|Spouse(s) Hidimbi, Draupadi and Valandhara|
Children Ghatotkacha (from Hidimbi)Sutasoma (from Draupadi)Sarvada (from Valandhara)
Similar Hidimbi , Draupadi , Ghatotkacha
In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Bhima (Sanskrit: भीम) (birth year about 3200BC) is the second of the Pandavas. The Mahabharata relates many events which portray the immense might of Bhima. Bhima is responsible for slaying all hundred Kaurava brothers in the Kurukshetra War.
- Map of Bhima River
- Birth and early years
- Trouble with Kauravas
- Escaping fire and killing Purochana
- Slaying Bakasura
- Marriage and children
- Conquest for Rajasuya
- Slaying Kirmira
- Searching for Saugandhika flower
- Killing Jatasura
- Humiliation of Jayadratha
- Cook at Virata's kingdom
- Defeating Jimuta
- Kichaka Vadha
- Susarma's defeat
- During the Kurukshetra War
- Later years and death
- In the media
Map of Bhima River
The word bhima in Sanskrit means 'terrible' or 'formidable'. His other names are-
Birth and early years
Because of a curse from the Rishi Kindama, Pandu and his wives are unable to conceive naturally. Hence, the Pandavas were conceived in an unusual way. His wife, Queen Kunti, had in her youth been granted the power to invoke the Devas by Rishi Durvasa. Each Deva, when invoked, would bless her with a child. Urged by Pandu to use her boons, Kunti gave birth to Bhima by invoking the God of wind, Vayu.
Along with other Pandava brothers, Bhima was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors, Kripa and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the mace. Bhima's strong point throughout the epic remains his towering strength. He was so wrathful and strong that it was impossible even for Indra to subdue him in a battle.
Bhima was also renowned for his giant appetite – at times, half of the total food consumed by the Pandavas was eaten by him.
Trouble with Kauravas
Bhima, being as powerful as his father, was a natural bully. He used to play practical jokes on the Kaurava brothers; he used to engage in wrestling bouts where he out-powered them with consummate ease.
His repeated failures and fecklessness against Bhima angered Duryodhana so much that he wanted him dead. He hatched a cunning plot where he poisoned Bhima's food and drowned him in River Ganga. Thankfully, the Naga king Vasuki saved Bhima and also apprised him of Duryodana's hatred for him. It is also Vasuki who bestowed him the immense strength of ten thousand elephants.
Escaping fire and killing Purochana
Duryodana with his counsellor Purochana hatched a plan to burn the Pandavas alive at a lac palace lakshagraha at Varnavrata that Duryodana had built there, (lacquer is highly inflammable). Thanks to Vidura, the Pandavas managed to escape out from the palace. Bhima played a major role in carrying all five of them (Kunti and brothers) and escaping to safety. Bhima also barricaded the palace of Purochana and set fire to it, thereby ensuring Purochana became a victim of his own evil plot.
Kunti and the Pandavas were living in agnyatavaasa (living incognito) after they escaped from the murder plot (Kunti suggests they be incognito to avoid further problems from the Kauravas). During their stay at Ekachakra or kaiwara (in Karnataka), they came to know of a demon, Bakasura, who troubled people by eating members of their village and their provisions. The powerful Bhima brought his might to the fore and trumped Bakasura, much to the delight of the villagers.
Marriage and children
At the time Bhima kills the rakshasa Hidimba, he meets his sister Hidimbi; they eventually get married and have a son, Ghatotkacha. Hidimbi promises Kunti that she and Ghatotkacha will stay out of the Pandavas' lives and away from the luxuries of court.
Then the Pandavas attended the Swayamvara of Drupada princess, Draupadi. The Pandavas, led by Arjuna, were successful at the Swayamvara. With his brothers, he was married to Draupadi, who gave birth to a son, Sutasoma. At a later stage, Bhima also married Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, and had a son named Sarvada. Among Bhima's three sons, Sarvada did not participate in the Kurukshetra war, Sutasoma was killed by Ashwatthama and Ghatotkacha was killed by Karna.
