Subhadra wondered why her brothers were coming to her gardens and frowned as she saw someone with them. The rains was making to difficult for Subhadra to see any clearly. Reaching a sudden decision, she left her room going downstairs towards her brothers.
Balarama was walking respectfully beside a man, but it was Krishna's look which caught her attention. He looked like....Krishna looked like he had done something particularly mischievous, a part of him filled with mirth and the other part looking very proud of himself. Shaking her head, Subhadra studied the man in between them. The man turned out to be sage...A sage...Subhadra frowned. For a sage, he looked far too young. But then there he was in his thick beard and matted hair. Without meaning too Subhadra studied the man's fingers when she was surprised. The hands were coarse with various marks....That was something she had seen plenty of....Usually in the hands of archers. Subhadra's heartbeat sped up as she studied the sage again.
There was something about the sage. The way she was studying her....Subhadra was not normally self-conscious...But the man's gaze made her uncomfortable. Something....
'Bhadra!' Balarama said beckoning Subhadra to come forward. She walked forward watching the sage. The sage's expression was hungry...almost as if...She shook her head struggling to pay attention to what her brother was saying. 'The sage was found in the temple of Raivataka! The rains have started! I invited him over so that you could look after him during the four rainy months. If he is pleased with you he will bless you so that you will lead a happy life with your husband....'
Subhadra gasped. Hearing her brother, she suddenly realized whom the sage reminded her of....
'Subhadra! Why don't you make the sage comfortable?' Krishna said interrupting his brother. Krishna realized that Subhadra had understood who the sage was.
Subhadra nodded as she mischievously looked at Balarama. 'Who is he, brother?'
'A great sage!' Balarama said with complete conviction. Subhadra controlled her giggle with great difficulty as she continued looking at Balarama.
'If you take good care of him, you will get a good husband!' Krishna said drily.
Subhadra burst out laughing as Balarama looked surprised. 'It is true!' Balarama said. 'This customs has been practiced among warriors for ages!' Subhadra controlled herself with great difficulty as she nodded her head demurely. She looked at the 'sage' as if all her dreams had come true. Krishna shook his head almost grinning. 'Go!' He urged his sister.
Subhadra took the sage to a corner of the garden, well protected from the rain. The view of the garden from there was beautiful.
She laid down the mat for the sage to sit. She turned to her maid. 'Please bring some refreshments!' The maid nodded wondering why the princess was suddenly looking so bright, almost as if she could not stop smiling.
The maid looked surprised at the sage. He was a very handsome man...a sage, but still a very handsome man....He was looking at the princess with such...The maid realized that she could never explain the look on the sage's eyes. Shaking her head the maid went inside the palace to get some refreshments.
The next few days were one of the happiest ones for Arjuna. Meeting Subhadra and talking to her....seemed to rejuvenate him. He was happy with the realization that she loved him as much as he loved her. For one dark minute he thought of Draupadi back home and realized that what happened between Subhadra and Draupadi was something he could not predict or plan for.
The days passed happily and too soon for both Subhadra and Arjuna.
Then one evening, Krishna came to see Arjuna and Subhadra. 'I will be leaving my four favourite horses tomorrow! We are all going to a fair at Raivataka! The security at the palace would be minimum and....tomorrow is a very auspicious day!'
'For what?' Subhadra asked mischievously.
'I do not know! For everything in general!' Krishna said smiling. He turned to Arjuna. 'Make good use of the time, my friend!'
And so on the next day, when the palace was more or less deserted, Arjuna changed his garb. Within a matter of minutes he went from Arjuna the sage to Arjuna, the warrior.
He adorned his armour which he had not touched for a long time and got on the beautiful chariot which Krishna had left for him. He drove the chariot straight inside Subhadra's palace. Arjuna almost gasped as he saw her. She had decked up specially for the occasion and looked ravishingly beautiful. There before the few warriors who were left behind, Arjuna pulled Subhadra with him as they both got on the chariot.
The warriors watched the entire scene in silence and then suddenly it dawned on them that their princess was being abducted. The few warriors which remained formed a line and were about to attack when Arjuna quickly disarmed the warriors....without even trying too hard. However noticing that Arjuna was preoccupied, Subhadra picked up the reins of the horses and drove the horses expertly out. Arjuna smiled as he felt the chariot move. The animals responded to her touch, the same way it responded to Krishna's touch.
Balarama was furious as he paced the palace angrily. 'It was Arjuna, your majesty!' The disarmed warriors looked slightly shame-faced as they spoke to Balarama. 'There was nothing we could do!'
