Narayaneeyamasakam: 79- Rukmani Kalyanam


Bhishmaka was making lavish arrangements for his daughter’s marriage with Shishupala. Bhishmaka and Shishupala’s father, Damaghosha, individually performed the propitiatory rituals and offered gifts to the brahmanas with reverence. In the meanwhile, Rukmini was getting restless as the brahmana she had sent to Krishna had not returned even after dusk. She was apprehensive that her action was impulsive and had earned Krishna’s displeasure. She also doubted that it did not have the approval of the divine couple Maheshvara and Parvati, their tutelary deities. While Rukmini’s thoughts were oscillating between uncertainty and hope, the brahmana’s arrival in the inner apartments infused life and delight in her. When Bhishmaka heard of the arrival of Balarama and Krishna, he thought they had come with eagerness to participate in the wedding festivities of Rukmini. He extended a wonderful welcome to the honourable guests.


The people of Vidarbha were all admiration for Krishna. They thought he would be an ideal match for their princess and prayed that God should make the union possible. Rukmini was led to the temple of Ambika, next morning, in a well guarded procession. Rukmini meditating on Krishna, entered the temple along with the wives of the brahmanas. Those women asked her to pray to the family gods to bless her with the good fortune of having Krishna as her husband. These words were pleasing to the heart as they were a resonance of her thoughts. The brahmana wives made the necessary propitiation's to the Goddess along with Rukmini and she broke her fast by par taking the remnants of the offering. As she came out of the temple, she looked round to spot Krishna. Not knowing the secret of Rukmini's plans nor Rukmi's decision, the hearts of the numerous kings assembled to try their luck were throbbing expectantly.


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When she approached Krishna, he effortlessly lifted her and drove her away in his chariot. While Shishupala’s friends thought that the marriage between him and Rukmini was a forgone conclusion, they stood aghast at the turn of events. Jarasandha and many other kings cursed themselves for helplessly looking on while a mere cowherd carried away the coveted prize. They said, “Fie upon us to call ourselves warriors. We are unworthy of wielding the bow and arrow.” The enemy army chasing Krishna’s chariot, faced a severe blow and they soon marched a retreat. Crest fallen Shishupala was comforted by Jarasandha who quoted his own case as a morale booster. He said, “I have been defeated by Krishna seventeen times but I am not demoralized. I am still hopeful of a win against that cowherd boy. Krishna’s luck is at present in the ascendancy. But in the near future, it will surely come down like the rim of a wheel, when we can ensure our victory over him.” The lion with his pride shattered, was somewhat consoled and he returned, licking his wounds.
Rukmi took it as a personal insult because this match had been opposed by him from the very beginning. He refused to accept defeat. His mind was overpowered by two thoughts, revenge on Krishna and the recovery of his dear sister. He vowed not to rest in peace till he had successfully executed his resolve. He attacked Krishna with great vigour but all his arrows were arrested and his sword broken to pieces. When Krishna was about to kill Rukmi, Rukmini fell at his feet and pleaded to spare her brother’s life. Out of respect for her words, he tied him with a cloth. Shaving half of his head and beard, Krishna inflicted the most severe humiliation on Rukmi.

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Rukmi decided to keep away from his kingdom, ashamed of facing people with his disfigurement and also he had not yet carried out his vow. He built a huge city named Bhojakuta, on the outskirts of his kingdom and established himself there, not to move out till he had avenged his insult. Krishna and Rukmini were received with thunderous welcome. Amidst all round celebration, they were married. Though the Krishna-Rukmini episode evoked astonishment, it was conducive to universal acclaim. Krishna being the Supreme Lord and Rukmini his divine consort, their union was inevitable on earth.