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Lord Balarama slays Rukmi.
(The geneological table of the family of Krishna.)
Each of Lord Krishna’s 16,108 wives had ten sons, all of whom were not less than their father in terms of personal opulence. Because each queen saw that Lord Achyuta never left her palace, she thought herself to be His favorite. Krishna’s wives were fully enchanted by His lovely lotus-like face, long arms, large eyes, loving glances imbued with laughter- and His charming talks with them. But, with their charms, these ladies could not conquer the Lord’s mind.
The arched eyebrows of these ladies enchantingly highlighted the secret intentions that they conveyed through coyly smiling sidelong glances. They were all exquisitely beautiful, and by means of their dress, speech and smiles, they tried to attract Krishna by their feminine bodily appeal. Yet, in spite of releasing these arrows of Cupid, they could not agitate Lord Krishna’s mind or senses. Actually, Krishna was not at all materially attached to any of the queens- but being women, they could not understand His exalted position.
The eldest son of Rukmini was Pradyumna, and Jambavati’s eldest son was Samba. Pradyumna had a greatly powerful son named Aniruddha, by his wife, Rukmavati, the daughter of Rukmi. This child was born while they were living at Bhojakata.
At her svayamvara, Rukmavati personally chose Pradyumna, who then single-handedly defeated the assembled kings. Although Rukmi very well remembered his enmity toward Lord Krishna, he sanctioned the marriage so as to please his sister, Rukmini.
Besides ten sons, each queen had one daughter. The daughter of Rukmini, named Charumati, married Bali, the son of Kritavarma.
Despite Rukmi’s enmity toward Lord Krishna, he offered his granddaughter, Rochana, to Aniruddha, his daughter’s son, just to please his sister, Rukmini.
Krishna and Balarama, along with Rukmini, Pradyumna, Samba and others, went to join the celebrations at Bhojakata. After the wedding was peacefully performed, the King of Kalinga gave his friend, Rukmi, this ill advice: “You should play dice with Balarama, for you will easily defeat Him. Balarama is not very expert at playing, but still He is addicted to the game.”
Being so encouraged, Rukmi challenged Balarama to gamble at dice, in the hopes of gaining revenge against Krishna’s family, and so, the match began. Balarama first wagered one hundred gold coins, then one thousand, then ten thousand- and each time, Rukmi won.
The king of Kalinga took the opportunity to joke about Krishna and Balarama, and while doing so, he laughed, showing his teeth. This greatly agitated Balarama, and so when Rukmi once again challenged Him, He bet 100,000 gold coins. This time, Balarama won, but Rukmi tried to cheat, claiming, “I am the winner!”
At this, Balarama became infuriated, His naturally reddish eyes becoming even redder. Indeed, His sudden rage appeared like a tidal wave, and next, He wagered 100 million gold coins. Again, Balarama won, but again Rukmi resorted to cheating by declaring, “I have won! Ask my friends here- they are the witnesses!”
Just then, however, a voice from the sky declared, “Balarama has fairly won the wager. Rukmi is lying.”
But, being urged on by his wicked friends, Rukmi ignored the divine voice. Being goaded by his destiny as well, Rukmi ridiculed Balarama, by saying, “You cowherds who wander about in the forest know nothing about dice. Playing with dice and sporting with arrows is for kings, and not the likes of You.”
When Balarama heard this statement, accompanied by the laughter of others, He became furious. Even in the midst of the wedding assembly, He picked up His club and struck Rukmi on the head, causing him to fall down dead.
The King of Kalinga fearfully tried to flee, but at the tenth step, Balarama seized him and knocked out all of his teeth with His club. When the other kings who had criticized Balarama also tried to run away, the Lord smashed their heads, arms and legs with His club, so that their bodies became drenched with blood. They were all too afraid to retaliate, but just left the scene as best as they could.
Even as His brother-in-law was killed, Lord Krishna simply remained silent, without a word of praise or objection, for He did not want to jeopardize His relationship with either Balarama or Rukmini. Aniruddha and his bride were then seated on a fine chariot and under Krishna’s protection, they departed for Dvaraka.