BARBARIK….The unsung hero of Mahabharata.

This is the story of a lesser-known warrior who had sacrificed his life for the victory of Dharma and ensured the victory of his grandfathers, the Pandavas, in the war of Mahabharat.

It is said that Shree Krishna, in order to avoid devastating results in Mahabharat, asked Barbarik to part with his head, to which he readily agreed. Shree Krishna then granted a boon to Barbarik that he would be known by Krishna’s own name, Shyam Ji in the kaliyug (present times) and would be worshipped in his own form.

Ghatotkach was the son of Bhim( Pandava) and tribal princess Hidimba. Ghatotkach and Maurvi further had a son named Barbarik.

Maurvi had taught him the art of warfare and brought him up with principles and humility.She  had taught her son to be always on the side of weak and downtrodden.

Legend goes that Barbarik was a brave warrior. A unique triple arrow was bestowed upon him by Lord Shiva. He had also acquired a special bow from Lord Agni (God of Fire).

He came to be known as “ TEEN BAAN DHARI”.

Barbarik wanted to witness the ongoing war of Mahabharata between Pandavas and Kauravas.. After promising to comply with his mother’s teachings, he set upon the journey towards the battlefield.

Krishna having heard of Barbarik wanted to test Barbarik’s strength. He disguised himself as a Brahmin and appeared in front of Barbarik. Krishna asked him the same question he had asked others like Karna, Bhishma, Dronacharya and Arjun in the war, that how many days would it take them to finish the war if they were to fight it individually.The varying answers were in terms of several days. But Barbarik replied it would take him only one minute to conclude the battle singly. Krishna was quite taken aback at this answer, considering the fact that Barbarik was walking towards the battlefield with just three arrows and a bow. It was then that Barbarik explained the power of the three arrows.

The three arrows could finish any war in a minute. The first arrow would mark the people who need to be protected. The second arrow would mark the people to be killed and the third arrow would go and kill the ones who need to be killed.

And at the end of this, all the arrows would return to his quiver. Krishna eager to test this out, asked Barbarik to tie all the leaves of the tree that he was standing under. As Barbarik started to perform the task, Krishna took one leaf from the tree and placed it under his foot without Barbarik’s knowledge. When Barbarik released the first arrow, the arrow marked all the leaves of the tree and eventually started revolving around Lord Krishna’s feet. Krishna asks Barbarik the reason for that unusual happening. Barbarik replied that that there must definitely be a leaf underneath and asked Krishna to lift his foot. As soon as Krishna lifted his foot, the arrow shot ahead and marked the remaining leaf too.

This incident set Lord Krishna contemplating upon the phenomenal power of Barbarik. He concluded that the arrows were truly infallible. Krishna also realised  that in the real battlefield, in case he wanted to isolate someone from Barbarik’s attack, it wouldn’t be possible, because sans Barbarik’s knowledge, the arrow would go straight ahead and destroy the target.

Krishna enquired about his preferences in the war, Barbarik explained that since the Kaurava Army was mightier than the Pandava Army, then as per the promise to his mother, he would stand by the Pandavas. But to this, Lord Krishna explained the paradox of the condition and the actual consequence of the promise he had given to his mother. Krishna explained that since he was the greatest warrior on the battlefield, which ever side he joined would make the other side weaker. So eventually he would end up oscillating between the two sides and would destroy everyone except himself. Krishna knew that he couldn’t allow Barbarika to fight as even he would not have control over the outcome of the war.

After this Krishna explained that in the ongoing war of Dharma, it required a great Kshatriya to sacrifice his head for the worship of the battlefield  and was none other than BARBARIK.

Hearing this,Barbarik requested Krishna to reveal his real identity. Krishna thus made an appearance in his divine form. It is said that Arjun and Barbarika were the only two warriors to have seen Krishna in the form of Lord Vishnu.

Barbarik agreed to give his head. He said, “But my Lord, I have come to this dharmabhoomi to witness the war with my own eyes. How will that be accomplished?”Krishna granted his wish and his head was placed on top of a hill wherefrom he could view everything.

At the end of the war, the Pandavas argued amongst themselves as to who was the greatest contributor to the victory. Krishna smiled and suggested that the judgement should be left to Barbarik head’s as it had watched every minutest detail of the war. Barbarik’s head said that it was Krishna whose advice, strategic approach and presence had been crucial in the victory. He said a divine chakra was spinning all around the battle field, killing all those who were not on the side of Dharma.

The victorious then understood that they weren’t as powerful as they believed themselves to be.It was the Leela of the Lord and they were mere players in it, dancing to his tune.

After the battle, Shree Krishna blessed Barbarika’s head and  himself submerged it in the Rupawati River. Once the kaliyug began, the head was found buried in the village of Khatu in Rajasthan. While a cow was crossing the burial point, her udders started spouting milk spontaneously. Surprised villagers dug the place and that was when the buried head was revealed. Roop Singh Chauhan, the erstwhile king of Khatu had seen a dream. He was asked to install the head very respectfully inside a temple. The  temple was built on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha in the Phalgun month (according to lunar calendar).Interestingly it was the same day when Barbarik had offered his head to Krishna. It was called the KHATUSHYAM JI TEMPLE.

Built with white marble, the temple is an absolute architectural delight.. The large prayer hall is named Jagmohan and its walls present a wonderful display of mythological paintings.

The entrance and exit gates are made of marble, engraved with ornamental floral designs, the shutters of the sanctum sanctorum are covered with a beautiful silver sheet.

Shyam Kund, the holy pond, near the temple is said to be the place from where the head of Khatu Shyam Ji was retrieved. Devotees take a holy dip in the pond to get rid of their ailments, specially during the Phalguna Mela Festival, which is held every year.

It is said that devotees who pronounce his name with true piety get emancipated from their sins and become disease free.

If faith is meant to be in the hearts, so is it seen in the eyes of thousand of people gathered in the premises of Khatu Shyam ji.

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