What is Bagawata?
The Bagawata Purana.
Sage Vyasa wrote the great epic Mahabharata. It was a monumental work. It is said in the Purana, that Lord Ganesh wrote the epic on palm leaves writing with his own tusk removed for the specific purpose. Many may be aware that Lord Ganesh is elephant headed god. Lord Ganesh has put a condition before accepting to write down. He said, that the sage should not stop the narration, then only he will write the epic. Vyasa told the Lord, that he should understand the meaning while writing the stanzas. Whenever the Lord took some time to understand the stanzas, Vyasa composed the fresh stanzas in his memory and thus the epic was written by the Lord while the sage dictated it. It took quite a long time to finish the epic. Somehow sage Vyasa was not satisfied even after composing such big epic. Hence, he approached Maharishi Narada and sought his advice.
Narada maharishi told him, that he should pen the great Bagawata which will depict the adventures of the Lord Vishnu during his incarnation of Sri Krishna. Before that I will outline the gist of Lord Krishna's life. It is said in the Bagawat Gita, that whenever there is rise in unrighteousness in the world and decline of morals, God will send his emissaries in the form of Avatar or incarnations. They will effect great changes in the behavior of human beings and establish righteous activities and recital of holy stanzas of Veda. Also the evil minded demons will be killed by the Lord to establish righteousness. The pure minded souls will be saved from the atrocities of those demons. Accordingly, when illegal and immoral activities were thriving during Dwapara Yuga(age), Lord Vishnu has incarnated to mother Devaki and Father Vasudev who were undergoing severe imprisonment due to a omen received by the king Kamsa when he was escorting his sister Devaki on chariot along with her husband Vasudev. The omen revealed that the eighth son born to Devaki will kill the king Kamsa! Immediately after hearing the voice from the sky, Kamsa dragged his sister from chariot and raised his knife to kill her. Then, her husband Vasudev caught hold of the feet of the king and implored to spare the life of his sister. He promised that he will hand over all the babies born to them immediately to the King. Kamsa saw the reason and accepted their offer but imprisoned his sister and her husband. Seven babies were born one by one and they were handed over to the king as promised. Devaki become pregnant again.When the eighth child was about to born, the shackles that bind them got loose, the prison door opened on its own and all the guards swooned without any reason. The baby after birth was kept in a basket covered by cloth and Vasudev took the baby to a village across the river Yamuna. But the river was in spate, However as soon as he approached it, it gave way. Thus he could walk through it without difficulty. It was pouring heavily and to the surprise of Vasudev, a great snake named Adhisesha was covering the basket with its hood to prevent the rain from falling on the baby. As soon as Vasudev reached the village Gokulam, he found that one baby girl was born at that time to his sister there. He placed the baby boy he brought in the cot and silently took the baby girl back to the prison.
As soon as he entered the prison, the doors closed on its own, the guards woke up and finding the cry of the baby girl, they promptly informed King Kamsa about the birth. Kamsa was rushing angrily to the prison cell, took the baby girl forcibly and he hurled it against the wall to kill. But the girl rose to the sky and was warning the king, "Oh fool!, the boy who has born to kill you is in a distant place. You can not kill me. I am the goddess Mayasakthi! Thus the baby boy escaped from the clutches of the demon king Kamsa. (to be continued in part II)