Rukmini was the first wife of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Rukmini literally means to be glowing, radiant and graced with gold ornaments. She is considered a goddess in the Hindu tradition. She is also often described to be an incarnation of Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu. She is known by various names – Ruciranana, Vaidarbhi, Shree Bhaishmi, Rakhumai and Pradyumna Janani. There is a beautiful explanation of each of her names relating to her characteristics and personality.
The name Ruciranana comes from her attractive and pretty face. Her face is explained to be expanding like a beautiful blooming lotus flower. She comes from the Vidarbha kingdom and hence gets the name Vaidarbhi. Her correlation with goddess Lakshmi is the reason she gets the name Shree. Rukmini was the daughter of Bhishmaka giving her the name Bhaishmi. An absorbing story of Rukmini’s extended hospitality towards Rishi Durvasa earned her the next name which is Chiryauvana. This translates directly into being young forever. Rukmini was known to be given a blessing by sage Durvasa during his visit to Dwarka. Her hospitality impressed him to an extent that he gave her this wonderful blessing. Her last name – Pradyumna Janani comes from the fact of being the mother of Pradyumna.
Many Puranas have mentioned Rukmini but Mahabharata gives a clear indication of her life and her relationship with Lord Krishna. She had 5 elder brothers out of which Rukmi was the eldest. Rukmi had forced Rukmini to get married to Shishupala who happens to be the cousin of Lord Krishna. Rukmini did not want this marriage to go through and hence prayed with devotion and desperation to Lord Krishna to abduct her. Krishna, with the help of Arjuna, took her out of the palace and into a temple where Krishna and Rukmini got married. They went on to have 10 children out of which Pradyumna is the eldest and Charu is the youngest.
Let’s deep dive into the lives of Rukmini and Lord Krishna and discover how they got married and how their life after marriage was. Rukmini was fascinated by the heroic stories of Krishna’s smartness, cleverness and bravery. She fell in love with him in an instance and wanted to marry him. Her parents were very happy with the thought of that but her brother was not due to his alliance and friendship with Jarasandha. She sent a message to Krishna via a Brahmana. The message indicated for him to meet her at Goddess Ambika’s temple. There were fights and quarrels but Krishna surpassed all of those to marry Rukmini. They were welcomed with great celebrations in the kingdom.
Lord Krishna had married many other women but Rukmini was his chief and favourite of them all. Bhagavata Purana has explained in detail the life of Rukmini and Krishna after marriage. Rukmini loved Krishna but also had a deep sense of devotion for him. After the Yadu massacre, Lord Krishna disappeared, Rukmini and Jambavati went up to the pyre and started their journey towards the heavenly abode.