The more we hear the glories of Lord Krishna, the more will be fortunate we are. We desire more for Him. Rukmini Devi’s Swayamvara, with Lord Krishna, is one of the best illustrations of this very fact. It is awesome.
Lord Krishna created Dwaaraka in the middle of the sea. He brought all his people there to protect them from all evils and He looked after them well. The marriage of his brother, BalaramaSwamy, with Revathi was also over, and it was time to get Lord Krishna married.
Bhishmaka was the king of Vidharba. He had 5 sons – Rukmi, Rukmaratha, Rukmakesa, Rukmabaahu, Rukmamaali, and a young and beautiful daughter, Rukmini. She got a lot of satsang through Sadhus, in the palace. They talked about the creation of the Universe, about the Matsya, Kurma, and all other Avataras including Ramavatara of Bhagavan Sri Hari, Dhruva Charita, Prahlada Charita, and so on, along with singing the glories of Bhagavan. They said, the very valorous Lord Rama has now incarnated as Lord Krishna. They talked about the Lord’s birth, Puthana Moksha, Shakatasura Vadha, Navaneetha Lila, Brindavan Lilas, Vanabhojanam, Uddharana of Yagna Patnees, Kaliya Nartana, Govardhanoddharana , Murali Gana, Rasa Kreeda and Kamsa Vadha etc. She was enamored by the stories about Krishna, description of his bewitching beauty, strength, and his other fine qualities. She made up her mind that if ever she had a husband that would be Krishna only. The very same Lord Krishna, is now ruling Dwaraka, not so a faraway from her place.
Rukmini looked at her dad, with this intention in her mind. Her dad, very loving and affectionate to her, knew his daughter’s mind well. The 5 sons never had a chance to have satsang, so these stories didn’t interest them. Bhishmaka thought, ‘Will I be fortunate to have Lord Krishna as my son-in-law?’ The next day, in the court, he expressed this wish. Everyone except Rukmi, the elder brother of Rukmini Devi, was happy about the decision. Rukmi opposed to it and said, ‘Dad! Are you a lunatic? Krishna’s status is no match to us! He is pitch dark, while our Rukmini is golden. He is a cowherd. He has no education! He went to school only for 64 days! His parents were in prison! He is hiding from his enemies and lives inside the sea!’
Bhishmaka stopped him and said, ‘You talk nonsense, because you lack Satsang. You cannot talk bad about someone, if you don’t know him well. Go and do whatever you like.’
Rukmi decided that Sishupala, his close friend and the son of Dhamagosha (king of Chedi) was the right match to Rukmini and accordingly, he sent invitations to everyone for the wedding. Rukmini was in the ‘kanya mantapam’ and when she learned of this news, she was
depressed and broke down. ‘Who will meet my Gopala and convey my message to him! There is just one day to go’, she thought. ‘Can I send the cloud as the messenger (mekha sandesa)? No! the cloud will be busy drinking the waters of the seas. Can I send the bee (Bhramara sandesa)? No, it will be lost in the honey of the Lord’s Vyjayanthi Mala, beautiful famous Vanamala, with five different kinds of flowers. How about my companions? No, it’s not possible in a day. Mind is the fastest!
(Do you think it is true? Is there anything faster than wind, light and mind? Yes, there is it; we enjoy it almost every day, sometimes quite unknowingly. Yes, it is the Karunya Vega of Bhavan. Nothing in this world can beat it’s speed. Within a split second it reaches us.)
Mind is the fastest Rukmini Devi thought. So why not I send it? If my mind goes to Sri Krishna, how can it ever return?’
One should not go in search of a Guru. We do not have the intellect to judge a Guru. If our thirst for God is true, the Lord sends a Guru. That was what happened here, when the Guru came in the form of a Brahmana Bhagavata, singing, ‘Kshemam kuru Gopaalaa…’. Rukmini Devi was happy. She invited the Brahmana and the girls, after paying respects, conveyed this information.
The Bhagavata said, ‘Lord Krishna would certainly be a great match to you. Don’t worry, these invitations of Sisupala’s marriage with you, are only man-made. Don’t bother about them. I am on my way to Dwaraka, I will take your message.’ The Guru takes the message of the devotee to the Lord. RukminiDevi, wrote, crisp, sharp, sweet and most beautiful seven slokas, only 7 slokas, as her message to Lord Krishna. (I think this may be the most beautiful love letter in the world, to Lord Krishna).
The Bhagavata appeared at Lord Krishna’s court in Dwaraka in no time. The Lord paid his respects and inquired. ‘I am coming from Vidarbha and I have a message from RukminiDevi.’, said the Bhagavata. ‘Go on, read it yourself ’, Krishna asked the Brahnana.
The sum and substance of the 7 slokas in the letter is :
‘Ever since I have heard about You, my Lord, I have become completely attracted to You. Without fail please come before my marriage with Sisupala and take me away. In accordance with the family custom, on the day before marriage, I will visit the temple of goddess, Ambika (Parvathi Matha). That would be the best opportunity for You to appear and easily take me. If You do not show me this favor, I will give up my life by fasting and observing severe vows. Then perhaps in my next life, I will be able to obtain You.’
After reading Rukmini Devi’s letter to Lord Krishna, the Brahmana, took leave from there.
At the very start of writing the letter, RukminiDevi, had a debate in her mind as to how she would address the Lord.
“ ‘Swami’ ? No, he would think I am a saint. How about ‘Raaja Raja Sree Yadukula Raja, Sri.Krishna Marthanda…’ No. it would seem like a citizen with a petition! How about ‘Prabhu’? no it would mean I am a beggar expecting money. How about ‘Praananaatha’? No! Krishna might think, how dare this girl address me as her saviour even before marriage!”.
