Jarasandha

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Jarasandha
Bhima Slays Jarasandha.jpg
Painting showing Bhima slaying Jarasandha
Brihadratha King
Predecessor Brihadratha
Successor Sahadeva
Issue Sahadeva
Dynasty Brihadratha
Father Brihadratha

According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासन्ध) was the king of Magadha. He was a descendant of King Brihadratha, the founder of the Barhadratha dynasty of Magadha. He was also a great devotee of the Hindu god Shiva. He was a great senapati but he is generally held in a negative light owing to his enmity with the Yadava clan in the Mahabharata.

Etymology[edit]

The word Jarasandha is a combination of two Sanskrit words, Jara (जरा) and sandha (सन्ध), "joining". Jara was a demoness who put the two halves of Jarasandha together after finding them by a tree. In return for saving Brihadratha's son, he was named Jarasandha after her. The meaning of Jarasandha is 'the one who is joined by Jara'.[1][better source needed]

Legend about his birth[edit]

Birth of Jarasandha
Jara merges two parts of Jarasandha

Jarasandha's father king Brihadratha was married to the twin daughters of the King of Kashi. Brihadratha loved both his wives equally, but had no sons. Once sage Chandakaushika visited his kingdom and gave a mango to the king as a boon. The king divided the mango equally and gave to his both the wives. Soon, both wives became pregnant and gave birth to two halves of a human body. These two lifeless halves were very horrifying to view. So, Brihadratha ordered these to be thrown in the forest. A Rakshasi (demoness) named Jara (or Barmata) found the two pieces and held each of them in her two palms. Incidentally, when she brought both of her palms together, the two pieces joined giving rise to a living child. The child cried loudly which created panic for Jara. Not having the heart to eat a living child, the demoness gave it to the king and explained to him all that had happened. The father was overjoyed to see him.[2]

Chandakaushika arrived at the court and saved the child. He prophesied to Brihadratha that his son would be specially gifted and would be a great devotee of the god Shiva.[3]

Battle between Balarama and Jarasandha. Illustration from a Bhagavata Purana series.

Fight with Karna[edit]

Karna helped Duryodhana marry the Princess Bhanumati of Kalinga. Duryodhana abducted Princess Bhanumati from her Swayamvara ceremony in a chariot and Karna fought with the rest of the suitors. Many legendary rulers like Shishupala, Jarasandha, Bhishmaka, Vakra, Kapotaroman, Nila, Rukmi, Sringa, Asoka, Satadhanwan etc. were defeated by Karna and Duryodhana. The ashamed Jarasandha, later challenged Karna to a one-on-one fight. Karna and Jarasandha fought continuously with different weapons until Karna defeated Jarasandha by trying to tear him apart during a wrestling fight. Jarasandha conceded defeat and Karna spared his life. Jarasandha gifted the city of Malini to Karna as a token of appreciation. The victory over Jarasandha made Karna famous on all over the world.[citation needed]

Jarasandha had also participated in the Swayamvara of Draupadi, and after being unable to lift the bow, left the place.[4]

Bhima and Jarasandh Wrestling

Death[edit]

When Yudhishthira was trying to conduct Rajasuya ritual, Krishna told him that Jarasandha should be killed to conduct the ritual. Thus Krishna took Bhima and Arjuna to Magadha, disguising themselves as Brahmins. Jarasandha, though finding them suspicious, welcomed the three. Later, when they revealed themselves, they challenged Jarasandha to have a wrestling. Jarasandha took Bhima as his opponent. The fight continued for a long time, and no one became the victor. Finally, Krishna gave a signal to Bhima, by tearing a leaf and dropping it to sides. Bhima took it as a signal and tore Jarasandha's body into two pieces, thus killing him.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Jarasandha was a very powerful king of Magadha, and the history of his birth and activities is also very interesting - Vaniquotes". vaniquotes.org. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  2. ^ Chandrakant, Kamala (1977). Krishna and Jarasandha. India Book House Ltd. pp. 3–5. ISBN 81-7508-080-9. 
  3. ^ "Slaying of Jarasandha - Indian Mythology". www.apamnapat.com. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  4. ^ Squarcini, Frederico (2011). Boundaries, Dynamics, and Constructions of Traditions in South Asia. 244 Madison Ave, #116, New York,NY: Anthem Press. p. 117. ISBN 9780857284303. 

References[edit]