After a few months,
Krishna took Subhadra and Abhimanyu back to Indraprastha with great pomp. The boy grew up
as everybody's darling in the palace.
Abhimanyus education began as soon as he grew up into a little lad. The art of
warfare, so necessary for a prince, was also taught. His father Arjuna was the
world-famous archer; his uncle Bheemasena was such a fighter with the mace that the
enemies trembled with great fear. So Abhimanyus military education was perfect and
But suffering came when he still a young boy, Dhritarashtra was the uncle of the
Pandavas. He was blind. He had a hundred sons. Duryodhana was the eldest. Dusshasana was
one of his younger brothers. The brothers were called the Kauravas. They hated the
Pandavas. They were trying somehow to seize the kingdom of the Pandavas and get rid of
them. Duryodhana invited Yudhishthira to a game of dice and won by deceit. According to
the conditions of the contest, Yudhishthira had to give up his 'Kingdom for thirteen
years. He and his brothers had to live for twelve years in the forest and live incognito
(that is, unknown to anybody and unrecognized) during the thirteenth year. If anybody
recognized them during that last year, they had again to spend twelve years in the forest
and live incognito for one year.
The Pandavas, who had lived in splendor as kings, now started for the forest. Draupadi
was their wife. She and her children went with them. So did Subhadra and young Abhimanyu.
Shri Krishna went to see them when they were in the forest. They had lost their kingdom
and suffered dishonor and were in great sorrow. Krishna consoled them and took Subhadra
and Abhimanyu with him to Dwarka.
Abhimanyu's training as a warrior continued in Dwarka. If one of his uncles was Shri
Krishna himself, the other uncle was Balarama, the teacher of the mighty Bheema; Balarama
made Bheema the master of the mace. What more was needed? Krishna taught Abhimanyu the use
of many different types of weapons. In battles, soldiers were arranged in various
formations to halt the advance of the enemies. Such an arrangement was called a 'Vyooha'.
Among them were different types like the Makaravyooha and the Chakravyooha. It was very
difficult to break these and get inside, or to come out of them. Krishna taught Abhimanyu
the art of entering them. Balarama taught him Gadayuddha.
Several years passed. The Pandavas still lived in the forest. Subhadra was spending her
days in sorrow, waiting for the end of Arjunas exile. She had only one consolation:
Abhimanyu was growing up as a brave boy, a feast to the eyes of all who saw him.