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 into 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.
Sri Krishna had 8 principle wives known as Ashta-Bharyas:
They were: Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Bhadra, and Lakshmana.
According to these sources, Krishna had eight (8) principal wives and was known as Ashtabharya (ashta=eight, bharya=wife). Different sources have named them differently. According to the Bhagavata Purana, they are –
- Rukmini, considered to be the earthly manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi, was in love with Lord Krishna and was taken on the chariot by him when she was forcefully being married to Shishupala. Krishna kidnapped her after she requested him to rescue her from the forced marriage or she will commit suicide.
- Satyabhama, the second queen is considered to be the incarnation of Goddess Earth. Krishna had rescued the jewel Syamantaka from Jambavan, (the bear-king), and brought it back to King Satyajit. Satyajit was impressed with Krishna’s power and offered his daughter Satyabhama’s hand in marriage.
- Jambavati was Krishna’s third wife. In his fight with Jambavan (the bear-king), to regain the Syamantaka (jewel given to Satyajit by God Surya), Krishna finally confronts Jambavan after 28-29 days and shows his true self to him. Jambavan upon realizing whom he was fighting finally surrenders and returns the gem and gives Jambavati to Krishna.
- Kalindi is the personified Yamuna (daughter of Sun God). One day, Krishna and Arjuna, while on hunting, met her and learnt that she had a great desire to marry Krishna. Seeing her great devotion towards Krishna, Arjuna went back to Krishna and told him of her devotion and desire. Touched by her pure love, Krishna decided to marry her.
- Mitravinda was the princess of Avantipura kingdom. She chose Krishna as her husband in her Swayamvara Ceremony. Her brothers, however, didn’t like this and fought Krishna. Krishna then defeated them all and married Mitravinda.
- Nagnajiti also knows and Satya was the daughter of king Nagnajita of Kosala. Krishna married her after winning her Swayamvara Ceremony which required the Prince to control seven ferocious bulls by putting a noose around them. Krishna did so easily and went on to marry Nagnajiti.
- Bhadra, relation wise, was the cousin of Lord Krishna. She had a strong desire to marry Krishna and she did so unconditionally. Bhadra’s brothers themselves got their sister married to Lord Krishna.
- Lakshmana, sometimes referred to as Lakshana, was the daughter of the king of Madra. She was very beautiful and meritorious. Krishna along with Arjuna and Duryodhana competed in an archery competition. Arjuna and Duryodhana then threw the match and Krishna married her.
Krishna’s Story of 16108 Wives:
A demon named Narakusura (naraka = hell + asura = demon) had kidnapped 16,100 women and forcibly held them in his captivity. After killing the demon of the hell, Krishna released all the 16,100 women that Narakasura had in captivity. When Krishna asked them to return to their houses, they refused. They were aware that the society of that age would not accept them and they would be seen as a disgrace because they had lived with the demon king. To give those girls a proper status in society Krishna married them and gave them the status of his wife.
Once Narada, out of the curiosity “How with a single body Krishna married sixteen thousand maidens simultaneously at separate places” went to his place to see the daily activities of Krishna. There he saw that through His mystic power, Krishna was simultaneously present in the palaces of each queen and busy in different household activities. It was impossible to live with each of them so he created 16100 forms of himself so that he could treat them all in the same manner as his 8 principal wives.
Thus, the story of Lord Krishna having as many as 16108 wives is true as per the Puranas. However, it is often presented in a broken manner to question the divinity of Krishna. But, it is clear from the article that Krishna, even after marrying as many girls, always treated them equally and lived his life like an ideal householder, in accordance with the rules, principles, and rituals as laid down in the Vedic scriptures.