tam abhyaṣiñcan vidhi-vad
aktam abhyaktam ṛtvijaḥ
patnībhir aṣṭā-daśabhiḥ
soma-rājam ivoḍubhiḥ

 tam - him; abhyaṣiñcan - they sprinkled with sacred water; vidhivat - according to scriptural rules; aktam - his eyes decorated with mascara; abhyaktam - his body smeared with newly-churned butter; ṛtvijaḥ - the priests; patnībhiḥ - along with his wives; aṣṭā-daśabhiḥ - eighteen; soma-rājam - the kingly; iva - as if; uḍubhiḥ - with stars.


Text

After Vasudeva’s eyes had been decorated with black cosmetic and his body smeared with fresh butter, the priests initiated him according to scriptural rules by sprinkling him and his eighteen wives with sacred water. Encircled by his wives, he resembled the regal moon encircled by stars.

Purport

Devakī was Vasudeva’s principal wife, but she had several co-wives, including her six sisters. This fact is recorded in the Ninth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

devakaś cograsenaś ca
 catvāro devakātmajāḥ
devavān upadevaś ca
 sudevo devavardhanaḥ
teṣāṁ svasāraḥ saptāsan
 dhṛtadevādayo nṛpa
śāntidevopadevā ca
 śrīdevā devarakṣitā
sahadevā devakī ca
 vasudeva uvāha tāḥ

“Āhuka had two sons, named Devaka and Ugrasena. Devaka had four sons, named Devavān, Upadeva, Sudeva and Devavardhana, and he also had seven daughters, named Śāntidevā, Upadevā, Śrīdevā, Devarakṣitā, Sahadevā, Devakī and Dhṛtadevā. Dhṛtadevā was the eldest. Vasudeva, the father of Kṛṣṇa, married all these sisters.” (Bhāg. 9.24.21-23)

Some of Vasudeva’s other wives are mentioned a few verses later:

pauravī rohiṇī bhadrā
 madirā rocanā ilā
devakī-pramukhāś cāsan
 patnya ānakadundubheḥ

“Devakī, Pauravī, Rohiṇī, Bhadrā, Madirā, Rocanā, Ilā and others were all wives of Ānakadundubhi [Vasudeva]. Among them all, Devakī was the chief.” (Bhāg. 9.24.45)