Legends of River Yamuna: Tale of Birth and Marriage

Whenever I read about Krishna and his divine Rasleela, I find the River Yamuna. The questions were banging on my mind. What is a link? Why is she called Kalindi? In my quest, I encountered the legends of the Yamuna River while collecting information on how Yamunotri originated on Earth.

Vedic stories, mythologies, and write-ups on wisdom always entice me, and thus in a hope to contribute to Hindu scripture, I build Vedic Story. 

So, let’s dig up the story of Goddess River Yamuna.

Story of  River Yamuna: Daughter of Surya, Sister of Yamraj

The daughter of Surya was given the name Yami by her father, known as Yamuna, Jamuna, or Jamna. She is a sacred water stream in Hinduism and the most important tributary of the Ganges River. The total length of the stream is about 1,370 kilometers. She flows through the states of Delhi, Haryana, and UP, before uniting with the Ganges at Allahabad. 

In ancient texts, Puranas and Vedas, Yamuna is known as Yami. But in later literature, called Kalindi. 

In Hindu mythology, Yami is the daughter of Surya, the Sun God, and Saranyu (in earlier texts), Sanjana, the Cloud Goddess. She is the twin sister of Yama or Yamraj, God of Death. River Yamuna is one of the wives, or Ashtabharya, of Lord Krishna. She played a crucial role in Dwapar Yuga while Vishnu took incarnation as Krishna in Mathura. 

Yami, a Favourite Child and Her Other Siblings

Apart from Yama, Jamuna has other brothers as well. Vaivasvata Manu was the first man and the father of humans. The twin brothers Ashvins, the divine doctors, and Shani, the planet Saturn. 

Jamuna is the favorite child of Surya. She is often called Suryatanaya, Ravinandini, and Suryaja.

A Tale on Name: The Legends of River Yamuna

According to the legends, Sanjana, the cloud goddess, is unable to bear Surya’s heat and his light during intimation. Thus, she closed her eyes in his presence. He took her action as an insult. Due to this, their son would be called Yama the restrainer or the controller.

Saranyu tried to keep her eyes wide open, but she flickered. Again, this angered Surya, and he said their daughter would be Yamuna. However, Sanjna’s effort to keep her eyes open impressed her husband. He blessed that their daughter would be considered a goddess.

Yama is the Lord of death and darkness, known as Kala.

Yamuna is associated with the after-death rituals, purification or salvation, and thus her earthly appearance. The origin of Yamuna starts with the mountain Kalinda, which gives it the name Kalindi.

Vamana Purana Narrates How River Yamuna  Turned Black

As per the Vamana Purana, Yamuna was crystal clear. In an account, Shiva was distraught by the death of Sati, his wife, and wandered in pain and sorrow throughout the entire universe. Seeing this, Lord Vishnu dismantled Sati’s body into 51 pieces, known as Shakti Peethas. After several years of thinking about Sati, he jumped into the river Yamuna to overcome sorrow and painful memories of his wife. The bath of Shiva’s remorse turned Yamuna’s water black.

Another story says that when the serpent Kaliya entered the Yamuna, he released venom and turned the river dark.

Yamuna Saw Krishna for the First Time

Krishna was a newborn baby. In fear of Kansa’s violence, Vasudeva took Krishna to his cousin Nanda’s home for foster care and safety.

On the way, rain poured heavily and made Yamuna flow furiously. When he asked Yamuna to give him a way to cross the water, she saw Krishna for the first time. She wanted to touch his feet. Krishna touched her water and made her very calm.

Marriage Story of Yamuna and Krishna

Krishna spent most of his youth in Vrindavan, playing the flute on the banks of Yamuna, dancing, and enjoying his pastime with Radha, gopis, and cows, giving salvation to demons.

Growing up, Krishna moved to Dwarka with his family and people. He established his kingdom on the shores of the Gomti River at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch, confronting the Arabian Sea.

The Bhagavata Purana narrates the story of his marriage to Yamuna. Once, Krishna visited his cousin brothers, the five Pandavas, their wife Draupadi, and mother Kundi. Indraprastha (Delhi), the capital city of Pandavas, is situated on the banks of the Yamuna.

Yudhisthira requested that Krishna stay with them for more days, and he agreed. One fine day, Krishna and Arjuna went hunting in the jungle. After some time, Arjuna got tired, and he asked Krishna to come for a bath in the river Yamuna. They bathed and drank Yamuna’s clear water.

There, they saw a lovely girl wandering along the river bank. He asked Arjuna to go meet the girl and ask her about what she was doing there alone.

She told him that her name was Kalindi, the daughter of Surya, and she lived in a house built by her father by the river to perform austerities and marry Vishnu as her husband. She even told Arjuna she would remain in the river, performing austerities, until Vishnu married her.

Arjuna narrated the whole message to Krishna, the avatar of Vishnu himself, who agreed to marry Kalindi. Kalindi, Krishna, and Arjuna traveled to Indraprastha and met Yudhishthira. After a few days, Krishna and Kalindi returned to their capital, Dwarka, with attendants and married each other.

According to the Bhagavata Purana, Kalindi gave birth to ten sons: Shruta, Vrsa, Kavi, Vira, Bhadram Subahu, Santi, Darsa, Purnamasa, and Somaka, the youngest.

So, it was one of the most beautiful legends of the river Yamuna, the Ashtabharya of Krishna, and her origin story as a Yamunotri.

