Princess of Hastinapura. Crown Prince Duryodhana’s daughter Lakshmana was adored since birth. Her twin brother Lakshman and she had charmed lives…but perhaps no fairy tale lasts forever.
Why Lakshmana’s story is so tragic
She was the apple of Duryodhana’s eye, but her father was also the man who had manipulated his cousins into losing their inheritance, tried to murder them by fire and when that failed, used gambling to humiliate their wife, Draupadi, and send them to exile for 14 years. All this was to cause upheavals in Lakshmana’s life, though she knew it not.
Her father was bad. Whispers ran around the palace of his cruel acts but her mother Bhanumati did not let the gossip graze her children. Her husband might have been truly evil, but he was a good husband and a brilliant father. And in the end that was what mattered.
Duryodhana’s daughter was a skilled warrior
She grew up, this strong-willed Princess of Hastinapura. As skilled in driving a chariot, wielding a bow and arrow and fighting with the mace as her twin…because her parents had insisted on it…Lakshmana was a coveted prize in the royal marriage market.
Oh and she was beautiful. Ah….well!
Duryodhana decided that he would let his daughter choose her husband. The great kings and princes of India were invited to the swayamvara. Among them the most fortunate one would be Lakshmana’s husband.
Was Lakshmana thrilled with her swayamvara? Probably. For she knew who she would choose. Vrishasena, Crown Prince of Anga, her father’s great friend Karna’s son and as mighty a warrior as his father. They had loved each other since childhood.
Picture her eagerly waiting with her ladies-in-waiting, the garland in her hands, ready to put around Vrishasena’s neck….
Picture her smiling with her heart in her eyes one last time…
Related reading: Questions asked during arranged marriages
And then swept down Samba…the most handsome prince in the world…
Son of Krishna, this Yadava prince had been smitten by the beauty of Lakshmana. He took her off in his chariot while his friends held off her father’s men…
Before her stunned and enraged father had time to react, Samba had reached Dwarka. His mother, Jambavati, took the Princess in her arms and kept her in her apartments, while outside Dwarka, Krishna and Balarama led a furious battle against the Kauravas.
But ultimately the night passed…
And now no man could marry Lakshmana, for she had spent a night under another man’s roof. No one could marry her except the man who had abducted her.
Even if she was Hastinapura’s Princess.
Even if she was Duryodhana’s daughter.
Duryodhana pleaded, but the elders of the Kuru house led by Grandsire Bhishma were implacable.
Neither Karna nor Vrishasena said a word while Lakshmana and her father stormed.
A forced marriage
Finally Duryodhana’s daughter got married to whom? Krishna’s son Samba and Lakshmana were married.
Perhaps she smiled again. Samba was not a cruel man. Careless and heedless, but not sadistic… And she was a vibrant woman.
Then came the Kurukshetra war and again her world collapsed. Her twin Lakshman died in battle. Vrishasena was slain in the last days of the war. All her uncles died. Her adored father was killed too.
And her mother… Her beloved mother…that feisty princess of Kashi, refused to live as a dependent of the Pandavas, and entered the pyre of her love.
Her gentle mother-in-law Jambavati must have shielded her daughter-in-law then. Krishna too knew how to be kind.
And then years later came the Yadava civil war where her husband died.
Everything fell apart as her father-in-law was killed and her mother-in-law followed him. Lakshmana must have returned to Hastinapura then.
Her uncles must have treated her kindly, but they were the ones who had slaughtered her family…and her love.
No place was home anymore…