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Author Topic: RUKMINI THE PRINCESS OF VIDARBHA  (Read 5147 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: April 04, 2007, 09:43:34 AM »
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  • Universally acknowledged fact it is that a young girl loves but once and when she sets her heart upon a man she does so whatever the risk.

    The story I am going to tell you happened long, long ago.  In those days the maids of India married the very man whom they loved.  Rukmini, the young daughter of King Bhishmak of Vidarbha. was very much perturbed for she was to be married to Prince Shishupal, son of the king of Chedis, whom she did not love at all, for she had fallen in love with Krishna, Prince of Dwarka.

    Frequently she had heard many a glorious deed of bravery and gallantry from persons who visited her father’s court.  Never did she see him but she liked to listen to the stories current in the town about him.  She, therefore, made up her mind to marry him.  She thought he was the only prince in the land worthy of her hand.

    She had five brothers. She sought their help to win Krishna as her husband.  Rukmi, the eldest brother, did not like her choice though the rest of the four brothers agreed.  He advised the king, their father, to marry his sister to another young wooer, namely Prince Shishupal, son of the king of Chedis.  The king agreed.

    In vain did Rukmini try her best to persuade her eldest brother, the Crown Prince of Vidarbha. “No brother”, cried she, “I love Lord Krishna, Prince of Dwarka. I have given him my love and it can never be given to another.”

    Rukmi was hot-headed and adamant like a rock. He firmly and in high words told her, “I strongly object to your proposal. I do not like that notorious Prince  of Dwarka.   Prince Shishupal is a better suiter than Krishna.

    Rukmini knew that all the odds were against her and that she must find her own way to win the man she loved. She remem¬bered an aged Brahmin who was in her father’s court. He might be able to help her, she thought and so she sent for him.

    “Most lovely Princess,” the Brahmin said, “ I am ready to help you.   Please command.”
    “ I want you to take a letter from me to Prince Krishna of Dwarka.”

    The princess  thereupon  handed the letter to the Brahmin who promised : “I will be in Dwarka within no time.”

    The faithful Brahmin rode as fast as he could.  The way was long and not free from danger.  When he reached there he reques¬ted for an audience with Lord Krishna.  After having shown due hospitality and courtesy to the Brahmin, Krishna asked him, “Reverend sire, may I request you to let me know the mission of your visit ?”

    The Brahmin replied : “I have brought a letter for you from Princess Rukmini, the only daughter of King Bhishmak of Vidarbha (modern Berar) but he has betrothed his daughter to Prince Shishu¬pal, son of the King of Chedis, whom she dislikes very much.”

    He took out the letter from one of the folds of his garment and handed it to Krishna. It read as follows :
    “My Lord, I have listened to the tales of your splendour and prowess.  My conduct might seem to you unmaidenly in approa¬ching you in this manner but most worthy Prince, you are the cause of it.  I am sure you would accept a girl, who brings her heart to you.  It is a right of a girl to choose her own husband as a husband chooses his own girl to wed with.

    Pray,  you not to deny this right  to a girl who loves you ardently, for I can think of nothing but you.  I pray to accept me else I shall become the wife of Shishupal whom I do not wish to marry, it is settled.  Do not ask my father for my hand.  Come here, 0 unattainable Lord, before the appointed day for my wedding and carry me away in your arms.  A day prior to my wedding I shall go to worship at the shrine of Goddess Ambika. At that time, come and seize me.  If you will not come, I shall die of sorrow.”

    Krishna read the letter over and over again.  Here was a strange request to save a maiden from an unwanted match.  But he had already fallen in love with her without seeing her, for the fame of this beautiful girl had reached his ears from the citizens of Dwarka.  At last he said to the Brahmin : “I shall go to Vidarbha and carry her away like a leaf wafted by the wind.”
    “The day of her wedding is close at hand,” the Brahmin remarked.

    “We must start immediately,”  Krishna said and he bade his charioteer to be ready with the swiftest of steeds.  He also took with him a strong body of Yadava knights.  Along with the Brahmin, this company galloped day and night and reached Kundinpur just in time.

