During their exile, the Pandavas used to frequently keep changing the place they stayed as they didn’t want to be discovered by the Kauravas who were constantly trying to have them killed. During their travels, they lived in a place called Ekachakra for a while.
When in Ekachakra, they managed to find refuge in the home of a Brahmin. Life was going on peacefully with the Pandavas doing odd jobs and helping out around the house. For food, the Pandavas used to beg from the villagers and in the evening would give all their alms to Kunti who would then distribute it among the brothers. Since Bhima was fond of eating, she would give half the alms to him everyday.
One fine day Kunti found the Brahmin’s wife weeping. When she asked the woman as to why she was crying, the woman first refused to tell Kunti the reason. She told “You are our guests, and it is not proper or honorable for a host to share his troubles with his guests.” Upon being probed further by Kunti, she told the story of Bakasura, a demon who was terrorizing the residents of Ekachakra.
This demon used to come to the village every once in a while and take away men, women and cattle to eat them up. When the king of the region fought with him, he was defeated and ran away with his life barely spared. Seeing the plight of their king, the villagers then entered into an agreement with Bakasura that he would be sent a cart load of food everyday with a villager, and the demon would have to be satiated by eating the cart load and the villager.
Tomorrow it was the turn of the Brahmin’s only son to take the cart load of food to the demon and it deeply saddened the Brahmin’s wife that today was her son’s last day on this earth.
When she heard this story, Kunti immediately responded “Sister, you have only one son, but I have five of them. Don’t worry I will send one of my sons to Bakasura with the cart load of food today.” At first, the Brahmin and his wife refused Kunti’s offer as they knew that death was inevitable for anybody who went carrying Bakasura’s food. But Kunti was steadfast that she would send Bhima today with the cart load of food.
The next day, early in the morning, Bhima took Kunti’s blessings and then proceeded to meet Bakasura outside the village with a cart load of food. Once he had travelled a reasonable distance from the borders of the village, his stomach started rumbling due to hunger. After all, this was Bhima whose fondness for food was nothing short of legendary, and he therefore, stopped his cart and started gorging on the food.
In some time, he heard an earthy rumbling sound coming from behind one of the nearby hillocks. And in a few moments, he set eyes upon the most grotesque demon that he had ever seen – Bakasura.
The demon started roaring and told “How dare you eat the food that the villagers of Ekachakra have sent for me? Just who do you think you are?” To this question, Bhima nonchalantly replied “I don’t have the habit of sharing my food. So if you want any of this food, you will have to fight me for it.”
Enraged Bakasura charged at Bhima and in the ensuing battle was defeated and killed by Bhima. Famished after the fight, Bhima then proceeded to eat up the entire cart load of food and then loaded the demon’s body on the cart and took it to Ekachakra.
On seeing the demon killed, the villagers celebrated with joy and would live in eternal gratitude to Bhima, Kunti and the Pandavas for having relieved them of the scourge of Bakasura.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia.org
This post has been written for the Three Word Wednesday 3WW CCCCLVIII prompt where the prompt had to use the words – earthy, grotesque, nonchalant which is the reason these words have been highlighted separately in the post.
26 thoughts on “Bhima and Bakasura”
In daily life, Bakasura is probably the most mentioned Mahabharata character. “Stuffing himself like Bakasura” is how gluttony is described.
@Proactive Indian, have to agree with that, but am not sure most people know anything more about Bakasura other than the fact that he ate a lot, that’s all.
Superb use of the words and once again a story told with the utmost ease and panache. I enjoyed watching the bakasura – bheema fight episode of the Mahabharatha telecaster by dd1.
@Paddy, yes, even I vividly remember the fight 🙂
Liked this post a lot. The use of the three words, the direct way in which the story was told, everything was superb. I would like to take part too in these three words. 🙂
@Bhagyashree, please do take part, the link is given at the very end of the post
The bolded red words made me smile – I wouldn’t have thought all of this came from a word prompt challenge. At what point did the words factor into how you plotted this? Because it’s lovely.
@John, just thought for a while as to how to put together these three words in a mythological tale and lo and behold, the post 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting 🙂
Lovely post and the words have been interwoven very nicely.
@Jas, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
I love the way you narrate the story. Simply brilliant. Your daughter must be looking up to your stories every night, I bet:)
@Vishal, she is still too small, but she does enjoy the stories that I tell her every once in a while 🙂
This one is well-known to me through my grandmother and maternal aunt. One of my childhood favourites. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
@Rekha, glad that the post brought back memories of your grandmother and maternal aunt 😀 although that was not at all my intention 😉
we still use Bakasura word commonly in everyday life na.. when we see someone eat way too much of food than what we expected them to have.. :).
@ashreyamom, absolutely, even today gluttons in India are called Bakasuras 🙂
The Kauravs army wasn’t out to kill the Pandavas (though that might have been a secondary objective), they were out to search for them. Because if at any point of time during the 13 years of exile, if the Pandavas were found, an additional 13 years of exile was to be placed on them. That’s why the tended to live in anonymity.
I hope you don’t find my corrections tedious, I do them because I enjoy discussing contemporary Indian literature, and you give me ample opportunities to..
And by the way..good work on the prompt…makes me think how well you can do without one…
@Ayush, yes, that is true, the Kauravas were out to find the Pandavas during their exile which is why they kept moving around during those 13 years. And it is no problem that you correct me every now and then, after all I am also relearning all these stories when I post them 🙂
Oh well done – this is indeed a story well told – and a pleasure to read too.
@Anna, welcome to the blog, thanks for reading the post and leaving your feedback 🙂
My maternal grandmom used to tell us stories about our epics ,Jataka tales and Panchatantra and today as I read your post I recollected her story . You have an art of narrating a story.
@Kalpana, glad you enjoyed this timeless tale from the Mahabharata 🙂
[…] At one point in time Duryodhana was completely bereft of ideas as to how to overcome his Pandava cousins. He had tried burning them alive in the palace of wax at Varnavrata, and as if that weren’t enough his nemesis, Bhima had not only managed to escape the wrath of Bakasura at Ekachakra but also managed to kill him instead [Read about that incident here]. […]
Superb post .Very well-written. Love the way you narrate stories.😀👏👏👏
@Niharika, thank you and am glad you liked the story itself 🙂