It is the story of medieval Mahabharata.
Many of the devotees must be knowing that the eldest
among the five Pandava brothers was Yudhishthir, also
known as Dharamaraj, and oldest Kaurava sibling was
Duryodhan, who was the mirror image of unrighteousness
and untruth. A cold war had always been raging between
the Pandavas and the Kauravas right from their childhood
to their youth. Yudhishthir couldn't leave the path of
righteousness whereas Duryodhan wouldn't leave the path
Duryodhan, at every step, swindled the Pandavas and the
limit of cheating was crossed when the Pandavas were
compelled to stay in the lakshagraha or the house made
of lakh. It was because of blessing of the Lord that the
five Pandavas came out safely from lakshagraha along
with their mother Kunti. Knowing Duryodhan to be their
prime enemy, they did not return to Hastinapur. They
started living in the forest. During the same period
when, on one night, in a dense forest, mother Kunti,
Yudhishthir, Arjun, Nakul and Sahdev were in deep sleep,
the club bearer Bhim, symbol of strength, 'son of the
wind' was guarding them alertly.
In the same forest, there lived a demon called Hidimb
along with his younger sister Hidimba. He could smell
the presence of some human being from a distance and he
told Hidimba that today is a very happy day, as he
smelled the presence of some human being in the forest.
You go, hunt him, and bring the killed person to me and
then both of us will eat human flesh happily.
the God would have it, when Hidimba reached there, she
lost her heart to Bhim, who was in the guise of an alert
guard. Now she had only one wish which gained strength
with the passage of time. She thought, "Why should not I
accept this lion in human form as my husband. There
could not be better blessing for me than this." Since it
was getting late, Hidimb himself reached the place.
First, he scolded his sister because of seeing Bhim; she
had forgotten her demonical nature and had adorned an
attractive form. From this, Hidimb could realise that
his younger sister had developed a soft feeling in her
heart for Bhim. There was no limit to Hidimb's anger and
he told his sister that he would kill immediately all
the Pandavas and also teach her a good lesson. But the
righteous Bhim said that this woman has come to my
refuge and I won't even allow you to harm her. Hidimb
was intoxicated with his pride and so began a fierce
battle between Bhim and Hidimb. They used trees and
boulders as weapons as they grappled one another. The
Pandavas were aware and they believed that Bhim would
defeat the demon and so it happened. When Hidimb was
killed, Hidimba went to Mother Kunti with bowed head,
folded hands, and humbly said, "Oh Mother, I have
accepted your son Bhim as my husband in the heart of my
hearts. You are a woman, and you know my feelings. Have
pity on me and permit me to marry your son named Bhim."
Dharamraj Yudhishthir and mother Kunti both tried to
convince her that they were passing through bad times
and were wandering from jungle to jungle. In the
circumstances, they asked her "what happiness would you
get by marrying Bhim?" But who can prevent God's will
from happening. Hidimba's repeated humble requests
melted Kunti's heart. Bhim and Hidimba got married and
the Pandavas and Kunti left Bhim there on the condition
that either on the completion of one year or when
Hidimba would bear a son, then Bhim would leave Hidimba
and return to them. Time passed by quickly.
Hidimba gave birth to a son. At the time of his birth,
the baby did not have any hair on his head and so he was
named Ghatotkachch. Being the son of a demoness, he
looked quite tall at time of his birth itself. Hidimba
once again reached the Pandava brothers, took the
blessings of mother Kunti, and went back taking
Ghatotkachch with her. But before leaving, Ghatotkachch
bowed to his father and uncles and they blessed him.The
boy promised them that whenever the Pandavas would
require his services, he would definitely come to them.
And same things happened.
After some time, the Pandava brothers were called back
to Hastinapur By Bhishm Pitamah and Vidhur and were
handed over the kingdom of Indraprastha to rule.
