Satyabhama

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Satyabhama
Goddess Of Courage and Valour
Satyabhama
12th - 13th century sculpture of Satyabhama
Other namesDwarkeshwari, Satrajiti
Devanagariसत्यभामा
Sanskrit transliterationSatyabhāma
AffiliationDevi, Avatar Of Bhudevi, Ashtabharya
AbodeDvārakā
TextsVishnu Puran, Mahabharata, Harivamsa, Bhagavata Puran
Personal information
Parents
ConsortKrishna
Children10 children including Bhanu
DynastyYaduvansh

Satyabhama, also known as Satrajiti, is a Hindu goddess and the third queen-consort of the Hindu God Krishna. Satyabhama is described as the incarnation of Bhudevi, the Earth-Goddess. She aided Krishna in defeating the demon Narakasura.

Marriage and children[edit]

Marriage of Satyabhama

Satyabhama was the daughter of Yadava King Satrajit, the royal treasurer of Dwaraka, who was the owner of the Syamantaka jewel. Satrajit, who secured the jewel from the sun-god Surya and would not part with it even when Krishna, the king of Dwarka, asked for it saying it would be safe with him. Shortly thereafter, Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by a lion. Jambavan, known for his role in the Ramayana, killed the lion and gave the jewel to his daughter Jambavati. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the jewel.

Krishna, in order to remove the stain on his reputation, set out with his men in search of the jewel and found it in Jambavan's cave, with his daughter. Jambavan attacked Krishna thinking him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days, when Jambavan, whose whole body was terribly weakened from the incisions of Krishna's sword, finally recognized him as Rama and surrendered to him.

As repentance for his deeds, Jambavan returned the jewel back to Krishna and requested him to marry his daughter Jambavati. Krishna returned the jewel to Satrajit, who in turn apologized for his false accusation. He promptly offered to give Krishna the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama, in marriage. Krishna accepted them but refused the jewel.[1]

Satyabhama, with Krishna, had 10 sons - Bhanu, Swabhanu, Subhanu, Bhanumaan, Prabhanu, Atibhanu, Pratibhanu, Shribhanu, Bruhadbhanu, and Chandrabhanu.[2][3]

Killing of Narakasura[edit]

Krishna and Satyabhama fighting Narakasura's Akshauhini. Painting from the Metropolitan Museum.

Narakasura was a Danava tyrant, who captured and governed the city of Pragjothishya, the present-day Assam. He gained a boon from Brahma that he would die only in the hands of his mother. Armed with the boon, he ruled like a despot. Narakasura was infamous for his wicked ruling and high disregard for demigods and women. His mother was the earth goddess, Bhudevi. Also, his mother had obtained a boon from Lord Vishnu that her son should die only when she wishes for.

Addicted to power, he defeated Lord Indra and abducted 16,000 women and imprisoned them in his palace. He stole the earrings of Aditi, the heavenly mother Goddess and usurped some of her territories. Upon this the king of the gods Indra requested Sri Krishna to conquer and kill the demon and free Devaloka from his atrocities. At his request, Krishna sieged the city of Narkasura with the assistance of his vehicle, Garuda along with his beloved wife Satyabhama.

A terrible battle ensued between Sri Krishna and Narkasura. The demon on several occasions proved a match for Krishna and nullified several of the missiles which Krishna hurled at him. In one instance, the demon hurled a shakti towards Krishna, which hurt Krishna mildly and fell unconscious. This enraged Satyabhama who in turn shot arrows at Narakasura and Satyabhama killed Narakasura finally. Satyabhma is the Incarnation of Bhudevi during Krishna Incarnation of Lord Vishnu and therefore the boon granted to Bhudevi was fulfilled. Thereafter, Krishna obtained the stolen ear-rings of the mother of the gods, Aditi. Aditi was pleased by Satyabhama's dedication towards her husband and gave her a boon of staying young and beautiful forever. This great day is celebrated as Narak-Chaturdashi which falls in the festival of Diwali (the first important day of Diwali).

Lord Krishna's victory on Narakasura translated into freedom for all his prisoners and honouring of Aditi. Having rescued the 16,000 women, Krishna married them to restore them of their honour in society due to being in captivity for a long time. However, the marriage here is only to be viewed as the Lord is more of a saviour of these 16,000 women rather than actually marrying them. It is said that Lord Krishna is only married to eight women and that Rukmini, his first wife stands unique in her devotion and love for Krishna.

