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Abhimanyu (अभिमन्यु) was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, the famous couple in epic Mahabharata. He was the nephew of Lord Krishna and was married to Uttarā, daughter of king Virata and the princess of Matsya kingdom. Abhimanyu was killed on the 13th day of the Kurukshetra war. His son Parikshit was born after his death in the Mahabharata war.

A Great Warrior

Abhimanyu inherited both courage and fighting ability from his father, Arjuna. He participated in the Mahabharata war when he was 16 years old. During the Mahabharata war, Abhimanyu held at bay many great warriors such as Drona, Karna, Duryodhana and Dushasana. It was felt that the only warrior on the Kurukshetra battlefield that could beat him was Bhishma.

After twelve days of war, Abhimanyu is most recognized for destroying the banner and checking the advance of Bhishma on the first day of the way, Abhimanyu's short but eventful life gains the most prominence on the thirteenth day of the war when he is made to enter the powerful Padmavyuha battle formation of the Kaurava army. Drona had made this contraption in order to capture Yudhishthira. On the side of the Pandavas, only Pradyumna, Krishna, and Arjuna were aware of the secret technique to break this seven-tier defensive spiral formation used by Dronacharya. Jayadratha lures Arjuna away from the battlefield. This leaves Abhimanyu to break the Chakravyuh. Abhimanyu gladly accepts to help the Pandavas break the Chakravyuh but he also makes it known to them that his knowledge is limited to breaking in and didn't know how to exit. As promised, Abhimanyu enters the Chkravyuh followed by his kinsman. The spectacular formation and the speed with which Abhimanyu breaks through was overwhelming for the others and they were left far behind. Abhimanyu puts on a brave fight against all the Tirgatas.

Revenge by Arjuna

Abhimanyu's father Arjuna took the revenge the very next day of his death, by killing Jayadratha, the king of Sindh, who was solely responsible for not giving a chance to Abhimanyu to go out of Chakravuh (the siege), resulting in his death in the hands of many warriors like Karna, Duryodhana etc., when he was weapon-less.

A tribute to Abhimanyu

Abhimanyu was the most illustrious of the Pandavas and Kauravas of his generation. By his virtue and capability, he was deemed to be the most eligible and qualified heir to the throne of Hastinapur. Abhimanyu's son, Parikshit, became the sole heir to the Pandavas empire and succeeded Yudhisthira to the throne.

Scholars are of the opinion that Pandavas had made a mistake by adopting a social evil of early marriage. Since Pandavas wanted to have an ongoing relationship with king Virata, they agreed to fix the marriage of Abhimanyu with Virata's daughter Uttara, when he was just a teenager (16-18 year old). Actually, in those days the custom of early marriage was not prevalent. For example, at the time of marriage, queen Draupadi was 24 year old and Arjuna was 48. At the time of marrying Subhadra (Abhimanyu's mother), Arjuna's age was 54-55 years.

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