Indraprastha was a lonely, rocky place, and the Pandavas
had to convert it into a beautiful town. Realising his
duty as a son, Ghatotkachch reached to his father. All
the Pandava brothers blessed him. The righteous
Yudhishthir said, "Oh Vasudev, Oh Krishna, Oh Madhava,
Bhim's son has already grown up that he must get married
now. Then with his heart-winning smile, Krishna Kanhaiya
said, "yes, oh king of the righteous, the time for the
marriage of Ghatotkachch has indeed come." He then
turned to Ghatotkachch and told, "Son, there is powerful
demon named Mur in Manipur. He has a daughter named
Kamkantakata, who is very wise. She subjects anyone who
comes with a marriage proposal to her to some very
difficult questions. You go there with the blessings of
all your elders and with the grace of God; you will
answer all her questions, but don't perform the wedding
rituals there. You come here along with her. Lord
Krishna's words can never be false.
When Ghatotkachch reached Manipur, he had battle of wits
with Kamkantakata and became victorious. Thereafter he
reached Indraprastha with Kamkantakata after taking due
permission from "MUR" Demon. There both of them got
married in the presence of Lord Krishna. Then after
seeking his elders' permission, Ghatotkachch proceeded
towards east. Time waits for none. It just flows
uninterrupted and just passes by and then, finally the
auspicious time came when all the planets were so
powerful that Kamkantakata bore an illustrious, strong,
wise, kind hearted and religious son named Barbareek.
There is a reason behind the name Barbareek. At the time
of his birth, he had hair like a lion's mane. And as you
know, a lion is very ferocious and hence the name "Barbareek"
was given to him. As has been said earlier, some of
demonesses grow up as soon as they are born. Now there
arose a doubt in Ghatotkachch's mind as to what his son
would become. But he was fortunate enough to have the
proximity of Shri Krishna. He took Barbareek to Dwarka
and placed him at the feet of lord Shri Krishna. Then
Barbareek bowed his head with folded hands, touched Shri
Krishna's feet, and said, "Oh Banke Bihari Oh my Lord!
How can a creature in this world be blessed? Some say
religion brings blessings, some advocated philanthropy,
some prefer meditation, some flavor riches, some like
pleasure and enjoyment, but many argue that only
salvation brings blessing. Oh Lord, out of all these
options, please direct me along one path, grant me one
option, which may prove to be auspicious for my dynasty
and for all others. Please preach to me and advise me
about that. "Lord Shri Krishna was very happy to know
his feelings, his inner determination, and faith.
Therefore, with his sweet attractive smile, he said, "Oh
son'. All the four castes in society have their
pre-destined paths of invoking blessings according to
their position in society.
Since you are a 'Kshatriya' or a "warrior', you should
use your strength, that is you should use your might
which you can get by seeking the blessings of 'Sureshwari
Bhavani Bhagvati.' Therefore you should first worship
the goddess. Barbareek again asked the Lord to which
place he should go to meditate upon the goddess and seek
her blessings. Then the Bhaktvatsal Lord Krishna told
Barbareek to go to the meeting place of the oceans the
meditate upon the 'Durgas' brought by Narada. Then
heeding the venerable command of Shri Krishna, Barbareek
proceeded. Reaching the meeting place of the oceans, he
gained his perception and began to meditate upon the
goddess. The goddess saw his intense meditation and
determination and were so pleased that they granted him
a boon that could not be accessed by anyone else in all
the three worlds. The goddess said, "Son, we grant you
unparalleled strength. Nobody will be able to defeat you
in this world. But you stay here for a few more years
because a Brahmin named Vijay will come here and you
will receive even more blessings as a result of his
Barbareek stayed there following the goddess' command.
