It is so common among the Hindus to laugh off and crack jokes on the number of wives Sri Krishna had. Do you the real story behind it? It is so pitying that we have never tried to dig deep in the authentic Bhagavata Purana and know the real story of Shri Krishna’s life. We have often been propagated a malicious narrative by socialists which is completely wrong and misleading.
Yes, Sri Krishna had 16, 108 wives as per Srimad Bhagavatam. You may find negative comments where Krishna is shown as a playboy by giving a false explanation of his 16,108 wives. So, let us explore the actual story here.
Sri Krishna had 8 principle wives known as Ashta-Bharyas:
They were: Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Bhadra, and Lakshmana.
1. Rukmini: Rukmini, the chief queen, was in love with Krishna. Rukmini’s brother Rukmi fixed her marriage with his friend Shishupala. Rukmini sends a message to Krishna to rescue her. Krishna abducts Rukmini while her marriage preparations are going on. Krishna’s army commanded by his brother Balarama defeat Rukmi and the other kings, who follow Krishna and Rukmini.
2. Satyabhama: Satyabhama, the second wife, is considered the aspect of the earth goddess Bhudevi and Vishnu’s second wife. Through severe meditation and penance, Satyabhama sought shelter in Lord Vishnu abode i.e Vekuntha. Impressed by her extreme devotion, love, and care, Lord Vishnu granted her the boon of becoming his wife in his next incarnation.
3. Jambavati: Father of Jambavati, Jambavan – the devotee of Rama surrenders to Krishna and gifts his daughter to Krishna.
4. Kalindi: She was the well-keeper of River Yamuna & daughter of the Deity Sun. She went into a deep trance to fulfill her desire of marrying Lord Vishnu. Krishna fulfilled her desire seeing her true devotion.
5. Mitravinda: Mitravinda is described as the daughter of King Jayasena of the kingdom of Avanti, by his wife Rajadhidevi, the sister of Krishna’s father Vasudeva. She is thus a first cousin of Krishna, being the daughter of his father’s sister.
6. Nagnajiti: She was the daughter of the King Nagnajita, of Kosala. Krishna competed in the swayamvara arranged by her father, and as per set rules he brought under control seven ferocious bulls by putting a noose around each of them and thus won Nagnajiti as his wife.
7. Bhadra: Bhadra is a god of the hunt and one of Shiva’s Gana. The eighth queen of Lord Krishna was Bhadra, the daughter of King Bhadrasen. It is also an epithet of Mount Meru.
8. Lakshana: The Bhagavata Purana mentions Lakshana, who is endowed with good qualities, as the daughter of an unnamed ruler of the kingdom of Madra.
Krishna’s Story of 16108 Wives:
There was a demon by the name of Narakasura. He had captured 16,100 beautiful unmarried girls in his area and kept them as sex slaves. When Shri Krishna killed Narakasura, he freed these 16100 sex slaves of Narakasura. After freeing them, all the girls requested Shri Krishna to marry them as the society would never accept them.
So they pleaded Lord Krishna to accept them because nobody else is going to marry them and if he doesn’t accept them, then they will commit suicide. Being trapped in dharma, Shri Krishna accepted all women as his wives so that they live an honorable life and nobody dares to mock them. To restore their honor and give them the status of queen, Shri Krishna married them. That is how he came to have 16,108 wives.
All princesses of Lord Krishna were extremely beautiful and were attracted to Krishna’s beauty. Still, the Lord was not aroused by sexual appeal and thereby fulfilled his virtue perfectly by not indulging in any illegitimate relationship with any of this princesses.
Another story about Shri Krishna that most ignorant people mock is the story of Shri Krishna’s Raasleela. The Bhagwat Geeta states that Shri Krishna left for Mathura at the age of 10, and never to return to Vrindavan again. The stories of Rasleela is all from Vrindavan, which means that the age of Krishna was 8-9 years. What he did at the age should be labeled as “mischief” by a young boy rather than “eve-teasing”.
Polygamy in Vedic Culture:
Polygamy was allowed with the condition that all wives should be treated equally. Lord Krishna can be considered as a teacher who, in spite of having no need of a wife went on to expand into many forms just to fulfill his wives’ desires and satisfy them. He lived his life like an ideal householder, observing all the regulative rules, principles, and rituals as laid down in the Vedic scriptures within the laws and customs of the civilized society.
Instead, if you look at the story, it was Shri Krishna who rescued Draupadi when she was humiliated. Even five Pandavas, Bhishma, and Dronacharya remained silent. And in fact, only Shri Krishna was able to save the honor. But, in this Kaliyuga, if anyone is able to satisfy his single spouse, he/she is considered extraordinary.
What all we are trying to convey through this article is that it is important to learn, unlearn, relearn the Shastras before mocking anything said on the knowledge of anything related to Hindu dharma.