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Krishna's 16,108 wives

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Krishna accepts 16000 queensKrishna was a compassionate person.There is a story that why Krishna had 16,000 wives. Some people even joke about it and say he was the biggest playboy the earth has ever seen. But which society, whether past or present, would allow a person to declare, “I have 16,000 wives,” and for those 16,000 wives to accept one husband? Is it really possible to have a family with so many wives?

The story is that these women were kidnapped by a king called Narakasura and liberated by Krishna. In Eastern society and also in Western society the belief is that marriages are made in heaven. When people have been kidnapped and kept in bondage in another kingdom by another king, their purity and chastity will definitely be doubted. In prison anything can happen – rape, sexual assault etc. When Krishna liberated the women he knew they would be rejected by their society, families and friends upon their return home because they were believed to be no longer pure (nothing different from today's society). So he married all of them. Did he marry out of passion or out of compassion? 

Society accepted it because they knew that Krishna's love was not physical or carnal. His character was such that people knew he was providing shelter and support. Krishna himself had eight wives to whom he was legally married and he provided social protection for the 16,000 wives so that they would be able to live in dignity. Krishna radiated love. When we speak of love we always think of carnal, physical love, but love does not mean a physical relationship. These are very gross definitions of love. Real love is transcendental. 

Read the story of Mira. She was born a few hundred years ago. Her love for Krishna was so intense that at the time of her death, her physical body dissolved into the statue of Krishna. She did not die a physical death as we do. The force of her love was such that her physical body merged with the statue of Krishna. Can we call this physical love? Can we understand such an expression of love? No, we cannot. Yet when we hear about it, we respect it and bow our heads in reverence. Such love is definitely transcendental.

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