In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Krishna giving a “special” “Darshan” to Maarkandeya, who was himself a great sage. We had witnessed that Maarkandeya had a wish that he should worship Bhagawan Krishna separately one-on-one, and Bhagawan Krishna fulfilled that wish of the ardent devotee in a beautiful way. With this, we virtually come to the end of the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana text, and now according to the customary practice, we shall formally call it the “end” with the witnessing of the all-important “Rukmini-Kalyaana” Charitra, wherein Bhagawan Krishna marries Rukmini Devi. This in fact, forms part of the tenth Skandha itself, but at that point, we had skipped this event to witness it towards the end. So now, we shall commence the Rukmini-Kalyaana episodes one after the other and we shall witness in detail how this marriage conspired.
It all starts with Rukmini Devi falling in love with Bhagawan Krishna, without even seeing Him in person once. Rukmini Devi has heard a lot about a young boy by name Krishna, who was very handsome and charming in appearance, and with that, she started to develop immense love for Him! As this was growing on and on every day, Rukmi, the father of Rukmini Devi started to think of his daughter’s marriage. Rukmi wanted to give his daughter in marriage to Sishupaala, one of Bhagawan Krishna’s cousin brothers. Wr’ve already witnessed in the tenth Skandha that Bhagawan Krishna had a number of cousin brothers, including the Paandavas. It is to be remembered by readers here that Kunthi, who was the mother of the Paandavas, was the sister of Vasudeva, who was Bhagawan Krishna’s father. Kunthi’s original name was Prutha. This is the reason why Arjuna is often referred to as “Paartha” in the Bhagawad Gita by Bhagawan Krishna. Similarly, Bhagawan Krishna had another cousin brother by name Sishupaala. It is to this Sishupaala did Rukmi desire to give his daughter Rukmini Devi in marriage.
We’ve already witnessed who this Sishupaala was. Readers might remember that this Sishupaala was a Raakshasa by birth and follows the “Jaya-Vijaya” tradition of birth. We’ve seen that these two people were the gatekeepers at Vaikunta and Sages Sanaka and Sanatkumaara had cursed them that they would be born as Raakshasas in this world thrice, only to be liberated back to Vaikunta by Bhagawan Vishnu. In that way, we’ve witnessed that Jaya and Vijaya had taken birth as Hiranyaksha & Hiranya Kashibu, Ravana & Kumbakarna and now in the Dwaapara Yuga, they were Kamsa and Sishupaala. Thus, this Sishupaala was supposed to be Rukmini Devi’s fiancé. However, Rukmini Devi was least interested in him. All her thoughts and feelings were deeply rooted towards Bhagawan Krishna only. Whenever she thought of decorating herself with garlands, bangles, etc. she always had Bhagawan Krishna in her mind and dressed according to His wish and liking! More than just a love feeling, this also pertains to be the highest level of devotion that a Bhakta (Ardent devotee) can express towards Bhagawan.
As Rukmini Devi was thus deep-rooted in her thoughts for Bhagawan Krishna, her father Rukmi had other intentions. He was steadfast in his attempt to marry her to Sishupaala. In fact, the entire set of people were very happy that Rukmini Devi was in love with Bhagawan Krishna, except Rukmi. As things were going from bad to worse at Rukmini Devi’s place, she decided to take an initiative to make a move on. She realized that if she’s going to sit dumb, Rukmi is going to execute his plan quite easily. Hence she took a small piece of wood, wrote a set of seven slokas in praise of Bhagawan Krishna and sent it to Dwaaraka through a messenger. Rukmini Devi calls an aged Brahmin, hands over the letter to him and says thus, “With due respects, please hand this over to Bhagawan Krishna, who is the king of Dwaaraka! Let’s wait and see what his reaction would be! Normally it should be the other way round – The boy should give letters to the girl, but here it is vice versa. Anyways, if I have the fortune and luck in this birth, I shall be able to get a positive reply from Bhagawan Krishna!”
Saying thus, Rukmini Devi hands over the letter to the Brahmin messenger. He takes it all the way to Dwaaraka, as quickly as possible. Even though he was aged, he managed to travel swiftly across plains, mountains, rivers, etc. to reach Dwaaraka in lightning speed. Upon seeing an aged Brahmin walking towards His palace, Bhagawan Krishna welcomes him inside with all the due respects to be paid. Bhagawan Krishna hand-holds the Brahmin and makes him sit comfortably in a chair. As the Brahmin messenger is comfortable, Bhagawan Krishna slowly asks him thus, “Oh respectable person! Are you really a Brahmin by birth?” This question shocked the messenger to bits! The Brahmin replies thus, “Oh Bhagawan! Why do you ask a question like this? Can’t you see my appearance and conclude it for yourself?” Bhagawan Krishna replies, “I can do that. But, looking at the way you’ve come here, I thought that you’ve come with some expectation from me! A person who expects something from others can never be a Brahmin. That’s why I had asked you that question!”
Upon hearing thus from Bhagawan Krishna, the Brahmin got angry! He replies thus, “Oh Bhagawan! I’ve not come here to obtain anything from you! I’ve come here to give you something! Here is a letter that was given to me by my boss! She had asked me to give this letter to you on her behalf!” So, please read this and do the needful!” As Bhagawan Krishna looks on, the messenger hands over the letter to Him. Bhagawan Krishna was surprised to receive this letter, opens it and starts reading it!
What is Bhagawan’s reply going to be? Is He going to feel happy for Rukmini Devi, or is He going to reject her proposal? Let’s wait till the next episode to witness!! Stay tuned!! 🙂