The Brahmin named Vijay came there from Megadha and
worshipping seven Shivlings, he became immersed in the
meditation of the same goddess. The goddess came in the
Brahmin's dream and blessed him and also asked him to
meditate before the Sidha Mother to practice all his
skills and learning. They told him that my devotee
Barbareek would help him. Then that Brahmin named Vijay
said to Barbareek, "Oh Brother! Please take care that my
meditation is not disturbed till I practice all my
skills." Therefore, Barbareek killed Replindu demon, and
Dhruv-Dhruva demoness etc., who were obstructing in the
Brahmin's meditation. He also killed the demons called
Palasi who had been troubling Nagas from the Patal lok.
On the killing of those demons, the king of the Nags,
Vasuki came there and told Barbareek to ask for a boon.
Barbareek humbly asked for a boon that the Brahmin
Vijay's meditation may be completed uninterrupted.
At that time many Nag maidens seeing Barbareek's looks
and bravery, were eager to marry him. But Barbareek told
all of them that he had taken the vow of bachelorhood.
Those Nag maidens were very pleased with his bahaviour
and gave him the boon of being ever victorious.
Thereafter the goddess granted Brahmin Vijay the boon of
wealth and fortune and the Lord Shiva gave Barbareek
three infallible arrows and blessing him, said that by
using these arrows he would always be victorious in the
three worlds.Devotees! These are the same three arrows
which we worship as Lord Shyam's weapons. These are kept
in every Shri Shyam's temple and are worshipped with
In gaining Sindh fortune and glory, that Brahmin became
famous by the name of Sindhsen. After a long time of his
leaving that area, the Pandava brothers also reached the
Sindh pilgrimage after losing everything in gambling.
All the Pandavas worshipped the goddess and then sat a
little away to take some rest. Then according to God's
will, Bhim stood up and without washing his hand and
feet, entered the sacred pond and began rinsing and
gargling his mouth. Barbareek became very angry on
seeing this. He went to Bhim and asked him what kind of
a pilgrim he was. He said, "You know the water from this
pond is used for the worship of the goddess and you have
entered the pond without even washing your hands and
feet and you are also gargling and rinsing your mouth."
At this, the strong Bhim also got very angry and both
started fighting. Bhim was very proud of his might and
even after applying all his strength he couldn't defeat
Barbareek. Seeing this, Bhim became very depressed and
at the same time, Lord Shiva appeared at that place with
all the goddess. Lord Shiva told Bhim not to feel
depressed as Barbareek was from his own family and was
indeed his descendent. He is Barbareek, the son of your
son Ghatotkachch. Now Barbareek was very sad at what he
had done. He felt sad at having fought with his
grandfather. He felt disdain for his life and he went
ahead to end his life. Then the goddess, who had granted
Barbareek the might and Lord Bholenath, advised
Barbareek that this is not the time for him to end his
life. On everybody's advice, Barbareek calmed down and
reunited with his family. Even after meeting the
Pandavas, the flame of devoutness and meditation was
there in Barbareek's mind. The Pandavas also after
completing their one-year of hidden identity stay in the
forest began demanding their kingdom back. But then
Duryodhan refused them even five villages, what to say
of their Kingdom and finally the destructive war of
Mahabharata was decided on. The battle of truth and the
falsehood was sure to take place.
Barbareek also completed his meditation at the meeting
place of the oceans, returned to his mother, and touched
her feet. When Barbareek got the news of the battle of
Mahabharata, he also wished to see the same and told his
mother about his desire. Then his mother told him, "If
you want to see the battle, then go. But you are so
brave and courageous that if you feel the urge to
participate in the war, what will you do?
Then Barbareek said, "Mother, I will first watch the
battle and then afterwards I will join the side of the
party which is losing." Then taking his mother's
permission and blessing, the strong and mighty,
courageous, friend of the loser, Barbareek rode a blue
horse at the speed of wind and proceeded towards the
battlefield of Mahabharata, Kurukshetra.
the hero of the Mahabharata, the omnipresent Lord
Krishna saw through his divine foresight that a brave
man astride on a blue horse was proceeding towards the
battlefield with the speed of wind. Shri Krishna thought
in his mind. "Let me examine this brave youth." And the
playful God disguising himself as a Brahmin sat under a
peepal tree, a little distance away from the
battlefield. When Barbareek reached there, he saw the
Brahmin sitting under the peepal tree and alighting from
the horse; he bowed humbly to the Brahmin and stopped
there. Then the Lord, in the guise of a Brahmin, asked
him who he was and where he was going? Barbareek
replied, "Oh Brahmin! My name is Barbareek and I am
going towards the battlefield of Mahabharata." on this,
the Lord said, "brave man, you are going towards a
battlefield and that too with only three arrows."
