Ashtamahishi - The Eight Wives of Krishna

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Item Code: NAO924
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Radha Viswanath
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9789353046118
Pages: 200
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.0 inch X 5.0 inch
Weight 150 gm
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Book Description
Back of the Book

Krishna, the eternal lover, is believed to have charmed the hearts of every woman he came across, and his marriage with 16,100 women is the stuff of numerous ballads that have enthralled us over ages. But who amongst them all did Krishna love?

Who ruled his heart and influenced his life?

Not one, but there were eight women whom Krishna married solely on the basis of mutual love and respect. Each of these wives-the Ashtamahishi-contributed to making Krishna what he was.

While their names figure in the text of the great epic Mahabharata, nothing much is said about them. Who are these women, and what was that special 'something' in each of them that won Krishna? What was each relationship like?

Radha Viswanath delves deep into the great epics, puranas and other ancient texts, weaving nuggets of information with rich imagination to give us a fascinating picture of Krishna's life with these eight extraordinary women.

About the Author

Radha Viswanath was born in Andhra Pradesh and spent most of her life in Delhi. Trained as a teacher, Radha entered journalism late in life. After a distinguished career as a political correspondent spanning three decades, she retired from active journalism. She has the honour of being the first woman journalist to be admitted in the long and distinguished category of parliamentary journalists, in 2006.

An avid reader with a keen interest in Hindu mythology, she aims to bring the complexities of the Indian political discourse into intricate and rich mythological narratives.


Krishna lived in turbulent times. Political strife was at a peak. Magadha Mahajanapada (kingdom) had formed a Samakhya (confederation) of kingdoms with Karusha, Chedi, Vidarbha, Kalayavana, Pundra, Pragjyotishpura and several other minor janapadas, and used this combined force to expand its area of influence. Different sects of the Yadava clan, which ruled in several minor janapadas, fled in all directions to escape the marauding armies of Magadha Confederation.

In the uncertain political situation in the whole of Aryavarta and other parts of Bharata Khanda, morality and justice were largely compromised. Daughters of royal families came to be used as pawns to curry political favours or achieve political objectives. Krishna opposed this trend vehemently and worked to re-establish dharma. He firmly believed that he was born for this purpose and made it his business to ensure that such practices were stopped. He insisted that a couple should enter matrimony solely on the basis of mutual love and respect.

Krishna married eight women and this principle remained the cornerstone in each and every case. These women contributed to making Krishna what he was. While their names figure in the text of the great epic Mahabharata, nothing much is said about what they were like. Even the Bhagavata, which deals with Krishna, the sampurna avatar, does not do justice to these women in Krishna's life.

This work is an attempt to understand the eight women who married Krishna and came to be clubbed together as his Ashtamahishi or Ashtabharya.

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