandha to live at that time – for the Pandavas – because only when the Pandavas killed Jarasandha, they could annex the kingdom of Jarasandha and that move would establish the supremacy of the Pandavas.


As the brothers were going to Dwaraka after escaping the fire, they saw the beautiful mountain of Raivataka on the way.
But that was not surprising. What was, was that there was a ravishing beauty standing besides the mountain and beside the girl, was an old man – a very troubled looking old man.
Though, the old man was troubled, there was no doubt that the man was king and the jewels that he wore looked like the jewels of very old times. But the man carried himself like a king and had perfect regal bearings as he studied the two brothers looking a little worriedly.
"Who are you?" Balarama asked as he was studying the old man.
The girl was breathtakingly beautiful. So beautiful that Balarama would not even look at her.
"My name is Kakudmi. Some people even call me Revata." The man spoke in an ancient language which was almost forgotten by the locals. Mercifully, the two brothers were able to follow him. "I am of the kingdom of Kusasthali. I am the king of that kingdom."
Balarama was watching shocked. "Kusasthali?" He demanded looking like he was unable to believe what he was hearing.
"Yes." That was the first time the girl spoke. She had a beautiful voice and it was definitely haunting Balarama. "I am the princess of that kingdom." There was a slight anger in her voice as if she just could not believe that someone would doubt her and her father.
"You do not understand, my princess," Krishna said with twinkling eyes. "We have only read about the kingdom of Kusasthali. That kingdom is spoken of in the history of the Yadavas. And incidentally, our kingdom of Dwaravathi is built on the place where the kingdom of Kusasthali once existed." Krishna told the stupefied princess. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Little Krishna - Part 11

Devaki lost six of her sons to Kamsa.
Kamsa became so cruel that he just did not care about anything anymore. He already had the protection of his father-in-law - Jarasandha's army. He also genuinely believed that if he killed the children of Devaki, he could conquer his own fate.
That was when news reached him that Devaki was carrying the seventh child.
Kamsa was ready to kill this child too when he had some strange news – Devaki aborted the seventh child.
Unknown to Kamsa, Rohini - another wife of Vasudeva was carrying a child. Rohini was living with Nanda, Vasudeva's brother in the village of Gokul, presumably to escape persecution from Kamsa. 
(It was said that this abortion was primarily done to confuse Kamsa. 
When Devaki aborted the seventh child, it would be unclear whether the next child to be born would be considered as the seventh or the eighth child.
More importantly, this is the first time that Goddess Yoga Maya is introduced in the Bhagawat Purana.
Yoga Maya is the source of all the powers of Lord Vishnu. She is supposed to be Vishnu's power.
It is believed that the seventh child of Devaki had not been aborted. Instead Yoga Maya transferred the child from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini.
This child of Rohini was Balarama – Krishna's elder brother.
Some Puranas consider Balarama as an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Some other Puranas consider Balarama as the incarnation of Sesha – the thousand headed snake on whom Lord Vishnu rests.)
When news came to Kamsa that Devaki was carrying the next child, he did something unforgivable. This time he imprisoned both Devaki and Vasudeva.
Somehow Kamsa was sure that this was the child – the one who would be his end. The reason Kamsa was so sure that this child was meant to his death was that Devaki had almost started glowing. (The Bhagawat Purana gives a brilliant description of how Devaki looked at this time.)
Kamsa never knew it, but this was the time Nanda, Vasudeva's brother also had some good news. His wife Yashoda was carrying a child.
There is a rather interesting description in the Bhagawat Purana at this time.
It states that Kamsa was very worried as he saw Devaki. Kamsa was so anxious that he actually wanted to kill Devaki. But he stopped himself saying that Devaki was his sister and that if he killed Devaki now, it could lead to disrepute for him.
(The Purana already mention that Kamsa ruled like a tyrant and that people were afraid of him. It is curious as to why Kamsa would be so worried about his reputation at this time.)
So in a prison, with strict guards standing vigil outside, with glorious flooding rain lashing through Mathura, Devaki gave birth to her eighth son – a beautiful dark complexioned baby – the baby was said to be so dark that he seemed to give out an almost bluish tint.
(It was supposed to be an extraordinarily auspicious time for birth. And it was not just the eighth child of Devaki which was born at this time. Yogamaya was born as Yashoda's daughter at the same time. Not many know it, but Arjuna the third Pandava, another hero of Mahabharatha was also born on the same time as the eighth child of Devaki.)
(There is another very interesting anecdote about this event. 
Devaki and Vasudeva were great sages during their previous births. They prayed to Lord Vishnu with great devotion.
When Lord Vishnu appeared before them, both wanted a son equivalent to Lord Vishnu himself.
They were so enthusiastic about it, that they asked the same boon three times. Lord Vishnu is said to have granted their boon.
And because of this, Lord Vishnu was born three times as the son of the couple.
During the Satya Yuga (the first yuga), there lived a King called Sutapas and this wife Prushni who were the incarnation of Vasudeva and Devaki. Lord Vishnu was born as Prushnigarbhan (meaning one who is in the womb of Prushni).
During the Treta Yuga (the second yuga), Vasudeva and Devaki incarnated as Sage Kashyap and Aditi. Lord Vishnu was born as Aditi's son – Upendra.
In this avatar, Lord Vishnu was a dwarf so he is called as "Vamana". (Literally translated Vamana means dwarf.)
The Vamana Avatar is an extraordinarily interesting incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
During this time, Bali the asura ruled the world. He was a brilliant ruler – just and kind.
But he was an asura.
Naturally, Indra and the other Devas could not tolerate it. They prayed to Lord Vishnu to get rid of Bali.
Lord Vishnu is said to have heard their prayers and Lord Vishnu incarnated as Vamana, the dwarf.
Vamana then went to Bali who was giving away alms.
Vamana asked for three feet of land to be measured by his own foot.
Unthinkingly, Bali promised to give Vamana what he had asked for.
That was when Vamana grew to a huge size (This is called as Trivikrama Avatar of Lord Vishnu)
Vamana grew so large that he covered the entire earth in one step, the skies in the other.
Vamana then asked Bali for his third step and that was when Bali offered his own head as the third step.
Vamana supposedly pushed Bali to the netherworld with the third step.
But Lord Vishnu was so pleased with Bali that he promised the asura that he was going to be the next "Indra" during one of the coming eras.
And keeping his promise to Vasudeva and Devaki, Lord Vishnu was born for the third time as Devaki's eighth son.)

