As we think about the most skilled warrior in Mahabharatha, we think about Arjuna, Bheema, Karna, Bhishma, Drona, etc. But it was Barbarika who is believed to be the most skilled and talented warrior. And now you may want to ask who is Barbarika?

Let me brief you about Barbharika. He was the son of Ghatotkacha and Maurvi, daughter of Muru, a Yadava king. That also makes him the grandson of Bhima. Barbarika was in the beginning a yaksha, and was reborn as a man. He learnt how to fight from his mother and Lord Shiva was amazed with his skills and gave him three infallible arrows (thus getting the other name – Teen Bhaandhaari meaning Bearer of Three Arrows). Later the Goddess Agni gave him a bow that would make him prize-winning in the three worlds.

Before the War of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna asked every warrior how long it would take to complete the war and he got responses ranging from 3 days to 1 month. Lord Krishna knew of Barbarika’s powers; so he disguised himself as a Brahmin and asked “Hey son, how long would it take for you to finish the war?” Barbarika answered “1 minute”. When Lord Krishna wanted to know how, Barbarika replied that a single arrow was enough to destroy all his opponents in the war, and it would then return to arrow holder. Lord Krishna challenged him to tie all the leaves of the Peepal tree under which he was standing, with one arrow. Barbarika accepted the challenge, removed one arrow from his arrows holder and released it. The arrow tied all the leaves together within moments. However, Lord Krishna had held one leaf under his foot, and the arrow started revolving around it. Lord Krishna was amazed at Barbarika’s power.

Lord Krishna asked Barbarika as to whom he would favor in the war. Barbarika revealed that he intended to fight for whichever side appeared set to lose. Lord Krishna knew that Kauravas would be defeated. Still disguised as a Brahmin, Lord Krishna then requested a help from Barbarika to which he agreed. Lord Krishna asked for Barbarika’s head. At first Barbarika was shocked, but suspecting the Brahmin’s intention he requested the Brahmin to reveal his real identity. Lord Krishna showed Barbarika His Divine Form and then explained to Barbarika that before a battle, the head of the bravest Kshatriya (Warrior) needs to be sacrificed. Barbarika agreed to sacrifice himself and give his head.

However, before cutting his head, Barbarika told Lord Krishna of his desire to view the upcoming battle. Lord Krishna placed the head of Barbarika on top of a nearby hill from where Barbarika’s head watched the whole battle. Lord Krishna, thus had ensured the victory of Pandavas even before the War of Kurukshetra actually started!

Friends, I once had a strange dream that I saw Barbarika’s head only because I read about him. I believe if you too read a lot about a god. That god might appear in front of you. If you know more unique and lesser known stories from our Indian Mythology please feel free to share them with me.

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