Lord Krishna occupies a very important position in Hindu thought and legends about him abound .these have been passed down from generation to generation and though not strictly verifiable, yet are absolutely true. One of the most famous of these legends is how he married Rukmani. As per Hindu mythology Krishna represents all forms of love as well. Umpteen verses of his dalliance with ‘gopis’ are recited and available for all to read. The lord is reported to have had 16,108 wives. I will not go by numbers by women fawned on the lord. Out of all these wives themost important was Rukmani.
Rukmani is supposed to be an avatar of the Goddess of wealth-Lakshmi. Thus she was a Goddess in her own right. Puranic literature tells us that she was the daughter of Bishmaka the king of Vidarbha. Ancient texts tell us that she in her heart of heart loved the Lord Krishna. and wished that she should be his wife and consort. Though her father Bishmaka was not opposed to Rukmani marrying Krishna, yet her brother Rukmi was greatly opposed to this alliance. Accordingly he was able to convince his father to abort any thought of marriage to Krishna. He wished that Rukmani should marry his friend Shishupal, who was the Prince of the Kingdom of Cheda.
When the proposal for marriage was presented to Shishupal by Rukmi, he was overjoyed and resolved to marry the God queen straight away. Rukmani was the epitome of beauty and the Purana‘s describe her as a woman of incandescent loveliness. Legend tells us that Rukmani wrote a letter to the Lord and requested him to come and take her away. But other sources point out that the Lord was a clairvoyant and as such he had read the mind of Rukmani. He resolved to go and rescue her.
He mounted his chariot and blew his conch shell and the horses in anticipation of accompanying a divine and celestial being pranced with glee. Krishna also requested his brother Balram to accompany him. The duo set forth for Vidarbha fromDwarka in present day Saurashtra. As Krishna and Balram thundered forward information about their coming was passed by spies to Shishupal and Rukmi. Accordingly they amassed an army to face Krishna and prevent him from carrying Rukmani wawy.
The Purana’s tell us that as the chariot of Krishna moved forward the heavens flashed and rolls of thunder rent the air. This signified that a celestial being was on the way. Rukmani also learnt that the Lord was arriving to take her away and she was delighted. Accordingly she bedecked herself and waited for her lord to come. As the forces of Shishupal saw the approaching chariot of Krishna their hearts shook with fear. Rukmani had been put up in a special palace, but the Lord reached it and enveloped Rukmani in his arms and carried her away. This was “Asura Vivaha’ marriage by abduction and is mentioned in ancient Hindu granths.
The force of Shishupal on prodding gathered courage and attacked. The lord left Balram to deal with them as he sped forward. We learn that Shishupal was defeated but Rukmi who was chasing the Lord and his love caught up with Krishna and Rukmani. In the ensuing battle Rukmi was defeated and he lay on the earth battered and bruised. Magnanimous as ever the Lord spared his life on the request of Rukmani, but shaved his head. In those days when a warrior’s head was shaved it signified ignominy and defeat and thus Rukmi turned away a defeated man.
Lord Krishna took Rukmani to Dwarlka where their marriage was celebrated with great pomp and show. This is one of the legends of Lord Krishna and makes not only thrilling reading but elevating as well, as one realizes that Lord Krishna was omnipotent and all-powerful. He could read the mind and the heavens bowed to him. Truly there cannot be a greater God. Jai Sri Krishna.