Kansa was the king of Mathura city. He was the maternal uncle of Sri Krishna. According to the legend, Janmashtami is celebrated as the birth of Bhagwan Sri Krishna. He was the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu to slay the cruel King Kansa. Since he was very wicked and evil in thinking, Kansa imprisoned his father King Ugrasen. Then he forcefully became a self-proclaimed King of Mathura, city in North India. Kansa tormented and tortured his subjects who feared him. Even the cowherds of Mathura, and neighboring villages namely Gokul, Barsana and Nandgaon were not spared. They were victimised so much that they had to surrender to his tyrannical ways.
Army of Demons:
King Kansa’s army of demons helped him spread fear and accomplish his evil tasks. His close aides and servants were Putana, Bakasura, Aghasura.
King Kansa loved his younger sister, Devki dearly and fulfilled all her wishes. He married Devki to Vasudev with pomp and show. Vasudev was one of Kansa’s cousins and high-ranking officer in the army. However, during the wedding ceremony of Devki and Vasudev, heard their eighth child would slay him. This aggravated Kansa who tried to kill his sister. Apparently, his love turned to hatred but he changed his mind. Vasudev assured him that he would hand over all Devki’s new born children to Kansa. He imprisoned the couple and had them under close supervision of guards. At least both Devki and Vasudev were allowed to live.
Killing of Infants:
Kansa killed the first six new born children of his sister, Devki and brother-In-Law, Vasudev. Krishna’s elder brother Balram was actually the seventh child of the couple. He was saved by the divine being when he was transferred to Rohini’s womb. Rohini was the other wife of Vasudev. Lord Krishna, the eighth child of the couple was born to kill Kansa. Krishna was miraculously saved since he was moved to Gokul the night he was born. Krishna was left in safe hands with Vasudev’s close friend, Baba Nand and Yashoda. In exchange, a girl child was taken to the Mathura prison cell. On hearing the birth of the eighth child, Kansa tried to kill the girl child. However, this child before vanishing announced that Kansa’s destroyer had been born and was safe. He was being brought up by an unknown family in a neighbouring village.
Ongoing Efforts to Kill the Child:
As soon as Kansa learnt that the eighth child of his sister, Devki was born. Not only that the child was safely growing in another village. Evil Kansa commanded his soldiers to execute one-day old male infants in and around Mathura. Kansa tried to make quite a few attempts to kill the child but in vain.
Episode of Putana-The Demon:
Kansa sent one of his reliable servants to get rid of infants in the village. This was Putana the demon. She fed the infants poisonous milk that killed them. Finally, she visited infant Krishna who sucked out her life while being fed poisonous milk.
Killing of Demon Trinivarta:
On hearing about the death of Putana, Kansa sent Trinivarta to kill Sri Krishna. Trinivarta transformed into a whirlwind and carried the young Krishna away with itself. Trinivarta had hoped to throw Krishna away. However, Krishna became heavier by increased his weight. Thus, the demon was not able to move any further. After a while, Lord Krishna’s weight was unbearable for the demon to handle. Trinivarta fell on the ground and died.
End of Bakasura:
Kansa instigated his friend Bakasura who transformed into a crane and went to kill Krishna. Bakasura hit Krishna with his beak. However, Lord Krishna got hold of Bakasura’s beak and tore it apart. Thereby, Krishna killed Bakasura instantly.
Slaying of King Kansa:
King Kansa was tired of learning about the deaths of all his faithful demon servants. Hence, he invited both his nephews, Balram and Krishna, for a wrestling match in Mathura. Kansa used Kuvalyapeeda, an elephant, to kill Krishna at the entrance of the arena. But, Krishna killed the elephant and the following two chosen athletes named Charuna and Toshalaka. Finally, Krishna reached for Kansa. He took Kansa by his hair and threw him on the ground. As a result, Kansa was killed and with it all evilness and tyranny ended. People rejoiced and celebrated.