As per the Vedas, getting married to a girl after kidnapping is considered devil or daemon (दानव dānava) Vivaha (marriage) which isn't righteous (धर्मानुकूलन dharmānukūlana).

And Lord Krishna kidnapped Rukmini. I want to know why Lord Krishna did that.

Or is this kind of marriage righteous even though it's not considered good by the dharma shastras?

5 Answers 5


As per vedas getting married to a girl after kidnapping is considered devil/daemon (दानव) Vivaha (marriage) which isn't righteous (धर्मानुकूलन).

You have perfectly stated the correct thing. Shri Krishna indeed married Rukmani in a rākṣasa style:

bhagavān bhīṣmaka-sutāṁ rukmiṇīṁ rucirānanām
rākṣasena vidhānena upayema
[SB - 10.52.18]

King Parīkṣit said: The Supreme Lord married Rukmiṇī, the beautiful-faced daughter of Bhīṣmaka, in the Rākṣasa style — thus I have heard.

As per our scriptures marrying a girl by kidnapping her is considered to be a marriage of the demonic type (danav vivha / rakshasa vivha):

The forcible abduction of a maiden from her home, while she cries out and weeps, after (her kinsmen) have been slain or wounded and their houses broken open, is called the Rakshasa (demonic) rite. [Manu Smrt. - 3.33]

However, Shri Krishna, as a kshahtriya, did not break any law or dharma by such marriage. Because the scriptures allow danav vivah for the people of the ksahtriya (warrior) caste:

For Kshatriyas those before-mentioned two rites (pichasa and asura), the Gandharva and the Rakshasa, whether separate or mixed, are permitted by the sacred tradition. [Manu Smrt. - 3.26]

Now regarding the question why Shri Krishna kidnapped Rukmini, it is because She loved Him and She Herself sent Him message to do so:

śvo bhāvini tvam ajitodvahane vidarbhān
guptaḥ sametya pṛtanā-patibhiḥ
parītaḥ nirmathya caidya-magadhendra-balaṁ prasahya
māṁ rākṣasena vidhinodvaha vīrya-śulkām
[SB 10.52.41]

O unconquerable one, tomorrow when my marriage ceremony is about to begin, You should arrive unseen in Vidarbha and surround Yourself with the leaders of Your army. Then crush the forces of Caidya and Magadhendra and marry me in the Rākṣasa style, winning me with Your valor.

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    I dont think this can be called a Rākṣasa style marriage - as Rukmini herself asked Lord Krishna to kidnap her so as to rescue her. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 20:11

Lord Krishna did not forcefully kidnap Rukmani. It was a planned affair with the consent of the girl eloped. Thus, the word kidnap itself may not appropriately describe the event.

It is true that the Vedas say that marrying a girl against her wishes isn't righteous.

In case of Rukmani and Krishna, Rukmani had pleaded Krishna with a letter of pleasing shlokas. Lord Krishna was impressed by this. Rukmani's plead was that th Lord Krishna should come, and abduct her from her brother Rukmi who wanted to marry Rukmani forcefully to Shishupal - a Kaurav - and the son of the then ruling king Damghosh of Chedi.

Krishna accepted her plea and took Rukmani away from her brother Rukmi.

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    its not righteous as per vedas Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 10:03
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    @NullPoiиteя I don't know why you are repeating the same (and wrong) thing. Everything happened according to the girl's wish, so it is righteous as per vedas. Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 11:18
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    @AwalGarg please refrain from personal attacks. If you have substantive evidence to support your arguments then express it in a neutral tone. Make your discussions relevant to the content and clarify with concrete argument.
    – Kapil Vyas
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 5:06

The story is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

Hearing of the beauty, prowess, transcendental character and opulence of [Krishna] from visitors to the palace who sang His praises, Rukmiṇī decided that He would be the perfect husband for her. Lord Kṛṣṇa knew that Rukmiṇī possessed intelligence, auspicious bodily markings, magnanimity, beauty, proper behavior and all other good qualities. Concluding that she would be an ideal wife for Him, He made up His mind to marry her.

But Rukmini's brother Rukmi hates Krishna, so he stops his family from giving Rukmini to Krishna, and makes arrangements for marrying his sister to Krishna's enemy Shishupala. So Rukmini sends a Brahmana to Dwaraka to deliver the following letter to Krishna:

O beauty of the worlds, having heard of Your qualities, which enter the ears of those who hear and remove their bodily distress, and having also heard of Your beauty, which fulfills all the visual desires of those who see, I have fixed my shameless mind upon You, O Kṛṣṇa. O Mukunda, You are equal only to Yourself in lineage, character, beauty, knowledge, youthfulness, wealth and influence. O lion among men, You delight the minds of all mankind. What aristocratic, sober-minded and marriageable girl of a good family would not choose You as her husband when the proper time has come? Therefore, my dear Lord, I have chosen You as my husband, and I surrender myself to You. Please come swiftly, O almighty one, and make me Your wife. My dear lotus-eyed Lord, let Śiśupāla never touch the hero’s portion like a jackal stealing the property of a lion.... O unconquerable one, tomorrow when my marriage ceremony is about to begin, You should arrive unseen in Vidarbha and surround Yourself with the leaders of Your army. Then crush the forces of Caidya and Magadhendra and marry me in the Rākṣasa style, winning me with Your valor. Since I will be staying within the inner chambers of the palace, You may wonder, “How can I carry you away without killing some of your relatives?” But I shall tell You a way.... If I cannot obtain Your mercy, I shall simply give up my vital force