Barbareek replied, "Oh Brahmin! Let alone three arrows,
of these only one arrow is enough to destroy the entire
armies taking part in this war in one second and then it
will return back to my quiver. If I use all the three
arrows then there will be havoc in the three worlds.
Everything will be destroyed and after completing their
task, the arrows will return to my quiver." Then the
Brahmin said, "Oh brave youth, why are you so arrogant
about your courage and your arrows?" Barbareek
answered," Oh Brahmin! This is not arrogance; this is
the strength of my meditation, my worship. That is why I
am proud of them. The Lord in the guise of the Brahmin
said, "If you are so proud of your bravery, then tie all
the leaves of the peepal tree under which I am sitting,
with one arrow."
The brave Barbareek agreed to fulfill his wish. He
removed one arrow from his quiver and concentrating on
his meditation, he released the arrow after bringing it
near him. Within moments, the arrow tied all the leaves
of the peepal tree together. But Lord Krishna had one
leaf under his foot. After tying the leaves on the tree
the arrow started revolving around the Brahmin's foot.
At this the Brahmin asked, "Oh Brave man, why is this
arrow revolving around my foot." Barbareek told him that
there must be a leaf under his foot and the arrow was
revolving to tie the leaf. Then the Brahmin said, "If
there is a leaf why is the arrow not tying it?"
Barbareek told him that the arrow had been released to
tide the leaves and not his foot. Hearing this, the
Brahmin removed his foot and the arrow tied that leaf
too and then returned to Barbareek's quiver.
Lord Shri Krishna said, "There is no doubt that you are
brave, very brave. But tell me which side you will fight
for in the battle." Barbareek told him, "Brahmin,
actually I have come to see the battle. But then
whichever side loses, I will fight for that side." Lord
Krishna knew that Kauravas would definitely lose the
battle. And if this brave man joins the losing side,
then the scene of the whole battlefield would change. If
this happened, then righteousness and religion would be
destroyed and unrighteousness would emerge victorious."
The Lord in the guise of the Brahmin said, "you are
surely very brave. But just being brave or courageous
doesn't constitute the meaning of being of Kshatriya. A
Kshatriya should be a philanthropist, as well. At this
Barbareek said, "Today, anything you want from me. If it
is under my control, I will surely fulfill your wish."
Then the playful Lord Krishna said. "First you promise
me and then I will ask for a boon", Barbareek promised
and gave him his words and told him to ask for whatever
Then the playful Krishna said, "Oh brave man! Give me
your head in charity."
Barbareek became speechless with astonishment. He said,
"Oh Brahmin! I have given you my words and so I will
surely give you my head. But first you tell me who you
are and why do you want my head? Please disclose me your
At this, Lord Krishna showed Barbareek his divine form
and said, "Look Barbareek, before the battle in order to
worship the battle field it is necessary to sacrifice a
full, brave Kshatriya's head that is the bravest on this
earth and no one is braver than you in this world.
That's why I had asked for you head in charity."
Barbareek said, "Oh Lord, I have been your devotee since
my childhood. It is my good fortune that you have asked
for my head. But Oh Lord! I too have a wish. I wish to
see this battle till its end. If you fulfill this wish
of mine then my life will be a success and will have a
new meaning to it." Lord Krishna said. "So be it! Oh
brave Barbareek your wish will surely be fulfilled."
