Lord Krishna’s eight wives are known as Ashtabharya. Out of these, Devi Rukmini was believed to be most devoted towards the Lord. Following is the fascinating story of how Rukmini got married to Lord Krishna
Rukmi and Shishupala
Devi Rukmini was daughter of Bhismak, who was king of Vidarbha. Rukmi was brother of her, who wanted her to marry Shishupal. Upon hearing this Narada went to Bhismak and narrated the life of Lord Krishna and the grandeur of Dwarka. Bhismak heard the tale with full attention and wanted her to marry Lord Krishna. His daughter too enjoyed the tale. But Rukmi had a strong opposition against Lord Krishna. Ignoring the wish of his father, he was not ready to get his sister married to Lord Krishna. So he invited Shishupal, who came to marry Rukmini.
Rukmini sends request to Lord Krishna
Rukmini was determined to marry Lord Krishna. She sent a letter to Krishna through a loyal Brahmin and declared a fast unto death. The letter said that She has declared him as her husband and will not accept anyone else. This is upto the Lord to save her. The messenger returned to Kundanpur with an assurance from Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna too called the charioteer and set out at once for Kundanpur. There in Kundanpur, Rukmini after getting the assurance from the Brahmin was thus waiting for Lord Krishna‘s arrival.
Preparation of wedding
Preparations for Rukmini’s marriage with Shishupala were on with full swing in the city. All houses, streets and lanes were cleaned and sprinkled with scented water. All the men and women folk donned new clothes and ornaments. King Bhismak worshipped his ancestors and gods and welcomed the everyone. Princess Rukmini was given ceremonial bath and donned with auspicious clothes and bracelets.
Rukmini waits for Lord Krishna
All these while, she was eagerly awaiting for Lord Krishna. She had received the news that Dwarakadhish (Krishna) had planned to take her away. She was feeling overwhelmed in her heart. Seeing Lord Krishna arrived intently in the marriage ceremonies of his daughter, her father welcomed him. Seeing him, even the common people of Vidarbh prayed “May our princess Rukmani get Sri Krishna as her husband. At the same time, She emerged from her palace to go to the temple of Ambikadevi, soldiers were guarding her. In the temple, Rukmani prayed peacefully: “O Mother Ambika I greet you and Ganapati, who is sitting in your lap. I seek your blessing that may my wish be fulfilled and may I receive Sri Krishna as my husband.”
Lord Krishna obliges
On her way back, Rukmini was walking very slowly for she was awaiting Lord’s arrival, which was due in any moment. Just then, Lord Krishna appeared before her. Before she could ride her chariot Lord lifted her from amidst the crowd. And in the presence of hundreds of kings, Krishna and Balarama eloped away with bride.
Rukmi is defeated and Lord Krishna marries Rukmini
Hearing that Krishna has eloped with bride, Rukmi and all other kings present there became angry. Accompanied by their huge armies, they decided to give them a chase. But Yadav soldiers were brave and they defeated everyone. All the kings like Jarasandh fled for their lives.
Rukmi had vowed that without getting his sister released from Krishna’s captivity, he would not return to his city. He chased Lord Krishna but was defeated by him and got his head shaved. Thus defeating all the kings, Lord Krishna brought his bride to Dwarka. There they got married formally. Everyone was in great joy to see Lakshmi as Rukmini with her husband Lord Krishna.