Rukmini holds a special place in Shri Krishna’s life. I have been reading and understanding why would Krishna get married to Rukmini and why Rukmini went against the will and wish of her father and brother?
Before understanding the real story of Rukmini’s abduction and then subsequently becoming queen of Dwaraka we need to understand a little bit of geography and political powers at the time of Mahabharata.
Vidarbha was one of the ancient and powerful Kingdoms during Mahabharata. The ruler of this place was Bhishmak. Bhishmak had 5 sons and 1 daughter. Eldest amoung them was Rukmi and the name of princess was Rukmini.
Shri Krishna after killing Kansa established himself as King at Mathura; however Mathura was tortured and attacked by Jarasandha 17 times, in turn he was defeated by the army of Krishna all the times.
Magadh was the kingdom of Jarasandha. And he had got his 2 daughters married to Kansa, whom Shri Krishna had killed. As revenge to his killing Jarasandh along with his allies of Hastinapur, Anga, Chedi, Pundru and others kept attacking Mathura many a times. Mathura was a huge trade centre during the time of Mahabharata. Mathura was circled with various enemies of Shri Krishna and hence he had to keep his soldiers in a circular strategy, which was called as Sudarshan Chakra Sainya (Literally meaning the circled army).
Frequent attacks by Jarasandha and his allies made Shri Krishna to think of shifting its capital to elsewhere.
Shri Krishna chose a place near sea as an important and strategic place for his trade centered people of Mathura. Soon Dwaraka became a very important trade centre in India/ Bharat.
Except few friends from top Himalayas (Jambuvant) and Dwaraka Shri Krishna had a very less support. Major support got established when he helped Pandavas (Sons of Kunti- paternal aunt of Shri Krishna) to establish mighty Indraprastha later.
Rukmi was a very powerful prince. He was blessed by the mighty Parsurama, and disciple of Sage Durvasa. Rukmi went ahead and became friend of Chedi King Shishupal. Shishupal though a relative of Krishna but a fanatic enemy of him. Later Chedi king got adopted as son by the King of Magadha- Dwanda (Jarasandha’s Linage).
Though Bhismak, Rukmi’s father wanted Raukmini to select her own choice for marriage and in turn Rukmini wanted to marry Shri Krishna. With power and influence of Rukmi, the Swayamwar (Selection of Husband) was cancelled. Rukmi wanted her to get married to Chedi King Shishupal, a strong enemy of Shri Krishna. The Strategy of Jarasandh, Shishupal and Rukmi was to encircle the new kingdom of Shri Krihna- Dwaraka and catch the trade advantages of both Mathura and Dwaraka.
Rukmini, was very determined, politically learned and she wanted a very good kingdom established across India/ Bharat and a very happy Vidarbha. This could only happen if Krishna defeats Jarasandh, Shishupal, Pundru King, Shontipura King, Sidhu King, Gandhar and Kekay King.
Politically learned Rukmini wanted Shri Krishna’s kingdom to be established and people see good days. She pleaded Rukmi about her unwillingness to marry Shishupal, strong head Rukmi denied her choice. He immediately sent the messenger to Shishupal and sent Rukmini’s marriage proposal to him.
Shishupal and Jarasndh were in Magadh during the proposal of marriage of Rukmini was received. Without any delay Shishupal and Jarasandh got ready and proceeded ahead to Vidarbha. The journey between these places was of 5 days.
Rukmini had only 5 days with her for asking Krishna’s help and defeating the mighty kings. She was determined of not getting married to Shishupal. Thru her political understanding she could see the future of India and Vidarbha under the control of these ill minded kings. She thought of sending the message and letter to Shri Kishna and to seek his help. Time was less and she had to manage her political moves within that trivial period.
That night she secretly went to her Guru Maharshi Shatanand, who was a very learned and knowledgeable teacher. Under his tutelage Rukmini had learnt Archery, Politics and allied sciences. When he saw princess with determined eyes and strong will, he was surprised. He asked about her arrival at odd time to meet him. Also asked if there is any dilemma in her mind, and he could be of any help to resolve it.
