Exhortation To Develop Love And Affection English Literature Essay

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In her way, words like desire, longing, attraction, love, marriage etc. leave their physical connotations, leading to a transformation of these mundane emotions, by transferring their attention to the transcendental personality of Lord Krishna. Indeed, like a loving mother, she guides us to the supreme and purest form of love.

This is most lucidly narrated in one of the most vivid texts of Hinduism, namely the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana, which chronicles the life of Krishna in immense detail, unparalleled in any other text. After Krishna's delightful adventures in the town of Vrindavana, the Bhagavata Purana speaks of the time when Krishna established the city of Dwarka (in modern Gujarat).

Now we know that Goddess Lakshmi is the eternal companion of Lord Krishna. Whenever Krishna takes Avatara, the goddess is there with him too. It is at this particular moment in the narrative that goddess Lakshmi makes her appearance, in the form of princess Rukmini. The only sister of five brothers, she was obviously much loved and the center of attraction at home. From visitors at her father's house, she would often hear about Lord Krishna's unparalleled beauty, valor, his excellent virtues and affluence. Attracted to his divine personality, she decided that she would only have Krishna and none other for her husband, as he was the only spouse worth having. All her family too wanted Krishna as her husband; all except her eldest brother, who wanted to give away her hand to a powerful king named Shishupala.

When the beautiful princess Rukmini realized that her brother would not allow her marriage to Krishna, she was deeply agitated. She pondered over the problem and came to a firm decision. She would send a message to Krishna, professing her single-minded affection for him. Rukmini then immediately send for a trusted Brahmin, and asked him to carry her message to Krishna.

When the Brahmin reached Krishna's doors, he was escorted to the inner chambers. There Krishna welcomed the Brahmin with the appropriate rituals of washing his hands and feet. After the latter was seated on a high seat, Krishna politely enquired him the purpose of his visit which had prompted him to come so far to see him. It was then that the mature Brahmin revealed Rukmini's message to Krishna. It was but a love letter from an anguished soul exclusively in love with the supreme soul. It began thus:

'Oh Most Beautiful Person in the Whole World!, I have heard from people about your good looks, beauty, sweetness, high character and noble nature. When a person hears about your qualities, these virtues enter the heart through our ears, and all our physical agitations are quietened. I know that to anyone who has eyes, the very sight of your charming form bestows all the four aims of life: namely Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. A glimpse of you is sufficient to fulfill all our aspirations. Hence my mind shamelessly enters into you.'

Rukmini Ji further says:

'O Mukunda, O Lion Amongst Men (Nara-Simha), which wise girl from a noble family would not seek you out as her husband, considering the fact that you are unparalleled in family lineage, character, personal charm, knowledge, youth and affluence (All qualities which a girl seeks in her husband).'

By referring to Krishna as 'Mukunda', Rukmini Ji is referring to his physical charm, meaning one whose face (mukha) beams like a jasmine flower (kunda). The second epithet of Narasimha is however not as soft, preparing him in advance to the challenge she next inspires him with:

'I have therefore chosen you as my husband. Oh Lotus-Eyed Dear Lord!, I have submitted myself unto you. Please do take accept me as your wife. Let not Shishupala pollute me with his touch, much like a jackal would pollute a share which actually belongs to a lion, the king of all animals.'

By calling him out as 'Lotus-Eyed', Rukmini is signifying that even though she is tormented by the fire of separation, it is by meditating on his lotus-eyes that she cools her agitation. Next, proceeding psychologically, Rukmini Devi first informs Krishna that her surrender at his feet is total, and then spurs him into action outlining her fear that if Shishupala managed to marry her, it would lead to a loss of Krishna's prestige, just like when a jackal makes away with the lion's share. If so happened this would be in clear violation of the promise made by God himself in the Ramayana:

"It is my vow to grant protection to those who come to me saying: "I am yours" (Valmiki Ramayana 6.18.33).

Actually the word Shishupala means 'one who rears (pala) children (shishu)', implying the entire worldly cycle of marrying, earning, begetting children etc. Hearing of Krishna's qualities and having lost his heart to him, the Jiva is not prepared to be wedded to a 'Shishupala' husband, wanting nothing less than Krishna himself. However, complete surrender (Sharanagati) is a fundamental requirement before such a union can take place.

Next Rukmini clearly says that the ultimate goal of any religious activity (Dharma) is not material gain, but union with Lord Krishna:

"If in this birth and also previous ones, I have properly worshipped the Almighty Lord Krishna through my Puja, Vedic sacrifices, acts of charity, observances of religious vows and penances, services to Brahmins and Gurus, may Krishna come forward to marry me, so that no 'Shishupala' can claim my hand. "

With this verse, Goddess Lakshmi in her form as Devi Rukmini, makes it clear that the goal of any Dharmic activity is to generate loving Bhakti for the highest God Krishna. The Bhagavata Purana says at another place:

'The result of all Dharma, when correctly performed, is to generate interest in the adventures of Lord Krishna. If this does not happen, then such a Dharma would count as futile labor only.' (1.2.8)

How do we know that we are following our Dharma properly? By its results. If it inspires us to hear and know more about the Lilas of Lord Krishna, which eventually will give rise to an immense and constant surge of affection for him, then we can safely say that we have been correctly performing our Dharma.

Thus Dharma generates love for Krishna, which is then amply reciprocated by him. Rukmini Ji further says:

'O! Ajita, tomorrow when my marriage celebrations are about to begin, come secretly with your army, and defeating the armies of Shishupala, marry me, winning me over with your valor.'

The epithet Rukmini uses for Krishna here is 'Ajita', meaning one who is invincible (A-Jita). Even though as Lakshmi she is obviously aware that Krishna does not require the support of his army to defeat anyone; however, since he is in his Lila-Avatara, he has to conform to the role he is playing. Thus also the statement about winning her 'by paying the price of his valor'. As a king, Krishna is expected to be valorous, and winning over a maiden by display of force was an accepted norm for the ruling-classes.