Lord Krishna is one of the Hindu pantheon’s most endearing and adored deities. He is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu—the Supreme Godhead—who descends on Earth whenever evil forces pose an existential threat to Dharma or the path to righteousness.
We all know about Lord Krishna’s childhood and mischievous ways, how He lived among the simple cowherds as one of them, His antics, and His divine romance with Radha and the Gopikas. Yet, there is an interesting part of Lord Krishna’s life that many of us are unaware of or do not fully understand. Do you know how many wife of Krishna were there?
The story behind Krishna’s 16,108 Wife
Lord Krishna had eight principal queens, often referred to as “Ashtabharya.” The names of these eight queens are Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Nagnajiti, Bhadra, and Lakshmana.
According to several Hindu scriptures, including the Mahabharata, the Vishnu Purana, and the Harivamsha Purana, Lord Krishna had as many as 16,108 wives. The story goes that Lord Krishna slew a demon king called Narakasura in a battle and freed 16,000-odd princesses held captive by the demon. Lord Krishna accepted all of them and took them to Brindavan. He conducted a ceremonial marriage with all of them to safeguard their honour and dignity. He built a separate palace in Dwarka for each wife and spent time with them individually.
So, if someone asks you, “Krishna ki patni ka naam?” you can memorise at least eight names and flaunt your knowledge of Hindu scriptures!
Narada experiences Krishna’s divinity
The wandering sage Narada’s visit to Dwarka and his experience there also tell us a great deal about the divinity of Lord Krishna. Narada was of an inquisitive nature, always showing interest in the affairs of others. So, when he arrived in Dwarka and met Lord Krishna, he wondered how Shri Krishna could divide his time equally between all 16,108 wives. To his utter amazement, Narada found Lord Krishna in each of His wives’ houses, performing the duties of a husband. He was convinced of the divinity of Shri Krishna and went his way around the world, spreading the glory of Krishna.
The Gopis as Krishna’s wives
In another version, the Gopis, cowherdesses and the companions of young Krishna, are sometimes called His 16,108 wives. Shri Krishna’s romance with the Gopis is also described as devotional worship. Krishna is said to have simultaneously assumed 16,000+ forms to be with all of them for His divine love play.
The Melodious Wives of Krishna
Yet another theory seeks to explain Lord Krishna’s wives through music. Krishna was an unparalleled flautist, and music resounded everywhere He went. Hence, the 16,108 wives have been compared to the 16,000 ragas or musical modes of Indian classical music. Lord Krishna is the Raga, and the female ragas or Raginis, His wives, which was a play of the mind regarding passions and affections. Each Ragini selected one Raga and modulated her strains to influence and secure Lord Krishna’s heart, the avatar known to be always blissful and harmonious. Lord Krishna, who epitomised music itself, received and enjoyed every variety of modulation, multiplied 16,000 times over!
All His divine play
Now we know that the wives of Lord Krishna were all devoted to Him because they all had recognised the divinity within this dark-skinned man, who walked and talked and led a life as though He was one of them. So, if a person ever asks, “How many wife of Lord Krishna were there?” or “How many wife of Krishna Bhagwan were there?”—you can clearly explain to them the true meaning behind Lord Krishna keeping 16,108 wives. The divine is beyond the grips of the five senses and, therefore, free of desire, lust, and other vices that bind the ordinary person in the vicious circle of birth and death.
Lord Krishna is known for His numerous Leelas, the miracles He performed before mankind, confirming and reassuring them of His divinity. He is beyond gender and caste, and His permanent residence is the devotee’s pure, unsullied, and unfaltering heart.