We’re at an important juncture wherein Bhagawan Vishnu is deciding and taking upon Himself that it is time for Him to incarnate once more – For the ninth time in this world. As per the two requests made by the Devas led by Indra and Co., and also as per the request made by Goddess Bhoomadevi, Bhagawan Vishnu decides to go ahead with His ninth incarnation. All of us know that Bhagawan Vishnu incarnated as Little Krishna in the city of Mathura in North India. Readers might remember that we had concluded yesterday’s episode with a seemingly controversial argument – Swami Periyaalwar (One of the twelve important Alwars – Ardent devotees of Bhagawan Vishnu) explains in His “Divya-Prabhandham” text that Bhagawan Krishna incarnated at a place called “Thiru-Koshtiyur” – A “Divyadesha” temple-town near the city of Madurai in southern India. We might wonder how can this be true? How can Bhagawan Krishna incarnate at the same time in both places? Moreover, even if He had done so, (Bhagawan is capable of incarnating at many places at the same time), why hasn’t it been talked about either by Sage Paraashara or by Sage Sukhaachaarya or any other Sage for that reason? If we look at Shri Vishnu Puraana or Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, which talk about Bhagawan Krishna at length, there’s no mention of this place called “Thiru-Koshtiyur ” at all! So what is the significance of this place and why is Swami Periyaalwar stressing upon this point with a lot of emphasis? Let’s understand today!
As we’ve seen earlier, this place called “Thiru-Koshtiyur” is one amongst the 108 “Divyadeshas” of Bhagawan Vishnu, as per the “Shri Vaishnava Sampradhaaya” (The Vaishnava Tradition). This place is located around 50-60 kilometers north-east of the temple town of Madurai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. As the name suggests – “Thiru-KOSHTIYUR” – “Koshti” in Tamil means, “Group”! In other words, there was a big “Group discussion” at this place! 🙂 Now who were the constituents of this group? It was none other than the Devas, led by Indra and Co., and Goddess Bhoomadevi. It is thus believed that all these people together approached Bhagawan Vishnu at this very place, as a “Koshti” (Group). The presiding deity of the temple at “Thiru-Koshtiyur” is referred to as “Soumya-Narayana”. It is only to this Bhagawan “Soumya-Narayana” did all the Devas and Goddess Bhoomadevi come and cry to, with all their problems. The discussion began at this very place, and this is why Swami Periyaalwar established that Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation process started at this very place! It is only after the detailed discussion and thought process that happened at this “Thiru-Koshtiyur”, did Bhagawan Krishna incarnate in the north Indian city of Mathura. Given this fact, now we ourselves can decide where Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation commenced!
Hence, such is the significance of this “Divyadesha” called “Thiru-Koshtiyur”. Thus, if readers get an opportunity, please do visit this place without fail. The temple is one of the most beautiful ones of Bhagawan Vishnu, who is worshipped here as Bhagawan Soumya-Narayana. Moving on thus, Sage Paraashara now explains in the fifth “Amsa” as to what was happening meanwhile in the “Bhoolokha”. On one hand, we’ve seen that the discussion between Bhagawan Soumya-Narayana and the Devas + Goddess Bhoomadevi happened at Thiru-Koshtiyur”, and on the other hand, we’re now going to witness what are the atrocities that Raakshasa Kamsa was performing in this world. As Sage Maithreya requests Sage Paraashara to describe at length about all these events, Sage Paraashara begins his long accord.
We’ve already seen the background of Vasudeva and Devaki (To whom Bhagawan Krishna was born) as part of the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana itself. It is the same accord that Sage Paraashara is starting with, here also, and since we’ve already witnessed this, I’m hurrying up a bit at this stage. However, just for the sake of readers’ recollection, Kamsa and Devaki were siblings. We’ve witnessed the “Charitras” about Aahuka, Devaka and Ugrasena and how many children these people had. Vasudeva was the son born to Shoora. This Shoora gets married to a woman by the name Maareesha, and it is to this couple did Vasudeva take birth as their son. Vasudeva also had a sister by name “Prutha”, who is none other than Kunthi Devi, who is the mother of the Paandava brothers. Thus, we can see here how Udishtra and Co. are directly related to Bhagawan Krishna as paternal cousins. It is also for this reason that Bhagawan Krishna often refers Arjuna as “Paartha” in the Bhagawad Gita. It is because Arjuna was born to this Prutha or Kunthi Devi, and since he is the son of Prutha, his name is “Paartha”.
Now coming back to the storyline here – This Devaki and Vasudeva get married and Devaki’s brother, Kamsa is responsible for the grand marriage that took place at Mathura city. As the marriage comes to a close, Kamsa escorts the couple on to his chariot, so that he can drive both of them to Vasudeva’s place. The procession commences and Kamsa is driving the chariot, along with Devaki and Vasudeva behind him. It was at this time something strange happened, which neither Kamsa nor Devaki nor Vasudeva expected! So what was this strange happening? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