Little Krishna - Part 10

Kamsa was genuinely shocked as he saw Vasudeva come to his palace with a new born baby in his hands.
Kamsa had known. He had always known that Vasudeva would keep his word, no matter what. But actually watching Vasudeva bringing the new born infant shocked Kamsa so badly that he grew numb.
"This is Devaki's first born son, Kamsa." Vasudeva said in a dull and listless tone as he looked at the baby in his hands. And as Vasudeva said it he was trying to forget the screaming and waling of Devaki back at his home. But then Vasudeva knew that this was the only way.
Kamsa looked at the new born baby and then at Vasudeva and at that minute a powerful feeling shot through him. A powerful compassion. Something that he had not felt much. Something which reminded him of his own childhood with his sister – a time where he had really loved her.
"It is prophecised that the eighth child of Devaki will kill me, Vasudeva." Kamsa looked at the new born infant. "This child has done me no wrong. Please take it back."
Vasudeva heard the words but it did not make sense to him. Not in the least.
For one forbidden second he looked at the baby and wondered whether he had even heard right.
"Wha...." Vasudeva asked as he choked and words completely failed him.
"You have proved that you are a man of your word." Kamsa said quietly. "And the prophecy says that it is only the eighth child of Devaki which will kill me. I have no desire to kill the other children of Devaki. Take back your son."
Vasudeva did not know what to believe. He was afraid. He was genuinely afraid of what he was hearing.
But then the fact remained that Kamsa did not seem interested in his son. For one second Vasudeva felt immensely happy as he realized that Devaki's first child was going to live.
Vasudeva took the son back to his home.
(It can be presumed that everyone had known by now that Kamsa had taken over Mathura by overthrowing Ugrasena. It is also possible that no one was strong enough to face Kamsa and so everyone just decided to accept Kamsa as the new ruler of Mathura.
The Bhagawatam does mention that Kamsa ruled like a tyrant.)
Kamsa had a surprise visitor that night.
It was Narada, the wondering sage and the "Manasputra" of Brahma. ("Manas" means mind and "putra" means son. Sage Narada was supposedly born from the mind thoughts of Brahma. Narada is a frequent character who appears in most of the epics and the Puranas. He is a messenger of the Trinity – Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Sage Narada is known for his mischievous ways. It is always said that he creates problems and the end of the problems always comes out right. Another characteristic of this sage is that he always chants the name of "Narayana" which is why it is believed that Lord Narayana comes to his aid.)
Kamsa was surprised to see the sage and as a mark of respect to the sage, he ordered a grand feast. Kamsa took good care of the sage, which pleased Narada.
"You have taken good care of me, Kamsa," Narada told the beaming Kamsa. "And for this, I shall tell you a story."
Kamsa frowned but said nothing.
"Long back there lived an asura called Kalanemi." Narada started.
Probably, there was something about the name. The minute Kamsa heard it, something in his heart stirred – he felt something powerful which nearly blew him away.
"Kalanemi?" Kamsa asked as the name felt natural in his lips.
"Yes." Narada nodded slowly. "Kalanemi was the son of Hiranyaksha, the asura."
"Hiranyaksha?" Kamsa asked sharply. "The asura who was killed by the boar."
Narada smiled mirthlessly nodding his head. "Yes. Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha during the Varaha or the Boar Avatar."
Kamsa frowned as Narada continued, "Kalanemi was also killed by Lord Vishnu."
Kamsa was jarred slightly as he heard the news. He looked at Narada with slight anger. "Why are you telling me all this?" He demanded in a harsh tone.
"Isn't it obvious, Kamsa?" Narada asked in the same quiet tone. "You were Kalanemi in your previous life time."
It suddenly felt like cold water was poured on him.
Kamsa was panting as he was struggling to control himself.
"Why...?" Kamsa could not complete as Narada continued. "You should also know that Lord Vishnu is going to incarnate again in the Dwapara Yuga. And it is to help him that other Devas are incarnating among the Yadavas."
"Among the Yadavas?" Kamsa asked as he just could not control his anger.
Narada looked at Kamsa with stern eyes. "Probably, they are already born."
That was it.
Narada just said the words and after that he said nothing more.
