Kurukshetra war: as we all know, the Indian epic Mahabharat describes this war. Hence, it is also called as Mahabharat war. The fact is that Kurukshetra (now Thanesar), is a place where the battle was fought and hence the war got its name. It is a city in the state of Haryana. However, there are many unknown facts about the Kurukshetra war. In this article, I am writing about one such fact; the warrior who could have ended the great battle in just one minute. Read on to know more.
Mahabharat is one of the great Indian epics that talks about the life and deeds of the Kuru clan. The entire story talks about the rivalry between the cousins of the Kuru clan. The two brothers, Dhritarashtra (the blind) and Pandu (the pale and unhealthy) were fathers of the Kauravas and the Pandavas respectively. Though Kauravas are the senior branch of the family, Yudhishtira, the first Pandava is elder than Duryodhana, the first among Kauravas. Hence, the struggle to inherit the throne of Hastinapura commences between the two branches. However, the conflict arose from the game of dice in which Yudhishtira lost to Duryodhana. As a result, the Pandavas went on an exile of 13 years with their Queen Draupadi. Finally, this conflict came to an end with the Kurukshetra war between the cousins.
The great battle of Mahabharat, known as Kurukshetra was fought for 18 days from sunrise to sunset. As the battle was for the cause of righteousness, it is also known as Dharmakshetra. Before the commencement of the war, both teams went to Lord Krishna seeking his help in the Warfield. So, the Lord offered Narayani Sena to Kauravas, and Krishna himself took the side of Pandavas.
However, Krishna was a non-combatant character in the war, as he chose to be a charioteer to Arjuna. Both the teams allied with many other kingdoms as well. Alongside, before the war began, Krishna asked each warrior how many days they would take to finish the war alone. Dronacharya said he would take 26 days, Bhishma – 20 days. Karna said 27 days and Arjuna 28 days. It went on as Krishna received answers from every warrior. But there was a warrior who could have finished the war in one minute. Knowing this, Krishna thinks to examine his strength.
The warrior who could have ended the Kurukshetra war in a minute:
This warrior was none other than Bhima’s grandson Barbarika. Bhima’s son Ghatotkacha had three sons with Ahilavathi, one among them was Barbarika. He (Barbarika) is also known as “Teen Baandhari” as he was given three infallible arrows as a boon by Lord Shiva. These three arrows target his enemies and destroy them in a jiffy. When Barbarika learned about the battle, he rode to the field with his three arrows. Before leaving, Barbarika promised his mother that he would always support the weaker team. Lord Krishna learning about Barbarika, decided to examine his strength and braced himself to meet the unexpected warrior.
Krishna meeting Barbarika:
Lord Krishna disguises himself as a brahmin to meet Barbarika. When the two came in contact, Krishna asked Barbarika how many days he would take to finish the war. Barbarika confidently said he will finish it in just a minute. On asking how he can finish in one minute that too with just three arrows, Barbarika explained as follows. “The first arrow marks his enemies, the second marks the people he wants to save and the third destroys his enemies”. So, the Lord challenges him to tie up all the leaves of the Peepal tree in front of him.
When Barbarika was chanting some mantra, Krishna without his knowledge hid one leaf under his foot. On releasing the first arrow, it marked all the leaves in the tree and started to revolve around Krishna’s foot. The Lord questioned Barbarika about this, in reply he said, “there might be a leaf under your foot”. In continuation he also asked Krishna to lift his foot otherwise the arrow will mark the leaf by hurting his foot. Krishna then realized about Barbarika’s powers and thought to stop him from going to the battlefield.
Krihsna deterring Barbarika:
After realizing Barbarika’s powers, Krishna asked him which team he would like to support. Barbarika answered he will support the weaker team. So, Krishna realized, that if Barabrika supports the weaker team, the opposite team will become weak. Then he is forced to support the other team, as it was his word given to his mother. So whichever team Barbarika favors, the other will become weaker due to his powers. And this oscillation continues till the end. Finally, no team will become victorious as Barbarika will be the only survivor in the last. Krishna explained this consequence to Barbarika and seeks his head to avoid his participation in the war. Barbarik agreed to give his head on one request. He asked Krishna to grant him a boon of watching the entire battle from the first day. On agreeing, Krishna took his head and placed it on top of a mountain near the battlefield. Hence, it was possible for Barabrika to watch the entire battle for 18 days. it is also said, Barbarika is the only one who witnessed the entire Kurukshetra war.
After 18 days, that is when the war ended, Krishna replaced Barbarika’s head with his body. Also, impressed by Barbarika’s selfless nature, Krishna called him by the name Katushyamji. Shyama means Krishna, so people also worship Barbarika in the name of Krishna. In a place called Katu in Rajasthan, there is a temple for Katushyamji (Barbarika).