Whenever I read about Krishna and his divine Rasleela, I find the River Yamuna. The questions were banging on my mind. What is a link? Why is she called Kalindi? In my quest, I encountered the legends of the Yamuna River while collecting information on how Yamunotri originated on Earth.

Vedic stories, mythologies, and write-ups on wisdom always entice me, and thus in a hope to contribute to Hindu scripture, I build Vedic Story. So, let’s dig up the story of Goddess River Yamuna.

Story of  River Yamuna: Daughter of Surya, Sister of Yamraj

The daughter of Surya was given the name Yami by her father, known as Yamuna, Jamuna, or Jamna. She is a sacred water stream in Hinduism and the most important tributary of the Ganges River. The total length of the stream is about 1,370 kilometers. She flows through the states of Delhi, Haryana, and UP, before uniting with the Ganges at Allahabad. In ancient texts, Puranas and Vedas, Yamuna is known as Yami. But in later literature, called Kalindi. In Hindu mythology, Yami is the daughter of Surya, the Sun God, and Saranyu (in earlier texts), Sanjana, the Cloud Goddess. She is the twin sister of Yama or Yamraj, God of Death. River Yamuna is one of the wives, or Ashtabharya, of Lord Krishna. She played a crucial role in Dwapar Yuga while Vishnu took incarnation as Krishna in Mathura. 

Yami, a Favourite Child and Her Other Siblings

Apart from Yama, Jamuna has other brothers as well. Vaivasvata Manu was the first man and the father of humans. The twin brothers Ashvins, the divine doctors, and Shani, the planet Saturn. 

Jamuna is the favourite child of Surya. She is often called Suryatanaya, Ravinandini, and Suryaja.

A Tale on Name: The Legends of River Yamuna

According to the legends, Sanjana, the cloud goddess, is unable to bear Surya’s heat and his light during intimation. Thus, she closed her eyes in his presence. He took her action as an insult. Due to this, their son would be called Yama the restrainer or the controller.

Saranyu tried to keep her eyes wide open, but she flickered. Again, this angered Surya, and he said their daughter would be Yamuna. However, Sanjna’s effort to keep her eyes open impressed her husband. He blessed that their daughter would be considered a goddess.

Yama is the Lord of death and darkness, known as Kala.

Yamuna is associated with the after-death rituals, purification or salvation, and thus her earthly appearance. The origin of Yamuna starts with the mountain Kalinda, which gives it the name Kalindi.

Vamana Purana Narrates How River Yamuna  Turned Black

As per the Vamana Purana, Yamuna was crystal clear. In an account, Shiva was distraught by the death of Sati, his wife, and wandered in pain and sorrow throughout the entire universe. Seeing this, Lord Vishnu dismantled Sati’s body into 51 pieces, known as Shakti Peethas. After several years of thinking about Sati, he jumped into the river Yamuna to overcome sorrow and painful memories of his wife. The bath of Shiva’s remorse turned Yamuna’s water black.

Another story says that when the serpent Kaliya entered the Yamuna, he released venom and turned the river dark.

Yamuna Saw Krishna for the First Time

Krishna was a newborn baby. In fear of Kansa’s violence, Vasudeva took Krishna to his cousin Nanda’s home for foster care and safety.

On the way, rain poured heavily and made Yamuna flow furiously. When he asked Yamuna to give him a way to cross the water, she saw Krishna for the first time. She wanted to touch his feet. Krishna touched her water and made her very calm.

Marriage Story of Yamuna and Krishna

Krishna spent most of his youth in Vrindavan, playing the flute on the banks of Yamuna, dancing, and enjoying his pastime with Radha, gopis, and cows, giving salvation to demons.

Growing up, Krishna moved to Dwarka with his family and people. He established his own kingdom on the shores of the Gomti River at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch, confronting the Arabian Sea.

The Bhagavata Purana narrates the story of his marriage to Yamuna. Once, Krishna visited his cousin brothers, the five Pandavas, their wife Draupadi, and mother Kundi. Indraprastha (Delhi), the capital city of Pandavas, is situated on the banks of the Yamuna.

Yudhisthira requested that Krishna stay with them for more days, and he agreed. One fine day, Krishna and Arjuna went hunting in the jungle. After some time, Arjuna got tired, and he asked Krishna to come for a bath in the river Yamuna. They bathed and drank Yamuna’s clear water.

There, they saw a lovely girl wandering along the river bank. He asked Arjuna to go meet the girl and ask her about what she was doing there alone.

She told him that her name was Kalindi, the daughter of Surya, and she lived in a house built by her father by the river to perform austerities and marry Vishnu as her husband. She even told Arjuna she would remain in the river, performing austerities, until Vishnu married her.

Arjuna narrated the whole message to Krishna, the avatar of Vishnu himself, who agreed to marry Kalindi. Kalindi, Krishna, and Arjuna traveled to Indraprastha and met Yudhishthira. After a few days, Krishna and Kalindi returned to their capital, Dwarka, with attendants and married each other.

According to the Bhagavata Purana, Kalindi gave birth to ten sons: Shruta, Vrsa, Kavi, Vira, Bhadram Subahu, Santi, Darsa, Purnamasa, and Somaka, the youngest.

So, it was one of the most beautiful legends of the river Yamuna, the Ashtabharya of Krishna, and her origin story as a Yamunotri.

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