Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 1, Texts 56 through 59 titled “Service Attitude” given by Gadadhar Pandit das. Note: This was shot with a new camera and I didn’t notice it bouncing back and forth for focus between the speaker and the Harinam board. Sorry ’bout that!
Each year thereafter, in due course of time, Devaki, the mother of God and all the demigods, gave birth to a child. Thus she bore eight sons, one after another, and a daughter named Subhadra.
The spiritual master is sometimes glorified as sarva-devamayo guruh (Bhag. 11.7.27). By the grace of the guru, the spiritual master, one can understand the different kinds of devas. The word deva refers to God, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original source of all the demigods, who are also called devas. In Bhagavad-gita (10.2) the Lord says, aham adir hi devanam: “I am the source of all the devas.” The Supreme Lord, Vishnu, the Original person, expands in different forms. Tad aikshata bahu syam (Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.3). He alone has expanded into many. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam (Brahma-samhita 5.33). There are different grades of forms, known as svamsa and vibhinnamsa. The svamsa expansions, or vishnu-tattva, are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas the vibhinnamsa are jiva-tattva, who are part and parcel of the Lord (mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah [Bg. 15.7]). If we accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worship Him, all the parts and expansions of the Lord are automatically worshiped. Sarvarhanam acyutejya (Bhag. 4.31.14). Krishna is known as Acyuta (senayor ubhayor madhye ratham sthapaya me ‘cyuta). By worshiping Acyuta, Krishna, one automatically worships all the demigods. There is no need of separately worshiping either the vishnu-tattva or jiva-tattva. If one concentrates upon Krishna, one worships everyone. Therefore, because mother Devaki gave birth to Krishna, she is described here as sarva-devata.
Vasudeva was very much disturbed by fear of becoming a liar by breaking his promise. Thus with great pain he delivered his first-born son, named Kirtiman, into the hands of Kamsa.
In the Vedic system, as soon as a child is born, especially a male child, the father calls for learned brahmanas, and according to the description of the child’s horoscope, the child is immediately given a name. This ceremony is called nama-karana. There are ten different samskaras, or reformatory methods, adopted in the system of varnasrama-dharma, and the name-giving ceremony is one of them. Although Vasudeva’s first son was to be delivered into the hands of Kamsa, the nama-karana ceremony was performed, and thus the child was named Kirtiman. Such names are given immediately after birth.
What is painful for saintly persons who strictly adhere to the truth? How could there not be independence for pure devotees who know the Supreme Lord as the substance? What deeds are forbidden for persons of the lowest character? And what cannot be given up for the sake of Lord Krishna by those who have fully surrendered at His lotus feet?
Since the eighth son of Devaki was to kill Kamsa, one might ask what the need was for Vasudeva to deliver the first-born child. The answer is that Vasudeva had promised Kamsa that he would deliver all the children born of Devaki. Kamsa, being an asura, did not believe that the eighth child would kill him; he took it for granted that he might be killed by any of the children of Devaki. Vasudeva, therefore, to save Devaki, promised to give Kamsa every child, whether male or female. From another point of view, Vasudeva and Devaki were very pleased when they understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, would come as their eighth son. Vasudeva, a pure devotee of the Lord, was eager to see Krishna appear as his child from the eighth pregnancy of Devaki. Therefore he wanted to deliver all the children quickly so that the eighth turn would come and Krishna would appear. He begot one child every year so that Krishna’s turn to appear would come as soon as possible.
My dear King Parikshit, when Kamsa saw that Vasudeva, being situated in truthfulness, was completely equipoised in giving him the child, he was very happy. Therefore, with a smiling face, he spoke as follows.
The word samatvam is very significant in this verse. Samatvam refers to one who is always equipoised, unaffected by either happiness or distress. Vasudeva was so steadily equipoised that he did not seem in the least agitated when delivering his first-born child into the hands of Kamsa to be killed. In Bhagavad-gita (2.56) it is said, duhkheshv anudvigna-manah sukheshu vigata-sprihah. In the material world, one should not be very eager to be happy, nor should one be very much disturbed by material distress. Lord Krishna advised Arjuna:
matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
tams titikshasva bharata
“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Bg. 2.14) The self-realized soul is never disturbed by so-called distress or happiness, and this is especially true of an exalted devotee like Vasudeva, who showed this by his practical example. Vasudeva was not at all disturbed when delivering his first child to Kamsa to be killed.