In the battleground of Mahabhrata, Lord Krishna played a part in the victory of the Pandavas. Lord Krishna’s strategy, without a doubt, helped the five brothers defeat the Kauravas even with a small army. But there’s one great warrior who didn’t enter the war.
Not many people are aware that if this great warrior had entered the battle, it could have meant the end of both sides and he alone would have stayed alive.
That warrior had Lord Shiva’s blessings, but Lord Krishna stopped him. Let’s learn more about this gifted warrior. Who was he and why he didn’t fight?
A warrior who could have ended the great Kurukshetra war in a minute. Do not be surprised. He was known by the name of Barbarika or more popularly Khatu Shyam Ji. Barbarika was the grandson of Bheema, son of Ghatotkach and Maurvi. Barbarika was a great warrior right from his childhood. Before the Mahabharata war, Lord Krishna asked all the warriors how many days they would take to end the war. All of them answered at an average of 20-15 days. When asked, Barbarika answered that he will end the war in just a minute.
Amazed at his reply, Lord Krishna asked Barbarika as to how he would do that. Then Barbarika revealed his secret of three arrows.
Apart from being a great warrior, Barbarika was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He had performed severe penance in order to please Lord Shiva. As a boon he obtained three arrows which had magical powers.
The first arrow would mark all the enemies of Barbarika whom he wants to destroy. On using the third arrow, it will destroy all the marked things and return back to his quiver. The second arrow would mark all those things and people he wants to save. After that if he uses the third arrow, it would destroy all the things which are not marked. In other words, with one arrow he could mark all those things that needs to be destroyed and with the third he could just kill them all in one shot. Thus, Barbarika came to be known as ‘Teen Baandhari’ or the one with three arrows.
On hearing about his boon, Krishna decided to test him. So, he mocked Barbarika regarding fighting the war with only three arrows and asked him to demonstrate his power. Barbarika went to the forest with Krishna and aimed at collecting the leaves of a tree. While Barbarika closed his eyes, Krishna took a leaf off from the tree and hid it under his foot. As Barbarika sent out his first arrow to mark the leaves, the arrow came rushing to Krishna’s feet to mark the last leaf hid under it. Krishna was amazed at it and as he lifted his feet, the leaf was marked. Then he sent out the third arrow and all the leaves were collected and bound together.
Barbarika’s boon had two conditions. He could not use the arrows for any personal vengeance and that he would always use them to fight a war from the weaker side in a battlefield.
After seeing the powers of Barbarika, Krishna asked him from which side would he fight in the Kurukshetra war. Barbarika said that he would definitely fight along with the Pandavas since they were the weaker side compared to Kauravas.
Then Krishna said that if Barbarika sided with Pandavas, then they would become the stronger side automatically. Thus, Barbarika was left in a dilemma. He would have to keep changing sides in order to fulfill the conditions of his boon. So, it became evident to Barbarika that he would have to sacrifice his life for the welfare of humankind because whichever side he went would automatically become strong and he won’t be able to use his powers.
Thus, in an actual war, he will keep oscillating between the two sides, thereby destroying the entire army of both sides and eventually only he remains. Subsequently, none of the side is victorious as he will be the only lone survivor. Hence, Krishna avoids his participation from the war by seeking his head in charity
Barbarika agrees to Krishna’s wish and chops of his head. Before dying he asks a boon from Krishna that he wants to watch the Mahabharata war. So, Lord Krishna grants him the wish and his head is taken to the top of a mountain by Bheema and from there Barbarika watched the whole war of Mahabharata.
In Rajasthan, Barbarika is worshipped as Khatu Shyam Ji. He obtained the name of Lord Krishna (Shyam) because of his selfless sacrifice and undaunted belief in the Lord. Lord Krishna had declared that just by pronouncing Barbarika’s name with true heart, the devotees would be granted their wishes.
Other than Barbarika krishna could have ended the mahabharata with his sudarshan chakra.
Bhisma Pitamah & Guru Drona could also have ended mahabharata if they wanted to but it could not be the fastest.