Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Rukmini – LXXXIX

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Nilanjana recounts the tale of Rukmini, from Srimad Bhagavatam. A Different Truths exclusive.

Pariskhit was eager to listen to the next tale of Krishna.

Sukha guessed that and smiled, “Now, we come to Rukmini. Those who consider Krishna an avatar of Vishnu know that Rukmini was Lakshmi. She was born as the princess of Vidarbha. Her father, Bhismaka, was a very pious man. Hence, Sage Narada often visited them.

As we all know, Sage Narada often narrates the stories of Narayana. Whenever he visited Vidarbha, he would meet the king and narrate the stories of Krishna. Now Rukmini, being the darling of her dad, would often accompany him. So, she, quite naturally, heard the stories of Krishna. Eventually she fell in love with the charming man whom she had never met.

When Rukmini was of marriageable age, King Bhismaka decided to get her married and he thought that Krishna would be the most appropriate groom for his lovely daughter. However, his son Rukmi was not in favour of the match. According to him, Krishna was just a cowherd, who became popular through unethical means. He chose Sishupala as the groom for his sister. The king could not have his way with Rukmi and Rukmini’s wedding was finalised with Sishupala.

When the wedding preparations were on, Rukmini chose an old Brahmin as her messenger, who could share her word with Krishna. The man reached Dwaraka earlier than he expected and conveyed Rukmini’s message to Krishna. She had expressed, much against the decorum of her times, her love for Krishna that was borne out of the stories that Sage Narada had narrated to her. She confided to Krishna that she had accepted him as her soulmate and if she was forcibly married to someone else, she would rather end her life. She requested Krishna to come to Vidarbha before the wedding and take her away.

Krishna confided to the old Brahmin that he too loved Rukmini. Sage Narada had narrated stories about Rukmini to Krishna too and even he had fallen in love with her. Only two days were left for the wedding and Krishna along with the old Brahmin ascended his chariot to reach Vidarbha on time. Meanwhile, Balarama saw that his brother was up to something; hence he followed his brother with his whole army.

When they reached Vidarbha, the old king Bhismaka welcomed Krishna as he would have welcomed his own son-in-law.

On the day of the wedding, just before the rituals began, Rukmini had to visit a temple that was a little away from the palace. Krishna was waiting for her there and as planned she ascended the chariot and fled Vidarbha.

Insulted, Rukmi chased them for some time. Eventually, he caught up with Rukmini and Krishna. He attacked Krishna but Krishna choose not to respond. Finally, Krishna overpowered him. Rukmini intervened; she asked Krishna to let her brother go.

Rukmini and Krishna entered Dwaraka to begin a new life full of promises and hope…

(To be continued)

Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana. These stories are narrated by Ved Vyasa’s son Sukhadeva to King Parikshit.

©Nilanjana Dey

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