There is a popular belief amongst the Hindus that Lord Krishna had 16000 wives. Here are a few interesting inferences and stories with that claim and explain the 16000 wives.
The story of marrying 16000 women at once.
Narakasura was the king of Pragjyotisha, had conquered the three worlds: heaven, earth, and underworld and was causing nuisance everywhere. On earth, he captured 16,000 princesses of defeated nations. The captive women were imprisoned at Audaka on the top of the mountain Maniparvata in his kingdom.
Krishna went to the rescue the 16000 women in captivity. He killed Narkasur and released all the women. The women were afraid of the societal norm that a woman taken in captivity by another man would not be a respectable part of the society. Hence they refused to go back to their homes and concluded that they had nowhere to go.
Krishna was concerned and asked the women in what they wanted to do, they all wanted Krishna to marry them. Krishna thought about it and gave in as it was the only solution for the women to live their life peacefully.
Krishna married them all at the same auspicious time taking the form of that many bodies, so they could gain the status of married women and live in the society with honor again. Krishna constructed them each a palace with huge gardens full of flowers.
Various scripture suggests various meaning of the 16000 wives. The metaphor of the 16000 wives is as follows:
- Some scriptures claim that the 16000 women were rishi’s in their previous lives who worshiped Lord Vishnu and yearned to be close to the lord and by being a part of his life. Looking at their devotion, Lord Vishnu granted them a boon of being his wives in his next incarnation on the Earth.
- Another interesting theory states the 16000 wives of Krishna were the 16000 ragas i.e. musical nodes in the Indian classical music. Marrying the 16000 women signified that Krishna, the music lover had mastered all the ragas and was a proficient singer and music player.
- Some symbolize the number 16,000 to represent 16 Qualities (or arts or vidyas) that Krishna had, which is higher than the previous incarnations of Vishnu Eg: Rama had 14
- The most interesting metaphor to the 16000 wives is that there are 72,000 nadis (nerve channels) of which around 16,000 are the most important. It is claimed that Krishna had control over all his nadis and thus was in full control of himself and that he possessed all the divine powers.