Why was Barbarika sacrificed?


056 Mahabharata Warriors at Angkor Wat

Barbarika was one of the heroes of Mahabharata who never got his due in the history of time. The people, who know this character, know that he could have been the best warrior in the great war of Mahabharata. Unfortunately, he did not get the chance to prove this point.

Barbarika, who earned an exceptional skill to destroy the complete army in just one shot of an arrow, once demonstrated the same to Krishna. Krishna asked him to pierce all the leaves of a ‘Peepal’ tree. While Barbarika was chanting the mantra just before releasing the arrow, Krishna took one leaf of the tree and hid it under his foot. Barbarika released the arrow and it did what it meant, after piercing all the leaves it started revolving around Krishna’s feet. The demonstration of this skill surprised everyone who witnessed. Barbarika claimed that he could finish the war in just a few hours. The interesting part of the story was Barbarika’s pledge to fight always from losing side. Krishna knew that this warrior has the capacity to diminish any side, and so the other side will always be the losing one; and if Barbarika changes sides, he would kill everyone on both sides of the war. Krishna foresaw the consequences of using Barbarika in the war and decided that Barbarika should be sacrificed. He asked Barbarika, to whom he considers his guru. He replied that all the skills he earned keeping only lord Krishna in his mind, so he, lord Krishna, is the prime guru. Then Krishna asked for gurudakshina (fee or gift asked by teachers for their teachings). He asked the head of Barbarika in the gurudakshina. Barbarika took no time to cut his head and gave it to Krishna on his own and in return, Krishna granted him a wish to live till the battle of Mahabharata ends and watch the same from a nearby mountain.

Now I have two points to discuss. One, why was Barbarika sacrificed? Was that the only option left to Krishna? Two, if the consequences were different, could Barbarika have proved to be the greatest warrior of time?

Arjuna emerged as the hero of the Great war of Mahabharata. If I my assumptions are right, most of the heroes are made. On the way of their making, lots of Barbarika are sacrificed. The heroes we know need to be judged whether they are an Arjuna, a Barbarika or a Krishna. And if you want to be an Arjuna, you need a Krishna. This conclusion seems a little political and conflicting to the religious belief we hold. So I am leaving this topic open for a debate till my, opposite and concluding argument in next paragraph.

The other side of the argument is the indecisiveness of Barbarika. He made a pledge which could not make him loyal to anyone. If Krishna allowed Barbarika to participate in Great War of Mahabharata, he could finish the war only by killing himself because any side represented by Barbarika were the winning one. In this conclusion, lord Krishna took a call, in the interest of Dharma, and scheduled the destiny of Barbarika a little before. If I argue with religious belief in lord Krishna, there is a message in this story. Whenever there is indecisiveness in your mind, remember you are killed. Our skills and knowledge do not count when we are not on one side of a decision. You can only fight from one side.

Recently, this story is adopted in ‘theory of indecisiveness’ section of my book ‘The Gita Way’ which is due for release in May 2016. To know more about the book please visit.http://www.amazon.in/dp/9380914873

(Source of the image used in the post: 056 Mahabharata Warriors at Angkor Wat Photograph from Angkor Wat in Cambodia taken by Anandajoti, downloaded from Wikimedia Commons)

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