I heard that while Kamsa was dying, he cursed Shri Krishna that he (Shri Krishna) will also die in the hands of his nephew.

Shri Krishna had only one sister i.e Subhadra. So, while she was pregnant, Shri Krishna was telling her the secret of Chakravyuha, as it was a boring topic for her, she slept soon but the child inside her womb was listening to Shri Krishna's explanation.

The child was acknowledging that he is listening to the explanation by doing hmm sound frequently.

I heard that:

  • Shri Krishna told the child about how to enter the Chakravyuha but not how to exit it so that the child will die in Chakravyuha and Shri Krishna can get rid of the curse. But some other sources say that Arjuna was explaining the Chakravyuha to Subhadra, when he explained the entering of Chakravyuha, Shri Krishna interrupted him and took him away.

  • And also during the battle (Mahabharata), Shri Krishna as a charioteer diverted Arjuna's (who is aware of Chakravyuha) Chariot far from the Chakravyuha when Abhimanyu was entering in to it.

Is this true?

PS: There were other nephews of Shri Krishna known as upa-pandavas. Though they weren't in direct relation with Shri Krishna, they died on the night of the end of Mahabharata war.

  • 2
    Kamsa did not curse Lord Krishna and Arjuna was telling about Chakravyuha to Subhadra while she was pregnant not Sri Krishna.
    – user507
    Jul 25, 2014 at 11:32
  • 2
    Another thing that Upapandavas had in common with Abhimanyu is that their early death was planned ahead of time. Abhimanyu died early because he was the incarnation of Chandra's son Varchas, and Chandra didn't want to be apart from him for too long; see my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/7044/36 The Upapandavas were incarnations of five Vishwadevas, who were cursed by Vishwamitra but then the curse was lessened so that they wouldn't have to spend too long as humans: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/7049/36 Apr 27, 2015 at 19:08

4 Answers 4


As per The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section LXVII:

And he who was known as the mighty Varchas, the son of Soma, became Abhimanyu of wonderful deeds, the son of Arjuna.

And before his incarnation, the god Soma had said these words to the celestials,

'I cannot give (part with) my son. He is dearer to me than life itself. Let this be the compact and let it be not transgressed. The destruction of the Asuras on earth is the work of the celestials, and, therefore, it is our work as well. Let this Varchas, therefore, go thither, but let him not stay there long. Nara, whose companion is Narayana, will be born as Indra's son and indeed, will be known as Arjuna, the mighty son of Pandu. This boy of mine shall be his son and become a mighty car-warrior in his boyhood. And let him, ye best of immortals, stay on earth for sixteen years.

And here is the main part of the story,

And when he attaineth to his sixteenth year, the battle shall take place in which all who are born of your portions shall achieve the destruction of mighty warriors. But a certain encounter shall take place without both Nara and Narayana (taking any part in it). And, indeed, your portions, ye celestials, shall fight, having made that disposition of the forces which is known by the name of the Chakra-vyuha. And my son shall compel all foes to retreat before him. The boy of mighty arms having penetrated the impenetrable array, shall range within it fearlessly and send a fourth part of the hostile force, in course of half a day, unto the regions of the king of the dead. Then when numberless heroes and mighty car-warriors will return to the charge towards the close of the day, my boy of mighty arms, shall reappear before me. And he shall beget one heroic son in his line, who shall continue the almost extinct Bharata race.'

Hearing these words of Soma, the dwellers in heaven replied,

'So be it.' And then all together applauded and worshipped (Soma) the king of stars.

Thus, how Abhimanyu died was demanded by Soma (the Moon God).


I haven't heard about the version you wrote, but there are other 2 versions also famous. Both suggest that Abhimanyu was belonging to "Raakshasha" (Demon like) clan.

A defeated demon entering Subhadra's womb

According the Bheel Mahabharata, Krishna had captured this Danava and he entered Subhadra's womb. The danava was extremely strong & mighty (may be little less than Bhima's grandson Yalamber). Even before entering the Chakravyuha, Abhimanyu praises few things about his own powers which might be "not so inspiring" for his fans.

A cursed demon by Durvasa

According to Harekrsna - Abhimanyu chapter, according to one South Indian tradition, it is a curse from Durvasa that makes Abhimanyu a Rakshasa in his current birth. In a former life he was a gatekeeper at Rama's palace, and Durvasa cursed him to be born as a Rakshasa in his future life because he refused entry to the sage into Rama's court.

