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This article is about tragic hero of the Hindu epic. For other uses, see Abhimanyu (disambiguation).
Uttaraa pleads to Abhimanyu as he leaves for the war
Family Arjuna (father)
Spouse(s) Uttara
Significant other(s) Subhadra (mother)
Children Parikshit

Abhimanyu (Sanskrit: अभिमन्यु) was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra. He was the nephew of Lord Krishna and was married to Uttara, the princess of Matsya Kingdom.[1]


Abhimanyu was the reincarnation of son of moon-god(Chandra). When the moon-god 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.[2][better source needed]

Thirteenth Day[edit]

The kaurava supremo Dronacharya planned to divert Arjuna and Krishna away to chase a small part of their large army which was sent towards dwaraka. Meanwhile 90% of their remaining army was grouped into the giant discus formation, which caused great loss for the pandavas. If the fromation continued till end of that day, the pandavas would have no army by sunset. The only 2 people on the pandava army who completely knew about how to enter and break this formation were Arjuna and Krishna, who were away. Hence, without option, all other pandava generals turned to Abhimanyu, Arjuna's son. Abhimanyu's story came to prominence when he entered the powerful Chakravyuha battle formation of the Kaurava army.,[3][better source needed] Abhimanyu claimed that he could decimate the entire kaurava and pandava army in a fair combat.[4]

Abhimanyu was trained in all types of warfare by Lord Krishna and Arjuna 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 when arjuna was narrating the art of breaking into chakravyuh to Subhadra. But he did not know how to destroy the formation once he was inside, as krishna had stopped the conversation and taken away arjuna.[5]

Merciless killing of Abhimanyu

As soon as Abhimanyu entered the formation, Jayadhrathan, the ruler of sindh blocked the other pandavas, so that abhimanyu was left alone. Jayadhrathan, who had been humiliated by the pandavas 5 years ago, had made severe penance and got a boon from lord shiva himself that: Jayadhrathan can completely hold back and counter-power, any army ( except Arjuna and Krishna) for ONE SINGLE DAY of war. 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. He defeated great warriors like Drona,& Kripa, who did play with full might and then, Ashwatthama, Duryodhana, Salya, Dussasana, Bhurisrava and killed many prominent heroes including Duryodhana's son Lakshmana, Salya's son Rukmaratha, Kritavarma's son Matrikavata, Salya's brother, King Brihadbala and many others.[6][better source needed] Karna was the last standing great warrior who could over-power abhimanyu. But since abbhimanyu was just a teenager, karna did not use his full might against him, and was fighting in an equal challenge.

Finally, a strategy was formed and a joint attack on Abhimanyu followed. Karna cut off Abhimanyu's bow and stopped his attack, Kripa killed his two chariot-drivers, and Kritavarma killed his horses; Abhimanyu took up a sword and a shield but these weapons were cut off by Drona and Ashwathama (though in other versions of the story, the perpetrators change while the acts remain the same). Abhimanyu then took up a chariot-wheel and threw it at Drona, but Kripa and Aswatthama saved Drona by cutting the wheel. With variations depending on the version of the story, Abhimanyu continues to fight, picking up discarded weapons as he requires. In one prominent ending, Abhimanyu defends himself with a chariot-wheel in a final stand; he is killed when numerous warriors simultaneously attack him from all sides. In another version, a badly wounded and exhausted Abhimanyu was finally killed by Dussasana's son, who smashed the fallen Abhimanyu's head with his mace. Abhimanyu died at an early age of sixteen. The death of abhimanyu was so grotesque that the sun set down earlier and stopped the day's fight.[7][better source needed]


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]


External links[edit]

Media related to Abhimanyu at Wikimedia Commons