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Rukmini

Rukmini
 


In Hinduism, Rukmini is the principal wife and queen of Krishna at his city of Dwarka. Krishna heroically kidnaps her from an un-wanted marriage at her request (described in the Bhagavata Purana). Of Krishna's 16,108 queens, Rukmini is the first and most prominent. Rukmini is also considered to be an avatar of Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune.

Rukmini was the daughter of Bhishmaka, the king of Vidarbha. Another school of thought says that Rukmini was the daughter of King Bhismaka of Kundil in Upper Assam[citation needed]. Bhismaka was the vassal of King Jarasandha of Magadha. She fell in love with and longed for Krishna, whose virtue, character, charm and greatness she had heard much of. Rukmini's eldest brother Rukmi though was a friend of evil King Kamsa, who was killed by Krishna, and was set against the marriage.

Rukmini's parents wanted to marry Rukmini to Krishna but Rukmi, her brother strongly opposed and changed Bhishmaka, their father's mind. Rukmi was an ambitious prince and he did not want to earn the wrath of Emperor Jarasandha,who was ruthless.Instead, he proposed that she be married to his friend Shishupala, the crown prince of Chedi. Shishupala was also a vassal of Jarasandha and hence an ally of Rukmi.

Bhishmaka gave in but Rukmini, who had overheard the conversation was horrified and immediately sent for a brahmana, Sunanda, whom she trusted and asked him to deliver a letter to Krishna. She asked Krishna to come to Vidarbha and kidnap her to avoid a battle where her relatives may be killed. She suggested that he do this when she was on her way to the temple or back. Rukmini asked that he claim her to marry her. She also added that if Krishna refused to comply she would commit suicide. Krishna, having received the message in Dwarka, immediately set out for Vidarbha with Balarama, his elder brother.

Meanwhile, Shishupala was overjoyed at the news from Rukmi that he could simply go to Kundina and claim Rukmini. Jarasandha, not so trusting, sent all his vassals and allies along because he felt that Krishna would certainly come to snatch Rukmini away.

Bhishmaka and Rukmini received the news that Krishna was coming by their respective spies. Bhishmaka, who secretly approved of Krishna and wished he would take Rukmini away had a furnished mansion set up for him.

He welcomed them joyfully and made them comfortable. Meanwhile, at the palace, Rukmini got ready for her upcoming marriage. She went to the shrine to pray but was severely disappointed when she did not see Krishna there. Inside the shrine, she prayed to goddess Parvati that Krishna would arrive and wed her. As she stepped out, she saw Krishna and he soon swept her into his chariot with him. They both started to ride off when Shishupala noticed them. All of Jarasandha's forces quickly started chasing them. While Balarama occupied most of them and held them back Rukmi had almost caught up with Krishna and Rukmini.

Krishna and Rukmi duelled with the inevitable result of Krishna's victory. When Krishna was about to kill him, Rukmini fell at the feet of Krishna and begged that her brother's life be spared. Krishna, generous as always agreed but as punishment, shaved Rukmi's head and let him go free. There was no greater shame for a warrior than a visible sign of defeat.

A few days later at Dwaraka, Krishna was married to Rukmini with great pomp and ceremony

Rukmini or Rakhumai is worshipped as the consort of Vithoba (a form of Krishna) in Pandharpur, Maharashtra.

In 1480, Rukmini devi's servant messenger is believed to have appeared in this world as Vadiraja Tiirtha (1480-1600), the greatest saint in the Madhva tradition. He composed a famous work Rukminesa Vijaya glorifying Rukmini and Krishna in 1240 verses spread over 19 chapters.