Scriptural references :- southern recessions of Harivansh puran:-

Seeing Vasudeva in that condition, Satyabhama fanned him with chamaras and Garuda, with his wings. Krishna, finding relief and regaining consciousness, gave Satyabhama his bow Sarnga, which can be wielded in battle only with difficulty due to its great weight, and told her: "Devi, battle now with Naraka. I am suffering and I am tired from the fighting." When Devi Satyabhma was told thus, she, the noble one who always spoke the truth, began to battle with the evil Naraka. Satya, the wife of the wielder of Sarnga, pierced Naraka with sharp narachas, crescent-shaped arrows and with bhallas.”[4]

Mahabharat

In the city of Nirmochana that hero slew six thousand Asuras, and cutting into pieces innumerable keen-edged shafts, he slew Mura and hosts of Rakshasas, and then entered that city. It was there, that an encounter took place between the mighty' Naraka and Vishnu of immeasurable strength. Slain by Krishna, Naraka lay lifeless there, like a Karnikara tree uprooted by the wind. Having slain the Earth's son, Naraka, and also Mura, and having recovered those jewelled ear-rings, the learned Krishna of unparalleled prowess came back, adorned with beauty and undying fame.

KMG Udhyoga Parva chapter 48[5]

Hari Vamsa

Seeing the trident, decorated with gold, arriving, Krishna of wonderful deeds, split it in two with a sharp edged arrow (Kshurapra). The war with the demon of terrible form (Naraka) became terrible. The war with the great soul naraka was with various weapons. The slayer of Madhu Krishna fought naraka for some time. With his sparkling discus, he(Krishna) cut the terrible naraka in two. His body, split in two by discus fell on the earth, like the peak of a mountain split by the vajra of indra in two parts.

Harivamsa, Vishnu Parva chapter 63[6]

Srimad Bhagavatham

Together with Queen Satyabhama, the Lord mounted His carrier Garuḍa and traveled to the capital of Narakasura's Kingdom. On a field outside the city He decapitated the demon Mura with His disc. Then He fought Mura's seven sons and sent them all to the abode of death, after which Narakasura himself entered the battlefield on the back of an elephant. Naraka threw his sakti lance at Sri Krishna, but the weapon proved ineffective, and the Lord cut the demon's entire army to pieces. Finally, with His sharp-edged disc Krishna cut off Narakasura's head.

Srimad Bhagavatham 10.59[7]

Vishnu Purana

Having slain Mum, Hayagriva, and Pancajana, the wise Hari rapidly reached the city of Pragjyotiṣa: there a fierce conflict took place with the troops of Naraka, in which Govinda destroyed thousands of demons; and when Naraka came into the field, showering upon the deity all sorts of weapons, the wielder of the discus, and annihilator of the demon tribe, cut him in two with his celestial missile. Naraka being slain, Earth, bearing the two earrings of Aditi, approached the lord of the world.

Ref: Vishnu Purana, Book 5 chapter 29[8]

Tulabharam[edit]

Tulabharam

Actually, the are two tulabharam stories. The one which is mentioned in scriptures and the one mentioned in folklores of Odisha (Is absent in the major scriptures pertaining to Krishna's life).

[9]27. Again Satyabhama tied down Hari against a tree and presented Him as a gift to Narada; afterwards she, the passionate woman, freed Krishna on paying an equivalent of gold coins. - chapter 25, book 4, Devi Bhagwat Purana.[10]

tulabharam as per the folklore:-

This folklore is also accepted in the marathi version of Rukmini Ashtakam.

तोलण्या कनकासवे कृष्णास भामा सिद्ध ती

रुक्म, रत्ने, भूषणे त्या टाकिली नच तोलती॥

भीमकीची तुळस पडता तोल झाला त्या क्षणी।

वंदितो मी भक्तीरूपा कृष्णकांता रुक्मिणी ||५||

Satyabhama gives Krishna to Narada as Gift

The Tulabharam story is a folktale from Odisha and is absent in the major scriptures pertaining to Krishna's life. Satyabhama prided herself on the love Krishna had for her and her grasp over his heart. On one contrived occasion, Rishi Narada arrived in Dwarka and in the course of conversation hinted to Satyabhama that the love that Krishna exhibits towards her is not all that real and in fact, it is Rukmini (the first wife of Krishna) who has real control over his heart. Unable to bear this, Satyabhama challenged Narada to prove it. Narada, with his way with words, tricked her into accepting a Vrata ritual where she has to give Krishna away in charity to Narada and reclaim him by giving the weight of Krishna in wealth. Narada lured her into accepting this vrata by telling her that Krishna's love for her will increase many folds if she succeeds in performing this Tulabharam. He also instigated her ego by hinting that her wealth may not be sufficient to equal the weight of Krishna. With Satyabhama's ego duly raised, she told Narada that she can mobilize so much wealth that it is a child's play for her to outweigh Krishna. Narada warned her that if she is not able to do this, Krishna will become his slave to be done with as he pleases.

