Is it true that thieves kidnapped some of Krishna’s wives?


Yes. They were kidnapped as they saw Samba, who was born with Amsa of Lord Shiva, with lust. Samba was their son and due to this heinous act, they were cursed by Lord Krishna. This is explained in detail in Chapter 70 of Matsya Purana.

Siva said— There will be 16,000 wives of Krspa in the Yuga mentioned above. When once, in the spring time, those ladies, having decorated themselves with ornaments, would be drinking together on the banks of a pond studded with full budded lotus flowers, dancing with the wind and resounding with the melodious notes of the cuckoo and musical tunes of the big black bee, they will see Lord Sämba, beautiful like Cupid, having eyes handsome like those of a gazelle, and wearing the garlands of mälati, passing by.They will cast on him amorous glances, their hearts being fired with lustful feelings and they being targets of the arrows of Cupid. Lord Krsna will come to know all that with his mental vision, and will curse them as follows: "Because you cherished the desire of amorous pastime during my absence, all of you will be taken away by bandits".

How did they overcome this situation?

Then those ladies, overcome with grief on account of such a curse, will please (by their prayers), when the Lord will say: "Dälbhya Rsi of eternal soul, the favourite of the Brähmaqas, will teach you a vrata, which will be the means of your liberation from the bondage and which will actually free you all. This vrata will be of great benefit of futurity. With these words, the Lord of Dvärävati (Dwaraka) left them.

What previous karma made them get deluded by cupid?

Dälbhya said— "O Ladies! In the days gone by, all of you were sporting in the Mänsarovara lake, when Närada, chanced to go there. Then you were the daughters of Agni, in the form of nymphs. You did not salute the sage, but asked him how Näräyma, the Lord of the universe, would be your husband. Närada blessed you with the boon asked for, but also cursed you for not saluting him. He said that, by giving away two beddings, according to prescribed rites, on the twelfth day of the bright fortnight, in the months of Caitra and Vaiéäkha you would get Krsna as your husband in the next life." And cursed you as follows— "Because in your conceit of beauty and prosperity you have omitted to salute me before putting me this question, you will also be separated from Krsna and will be lowered to the rank of public women, after being forcibly carried away by thieves. In consequence of the curses of Närada and Krsna you gave way to lustful feelings and have become prostitutes.

Later Sage Dalbhya taught them a Vrata (ordinance) and they were relieved of that bad situation.

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