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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

p. 578


Wives of Krishńa. Pradyumna has Aniruddha: nuptials of the latter. Balaráma beat at dice, becomes incensed, and slays Rukmin and others.

RUKMINÍ bare to Krishńa these other sons, Chárudeshńa, Sudeshńa, Chárudeha, Sushena, Chárugupta, Bhadracháru, Cháruvinda, Sucháru, and the very mighty Cháru; also one daughter, Chárumatí. Krishńa had seven other beautiful wives, Kálindí, Mitravrindá, the virtuous Nágnajití, the queen Jámbavatí; Rohińí, of beautiful form; the amiable and excellent daughter of the king of Madra, Mádrí; Satyabhámá, the daughter of Śatrujit; and Lakshmańá, of lovely smiles 1. Besides these, he had sixteen thousand other wives 2.

p. 579

The heroic Pradyumna was chosen for her lord, at her public choice of a husband, by the daughter of Rukmin; and he had by her the powerful and gallant prince Aniruddha, who was fierce in fight, an ocean of prowess, and the tamer of his foes. Keśava demanded in marriage for him the granddaughter of Rukmin; and although the latter was inimical to Krishńa, he betrothed the maiden (who was his son's daughter) to the son of his own daughter (her cousin Aniruddha). Upon the occasion of the nuptials Ráma and other Yádavas attended Krishńa to Bhojakat́a, the city of Rukmin. After the wedding had been solemnized, several of the kings, headed by him of Kalinga, said to Rukmin, "This wielder of the ploughshare is ignorant of the dice, which may be converted into his misfortune: why may we not contend with him, and beat him, in play?" The potent Rukmin replied to them, and said, "So let it be:" and he engaged Balaráma at a game of dice in the palace. Balaráma soon lost to Rukmin a thousand Nishkas 3: he then staked and lost another thousand; and then pledged ten thousand, which Rukmin, who was well skilled in gambling, also won. At this the king of Kalinga laughed aloud, and the weak and exulting Rukmin grinned, and said, "Baladeva is losing, for he knows nothing of the game; although, blinded by a vain passion for play, he thinks he understands the dice." Halayudha, galled by the broad laughter of the Kalinga prince, and the contemptuous speech of Rukmin, was exceedingly angry, and, overcome with passion, increased his stake to ten millions of Nishkas. Rukmin accepted the challenge, and therefore threw the dice. Baladeva won, and cried aloud, "The stake is mine." But Rukmin called out as loudly, that he was the winner. "Tell no lies, Bala," said he: "the stake is yours; that is true; but I did not agree to it: although this be won by you, yet still I am the winner." A deep voice was then heard in the sky, inflaming still more the anger of the high-spirited Baladeva, saying, "Bala has rightly won the whole sum, and Rukmin speaks falsely: although he did

p. 580

not accept the pledge in words, he did so by his acts (having cast the dice)." Balaráma thus excited, his eyes red with rage, started up, and struck Rukmin with the board on which the game was played, and killed him 4. Taking hold of the trembling king of Kalinga, he knocked out the teeth which he had shewn when he laughed. Laying hold of a golden column, he dragged it from its place, and used it as a weapon to kill those princes who had taken part with his adversaries. Upon which the whole circle, crying out with terror, took to flight, and escaped from the wrath of Baladeva. When Krishńa heard that Rukmin had been killed by his brother, he made no remark, being afraid of Rukminí on the one hand, and of Bala on the other; but taking with him the newly wedded Aniruddha, and the Yádava tribe, he returned to Dwáraká.


578:1 The number specified, however, both in this place and in c. 32, is nine, instead of eight. The commentator endeavours to explain the difference by identifying Rohińí with Jámbavatí; but in the notices of Krishńa's posterity, both in this work and in the Bhágavata, she is distinct from Jámbavatí. She seems, however, to be an addition to the more usually specified eight, of whose several marriages the Bhágavata gives the best account. In addition to the three first, respecting whom particulars are found in all, Kálindí, or the Yamuná, is the daughter of the sun, whom Krishńa meets on one of his visits to Indraprastha, and who claims him as the reward of her penance. His next wife, Mitravindá, is the daughter of his maternal aunt, Rájádhideví (p. 437), and sister of Vinda and Anuvinda, kings of Avantí: she chooses him at her Swayambara. The Hari Vanśa calls her Saudattá, daughter of Śivi; and she is subsequently termed Śaivyá by our text. Nágnajití or Satyá, the next wife, was the daughter of Nagnajit, king of Kausála, and was the prize of Krishńa's overcoming seven fierce bulls, whom no other hero had encountered with success. Bhadrá, princess of Kekaya, also Krishńa's cousin, the daughter of Śrutakírtti (p. 437), was his next: and his eighth wife was Mádrí, the daughter of the king of Madra; named, according to the Bhágavata, Lakshańá; and to the Hari V., Saubhímá; distinguishing, as does our text, clearly Lakshmańá from Mádrí, and like it having no satisfactory equivalent for Bhadrá. The Hari Vanśa does not name Rohińí, but specifies other names, as Vrihatí, &c. In the life of Krishńa, taken from the Bhágavata through a Persian translation, published by Maurice, there is a curious instance of the barbarous distortion of Sanscrit names by the joint labours of the English and Persian translators: the wives of Krishńa are written, Rokemenee (Rukminí), Seteebhavani (Satyabhámá), Jamoometee (Jámbavatí), Kalenderee (Kálindí), Lechmeena (Lakshmańá), Soeta (Satyá?), Bhedravatee (Bhadrá), Mihrbenda (Mitravinda).

578:2 These, according to the Mahábhárata, p. 579 Ádi P., were Apsarasas, or nymphs. In the Dána Dharma they become Krishńa's wives through a boon given him by Umá.

579:3 The Nishka is a weight of gold, but according to different authorities of very different amount. The commentator here terms it a weight of four Suvarńas, each about 175 grains troy.

580:4 The Bhágavata and Hari Vanśa, which both tell this story, agree in the death of Rukmin; but in the Mahábhárata he appears in the war, on the side of the Pańd́avas. The occurrence is a not very favourable picture of courtly manners; but scenes of violence have never been infrequent at the courts of Rajput princes.

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