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Abhimanyu was a character of the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata.

Uttaraa pleads to Abhimanyu as he leaves for the war
FamilyArjuna (Father)
Subhadra (Mother)



Abhimanyu was the reincarnation of a son of the moon-god, Chandra. When Chandra was asked to let his son incarnate himself on earth, he made a pact that his son will only remain on earth for 16 years, as he could not bear to be separated from him any longer than that. Abhimanyu was the most loved of all sons of the Pandavas, so much so that Draupadi was said to love him more than her own sons. Draupadi once said that if the Pandavas are not willing to wage war, then her sons led by Abhimanyu will attack and get justice for her. After the Virata war, King Virat offered princess Uttara to Arjuna in marriage. But Arjuna replied to Virat that he taught dance to Uttara, and a teacher could treat his/her student as a child, but not as a spouse. Arjuna accepted the offer instead by recommending to Virat that he could accept Uttara as daughter-in-law by marrying her with his son, Abhimanyu. King Virat was pleased and agreed to Arjuna's proposal, as Abhimanyu's greatness had already spread all over the Earth by that time.[1][better source needed]

Etymology and other namesEdit

  • Arjuna Putra (अर्जुन पुत्र) - true successor of Arjuna. Abhimanyu was one of the greatest archers in the world .
  • Subhadranandan (सुभद्र नंदन) - son of Subhadra.
  • Soubhadri (सौभद्रि) - son of Subhadra.
  • Chandra Putra (चंद्र पुत्र) - son of Moon god Chandra.
  • Krishna Shishya (कृष्ण शिष्य) - the disciple of Lord Krishna.
  • Raudra dhari (रौद्रधारी) - one who possessed the mighty bow named Raudra which was given by Lord Krishna.[citation needed]

Virat ParvaEdit

In some folktales, versions of stories and Telugu dramas; it is said that Abhimanyu has a major role in Virat Parva. Abhimanyu and Uttara were already in love as Abhimanyu already met Uttara while he was in search of his parents who were in exile. This was noticed by Draupadi and Yudhishtira. Convinced by them, Abhimanyu planned to leave Matsya kingdom. Because if Abhimanyu had identified his parents, their exile would have become waste and they would have supposed to go in exile for another 13 years. Just before this incident, Kichaka was killed by Bhima. Hearing about the death of Kichaka, Duryodhana surmises that the Pandavas were hiding in Matsya. A host of Kaurava warriors attacked Virata, presumably to steal their cattle, but in reality, desiring to pierce the Pandavas' veil of anonymity. Taking this as advantage, Susharma attacked Matsya kingdom. Full of bravado, Virata's son Uttar attempts to take on the army by himself while the rest of the Matsya army has been lured away to fight Susharma and the Trigartas. At the same time Draupadi was kidnapped by Kichaka's 100 brothers. Bhima, Nakula & Sahadeva went in search of her. Yudhishtira suggested King Virat to stay in palace and defend the kingdom by sending soldiers of Matsya kingdom to battlefield. While Abhimanyu was leaving to Dwaraka, Uttara asked Abhimanyu to help. Abhimanyu led the Matsya army and defeated Susharma. After defeating Susharma, Abhimanyu promised Uttara that one day he would definitely visit Matsya kingdom after completion of their parents' exile.[2][3] As suggested by Draupadi, Uttar takes Brihannala with him, as his charioteer. When he sees the Kaurava army, Uttar loses his nerve and attempts to flee. There, Arjuna reveals his identity and those of his brothers'. Switching places with Uttar, Arjuna takes up the Gandiva and Devadatta. Eager to defend the land that had given him refuge, Arjuna engaged the legion of Kaurava warriors. All the warriors including Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Kripa and Ashwatthama together attacked Arjuna to kill him but Arjuna defeated all of them multiple times. During the battle Arjuna also killed Sangramjit the foster brother of Karna and instead of taking the revenge of his brother, Karna took heroic flight in order to save his life.

Kurukshethra warEdit

On the very first day, Abhimanyu faced legendary Bhishma and involved in archery-duel with him. The battle was so intense that both of them were almost equal. When Abhimanyu's arrows injured Bhishma, Bhishma asked Abhimanyu to get-out from his sight. Abhimanyu replied that he was son of Arjuna & the student of Krishna. If he would have escaped due to fear; it would become insult to both of them. Bhishma feels proud on hearing this. Abhimanyu breaks Bhishma’s bow. Then they involve in sword-duel just before the sun-set. Bhishma appreciated Abhimanyu since Bhishma failed to defeat Abhimanyu. The very next day; Abhimanyu attacked Ashwatthama and drew Drona's attention. Drona and Arjuna were involved in fight. When Drona heard that his son was attacked by Abhimanyu, he immediately left that place & went to save his son despite. Drona-Abhimanyu soon engaged in intense battle which made a clear way to Arjuna in assisting Bhima to reach Duryodhana and kill him. But their plans of killing Duryodhana and ending the war failed due to some reasons. Even Drona failed to defeat Abhimanyu.

