When we talk about Krishna and his wife, the first question that hits our mind is, how many wives did he actually have? Some say he has 16008 wives and consorts while others believe that he had only 8 queens (that is, legally wedded wives). Now here is the truth, both the numbers are right and that can be explained with this beautiful story.
Who Were The 16000 Wives Of Krishna?
The evil king Narkasura had kidnapped 16000 princesses and held them captive in his harem. When Krishna waged war on Narakasura and defeated him in battle, he freed the captive princesses. Now these women were in disgrace because they had lived with the demon king and no man (not even their fathers) would accept them. So, Krishna gave these 16000 women the status of his wives although he never married them. This martial status was to give them respectability and a shelter.
The 8 Wives Of Krishna:
Lord Krishna married 8 women during his lifetime. The number of Krishna's wives coincides with the 8 forms of Lakshmi. We already know that Krishna was an avatar of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi is Vishnu's wife. So Vishnu, even in this amorous avatar of Krishna remained faithful and monogamous (technically) as he married the 8 forms of Lakshmi in the incarnation of 8 women.
1. Rukmini: The story of Rukmini and Krishna is one of secret passion.She was his favourite wife. Rukmini pleaded with Krishna to elope with her and marry her. Rukmini was supposed to be given in marriage to Shishupala by her family but she worshipped Krishna and chose him instead.
2. Satyabhama: The feisty daughter of King Satrajit was second in emminence only to Rukmini. She was a brave woman skilled in warfare, but also infamous for her feiry temper. She was the only one who could stand up to Krishna's wit.
3. Jambavati: The daughter of the bear king Jambavan was given in marriage to Krishna. She had been a devoted follower of Rama (Vishnu's previous avatar) and thus gained the position of this wife in this birth.
4. Kalindi: The sun-born Goddess of the river Yamuna would have no one but Vishnu as her husband. Her deep penance was rewarded as Krishna took her as his 4th wife.
5. Mitravrinda: She was a Princess of Avantipur who chose Krishna as her husband in a Swayamvar.
6. Nagnajiti: Was the Princess of Kosala who again choose Krishna is a Swayambar ceremony.
7. Bhadra: Was Krishna's cousin (Aunt's sister), but inspite of a blood relation, she choose him as her husband in a Swayamvar.
8. Lakshana: Was the Princess of ancient Madras and she was destined to marry Krishna. Both Arjuna and Duryodhana were invited to her Swayamvar but they purposely failed the test (shooting an arrow) out of respect for Krishna. And thus, Krishna performed the task and accepted his destined 8th wife.
Krishna and his wives have been a symbol of conjugal domestic bliss. Krishna's wives were the 8 forms of Lakshmi and represented every aspect of a perfect wife.