Once upon a time, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of all knowledge upon all living entities, from Brahmā to the insignificant ant, was sitting in the bedroom of Rukmiṇī, who was engaged in the service of the Lord along with her assistant maidservants. Kṛṣṇa was sitting on the bedstead of Rukmiṇī, and the maidservants were fanning Him with cāmaras (yak-tail fly-whisks).
Lord Kṛṣṇa's dealings with Rukmiṇī as a perfect husband are a perfect manifestation of the supreme perfection of the Personality of Godhead. There are many philosophers who propound a concept of the Absolute Truth in which God cannot do this or that. They deny the incarnation of God, or the Supreme Absolute Truth in human form. But actually the fact is different: God cannot be subject to our imperfect sensual activities. He is the all-powerful, omnipresent Personality of Godhead, and by His supreme will He can not only create, maintain and annihilate the whole cosmic manifestation but also descend as an ordinary human being to execute the highest mission. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, whenever there are discrepancies in the discharge of human occupational duties, He descends. He is not forced to appear by any external agency, but He descends by His own internal potency in order to reestablish the standard functions of human activities and simultaneously annihilate the disturbing elements in the progressive march of human civilization. In accordance with this principle of the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He descended in His eternal form as Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the dynasty of the Yadus.
The palace of Rukmiṇī was wonderfully furnished. Hanging from the ceiling were many canopies with laces bedecked with pearl garlands, and the whole palace was illuminated by the effulgence of valuable jewels. There were many flower groves of mallikā and cāmeli, which are considered the most fragrant flowers in India. There were many clusters of these plants, with blooming flowers enhancing the beauty of the palace. And because of the exquisite fragrance of the flowers, little groups of humming bees gathered around the trees, and at night the pleasing moonshine glittered through the network of holes in the windows. There were many heavily flowered trees of pārijāta, and the mild wind stirred the fragrance of the flowers all around. Incense burned within the walls of the palace, and the fragrant smoke leaked out of the window shutters. Within the room were mattresses covered with white bedsheets; the bedding was as soft and white as milk foam. In this situation, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa sat very comfortably and enjoyed the service of Rukmiṇījī, who was assisted by her maidservants.
Rukmiṇī was very eager to get the opportunity to serve her husband, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She therefore wanted to serve the Lord personally and took the handle of the cāmara from the hand of a maidservant and began to move the fan. The handle of the cāmara was made of gold and bedecked with valuable jewels, and it became more beautiful when taken by Rukmiṇī because all of her fingers were beautifully set with jeweled rings. Her legs were decorated with jeweled ankle bells, which rang very softly between the pleats of her sari. Rukmiṇī’s raised breasts were smeared with kuṅkuma and saffron; thus her beauty was enhanced by the reflection of the reddish color emanating from her covered breasts. Her high hips were decorated with a jeweled lace girdle, and a locket of great effulgence hung on her neck. Above all, because she was engaged in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa—although at that time she was old enough to have grown-up sons—her beautiful body was beyond compare in the three worlds. When we take account of her beautiful face, it appears that the curling hair on her head, the beautiful earrings on her ears, her smiling mouth and her necklace of gold all combined to shower rains of nectar, and thus it was definitely proved that Rukmiṇī was none other than the original goddess of fortune, who is always engaged in the service of the lotus feet of Nārāyaṇa.
The pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī in Dvārakā are accepted by great authorities as manifestations of those of Nārāyaṇa and Lakṣmī, which are of an exalted opulence. The pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana are simple and rural, distinguished from the polished urban characteristics of those of Dvārakā. The characteristics of Rukmiṇī were unusually bright, and Kṛṣṇa was very much satisfied with her behavior.
Kṛṣṇa had experienced that when Rukmiṇī was offered a pārijāta flower by Nārada Muni, Satyabhāmā had become envious of her co-wife and had immediately demanded a similar flower from Kṛṣṇa. In fact, she could not be pacified until she was promised the whole tree. And Kṛṣṇa actually fulfilled His promise: He brought the tree down to the earth planet from the heavenly kingdom. After this episode, Kṛṣṇa expected that because Satyabhāmā had been rewarded with a full tree of pārijāta, Rukmiṇī would also demand something. Rukmiṇī did not mention anything of the incident, however, for she was grave and simply satisfied in her service. Kṛṣṇa wanted to see her a bit irritated, and therefore He schemed to see the beautiful face of Rukmiṇī in an irritated condition. Although Kṛṣṇa had more than 16,100 wives, He used to behave with each of them with familial affection; He would create a particular situation between Himself and His wife in which the wife would criticize Him in the irritation of love, and Kṛṣṇa would enjoy this. In this case, because Kṛṣṇa could not find any fault with Rukmiṇī, for she was very grave and always engaged in His service, He smilingly, in great love, began to speak to her just to provoke her loving anger. Rukmiṇī was the daughter of Bhīṣmaka, a powerful king. Thus Kṛṣṇa did not address her as Rukmiṇī; He addressed her this time as the princess. “My dear princess, it is very surprising. Many great personalities in the royal order wanted to marry you. Although not all of them were kings, all possessed the opulence and riches of the kingly order; they were well behaved, learned, famous among kings, beautiful in their bodily features and personal qualifications, liberal, very powerful in strength, and advanced in every respect. They were not unfit in any way, and over and above that, your father and your brother had no objection to such a marriage. On the contrary, they gave their word of honor that you would be married with Śiśupāla. Indeed, the marriage was sanctioned by both your parents. Śiśupāla was a great king and was so lusty and mad after your beauty that if he had married you I think he would always have remained with you just like your faithful servant.
“In comparison to Śiśupāla, with his personal qualities, I am nothing. And you may personally realize it. I am surprised that you rejected the marriage with Śiśupāla and accepted Me, who am inferior in comparison to Śiśupāla. I think Myself completely unfit to be your husband because you are so beautiful, sober, grave and exalted. May I inquire from you the reason that induced you to accept Me? Now, of course, I may address you as My beautiful wife, but still I may inform you of My actual position—that I am inferior to all those princes who wanted to marry you.