Chapter 60 - Rukmini
BHISHMAKA, the king of Vidarbha, had five sons and an only daughter, Rukmini, a princess of matchless beauty, charm and strength of character.
Having heard of Krishna and his renown, she wished to be united to him in wedlock and the desire daily grew in intensity. Her relatives approved the idea, all except her eldest brother Rukma, the heir apparent, between whom and Krishna there was no love lost.
Rukma pressed his father not to give Rukmini in marriage to the ruler of Dwaraka but to marry her instead to Sisupala, the king of Chedi. The king being old, Rukma's became the dominant voice and it looked as though Rukmini would be compelled to marry Sisupala.
Rukmini, whose heart was wholly Krishna's because she was Lakshmi incarnate, was disconsolate. She feared that her father would be helpless against her domineering brother and would not be able to prevent the unhappy marriage.
Mustering all her strength of mind, Rukmini resolved somehow to find a way out of her predicament. She took counsel with a brahmana whom, abandoning all maidenly reserve, she sent as her emissary to Krishna, charging him to explain matters to her beloved and sue for help.
The brahmana accordingly went toDwaraka and conveyed to Krishna Rukmini's sad plight and her entreaty, and handed to him the letter Rukmini had sent through him. The letter ran as follows:
"My heart has already accepted you as lord and master. I charge you therefore to come and succour me before Sisupala carries me off by force. The matter cannot brook any delay; so you must be here tomorrow. Sisupala's forces, as well as Jarasandha's, will oppose you and will have to be overcome before you can have me. May you be the triumphant hero and capture me! My brother has decided to marry me to Sisupala and, as part of the wedding ceremonies, I am going to the temple along with my retinue to offer worship to Parvati. That would be the best time for you to come and rescue me. If you do not turn up, I will put an end to my life so that I may at least join you in my next birth."
Krishna read this and immediately mounted his chariot. At the king's behest, Kundinapura, the capital of Vidarbha, was most gorgeously decorated and preparations for the wedding of the princess with Sisupala were in full swing.
The bridegroom elect and his associates, all sworn enemies of Krishna, had already assembled in the capital. Balarama came to know of Krishna's sudden and secret departure, all by himself.
Guessing that it must be about the daughter of the king of Vidarbha and anxious lest Krishna should be hemmed in alone by mortal enemies thirsting for his blood, he hurriedly assembled a great force and marched on to Kundinapura.
Leaving her apartments, Rukmini, accompanied by her retinue, went in procession to the temple, where divine service was held.
"Oh Devi," implored Rukmini, praying for her intercession. "I prostrate myself before thee who knowest my devotion. Grant that Krishna may espouse me."
Stepping out of the temple, Rukmini sighted Krishna's chariot and ran straight as a needle to the attracting magnet. She fled to him and got into his chariot. And Krishna drove off with her, to the bewilderment of all around.
The servants ran to Rukma, the heir apparent, and related what had happened. "I will not return without killing Janardana," swore Rukma, and went in pursuit of Krishna with a large force.
But, meanwhile, Balarama had arrived with his army, and a great battle ensued between the two opposing forces in which the enemy was utterly routed. Balarama and Krishna returned home in triumph, where Rukmini's wedding with Krishna was celebrated with customary rites.
The defeated Rukma was ashamed to return to Kundinapura and built at the very site of the battle between Krishna and himself a new city, Bhojakata, over which he ruled.
Hearing of the Kurukshetra battle, Rukma arrived there with a huge force. Thinking that he could thereby win the friendship of Vasudeva, he offered help to the Pandavas.
"Oh Pandavas," said he addressing Dhananjaya, "the enemy forces are very large. I have come to help you. Give me the word and I shall attack whichever sector of the enemy formation you would like me to. I have the strength to attack Drona, Kripa or even Bhishma. I shall bring you victory. Only let me know your wish."
Turning to Vasudeva, Dhananjaya laughed.
"Oh, ruler of Bhojakata," said Arjuna, "we are not afraid of the size of the enemy forces. We have no need of your help and do not particularly desire it. You may either go away or stay on, just as you like."
At this, Rukma was filled with anger and shame and went to Duryodhana's camp with his army. "The Pandavas have refused my proffered assistance." Said he to Duryodhana. "My forces are at your disposal."
"Is it not after the Pandavas rejected your assistance that you have come here?" exclaimed Duryodhana, and added: "I am not in such dire need yet as to welcome their leavings."
Rukma, thus put to disgrace by both sides, returned to his kingdom without taking part in battle. Neutrality in war may be of several kinds.
It may arise from conscientious objection to war or it may be due to mere conceit and self-interest. Yet others may keep aloof through cowardice or sheer inertia.
Balarama was neutral in the Mahabharata war because of his love of peace. Rukma, on the other hand, abstained as a result of his conceit.
Instead of acting according to dharma, he thought of personal glory, and neither side would have him.
Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial