Guiding Light: Rukmini Kalyanam

Guiding Light: Rukmini Kalyanam

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, February 07, 2023, 07:43 PM IST
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Rukmini is the wife of Shri Krishna and is considered to be the “avataran” of Goddess Lakshmi, to support the avatar of Vishnu in Dwapara. Kalyanam is marriage and preceding and antecedent events of the main ceremony. Rukmini Kalyanam is the episode in Bhagavata Puranam’s Dashama skanda (tenth part) wherein the central character Krishna weds Rukmini.

Vidarbha king Bhishmaka was blessed with daughter Rukmini after a number of sons, the first being Rukmi. When Rukmini grows up, her elder brother Rukmi desired to have her marriage arranged with his friend and prince of Chedi kingdom Shishupala, who incidentally was also the cousin of Krishna. Knowing the wicked character of her brother’s friend, Rukmini was worried. She had plans of marrying Krishna but did not know how to make the move. When her marriage with Shishupala was confirmed, she sent a learned brahmin named Agnidyotana to Krishna requesting his consent for their marriage and also to take her away, averting the planned marriage. When the message was delivered, Krishna acknowledged the receipt and confirmed his willingness to come and take her away.

On the designated day of the ill-fated marriage attempt, Rukmini visits the temple for offering Gowri puja and was blessed by pious couples who wished fulfillment of her desire. When Rukmini steps out of the temple, Krishna reaches on a chariot and takes her away. Balarama supported him with an army. This was a method of “Rakshasa vivaha”, forcefully taking the bride away, but it was also “Gandharva vivaha” as the consent of both bride and groom was there. The resistance offered by Rukmi and his friends was of no avail. Rukmi was humiliated but allowed to go on the advice of Balarama. Later Rukmini wedded Krishna formally and led a dharmic life. They got blessed with a number of children, the first of whom is the well-known Pradyumna.

The tradition of doing “Parayana” of Rukmini Kalyanam episode from Bhagavatam is well known. Marriageable age girls undertake this parayana for the fulfillment of marriage wish, often goaded by parents. Rukmini was the first among the consorts of Krishna. In puja sankalpa we aver, “Rukmini Satyabhamabhyam sahitam Krishnamashraye”. In central western parts, she is worshipped as “Rukmai” along with Vithala.

Prof S Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You may read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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