1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus hearing the confidential message of Princess Vaidarbhi, Lord Yadunandana took the brahmana’s hand and, smiling, spoke to him as follows.
2. The Supreme Lord said: Just as Rukmini’s mind is fixed on Me, My mind is fixed on her. I can’t even sleep at night. I know that Rukmi, out of envy, has forbidden our marriage.
3. She has dedicated herself exclusively to Me, and her beauty is flawless. I will bring her here after thrashing those worthless kings in battle, just as one brings a blazing flame out of firewood.
4. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Madhusudana also understood the exact lunar time for Rukmini’s wedding. Thus He told His driver, “Daruka, ready My chariot immediately.”
5. Daruka brought the Lord’s chariot, yoked with the horses named Saibya, Sugriva, Meghapuspa and Balahaka. He then stood before Lord Krsna with joined palms.
6. Lord Sauri mounted His chariot and had the brahmana do likewise. Then the Lord’s swift horses took them from the Anarta district to Vidarbha in a single night.
7. King Bhismaka, the master of Kundina, having succumbed to the sway of affection for his son, was about to give his daughter to Sisupala. The King saw to all the required preparations.
8-9. The king had the main avenues, commercial roads and intersections thoroughly cleaned and then sprinkled with water, and he also had the city decorated with triumphant archways and multicolored banners on poles. The men and women of the city, arrayed in spotless raiment and anointed with fragrant sandalwood paste, wore precious necklaces, flower garlands and jeweled ornaments, and their opulent homes were filled with the aroma of aguru.
10. O King, in accordance with prescribed rituals, Maharaja Bhismaka worshiped the forefathers, demigods and brahmanas, feeding them all properly. Then He had the traditional mantras chanted for the well-being of the bride.
11. The bride cleaned her teeth and bathed, after which she put on the auspicious wedding necklace. Then she was dressed in brand-new upper and lower garments and adorned with most excellent jeweled ornaments.
12. The best of brahmanas chanted mantras of the Rg, Sama and Yajur Vedas for the bride’s protection, and the priest learned in the Atharva Veda offered oblations to pacify the controlling planets.
13. Outstanding in his knowledge of regulative principles, the King rewarded the brahmanas with gold, silver, clothing, cows and sesame seeds mixed with raw sugar.
14. Raja Damaghosa, lord of Cedi, had also engaged brahmanas expert in chanting mantras to perform all rituals necessary to assure his son’s prosperity.
15. King Damaghosa traveled to Kundina accompanied by armies of elephants exuding mada, chariots hung with golden chains, and numerous cavalry and infantry soldiers.
16. Bhismaka, the lord of Vidarbha, came out of the city and met King Damaghosa, offering him tokens of respect. Bhismaka then settled Damaghosa in a residence especially constructed for the occasion.
17. Sisupala’s supporters—Salva, Jarasandha, Dantavakra and Viduratha—all came, along with Paundraka and thousands of other kings.
18-19.To secure the bride for Sisupala, the kings who envied Krsna and Balarama came to the following decision among themselves: “If Krsna comes here with Balarama and the other Yadus to steal the bride, we shall band together and fight Him.” Thus those envious kings went to the wedding with their entire armies and a full complement of military conveyances.
20-21. When Lord Balarama heard about these preparations of the inimical kings and how Lord Krsna had set off alone to steal the bride, He feared that a fight would ensue. Immersed in affection for His brother, He hurried to Kundina with a mighty army consisting of infantry and of soldiers riding on elephants, horses and chariots.
22. The lovely daughter of Bhismaka anxiously awaited the arrival of Krsna, but when she did not see the brahmana return she thought as follows.
23. [Princess Rukmini thought:] Alas, my wedding is to take place when the night ends! How unlucky I am! Lotus-eyed Krsna does not come. I don’t know why. And even the brahmana messenger has not yet returned.
24. Perhaps the faultless Lord, even while preparing to come here, saw something contemptible in me and therefore has not come to take my hand.
25. I am extremely unfortunate, for the creator is not favorably disposed toward me, nor is the great Lord Siva. Or perhaps Siva’s wife, Devi, who is known as Gauri, Rudrani, Girija and Sati, has turned against me.
26. As she thought in this way, the young maiden, whose mind had been stolen by Krsna, closed her tear-filled eyes, remembering that there was still time.
27. O King, as the bride thus awaited the arrival of Govinda, she felt a twitch in her left thigh, arm and eye. This was a sign that something desirable would happen.
28. Just then the purest of learned brahmanas, following Krsna’s order, came to see the divine Princess Rukmini within the inner chambers of the palace.
29. Noting the brahmana’s joyful face and serene movements, saintly Rukmini, who could expertly interpret such symptoms, inquired from him with a pure smile.
