Two half empty lives – Part 3


<< Part 1 | Part 2  >>

Upon hearing Krishna’s challenge Jarasandha responded- I have captured and imprisoned all these kings with the sole intention of sacrificing them. How can I therefore let them go just because you ask me to?

I accept your challenge, against two of you or all three of you, if you so desire.

He then proceeded to install his son Sahadeva on the throne and prepared himself for the challenge issued by Krishna.

Mindful of the fact that Jarasandha was destined to be slain by Bhima, Krishna did not want to kill the king himself. Addressing the king he said- O king, who amongst us three do you desire to fight? Which of us three needs to prepare for the fight against you?

Addressing Bhima, the king said- O mighty one, I choose you to battle against. I would rather fight the strongest opponent.

Saying so, he rushed at Bhima with great energy, thereby signaling the start of the fight.

The two warriors then engaged in a fierce unarmed duel which brought out the best of their abilities. With bare arms as their only weapons and roaring like wild beasts, they struck each other like mad elephants encountering each other. Incensed at each other’s’ blows, they fought like enraged lions jumping at each other vengefully. Since both of them were well versed with the skills and techniques of wrestling, they tried a lot of moves on each other and gave a wonderful display of the same.

The sound made by both of them brought forth almost the whole of the capital city of Magadha to the arena. Both of them were so evenly matched that their fight continued for thirteen days and nights without a break.  On the fourteenth day, to prod Bhima to fulfill his destiny, Krishna addressed him- O son of Pandu, your foe is greatly exhausted, put forth all the strength you can muster and finish him off.

Hearing Krishna say so, Bhima dug deep into his reserves of energy and prepared himself for the final assault on the king of Magadha. He lifted Jarasandha up high above his head and began to whirl him. He then brought him down, pressed his knee on his backbone and broke his body in half. Having killed him thus, Bhima let out a mighty roar in jubilation.

The trio then proceeded to Jarasandha’s dungeons and freed all the kings and monarchs that the evil king had imprisoned over the years. To express their gratitude for having received their freedom all the kings pledged their allegiance to Yudhisthira, his brothers and Krishna.


A lot of popular versions of Jarasandha’s story suggest that at the end of thirteen days, Bhima was clueless as to how to defeat the king. Despite his best attempts and skillful fighting, Jarasandha refused to be defeated. And it was at this juncture that Krishna suggested that the king be torn into two vertical halves and each half be thrown in opposite directions.

Krishna is supposed to have made this suggestion by taking a small stick, breaking it in half and throwing the halves in opposite directions (ie, threw the left piece on the right side and the right piece on the left side) when Bhima was looking at him. By doing so, Bhima would ensure that Jarasandha’s two halves (by virtue of his miraculous birth) would not be able to fuse together again to form a whole.

Following Krishna’s instructions Bhima proceeded to tear the evil king in half and threw his right half on the left side and his left half on the right side, thereby preventing the halves from joining together.


17 thoughts on “Two half empty lives – Part 3

  1. Thanks for the detailed 3 part story of Jarasandha. Mythology has so much to offer. And Mahabore’s Mumblings happens to be a one-stop shop. 🙂

    • @Rekha, those were extremely generous words that you just used there – a one stop shop 🙂 Just keeps me on my toes on the lookout for the next mythological tale to share with all you wonderful readers 🙂

    • @Seeta, the version I read didn’t actually have any mention about Bhima throwing the different halves in opposite directions, but that makes for a more colorful story, doesn’t it ? 🙂

  2. hey! First time reader and I love Mahabharata tales and love to tell them to my kid#2.
    I am so happy to have found out this blog . You tell the story with all its nuances and the right words. My appreciations to you for doing a commendable job.
    BTW: I remember (probably wrongly) that Jarasandh was Ravan’s FIL and that’s how he was angry with Krishna as Krishna had slain his son in law . Later they made the dice with Jarasandh’s bones and played Dyut (gambling ) with those dice so that it would vibrate with fear each time Bheem shouted in rage. Is it correct?

    • @Kirti, first of all welcome to the blog and am glad you enjoyed the post itself and left behind your comments.

      Regarding Jarasandha being Kamsa’s father-in-law, yes, one of the versions of the Mahabharata mentions this as the main reason that Jarasandha harbors ill feelings towards Krishna.

      Regarding Shakuni’s dice, while some versions of the epic state that they were made from his own dead father’s bones, other versions state that they were made with Jarasandha’s bones.

  3. hello, first of all thanks for sharing the story and making it so interesting ..

    going on a Tangent and without starting a controversy.. I have a different view on mahabhartha because I feel it is full of deceit and deception .. I feel the Kauravas had bigger and mightier warriors and not all of them were bad.

    I also feel that Duryodhana though depicted as bad .. actually i will shutup here and wait for the story to progress and when it come to duryodhana I will put my Two scents of knowledge then .. Sorry for going on a tangent ..

    • @Bikramjit, I am not retelling the Mahabharata, so you can go ahead and post your comments here, no issues there 🙂

      And also, I only retell the stories and personally have no viewpoints on either the goodness or the evil of the characters involved. So please feel free to air your views on any of these stories in the comments section. It always helps to know the varied viewpoints of readers on these stories 🙂

  4. I am sticking to the version of throwing two halves in opposite direction 🙂 Not only does it make for a very interesting story, it also reveals the keen intelligence and wit of our rishi-poets who “saw” these timeless stories in their visions. Thanks for this re-telling!

  5. THAT Bhim being destined to kill Jarasandh arises from the prophecy that whichever of Bhim, Hidimb, Jarasandh, Keechaka and Duryodhan killed one of the others first would be the one to kill all the others, does it not?

  6. My grandma has narrated the story of throwing the two haves of the body on opposite sides as the two would not fuse to form a full live body. This was the only way to slay Jarasandh. But there are many different versions too.
    Jairam , ACKs have strong competition . Your way of making the mythology interesting is laudable.

    • @Kalpana, you give me way too much credit by comparing me to ACK and calling me ‘strong competition’ 🙂 You are being way too kind, but thank you for the constant motivation 🙂

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