“After explaining Rukminidevi's statement to Krishna, the brahmana said: ‘My dear Krishna, chief of the Yadu dynasty, I have brought this confidential message for You from Rukmini; now it is placed before You for Your consideration. After due deliberation You can act as You please, but if You want to do something, You must do it immediately. There is not much time left for action.’” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 51)Download this episode (right click and save)
“Man proposes, God disposes.” This is a well-known saying. Man doesn’t always get what he wants. This is one way to know that He is not God. Though he is spirit soul at the core and part of the sum collection of spirit known as Brahman, full control is nevertheless out of his reach. He must rely on the highest authority to cooperate, even for the most benign of plans. Things are a little different for the devotees, though. This was never more evident than in the desire of a princess from the kingdom of Vidarbha a long time ago.
Why wouldn’t God always come through? The answer lies in the nature of the material world. Take the example of filling a job vacancy at a company. There is the employer’s side of things. They need someone capable to fill the position. There is work to be done, and the employer is willing to pay a certain amount to get that work done.
On the other side are the applicants. If the job is attractive, it will catch the eyes of more than one candidate. Now what if each candidate prayed to the Divine for help? Their plan is to take the position and earn a salary. That is the stated objective. How is God supposed to come through on the plan for each person? Considering that every candidate is well-grounded in virtue, all-around good, and a firm believer in God, how is the conflict to be resolved?
From the spiritual science that is the Vedas we understand that the Divine doesn’t usually play a direct role in such matters. He is indeed known as the overseer and the permitter. This means that He watches without bias every action of every living entity. He accomplishes this through His expansion known as the Supersoul, which resides in the heart of every living thing. He permits the results to action to manifest, but this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean He agrees with every plan put forth.
bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ
paramātmeti cāpy ukto
dehe 'smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ
“Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.23)
He is by default neutral, and He allows the rules of the material nature to take care of the results to action. The work is known as karma since it has fruits that manifest at some point in the future. As we see with the job example, resources in the material world are limited. Not everyone can have their desire fulfilled. Karma is the determining factor. Sometimes help can come from higher authorities, who are elevated beings but not equal to God. They operate on a first come, first serve basis.
The princess from Vidarbha proposed a plan directly to God. She was the daughter of King Bhishmaka, and following the custom of the time the family arranged her marriage. It was set to happen with a king named Shishupala. The problem was that the princess had given her heart to someone else. Named Rukmini, she had never even seen the object of her affection. Simply from hearing about Him she knew that she could marry no other.
She could have looked to the heavens for help. She could have uttered a prayer while visiting a house of worship. Instead, she came up with a plan for how her desire could be met. She wrote a letter with her brilliantly conceived idea and had it delivered directly to the man she wanted to marry. He lived in the kingdom of Dvaraka and His name was Krishna.
Krishna is the overseer and permitter previously mentioned, except He is not just an impartial witness. He is God in the flesh, in a form that the eyes can notice. He is Absolute in nature, which means that the words that describe Him are identical to His personal form. This is how Rukmini was able to have such a firm resolve despite having never met Krishna.
Rukmini proposed the plan that Krishna should come and kidnap her on the day of the wedding to Shishupala. The ideal time would be either on the way to or on the way back from the temple of Goddess Durga. The devi is one of the aforementioned higher authorities who can grant material desires. Rukmini’s family worshiped Durga Devi in tradition, and so on the day of the wedding that would be an important part of the sequence of rituals.
Krishna agreed to the request. Rukmini made the proposal, and Krishna would flawlessly execute it. He will do anything for His devotees. Rukmini Devi is actually the goddess of fortune herself, the eternal consort of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna owns the entire universe, which means that He can give away anything included within it. Rukmini wanted association. She desired it through the relationship of marriage. As Krishna is supreme, He can grant this desire without shutting anyone else out. He can accept millions of wives if desired, which indicates that for the devotees there is no plan in devotion that He has to reject.
Divine will in bhakti to expect,
No desire automatically to reject.
Since something common at the core,
Basic association, wanting to serve more.
Material nature with finite resources set,
Meaning not everything each person to get.
Rukmini brilliant plan for marriage conceiving,
Executed by Krishna, God Himself receiving.