Vatsala (Sashirekha), the daughter of Balarama is betrothed to the Pandava prince Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu is the son of (Balarama and Krishna’s sister) Subhadra and (Krishna’s close friend) the Pandava prince Arjuna. So initially the marriage of Vatsala is to be performed with Abhimanyu but when Abhimanyu’s father Arjuna goes into exile Balarama’s wife Revati says that Arjuna has no kingdom left and a prince without a kingdom may well be a commoner. Balarama thinks about it and feels that his wife is right and that he is supposed to think about the welfare of his daughter breaks off the marriage with Abhimanyu. Balarama arranges it instead with Duryodhana’s son Laxman. When Abhimanyu comes to know about and is annoyed. Abhimanyu asks his maternal uncle- Balarama’s brother and Arjuna’s ally, Krishna to intervene. Krishna says he cannot do so but he should ask help from his first cousin Ghatotkacha – the half demon son of Arjuna’s brother Bhima who lives in Varnavat. Abhimanyu sets out to Varnavat and meets his cousin brother and tells him why he seeks his help. Ghatotkacha is furious at Balarama because he wants to keep an alliance with the very people who were the cause of the Pandavas’ misery. Meanwhile, the marriage preparations take place at Balarama’s house. Ghatotkacha hatches a plan to get Vatsala and Abhimanyu married. Ghatotkacha goes disguised as Vatsala to the marriage ceremony. He frightens the hell out of Laxman who promptly faints. Laxman vows never to marry. The real Vatsala has been transported by Ghatotkacha to Varnavat where Abhimanyu awaits. The couple’s marriage is celebrated. When Duryodhana learns that Abhimanyu has married Vatsala, he is infuriated and thus his anger toward the Pandavas is further fuelled.
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Story of marriage of Balarama & Revati’s Daughter in Mahabharata causes tussle between Abhimanyu & Laxman Kumara (Duryodhana’s Son)
Revati was the only daughter of King Kakudmi, a powerful monarch who ruled Kusasthali, a prosperous and advanced kingdom under the sea, and who also controlled large tracts of land, including Anarta kingdom. Feeling that no human could prove to be good enough to marry his lovely and talented daughter, Kakudmi took Revati with him to Brahmaloka (abode of Brahma) to ask the God’s advice about finding a suitable husband for Revati. When they arrived, Brahma was listening to a musical performance by the Gandharvas, so they waited patiently until the performance was finished. Then, Kakudmi bowed humbly, made his request and presented his shortlist of candidates. Brahma laughed loudly and explained that time runs differently on different planes of existence and that during the short time they had waited in Brahmaloka to see him, 27 chatur-yugas had passed on Earth and all the candidates had died long ago. Brahma added that Kakudmi was now alone as his friends, ministers, servants, wives, kinsmen, armies and treasures had now vanished from Earth and he should soon bestow his daughter to a husband as Kali yuga was near. King Kakudmi was overcome with astonishment and alarm at this news. However, Brahma comforted him and added that god Vishnu, the Preserver, was currently on Earth in the forms of Krishna and Balarama and he recommended Balarama as a worthy husband for Revati. Kakudmi and Revati then returned to earth, which they regarded as having left only just a short while ago. They were shocked by the changes that had taken place. Not only had the landscape and environment changed, but over the intervening 27 chatur-yugas, in the cycles of human spiritual and cultural evolution, mankind was at a lower level of development than in their own time. The Bhagavata Purana describes that they found the race of men had become “dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect.”
Despite Bhima’s physical advantage, Duryodhana had the better technique due to his devotion to his craft. After a long and brutal battle between the two disciples of Balarama, Duryodhana begins to exhaust Bhima, and nearly makes Bhima faint. At this point, Krishna, observing the fight, calls out to Bhima and signals him by repeatedly clapping his own thigh with his hand. As intended, Bhima was reminded of an oath he had taken after the game of dice to crush Duryodhana’s thighs. Bhima viciously attacks Duryodhana with a mace and strikes his thigh, mortally wounding Duryodhana. After having his face insultingly kicked by Bhima, Duryodhana bemoans that he was slain by unfair means, given that it was illegal to attack below the waist. Infuriated at the violation, Balarama, the brother of Lord Krishna, raises his weapon in attack. Lord Krishna consoles Balarama, by reminding him of Duryodhana’s evil deeds. Relenting but fuming, Balarama curses Bhima to be known in the world as a crooked warrior and blesses Duryodhana with glory, naming Duryodhana his greatest pupil.
Duryodhana is lying in the battle field, awaiting death, badly bruised by the wounds inflicted by Bhima. He kept his three fingers in a raised position and is unable to speak. All the efforts made by his men to understand the meaning proved to be futile. Seeing his plight Krishna approached him and said “I know what issues occupied your mind. I will address them”. Krishna identified the issues as: Not building a fort around Hastinapur, Not persuading Vidura to fight the battle, and Not making Ashwatthama the commander-in-chief after the death of Drona. On hearing this Duryodhana closed all the fingers and rested. Duryodhana concluded that these 3 factors should have surely brought him victory. Had he built a fort around Hastinapur, he could have totally avoided the war in the first place. If Vidura had fought on his side, he would have had the best strategist, even better than Krishna. At last, Duryodhana came to the conclusion that Krishna was in fact the avatar of Lord Vishnu. If Duryodhana had named Ashwatthama the commander of the army after the death of Drona, victory would have surely be his as Ashwatthama was the avatar of Lord Shiva. No one can handle a ‘furious’ Ashwatthama, the part incarnate of Lord Shiva.
Ekalavya is a character from the epic The Mahabharata. He was a young prince of the Nishadha, a confederation of jungle tribes (Adivasi) in Ancient India. He was offered as the son to Vyatraj Hiranyadhanus by Narayani Devi and possessed powers given by Bhumi devi. Ekalavya aspired to study archery in the Gurukul of Guru Drona. He is called as one of the foremost of kings in the Starbharata Yajna where he honours Yudhishthira with his shoes. Though he didn’t have his right thumb, he was noted as a very powerful archer and warrior. He is said to be a great friend of Duryodhan. He brought Krishna’s son to the court of Hastinapur when he kidnapped Duryodhan’s daughter. He possessed the mighty bow Pashupath. He is known to have defeated Krishna in an archery combat.