The instigation behind this article was my annoyance.
A popular Indian soap (I will refrain from taking names), although having depicted every aspect in a much precise and beautifully detailed manner, completely failed to showcase one key character in the light she deserves to be acknowledged with.
Satyabhama, also known as Satrajiti. The third wife of Krishna.
With no doubt, anyone who dives into the stories of the pure love between Radha and Krishna, that surpasses all wordly and materialistic needs and connects on a much deeper level, he/she comes out being much in awe of such a manifestation of love that is not defined by boundaries.
With Rukmini, we find the value of devotion (bhakti). Her thoughts and prayers were all dedicated to Lord Krishna, by seeing herself in all of his actions.
These elements have been wonderfully portrayed and shown using a poetic narration that does justice to every viewer’s attention.
But, when it came to Satyabhama, her character was portrayed more on the lines of immaturity, that was limited to villain-ish jealousy towards Rukmini and unwillingness to let go off her pride in her looks.
Apart from the above mentioned traits, her character hardly has any more backbone.
But, it’s essential to remember that despite not being humble nor exhibiting steadfast devotion towards Krishna, Satyabhama was a perfect ardhangini. Albeit it is said that she was often found being haughty about her looks and had a competitive streak to her, but her warfare skills were unmatched and almost on par with Krishna himself. This is very obvious during the slaying of Narakasur story (which the serial painfully excluded her involvement altogether, a huge blow to the narration).
She is often regarded as the avatar of Goddess Bhudevi herself; a warrior princess who demanded that Krishna take her along with him to the battlefield to fight along side.
And who doesn’t admire a woman who choses to yield weapons in midst of a man- driven society?
The fact that she accompanied Krishna to fight the demon king- Narakasur, who had captured 16,000 princesses, is in itself enough to bring out her high spirited character who would not recede from challenges when it comes to the task of upholding dharma.
The fact that she was excluded in the serial, points to the fact that the backstory of Narakasur wasn’t bothered to be included either. His boon from Lord Brahma gave him an eternal life, except the fact that his death could only occur in the hands of his mother.
Yes, he was the son of Bhudevi herself. Thus, the only person who could kill him was Satyabhama.
As the unconquerable emperor of Pragjyotishpur, Narakrasura had managed to defeat all kingdoms on Earth and the Gods in heaven, capturing 16,000 princesses of all the defeated kingdoms, and imprisoning them at Audaka, atop the mountain Maniparvata, guarded by Mura.
He is defeated after a fierce battle against Krishna and Satyabhama, who attack the impregnable fortress at Pragjyotisha, riding the Garuda.
It a noteworthy point that some literatures even state that Krishna is rendered unconscious in the end, and Satyabhama retaliates and attacks Narakasur, thus killing him and fulfilling the boon.
This is a perfect example of how equal a man and woman are in marraige and the support of both together is necessary to vanquish the forces of evil.
There are however a lot of stories that talk of her rivalry with Rukmini- the parijata tree, for one instance. She’s often shown to be indignant at the end result, suggesting that these stories were crafted to show how selfless love of Rukmini was much greater than Satyabhama’s possessiveness.
And these stories are definitely right, but the fact that Satyabhama can stand up to what she thinks is the right way to lead her life and stick to it, is what makes her the individual that she is, who is neither shy nor suppressed or tamed by society’s expectations. She’s a warrior, both at heart and on the battlefield. An attempt to compare her and see her in the same light that one sees Radha or Rukmini would mean diminishing her fierce character.