Devaki held the baby girl, hugged her chest, concealing her from the view of King Kamsa, continuously pleading with him, helplessly, to spare the child. Kamsa did not pay any heed to her, instead reprimanded her angrily, and snatched the child forcefully from her arms.
Kamsa had no love or affection left for her sister, Devaki, as he was selfish to the core. After snatching the newborn baby by her legs, Kamsa ventured to smash her on a stone wall.

These are the scenes vividly presented in our scripture, Srimad Bhagavatam of the time when Kamsa arrived in the prison cell where he had imprisoned his sister, Devaki, and her husband, Vasudeva.

My intention is not to repeat the story, which is well-known to many, but to emphasize the transformation that can instantly happen to a person while associating with positive aspects even for a fraction of a second. Kamsa, who was cruel and ruthless, was no exception.

The baby girl Kamsa wanted to smash was none other than the Yoga Maya- the Goddess representing the powers of illusion- an extension of the potency of the Supreme Being. The baby slipped from the hold of Kamsa and flew up. Before disappearing, the girl showed up in her original divine form and warned Kamsa: “Hey, fool! What is the point of killing me? The one who is your killer and your enemy from your previous birth is already born somewhere. Do not kill innocent children unnecessarily.”

This brief association with divine power brought about a positive change in Kamsa instantly. He realized how cruel he was when he killed all the previous six children of Devaki ruthlessly. He did it because he had been forewarned about his impending death at the hands of the eighth child of Devaki. He did not want to take any chances, and so he did not spare any children born to Devaki. He was fearful of his death.

The divine vision of the Yoga Maya brought about the better part of Kamsa. He overcame the fear of death. He prostrated in front of Devaki and Vasudeva, and begged their pardon for his crime. He talked to them about the values one should follow in life. He set them free by cutting the chains with which he had tied them in the cell as his captives.

Both Devaki and Vasudeva were noble personalities. Anyone in their place would not have condoned Kamsa’s heinous deeds, but they did it without holding any ill-feeling.

By the time Kamsa returned to his palace, it was already night. He felt relieved of all his anxiety and slept peacefully, perhaps after a long time. He was a changed person altogether. He convened his ministerial session and presented the virtuous turning point in his life after the vision of the Yoga Maya the previous evening. He spelled out his intention of being an accomplished administrator from then on.

But, alas, the unavoidable happened to Kamsa because he had a shaky mind. His ministers were demonic and wicked. They could not imagine a leader who was so gentle and sober. They praised Kamsa’s bravery, which they believed would be sufficient to extinguish the Yoga Maya’s powers. They sang of his glory, lauding his victories in various battles. Kamsa’s ego was triggered by this adoration. He had forgotten the values he had preached a short time before. He reverted to his original self, torturing people and destroying everything valuable in society by allowing his demonic associates to engage in heinous activities.

Perseverance of the values cherished through positive association requires sustained retentiveness, which is possible only through pure devotion. A determined mind must pursue the goal. Kamsa’s case is only an illustration. I am sure the lessons conveyed through these developments are not merely for Kamsa. In a way, the message is for the larger audience of human society. To create or spoil values in life is in one’s hand, and the capacity lies within!

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