The eldest son of Rukmini, Pradyumna, was married with Mayavati from his very birth, and afterwards he was again married with Rukmavati, the daughter of his maternal uncle, Rukmi. From this Rukmavati, Pradyumna had a son named Aniruddha. In this way, Krsna's family--Krsna and His wives, along with their sons and grandsons and even great-grandsons--all combined together to include very nearly one billion family members.
Rukmi, the elder brother of Krsna's first wife, Rukmini, was greatly harassed and insulted in his fight with Krsna, but on the request of Rukmini his life was saved. Since then Rukmi had held a great grudge against Krsna and was always inimical toward Him. Nevertheless, his daughter was married with Krsna' son, and his granddaughter was married with Krsna's grandson, Aniruddha. This fact appeared to be a little astonishing to Maharaja Pariksit when he heard it from Sukadeva Gosvami. "I am surprised that Rukmi and Krsna, who were so greatly inimical to one another, could again be united by marital relationships between their descendants." Pariksit Maharaja was curious about the mystery of this incident, and therefore he inquired further from Sukadeva Gosvami. Because Sukadeva Gosvami was a practical yogi, nothing was hidden from his power of insight. A perfect yogi like Sukadeva Gosvami can see past, present and future in all details. Therefore, from such yogisor mystics there can be nothing concealed. When Pariksit Maharaja inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami, Sukadeva Gosvami answered as follows.
Pradyumna, the eldest son of Krsna, born of Rukmini, was Cupid himself. He was so beautiful and attractive that the daughter of Rukmi, namely Rukmavati, could not select any husband other than Pradyumna during her svayamvara. Therefore, in that selection meeting, she garlanded Pradyumna in the presence of all other princes. When there was a fight among the princes, Pradyumna came out victorious, and therefore Rukmi was obliged to offer his beautiful daughter to him. Although a far-off enmity was always blazing in the heart of Rukmi because of his being insulted by Krsna's kidnapping of his sister, Rukmini, when his daughter selected Pradyumna as her husband Rukmi could not resist consenting to the marriage ceremony just to please his sister, Rukmini. And so Pradyumna became the nephew of Rukmi. Besides the ten sons described above, Rukmini had one beautiful daughter with big eyes, and she was married to the son of Krtavarma, whose name was Bali.
Although Rukmi was a veritable enemy of Krsna, he had great affection for his sister, Rukmini, and he wanted to please her in all respects. On this account, when Rukmini's grandson Aniruddha was to be married, Rukmi offered his granddaughter Rocana to Aniruddha. Such marriage between immediate cousins is not very much sanctioned by the Vedic culture, but in order to please Rukmini, Rukmi offered his daughter and granddaughter to the son and grandson of Krsna. In this way, when the negotiation of the marriage of Aniruddha with Rocana was complete, a big marriage party accompanied Aniruddha and started from Dvaraka. They traveled until they reached Bhojakata, which Rukmi had colonized after his sister had been kidnapped by Krsna. This marriage party was led by the grandfather, namely Lord Krsna, accompanied by Lord Balarama, as well as Krsna's first wife, Rukmini, His son Pradyumna, Jambavati's son Samba and many other relatives and family members. They reached the town of Bhojakata, and the marriage ceremony was peacefully performed.
The King of Kalinga was a friend of Rukmi's and he gave him the ill advice to play with Balarama and thus defeat Him in a bet. Amongst theksatriya kings, betting and gambling in chess was not uncommon. If someone challenged a friend to play on the chessboard, the friend could not deny the challenge. Sri Balaramaji was not a very expert chess player, and this was known to the King of Kalinga. So Rukmi was advised to retaliate against the family members of Krsna by challenging Balarama to play chess. Although not a very expert chess player, Sri Balaramaji was very enthusiastic in sporting activities. He accepted the challenge of Rukmi and sat down to play. Betting was with gold coins, and Balarama first of all challenged with one hundred coins, then 1,000 coins, then 10,000 coins. Each time, Balarama lost, and Rukmi became victorious.
Sri Balarama's losing the game was an opportunity for the King of Kalinga to criticize Krsna and Balarama. Thus the King of Kalinga was talking jokingly and purposefully showing his teeth to Balarama. Because Balarama was the loser in the game, He was a little intolerant of the sarcastic joking words. He became a little agitated, and when Rukmi again challenged Balarama, he made a bet of 100,000 gold coins. Fortunately, this time Balarama won. Although Balaramaji had won, Rukmi, out of his cunningness, began to claim that Balarama was the loser and that he himself had won. Because of this lie, Balaramaji became most angry with Rukmi. His agitation was so sudden and great that it appeared like a tidal wave in the ocean on a full moon day. Balarama's eyes are naturally reddish, and when He became agitated and angry His eyes became more reddish. This time He challenged and made a bet of a hundred million coins.
Again Balarama was the winner according to the rules of chess, but Rukmi again cunningly began to claim that he had won. Rukmi appealed to the princes present, and he especially mentioned the name of the King of Kalinga. At that time there was a voice from the air during the dispute, and it announced that for all honest purposes Balarama, the actual winner of this game, was being abused and that the statement of Rukmi that he had won was absolutely false.
In spite of this divine voice, Rukmi insisted that Balarama had lost, and by his persistence it appeared that he had death upon his head. Falsely puffed up by the ill advice of his friend, he did not give much importance to the oracle, and he began to criticize Balaramaji. He said, "My dear Balaramaji, You two brothers, cowherd boys only, may be very expert in tending cows, but how can You be expert in playing chess or shooting arrows on the battlefield? These arts are well-known only to the princely order." Hearing this kind of pinching talk by Rukmi and hearing the loud laughter of all the other princes present there, Lord Balarama became as agitated as burning cinders. He immediately took a club in His hand and, without any further talk, struck Rukmi on the head. From that one blow, Rukmi fell down immediately and was dead and gone. Thus Rukmi was killed by Balarama on that auspicious occasion of Aniruddha's marriage.
These things are not very uncommon in ksatriya society, and the King of Kalinga, being afraid that he would be the next to be attacked, fled from the scene. Before he could escape even a few steps, however, Balaramaji immediately captured him and, because the King was always showing his teeth while criticizing Balarama and Krsna, broke all his teeth with His club. The other princes who were supporting the King of Kalinga and Rukmi were also captured, and Balarama beat them with His club, breaking their legs and hands. They did not try to retaliate but thought it wise to run away from the bloody scene.
During this strife between Balarama and Rukmi, Lord Krsna did not utter a word, for He knew that if He supported Balarama, Rukmini would be unhappy, and if He said that the killing of Rukmi was unjust, then Balarama would be unhappy. Therefore, Lord Krsna was silent on the death of His brother-in-law, Rukmi, on the occasion of His grandson's marriage. He did not disturb either His affectionate relationship with Balarama or with Rukmini. After this, the bride and the bridegroom were ceremoniously seated on the chariot, and they started for Dvaraka, accompanied by the bridegroom's party. The bridegroom's party was always protected by Lord Krsna, the killer of the Madhu demon. Thus they left Rukmi's kingdom, Bhojakata, and happily started for Dvaraka.