'KRISHNA!' Balarama bellowed loudly as the warriors looked startled. Krishna for his part looked magnificently unperturbed.
'You knew!' Balarama said with absolutely no doubt in his mind. 'You did this!'
Krishna looked hurt, which looked very believable. 'Me? I had nothing to with this! I actually told you, that he was a false sage!'
Balarama spluttered so angrily that Krishna for a second was afraid that Balarama's head would start smoking.
'That Pandava! I trusted him and he took my sister away! I am personally going to kill Arjuna!' Balarama said viciously.
Krishna looked at his brother and the other courtiers who were eagerly nodding their head at the prospect of war with the invincible Pandava.
'Brother!' He said quietly.
'NOT ONE WORD!' Balarama said angrily.
'Please! This is important!' Krishna insisted.
'I AM NOT LISTENING TO YOU!' Balarama shouted so loudly that Krishna's ears were ringing for a few minutes.
Krishna winced as he continued. 'Just talk to the guards who were there at that time! That is all I ask!'
Balarama frowned suddenly stopping. Whatever else it was, he was not expecting Krishna to say that. Before Balarama could say anything, Krishna nodded his head to the guards to come forward.
'Arjuna disarmed you?' Krishna asked rapidly.
The guard nodded as Krishna continued. 'He was in a chariot?'
The guard nodded again as Krishna continued. 'How was he able to fire his arrows and drive the chariot, at the same time?'
The guard looked a little more shame-faced as he studied Balarama's face which looked almost beet red.
'Answer the question!' Balarama snapped angrily.
'The...' The guard hesitated.
'ANSWER!' Balarama shouted.
'The princess drove the chariot, your majesty!' The guard said wanting nothing more than to just vanish from there.
Balarama blinked for a whole second. 'Bhadra? Princess Bhadra drove the chariot?' He asked harshly.
The guard reluctantly nodded his head as Balarama's head reeled.
'Arjuna is a warrior! Subhadra is a princess! One of the approved forms of marriage between a warrior and the princess is when the warrior takes the princess away! Subhadra even helped him! Theirs is a marriage of love! The highest form of marriage, ever! Nothing is more important than...'
'Quiet!' Balarama grumbled as he realized that his sister and Arjuna loved each other and Krishna had just perfectly executed Subhadra's 'abduction'.
'Brother! Arjuna is a good man and Subhadra loves him! She has chosen him! This marriage is beneficial to the Yadavas! Please accept it!' Krishna said quietly.
Balarama looked at the court and then at Krishna. He knew beforehand that if he let Krishna speak, this was the only outcome....But then what could he do? What could anybody do if Krishna willed for something to happen? Balarama sighed.
The twelve years of exile were over when Arjuna abducted Subhadra. He watched from behind as Subhadra drove the chariot expertly through the road to Indraprastha. He nodded and took the reins as she offered it to him, taking a break.
Back in Indraprastha, Draupadi was jealous of the beautiful Subhadra when she saw her. But Subhadra wisely met Draupadi dressed as a simple girl from a cowherd family instead of like a princess.
Talking with Subhadra, Draupadi realized that Subhadra loved Arjuna the same way she loved him – unconditionally and completely. Besides Bhadra was the sister of Krishna...the Dark Lord. Draupadi smiled as she embraced Subhadra.
The Yadavas properly performed the marriage of Arjuna and Subhadra and rejoiced when they knew that she was in the family way. They gave plenty of gifts to the princess, from their kingdom.
Arjuna was always fascinated by Subhadra's interest in warfare and administrative matters. He always tried explaining to her the nuances of warfare that he had learnt over the years.
'Chakra Vyugha?' Subhadra asked her eyes shining .
Arjuna nodded as he continued. 'That is one of the most beautiful battle formations, you can see! As the name implies, the troops are arranged like a circle! The animals are in the outer most circle. Defeating them itself is a difficult job! If anyone breaks it in and comes inside, they will meet the foot soldiers. Besides the cavalry would be firing continuously....'
Subhadra's eyes felt tired form the days excitement as the day's work caught up with her and she felt very tired. 'Then how do you break it?' She asked frowning suddenly.
Arjuna chuckled. 'You do not aim at the centre! You always aim first at the right and then at the left! When the animals there scatter, they will cause immense damage to their own army. That way, not only the first, but the second line of defence would be attacked!'
Subhadra nodded as she struggled to keep her eyes open. But it was a wasted effort. Arjuna spotted the tired Subhadra and immediately carried her back to her palace.
The next day Bhadra forgot all about this and started something new. Their conversation about the Chakra Vyugha was never completed....