Rukmini — A rebel girl who rose to be an idol of fortune.
Rukmini is a principal wife and a queen of Krishna. She is the one who has brought sanctity in marital relationship and thereby, divinity to the role of a wife. The only daughter of Bhishmaka — a king of Kaudinyapur, she is blessed with divine beauty like a flower of lotus in autumn. She epitomizes independence and individualism. The turning point of her life is an episode of Swayamvara wherein she enforces her right of ‘self-choice’ in spite of pressure from her sibling. She provokes Krishna to elope her in order to fulfill her wish to get married with him and becomes a principal wife of Krishna.
A character of Rukmini is narrated more descriptively in Bhagavat Purana rather than Mahabharata. Nonetheless, she makes her appearances in Mahabharata at different point of times. She makes her first appearance in the story of Mahabharata at the time of Rajsuya sacrifice in which Krishna is honored with chief guest position among all dignitaries of royal class. Ironically Krishna was denied a participation in the Swayamvara hall of Rukmini by her brother on the claim of having lost his status of a royal class and he is referred as a cowherd. This journey of Krishna from denial of being considered in a royal class before marriage with Rukmini, to well-respected position among dignitaries of royal class in Rajsuya sacrifice depicts that Rukmini has brought prosperity in the life of Krishna after her marriage. In an Indian society she has been offered a position of goddess — an ideal among women and considered as an idol of fortune. Fortune is association with pleasures in human life and therefore a pleasant character of Rukmini can be considered as an emblem of fortune.
Although described as a wife of Krishna everywhere in the Indian literature, characteristics of Rukmini make us to take note of her as a significant character. Rukmini has shown her remarkable independence and decision making power throughout her life. The crux of her personality is that even being wife of great character she has showcased her own image efficiently through her actions. Generally in Indian society we can see only few examples like Ramabai Ranade, Savitrribai Phule and Sudha Murthy where a wife of a great personality achieves an independent social status without being a shadow of strong personality of her husband. Rukmini represents that kind of character in her époque. Her expressions and opinions make us to conclude that she has a high level of thinking ability, she can judge the situation well and she can express her thoughts in a clear manner in order to make an impact on others. She is famous for her virtues in the kingdom of Hastinapura as much as in the kingdom of Dwaraka. She has a high level of mutual understanding in her relationship with Krishna and she takes an initiative to understand his relationship of friendship with other women like Radha and Draupadi. This approach of Rukmini is really appreciable because it is doubtful that even a modern woman with progressive thinking would accept this kind of relationship of her husband.
In an Indian society a wife is supposed to follow her husband, however Rukmini and Krishna have together set an example of a couple where both of them walk together and not one after the other. Through their own example Rukmini and Krishna have proven that a relationship between husband and wife flourishes better if they walk together by keeping their respective individualism. A journey of the life of Rukmini and Krishna is like two fishes sailing together in water in synchronization. There is no need to instruct each other about how go; because both of them have same target ahead. There is no need to follow each other; because both of them have same speed and style. Such a kind of a relationship can be considered as manifestation of the highest level of devotion to each other. One can say that the relationship between Krishna and Rukmini has an element of divinity into it. This relationship is an epitome of a mélange of emotions, thoughts and acts of the persons who have decided to move together in the journey of life keeping aside all other conflicts and at the same time, without compromising their respective individualism.
Rukmini’s relationship with Krishna brings completeness to her character. At the same time, with her strive to be a worthy soulmate; Rukmini also brings completeness to the character of Krishna. This relationship which springs from within helps Rukmini and Krishna to outgrow and make a life meaningful. With their thoughts Rukmini and Krishna inspire life of each other; with their decisions and actions they illuminate the paths of each other. Being the equal partners, Rukmini and Krishna bring pleasure to marital as well as personal life. This relationship showcases how a marital relationship can bring growth and development in life and therefore leads a path of woman empowerment. This path is truly visionary for social reforms with respect to an empowerment of a woman within a conjugal system. This relationship makes Krishna true social leader of woman empowerment and makes Rukmini as an epitome of an empowered woman.