With folded hands she said “No Gurudeo, I don’t have any dilemma in my mind, I am determined. I know my path and goodwill of Vidharbha”
Guruji asked “Your way is clear, you are determined and you have strong will, then what help do you want from Guru?”
Rukmini said” I want my rights Guruji”
“What kind of rights” Guru asked
“Right of practicing my duties. You have been teaching me about the rights and duties” Rukmini said “As you are my Guru I want you to perform your duties and provide me the pleasure of getting my rights fulfilled by my Guru, I am asking my right. My duties are not getting fulfilled and are endangered”
Guru Said “Let me know what do you wish me to do, however the duties are to be fulfilled by individual, I can help you by my words, and in case needed I will hold a weapon also”
Rukmini said “Is selecting husband a right of a women?” “Yes indeed” Guru replied.
Rukmini further said” My brother is getting me married to Shishupal, I have chosen my better half in form of Shri Krishna, no one is helping me. Neither my father nor my brothers. I have come to the most knowledgeable person for help”
Guru assured “I will protect your Dharma and right duties. I will help you in any case”
Rukmini Said “Guruji, however Shri Krishna doesn’t even know that I have chosen him as my husband.”
Guruji replied “We need to inform Lord about your love. In case if Shri Krishna doesn’t accept your proposal then?”
Rukmini Says “I have let go everything to Shri Krishna, in case he is not finding my proposal valid, I will die, but I will ask him to protect my Vidarbha from the clutches of the ill minded kings”
Guru with his wet eyes said “I am speechless in front of your determination and political understanding. What do I need me to do?”
Rukmini Said “Guruji, I want you to convey my message to Shri Krishna thru this letter. I would have sent this letter with the hands of servant; however the determination of my will wouldn’t get exhibited if I do so. It would look desperation of a lustful female. You carrying this letter would give him indication of me being honest and determined. I am honest to my teacher and I have been open about my thoughts to my Guru. You giving this message would be a symbol of determination and thoughtful steps I am taking for protecting rights of a female and in turn Vidarbh kingdom. I want this message to go from your hands since I want Shri Krishna to get convinced about my moves. In case, you will also guide Shri Krishna about the political situations of Vidharbha. In this letter I have mentioned that without even seeing you I have accepted you as my husband for the goodness of humanity and protection of rights, come and save me and my Vidarbh”
Guru Shatanand secretly took this message and handed over the letter to Shri Krishna at Dwaraka.
After receiving the letter Krishna Said “Bhishmak, though a king of Vidarbha, holds army and weapons can always stop Rukmi for his actions, but he is a coward and can’t protect rights of Rukmini his own daughter, how will he protect the rights of his people and women of the kingdom, It is must that I need to proceed ahead and protect rights of people of Vidharbh and specifically Rukmini. Just compare the determination of Rukmini and cowrd-ness of King Bhishmak”
Shri Krishna bowed in front of Guru Shatanand and informed that he shall protect Rukmini and her rights. He also pondered on how he would be able to help Rukmini. Along with Guruji he made a plan. He would immediately go ahead towards Vidharbha along with his elder brother- Balaram and army towards Vidharbha. Guruji will make arrangements of bringing Rukmini to the temple of goddess Durga, which is situated at the outskirts of capital of Vidarbha- Kundinpur.
Krishna and Balaram and their army rushed towards the Kundinpur.
Back at Kundinpur Rukmini was strong and thinking about the future, her brother was rushing to make arrangements for the marriage of Rukmini and Shishupal.
As per plan Guru Shatanand got Rukmini at the temple of Durga before the proceedings of marriage begins. Balaram stopped the armies of Rukmi, Jarasandh and Chedi king Shishupal.
Shri Krishna went ahead and abducted Rukmini in his chariot from the temple of Durga. Balaram and Shri Krishna defeated the armies of Rukmi, Jarasandh and Shishupal.
In modern days at every nook and corner we see absolute absence of determination of Rukmini and the understanding and protecting nature of Shri Krishna. Every news talks about female abuse, rape and willful ill handling of women. Absence of respect and protecting the women is seen everywhere in the world.
Let all of us get that determination of Rukmini and Respectful nature of Shri Krishna. Let all of should be dutiful and if needed be rebellious like Rukmini.