Rukmini: The First Ashtabharya of Krishna and Her Journey from a Princess to a Passionate Lover

Parashakti, the feminine energy of the universe—from whom the entire world came into existence—is the principal source of creation. The energy divided itself into Purush and Prakriti. The creation energy thereafter divided the Purush energy into three: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva—the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of the material world. After that, she divided the Prakriti energy into three: Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati—the holders of knowledge, wealth, and power. With time, Vishnu, the sustainer of the world, and Lakshmi, or Rukmini, the first ashtabharya of Krishna, have taken several avatars to restore Dharma to the material world and to continue life on earth.

Vishnu has taken Dashavatar; from that, Kalki avatar will happen in Ghor Kali Yuga. Sri Krishna, the 8th avatar of Lord Vishnu, is the greatest incarnation, as it is believed that he is the “Paramatma.”

He incarnated as Krishna in Brij Bhoomi as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva and spent his childhood in Gokul, Barsana, Mathura, and Vrindavan with Radharani, Gopis, and the people of Brij.

During his adulthood, he spent his life in Dwarka with his ashtabharya—eight principal wives. However, who is Ashtabharya? Many don’t know. Therefore, today, we at Vedic Story are going to narrate the stories of Ashtabharya, the eight wives of Lord Krishna.

Who is the Ashtabharya?

Krishna’s principal wives are Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravrinda, Nagnajiti, Satya, Bhadra, and Lakshana, or Lakshmana.

Legends of Ashtabharya: The Eight Wives of Krishna

The Mahabharata, the epic of Hinduism, says that Lord Krishna has 16108 wives, and from those, Ashtabharya is the principal consort. Let’s get to know who the eight principal spouses of Sri Hari are.

Rukmini: The First Wife of Krishna

Rukmini, the sister of Rukmin, is the first wife and queen of Sri Krishna. She is an incarnation of goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu. Rukmini means to be glowing, radiant, graced, or adorned with gold ornaments.

She is known by several names, but the most famous ones are Vaidarbhi, Ruciranana, Shree Bhaishmi, Pradyumna Janani, and Rukhumai. Each name has its own narrative and meaning and enhances her characteristics and personality deeply.

  • The Ruciranana name has been given to Rukmini due to her attractive and pretty face. It is like a beautiful, blooming lotus flower.
  • Vaidarbhi’s name is derived from her kingdom as the princess of Vidarbha. Rukmini’s association with the goddess Lakshmi is the reason she gets the name “Shree.”
  • Bhaishmi, the name, was given to Rukmini to honor her father, Bhishmaka, and his kingdom.
  • Chiryauvana Rukmini earned this name due to the hospitality she gave Rishi Durvasa. Chiryauvana means being young forever.
  • Rukmini came to be known as Pradyumna Janani after she became the mother of Pradyumna.

The Marriage Fairy Tale of Rukmini and Krishna

Ancient texts and Puranas have merely mentioned Rukmini, but the epic Mahabharata gives a clear narrative of her character, relationship, and life with Sri Krishna.

Indian mythology and several Vedic story have mentioned that Rukmini had five elder brothers, and Rukmi was the eldest. Rukmi wanted Rukmini to be married to Shishupala, who was the cousin of Sri Krishna.

Rukmini never wished to marry Sishupala. However, Rukmin had forced her to accept the proposal, but she did not want the marriage to proceed.

Thereafter, she began to pray with desperation to Sri Hari and abduct her to be the consort.

She wrote a letter with all the information about the location from which Krishna could abduct her. Krishna read Rukmini’s letter and began his journey with Arjuna to take her out of the palace and marry her in the temple.

Rukmini: Journey from a Princess to a Passionate Lover

During the Dwapara Yuga, Krishna had unbelievable and epic lore. His heroism was spread beyond the borders of different rajyas or regimes. Rukmini heard the heroic Vedic stories of Krishna’s clever tales filled with smarts and bravery.

She fell in passionate love with him and desired to marry him. Rakmini told her parents about her decision. They were thrilled, but Rukmin, her eldest brother, refused to accept it. He wanted her to marry Shishupala due to his alliance and great friendship with Jarasandha.

Rukmini was in distress and wanted to be free from the forceful relationship that his brother wanted for her. Therefore, she sent a message in a letter to Krishna via a Brahmana.

A Letter to Rukmini

The letter narrates: Sri Krishna, the king of Dwarka, please meet me at the goddess Ambika temple and marry me. Rukmin has fixed my marriage with Shishupala. I have no desire to marry him. Please abduct me and make me your consort.

Lord Krishna visited the Vidarbha Kingdom with Arjuna to abduct Rukmini and asked him to bring her to the temple she mentioned.

However, in the process, Arjuna became a girl named Brihannala to enter Princess Rukmini’s palace. But somehow, the warriors and Rukmi found Arjuna to abduct his sister.

He attacked Arjuna, and the fight began. Arjuna, the third Pandava and the son of Kunti brought Rukmin to the borders of Vidarbha, where Krishna and Balaram were waiting for them.

Krishna wanted to kill Rukmin to be the culprit between their love, who was trying to control Rukmini’s life and decision. Rukmini was a princess with a tender heart and did not wish to kill her brother and live a happy married life, so she asked Krishna to forgive her brother.

However, Krishna said that what Rukmin wanted to do with her was an adharma. Therefore, he had to punish him so that he could understand and remember that what he wanted to do was wrong.

Krishna shaved Rukmini’s head with his Sudarshan Chakra as a punishment.

Thereafter, he married Rukmini in the Ambika temple in the presence of Arjuna and Balarama.

On reaching Dwarka, the people and the kingdom welcomed Rukmini with great enthusiasm.

Indian mythology and the Bhagavata Purana have a detailed narrative of Rukmini and Krishna after marriage. Rukmin not only loved Krishna, but she devoted her life to him as a devotee.

With their union, Krishna and Rukmini had 10 sons. They were: Pradyumna, the eldest; Sudeshna; Charudeahna; Charudeha; Sucharu; Bhadracharu; Vicharu; Charuchandra Charugupta; and Charu, the youngest.

Death of Rukmini: The First Queen of Krishna

After the Yadu massacre, due to the curse of Gandhari, Lord Krishna was killed in the forest. Rukmini, Jambavati, and other ashtabharya, wives of Sri Krishna, went up to the pyre and began their journey towards the Vaikunth. Thus, the Vedic story of Rukmini, the first wife and queen of Krishna came to an end.

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