In general, the reason for Krishna desiring Abhimanyu's death may not be exactly because he was a Raakshasa, but may be because Abhimanyu's capability of killing the entire Kaurava+Pandava clan all alone (assumption).

  • Do you really believe this Bheel Mahabharatha?
    – The Destroyer
    Oct 25, 2015 at 7:28
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    @AnilKumar I don't know that's why have mentioned just as a reference. There is another story of Abhimanyu being son of moon God who wanted his son back asap.
    – iammilind
    Oct 25, 2015 at 7:32
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    Yeah. Bheel Mahabhartha says Draupadi was raped by Vasuki. I think this Bheel tribe added their own stories to Mahabharatha.
    – The Destroyer
    Oct 25, 2015 at 7:37
  • @iammilind This is the link to the story of of Abhimanyu being son of moon God who wanted his son back asap sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01068.htm Apr 12, 2016 at 9:27
  • @AADTechnical, thanks a lot for the reference. Your observations are usually good & commendable. Hence feel free to edit my post whenever you feel so. I believe, you will only improve it to betterment.
    – iammilind
    Apr 12, 2016 at 16:08

As mentioned above, it was Arjuna, Subhadra's husband who was telling her the ways to break through a chakravyuha, and not her brother Krishna. And during the battle (Mahabharata), Shri Krishna as a charioteer diverted Arjuna's (who is aware of Chakravyuha) Chariot far from the Chakravyuha when Abhimanyu was entering in to it. Sri Krishna did it to save King Dhrupad' s kingdom from the hands of the Kaurav army who had already attacked Panchal. King Dhrupad was a student of Lord Parashuram and he too was aware of breaking the chakravyuha. And to defend his kingdom, he would be taking a part of the Pandava army, which would make them weaker. Lord Krishna was confident enough that, Arjuna would be capable of battling the Kaurav army out there alone;he also knew that it would take King Dhrupad a long time to reach his kingdom, while the Lord himself could travel lightning fast and come to the rescue. So, he took Arjun away, leaving Abhimanyu in the hands of King Dhrupad and the remaing four Pandavas.

  • 4
    Can you provide source for your claims?
    – Mr_Green
    Aug 5, 2014 at 5:19

This is going to be a three part answer:

First part. It was Arjuna who was speaking with Subadhra regarding Chakravyuha. There is no part for Krishna there.

Abhimanyu said, 'Desiring victory to my sires, soon shall I in battle penetrate into that firm, fierce and foremost of arrays formed by Drona. I have been taught by my father the method of (penetrating and) smiting this kind of array. I shall not be able, however, to come out if any kind of danger overtakes me.

Link: Sacred Texts

Bonus News: A child inside a mother can listen only when the mother is sleeping and not when mother is awake. It was like Arjuna was explaining things and when he came to chakravyuha, Subadra might have fallen asleep paving Abimanyu to listen to entering the vyuha. Noticing Subadra fallen asleep, Arjuna might have stopped going further and hence Abimanyu never get to know how to come out of the formation.

Second part. No. Kamsa never cursed krishna. If he has cursed, Krishna would indeed be dead by his nephew as curses does come into effect on those days.

Third part. Arjuna was not in the field and that is the only reason Abimanyu was asked to spear head the attack even though he had only little knowledge. So it is not krishna who just drove away just so Abimanyu can have a warrior's death but they were already not available in the field to break into the vyuha.

  • I don't understand. How can Arjuna know that Drona will form the Chakravyuha at that time. Mahabharata battle happened only for 18 days. In 18 days, Abhimanyu can't become a grown up from a child in mother's womb.
    – Mr_Green
    Nov 22, 2016 at 5:00
  • What? Arjuna was talking about Chakravyuha to Subadra 13 years before the war, when Abimanyu was in his mother's womb. And you are right about Arjuna not knowing that Drona will form Chakravyuha. The text linked is to say that Abimanyu heard the vyuha from Arjuna rather than Krishna. Nov 22, 2016 at 6:31
  • @thiruvenkadam - where does it say that Abhimanyu heard it in womb? Feb 21, 2020 at 2:21

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