The scene was soon set for the vrata. Satyabhama gave Krishna away in charity in spite of the other wives' pleadings. Krishna, always ready to remove the ego of his followers, meekly submitted to this drama. After donating Krishna to Narada, Satyabhama arranged for a big scale to be put up and sends with all assurance for her huge treasure of gold and jewelry. All that she had was soon put on the scale, but it didn't budge. Narada started taunting her and threatened her that if she can't put enough gold or diamonds, he will be forced to auction Krishna as a slave to someone else. Satyabhama, in frantic panic, swallowed her pride and begged all the other wives to give their jewels. They agreed out of love for Krishna but alas, it was of no use.

Krishna remained a mute witness to all this drama and rubbed salt into the open wounds of Satyabhama's ego that he has now to become a slave to some rishi and will have to suffer the separation from his dear wife. Narada suggested to Satyabhama that Rukmini may be able to get her out of the predicament. She finally swallowed her pride and appealed to the devoted first wife of Krishna. Rukmini came and with a prayer to her husband put a single leaf of the sacred Tulasi on the scale (Tula). Lo and behold, the scales became all at once so heavy that even after removing all the jewels, the scales were weighed down on the side of the Tulasi leaf.

While there are different versions in different texts as to why the weighing was arranged, the story of the Tulsi leaf placed by Rukmini being worth more in weight than that of Satyabhama's wealth is a common ending. This story is often repeated to enunciate the significance of Tulsi and how a humble offering to God is greater than any material wealth. Goddess Sathyabhama was never proud but to teach the world she acted like that.[11]

In the Mahabharata[edit]

Satyabhama and Draupadi discussing married life

Vana Parva, Book 3 of Mahabharata shows the friendship between Satyabhama and Draupadi. Krishna and Satyabhama visit Pandavas and Draupadi in the forest of Kamyaka. When the two women were alone, Satyabhama asks several questions of Draupadi about her married life or 'stridharma'. Draupadi, then, advises her and shares the secrets to a content marriage from her experience. Some of the themes which the two women discuss are: family, relationships, respect, work, etc.[12]

In the Ashwamedha Parva, when Bhima arrived in Dwarka to give the invitation of Ashwamedha to Krishna, Krishna was served by Satyabhama.

End of life[edit]

Satyabhama and few other dear wives of Krishna entered the woods, resolved to set themselves to the practice of penances. They began to live on fruits and roots and pass their time in the contemplation of Hari. Going beyond the Himavat, they took up their abode in a place called Kalpa.[13]

Bhama Kalapam[edit]

'Bhama Kalapam', is a Kuchipudi dance-drama and narrates the story of Satyabhama. Traditionally, each dancer has to perform this piece at least once in their dancing career.[14] In the olden days only men used to perform Kuchipudi. This tradition has changed and dance includes female performers. In recent times Bhama-daruvu is more common.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Harivamsa ch.38, 45-48".
  2. ^ "The 80 Sons of lord Krishna and Their Names- Krishna Facts". 18 September 2017.
  3. ^ Sinha, Purnendu Narayana (1950). A Study of the Bhagavata Purana: Or, Esoteric Hinduism. Library of Alexandria. ISBN 978-1-4655-2506-2.
  4. ^ mahabharata-resources.org http://mahabharata-resources.org/southern/satyabhama-naraka-fight-trans.html. Retrieved 26 August 2021. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Mahabharata Udyoga Parva Chapter 48:7". en.krishnakosh.org. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  6. ^ www.wisdomlib.org (14 November 2020). "The Defeat of the Asura Naraka [Chapter 64]". www.wisdomlib.org. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  7. ^ "CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE". vedabase.io. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  8. ^ www.wisdomlib.org (30 August 2014). "Slaughter of demon Naraka [Chapter XXIX]". www.wisdomlib.org. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  9. ^ www.wisdomlib.org (30 October 2019). "Dialogue Between Satyabhāmā and Kṛṣṇa [Chapter 88]". www.wisdomlib.org. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  10. ^ www.wisdomlib.org (15 May 2013). "On the Devī's Highest Supremacy [Chapter 25]". www.wisdomlib.org. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  11. ^ Pattanaik, Devdutt (September 2000). The Goddess in India: The Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. ISBN 978-0-89281-807-5.
  12. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Draupadi-Satyabhama Samvada: Section CCXXXI". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  13. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 16: Mausala Parva: Section 7".
  14. ^ "kuchipudi | Indian classical dance". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 18 April 2017.

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