Subhadra (Sanskrit: सुभद्रा, IAST: Subhadrā) is a character in the Mahabharata written by Vyasa. In the epic, she is the sister of Krishna and Balarama, wife of Arjuna and mother of Abhimanyu and grandmother of Parikshit. She is the daughter of Vasudeva and Rohini Devi. Subhadra is known as Veera sodari (brave sister), Veera Patni (brave wife) and Veera matha (brave mother) due to her relationship with Krishna, Arjuna and Abhimanyu respectively.
When Subhadra becomes of age, Balarama suggests her as a bride to Duryodhana who was his favourite pupil. Krishna tells Arjuna that he should forcibly take her away as there was no certainty that she would choose Arjuna at the self-choice ceremony. The quotation from Mahabharata : Subhadra Harna Parva:
Vasudeva answered, 'O bull amongst men, self-choice hath been ordained for the marriage of Kshatriyas. But that is doubtful (in its consequences), O Partha, as we do not know this girl's temper and disposition. In the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Therefore O Arjuna, carry away this beautiful sister of mine by force, for who knows what she may do at a self-choice.
Kidnapping Of Subhadra
Vyasa's Mahabharata states that Subhadra was forcefully kidnapped by Arjuna. Arjuna was in the midst of self-imposed pilgrimage, for breaking terms of the agreement he had with his brothers regarding private time with their common wife Draupadi. He reached the city of Dwarka and meets Krishna with whom he spends time. Later he attends a festival held at Raivata mountain alongside Krishna. Other Yadava women including Subhadra were also there to see the festival. After seeing Subhadra, Arjuna is smitten by her beauty and wishes to marry her. Although it is considered taboo to marry one's own cousin, out of lust, Arjuna forcibly abducted Subhadra and married her. Lord Krishna justified Arjuna by saying in the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. But Balarama and other Yadavas are angered by this and decide to pursue Arjuna. But they are dissuaded by Krishna from attacking Arjuna. Finally, Balarama consents and conduct the marriage of Subhadra with Arjuna.
Quotation from Mahabharata: Subhadra Harna Parva:
When that delightful festival of immense grandeur commenced, Vasudeva and Partha went about together. While wandering there, they saw the handsome daughter of Vasudeva, Bhadra by name, in the midst of her maids. As soon as Arjuna beheld her he was possessed by the god of desire. If this thy sister, this maid of the Vrishni race, becometh my wife, truly may I win prosperity in everything. Tell me, O Janardana, by what means I may obtain her. To get her I will achieve anything that is achievable by man.' "Vasudeva answered, 'O bull amongst men, self-choice hath been ordained for the marriage of Kshatriyas. But that is doubtful (in its consequences), O Partha, as we do not know this girl's temper and disposition. In the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Therefore O Arjuna, carry away this my beautiful sister by force, for who knows what she may do at a self-choice. Meanwhile Subhadra, having paid her homage unto that prince of hills, was coming towards Dwaravati. The son of Kunti, afflicted with the shafts of the god of desire, suddenly rushed towards that Yadava girl of faultless features and forcibly took her into his car. Having seized that girl of sweet smiles, that tiger among men proceeded in his car of gold towards his own city(Indraprastha).
At a later time period, inspired from folk tales, certain movies, television serials like B.R. Chopra's Mahabharat (1988 TV series)  and the recent Mahabharat (2013 TV series) portrayed an alternate story in which Subhadra kidnaps Arjuna and that she was in love with him. According to this story, Subhadra heard about Arjuna and his valiant deeds and began to admire Arjuna secretly. Arjuna during his exile reached Dwaraka and there chance upon Subhadra and the two secretly does a Gandharva Vivaha. Later with the help of Krishna the two leave for Indraprastha and before getting on the chariot Krishna advises Subhadra to be the charioteer which will show her consent to the pursuing Yadavas and hence prevent them from going to war with neither Hastinapur nor Indraprastha. Krishna pacifies Yadavas and Balarama. Researchers believe that this story gained popularity due to the rarity of the situation narrated in the story, i.e., kidnapping of a male by a female.
Certain sections of Hindus believe Subhadra to be a goddess named Yogmaya. Subhadra is one of the three deities worshipped at the Jagannath temple at Puri, along with Krishna (as Jagannatha) and Balarama (or Balabhadra). One of the chariots in the annual Ratha Yatra is dedicated to her. Apart from it she is also believed to be worshiped by certain communities in Odisha, West Bengal and Gujarat.* 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Subhadra.|
- Ganguli, K M. "THE MAHABHARATA : SUBHADRA HARANA PARVA". sacredtexts.com. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
- B R CHOPRA, Mahabharat. "Arjun runs away with Subhadra". Youtube. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- "Why Subhadra Is Worshipped With Krishna In Jagannath Yatra". indiatimes.com. indiatimes.com. Retrieved 15 June 2017.