“My dear sister Devakī, you are so gentle and kind. Please excuse me—don’t be aggrieved by the death of your children, which I have caused. Actually this was not done by me, because all these are predestined activities. One has to act according to the predestined plan, even unwillingly. People misunderstand that with the end of the body the self dies, or they think that one can kill another living entity. All these misconceptions oblige one to accept the conditions of material existence. In other words, as long as one is not firmly convinced of the eternality of the soul, one is subjected to the tribulation of being killer and killed. My dear sister Devakī and brother-in-law Vasudeva, kindly excuse the atrocities I have committed against you. I am very poor-hearted, and you are so great-hearted, so take compassion upon me and excuse me.”
While Kaṁsa was speaking to his brother-in-law and sister, tears flowed from his eyes, and he fell down at their feet. Believing the words of Durgā-devī, whom he had tried to kill, Kaṁsa immediately released his brother-in-law and sister. He personally unlocked the iron shackles and very sympathetically showed his friendship for his family members.
When Devakī saw her brother so repentant, she also became pacified and forgot all his atrocious activities against her children. Vasudeva also, forgetting all past incidents, spoke smilingly with his brother-in-law. Vasudeva told Kaṁsa, “My dear fortunate brother-in-law, what you are saying about the material body and the soul is correct. Every living entity is born ignorant, misunderstanding this material body to be his self. This conception of life is due to ignorance, and on the basis of this ignorance we create enmity or friendship. Lamentation, jubilation, fearfulness, envy, greed, illusion and madness are different features of our material concept of life. A person influenced like this engages in enmity only due to the material body. Being engaged in such activities, we forget our eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Vasudeva took the opportunity of Kaṁsa’s benevolence and informed him that his atheistic activities were also due to this misconception of life—namely taking the material body to be the self. When Vasudeva talked with Kaṁsa in such an illuminating way, Kaṁsa became very much pleased, and his guilt for killing his nephews subsided. With the permission of his sister Devakī and brother-in-law Vasudeva, he returned to his home with a relieved mind.
But the next day Kaṁsa called all his counselors together and narrated to them all the incidents that had happened the night before. All the counselors of Kaṁsa were demons and eternal enemies of the demigods, so they became depressed upon hearing their master speak of the night’s events. And although they were not very much experienced or learned, they began to give instructions to Kaṁsa as follows: “Dear sir, let us now make arrangements to kill all children who were born within the last ten days in all towns, counties, villages and pasturing grounds. Let us execute this plan indiscriminately. We think that the demigods cannot do anything against us if we perform these atrocities. They are always afraid of fighting with us, and even if they wish to check our activities, they will not dare to do so. Because of your immeasurable strength, they fear your bow. Indeed, we have practical experience that whenever you stood to fight with them and began to shower your arrows on them, they immediately fled in all directions just to save their lives. Many of the demigods were unable to fight with you, and they immediately surrendered themselves unto you by loosening their turbans and the tufts of hair on their heads. With folded hands they begged you to spare them and said, ‘My lord, we are all afraid of your strength. Please release us from this dangerous fight.’ We have also seen many times that you would never kill such surrendered fighters when they were all fearful, their bows, arrows and chariots broken, forgetful of their military activities and unable to fight with you. So actually we have nothing to fear from these demigods. They are very proud of being great fighters in peacetime outside the war field, but actually they cannot show any talent or military power on the war field. Although Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā are always ready to help the demigods, headed by Indra, we have no reason to be afraid of them. As far as Lord Viṣṇu is concerned, He has already hidden Himself within the hearts of all living entities, and He cannot come out. As far as Lord Śiva is concerned, he has renounced all activities; he has already entered into the forest. And Lord Brahmā is always engaged in different types of austerities and meditation. And what to speak of Indra—he is a straw in comparison to your strength. Therefore we have nothing to fear from any of these demigods. But we must not neglect them, for the demigods are our determined enemies. We must be careful to protect ourselves. To root them out from their very existence, we should just engage ourselves in your service and be always ready for your command.”