Khatu Shyam, the one known as - Haare Ka Sahara, the invincible, the one with incredible powers, he was a brave warrior who learnt the art of welfare of people from his mother. The more you say about him, the less it is. He is the divine, the one who will lift you up, the moment you think you are falling down. There is no measure of his greatness.
Today, we have brought to you the story of Barbarika - who was later given a boon by Lord Krishna that he would be known by his (Lord Krishna's name) name, Shyam.
Barbarika - The Bearer Of Three Arrows
Barbarika was the grandson of Bhima, the son of Ghatotkacha. He was a brave warrior. Through a difficult penance, he pleased Lord Shiva, who gave him three powerful arrows as a blessing. Agni Dev blessed him with a bow. This made him be known as - 'Teen Baan Dhaari' - the bearer of three arrows.
There is an inspiring story which tells us how he started being worshipped by the Hindus.
Barbarika As Haare Ka Sahaara
Barbarika had learnt martial arts from his mother - Morvi. When he came to know about the Mahabharata war decided between the Kouravas and the Pandavas, he rushed to his mother, in order to seek her permission, so that he could also be a warrior in the battle. But when she asked him on whose side he would be fighting the battle at, he promised her to support the weaker ones. This incident made him be known as - Haare Ka Sahaara (the supporter of the weak).
Barbarika Met Lord Krishna Disguised As A Brahmin
With this aim in his mind and his mother's blessings in his heart, Barbarika started for Kurukshetra, the battle field. But Lord Krishna,the omniscient, knew all about what Barbarika, the brave warrior, had been doing.
To test his bravery, Lord Krishna appeared before him, while he was on his way. The first thing Krishna did was, he mocked at Barbarika saying how could he join the battle with merely three arrows. But the brave Barbarika knew how powerful those three arrows and the bow given by Agni Dev were.
He smiled and told that even those three arrows were powerful enough to destroy the whole universe. Hearing this, the Brahmin (originally Krishna) asked him to prove his point. He asked Barbarika to mark all the leaves of the tree that he (Krishna) was standing under. And, the brave warrior, who was already prepared for the war, took no time to accept the challenge.
Barbarika Won The Challenge
He targeted the leaves and attacked with the arrows, meditating on them as if he was in the battle field. With such a perfection, the arrow went through each leaf, that no leaf was left unmarked. However, when all the leaves on the tree were marked, the arrow went near the foot of Lord Krishna, and started revolving around it.
Barbarika took no time to make out that the intelligent Brahmin had hid one leaf under his foot. He requested him to remove his leg, lest the arrow might strike through the foot. Lord Krishna removed his foot from the leaf, and the arrow pierced through the last leaf of that tree.
Barbarika As The Donor Of Head
Impressed Lord Krishna gave him the title of the most capable warrior of the battle, and asked whom he wanted to support in the war. When Barbarika presented his choice of supporting the weaker section, Krishna realized that it would lead to the victory of the Kouravas.
Therefore, he asked Barbarika for his head as a charity, since he was disguised as a Brahmin. Barbarika was surprised at once, but agreed. This incident lead to him being known as 'Shish Ka Daani' - which means the donor of head.
Barbarika Questioned The True Identity Of The Brahmin
However, intelligent Barbarika also realized that an ordinary Brahmin would never ask for his head, and requested him to reveal his true identity. Lord Krishna, upon his request, revealed his divine form. Seeing the almighty, Barbarika was very happy for having offered his head to the Lord himself.
But he wondered why the Lord asked him for the sacrifice of his head. Krishna gave him the reason that it was necessary before the war to sacrifice the head of the bravest and the most powerful, the most capable warrior. Hence, he chose Barbarika as the one.
Krishna Blessed Him To Watch The Mahabharata
As a blessing Krishna told him to ask for a boon. Barbarika said that he wanted to see the battle of Mahabharata. Krishna agreed and blessed him according to which, his head was placed atop a hill, from where he could witness the battle.
Barbarika As Shyam Baba
When the battle was finally over and the Pandavas emerged victorious, there started an argument among the warriors as to who was responsible for the victory. To resolve the issue, Lord Krishna suggested that the best person to decide this will be Barbarika, the head of whom had witnessed the whole battle.
When asked, Barbarika said he saw Lord Krishna's Sudarshan Chakra, revolving and cutting the head of the Kouravas. He saw Goddess Durga/Mahakali drinking the blood of the Kouravas, not letting it fall down, lest more demons be born.
He saw that it was the guidance and the strategies applied by Lord Krishna, which were actually responsible for the victory of the Pandavas.
Impressed, Lord Krishna at his power of judgement blessed him with the boon that he would be worshipped by his name 'Shyam' (Lord Krishna's other name), in the Kali Yuga. Since then, Barbarika is being worshipped as Shyam Baba among the Hindus.
His head was buried in the Khatu region of Sikar, Rajasthan, which is why Shyam Baba is also known as Khatu Shyam Baba.
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