30. The brahmana announced to her the arrival of Lord Yadunandana and relayed the Lord’s promise to marry her.
31. Princess Vaidarbhi was overjoyed to learn of Krsna’s arrival. Not finding anything at hand suitable to offer the brahmana, she simply bowed down to him.
32. The King, upon hearing that Krsna and Balarama had come and were eager to witness his daughter’s wedding, went forth with abundant offerings to greet Them as music resounded.
33. Presenting Them with madhu-parka, new clothing and other desirable gifts, he worshiped Them according to standard rituals.
34. Generous King Bhismaka arranged opulent accommodations for the two Lords, and also for Their army and entourage. In this way he afforded Them proper hospitality.
35. Thus it was that Bhismaka gave all desirable things to the kings who had assembled for the occasion, honoring them as befitted their political power, age, physical prowess and wealth.
36. When the residents of Vidarbha-pura heard that Lord Krsna had come, they all went to see Him. With the cupped palms of their eyes they drank the honey of His lotus face.
37. [The people of the city said:] Rukmini, and no one else, deserves to become His wife, and He also, possessing such flawless beauty, is the only suitable husband for Princess Bhaismi.
38. May Acyuta, the creator of the three worlds, be satisfied with whatever pious work we may have done and show His mercy by taking the hand of Vaidarbhi.
39. Bound by their swelling love, the city’s residents spoke in this way. Then the bride, protected by guards, left the inner palace to visit the temple of Ambika.
40-41. Rukmini silently went out on foot to see the lotus feet of the deity Bhavani. Accompanied by her mothers and girlfriends and protected by the King’s valiant soldiers, who held their upraised weapons at the ready, she simply absorbed her mind in the lotus feet of Krsna. And all the while mrdangas, conchshells, panavas, horns and other instruments resounded.
42-43. Behind the bride followed thousands of prominent courtesans bearing various offerings and presents, along with well-adorned brahmanas’ wives singing and reciting prayers and bearing gifts of garlands, scents, clothing and jewelry. There were also professional singers, musicians, bards, chroniclers and heralds.
44. Upon reaching the goddess’s temple, Rukmini first washed her lotus feet and hands and then sipped water for purification. Thus sanctified and peaceful, she came into the presence of mother Ambika.
45. The older wives of brahmanas, expert in the knowledge of rituals, led young Rukmini in offering respects to Bhavani, who appeared with her consort, Lord Bhava.
46. [Princess Rukmini prayed:] O mother Ambika, wife of Lord Siva, I repeatedly offer my obeisances unto you, together with your children. May Lord Krsna become my husband. Please grant this!
47-48. Rukmini worshiped the goddess with water, scents, whole grains, incense, clothing, garlands, necklaces, jewelry and other prescribed offerings and gifts, and also with arrays of lamps. The married brahmana women each performed worship simultaneously with the same items, also offering savories and cakes, prepared betel nut, sacred threads, fruit and sugar-cane juice.
49. The ladies gave the bride the remnants of the offerings and then blessed her. She in turn bowed down to them and the deity and accepted the remnants as prasadam.
50. The princess then gave up her vow of silence and left the Ambika temple, holding on to a maidservant with her hand, which was adorned with a jeweled ring.
51-55. Rukmini appeared as enchanting as the Lord’s illusory potency, who enchants even the sober and grave. Thus the kings gazed upon her virgin beauty, her shapely waist, and her lovely face adorned with earrings. Her hips were graced with a jewel-studded belt, her breasts were just budding, and her eyes seemed apprehensive of her encroaching locks of hair. She smiled sweetly, her jasmine-bud teeth reflecting the glow of her bimba-red lips. As she walked with the motions of a royal swan, the effulgence of her tinkling ankle bells beautified her feet. Seeing her, the assembled heroes were totally bewildered. Lust tore at their hearts. Indeed, when the kings saw her broad smile and shy glance, they became stupefied, dropped their weapons and fell unconscious to the ground from their elephants, chariots and horses. On the pretext of the procession, Rukmini displayed her beauty for Krsna alone. Slowly she advanced the two moving lotus-whorls of her feet, awaiting the arrival of the Supreme Lord. With the fingernails of her left hand she pushed some strands of hair away from her face and shyly looked from the corners of her eyes at the kings standing before her. At that moment she saw Krsna. Then, while His enemies looked on, the Lord seized the princess, who was eager to mount His chariot.
56. Lifting the princess onto His chariot, whose flag bore the emblem of Garuda, Lord Madhava drove back the circle of kings. With Balarama in the lead, He slowly exited, like a lion removing his prey from the midst of jackals.
57. The kings inimical to the Lord, headed by Jarasandha, could not tolerate this humiliating defeat. They exclaimed, “Oh, damn us! Though we are mighty archers, mere cowherds have stolen our honor, just as puny animals might steal the honor of lions!”