“Besides this, I am not very much polished, even in social etiquette. A person should be satisfied with one wife, but you see that I have married many times, and I have more than sixteen thousand wives. I cannot please all of them as a polished husband. My behavior with them is not very nice, and I know that you are very conscious of it. I sometimes create a situation with My wives which is not very happy. Because I was trained in a village in My childhood, I am not well acquainted with the etiquette of urban life. I do not know the way to please a wife with nice words and behavior. And from practical experience it is found that any woman who follows My way or becomes attracted by Me is ultimately left to cry for the rest of her life. In Vṛndāvana, many gopīs were attracted to Me, and now I have left them, and they are living but are simply crying for Me in separation. I have heard from Akrūra and Uddhava that since I left Vṛndāvana all My cowherd boyfriends, the gopīs and Rādhārāṇī, and My foster father, Nanda Mahārāja, are simply crying constantly for Me. I have left Vṛndāvana for good and am now engaged with the queens in Dvārakā, but I am not well behaved with any of you. So you can very easily understand that I have no steadiness of character; I am not a very reliable husband. The net result of being attracted to Me is to acquire a life of bereavement only.
“My dear beautiful princess, you may also know that I am always penniless. Just after My birth, I was carried penniless to the house of Nanda Mahārāja, and I was raised just like a cowherd boy. Although My foster father possessed many hundreds of thousands of cows, I was not the proprietor of even one of them. I was simply entrusted with taking care of them and tending them, but I was not the proprietor. Here also I am not the proprietor of anything, but am always penniless. There is no cause to lament for such a penniless condition; I possessed nothing in the past, so why should I lament that I do not possess anything at present? You may note also that My devotees are not very opulent; they also are very poor in worldly goods. Persons who are very rich, possessing worldly wealth, are not interested in devotion to Me, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. On the contrary, when a person becomes penniless, whether by force or by circumstances, he may become interested in Me if he gets the proper opportunity. Persons who are proud of their riches, even if they are offered association with My devotees, do not take advantage of consciousness of Me. In other words, the poorer class of men may have some interest in Me, but rich men have no interest. I think, therefore, that your selection of Me was not very intelligent. You appear very intelligent, trained by your father and brother, but ultimately you have made a great mistake in selecting your life’s companion.
“But there is no harm; the mistake can still be rectified, and it is better late than never. You are at liberty to select a suitable husband who is actually an equal to you in opulence, family tradition, wealth, beauty, education—in all respects. Whatever mistakes you may have made may be forgotten. Now you may chalk out your own lucrative path of life. Usually a person does not establish a marital relationship with a person who is either higher or lower than his position. My dear daughter of the King of Vidarbha, I think you did not consider very sagaciously before your marriage. Thus you made a wrong selection by choosing Me as your husband. You mistakenly heard about My having very exalted character, although factually I was nothing more than a beggar. Without seeing Me and My actual position, simply by hearing about Me, you selected Me as your husband. That was not very rightly done. Therefore, since it is better late than never, I advise you that you may now select one of the great kṣatriya princes and accept him as your life’s companion, and you may reject Me.”
Kṛṣṇa was proposing that Rukmiṇī divorce Him at a time when Rukmiṇī already had many grown-up children. Therefore Kṛṣṇa’s whole proposition appeared to be something unexpected because according to the Vedic culture there was no such thing as separation of husband and wife by divorce. Nor was it possible for Rukmiṇī to choose a new husband at her advanced age, when she had many married sons. To Rukmiṇī every one of Kṛṣṇa’s proposals appeared crazy, and she was surprised that Kṛṣṇa could say such things. Simple as she was, her anxiety was increasing more and more at the thought of separation from Kṛṣṇa.