The 6 Wives Of Arjuna In The Epic Mahabharata

The Mahabharata stands as the longest epic poem in ancient India, boasting over 100,000 Sanskrit verses, narrating the tale of two royal branches engaged in the Kurukshetra war for the coveted throne of Hastinapura.

Scholars propose its composition in the 4th century BCE or even earlier, making it a monumental work in human history. Amidst its grand narrative, the Mahabharata introduces captivating characters like Krishna, Arjuna, Bhima, Karna, and Draupadi, with Arjuna emerging as the second most prominent figure.

Arjuna’s Wives: Separating Fact from Fiction

Contrary to widespread belief, Arjuna did not have seven wives; he married four royal princesses from different states:

  1. Draupadi: Princess of Panchal State.
  2. Ulupi: Widow and daughter of Kauravya.
  3. Chitrangada: Warrior princess of the Manipur kingdom.
  4. Subhadra: Half-sister of Krishna.

Arjuna could have had two more wives if he had not declined the proposals of Urvasi, a celestial nymph, and Uttara, the princess of the Matsya kingdom.

Arjuna and Draupadi’s Love Story

The love between Arjuna and Draupadi is a significant aspect of the Mahabharata. Despite sharing Draupadi with his four brothers, Arjuna held a special place in her heart. Draupadi, breaking her own rule of not allowing the wives of the five Pandavas to stay together, permitted Subhadra, Arjuna’s second wife, to stay with them, emphasizing her love and care for Arjuna.

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Arjuna won Draupadi in her swayamvara, showcasing his unparalleled archery skills. Despite the swayamvara’s rule giving Draupadi the right to refuse the winning suitor, she chose Arjuna as her husband due to his extraordinary abilities.

Arjuna’s Exile for 12 Years

Arjuna’s marriage to Ulupi, Chitrangada, and Subhadra finds its roots in a rule devised by the sage Narada Muni. To avoid internal conflicts among the Pandavas for Draupadi, Narada suggested a rotational system. Each Pandava would spend one year alone with Draupadi, and breaking this rule would result in a 12-year exile.

Arjuna, breaking the rule to help a poor Brahmin, faced exile for his actions. This marked the beginning of his journey, leading to the marriages with Ulupi, Chitrangada, and eventually Subhadra.

Arjuna’s Marriages during Exile

Arjuna and Ulupi

During his exile, Arjuna encountered Ulupi, a Naga tribe princess and widow. Mesmerized by Arjuna’s appearance, Ulupi used her magical abilities to bring him to her tribe. Arjuna, swayed by her charm, agreed to marry her. They spent time together, and when Ulupi became pregnant with their son Iravan, Arjuna left the tribe.

Arjuna and Chitrangada

Heading west during his exile, Arjuna reached Manipur and met Chitrangada, a beautiful princess. Arjuna, staying in the kingdom, fell for Chitrangada, and upon expressing his desire to marry her, agreed to the condition set by her father, King Chitravahana. They had a son named Babruvahana.

Arjuna and Subhadra

Arjuna’s desire to marry Subhadra existed even before Draupadi’s swayamvara. Meeting Krishna in Dwarka, Arjuna expressed his wish to marry Subhadra. Krishna, supportive of the alliance, advised Arjuna to seek Subhadra’s consent. Arjuna and Subhadra married with mutual agreement, forming a union Krishna gladly endorsed.

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Arjuna’s Favorite Wife

Arjuna had four wives, but Draupadi and Subhadra remained prominent in his life. Despite scholars placing Draupadi above others, Arjuna’s profound love was for Subhadra. Circumstances, such as sharing Draupadi with his brothers and being apart for extended periods, made Arjuna’s life with Subhadra more enduring. Scholars and tales often highlight Subhadra as Arjuna’s most cherished wife.

Unexplored Proposals

The Mahabharata hints at two unexplored proposals, one from Urvasi, a celestial nymph, and another from Uttara, the princess of the Matsya kingdom. Arjuna’s decisions regarding these proposals remain untold in the epic, adding an air of mystery to his matrimonial journey.

In unraveling the nuanced stories of Arjuna’s marriages, the Mahabharata provides a tapestry of emotions, love, and complexities, transcending the battlefield tales for which it is widely known.

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Shiba Prasad

Shiba Prasad

I've been captivated by India's ancient history and Vedic culture. What began as a hobby, reading books on Hinduism, has now turned into my full-time commitment, researching and writing for this blog. When not working, I enjoy spending time with friends.

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