So to sum up, this was a rescue, not a kidnapping. Rukmini calls this a Rakshasa marriage, which is where the bride is willing to get married but the bride's family isn't, so the groom fights off the bride's family and whisks the bride away. This is to be distinguished from a Paishacha marriage, where the bride doesn't want to get married either; the Paishacha marriage is the one strictly forbidden in the Manu Smriti. The Rakshasa marriage is allowed for Kshatriyas, but arguably this isn't even a Rakshasa marriage, because Rukmini's parents were also consenting to the marriage; it was just Rukmini's brother who was objecting and making the army of Vidarbha oppose Krishna.

  • Can't we consider it Gandharava Vivah? Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 17:54

Rukmani was believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Laskhmi. According to the Mahabaratha, Rukmani fell in love with Lord Krishna and wanted him to marry. Rukmani's parents also accepted to this, but Rukmi, who is the elder brother of Rukmani, opposed this marriage. The reason for his opposition was that Rukmi was a close supporter for Kamsa, who is a demon and was killed by Lord Krishna. So as per Rukmani's desire and request, to save the woman, Lord Krishna kidnapped her and married her.

As per the Vedas and beliefs, kidnapping a woman without her acceptance to marry or against her personal desire is considered to be an evil. One such example is the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana.

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    "Kansa, who is a demon" Kamsa was not a demon. He was a human. Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 2:27
  • @KeshavSrinivasan: The word demon also have the meaning A cruel wicked and inhuman person Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 5:34
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    @KeshavSrinivasan He may not have been a literal demon, but Bhagavatam 10.1.5 gives "The minds of the virtuous ones who were oppressed by the Asura [Kamsa and his men], cleared up when in that situation the kettledrums resounded together to celebrate the birth of the Unborn One." (emph. added), so the description of him as a demon is not wholly unfounded.
    – senshin
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 6:00

Krishna kidnapped Rukmani because Krishna was a warlord and not a God or divinity of any sort as per the Vedic tradition.

Kidnapping a girl and marrying is not regarded as an approved means of marriage in the Vedic civilization i.e. among Aryans (more to the this below). Even the Manusmṛti (see 3.41) condemns it by saying that children born out of such marriage are nāstika, cruel and are dharmadvesi (i.e. act against Dharma).

Kidnapping and marrying girl was trend well established in the tribal and warlord communities. The remains of this tradition can still be observed in the traditional marriages in North India (e.g. Baraat), wherein bridegroom travels on the horse, brandishing a sword in his hand, to "bring" the bride.

Traditionally and still prevalent in many parts of UP, Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat, only men are the participants in such procession. Such an abhorrent practice is still very popular in countries dominated with the tribal culture, for example, Kyrgyzstan (see this ).

In contrast to such nonsensical "religious" acts, in the Vedic civilization, son and daughter were considered equal and the father with a greater number of daughters has been praised (RV 6.75.5).

बह्वीनां पिता बहुरस्य पुत्रश्चिश्चा कृणोति समनावगत्य । इषुधिः सङ्काः पृतनाश्च सर्वाः पृष्ठे निनद्धो जयति प्रसूतः ॥५॥

Furthermore, the prayer for fame has been made in Atharva Veda for a qualified daughter (AV 10.3.20). Daughter has been considered as a source of pride (RV 10.159.3).

मम पुत्राः शत्रुहणोऽथो मे दुहिता विराट् । उताहमस्मि संजया पत्यौ मे श्लोक उत्तमः ॥३॥

The same has been expressed in Āpastamba Dharmasūtra ( and

In Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa prayers are being made for an intelligent daughter (SB

अथ य इच्छेत् दुहिता मे पण्डिता जायेत सर्वमायुरियादिति तिलौदनं पाचयित्वा सर्पिष्मन्तमश्नीयातामीश्वरौ जनयितवै

In the Vedic times, the bridegroom was selected by the father (Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā 12.62). Furthermore, it is mandated that the daughter should accept a man who follows the regulations of the Scriptures, erudite and embodies noble qualities, free from duplicity and desires only one woman (Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā 12.62).

असुन्वन्तम् अयजमानम् इच्छ स्तेनस्येत्याम् अन्व् इहि तस्करस्य । अन्यम् अस्मद् इच्छ सा त इत्या नमो देवि निर्ऋते तुभ्यम् अस्तु ॥

The Vedas mandate that the daughter should be protected and should not be pained (AV 8.6.25).

अप्रजास्त्वं मार्तवत्समाद्रोदमघमावयम् । वृक्षादिव स्रजं कृत्वाप्रिये प्रति मुञ्च तत्॥२६॥ {१६}

The concept of marriage by abduction is not present in the Samhitas or the Brahmanas. This is another instance as to how warlord and tribes became “Gods” in our times and still lay claim to the Vedic heritage!

It is the need of our times that the respect and sanctity of women should be restored and discard lame excuses to glorify such immoral transgressions of the Krishna or that matter any mythological warlord.

The Vedas never condone such wrongdoing not even for warlords!

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    This is a brilliant answer.This should be upvoted more. Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 18:45
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    Hats off to you.
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 18:49

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