But then the damage had already been done.
Kamsa realized that all of the Yadavas were his enemy. Somehow he believed that they were all going to try and kill him.
Kamsa decided that he was going to destroy the Yadavas – every single one of them.
That was the day that Devaki's miseries started.
Because immediately, Kamsa went to Vasudeva's home and killed Devaki's first son.
(The Puranas state that Narada acted the way he did for two reasons – one to fulfil the curse of the Sada Garbhas who were born as the sons of Devaki and second to fulfil the curse of Diti. Because Devaki was an incarnation of Aditi, the mother of the Devas.
It was after Narada's visit that Kamsa became a full fledged villain. Because after this, he just started massacring his own people, nearly destroying all the Yadavas.)

Little Krishna - Part 9

Jarasandha eyed Kamsa, the ferocious Yadava who was practicing along with the other Yadavas. Jarasandha was the king of Magadha and Magadha was an extremely powerful kingdom in the entire country.
Jarasandha was always on the lookout for new talents so that he could safeguard his already powerful kingdom and that was when he saw Kamsa. Jarasandha had no doubt about Kamsa's fighting ability. There had been a time when Jarasandha had tried invading Mathura. At that time, Kamsa alone was single handedly responsible for routing Jarasandha's army.
It was at that minute that Jarasandha decided that Kamsa was special and that he had to keep an eye out on the man.
Jarasandha saw Chanur, a trusted advisor of Kamsa talking with him and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Banasura was a powerful asura with a thousand arms. He was so strong and fierce that even the Devas themselves feared him. As if that was not enough, Banasura was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
It is said that Banasura was such a powerful devotee that Lord Shiva himself had promised to be Banasura's protector.
This Banasura was the very one who eyed the powerful Kamsa in the kingdom of Mathura.
Realizing that Kamsa's brute potential would be wasted here, Banasura called the Yadava for private talks.
"You are extraordinarily powerful, Prince Kamsa." Banasura told Kamsa immediately as soon as Kamsa came to meet him.
Kamsa said nothing as he was studying the powerful thousand armed asura before him as Banasura continued, "You are not meant to be a mere prince. I can seen greatness in you. You are destined to be a king. The king of all the Yadavas everywhere, not just at Mathura." Banasura said in a quiet voice.
It was at that minute that Chanur came and wanted to talk with Kamsa.
Looking at Chanur and then at Banasura, Kamsa ordered Chanur to spill the news there.
"King Jarasandha of the Magadha kingdom wishes to form alliance with you, my Lord." Chanur told Kamsa with glowing eyes.
Kamsa was speechless. He really was.
Magadha was a powerful kingdom and it was a certainty that any person associated with that kingdom would have untold power.
"King Jarasandha has two daughters – Asti and Prapti. They are both willing to marry you, my Lord." Chanur finished with a quiet smile.
Kamsa was reeling under the news. He just could not believe that he would receive back to back news of this sort. An asura wanted Kamsa to take over Mathura and at the same time a powerful king wanted to offer his daughters in marriage to him....
The words of both the people worked its magic in Kamsa's heart. It was that minute that Kamsa knew that he was going to become the king of all the Yadavas. No matter what.
(Banasura has a very long timeline. He was the son of Bali, the asura. So it meant that he was alive from the times of Bali to Kamsa and even after that, which was not surprising. What makes his character so interesting is his boon from Lord Shiva. Because of the boon from Lord Shiva, Banasura caused a war between Krishna and Shiva! Krishna attacked Banasura's kingdom to save his grandson Annirudha. Shiva being on the side of Banasura fought off Krishna's attack.)
It is believed that Jarasandha brought over a part of his powerful army to Mathura as escorts to the Princesses Asti and Prapti, who were to get married to Kamsa.
Kamsa wasted absolutely no time as he used the cover of the army and imprisoned his father. (It was believed that this was done within the palace and even the public were not aware of this takeover.)
Using the army, Kamsa crowned himself as the king of Mathura and started annexing kingdoms.
It is said that with Jarasandha's army, Kamsa had become so powerful that Kamsa was even able to defeat the Devas in battle.

