- Religion and Philosophy»
SUBHADRA: SISTER OF KRISHNA & BALARAMA
Preserver of the Kuru Dynasty
You might ask, "What about Krishna's sister?" She was a powerful woman in so many ways. She was defined by her relationships and yet she accomplished so much in furthering the continuation of the Kuru Dynasty. Subhadra was the only daughter of Vasadeva and Rohini. She was born after Krishna rescued his parents, Vasadeva and Devaki, from prison. Rohini was Vasadeva's first wife and Devaki was his second wife. Arjuna's mother, Kunti, is the sister of Vasadeva.
Subhadra is also considered to be a partial incarnation of Shatarupa or Shakti. Her most important temple is the Jagnnatha Temple in Puri, India. Her murti is located there along with the murtis of Balarama and Jagannatha, a form of Krishna.
Many people remember her famous brothers, Krishna and Balarama, but she does not always get recognized for her efforts and gifts. Balarama had a relationship with Duryodhana, the evil, tyrannical foe of the Pandavas. Balarama wanted to give Subhadra to Duryodhana in marriage. No one else in the family approved of this match. Arjuna heard of these plans and was very distressed because he wanted to marry her himself. Krishna encouraged Arjuna in proposing marriage to his sister.
Arjuna decided to disguise himself as a renunicant who travelled from town to town and then journeyed to Dvaraka where Subhadra lived with Krishna and Balarama. During the rainy season, approximately four months, renunicants stayed in one place. Arjuna stayed in Dvaraka for four months. Balarama invited him to his home where Arjuna saw Subhadra, who loved Arjuna as much as Arjuna loved her. In fact, she would not have accepted any one else but him as her husband. During this time period, women of the upper castes had the right to choose their own husbands and often had ceremonies for this purpose. Men had to prove their intelligence, devotion, virtues and physical strength in these ceremonies to be considered as a groom. Family members could suggest a man as a husband, but a woman did not have to agree with their suggestions. Subhadra, like Rukmini, was only asserting her right to do so.
Subhadra decided to attend a chariot festival. This was Arjuna's chance to marry his beloved. He was about to leave with her when Krishna advised her to take the reins of the chariot. This showed every one that she was the one who had chosen him as her husband and that she had actually "kidnapped" him. Balarama was angered by their elopement until Krishna and family members explained everything to him. He told Balarama she had chosen Arjuna as her husband and loved him as much as Arjuna loved her. Her taking the reins of the chariot was proof of this. Balarama changed his mind and gladly accepted it and gave them wedding gifts of elephants, chariots, horses and servants. They went to Indrapastha, the capital city of the Pandavas. Soon after their marriage Subhadra conceived a son named Abhimanya. When he was of age, her son married Uttara, daughter of King Virata. Abhimanya was slain in the Kurukshetra War, but Uttara was pregnant with a son named Parikshit. Many years later the Pandavas anointed him as king and then retired to the Himalayas. Subhadra stayed behind with her grandson as a guide and mentor.
Krishna's sister became the most prominent female of the Kuru Dynasty. The very existence of the dynasty rested upon her efforts and the efforts of her grandson, Parikshit. She is the strength and glue which held the nation of India together. Many men on both sides died in the war. Like Manu and Noah she had to restart civilization again. She truly became the Mother of India. She took the reins and guided her grandson and the nation on a better course. War is always costly. In the end a new India was birthed by Krishna's sister who chose her own husband, Arjuna, one of India's greatest warriors and disciples. Arjuna also learned dance from the demigods and taught his future daughter-in-law dance before her marriage. Arjuna introduced her to his son and the rest is history.
Subhadra was a strong warrior and mother in sustaining India after the bloody war. What a great and courageous woman who asserted her rights and lived her responsibilties with equal greatness.
JAI SHRI SUBHADRA!
JAI SHRI SHAKTI!