On Janmastami I had the pleasure of reading with other devotees from Srila Prabhupada’s “Krishna Book” about Lord Krishna’s advent in this world. In the course of reading, we heard that when the goddess Durga appeared before Kamsa, “in her eight hands she held a bow, lancet, arrows, bell, conchshell, disc, club and shield.”
Wait a second. Lancet? Surely that couldn’t be right.
A lancet is a small, sharp surgical instrument for making small incisions, opening abscesses, and the like. In former days, doctors would sometimes use a lancet to pierce a vein for therapeutic blood-letting. Durga holding a lancet?
Yes, this was the first edition of the Krishna Book. Later I was pleased to discover that in the second edition, thanks to our trusty editor Dravida Prabhu, Durga holds the right item: a lance.