Abhimanyu Vadh

Abhimanyu Vadh

Abhimanyu vadh (killing of Abhimanyu) from Mahabharata is a classic example of how evil people would stop at nothing to achieve their purpose.

It is a story of deception and blatant violation of war rules. 




Did the Kauravas think that they were adharmiks?


On the contrary, they thought that they were the ones on the side of dharma. 

Duryodhana thought that as per Kshatriya dharma, the mighty should rule over the land.

But the Kauravas did not defeat the Pandavas and get their kingdom.

Even winning land through the game of dice was permitted.

But even in the game, they cheated.

Kauravas flourished, but their progress was founded on lies, cheating, and deception

The killing of Abhimanyu was a clear example of this.

As Dhritarashtra himself told Sanjaya after the war: The way my sons slaughtered that young boy, I became sure that we were going to lose the war.


What was Chakra-vyuha?

On the thirteenth day of the Kurukshetra war, Dronacharya ordered the formation of Chakra-vyuha.

Chakra-vyuha had the shape of a rotating wheel. 

All the veterans of the Kaurava side were inside the vyuha except Dronacharya.

Dronacharya was protecting it from outside.

There were thousands of horses, elephants, and chariots inside.

Chakra-vyuha was deadly.

It could swallow and finish anything that came its way.

Breaking the Chakra-vyuha was next to impossible.


Why Abhiimanyu had to go inside the Chakra-vyuha?

Abhimanyu was just sixteen.

Yudhishthira asked Abhimanyu to break open the Chakra-vyuha.

This was because only four people knew how to break the Chakra-vyuha: Krishna, Pradyumna, Arjuna, and Abhimanyu.

At that time, Arjuna along with Krishna was engaged in fighting the Samshaptakas.

Only Abhimanyu was present there.


What was the plan?

Abhimanyu would break the Chakra-vyuha.

The others would also enter the vyuha right after him through the gap he makes.

The Pandavas such as Yudhishtira and Bhima were just at a distance of half a chariot behind Abhimanyu.


How Abhimanyu entered the Chakra-vyuha

Abhimanyu knew the weak spots.

Dronacharya tried to stop him for two ghatikas (48 minutes) but he failed.

Abhimanyu went past Dronacharya, broke the perimeter of the vyuha, and entered inside.


Did the Pandavas also get inside?


They couldn’t.

As soon as Abhimanyu entered inside, Jayadratha sealed the gap.

Jayadratha single-handedly stopped the Pandava army from entering the Chakra-vyuha.

He had a boon from Lord Shiva that other than Arjuna (with Krishna), he can face the whole Pandava army all alone.


Abhimanyu’s performance inside the Chakra-vyuha

Abhimanyu realized that he was all alone inside.

He just smiled and charged ahead.

Abhimanyu killed hundreds of kings who were allies of the Kauravas.

He killed thousands of soldiers, horses, and elephants.

He shattered thousands of chariots.


Who were the six Maharathis who attacked Abhimanyu together?

Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Karna, Ashwatthama, Kritavarma, and Brihadbala.

Out of these, Abhimanyu killed Brihadbala.

Dausshasani came in Brihadbala’s place.


Why the Kauravas resorted to deception?

They had no other option.

The Maharathis had to run for their lives several times.

As Shakuni told Duryodhana: He will kill us all one-by-one. Before that let us all get together and kill him.

As Karna told Dronacharya: His arrows are burning like fire upon my chest. I am not able to run away also. Please tell us a way to kill him.


What did Dronacharya say?

Abhimanyu is invincible.

He can not be defeated in the normal way.

Cut his bowstring from behind.

Destroy his chariot.

Get rid of his weapons one by one.

Then only you can kill him.


But then what was wrong with this?

They were in open violation of the rules of war mutually agreed upon. 

  • You should not attack someone from behind.
  • If someone is without his bow, he should not be attacked with arrows.
  • If he has only a sword with him, then he should be attacked only with a sword, not any other weapon.
  • If someone is on the ground, he should not be attacked from a horse, elephant, or chariot.


The Maharathis did just that 

  • Karna attacked Abhimanyu from behind and cut his bowstring.
  • When he was without his bow, they destroyed his chariot.
  • When Abhimanyu was on the ground, the Maharathis showered arrows upon him from their chariots.
  • When Abhimanyu took out a sword and shield, they destroyed them with arrows.
  • When Abhimanyu took the wheel of his chariot, they destroyed it with arrows.


Who delivered the death blow?


But by that time, Abhimanyu was already severely wounded.

Arrows had pierced his whole body.

Streams of blood were gushing out.

Abhimanyu picked up a gada. 

Dausshasani also fought with his gada.

They both fell down.

Dausshasani got up first and smashed Abhimanyu’s head.


Through his act of extreme bravery and valor, Abhimanyu became as famous as Krishna and Arjuna.

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