Therefore on the eleventh of the brighter half of the
Phalgun month, Barbareek sang devotional songs in the
whole night and on the morning of the twelfth, after
bathing and doing his morning prayers, he gave his head
to the playful Lord Krishna.
"BOLO SHISH KE DANI KE JAI"
At that moment, all the Pandava brothers arrived there
and began telling Lord Krishna, "Lord! Why have you
asked for this innocent brave man's head? Then "Siddha
Ambika, Tara, Kapali, Suvarna, Trikola, Chandika,
Praneshwari, Bhutambika, Kodhmatru, Harisiddha,
Charcha-cheeka, Yogeshwari & Tripura etc., goddesses
appeared, and said "Oh brave Pandavas! Hear from us the
reason for taking the sacrifice of Barbareek's head.
Once upon a time all the Gods prayed to Shri Vishnu that
Lord! The unrighteousness on earth has increased
greatly. Please lessen this burden from the earth. Then
Lord Vishnu assured everyone and putting their minds of
rest promised that he would take an incarnation and
remove the burden from the earth. Then a Yaksha named
Suryavarcha, who was present there, said that he alone
could take an incarnation and he would remove earth's
burden. As soon as he said that, Lord Brahma became
extremely furious and he cursed Suryavarcha saying that
whenever the time comes for him to remove the world's
burden, he would die by the hands of Shri Krishna. Then
Suryavarch asked what he could do to escape from Lord
Brahma's curse. Lord Vishnu said that whenever the
burden of sin and unrighteousness will descend on the
earth, Shri Krishna will release you from your curse and
with his blessings you will become famous. He is the
same brave man whose head Shri Krishna has taken as a
sacrifice and behind this also lies the good for
Thereafter Shri Krishna and the goddesses secured
Barbareek's head at the top of a high hill near the
battlefield with the help of nectar vines so that he
could watch the war till its end. Then after blessing
the Pandavas and the head of Barbareek, the goddesses
disappeared.The most destructive, most desolate war of
Mahabharata started. Lakhs of soldiers were killed from
both sides on the battlefield and it was only after 18
days of fierce battle that with great difficulty the
question of victory and defeat was decided. It was
because of the artful Shri Krishna's policies that the
Pandavas could achieve victory. On achieving victory,
all the five Pandavas began describing their own
individual courage in glorious terms and began to show
arrogance at their victory. Each of them was thinking
himself to be the cause of this victory. While Arjuna
was arrogant about his archery skills, Bhim was proud of
his clubbing skills. Each of them thought himself to be
the rightful recipient of victory.
Then Shri Krishna said, "Oh brave Pandavas! Don't be so
proud of yourselves. The correct decision regarding the
real winner can only be taken by the brave Barbareek's
head. You all were fighting in the battle but that brave
man's head has seen all that happened on the battlefield
from beginning to end from the top of the hill with rapt
attention. Come, let's go, and ask the brave Barbareek's
head." All the Pandava brothers accompanied Shri Krishna
to the peak of the hill where Barbareek's head was
secured with nectar vines. In front of Barbareek's head,
all the Pandavas began to say that they were each
responsible for the victory and were so happy that they
couldn't contain their happiness within themselves.
Barbareek's head smiled and said, "Oh brave Pandavas!
You have achieved the victory in this war only because
of Lord Krishna's plans and policies. It was only
because of this artful God's delusions that you have
emerged victorious. The actual winner of this war is
only Lord Krishna. It's only because of his wisdom and
policies that you have won the great battle of
Mahabharata.Barbareek's head continued, "Oh brave
Pandavas, I could see only the Sudarshan Chakra
revolving everywhere which was hacking the Kaurava army
to pieces and Draupadi assuming the fearful form of
Mahakali Durga, was drinking bowl after bowl of blood
and was not allowing even one drop of blood to fall on
the earth." Saying this Barbareek's head became silent
and flowers were showered from heaven on his head.