Little Krishna - Part 8

The marriage of Devaki and Vasudeva was conducted with great pomp and show by King Ugrasena. The Yadavas all over the kingdom rejoiced because it was a gloriously beautiful marriage. The fact that Devaki and Vasudeva also loved each other also added to the joy of the Yadavas. Ugrasena gave a lot of gifts and riches to his beloved daughter as she was going to go to her husband's home.
But despite that, probably, the most beautiful sight in the entire marriage was after the ceremonies.
As Devaki and Vasudeva were about to step outside the marriage hall, they saw the strong Kamsa sit on the charioteer's seat in a beautiful chariot looking at the couple with a loving smile. 
"I will drop you at your home." Kamsa told Devaki with a beautiful smile.
And so the journey started.
Kamsa was happily willing to drop Devaki at Vasudeva's place, when something happened which changed everything.
That event changed the very map of the kingdom of Mathura.
As Kamsa was driving through the streets of Mathura, a strange voice filled the heavens.
Even the common man walking on the road stopped as they stared at the skies.
Kamsa brought his horses to a sudden stand still.
"FOOL!" The voice in the skies shouted sounding almost gleeful. "What are you so happy about? Why are you so happy about the marriage of this man to this woman? You should be sorry for it."
Devaki and Vasudeva looked worriedly at each other as they stared at the skies.
But the voice was not yet done giving its message.
"The eighth child of Devaki is going to bring your death, Kamsa!"
There was a shocked silence. A sudden shocked silence.
Kamsa had been astonished when he had heard the voice from the heavens. But he honestly did not know what was going to happen.
But when he heard what was being said, the cold fear of death played in his heart - the fear that he could not control.
He turned to look at his sister who was whimpering in fear before him.
That was the minute that Kamsa's fear turned into rage. Uncontrolled rage. This woman whom he had till now cherished was going to be the cause of his death.
"I am going to kill you!" Kamsa screamed. 
Kamsa pulled out his sword and caught Devaki by her hair and was about to kill her when Kamsa felt himself being pushed back.
"Kamsa, stop it!" Vasudeva shouted coming before his wife, looking angrily at the falling Kamsa.
Kamsa was panting angrily as Vasudeva tried to get him to look at him. "She is your own sister, Kamsa. And today is the day she is getting married – one of the happiest days in her life. And you want to kill her today?"
"If I don't kill her, she is going to be the cause of my death." Kamsa spat angrily, as he tried to push past Vasudeva.
"Everyone who is born has to die." Vasudeva said in a placatory tone. "Even if Devaki's child is going to be the cause of your death, it will just put an end your material world. Your soul is still alive. Why...?"
Vasudeva never completed his sentence as Kamsa angrily pushed Vasudeva aside as he saw Devaki stand before him. 
"She is going to bring me death and you want me to accept it?" Kamsa shouted angrily as he pulled his sword up.
Vasudeva changed tracks pretty fast. He knew that Kamsa had crossed that line where reason had ceased to exist.
"You do not have to kill Devaki. I have a better idea." Vasudeva said struggling with himself.
Kamsa whipped his head angrily as for a minute he looked at Vasudeva contemptuously.
"Do not kill Devaki, please." Vasudeva said taking a deep breath, trying to control himself. "It has been prophecised that the eighth child of Devaki would kill you. Why should you kill Devaki for that?
"What else can I do?" Kamsa sneered angrily.
"I will offer you all the children of Devaki as soon as they are born."
There was another shocked silence. A second later, an involuntary scream was torn from Devaki's mouth. She looked at Vasudeva completely horrified, unable to believe what she was hearing.
Kamsa looked at Vasudeva and suddenly that mindless anger was gone. And it was replaced with something even more ugly.
"You will give me all of your children?" Kamsa asked Vasudeva with a catty smile.
Vasudeva absolutely refused to look anywhere at the horrified Devaki and he slowly nodded his head. "Yes I will."
"You are an honourable man, Vasudeva." Kamsa said pulling his sword back in his sheath. "I believe you. And keep good your promises." Kamsa spared another pathetic look at Devaki and then turned to Vasudeva. 
"If you do not keep your promise, you know exactly what I am going to do."

