Bakasura

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Bakasura
Bhima fighting with Bakasura color.jpg
Bakasura was beaten by Bhima
Devanagari बकासुर
Sanskrit Transliteration Bakasura
Affiliation Rakshasa

In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Bakasura, (also called Bakasur or Bakasuran) (बकासुर) is a Rakshasa (demon) killed by Bhima. The demon lived near the city of Ekachakra (sometimes Chakranagari), and forced the king to send him daily a large quantity of provisions, which he devoured, and not only the provisions, but the men who carried them. Under the directions of Kunti, her son Bhima was sent to Bakasura for his food.

The Mahabharata account[edit]

The Pandavas and their mother Kunti were in exile. Once while going from place to place, they reached a quiet village. There they stayed in the house of a Brahmin villager who had graciously provided shelter to the Pandavas. The Brahmin had one elder daughter and a little boy. A few days were spent in peace and happiness, until one day Kunti heard cries from the Brahmin's house and went to see what was happening. Each member of the family were willing to sacrifice their life. The Brahmin was saying that it was his responsibility to sacrifice life as he is the head of the household and it was his duty to save the family. The wife was stating that it was her duty towards the family. The daughter intervened saying that it was her duty to offer the life. In a similar way, the son was also volunteering. Kunti didn't understand the reason behind this conversation. When she calmly requested the Brahmin to explain, he narrated the story of Bakasura. The Brahmin explained the agreement the king had with the demon about a villager taking a carload of food and the demon eating both the food and the man that brought it. The demon had killed many of the villagers in that manner and now that it was their family's turn, one member from his family had to take food and offer themselves to the demon. Listening to this, Kunti said she would send one of her sons to Bakasura and save the Brahmin family. She explained that the guest becomes a part of the family's happiness and problems and so the problem of the Brahmin's family was her problem too, so she had complete rights to solve it. When the Brahmin insisted she not make the sacrifice, Kunti stated that she had five sons, so even if one son is dead, she had four more. She finally convinced the Brahmin to send one of her own sons to Bakasura and insisted that the Brahmin has to survive and take care of his wife and children, since she knew that it would be very difficult for the wife to bring up the children without the husband - a situation she herself was in.

After discussion with the Pandavas, it was decided that Bhima would go to Bakasura to save the family and people of Ekachakranagar. Hence, Bhima took the stead of a bait villager and went with supplies to Bakasura. When Bhima reached the forest, he found Bakasura. In order to irritate him, Bhima himself ate all the food. Bakasura's anger knew no bounds. A fierce battle erupted between the two and finally, Bhima killed Bakasura.[1]

When the news of Bakasura's death reached the village, everyone was delighted. They wanted to celebrate the person who killed Bakasura, and everyone went to assemble in the Brahmin's house. When the Pandavas came to know about this, they decided to leave Ekachakranagar before the assembly arrived, thinking that their identity would be known in the period of their exile. Thus ended the story of Bakasura.

Possible Location in Real Life[edit]

It is rumored that the city of Ekachakra is a small village near the town of Rampurhat in the state of West Bengal. It is in this city that the Pandavas were staying during their exile. According to some historians and historical folklores the town of Pandaveswar near Durgapur in the district of Burdwan is the site where that village existed and a well known temple having several ancient Shiva Lingams, said to have been established by the Pandavas and their mother Kunti, exists there near the banks of the river Ajay. The said temple is partly controlled by the Mahants of the Nimbarka sampradaya. A Mutt of that sect, established by the erstwhile Zamindar of Ukhra , exists in the locality of Ukhra near Pandaveswar. The site of the slaying of Bakasura is said to be in a place called Bhimgara situated on the other side of the river Ajay.

As per other sources, the city of Ekachakra (Ekchakra-nagari) is attributed to a contemporary village Erandol, Jalgaon district, Maharashtra. Today, tourists on the outskirts of Erandol can see the fallen rice markings of that era and a nearby water pond. Nearby Padmalay Ganesh temple on the hills is also an important tourist and pilgrim destination.

Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh is ancient religious site Bhayaharan Nath Dham's legends said Bakasura monster was killed in South Pratapgarh which was called "Dwaitwan". Here remains were found of several Pandav sculptures. After Bhima killed the demon cannibal Bakasura, a Shiva Lingam was established here, which today is well known and famed as "Bhayaharan Nath Dham", with the story of the Pandavas and Bakasura, the indelible marks of history. This Lord Shiva temple of the Mahabharata epic times is a magnificent venue and is very important to see, where people have come from every corner of country.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 75. 
  • Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology
  • Acharya Chandra Shekhar Shastri: Puranon ki Anmol Kahanian, 2006 ISBN 81-902258-6-3