“Once Narada took a parijata flower and presented it to Krishna’s senior wife, Shri Rukminidevi. On account of this, Satyabhama developed an inferiority complex; she also wanted a flower from Krishna.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 4)
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The Supreme Personality of Godhead teaches in two ways. One is by words, such as those found in Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavata Purana, and many other texts. These words are timeless both in their origin and their relevance. For instance, the science of self-realization was spoken to the sun-god. This took place thousands of years prior to the transfer of the same knowledge to Arjuna.
अपरं भवतो जन्म
परं जन्म विवस्वतः
कथम् एतद् विजानीयां
त्वम् आदौ प्रोक्तवान् इति
aparaṁ bhavato janma
paraṁ janma vivasvataḥ
katham etad vijānīyāṁ
tvam ādau proktavān iti
“Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.4)
Bhagavan also teaches through example. He comes either as Himself or an avatara, which means “one who descends.” Through the adventures and exploits there is a standard set for others to follow.
“Krishna-katha means narrations about Krishna. There are two Krishna-kathas: narrations spoken by Krishna and narrations spoken about Krishna. Bhagavad-gita is the narration or the philosophy or the science of God, spoken by Krishna Himself. Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the narration about the activities and transcendental pastimes of Krishna. Both are Krishna-katha.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Introduction)
A person also gets an idea on some of the difficulties they might face as they pass through the different phases of life. The audience of the published and preserved literature spans the full range of age and time period.
A child reading Ramayana, for example, might not be aware of what married life will be like. Through the Supreme Lord’s example, through hearing Hari-katha, they can learn of the difficulties before experiencing for themselves. One thing they might learn is the meaning behind the stereotype of the “nagging wife.”
She is the youngest queen to King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. The king is particularly fond of her, due to her beauty and something she once did. She saved him during a ride-along on the battlefield. At that time, Dasharatha promised her any two boons of her choosing.
Kaikeyi was so kind upon her husband that she essentially forgot about the boons. She never used them. That is, until reminded by her servant, Manthara. Kaikeyi then chose the worst possible time to interfere in her husband’s life.
She caused upheaval in the kingdom. She forced separation from Dasharatha’s eldest son, Rama, to the point that the king left his body due to the grief. One could say that Kaikeyi killed her husband, due to madness in desire.
2. Sita Devi
As Rama is Bhagavan, so Sita Devi is the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi Devi. Their marriage was in all righteousness, dharma. Sita took her duties so seriously that she insisted on accompanying Rama to the forest. Rama asked that she remain in Ayodhya, but Sita persisted to the point that she was allowed to come along.
During one portion of their stay, Sita questions the need for carrying weapons. Why is Rama walking around essentially looking for a fight? She is concerned that the presence of the bow and arrows will lead to unjust conflict, which will then bring sin upon her husband, who is known for His attention to righteousness.
सदृशं चानुरूपं च कुलस्य तव चात्मनः।
सधर्मचारिणी मे त्वं प्राणेभ्योऽपि गरीयसी।।
sadṛśaṃ cānurūpaṃ ca kulasya tava cātmanaḥ।
sadharmacāriṇī me tvaṃ prāṇebhyo’pi garīyasī।।
“My dear beautiful wife, what you have said is befitting the occasion and also indicative of the greatness of your family heritage. You are dearer to Me than My life, for you are My companion in the performance of religious duties.” (Lord Rama speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 10.21)
The concern is not necessary, since Rama is in the forest to specifically protect the sages against the attacks of night-rangers, known as nishacharas. Rama is so pleased with His wife’s concern that He describes her as a sadharma-charini.
She is the foster-mother of Shri Krishna. Yashoda is famously depicted holding baby Krishna in her lap, churning butter while in His association, and even chasing after Him with a whipping stick. Yashoda’s love embodies the transcendental mellow known as vatsalya-rasa.
“Sometimes in restlessness like a madwoman Mother Yashoda used to accuse Nanda Maharaj, ‘What are you doing in the palace? You shameless man! Why do people call you the King of Braja? It is very astonishing that while being separated from your dear son Krishna, you are still living within Vrindavana as a hard-hearted father!’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 43)
She lives in Gokula with her husband, Nanda, who is the king of the area. Though Nanda loves Krishna in a pure way, even he does not escape the chastisement of his wife. On occasion, Yashoda is known to accuse Nanda of being hard-hearted.
In the adult portion of Krishna-lila, the center of activities is the kingdom of Dvaraka. Krishna’s chief queen is Rukmini, but there are other queens, as well. One of them is Satyabhama. She once saw Rukmini receiving a parijata flower. She then wanted one for herself.
To get this flower was not easy. A person has to travel to the heavenly region. Krishna did just that to please Satyabhama. That small desire turned into a big ordeal, as there was a physical conflict to keep Krishna from leaving the region with the parijata.
5. Sudama’s wife
Sudama was friends with Krishna during childhood. They studied at the same school together. In adulthood, Sudama was rather poor, due to his brahmana occupation. It was Sudama’s wife who urged him to go visit Krishna in Dvaraka.
Reluctant to do so, Sudama finally went. It turned out to be an auspicious meeting. Not only was Krishna happy to see His old friend, but the goddess of fortune then blessed their family with opulence. This removed the tensions caused by poverty.
These incidents highlight the difficulties when individuals associate with one another. Every person has their own desires, and to compromise is not always easy. Since there is a link to the Supreme Lord in these interactions, we see just how much compassion Bhagavan has for those devoted to Him. They are able to overcome difficult situations due to the steady link they hold in yoga.
Not all it’s cracked up to be,
In marriage difficulties to see.
The wife to yell and scream,
As if peace never seen.
But in Vedas with Hari connected,
Such that in time corrected.
Through word and action shown,
Life’s highs and lows to be known.
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