God, Spirituality & Religion
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16000 wives of Krishna, spiritual significance
Krishna had mainly eight wives , he was called Ashtabharya (ashta=eight, bharya=wife) because of that. Different scriptures list their names differently. According to Bhagavata purana names of the eight wives in order were Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Nagnajiti, Bhadra and Lakshmana.
Story of 16,100 wives
Narakasura=Naraka+asura; naraka was his name, naraka also means hell, he is considered the son of mother earth thus called Bhaumasura (son of bhumi, bhumi=earth). Asura means demon.
the demon king Naraka had kidnapped 16,100 (some sources say 16,000 probably for the sake of ease) women and held them in his captivity in his capital Pragjyotisha.
Naraka had stolen the ear-rings of Aditi (daughter of brahma, first nascent being), her sons demigods were unable to fight against Naraka. Upon their request krishna along with his wife Sathyabhama attacked Pragjyotisha on his vehicle Garuda (eagle) and fought a fierce battle against the demons, in that war many powerful demons were slayed by krishna. Most important of those were Mura and Naraka.
(Narakasura had the curse of being killed by his own mother, Sathyabhama is considered the incarnation of Mother earth, thus she killed Narakasura)
After killing Naraka, krishna released 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 take back those who were taken by another man. So they were left with nowhere to go.
When Krishna asked them what they wanted to do, they all wanted Krishna to marry them.
Krishna married them all at the same auspicious time assuming that many bodies, so they could gain status of married women and live in the society with honor again. Krishna constructed them each a palace with huge gardens ful of colorful flowers, 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 wives. Scriptures say that each of them had 10 sons and 1 daughter.
Note: Some stories say that each of 16,100 women were rishis from the past who wanted to be part of Lord's incarnation on earth. Who wanted to live closer to him and witness his life. Upon their prayer to lord vishnu he granted them the boon to be his wives in his next incarnation on earth.
Note: Some stories say 16100 women were Gopis, who did not want to marry any one else but krishna, who thus remained unmarried throughout their lives.
Note: Another theory relates the Krishna, who plays the flute and the lover of music, and his 16,000 wives to the 16,000 ragas or musical modes or passions or affections of the mind in Indian classical music, and their wives - the raginis (female raga). The raginis selected one of these ragas to which to modulate her strains for affecting and securing the heart of Krishna, the amorous and harmonious deity. Krishna who was devoted to music received and enjoyed every variety of modulation, multiplied to the number of 16,000, fancifully personified in the form of the women derived from Bhauma (a name of Narakasura), a five-stringed musical instrument
Note: Mahabharata has the Narakasura version of the story
Note: Some symbolize the number 16,000 to represent 16 Qualities (or arts or vidyas) that krishna had, which is higher than the previous incarnations of vishnu Eg: Rama had 14
Note: Here is another very interesting symbolic meaning: "When a devotee realizes god, God appears to each as his own (krishna manifested 16108 forms to love them individually), each devotee feels God in his heart as his own lover, he does not reject any one's love. He treats them all equally, loves them all equally (krishna build a palace each for his 16108 wives)"
Note: Srila Prabhupada writes in his book "Krishna Book"
Note: The spiritual significance of each wife having exactly 10 sons and 1 daughter is not known. It probably means that the divine soul has so many off-springs (qualities), probably in that ratio of feminine and masculine qualities
Note: Each of 16108 wives of krishna had golden palaces with huge gardens full of colorful flowers. This is symbolic and means that he who weds the supreme soul (one who attains self-realization) will have all the gold (siddhis, psychic powers), palace, beauty (satisfactions) that he wishes for. It is of importance to know Shakyamuni Buddha symbolized enlightened mind to golden palace. He called liberation as pure land/ golden land. Lord Jesus also used the symbology of wedding when referring to Self-Realization (Parable of the Ten Virgins)
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