    From the opposite direction Prince Shishupal accompanied by his royal father arrived near the walls of the city.  King Bhishmak went out in a grand procession to receive and do honour to his would-be son-in-law.
    Rukmini sat in her palace in despair.  It was the eve of her wedding day.  All kinds of thoughts crowded in her mind.  She thought about the old Brahmin, for the old man had not come back.  She felt doubtful whether Prince Krishna had got the letter or not.  If he had received it, what would he think about her request ?   Perhaps,  he might reject her   hand, at this thought what a flood of tears she let loose?
    All at once her left eye began to  throb.   It  was  a happy omen.   Just then a maid servant announced that a Brahmin  had come and was seeking her audience.  At once he was shown into the room.
    “Did you meet Prince Krishna ?”   she enquired eagerly.

    “Lovely Princess “, replied the Brahmin, “Krishna is already here. He is now in the city.” He thereafter narrated all that had taken place at Dwarka.

    Krishna too announced his arrival  to king Bhishmak who gave him a right royal   reception.  He along with his Yadav knights entered the city which was gaily decorated with arches, flags and banners for the wedding ceremony.  Earlier Prince Krishna stressed his own point indirectly in a short dialogue,  the views he held about the rights of women to choose their own husband.  They too ought to have equal rights and opportunities along with men.  As she had  told Krishna in her letter, Rukmini went out that day at sundown to worship at the shrine of Goddess Ambika.  She was accompanied by well-armed men and her palanquin was well guarded and many of her young friends went with her.

    “O Devi Ambika,” she prayed “Thou knowest how I have loved Thee and if I have done anything to win Thy favour, please grant me the boon that Prince Krishna whom I love intensely be my husband.”
    She came out of the inner temple and went outside with her two friends.  Coming down the steps she suddenly espied a golden chariot carrying high a flag with an eagle on it.

    The chariot came close to her just near the temple steps.

    Krishna looked at her for a moment.  He was bewitched by her beauty.  Their eyes met for a while. She blushed deeply throwing sidelong glances at him.  He looked and looked at the sunniest and warmest smile which played upon her face.  Immediately he lifted the most beautiful maiden of Vidarbha into his chariot and earned her away.

    Again and again he looked at her, when they sat together in the chariot.  He thought her beauty most enchanting, it was he thought, the loviliest female figure and form that he had ever seen.  Both of them silently gazed and gazed at each other.  At last Krishna broke the silence and said, “I loved you before I could see you. “

    “Dearest love “- she said, “We are not strangers, perhaps we have met somewhere though I do not remember the place might be in the births gone by.”

    Shishupal was furious when he came to know about the development.  He saw from a distance that his would-be bride was being carried away before his own eyes.  He pursued the couple at full speed with his picked armed men and overtook them.  Instantly the Yadav knights of Krishna charged them.  They were slaughtered and defeated before they could reach Krishna’s chariot.

    Rukmini’s brother Rukmi grew in rage and raced furiously after the fugitives - his sister and her captor.  Krishna challenged him to a single combat.  Rukmi accepted it.  He jumped from his chariot and drew his sword.  It was a dazzling duel, swords clashed with thundering noise.  Rukmini prayed Krishna not to kill her brother.  At length Krishna struck him softly on the head with his sword.  Then and there he fell down on the ground un¬conscious.  Krishna tied him with a rope and let him go.  It is said Rukmi felt so crest-fallen that he did not go back to his father’s kingdom but went away somewhere else to an unknown destina¬tion.  He was never seen again, perhaps he died of shock and shame.

    Krishna entered Dwarka triumphantly. He was greeted by the citizens with shouts of joy. His wedding with Rukmini was celebrated on an auspicious day.  Three thousand years have passed since then, yet the story of Krishna and Rukmini is still listened with joy by young and old—sons and daughters of India.

    Prof  Vaman H, Pandit
    Indore City (M. P.)
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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