The world has witnessed many battles. However, if there was ever a battle that symbolised the fight for justice and righteousness, it would be the Mahabharata.
That’s why, irrespective of the outcome we respectfully acknowledge the role of Bhishma, Dronacharya and Karna, who fought from the losing side.
There was one warrior whose name does not appear much in history. This warrior was Barbarika, the grandson of Bhima. Inspite of having superior war skills, he could not prove his ability due to his own indecisiveness.
Just before the war, when the polarization of armies and individual warriors was taking place, Krishna wanted to evaluate individual talents. He reviewed everyone and asked how much time they need to finish the war alone. There were tall claims ranging from a week to a month. Barbarika, the youngest warrior to take part in the war, surprised everyone by claiming that he could finish the war in just a few moments. When asked how it was possible, he spoke of his extraordinary expertise in archery, and to everyone’s surprise, said that he could actually vanquish an entire army using just one arrow!
Krishna asked for a demonstration to understand this claim. Barbarika sought permission to pierce all the leaves of a banyan tree using one arrow. When Barbarika was chanting the mantra before releasing the arrow, Krishna took a leaf of the tree and hid it under his feet. Barbarika released the arrow and the arrow did what it was meant to. After piercing all the leaves of the tree, the arrow started revolving around the feet of Krishna, under which he had kept a leaf hidden. The demonstration of this skill surprised all those who were present there, Krishna too was not an exception.
An interesting aspect of the story was that Barbarika had made a pledge to fight only from the side of the weaker army. Krishna knew that this warrior had the capacity to diminish any side, and so the other side would always be the losing one; and if Barbarika changed sides, he would kill everyone on both camps.
Krishna foresaw the dangerous consequences of using Barbarika in the war and decided that Barbarika ought to be sacrificed before the war itself.
Krishna had to intervene again. Through his yoga-maya, he took the form of a Brahmin monk and reached out to Barbarika for a favour in the form of a specific donation. Barbarika assured him that if that donation would be in his power, he could assume it fulfilled. As a beggar, Krishna demanded the head of Barbarika. Barbarika understood Krishna’s yoga-maya and urged the monk to come in his right avatar/form. Krishna did so and understanding Krishna’s visionary objective, Barbarika took no time to cut his head and gave it to Krishna on his own. In return, Krishna granted him a wish to live till the battle of Mahabharata ended 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 my assumptions are right, most heroes are made. On the way to their making, lots of Barbarika are sacrificed.
The heroes we know need to be seen in this light. Are they an Arjuna, a Barbarika or a Krishna? And if you want to be an Arjuna, you need a Krishna. But Krishna had already attained the status of God. Could God also discriminate? There must be a convincing reason.
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 the Great War of Mahabharata, he could finish the war only by killing himself because any side represented by Barbarika was the winning one.
My conclusion is that, lord Krishna took a call, in the interest of Dharma, and scheduled the destiny of Barbarika a little early. Krishna’s decision to sacrifice Barbarika gives the message that our skills and knowledge do not count when we are not on the one side of a decision.
Editing inputs by Mr Ajoy Vakil, Strategy and Marketing Consultant, Startup Mentor, Founder of DirectMart
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