Kaṁsa knew the value of Vasudeva’s word of honor, and he was convinced by his argument. For the time being, he desisted from the heinous killing of his sister. Thus Vasudeva was pleased and praised the decision of Kaṁsa. In this way, he returned to his home.
Each year thereafter, in due course of time, Devakī gave birth to a child. Thus she gave birth to eight male children, as well as one daughter. When the first son was born, Vasudeva kept his word of honor and immediately brought the child before Kaṁsa. It is said that Vasudeva was very much elevated and famous for his word of honor, and he wanted to maintain this fame. Although it was very painful for Vasudeva to hand over the newly born child, Kaṁsa was very glad to receive him. But he became a little compassionate with the behavior of Vasudeva. This event is very exemplary. For a great soul like Vasudeva, there is nothing considered to be painful in the course of discharging one’s duty. A learned person like Vasudeva carries out his duties without hesitation. On the other hand, a demon like Kaṁsa never hesitates in committing any abominable action. It is said, therefore, that a saintly person can tolerate all kinds of miserable conditions of life, a learned man can discharge his duties without awaiting favorable circumstances, a heinous person like Kaṁsa can act in any sinful way, and a devotee can sacrifice everything to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Kaṁsa became satisfied by the action of Vasudeva. He was surprised to see Vasudeva keeping his promise, and being compassionate upon him and pleased, he began to speak as follows: “My dear Vasudeva, you need not present this child to me. I am not in danger from this child. I have heard that the eighth child born of you and Devakī will kill me. Why should I accept this child unnecessarily? You can take him back.”
When Vasudeva was returning home with his firstborn child, although he was pleased by the behavior of Kaṁsa, he could not believe in him because he knew that Kaṁsa was uncontrolled. An atheistic person cannot be firm in his word of honor. One who cannot control the senses cannot be steady in his determination. The great politician Cāṇakya Paṇḍita said, “Never put your trust in a diplomat or in a woman.” Those who are addicted to unrestricted sense gratification can never be truthful, nor can they be trusted with any faith.
At that time the great sage Nārada came to Kaṁsa. He was informed of Kaṁsa’s becoming compassionate to Vasudeva and returning his firstborn child. Nārada was very eager to accelerate the descent of Lord Kṛṣṇa as soon as possible. He therefore informed Kaṁsa that in Vṛndāvana personalities like Nanda Mahārāja and all the other cowherd men and their wives, and on the other side Vasudeva, his father Śūrasena and all his relatives born in the family of Vṛṣṇi of the Yadu dynasty, along with all their friends and well-wishers, were actually demigods. Nārada warned Kaṁsa to be careful of them, since Kaṁsa and his friends and advisors were all demons. Demons are always afraid of demigods. After being thus informed by Nārada about the appearance of the demigods in different families, Kaṁsa at once became very much alarmed. He understood that since the demigods had already appeared, Lord Viṣṇu must be coming soon. He at once arrested both his brother-in-law Vasudeva and Devakī and put them behind prison bars.
Within the prison, shackled in iron chains, Vasudeva and Devakī gave birth to a male child year after year, and Kaṁsa, thinking each of the babies to be the incarnation of Viṣṇu, killed them one after another. He was particularly afraid of the eighth child, but after the visit of Nārada, he came to the conclusion that any child might be Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it was better to kill all the babies who took birth from Devakī and Vasudeva.
This action of Kaṁsa is not very difficult to understand. There are many instances in the history of the world of persons in the royal order who have killed their father, brother or a whole family and friends for the satisfaction of their ambitions. There is nothing astonishing about this, for members of the demoniac, greedy royal order can kill anyone for their nefarious ambitions.
Kaṁsa was made aware of his previous birth by the grace of Nārada. He learned that in his previous birth he had been a demon of the name Kālanemi and that he had been killed by Viṣṇu. Having now taken his birth in the Bhoja family, he decided to become the deadly enemy of the Yadu dynasty; Kṛṣṇa was going to take birth in that family, and Kaṁsa was very much afraid that he would be killed by Kṛṣṇa, just as he had been killed in his last birth.
He first of all imprisoned his father, Ugrasena, because he was the chief king among the Yadu, Bhoja and Andhaka dynasties, and he also occupied the kingdom of Śūrasena, Vasudeva’s father. He declared himself the king of all such places.