All the princes led by Jarasandha became very angry at Krsna's kidnapping Rukmini. Struck by the beauty of Rukmini, they had fallen from the backs of their horses and elephants, but now they began to stand up and properly arm themselves. Picking up their bows and arrows, they began to chase Krsna on their chariots, horses and elephants. To check their progress, the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty turned and faced them. Thus terrible fighting between the two belligerent groups began. The princes opposing Krsna were led by Jarasandha and they were all very expert in fighting. They began to shoot their arrows at the soldiers of Yadu just as a cloud splashes the face of a mountain with torrents of rain. Gathered on the face of a mountain, a cloud does not move very much, and therefore the force of rain is much more severe on a mountain than it is anywhere else.
The opposing princes were determined to defeat Krsna and recapture Rukmini from His custody, and they fought with Him as severely as possible. Rukmini, seated by the side of Krsna, saw arrows raining from the opposing party onto the faces of the soldiers of Yadu. In a fearful attitude, she began to look on the face of Krsna, expressing her gratefulness that He had taken such a great risk for her sake only. Her eyes moving, she appeared to be very sorry and Krsna could immediately understand her mind. He encouraged her with these words: "My dear Rukmini, don't worry. Please rest assured that the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty will kill all the opposing soldiers without delay."
As Krsna was speaking with Rukmini, the commanders of the Yadu dynasty's soldiers, headed by Lord Balarama, who is also known as Sankarsana, as well as Gadadhara, not tolerating the defiant attitude of the opposing soldiers, began to strike their horses, elephants, and chariots with arrows. As the fighting progressed, the princes and soldiers of the enemy camp began to fall from their horses, elephants and chariots. Within a very short time, it was seen that millions of severed heads, decorated with helmets and earrings, had fallen on the battlefield. The soldiers' hands were cut up along with their bows and arrows and clubs; one head was piled upon another, and one horse was piled upon another. All the infantry soldiers, as well as their camels, elephants and asses, fell down with severed heads.
When the enemy, headed by Jarasandha, found that they were gradually being defeated by the soldiers of Krsna, they thought it unwise to risk losing in the battle for the sake of Sisupala. Sisupala himself should have fought to rescue Rukmini from the hands of Krsna, but when the soldiers saw that Sisupala was not competent enough to fight with Krsna, they decided not to lose their strength unnecessarily; therefore they ceased fighting and dispersed.
Some of the princes, as a matter of etiquette, appeared before Sisupala. They saw that Sisupala was very much discouraged, like one who has lost his wife. His face appeared to be dried up, and he had lost all his energy, and all the luster of his body had disappeared. They began to address Sisupala thus: "My dear Sisupala, don't be discouraged in this way. You belong to the royal order and are the chief amongst the fighters. There is no question of distress or happiness for a person like you because neither of these conditions is everlasting. Take courage. Don't be disappointed by this temporary reverse. After all, we are not the final actor; as puppets dance in the hands of a magician, we are all dancing by the will of the Supreme, and according to His grace only we suffer distress or enjoy happiness, which therefore balance equally in all circumstances."
The whole catastrophe of the defeat was due to the envious nature of Rukmini's elder brother, Rukmi. Having seen his sister forcibly taken away by Krsna after he had planned to marry her with Sisupala, Rukmi was frustrated. So he and Sisupala, his friend and intended brother-in-law, returned to their respective homes. Rukmi, very much agitated, was determined to personally teach Krsna a lesson. He called for his own soldiers--a military phalanx consisting of several thousand elephants, horses, chariots and infantry--and, equipped with this military strength, he began to follow Krsna to Dvaraka. In order to show his prestige, Rukmi began to promise before all the returning kings, "You could not help Sisupala marry my sister, Rukmini, but I cannot allow Rukmini to be taken away by Krsna. I shall teach Him a lesson. Now I am going there." He presented himself as a big commander and vowed before all the princes present, "Unless I kill Krsna in the fight and bring back my sister from His clutches, I shall no more return to my capital city, Kundina. I make this vow before you all, and you will see that I shall fulfill it." After thus vibrating all these boasting words, Rukmi immediately got on his chariot and told his chariot driver to pursue Krsna. He said, "I want to fight with Him immediately. This cowherd boy has become very proud because of His tricky way of fighting with the ksatriyas, but today I shall teach Him a good lesson. Because He has the impudency to kidnap my sister, I, with my sharpened arrows, shall teach Him very good lessons indeed." Thus this unintelligent man, Rukmi, ignorant of the extent of the strength and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, began to voice impudent threats.
In great stupidity he soon stood before Krsna, telling Him repeatedly, "Stop for a minute and fight with me!" After saying this he drew his bow and directly shot three forceful arrows against Krsna's body. Then he condemned Krsna as the most abominable descendant of the Yadu dynasty and asked Him to stand before him for a minute so that he could teach Him a good lesson. "You are carrying away my sister just like a crow stealing clarified butter meant for use in a sacrifice. You are simply proud of Your military strength, but You cannot fight according to regulative principles. You have stolen my sister; now I shall relieve You of Your false prestige. You can keep my sister under Your possession only as long as I do not pinion You to the ground for good with my arrows."
Lord Krsna, after hearing all these crazy words from Rukmi, immediately shot an arrow and severed the string of Rukmi's bow, making him unable to use another arrow. Rukmi immediately took another bow and shot another five arrows at Krsna. Being attacked for the second time by Rukmi, Krsna again severed his bowstring. Rukmi took a third bow, and Krsna again cut off its string. This time, in order to teach Rukmi a lesson, Krsna personally shot six arrows at him, and then He shot another eight arrows. Thus four horses were killed by four arrows, the chariot driver was killed by another arrow, and the upper portion of Rukmi's chariot, including the flag, was chopped off with the remaining three arrows.
Having run out of arrows, Rukmi took the assistance of swords, shields, tridents, lances and similar other weapons used for fighting hand-to-hand, but Krsna immediately severed them all in the same way. Being repeatedly baffled in his attempts, Rukmi simply took his sword and ran very swiftly toward Krsna, just as a fly proceeds toward a fire. As soon as Rukmi reached Krsna, Krsna cut his weapon to pieces. This time Krsna took out His sharp sword and was about to kill him immediately, but Rukmi's sister Rukmini, understanding that this time Krsna would not excuse her brother, fell down at the lotus feet of Krsna and in a very grievous tone, trembling with great fear, began to plead with her husband.
Rukmini first addressed Krsna as "Yogesvara." Yogesvara means one who is possessed of inconceivable opulence and energy. Krsna possesses inconceivable opulence and energy, whereas Rukmini's brother had only limited military potency. Krsna is immeasurable, whereas her brother was measured in every step of his life. Therefore, Rukmi was not even comparable to an insignificant insect before the unlimited power of Krsna. She also addressed Krsna as the God of the gods. There are many powerful demigods, such as Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra, and Candra; Krsna is the Lord of all these gods, whereas Rukmini's brother was not only an ordinary human being, but was, in fact, the lowest of all because he had no understanding of Krsna. In other words, a human being who has no conception of the actual position of Krsna is the lowest in human society. Rukmini also addressed Krsna as "Jagatpati," the master of the whole cosmic manifestation. In comparison, her brother was only an ordinary prince.