Abhimanyu Story: Stories From Mahabharat

May 17, 2022 6 min read

Abhimanyu was a brave, legendary, and tragic hero in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. He was born to the third Pandava prince Arjuna and the Yadav princess Subhadra, who was also Krishna’s sister. As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakra Vyuh from Arjuna. The epic explains that he overheard Arjuna, talking about this with his mother from the womb Arjuna, spoke about entering the Chakra Vyuh and later Subhadra dosed to sleep. Upon seeing Subhadra asleep Arjuna stopped explaining and did not proceed further with explaining the way to escape the Chakra Vyuh.

1.  Abhimanyu did not receive the Full knowledge in his Mother’s Womb

As an effect, the baby Abhimanyu in the womb did not get a chance to get complete knowledge about the Chakra Vyuh after Yudhishthira lost the game of dice. All the Pandavas, along with Draupadi, were sent to exile for 13 years. Subhadra during this period stayed with her brothers in Dwarka, where she raised Abhimanyu.

2.  Training of Abhimanyu

Abhimanyu was trained in arms and warfare by Pradyumna, Balarama, and Krishna. Abhimanyu was given the Raudra Bow by Balarama, which he received from Lord Shiva in the final year of their exile. Pandavas went into hiding in the Matsya kingdom of king Virat to live through exile without being discovered. Upon coming to know the identity of the Pandavas king Virat asked Arjuna to marry his daughter, Uttara, but Arjuna refused to marry her as he was her teacher during The Agyatvas, however, he proposed the marriage of Uttara to Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu agreed to marry her and they got married in the city of Upaplavya.

3.  Marriage of Abhimanyu and Alliance

This marriage sealed an alliance between the Pandavas and the royal family of Virat in favor of the forthcoming Kurukshetra war after the Pandavas finished their exile, the Duryodhana didn’t agree to return their wealth and fortune. Thus, the Pandavas had to fight a battle to get their rights back. Being the grandson of Lord Indra Abhimanyu was a courageous and dashing warrior in the battle.

4.  The Chakra Vyuh Trap of Duryodhana

Abhimanyu was able to hold at bay great heroes like Drona, Karna, the Duryodhana, and the Dushasana in the Mahabharat war. Abhimanyu also killed important personalities such as Kumar Lakshman the son of Duryodhana, Brihadbala the king of Kosala, six councilors, and seven foster brothers of Karna, sons of Shalya, etc. On the thirteenth day of the battle, Arjuna was diverted to the south by Sharma and Trigartas, taking advantage of his absence, the Duryodhana and his allies made a plan to trap Yudhishthira so that the war can be stopped quickly and without losing many armies. The army of the Kauravas under Dronacharya formed a Chakra Vyuh. Abhimanyu knew how to enter it, but didn’t know how to exit. He went into the trap followed by his paternal uncles.

5.  Abhimanyu went on Rampage

Abhimanyu killed many valiant warriors, and Duryodhana grew increasingly anxious. No one seemed to be able to stop Abhimanyu whoever went before him was either immediately slain or forced to retreat. He had overpowered all the great Kauravas heroes, including Dushasana, Karna, Kripa, Ashwathama, Shalya, Kritavarma, and Bahlika. Duryodhana himself had been stung by his shafts and even Drona seemed unable to beat him.

6.  Abhimanyu Killed the son of Duryodhana

Seeing the utter destruction of his father’s army Lakshman, the valley and son of the Duryodhana rose in anger. He said that he will finish Abhimanyu and saying so charged at Abhimanyu he shot many arrows at Abhimanyu, two of them struck Abhimanyu in his arms and which caused him pain and anger. The two infuriated warriors began battling for some time. It was difficult to imagine who was better. The mighty-armed Abhimanyu then filled with rage as a snake struck with a rod. Abhimanyu ends up killing Lakshman.