Thirteenth DayEdit

Abhimanyu showing his talent in Battle

The Kaurava commander-in-chief Dronacharya planned to divert Arjuna and Krishna away to chase an army of the samsaptakhas whom Arjuna defeated that very day. The Kaurava army was grouped into the giant discus formation, which caused great loss for the Pandavas. If the formation continued till end of that day, the pandavas would have no army by sunset. The only two people on the Pandava army who completely knew about how to enter and break this formation were Arjuna and Krishna, who were away. Abhimanyu's story came to prominence when he entered the powerful Chakravyuha battle formation of the Kaurava army,[4] Abhimanyu claimed that he could decimate the entire Kaurava and Pandava army[5]

Abhimanyu was trained in all types of warfare by Lord Krishna and Balrama themselves, and later by Pradyumna (Sri Krishna's son). Abhimanyu learnt the art of breaking into the Chakravyuha when he was in Subhadra's womb. It was then Arjuna was narrating the art of breaking into Chakravyuha to Subhadra. But he did not know how to destroy the formation once he was inside, as Subhadra fell asleep while listening to the story and (Abhimanyu in her womb) could learn only half of the technique. This is the reason why he was only able to enter/ break and not come out of the Chakravyuha.[6]

As soon as Abhimanyu entered the formation, Jayadrath, the ruler of Sindh blocked the other Pandavas, so that Abhimanyu was left alone. Drona gave some places to all the warriors with Duryodhana being at centre protected by Dushasana & Drona himself. Other warriors were arranged in subsequent forward rows. Inside the Chakravyuha, the trapped Abhimanyu went on a killing rampage, intending on carrying out the original strategy by himself and killing tens of thousands of Kaurava soldiers. Abhimanyu killed many prominent heroes including Duryodhana's son Lakshmana, Salya's son, younger brothers of Karna, and many advisers of Karna, Rukmaratha, Kritavarma's son Matrikavata, Salya's brother, Shrutanjaya, Ashavketu (From Magadha), Chandraketu, Mahavega, Suvarcha, Suryabhasa, Kalakeya (Shakuni's brother), Vasatiya, and rathas from the Brahma-Vasatiyas and Kekayas, King of Kosala - King Brihadbala, King of Amvashtas and his son. and many others.[4] Abhimanyu defeated the mighty warriors of kauravas Side including the great Drona, Kripa and Karna.[7] No Kaurava warrior could escape his arrows. Abhimanyu killed all the remaining foster brothers of Karna due to which Karna became angry and attacked Abhimanyu but Abhimanyu defeated Karna. Abhimanyu defeated all the warriors.

The Karna, the son of Vikartana, said unto Drona:

'Abhimanyu grindeth us all. Tell us the means by which we may slay him.'

Thus addressed, the mighty bowman, Drona, addressing them all, said :

'Observing him with vigilance, have any of you been able to detect any defeat in this youth? He is careening in all directions. Yet have any of you been able to detect today the least hole in him? Behold the lightness of hand and quickness of motion of this lion among men, this son of Arjuna. In the track of his car, only his bow drawn to a circle can be seen, so quickly is he aiming his shafts and so quickly is he letting them off. Indeed, this slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Subhadra, gratifieth me although he afflicteth my vital breath and stupefieth me with shafts. Even the mightiest car-warriors, filled with wrath, are unable to detect any flaw in him. The son of Subhadra, therefore, careering on the field of battle, gratifieth me greatly. I do not see that in battle there is any difference between the wielder of Gandiva himself and this one of great lightness of hand, filling all the points of the horizon with his mighty shafts.'

Hearing these words, Karna, afflicted with the shafts of Arjuna's son, once more said unto Drona:

'Exceedingly afflicted with the shafts of Abhimanyu, I am staying in battle, only because (as a warrior) I should stay here. Indeed, the arrows of this south of great energy are exceedingly fierce. Terrible as they are and possessed of the energy of fire, these arrows are weakening my heart.'

The preceptor then, slowly and with a smile, said unto Karna:

'Abhimanyu is young, his prowess is great. His coat of mail is impenetrable. This one's father had been taught by me the method of wearing defensive armour. This subjugator of hostile towns assuredly knoweth the entire science (of wearing armour). With shafts well shot, you can, however, cut off his bow, bow-string, the reins of his steeds, the steeds themselves, and two Parshni charioteers. O mighty bowman, O son of Radha, if competent, do this. Making him turn back from the fight (by this means), strike(kill) him then. With his bow in hand he is incapable of being vanquished by the very gods and the Asuras together. If you wish, deprive him of his car, and divest him of his bow.'

Hearing these words of the preceptor(Drona), Vikartana's son invincible Karna quickly cut off the , by means of his shafts.

Arjuna Kills Jaydhratha with his heavenly arrow

After hearing the details of Abhimanyu's death, Arjuna vowed to kill Jayadratha the very next day by sunset, and failing to do so, promised to immediately commit suicide by self-immolation. On the fourteenth day of battle, Arjuna ravaged the Kaurava army, decapitating Jayadratha by the end of the day.[8][better source needed]

Abhimanyu's son, Parikshit, became the sole heir to the Pandava empire and succeeded Yudhishthira to the throne. Parikshit, born after the war's conclusion, remained the sole survivor of the Kuru clan at the conclusion of the Mahabharata. Abhimanyu is often thought of as a very brave warrior on the Pandava side, willingly giving up his life in war at a very young age. Abhimanyu was praised for his audacious bravery and absolute loyalty to his father and his uncles.[9][better source needed]


  1. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section LXVII".
  2. ^ "Narthanasala - 1963 Telugu HD Full Movie - N. T. Rama Rao - Savitri - S.V.Ranga Rao - ETV Cinema".
  3. ^ TFC Movie Scenes (5 December 2016). "Veerabhimanyu Full Length Telugu Movie -NTR - Kanchana - Telugu Old Movies" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ a b Bhakthi TV (16 April 2017). "అభిమన్యుడు వేసిన బాణం కర్ణుడిని ఏం చేసిందో తెలుసా? -- Sampoorna Mahabharatam -- Epi 70 -- Bhakthi TV" – via YouTube.
  5. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XXXIV".
  6. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XXXI".
  7. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XXXIX". Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Mahabharat : What Happened After the Death of Abhimanyu?". 16 July 2014.
  9. ^ V, Jayaram. "The Life and Legend of Abhimanyu".

External linksEdit

  Media related to Abhimanyu at Wikimedia Commons