Abhimanyu was Shri Krishna's nephew, his
younger sister's son. Krishna's sister was Subhadra. She had married one of the Pandavas-
the world-famous hero Arjuna. Abhimanyu was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra.
Arjuna lived in the city of Indraprastha. This city was famous in the olden days. It
was the capital of the Pandavas who were good and just. They were the sons of King Pandu.
Pandu had five sons. The first son was Yudhishthira, the next Bheema; the third one was
Arjuna, the fourth son was Nakula and the youngest was Sahadeva.
Yudhishthira was the eldest, and the four younger brothers always obeyed him. He was
the king. The younger brothers helped him in his work as the king and in the defence of
the country. People were happy in the reign of Yudhishthira.
Abhimanyu was the only son of Subhadra. A few months before he was born, Krishna cam to
Indraprastha to take his sister to his city of Dwarka. Subhadra bowed to all the elders
seeking their blessings, and started with her brother.
They travelled from Indraprastha to Dwarka in a chariot drawn by horses. Shri Krishna
himself drove the chariot. He was careful not to tire his sister, who was with child.
It was a long journey. Subhadra first asked him about Dwarka, the people there and her
sister-in-law. Krishna told her all the news. He did not want his sister to be bored with
the journey. So he asked her,"Shall I tell you a story?"
"I do not want a story. But if you could tell me about the fighting skill of my
"Are you also going to fight in a battle?" - Krishna laughed.
"Brother, would it be wrong if I fought to help my husband?" asked Subhadra.
"Certainly not," said Krishna. "But there will not be any need."
"He is indeed brave, Krishna. He does not know what fear is. I am told his whole
life was spent in training for fighting and war."
Listening to his sister, Krishna felt that he should fulfil any wish of her, as she was
pregnant. "She is now interested in war. Her son will have to fight for the Right
later. That is her wish," so reflected Krishna. He described in detail the art of
warfare, which Arjuna had learnt, from his Guru Dronacharya. He described the several
skills and secrets of war. Various formations like the Makaravyooha and the Chakravyooha,
the use of different types of missiles and weapons, and the ways of crushing the enemy and
advancing all these he described. He narrated the stories of Arjuna's prowess.
"I am very happy to hear all this, brother," said Subhadra. I am fortunate to
be the wife of such a hero. Brother, help my son also to become brave like him.
Krishna felt very happy on hearing his sister's words. He himself was an unequalled
hero. When he was just a boy, Krishna had slain king Kamsa who used to torment his
subjects. Kings likeJarasandha and Shishupala were great heroes but were very wicked. They
were a constant source of trouble to the Yadavas. Krishna protected the Yadavas with the
help of his brother Balarama. He felt happy that his sister Subhadra, the wife of the
brave Arjuna, wanted her son also to be a hero. He blessed her saying, "May your son
be brave and famous."
Krishna and Subhadra reached Dwarka. Their parents and relatives welcomed them warmly.
They performed 'Arati' to Subhadra before she stepped into the palace.
A few days later Subhadra gave birth to a baby boy. The child was named Abhimanyu,
meaning one who remains in the midst of wisdom', a very intelligent person. It also
means a person who always defends his honour.
The queens of the palace, Shri Krishna, Balarama and all others were overjoyed at the
birth of a bonny baby to Subhadra. In Indraprastha the Pandavas also greatly rejoiced on
hearing about the birth of the child. They distributed sweets among the people. They fed
poor people and gave them new clothes.