A tale of two wives of Shri Krishna
This is the beautiful story of Shri Krishna and his two wives Satyabhama and Rukmini, which underlines the importance of devotion. Sage Narada as usual, has played a role into this as well.
Satyabhama belonged to a royal lineage and was very proud of her origins. Rukmini was very humble, though she was the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Her devotion was pure to Shri Krishna.
Sage Narada’s plan
One day, Sage Narada came to Satyabhama and said that though she is beautiful and charming, Shri Krishna loves Rukmini more. Baffled by this, she said to him that what she can do get the Lord’s undivided attention. Sage Narada placed his card carefully – he said to Satyabhama that she needs to hand over Shri Krishna to him as a slave. Later on, He would trade Shri Krishna with her with equal weight of gold. In this way Shri Krishna will remain to her as this would prove her devotion towards Shri Krishna.
Satyabhama plans to impress Krishna
She agreed and approached Krishna and told him about her unfortunate vow to Sage Narada. The lord patiently listened to her and very meekly nodded his head. Satyabhama then commanded one of the servants to bring out the large scales used to weigh grains and groceries.
She also sent the caretaker of the coffers to bring out all her jewels and gold to the grand court room. And gently leading Krishna, she went to the Courtroom. All the ministers stared at the scales that had been placed at the center of the court. Their mouths further fell when they saw box after box of gold being carried inside. Krishna was silent throughout the entire time.
She gives Shri Krishna to Narada
Then as per the wishes of Narada, She gave Shri Krishna to Narada. Now the interesting part starts. In order to win back the Lord, She had to provide jewellery equal to the weight if Shri Krishna. As decided, Narada gave this option to Satyabhama. Amidst loud sighs of relief, Satyabhama agreed to it.
She wants to win him back with riches and ornaments
She then placed Krishna on one plate of the Scales and with a smirk on her face started piling up the gold, jewels and gemstones on the other plate. She kept adding more and more of her wealth, but the pan with Krishna did not even budge. To top it all Narada kept giving her ominous warnings, “Remember devi, if you fail to supply me with sufficient wealth, Krishna will forever be a slave to me. I can even bid him out to anyone I want.” Satyabhama freaked out and swallowing her pride, begged the other wives of Krishna to give her their jewels so thet they could retain Krishna. Out of their devotion to their lord,, the wives removed every gold ornament on their body until they were wearing only the Mangalsutra. But the scale showed no signs of motion.
Shri Krishna teases Satyabhama
Krishna, the master, told her, “Look Satyabhama, because of your stupid vow, I have to be a slave to this rishi. Oh how I hate this”, he complained. Satyabhama was at a loss for words when Krishna continued, “Why don’t you ask Rukmini. She must be able to get us out of this predicament”, he suggested coyly.
Rukmini comes to rescue
Satyabhama was in such a state that all her ill will towards Rukmini flew out of the window. She rushed to Rukmini’s private chambers and poured out the dire state of matters. Rukmini, ever calm, didn’t panic and came out to help Satyabhama. On the way she passed the sacred Tulsi plant and plucking a single leaf of Tulsi [Sacred Basil], she continued her way to the place where Shri Krishna and Narada were.
She very quietly walked towards the balance and praying to Krishna, placed the single tulsi leaf on all the piled up wealth. Lo and Behold! The pan containing Krishna flew up and remained underbalanced. Shocked at this, Satyabhama looked to Krishna for explanation. He asked Satyabhama to remove the riches from the balance.
Satyabhama understands the importance of devotion
Though sceptical, she agreed to what Krishna had to say. She removed all her riches save for Tulsi leaf, and yet, it weighed more than Krishna. She was stunned and humbled. Krishna jumped down from his high hanging pan and came to her, “Bhama, you gave all your riches to me, but there was no devotion in that offering. Just the feeling of possessiveness. When you made your offerings with such a thought in your mind, they lost their value and became mundane things. On the other hand Rukmini offered just a single tulasi leaf. But her intentions were noble. She made the offering with utmost love and devotion towards me. And that single leaf was sufficient to please me beyond expectations.
Sage Narada departs
Remember it is not the offering that matters, but the love and devotion with which you do it, that does.” Then leaving Satyabhama standing stunned in the court, Krishna returned to his chambers with his other wives. Turning to Narada, her eyes now shining bright with tears, Bhama said, “Devarishi, thank you for teaching me this hard learnt lesson today. I will never ever underestimate the power of devotion and love towards the lord.” Narada nodded and with his characteristic Narayana-Narayana, he was gone.