What’s life without love, and what are epics without fascinating tales of romantic stories that keep our hearts warm? Even during the times of Gods, love stories prevailed. If you’ve ever read Mahabharata completely, you would also know that the epic was not only about the great Kurukshetra war but also about many other small details that went over our heads. Of such intricacies, beautiful love stories are one of the most important aspects of Mahabharata.
While some of these love stories that we are going to talk about might be popular, but many are still unknown to the most.
1. Krishna and Rukmini
Though most of the stories tell the tale of how Krishna fell in love with a Gopi Radha, the Vedas do not talk about Radha at all. Instead, it is mentioned that Krishna’s favorite was Rukmini, among his 7 other wives. The story is full of drama as he fell in love with Rukmini and abducted her against her parent’s will. Rukmini was also in love with Krishna, and they both married to live happy thereafter. Some consider Rukmini to be the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi.
2. Arjuna and Ulupi
Arjuna had four wives, and among them, Uloopi was the second. They met when Arjun was in exile. But it is interesting how in this case Uloopi was the one who abducted Arjun and convinced him to get married. Ulupi was the Naga princess with a half-maiden and half-serpent body. Later, they even had a son named Iravan. Ulupi also granted Arjuna a boon that the water kingdom will obey him and that he will never be defeated underwater.
3. Ganga and Shantanu
Shantanu was the Kuru King of Hastinapur when he met a beautiful girl in white saree on the banks of Ganges. He instantly fell in love with her beauty, and thus, proposed her to get married. But Ganga put forth a condition that no matter what she does, he should not ask her any questions about her actions. Shantanu agreed. Later, Ganga drowned their sons, one by one. She drowned seven of their sons. Since Shantanu had promised her not to ask her any questions about her actions, he stayed quiet, until Ganga was about to drown their eighth son when Shantanu couldn’t bear it. Shantanu broke the promise, and so Ganga disappeared with her son, but she had promised that she would return the son one day when everything is in the right place. For 16 year, there was no news. Then one day (after 16 years), he was reunited with his eighth son Devrath, who we know as Bhishma Pitamah
4. Bhima and Hidimbi
When the Pandavas escaped the Lakshagraha, they reached a forest. All of them fell to sleep, except for Bhima. In that forest, there used to live a demon Hidimba, who was living with her demon brother Hidimbi. Hidimbi smelled Bhima and asked Hidimbi to lure him so that they could eat him. Hidimbi went forth to lure him, only to fall in love in with Bheem at first glance. She confessed the truth to Bheem and showed her will to marry him. But Bheem denied, and became furious, he instead killed her brother and was about to kill Hidimbi when Yudhisthira stopped him from committing the sin. Hidimbi begged Kunti to convince Bheem to get married. Bheem set a condition that he would leave Hidimbi after the birth of their first child if they get married. Hidimbi agreed and so they got married. When their first son Ghatotkacha was born, Bheem left both of them.
5. Pandavas and Draupadi
Commonly referred to as Draupadi, Panchali was the wife of all five Pandavas. Arjuna won her hand in Swayamvara. What happened was Arjuna had won a competition and they came to their mother Kunti to tell her about it. Hearing this, Kunti told them to share the prize. To keep up with their mother’s command, they shared Draupadi. She gave birth to each of the Pandava brothers. Some feel that Draupadi had a feeling for Arjuna, but Arjuna was in love with Subhadra. So, she found solace in Yudhisthira who lusted after her. But it was Bheem who genuinely loved Draupadi and tried to give out to all the demands of her wishes. Sahadev and Nakul only obliged to the commands of Yudhishthira.
6. Arjuna and Subhadra
Arjuna abducted Subhadra so that he could save her from marrying Duryodhana. Arjuna was completely in love with Subhadra when he first fell into the beauty of Subhadra. He even wanted to marry her. Knowing this, Subhadra’s half-brother, Krishna sensed their mutual feelings and after the consent from Balram, the two got married. They later had a son together, who we know as Abhimanyu.
7. Gandhari and Dhritarashtra
Gandhari is considered to be the example for all women, the Pativrata. She is the epitome of virtue and the wife of Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur. When they got married, she tied a piece of cloth on her eyes and pledged to live the rest of her life as a blind woman in order to share the same pain with her husband. They had 100 kids together.
8. Parashar Rishi and Satyavati
Parashar was a Maharishi and when Satyavati was ferrying her across the river Yamuna, he asked her to satisfy his lust. And so, he held her hand. As a Brahmin, the action doesn’t suit his stature to desire a woman who smelled of fish, according to Satyavati. She asked him to be patient until they reached the shore and set forth three conditions so that she could fulfill his lust. First, she wanted the smell of fish to be replaced by a pleasant, lusting fragrance. He turned her into a Yojanagandha. Second, no one should be able to see what they were doing in the broad daylight. He created an artificial mist around them. Third, their virginity should remain intact after intercourse. The Maharishi agreed that she would get her virginity back when she gave birth to their child. With the blessings to have all the three wishes, Satyavati and Parashar made love. They gave birth to a son. He was Vyasa, the one who wrote Mahabharata.
9. Arjuna and Chitrangada
The princess of Manipur, Chitrangada met Arjuna on the banks of Kaveri river. Both of them fell in love in the place and Arjuna asked her hand from her father Chitravahana. He wanted their son to lead Manipur as his successor to the throne. Arjuna agreed. They had a son by the name Babruvahana. Arjuna left them to join his brothers at Indraprastha. Chitrangada and Babruvahana were left behind. Later, Babruvahana became the king of Manipur and even defeated his father in part of a war.
10. Shantanu and Satyavati
Shantanu went to hunting one day when he was smitten by Satyavati and her musk fragrance. Actually, he fell in love with the smell first and when he followed the smell, he found Satyavati in her boat at the bank of a river. He asked her to ferry him back. This continued for several days and want to marry her, he asked her hand from her father. But her father told Shantanu that his grandchild should be the successor to the throne. Shantanu denied because of his son Devrath the throne of Kuru and so he returned without marrying her. When son Devrath returned, he convinced Satyavati’s father to agree for the marriage.