Sunday, 5 January 2014

The world's first love letter

One of the first love letters in the world is to a God in India and this letter finds mention in the Puranas. The letter is as old as the Mahabharata and this makes it more than 3500 years old.
This is why the letter must rank as one of the first love letters and this is from Rukmini to Krishna.
The letter is often described as eulogy of love and it was carried to Krishna by a Brahmin messenger of Rukmini. This messenger was Sunanda, who in his next birth, was reborn as the great Madhwa saint Vadiraja Theertha (1480-1600) of Sode.
Sunanda carried the beautiful letter all the way from Central India to Dwaraka where Krishna was residing. This letter appears in the tenth book and fifty second chapter of the Bhagavatha Purana.
The letter has an interesting background.
Bhishmaka, the King of Vidharbha in Central India, decided to get his daughter Rukmini married. Rukmini, who had only heard of Krishna, had mentally accepted Krishna as her husband. She decides to marry Krishna but her brother, Rukmi, wants her to marry Sisupala.
Both Sisupala and Rukmi hate Krishna. Unable to extricate herself  from her proposed marriage to Sisupala, Rukmini writes a letter to Krishna extolling his qualities and expressing her desire to marry him.
She then selects Sunanda, an elderly Brahmin, to deliver her message to Krishna.
Rukmini’s letter reveals her devotion and love to Krishna. When Sunanda reaches Dwaraka with the letter, he tells the doorkeeper of the palace where Krishna resides of his mission. The doorkeeper lead him to Lord Krishna, who was sitting on a throne.
When Sunanda hands over the letter to Krishna, he reads it out. He then thanks the messenger for the letter and tells him that even he wants to marry Rukmini.
When Krishna hears that Rukmini’s marriage is scheduled for the following day, he decides to leave for Vidarbha immediately and he requests the Brahamin messenger to accompany him.
Both Krishna and the Brahmin reach the town of Kundina where Rukmini is slate to get married against her will.
Krishna’s elder brother, Balarama, is alarmed when he receives the news that Krishna is accompanied only by a Brahmin. Suspecting an attack on Krishna,  he rides with hi army towards Kundina.
Meanwhile, Krishna reaches Kundina. He sends the Brahmin inside the palace of Rukmini to let her know that he had arrived and that he has an escape plan for them. When Rukmini sees the Brahmin, she asks whether or not Krishna has come.
The Brahmin tells Rukmini that Krishna has come and that he will marry her and take her away to Dwaraka.
When King Bhismaka hears that Krishna and Balarama had come, he invites them to the marriage ceremony of  Rukmini with Sishupala. He is, however, unaware that Krishna plans to kidnap Rukmini and marry her.  

Krishna carries off Rukmini to Dwaraka in a charriot, even as Balarama and his army hold off Sisupala, his friend and Emperor of Magadha, Jarasandha, Rukmi and others are hot on the heels of India’s first couple, who before their marriage, exchanged perhaps the first love letters in the world.        

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