Shashirekha was the
daughter of Balarama, Subhadra's elder brother. She was a very sweet and lovely girl. Even
when she was still a young girl, Subhadra wished her to become Abhimanyu's wife and her
daughter-in-law. Subhadra had once gone to Dwarka before the Pandavas left for the f o
rest. She had even then expressed her wish before her brother. Balarama had agreed,
thinking that the Pandavas, being the kings of Indraprastha, would live in great grandeur,
and that Abhimanyu was the son of the world famous hero Arjuna.
But after the Pandavas went to the forest Balarama's mind began to change little by
little. The Pandavas had no place to live in. They lived in the forest, here today and
somewhere else tomorrow. They had to spend twelve years in the forest and another year
incognito. If recognized, they had to repeat the cycle. Should his daughter enter such a
On the other hand, Duryodhana was Balarama's disciple; Balarama liked him very much.
Duryodhana's son was Lakshanakumara. Duryodhana who was already a king, had also taken
away the kingdom of the Pandavas.
Duryodhana asked Balarama to give Shashirekha in marriage to Lakshanakumara. Balarama
Subhadra was miserable. Just because her husband was in trouble, her own brother looked
down on him; so she wept in sorrow. She confided her sorrow to Krishna. Krishna advised
Balarama that a sister should not be painted liked this; he told him that the Pandavas,
though in difficulty, then, would again be emperors. Balarama did not pay heed to these
words. Subhadra was in great distress.
Abhimanyu came to know of his mothers grief. He was very angry at the insult to
his mother, father and to himself. Mother and son decided not to stay in a place where
they were not honored; they thought that it was only proper for them to go to the place
where the Pandavas lived.
In the course of their journey, they reached a place called Hidimbavana. Ghatotkacha,
the king of Hidimbavana was very strong. His mother was Hidimbe. She was Bheema's wife and
Ghatotkacha was Bheema's son. Subhadra and Abhimanyu did not know this. They set foot in
Hidimbavana. Ghatotkacha was angry because they had come there without his permission. He
But Abhimanyu was Arjuna's son. There could be only one outcome. H e became furious and
shot a hundred arrows at Ghatotkacha, At first Ghatotkacha did not take Abhimanyu
seriously; he thought that he was after all a young boy. He himself was huge as a
mountain, and he had tremendous strength. It was not easy to fight with him. Subhadra
shivered with fear on seeing him.
Abhimanyu, of course, did not care and was not afraid. Ghatotkacha fell on him like a
mountain. But Abhimanyu calmly shot his arrows. Ghatotkacha stopped the arrows, threw them
away, and again pounced on Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu again rained arrows on his opponent, all
of which entered Ghatotkacha body. Unable to bear the pain, Ghatotkacha cried aloud and
Hearing his cry of pain Hidimbe came there. She was much grieved at the sad condition
of her brave son. She took his head on her lap. "Oh that this should happen to
Bheemasena's son!" she wept.'