Subhadra, she was a daughter of Vasudev and Rohini. She is a sister of Balram and half-sister of Lord Krishna. She is also the 4th wife of Arjun and mother of Abhimanyu. In the time of Kamsa, Rohini was in Brindavan under her brother in law Nandagopal’s guidance. Balaram was born there. But from the various main Puranas.
we don’t get information about Subhadra being in Brindavan. Therefore, we think if she was born in Brindavan then we may find some of her interactions with Krishna. That is why we think when Vasudev and his family came to Mathura after the death of Kamsa, Subhadra was born there.
According to Harivamsa when Subhadra was born, she was given the name Chitra. During the 12 years’ exile, Arjun married Naga princess Ulupi and Chitrangada- the princess of Manipur. Iravan was born from Ulupi and Chitrangada gave birth to Babrubahan. After the birth of Babruvahan.
Arjun left Manipur with the consent of the King Chitravahan and reached Prabhas. There he met Krishna. On Krishna’s request, Arjun stays in Dwarka as a guest. At that time, the people of Dwarka used to celebrate their annual festival in the Raivatak hill. Bhoj, Vrishni, Andhak were the part of the festival.
Krishna and Arjun also visited the festival. Here, Arjun came across Subhadra for the first time and felt immense love for her. Her beauty made his jaw drop. Seeing this, Krishna playfully asked Arjun, “The person in exile, how can he be fascinated to lust?” After this, Krishna revealed Arjuna that Subhadra was his half-sister.
Arjun asked Krishna how he could get his sister’s hand. Hearing this, Krishna pretends to think and says, “Kshatriya men attend Swayamvar to marry, if they fail, then they do it forcefully. But I’m doubtful in your case because females are always unpredictable. Suppose in Swayamvar, Subhadra instantly gets attracted to some other man and offers the wedding garland to him then I cannot help you.
” Listening to Krishna’s words, we can assume that Subhadra has not yet seen Arjun or even if she has seen him, Arjun could not create an impact on her. For this reason, Krishna was unsure about Subhadra. That’s why Krishna advised Arjun, “Abduct my sister, we’ll see whatever happens.”
Following this, Arjun planned to kidnap Subhadra and send a few men to Yudhisthir for seeking permission. If this happens, then there may be more political unrest than social because Arjun’s mother Kunti is a sister of Vasudev, who is Subhadra’s father. This means they were maternal siblings. So, if after marriage, there is any negative repercussion then as an Indraprastha King, Yudhisthir’s opinion will matter.
Yudhishthir gave permission knowing that Krishna is involved in this. Arjun gathered the information that Subhadra usually goes to Raivat hill for offerings. He borrowed a chariot and two horses from Krishna for the kidnapping. But Subhadra was unaware of all his intentions. As soon as Subhadra comes out after finishing her prayer, Arjun forcefully picks her up in his chariot.
Maybe, Subhadra didn’t resist because it cannot be possible for her to know Arjun, who has been a companion to Krishna. Arjun tries to leave the place with Subhadra, but Subhadra’s guards stand in front of them. Arjun effortlessly broke the barrier and took her away. After getting defeated, the guards came to the Royal Court and informed about Subhadra’s abduction.
After listening to this, Bhoj- Vrishni got angry and called up for a meeting. The clans started demanding a war. Everyone was furious on Arjun’s act except Krishna, who remained silent throughout the meeting.
Angry Balaram also noticed Krishna’s silence. He told Krishna, “We paid respect to Arjun because of you. But he was not worthy of it. It’s like biting the hand that feeds you.” “He doesn’t care about us. He has invited his death by kidnapping Subhadra. It’s like somebody has put his feet on my head. I will not leave him.
” Listening to all these rants, Krishna speaks for Arjun. He said, “According to me Arjun is innocent. He has done nothing offensive to Bhoj-Vrishnis. If he would have given us dowry to marry Subhadra, then everybody would think we are greedy. Maybe Arjun was not sure if Subhadra would choose him in the Swayamvar where it’s always a girl’s choice. And you know most of the Kshatriyas don’t like arrange marriages.
We can’t question the efficiency of the person who has kidnapped our glorious Subhadra. How can we deny his ability? He was born in a Bharata dynasty and I don’t think any human can defeat him. I think he has kidnapped Subhadra as a true Kshatriya.” After hearing this, Balaram calms down.
Then Krishna advised them to bring back Arjun along with Subhadra. Arjun returned to Dwarka with Subhadra and they got married with proper rituals and customs. Arjun stayed there for a year then he went to Puskar.
As soon as his 12-year exile completed, he returned to Indraprastha with Subhadra. After they reach Indraprastha, Arjun went to Yudhistir and Brahmans to greet them and take their blessings and then he goes to Draupadi. Without Draupadi’s consent, he could not bring Subhadra inside the palace.
Seeing Arjun, Draupadi became satirical and said, “What are you doing here? You should be with that Yadav-Vrishni’s girl.” Arjun understood that he had hurt Draupadi’s sentiments. It would be disrespectful for Draupadi if he stays with Subhadra in front of her. He thought he cannot give Subhadra the status of Royal lady in the presence of Draupadi.
So Arjun returned to Subhadra and removed all her jewelry and transformed her into a simple Gopbalika who lacked all the royalty of a Royal lady but only possessed simplicity and obedience. Arjun sends her to Harem as that ordinary girl. She bows down to touch Kunti’s feet but Kunti hugs her.
After taking blessings from Kunti, Subhadra left for Draupadi’s room. She touched Draupadi’s feet and said, “I’m your maid.” This single sentence made Draupadi calm down. A simple lady comes and says to her she is her maid which made Draupadi think Subhadra doesn’t have any pride in her.
Thus Draupadi expects Subhadra to be her younger sister to whom she cannot lose anything. She also thought that Subhadra is not her competitor. So, she welcomed Subhadra inside the Palace. Therefore, Arjun’s trick worked. After this, Subhadra got pregnant and gave birth to Abhimanyu.
Although Abhimanyu is born to Subhadra, Draupadi treats him as her own child. Later, Abhimanyu became a great warrior like Arjuna. After Draupadi’s Vastraharan Parva, Pandavas went for exile with Draupadi.
Kunti stayed with her brother in law Vidur in the kingdom. But we don’t have any idea about Subhadra at that time. But after 13 years, when Abhimanyu got married to Uttara at the house of King Viraat we get to know that during this period Subhadra was in her parents’ home with Balarama and Krishna where Abhimanyu got the training of arms from his maternal uncles. After this, there was The Kurukshetra war in which Subhadra lost her only son Abhimanyu.
Remembering Subhadra’s innocence, Arjun could not face her, so he sends Krishna to inform her about Abhimanyu’s death. There was another blow in Subhadra’s life after this, where her daughter-in-law Uttara lost her child in her womb because of Ashwatthama. But Krishna revived the child after birth. They named the child Pariksheet.
Eventually, Pandavas won the Kurukshetra war. They got their kingdom back. Yudhishthir became the king. He ruled the kingdom for 35 years. During this phase, Balaram and Krishna passed away. After this, the Pandavas left for the Great Journey or Mahaprasthan along with Draupadi leaving Subhadra’s grandson Pariksheet in the throne. Subhadra stays with him for the rest of her life.