Little Krishna - Part 7

It was believed that during the Dwapara Yuga, the Yadavas were made up of two groups – the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.
The Yadavas was supposedly a republic and not a monarchy as it was in the other parts of the country. 
In this republic the area of Mathura and thereabouts was ruled by the Andhakas. The ruler of the Andhakas was Ugrasena.
The Vrishnis were ruled by Surasena. Surasena's son was Vasudeva.
Ugrasena and Surasena were generally considered as the chieftains or the kings by their respective tribes.
Thus Vasudeva was one of the main noblemen of the Yadavas.
One day, he approached his friend Sini for some help. 
Sini of the Yadavas was the best friend of Vasudeva and frowned wondering what the nobleman wanted.
"Princess Devaki, the daughter of King Ugrasena is having her swayamvara." Vasudeva said quietly. [Swayamvara is where a princess chooses her own husband.]
Sini understood immediately. 
Sini realized that Devaki and Vasudeva loved each other and that he had to kidnap the princess during the wedding.
Sini happily agreed to this and successfully kidnapped the princess and brought her to Vasudeva.
Even the marriage of Devaki and Vasudeva was performed with great pomp and show.
At that time, no one paid attention to Kamsa, the son of King Ugrasena and Padmavathi. But at that time, no one had any reason to.
(There are four anecdotes connected with this incident.
One, is that Vasudeva also married the other daughters of Ugrasena. It remains unknown as to why Ugrasena conducted a swayamvara, if Devaki wanted to marry Vasudeva in the first place. And there is absolutely no doubt that Vasudeva loved Devaki a lot. Vasudeva had done a lot in his life to save Devaki's life.
One of the other wives of Vasudeva is Rohini. She is Devaki's co-wife and is very important in Krishna's story.
The second anecdote is about Sini. Sini fought off the king Somadatta during the kidnap of Princess Devaki.
This battle between Sini and Somadatta caused an almost generational feud between Sini and Somadatta which ended only in the Kurukshetra war where a descendant of Sini – Satyaki killed Somadatta.
The third anecdote is that Vasudeva was the brother Nanda. According to the book "Harivamsa", Nanda was the head of the Gopa tribe which was another powerful group among the Yadavas.
The fourth anecdote is that of Kamsa.
The Puranas mention Kamsa as the son of Ugrasena and Queen Padmavathi. But there have also been some off shoots regarding this story. Padmavathi is the daughter of King Satyaketu of Vidharbha. It is said that after her marriage, she had once gone to her father's home and there she was seen by a gandharva (Gandharvas are celestial singers and dancers in the Court of Indra) named Dramila or Godila.
Godila lusted after Padmavathi.
And so Godila took the appearance of Ugrasena and approached Padmavathi. Padmavathi presumed Godila to be her husband.
Their mating is said to have resulted in the birth of Kamsa.
Despite his parentage, it can be presumed that until Devaki's marriage, Kamsa loved his sister as any brother would and that Kamsa bore her no ill feelings towards her.)