“As she was adjusting the ornaments on her left-hand finger, she happened to look upon the princes and suddenly saw that Krishna was present amongst them. Although Rukmini had never before seen Krishna, she was always thinking of Him; thus she had no difficulty in recognizing Him amongst the princely order. Krishna, not being concerned with the other princes, immediately took the opportunity of placing Rukmini on His chariot, marked by a flag bearing an image of Garuda.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 52)
The male and female aspects of the Divine are worshiped together in the Vedic tradition. One is the enjoyer and the other the enjoyed. One is the energetic and the other the energy. The female is the pleasure-giving potency, coming from the origin of all potencies, the Supreme Lord. One of the pairs worshiped is Rukmini-Dvarakadisha.
Dvarakadisha refers to Shri Krishna in His role as the king of the underwater city guarded by gates. The name Krishna means “all-attractive,” which is a description befitting the Supreme Lord. The energy and the energetic are also worshiped in other non-different forms, such as Radha-Krishna, Lakshmi-Narayana and Sita-Rama. Rukmini is a queen from ancient times, presiding over Dvaraka with her husband Krishna.
1. She is also known as Ruchiranana
One of the most famous texts in history, not just of the Vedic tradition, is the Ramayana, composed in Sanskrit by Valmiki Muni. The antagonist of the real-life story is Ravana, who has a terrifying roar. Ravana is the king of the bad guys, the demon-like people who are completely against God. Since he wanted full material opulence, he received amazing abilities, such as ten heads and twenty arms. Because of this strange feature, Ravana is also known as Dashanana.
Lord Brahma, the creator, is known as Chaturanana, since he has four heads or faces. The name Ruchiranana means a person who has a beautiful face, like the expanding lotus. As Krishna is all-attractive, so is His eternal consort. During her time on earth, Rukmini Devi was the most beautiful princess. Great kings from around the world desired her hand in marriage, but it was only meant for Shri Krishna.
2. She is the daughter of King Bhishmaka
Bhishmaka was a pious king appearing on earth in the same time period as Krishna. Because of his piety, he wanted his beautiful daughter Rukmini to marry Krishna. Yet one of Rukmini’s brothers had a different plan. Known as Rukmi, he arranged for his sister to be married to Shishupala, who was a rival to Krishna. In ancient times the marriages were arranged. Even on the rare occasion when the daughter was allowed to choose on her own, she got the permission from the father first. It was not uncommon for the brother to make arrangements like this on behalf of the family.
3. She had devotion to Krishna just by hearing about Him
The person entering spiritual life naturally has an eagerness to see God. After all, if you genuinely believe that He exists, why wouldn’t you want to see Him? Seeing is believing, right? If you get the visual evidence, it will be easier to continue along the path with full confidence.
From Rukmini’s example, we see that hearing is more important. She desired to have Krishna as her husband simply by hearing about Him. As her father was a pious king, many saintly people would visit the kingdom. Saintly people naturally talk about the reservoir of all good qualities, the Supreme Lord. From this hearing Rukmini offered her heart. And her devotion was flawless. She was not lacking anything due to not having seen Krishna face to face. She did not insist on visual evidence prior to making her judgment.
4. She cleverly developed a plan for marriage
It is said that a person who follows the path of bhakti-yoga, devotional service, does not need to make a separate endeavor for acquiring material opulences or temporary rewards. Generally, the two pillars of spiritual life are jnana and vairagya, which are knowledge and renunciation. The human species is auspicious because of its potential for gaining these two precious commodities.
Rukmini was not known to study the Vedas or engage in rigorous austerities. Nevertheless, she had all the intelligence required to meet her objective. She was already renounced in the sense that she did not want any other husband. She devised a plan for Krishna to come and take her away just prior to the wedding to Shishupala. Her carefully crafted plan was meant to both succeed and limit collateral damage.
What kind of damage would there be? The style of marriage she proposed was known as Rakshasa. Krishna would kidnap Rukmini. Since this is kind of like stealing, the way it is justified is through defense against any objectors. Krishna would have to protect Himself from the onslaught that would surely come after stealing away Rukmini. The princess knew that on the day of the wedding she would be visiting the temple of Goddess Durga to get the devi’s blessings. Either on the way to the temple or on the way back would be an ideal time for Krishna to come and snatch her away. Everything went down according to her plan, with Krishna marrying Rukmini in Dvaraka.
5. She is the goddess of fortune, devoted to the brahmanas
The pleasure potency of God is also known as the goddess of fortune. Krishna has the most aishvarya, or wealth. One way to know this is from His relationship to the goddess of fortune. One of His many names is Shridhara, which means the controller of the goddess of fortune. Rukmini maintained this role while living with Krishna in Dvaraka.
The brahmana class is very dear to God. Since they are dear to her husband, they are dear to Rukmini as well. It was through a brahmana in her kingdom that she was able to get the message of her plans of marriage sent to Krishna. Through her desire for marriage, she also showered a blessing on the brahmana by allowing him to meet Krishna face to face. The Supreme Lord is known as brahmanya-devaya, or the worshipable figure of choice for the priestly order.
While living with her husband in Dvaraka, Rukmini continued to shower blessings upon the brahmanas. One time an old friend of Krishna came to visit. Named Sudama, he was living in poverty and had been sent to the royal palace by his wife to ask Krishna for some help. After arriving he was too ashamed to ask anything of his old friend, however. Nevertheless, Krishna was pleased by Sudama’s devotion, and so when the brahmana returned home he was surprised to find that his old house had been transformed into a palace. The change was effected by Rukmini, the goddess of fortune herself. Those who worship Rukmini-Dvarakadisha with full faith and attention never have to worry about material needs to support their continued devotional service.
Krishna as king of Dvaraka to preside,
Ruling over with Rukmini by His side.
Marriage happened in most interesting way,
Lord kidnapping her on proposed wedding day.
Desired for herself just from features to hear,
Required not image to have devotion clear.
As goddess of fortune to brahmanas giving,
Like with Sudama and new palace living.
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