“After consulting with his demonic ministers, Kamsa instructed a witch named Putana, who knew the black art of killing small children by ghastly sinful methods, to kill all kinds of children in the cities, villages and pasturing grounds. Such witches can play their black art only where there is no chanting or hearing of the holy name of Krishna. It is said that wherever the chanting of the holy name of Krishna is done, even negligently, all bad elements - witches, ghosts, and dangerous calamities - immediately disappear.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 6)Download this episode (right click and save)
To underestimate is to improperly assess something else, favoring the side of inferiority over superiority. If you underestimate the weight of something, it means that it will feel heavier to you than you thought when you go to lift it. “Misunderestimate” is not a valid word, but it has been introduced into the vernacular through a mistake made by a politician of recent times. To seriously underestimate someone can lead to very negative consequences, and so the meaning to the concocted word of “misunderestimate” is applicable to many situations, including with King Kamsa a long time ago.
The less intelligent person thinks that this body gets created through sex desire alone.
“You take the right parts in contact with one another and you get a life. You plant the seed in the soil, add a little water and sunlight, and soon you have growth. When the body ceases functioning, the living entity is no more. Everything finishes at death.”
This is the thinking of those who do not know the presence of spirit, which is immutable, unchangeable and primeval. The spirit soul is not slain when the body is slain.
“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.20)
As the body is nothing more than a lump of matter, it is easier to handle lesser lumps of matter than greater ones. This means that if you have something unwanted, better to get rid of it soon, before it grows. Bugs and insects are pesky; their size makes them difficult to catch. Once caught, however, they are very easy to dispose of. Thus the philosophy of the exterminator is to get rid of these creatures, especially while they are young.
Sometimes this sort of violence is necessary, but it should be understood that spirit is always present. When thinking that the body is everything, the less intelligent consider the killing of a smaller creature to be less offensive than a larger one. An animal is okay to kill, provided there is some tangible benefit that results, like sumptuous food. It is also okay to kill the child in the womb, for that gets rid of the unwanted growth that is the human baby.
A king a long time ago was so lost in consciousness that he had no problem killing the infants that survived the time spent in the womb. A prophecy had told him that his sister’s eighth child would kill him. Not wanting to take any chances, he decided to kill every one of his sister’s children. He waited until they were born and then threw them against a stone slab. So degraded was he in consciousness that he had no clue how heinous his crime was.
When you think that this body is everything, you will not understand God. He is the Supreme Spirit. He is not matter. He is not the temporary body. For Him, the soul and the body are identical. There is no duality for Him. There is no difference between energies because everything emanates from Him anyway.
Kamsa could not understand the transcendental nature of the form of Krishna which emerged from the womb of his sister Devaki. This was her eighth child, the one that would kill Kamsa. The king was afraid again, and so he ordered his men to kill the young Krishna, who had managed to escape Mathura for the nearby town of Gokula. Kamsa was the ruler of Mathura, and so he ordered several of his most clever henchmen to go to Gokula and kill Krishna before He became any larger.
How difficult should it be to kill an infant? It hadn’t been a problem for Kamsa before. Ah, but he “misunderestimated” the Supreme Lord. Krishna is just as powerful in the form of an infant as He is in His universal form, which is the sum collection of all the planets and demigods. The Putana witch tried to kill Krishna by administering Him poison. But He instead sucked the very life out of her. The whirlwind demon took the young boy high into the air, but upon returning to the ground it was only Krishna who survived.
The gross underestimation is not only towards Krishna, but His associates as well. For instance, His servants are known to be poor and humble. While the worshipers of Lord Shiva, the greatest devotee of Krishna, are known to be wealthy and expert in ability, the followers of Krishna are more renounced. On the surface, the Krishna-bhaktas appear to be weak, but this is a mistake in judgment. The bhaktas of Krishna are actually extremely powerful, with their strength coming from devotion. That devotion is identical to the infant child of Devaki; and so it can withstand any attack.
The devoted souls look to empower others as well. Anyone who is willing to be strengthened has the opportunity, as the transformation starts with hearing the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The holy names are identical with the Lord, and so they carry the same potency as His personal self. The wise will realize this and take advantage, while the foolish will continue to think that through a little effort Krishna’s influence can be removed forever. The same tiny finger which held up the massive hill named Govardhana also supports the exercise of devotional service. The same infant who withstood the attacks of Kamsa’s friends shields the devotee from failing, thus providing a level of mercy which cannot be properly estimated.
Identity with body they take,
To pay dearly for this mistake.
Demons to Gokula Kamsa sent,
With hopes of success they went.
Though appearing in body small,
Stature for Shri Krishna always tall.
Putana fell, though victory expected,
Devotees by same darling protected.