In the previous episode, we had witnessed Arjuna voluntarily taking up a one-year “Vana-Vaasa” because he had allegedly entered into the chamber where Yudishtra and Draupati were together. As per Sage Naarada’s instruction, Arjuna had to undertake this so as to prevent unwanted “flexes” in the “Dharma”, which in future might cause fights between the brothers. After the one year period, we had witnessed yesterday that Arjuna ended up marrying three women at different times – Ulupi, Chitraangata and Shubadra. After the first two marriages were over, Arjuna was occasionally wandering along the dense forest route and spotted a grand function that was taking place. The place where this function was happening was none other than the “Praabhaasa Kshetra”, which is very close to Dwaaraka. Bhagawan Krishna had incidentally come there as well, to be part of that function, and this was an opportunity for both Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna to meet each other!
As Bhagawan Krishna spotted Arjuna amidst the gathering, He immediately ran towards Arjuna, hugged him and welcomed him to His Dwaaraka kingdom. It should be understood here that this “Praabhaasa Kshetra” was part of Bhagawan Krishna’s Dwaaraka kingdom, located in the present-day Indian state of Gujarat, near the town called Viraaval. Bhagawan Krishna asks Arjuna thus, “Oh Arjuna! How come you’re here? You’re in the form of a tribal forester! Is everything fine with you? Where are the others? Where is Kunthi Devi? What is the reason for you to come all alone here?” As Bhagawan Krishna asks thus, Arjuna narrates the entire story and Bhagawan Krishna was indeed very happy with Arjuna’s decision. Bhagawan Krishna replies back to Arjuna thus, “Oh Arjuna! Today you’ve made me feel proud with your actions that pertain to “Dharma”. You’ve ensured that “Dharma” has to be protected. I’m very happy! I’m proceeding towards the Raivathaka Parvatha for a grand function. Why don’t you accompany me and we shall have a good time with each other?” As Bhagawan Krishna gives this invitation, Arjuna too accepted it and both of them went to the Raivathaka Parvatha.
The function was itself known as “Raivathaka Utsava”, and it was full of dance, music, and other recreation activities. There were enormous food and drink varieties and both of them had a relishing time with each other amidst all these happenings! It is to this place wherein Shubadra comes. As we go into this “Charitra”, we should understand one important point here – Vasudeva (Bhagawan Krishna’s father) had eight wives, including Devaki Devi, who is the mother of Bhagawan Krishna. Devaki Devi was Vasudeva’s first wife. Next wife was Rohini. Rohini’s son was Balarama. Similarly, the daughter who was born to another wife of Vasudeva was none other than this Shubadra Devi. Hence, we can infer that Shubadra was one of Bhagawan Krishna’s sisters. In fact, we can worship Shubadra Devi today also – At a famous place called “Puri-Jangannaatha-Kshetra” in the Indian state of Odisha. As we worship Puri Jagannatha (Bhagawan Krishna Himself), we can worship Shubadra by the side of Him, as His sister.
Thus, as Arjuna spots Shubadra, he immediately falls in love with her. He wanted to somehow marry Shubadra. Bhagawan Krishna too understands by Arjuna’s looks towards her that he is in love with her. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna calls Arjuna by His side and explains to him thus, “Oh Arjuna! I understand that you’re wanting to marry Shubhadra. However, it is not as easy as you think! You’ve to first obtain the permission of Yudishtra for this. That atleast is possible and I don’t think Yudishtra is going to oppose this. However, the major stumbling block would be my brother, Balarama. You’ve to somehow convince him for this marriage to happen!” As Bhagawan Krishna says this, Arjuna did not understand the real intention behind these words. He asks Bhagawan Krishna thus, “Oh Krishna! What should I do now? How do I end up marrying Shubadra?” Bhagawan Krishna laughed and replied back, “Oh! Arjuna! I’ve got a plan for this! You come to Dwaaraka with me in this same “Sanyaasi” form. I shall make this happen! Don’t worry!”
Now what was Bhagawan Krishna’s plan? What is He going to do? Let us wait till the next episode to witness the interesting set of events unfold! Stay tuned! 🙂