7.  Duryodhana ordered his Army to attack Abhimanyu

When Duryodhana heard that his favorite son was no more. He was livid with anger. He shouted like a madman, “Kill this vile son of Arjuna! Kill him by any means”. Outraged by the killing of his son, Duryodhana ordered Dronacharya to change the plan to focus on Abhimanyu, but the remaining four Pandavas followed Abhimanyu. However, the four Pandavas were stopped by Jayadratha. Jayadratha defeated all four of them. Dhrupad too was stopped and trapped Ashwathama and Kritavarma defeated Dhristadyumna and the Upapandavas leaving Abhimanyu all alone. Shakuni said we will not be able to slay this prince by fair means, find some other way to kill him. All of us together must assail him before he destroys everyone.

8.    Kauravas Planned to Kill Abhimanyu

Drona lowered his head as he went on. He said There is, however, a way by which we may be able to overcome him. Oh Karna, listen carefully! If you go behind him and can cut his bow the reins of his horses and his chariot wheels, then at the same time Kritavarma can kill his horses and Ashwathama can kill his Charioteer while Kripa the king, and I will attack him directly from the front. Perhaps if the six of us attack him simultaneously, we will be able to overpower him. Drona knew his advice was not in keeping with the codes of the war, but there seemed no alternative. Ultimately, as the Kaurava commander, it was his duty to protect the army by whatever means they surrounded the prince, as planned.

9.  Kauravas Killed Abhimanyu

Karna went ahead and cut apart his bow. Kritavarma then killed his steeds and Ashwathama his Charioteer. As Drona and Kripa assailed him from the front of Duryodhana. Also attacked him from behind remembering how Krishna had run at Bhishma holding a chariot wheel. He rushed at Drona, even though overpowered and outnumbered the son of Krishna’s sister showed no fear, but now he was attacked simultaneously from all sides.

Other soldiers in Maharathis, seeing that Drona, Karna, Kripa, etc themselves broke the rules. They felt that they were given a free hand to attack all sides. Abhimanyu was being hit by sharp arrows javelins and maces Abhimanyu fought with the multiple warriors as long as he could at last fatigued from his long fight against so many opponents. He fell to the ground, seeing Abhimanyu unconscious on the ground. Durjaya struck him on his head with full force crushed by the blow Abhimanyu dropped lifelessly. The Kauravas army fought him dirty and killed him.

10.  Arjuna vows to avenge his Son’s Death

It is said that it was Abhimanyu’s death that marks the end of the adherence to the rules of the war. News of the despicable acts committed on Abhimanyu reached his father Arjuna. At the end of the day, who vowed to kill Jayadrath the very next day by sunset and failing to do so, commits suicide by self-immolation immediately, the Kaurava army the next day, places Jayadrath further away from Arjuna. Arjuna hacks through the Kaurava army and kills more than a hundred thousand soldiers and warriors in a single day, however, almost by sunset, Arjuna's chariot, is still nowhere near Jayadrath’s. Arjuna becomes hopeless because he realizes that failure is imminent and starts getting mentally, prepared to self-immolate.

11.  Krishna buys more Time for Arjuna

Krishna being the almighty God uses his powers to temporarily create an eclipse. The Kauravas and the Pandavas alike believed that indeed the sun has set and the war stops. According to the rules, both sides come to watch Arjuna self-immolate in his haste to see Arjuna’s death Jayadrath also comes to the front. Krishna sees the opportunity that he has effectively created and the sun comes out again before the Kauravas can take any corrective action. Krishna points out to Arjuna and asks him to pick up his arrow and behead Jayadrath. Arjuna's arrows decapitate Jaydrath, and his vow to kill Jaydrath by the sunset that day and avenge Abhimanyu’s death was fulfilled.

12.  Abhimanyu: The reincarnation of Son of Chandra

It is said that Abhimanyu is the reincarnation of Varchas the son of Chandra or the moon god when Chandra was asked to let his son incarnate himself on earth by the other devas. He made a pact that his son will only remain on earth for 16 years, as he could not bear the separation from him. Abhimanyu was only 16 years when he died in the war. At the time of Abhimanyu’s death, his wife Uttara was pregnant with their son. His son Parikshith, born after his death, remained to be the sole survivor of the Kuru clan after the Mahabharat war and carries on the Pandava lineage.