Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Revati & Balarama Marraige

Revati, within Hinduism, is the daughter of King Kakudmi and the wife of Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna. Her account is given within a number of Puranic texts such as the Mahābhārata and Bhagavata Purana.

Meeting with Brahma

Revati was the only daughter of King Kakudmi (sometimes called Kakudmin, or Raivata), a powerful monarch who ruled Kusasthali, a prosperous and advanced kingdom under the sea, and who also controlled large tracts of land, including Anarta kingdom. Feeling that no human could prove to be good enough to marry his lovely and talented daughter, King Kakudmi took Revati with him to Brahma-loka (the plane of existence where Lord Brahma, the Creator, resides) to ask Lord Brahma's advice about finding a suitable husband for Revati.

When they arrived, Lord Brahma was listening to a musical performance by the Gandharvas, so they waited patiently until the performance was finished. Then, Kakudmi bowed humbly, made his request and presented his shortlist of candidates. Lord Brahma laughed loudly, and explained that time runs differently on different planes of existence, and that during the short time they had waited in Brahma-loka to see him, 27 catur-yugas (a catur-yuga is a cycle of four yugas, or Ages of Man, hence 27 catur-yugas total 108 yugas) had passed on Earth (see time dilation theory). Also see the astronomical explanation. Lord Brahma said to Kakudmi, "O King, all those whom you may have decided within the core of your heart to accept as your son-in-law have passed away in the course of time. Twenty-seven catur-yugas have already passed. Those upon whom you may have already decided are now gone, and so are their sons, grandsons and other descendants. You cannot even hear about their names."abhiyātaḥ — have passed; tri — three; nava — nine; catur-yuga — four yugas; vikalpitaḥ — thus measured.  'for many successions of ages have died whilst you were listening to our songsters: now upon earth the twenty-eighth great age of the present Manu is nearly finished, and the Kali period is at hand.' You must therefore bestow this virgin gem (i.e. Revati) upon some other husband, for you are now alone, and your friends, your ministers, servants, wives, kinsmen, armies, and treasures, have long since been swept away by the hand of time."

King Kakudmi was overcome with astonishment and alarm at this news. However, Lord Brahma comforted him, and added that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, was currently incarnate on Earth in the forms of Krishna and Balarama, and he recommended Balarama as a worthy husband for Revati.

Kakudmi and Revati then returned to earth, which they regarded as having left only just a short while ago. They were shocked by the changes that had taken place. Not only had the landscape and environment changed, but over the intervening 27 catur-yugas, in the cycles of human spiritual and cultural evolution, mankind was at a lower level of development than in their own time (see Ages of Man). The Bhagavata Purana describes that they found the race of men had become "dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect."

Marriage to Balarama

Daughter and father found Balarama and proposed the marriage. Because she was from an earlier yuga, Revati was far taller and larger than her husband-to-be, but Balarama, "beholding the damsel of excessively lofty height," tapped his plough (his characteristic weapon) on her head and she shrunk to the normal height of people in that yugas. The marriage was then duly celebrated.

Revati bore her husband two sons, Nisatha and Ulmuka. Both her sons Nisatha and Ulmuka were killed in the Yadu fratricidal war, after which Balarama also ended his earthly incarnation in meditation by the sea. At his funeral ceremony, Revati ascended onto his funeral pyre and was immolated with him.

Daughter's marriage to Abhimanyu

According to a story that is not found in the Mahabharata or the Puranas but is popular in folk narrative, especially in Andhra Pradesh (where it was portrayed by the film Mayabazaar), Revati and Balarama also had a daughter, Vatsala (or Shashirekha).

Upon reaching a marriageable age, Vatsala was promised to her cousin Abhimanyu, son of the Pandava Arjuna and his wife Subhadra, who was also Vatsala's aunt. However, this arrangement was broken off when the Pandavas were forced into exile, and Vatsala was instead re-arranged to be married to Lakshmana, son of the Pandava's arch-rival, Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kaurava brothers. But the Pandava Bhima's son Ghatotkacha learnt of this from his distressed cousin Abhimanyu and aunt Subhadra and resolved to correct this injustice. Through magic, he stealthily transported Vatsala safely away and instead assumed her form and appearance for the marriage ceremony to Lakshamana, during which he disrupted the ceremony, assumed frightful forms and scared Lakshmana away, thereby enabling Abhimanyu to eventually marry Vatsala to their great joy.

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