Abhimanyu is a character of the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. He was the son of 3rd Pandava prince Arjuna and Yadava princess Subhadra.

Mahabharata character
Uttarā pleads to Abhimanyu as he leaves for the war
In-universe information
WeaponBow and arrows, Sword and Gada
FamilyArjuna (Father)
Subhadra (Mother)
RelativesKrishna , Balrama (Maternal Uncles)
Yudhishthira, Bhima , Nakula, Sahadeva (Paternal Uncles)
Janamejaya (Grandson)
Draupadi, Uloopi, Chitrāngadā (Step-mothers)
Srutakarma, Iravan, Babruvahana (Step-brothers)

Etymology and epithetsEdit

  • 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.
  • Varchas Avatar (चंद्र पुत्र) - avatar of Varchas.
  • Krishna Shishya (कृष्ण शिष्य) - the disciple of Krishna.
  • Raudra dhari (रौद्रधारी) - one who possessed the mighty bow named Raudra which was given by his uncle Krishna.

Birth and childhoodEdit

Abhimanyu was born to Arjuna, the 3rd Pandava, and Subhadra, the sister of Sri Krishna.

When, he was in his mother's womb, he heard about Chakravyuh. He only gained half knowledge which was entering the Chakravyuh.[1]

After Yudhishthira lost the game of dice, the Pandavas along with Draupadi were sent on exile. Subhadra, during this period stayed with her brothers in Dwarka. When Abhimanyu was ready, he was trained under Balarama and Krishna. He was a brave and skillful warrior just like his father.

After Pandavas finished their exile , Duryodhana didn't agree to return their wealth and fortune. Thus, Pandavas had to fight a battle to get their belongings back.

Marriage with UttarāEdit

Abhimanyu with Uttarā

Before the war of Kurukshetra, Pandavas stayed with Virata. Virata requested Arjuna to marry his daughter, Uttarā. However Arjuna refused to marry her as he was her teacher during the Agyatvās. But Arjuna told that he would be delightful, if she marries his son, Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu agreed to marry her and they married.[2]

The Kurukshetra WarEdit

In the war, Abhimanyu fought from his father's side. He was brave and wasn't afraid of anything.

Abhimanyu fighting the Kaurava army

He killed warriors including Rukmartha, Brihadbala, Laksmana (Duryodhana's son), Dushmanara (Dushyasana's 2nd son), 6 counsellors and 7 foster brothers of Karna, sons of Shalya etc.[3]

He also fought and defeated mighty warriors including Drona, Ashwatthama, Kripa, Karna, Shalya, Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vrishasena etc. in direct and joint attacks when he had bow in his hands.


On the 13th day of the war, Arjuna was diverted to South by Susharma and Trigartas. Taking advantage of his absence, Duryodhana and his allies made a plan to trap Yudhisthira so that the war can be stopped easily and without losing much army

The army of Kauravas, under Dronacharya, formed Chakravyuha. Abhimanyu knew how to enter it but didnt know how to exit . He went into the trap followed by his paternal uncles. Near the edges of the Charavyuha, Abhimanyu ends up killing Laxmana , the son of Duryodhana. Outraged by the killing of his son, Duryodhana orders Dronacharya to change the plan into killing Abhimanyu, but Abhimanyu was followed by the remaining 4 pandavas. However the 4 Pandavas were stopped by Jayadratha. Jayadratha defeated all 4 of them , Drupada to was stopped and trapped. Ashwathama and Kritavarma defeated Dhrishtadyumna and the Upapandavas, leaving Abhimanyu all alone. Before reaching the centre , Abhimanyu killed many other warriors like Rukhmartha , Brihadbala , Shon etc. After Abhimanyu reached the centre of the trap, he was attacked by Drona, Dushasana, Karna , Ashwatthama , Shakuni , Duryodhana , and many other warriors at a same time, which was against the rules of the war.[4]

He fought all of them and defeated all of them in single combat and all out attack. Karna destroyed Abhimanyu's bow from behind since it was impossible to face an armed Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu resumed fight with other weapons like sword, mace etc. He killed all foster brothers of Karna, younger son of Dushasana and defeated other prominent warriors. His weapons were cut off by Ashwatthama, Karna and Drona. Abhimanyu was fatally injured, but he fought the warriors using a wheel. At last many warriors including Duryodhana, Dushasana, Karna, Bhurishrava, Ashwatthama, Vrishasena, Durjaya, Shakuni stabbed Abhimanyu from all sides at once leading to death of Abhimanyu.


Marriage with Vatsala in Sasirekha ParinayamEdit

In Sasirekha Parinayam (a folktale based on Mahabharata), Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, married another woman before his marriage to Uttarā. The woman was named Shashirekha/Vatsala, the daughter of Balarama.

The tale narrates that Abhimanyu fell in love with Vatsala, but Vatsala's father wanted her to marry Laxmana Kumar, the son of Duryodhana.

Wanting to help his cousin, Ghatotkach took the form of Vatsala and injured Laxmana Kumar's arm. After the incident, Laxmana broke his marriage to Vatsala.

Meanwhile, the real Vatsala was in a forest along with Abhimanyu where, they married.

However, this a folktale and there is no mention of this in the original epic.


  1. ^ "Abhimanyu and the Battle of Kurukshetra". Radha Krishna Temple in Utah. 29 November 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  2. ^ Abhimanyu. Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited. ISBN 9788184821062.
  3. ^ https://www.utahkrishnas.org/abhimanyu-and-the-battle-of-kurukshetra/
  4. ^ "Mahabharata and Abhimanyu Vadh: How did Arjuna's son Abhimanyu die and what happened after his death?". www.timesnownews.com. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  5. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XLVII". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 26 July 2020.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Abhimanyu at Wikimedia Commons