Excerpts from ‘The Battle of Panchavati’ – III (The Eighth Son)

As the storm lashed the city of Mathura, the capital of the kingdom of Vrishni, a celestial event, foretold by the sages, was unfolding in a prison cell attached to the royal palace. Devaki and Vasudev, the royal prisoners and relatives to the cruel despot Kansa, were expecting their eighth child. As the day had advanced, so had the storm and also Devaki’s labor pains. It was evident to Vasudev that the child would come tonight. A message was sent to the deposed former King, Ugrasen, himself under arrest, through the network of the few faithful servants left, that his help was sorely needed. This child needed to be saved from the clutches of the tyrant Kansa. Vasudev and Devaki had been lodged in their cell for several years and had seen six of their children being born and killed by Kansa in this very cell. They were determined, this time, not to let that happen again. The savior who was coming tonight, needed to be saved first! 

Kansa was the son of Ugrasen, the benevolent King of the kingdom of Vrishni, with its capital at Mathura. Kansa was powerfully built and was well known for his prowess in wrestling and the art of combat. Several years ago, he had led the forces of Mathura against the much superior army of Jarasandh, the king of Magadha, and had defeated them in battle. Jarasandh, had been impressed with the young man’s valor and had offered to marry his two daughters to him. Though Jarasandh lost the war, but he had forged an important alliance. The proximity between the two had grown since then. Kansa slowly built a powerful circle of warriors around him, like Chanur, his confidante and wrestling partner, and Banasura and Narakasur, both of royal lineage from Pragjyotisha the kingdom that lay in the hills towards the North-East of Bharatvarsha, the land of the gods. Using this alliance with Jarasandh and his circle of powerful warriors, Kansa had deposed his father from the throne and now held the reins of Vrishni in his hands. A short while later, his astrologers and soothsayers had looked at his charts and warned him of an impending danger to his life, and his throne. They had told him that the eighth son of Devaki his sister, and Vasudev would be his nemesis. This eighth son, they said, would kill him and reinstate his father to the throne of Mathura. Kansa was beyond himself with rage. He had caught Devaki by her hair and would have beheaded her had Vasudev not fallen at his feet and pleaded with him to spare Devaki’s life in return for the lives of all their future offsprings. 

So it came to pass that Kansa imprisoned Ugrasen, and Vasudev-Devaki in separate cells of the royal prison and waited for Devaki to conceive and deliver her children one by one. The soldiers guarding the prison had been instructed to inform Kansa of the birth of any child immediately, but otherwise leave the royal couple alone, to lead their miserable lives in their cell……………………………………..

Excerpt from ‘The Eighth Son’ from the book ‘The Battle of Panchavati and Other Stories from Indian Scriptures’. An Amazon Bestseller.

Link to the book on Amazon  https://www.amazon.in/dp/9352016890?ref=myi_title_dp

 

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