Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Abhimanyu - The Brave Young Warrior


Abhimanyu was the the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, the sister of Krishna. When he was still in his womb, he listened to his father talk about war to his mother. This was how he learned the method for breaking into the Chakra-Vyuha. This formation was very difficult to pierce and the method for countering it was known to very few. Abhimanyu never learned how to break out of it, for Krishna interrupted Arjuna at this moment, and the subject was dropped.

He was only sixteen years old when the battle of Kurukshetra was fought. While his father Arjuna had been lured away to fight the Shamsapthakas (100 warriors who had sworn either to kill Arjuna or die trying), Drona had arrayed the Kaurava army in the Chakra-Vyuha, attempting to win the battle by capturing the Pandava king Yudhishtra. In desperation, for no one other than Arjuna or Abhimanyu could break this formation, the Pandava warriors asked the young prince to lead them.

Abhimanyu told them that he was willing to lead them in, but he did not know the way out. The others promised him that they would follow him into the formation and help him get out of it. Abhimanyu pierced the formation and reached the center. Unfortunately, Jayadratha, the brother-in-law of the Kauravas had obtained a boon from Lord Shiva that just for one day he would be able to defeat all the Pandavas (with the exception of Arjuna). This was to be that day. He held off the Pandavas who were following Abhimanyu, and prevented them from entering the Chakra-Vyuha.

Abhimanyu saw that he had no hope for reinforcements, but he did not pause. His skill and valor in that day's battle equaled that of his illustrious father. All the great warriors on the Kaurava side, including Drona, Bhishma, Kripa, and Karna were powerless against the onslaught of this youth. Abhimanyu destroyed a major portion of the Kaurava army and almost obtained victory to his side.

As per the rules of war existing then, only single combat was permitted. In desperation, the Kauravas broke rules of the war. They ganged up on him and attacked him from all sides. At last, he was entirely surrounded by the great warriors of the Kaurava side. Finally, he was killed with a mace by the son of Dushasana. His death was the first occasion in this war when the laws of warfare were transgressed. After this, both sides broke the agreed rules with impunity.

When Arjuna heard how his son had been slain by such unfair means, his anger knew no bounds. When he learnt that Jayadratha was responsible for preventing the rest of the Pandava army from aiding Abhimanyu, he then made a vow that he would kill Jayadratha by the end of the next day or commit suicide. He fulfilled his vow with the help of some trickery by Krishna.

Last Modified At: Wed Oct 20 00:16:12 2004