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Barbarika - The unsung soldier of Mahabharata

Barbarika was son of Ghatotkacha  and grand son of Bhima. Every time someone tell me about Barbarika being grandson of Bhima, I use to get confused that how come Bhima have grandson so early. I read about it and found out that in Rakshas(Demon) clan the child attain adulthood within short period of time. And since mother of ghatotkacha was Hidimba, a rakshasi(female demon), he got her genes and grown up in short span of time.The same case being with his son Barbarika .

When Barbarika heard the news of beginning of the great war, he decided to participate in the war . When he reached kurushetra(the battle field of mahabharata) Krishna asked him how many days would he take to finish mahabharata. He replied one hour .

"But u have only 3 arrows, are they enough to finish the war" Krishna asked. "My Lord i need only three arrows , one for enquiring the field , second to fix the position of target and third to kill the enemies" replied Barbarika. To test his claim Krisha asked him to tie all the leaves of a tree of Peepal (sacred fig). Barbarika took our one arrow, placed it on his bow and started chanting mantra, meanwhile Krishna broke on leaf from peepal tree and hide it beneath his feet. Barbarika fired his arrow and tied all the leaves and the power of his meditation helped in finding the hidden leaf too. The arrow circled Lord Krishna and fell into his feet .Lord Krishna was very much impressed and blessed him to be greatest living warrior of his time.

Then Krishna asked him " Which side you would fight in the battle of mahabharata ". Barbarika told Krishna that since both sides are equally dear to him , he would fight for losing side .Krishna said " It wouldnn't be possible because whichever side u will fight against will be loosing side  and hence u can not fight for loosing side ". Realizing the fact that it would be impossbile for him to fight for loosing side, since his participation will make that side winning side, he decided to withdraw from the war .

Krishna then asked Barbarika "who you considered to be your guru(teacher) ". "You ,the supreme Lord, You are my guru ". Krishna asked him then to give gurusdakshina (return gift to teacher), barbarika agreed and said "my lord whatever u wish , I will gift you if i can" . Krishna asked for his head as an offering, Barbarika instantly used his sword and cut his head .Krishna was very pleased and said that now you will go to heaven and live there forever, but before that if you can ask me for one wish. Barbarik said " I wish to see the whole epic battle of Mahabharata, where all the great warriors will fight with each other ". Krishna granted his wish and hanged his head on near by mountain, from where he could see whole battle .

When the battle of Mahabharata finished every warrior started boasting and claiming that his valor led to winning of war . Then Krishna told them that Barbarika have seen whole battle so we should ask him . Every one reached to Barbarika and asked him whose contribution was maximum in winning the war. "I have not seen any one else doing anything in this war other than Lord Krishna , and its only him who have done everything ".Hearing this all warriors touched feet of Krishna and got his blessings.

"My son Barbarika, you have any other wish " Asked Krishna. " After seeing death of so many near and dear ones of my family, i have no desire to live in this world, please grant me moksha(salvation). Lord Krishna granted him the wish and released him from the cycle of death and life .


  1. See , even the most powerful God like Krishna has to be diplomatic to win the war :P :D

  2. Krishna had his onw plans :)

  3. Even Lord Krishna had been "selfish" in not allowing a genuine warrior on his opponent's side. A game in the politics of "Mahabaratha" which a neutral man like me cannot digest.

  4. Barbarika was tied up due to the vow that he had taken. this is known as karma yog. once you do something then you will get its effect, whether you see it or not. barbika did not forsee the effect of his vow, but he still took the vow. if he had participated in the war then it would have become a perpetual war, because every time when a side starts losing then barbarika will have to take his side & then it will become a winning side & the other side will become losing side, again barbarika will have to change side. this would have gone on and on, till everybody on both sides are killed and in the end only barbarika will be left all alone. barbarika undestood this when krishna explained him the implications of his vow, that is why he always considered krishna as his guru.

  5. I think krishna's words is just to deceive Barbarika to kill. He would have marked every kauravas and army on one shot and the war is over, thereafter no point in changing sides at all. There is no point in taking his head at all, instead he should have asked for him to not participate in the war.

    Isn't abhimanyu the bravest Kshatriya and why he never demanded his head for sacrifice

    1. Barbarika was a Yaksha in his previous birth. Once Lord Brahma and several other Devas came to Vaikunta and complained to Lord Vishnu that the Adharma on Earth was increasing; it was not possible for them to bear the tortures causes by the wicked people. Hence they came to seek the help of Lord Vishnu to check them. Lord Vishnu told the Devas that he will soon incarnate on Earth as a human being and destroy all the evil forces. Then, a Yaksha told the Devas that he alone is enough to kill all evil elements on the Earth, and it was not necessary for Lord Vishnu to descend to Earth. This hurt Lord Brahma very much. Lord Brahma curses this Yaksha that whenever the time comes to eliminate all the evil forces on Earth, then Lord Vishnu will first kill him. Later, the Yaksha takes birth as Barbarika and Lord Krishna seeks his head in charity as a result of this curse.


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