Diwali/Deepavali – Lord Krishna’s 16,000 Wives

 Another commonly believed legend about the origin of Diwali/Deepavali is about the murder of Narakasura. Narakasura was the son of Mother Earth, who terrorised the world with his evil ways. He had captured more than 16,000 women and held them in his palace. Lord Krishna came to the rescue of these women (who were his devotees), and freed the world from the tyranny of Narakasura. It is said that Diwali/Deepavali originated as a celebration of this freedom from evil. When these freed women returned to their households, but their husbands and families refused to accept them, doubting their dignity . The freed women went to Lord Krishna for help. Lord Krishna allowed the women to live in his palace and gave them the status, respect and protection equivalent to that given to his wife. This allowed the women to live with dignity and they continued to be great devotees of Lord Krishna.

Diwali
Hence Diwali/Deepavali is also a glorification of Lord Krishna’s infinite compassion for his devotees. Diwali/Deepavali is a reminder that injustice and evil will only lead to one’s destruction.
This legend is one which many atheists and anti-hindus alter and blabber that lord Krishna was a ‘flirt’ and other such disrespectful things. But, I would like to point out that these criticisms are due to the lack of positive understanding. The fact that Lord Krishna provided a shelter to his devotees has been misinterpreted as flirtatious behaviour. Hence I wished to make special mention of this legend.
 
Please do let me know of your views about this legend in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Diwali/Deepavali – Lord Krishna’s 16,000 Wives

  • October 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm
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    Well, it dosent seem to be a rumour. The scriptures do say he is the husband of 16000 women (Shodasha Stree Sahasreshaaya Namah – I bow to the husband of 16000 women).

    Does that mean He was a flirt? I dont think so.

    In the socio-cultural context of His times, a man was allowed to marry any number of times he wanted. Each lady then got the status of wife.

    However, it did raise questions as to how He would fulfil his duties as husband to so many women. The great sage Narad went to find out for himself.

    To his amazement, Sage Narad found Krishna present simultaneously with every wife in her residence! Lord Krishna was able to manifest before every wife, just like He performed Rasa Leela in which each Gopika found Krishna as her partner in the Divine Dance.

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  • October 17, 2011 at 3:55 am
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    Thank you 'Anonymous' for your comment…yes i do agree that our scriptures suggest Lord Krishna was the husband to 16000 women, and even more women (Radha,Satyabhama,etc.)…The legend was mentioned only to disprove that Lord Krishna was a 'flirt', as i have seen on the internet…There is a huge difference between the sacred relation of a husband and wife , as compared to today's relations based on lust…a husband-wife relation is sacred and should be one of pure love…Lord Krishna accepted the 16000 women since they were his devotees and also to give them a dignified life…It was not an action born out of lust or for temporary interests…i have even seen people mention Lord Krishna's name to justify their act of being romantically involved with more than one woman…Hence i request the dear readers of onlyhinduism to spread the word about this legend, so that people are made aware of the circumstances in which Lord Krishna married these many women, and to show the greatness of that action…Om

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  • October 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm
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    A final point. If you carefully read about Sri Krishna's personal life, you'll note that He never wooed or pursued any lady. He was always dispassionate. (Ironically, He is also referred to as Brahmachari!!!)

    Whether they were princesses like His Consort Rukmini, or whether they were the Gopikas (cowheard girls), they fell in love with Him and prayed to Him to marry them.

    Radha and Krishna are celebrated as icons of Pure Love.

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  • October 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm
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    Thank you 'Anonymous'…as you mentioned, that is one of the main points to be inferred from the legend…it was not Lord Krishna who went behind the women,but the women devotees who wanted Lord Krishna to be in their life…

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  • December 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm
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    Now the referance i used said Mahabharata took place in 8th century BC, A lot of other referances say 3rd century BC. In 3rd century BC est world population was 25 mill so reworking the numbers for this alternate reality. = 8 % of the marriageable women in India or 16% of the marriageable women in North India. Again, i am just making a point about the gross exaggaration of numbers and not on the actual facts.

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  • December 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm
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    I did some rough calculatins: Estimated population of the world at the time of Mahabharata (8-9th BCE): 5 million, India has a 17% share at present of the world population so 0.85 mill, number of women (50%) 0.425 mill, number of women under 25 (currently 50%) = 0.212 mill, women of marriageable age (probably between 13-18 years at that time) = 42400, so 16000 is around 38% of that. Now these are numbers for the whole of India, i would think things would be more local back then, as there were no good transportation, roads etc, so the % would be higher. If we say only North parts of India where the story takes place(so a furthur 50% split = that would be 76% of marriageable women in North India). I am just saying it is a gross exaggaration. Probably would have been 160 women.

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  • August 21, 2013 at 11:15 pm
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    As I don't have the knowledge of data history, with exact population numbers or something similar, I might only give my view from a somewhat spiritual thinking:

    May the 16k Krishna devotees really couldn't serve any other person than their God. This may prove that total dedication to God (any) may not be compatible with the requirements of women in common life, and that we men, should be more understanding with them, as I'm sure that all wives didn't wanted to be kidnapped, so society should not blame them, and even less punish them to leave again their respective lives. So, these devotees where protected by Lord Krishna in their disgrace of being rejected by their husbands: no other way that adopting religious life. So I don't think that they became real wives of Krishna, but yes that they became 100% of their time devotees of Lord Krishna.
    Rayo de Luz

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