Finally she picked up the word ‘Bhuvanasundara’ – a word that describes the sum and substance of the Lord’s beauty and it would prompt Lord Krishna to read further.
The letter contained answers to all of Krishna’s questions if he read the letter.
Krishna: ‘Bhuvanasundara! Hmm! Are you entranced by my looks? Do you know about my character?’
She says: ‘Shrutvaa Gunaan!’ – I have heard all about Your character.
Krishna: ‘What have you heard about me?
Rukmini Devi: ‘Your character is such that all the worldly miseries are lost by merely listening to them. Only one misery (‘thaapa’) is left behind – and that thaapa is the longing to attain Your Feet. ‘
Krishna:,‘Now that you have heard about me, have you seen me?’
RukminiDevi: ‘Roopam – akilaartha laabham’ – Your form is the essence of the world. The more I listen to Your glories, the more I get Your form in my Dhyana and that is how I have seen You. I am not an expressive girl. I am a shy gal by nature. Now I overcome my shyness and write this letter. Please understand how desperate I am to reach You, Oh Krishna! Not only me, any one who listens to Your glories and gets Your form in Dhyana, will long to attain You!’
Krishna: ‘You desire to attain me! Have you done enough merits to attain me?’
RukminiDvi: ‘poorthe ishta datta dharma..’. Yes Indeed I have done all the merits. But Krishna! You are not the one that can be reached by accruing merits, are You? How can You be reached? You can be reached only by ‘aatma samarpana’ (surrendering oneself to You- Total Sharanagathy-Utter Concecration). Here I surrender myself. Please accept me.’
Krishna:, ‘Well, If I do accept you, you are going to be in the women’s harem (Palace Cottage) and I am a king. How am I to meet you?’
RukminiDevi: ‘My marriage with Sishupala has been arranged. In our family custom, the bride will perform Gauri Pooja, before the wedding and so I will be in the Gouri Temple, and you can take me from there.’
Krishna: ‘Should I elope with you?’
RukminiDevi: ‘Nay! Only a coward does that. You are a man of courage and valor. Please bring Your bow ‘shaarnga’ and defeat all who oppose You and rightfully take me as ‘kanyashulkam.’
Krishna: ‘Okay, If I don’t show up at the Gauri temple on the day of the wedding, are you going to marry Sishupala?’
RukminiDevi : ‘I will take hundreds of births to attain you. Not in one birth shall I get wedded to anyone other than you.’
Saying so, Rukmini signs ‘-Yours Rukmini Devi’.
The Lord is extremely pleased with this surrender of Rukmini Devi, gets His chariots ready and goes to Vidarbha desa followed by BalaramaSwamy.
RukminiDevi is dressed like a bride in a magnificent silk saree with borders of swan-designs. Her hair was beautifully plaited and decked with ornaments and flowers. Her earrings were moving back and forth. She sported a beautiful ‘kasturi tilaka’ on her forehead and wore different kinds and sizes of ornaments on her neck. Her fingers shone with rings and wore a toe ring too, on her toe. Her head was bent down and she walked at the pace of a swan, holding a lotus in one hand and her friend’s hand with the other. She gets the blessings of all elderly women there.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of Panchajanya and sensed the smell of Tulasi. She understood that her Lord was already reached there to take her. At that moment, she saw the Brahmana – her eyes welled with tears of gratitude and she folded her hands, towards him, in all respect. After all, can we ever repay a Guru who takes us to the Lord? No, never.
The princes waiting to see Rukmini are blinded by the glitter on the gems in her finger-rings. As her head bent down in shyness, her curly hair fell on her forehead. In the pretext of setting it right, she raised her forehead and her eyes met with those of the Lord. The moment their eyes met, the Lord took her on His chariot and rode her away in a flash. The enemies saw this with awe and wonder- the divine couple. One of them from the enemies, shouted, ‘Hey! Krishna had taken away the bride. Let’s chase him!’. The other, still unable to come out of the awe, ‘Oh! What a wonderful sight it was!’
When Shishupala heard the news that RukminiDevi had been taken by Krishna, he screamed aloud at Rukmi in anger, ‘I trusted that you would get me married to her. You betrayed me!’. Rukmi waged a war against Krishna and the Yadava, but eventually he lost the war, and out of shame, run away to a place called Bhojagatam.
Lord Krishna brought Rukmini to His parents – Devaki and Va’sudeva. On an auspicious day, when all the Mahans, Rishis, Sadhus, Bhagavatas, Devas and other elders were present, the Divine Couple were united in wedlock. There was a grand wedding
Guruji always says that whenever somebody asks you what is the philosophy behind this story, we should tell him the truth that, Rukmini Devi here represents the Jivatma which longs to attain the Paramatma, and Lord Krishna is the Paramatma. The 5 brothers of Rukmini represent the 5 senses. These five senses always try to get us into worldly matters and away from God. When the quest for God is true, the Guru comes by Himself and takes the message of the devotee to the Lord. If the message is delivered by the Guru, the Lord Himself comes. We usually imagine that it is up to go to temples to see the Lord. But the fact is, the Lord Himself comes right to our place and takes us and rescue and gives us protection. ‘Rukmini Kalyanam’ is indeed the merger of the Jivatma with the Paramatma. It illusdtstrates the Philosophy of Atma Tatwa.
Jai Sri Guru Maharaj,
OHM Sree Haraye Namaha