Hearing all this, the Pandavas became ashamed of
themselves and started begging for forgiveness. Lord
Krishna said, "Barbareek, I am pleased with your great
sacrifice and I grant you the boon that you will be
greatly worshipped by the name of Shyam in my form only
in the Kaliyug. Devotees will be blessed just by
remembering you and by worshipping you with a true heart
and piety, all the jobs of the devotee will be
The brave, philanthropic, generous, courageous
Barbareek's head was later buried in the land of Khatu
and by Lord Krishna's boon, and then the time came for
the head to appear. A shepherd used to graze the cows of
Khatu outside Khatu. One of the cows while returning
home after grazing used to stop at a place some distance
away from the village and milk used to start flowing
from her teats into the earth. The cow's owner was very
worried and upset that his cow was not giving any milk
daily. He admonished the shepherd and asked him whether
he milked the cow every evening so that the cow was not
giving any milk to him. Even after the shepherd denied,
the cow's owner did not believe him and followed the cow
the whole day and what he saw was that at a particular
distance from the village, milk starts flowing from the
teats of the cow and enters the earth. Seeing this, he
was dumbstruck with astonishment and began wondering who
was inside the earth that drank the milk in such a
fashion. He became eager to know more about this.
He started getting the field dug up. When the digging
was completed, a sound was heard beneath the earth. Then
he gave orders for the digging operation to proceed
slowly. After passage of some time, the brave
Barbareek's head i.e. Shyamji's head was found. The
cow's owner gave away the head to a Brahmin. That
Brahmin worshipped the head continuously for many days
in his house.
According to Bhaghavat Purana, this place was the town
of Khatu Khatank. In a dream, the king of this place saw
Shyamji's head, who told him "Oh King! You build a
temple here and taking the head from the Brahmin,
install it in the temple. You will also get a share in
the fame for this." Then a temple was built in that city
and the head of Shyamji that is Barbareekji was
installed there at an auspicious time according to rites
and rituals on the 11th of the brighter half of the
Kartik month.Even today those devotees who meditate and
worship the sacrificer of the head-shyamji with a true
heart, faith and deep devoutness, Shri Shyamji riding on
a blue horse comes running to fulfill their prayers.The
Shyamji of Khatu if known by various names.
In the midst of Khatu town, a beautiful temple of
Makrana is build of Shri Shyam-the donor of the head.
There is a Shyam pond at a little distance from the
temple where the head of Shri Shyamji had appeared.
There is a special importance to bathing in that pond.
Many devotees believe that by bathing in that pond, the
afflictions of the body are cured. There is a Shyam
garden a little distance away from the temple. The
flowers for the decoration of Shri Shyam are chosen from
Arati is done five times in Shyamji's temple. All the
times, devotees immersed in devoutness and joyful
prayer, dance and sing. A big fair is held at Khatu on
the twelfth of the Shukla Paksha of the Phalgun month.
Lakhs of men and women sing devotional songs on the
night of the eleventh and getting immersed in the joy of
Krishna, they dance the whole night. And at dawn of the
twelfth, people go to the temple and worship Shri Shyam.
People take their children for mundan ceremony and newly
wed couples offer prayers for their happy married life
on the 12th of Shukla Paksha in the month of Phalgun.
In the fair, lakhs of devotees walk in procession of
foot from Reengas to Khatu carrying religious symbols
and offer those colorful symbols of Shri Shyam at Khatu
temple. Though devotees throng Khatu daily, it is on
Vijaydasahmi that Khatu is overcrowded with devotees.
The sight of thousands of devotees offering unique
symbols of their faith of Shri Shyam with songs and
dances is a marvelous sight. On the 11th of the brighter
half of the Kartik month also, Shri Shyam's birthday is
celebrated with gusto and fervor in Khatu.
"BOLO SHYAM PRABHU KI JAI"
"LELE KE SAWAR KI JAI"
"SHISH KE DANI KI JAI"