The Kidnapping of Subhadrä and Lord Kåñëa's Visiting Çukadeva and Balarama
After hearing this incident, King Parékñit became more inquisitive to hear about Kåñëa and His pastimes, and thus he inquired from Çukadeva Gosvämé how his grandmother Subhadrä was kidnapped by his grandfather Arjuna at the instigation of Lord Kåñëa. King Parékñit was very much eager to learn about his grandfather's kidnapping and marriage of his grandmother.
Thus Çukadeva Gosvämé began to narrate the story as follows: "Once upon a time, your grandfather Arjuna, the great hero, was visiting several holy places of pilgrimage, and while he was thus traveling all over he happened to come to Prabhäsakñetra. In the Prabhäsakñetra he heard the news that Lord Balaräma was negotiating the marriage of Subhadrä, the daughter of Arjuna's maternal uncle, Vasudeva. Although her father, Vasudeva, and her brother, Kåñëa, were not in agreement with Him, Balaräma was in favor of marrying Subhadrä to Duryodhana. Arjuna, however, desired to gain the hand of Subhadrä."
As he thought of Subhadrä and her beauty, Arjuna became more and more captivated with the idea of marrying her, and with a plan in mind he dressed himself like a Vaiñëava sannyäsé, carrying a tridaëòa in his hand. The Mäyävädé sannyäsés take one daëòa, or one rod, whereas the Vaiñëava sannyäsés take three daëòa, or three rods. The three rods, or tridaëòa, indicate that a Vaiñëava sannyäsé vows to render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his body, mind and words. The system of tridaëòa-sannyäsa has been in existence for a long time, and the Vaiñëava sannyäsés are called tridaëòés, or sometimes tridaëòi-svämés or tridaëòi-gosvämés.
Sannyäsés are generally meant to travel all over the country for preaching work, but during the four months of the rainy season in India, from September through December, they do not travel, but take shelter in one place and remain there without moving. This non-movement of the sannyäsé is called Cäturmäsya-vrata. When a sannyäsé stays in a place for four months, the local inhabitants of that place take advantage of his presence to become spiritually advanced.
Arjuna, in the dress of a tridaëòi-sannyäsé, remained in the city of Dvärakä four months, devising a plan whereby he could get Subhadrä as his wife. The inhabitants of Dvärakä as well as Lord Balaräma could not recognize the sannyäsé to be Arjuna; therefore all of them offered their respect and obeisances to the sannyäsé without knowing the actual situation.
One day Lord Balaräma invited this particular sannyäsé to lunch at His home. Balarämajé very respectfully offered him all kinds of palatable dishes, and the so-called sannyäsé was eating sumptuously. While eating at the home of Balarämajé, Arjuna was simply looking over beautiful Subhadrä, who was very enchanting even to the great heroes and kings. Out of love for her, Arjuna's eyes brightened, and he began to see her with glittering eyes. Arjuna decided that somehow or other he would achieve Subhadrä as his wife, and his mind became agitated on account of this strong desire.
Arjuna, the grandfather of Mahäräja Parékñit, was himself extraordinarily beautiful, and his bodily structure was very much attractive to Subhadrä. Subhadrä also decided within her mind that she would accept only Arjuna as her husband. As a simple girl, she was smiling with great pleasure, looking at Arjuna. Thus Arjuna also became more and more attracted by her. In this way, Subhadrä dedicated herself to Arjuna, and he resolved to marry her by any means. He then became absorbed twenty-four hours a day in the thought of how he could get Subhadrä as his wife. He was afflicted with the thought of getting Subhadrä, and he had not a moment's peace of mind.
Once upon a time, Subhadrä, seated on a chariot, came out of the palace fort to see the gods in the temple. Arjuna took this opportunity, and with the permission of Vasudeva and Devaké, he kidnapped her. After getting on Subhadrä's chariot, he prepared himself for a fight. Taking up his bow and holding off with his arrows the soldiers ordered to check him, Arjuna took Subhadrä away. While Subhadrä was being thus kidnapped by Arjuna, her relatives and family members began to cry, but still he took her, just as a lion takes his share and departs. When it was disclosed to Lord Balaräma that the so-called sannyäsé was Arjuna, and that he had planned such a device simply to take away Subhadrä and that he had actually taken her, He became very angry. Just as the waves of the ocean become agitated on a full moon day, Lord Balaräma became greatly disturbed.
Lord Kåñëa was in favor of Arjuna; therefore, along with other members of the family, He tried to pacify Balaräma by falling at His feet and begging Him to pardon Arjuna. Lord Balaräma was then convinced that Subhadrä was attached to Arjuna, and He became pleased to know that she wanted Arjuna as her husband. The matter was settled, and in order to please the newly married couple, Lord Balaräma arranged to send a dowry, consisting of an abundance of riches, elephants, chariots, horses, servants and maidservants…