Conquest for Rajasuya
When Yudhishthira became emperor of Indraprastha he sent his four younger brothers out in different directions to subjugate kingdoms for the Rajasuya sacrifice. Bhima was sent out to the East, since Bhishma thought the easterners were skilled in fighting from the backs of elephants and in fighting with bare arms, he deemed Bhima to be the most ideal person to wage wars in that region. The Mahabharata mentions several kingdoms to the east of Indraprastha which were conquered by Bhima. Key victories include his fights with:
After Yudhishthira succumbed to Shakuni's challenge in the game of dice, the Pandavas were forced into exile for 13 years, one of which was in anonymity. The exile period in the forests, saw the Pandavas come face to face with many rakshasas and Bhima played a crucial role in the epic in rescuing his brothers every time.
Right at the start of the exile, in the woods of Kamyaka, the Pandavas encountered the demon Kirmira, the brother of Bakasura and a friend of Hidimba. A fierce battle ensued between Bhima and the demon, where the two equally matched fighters hurled rocks and trees at each other. Eventually Bhima emerged victorious.
Searching for Saugandhika flower
Once in Badarikasrama forest, Draupadi scented the Saugandhika flower and was deeply attracted to it. The lotus species was not to be located easily. Bhima went in search of the flower and ended up at Kubera's palace. He was stopped in his tracks by the rakshasas called Krodhavasas, but he defeated them all and reached the lotus pond. He also slew the rakshasa Maniman a wicked demon, who had in the past, incurred a curse from Rishi Agastya by spitting on his head. Being unused to the water of the pond, Bhima fell asleep on its shore. Later the Pandavas arrived with Krishna and Draupadi in search of Bhima. They met Kubera who offered them baskets of Saugandhika lotuses and sent them on their way. Kubera was especially happy, as the slaughter of Maniman had relieved him of the curse too. It was also during this search that Bhima met Hanuman (his brother, as both were Vayu's children) in the forest and sought his blessings.
In another minor incident in the epic, Jatasura, a rakshasa disguised as a Brahmin abducted Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Draupadi and the twin brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva during their stay at Badarikasrama. His objective was to seize the weapons of the Pandavas and to ravish Draupadi. Bhima, who was gone hunting during the abduction, was deeply upset when he came to know of Jatasura's evil act on his return. A fierce encounter followed between the two gigantic warriors, where Bhima emerged victorious by decapitating Jatasura and crushing his body.
Humiliation of Jayadratha
In another event in the Kamyaka forests, Jayadratha, a Sindhu King, abducted Draupadi when the Pandavas were away. On returning, the Pandavas learnt about this from Sage Dhaumya, followed and reached Jayadratha's army in the forest. They vanquished his army and he was nabbed by Bhima. Before Bhimasena was about to kill him, Yudhishthira told him not kill him, because he was their brother-in-law. Bhimasena humiliated him by shaving his head and leaving him with just five patches of hair. Jayadratha later plays a major role in the Kurukshetra War in slaying Abhimanyu, but is later trounced by Arjuna, the only Pandava he could not conquer.
Cook at Virata's kingdom
Along with his brothers, Bhima spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. He disguised himself as a cook named Vallabh (within themselves Pandavas called him Jayanta).
Once during a great festival, people from neighbouring countries had come to the kingdom of Virata. There was a wrestling bout where a wrestler from a different state, Jimuta proved to be invincible. Much to the delight of King Virata and his subjects, Bhima challenged Jimuta and knocked him out in no time. This greatly enhanced the reputation of the Pandavas in an unfamiliar territory.
Kichaka, the army commander of Virata, tried to sexually assault Draupadi, who was under the guise of a maid named Sairindhri. Draupadi reported this incident to Bhima. Bhima covered himself with silk robes. He slew him the moment he tried to touch him. Kickaka was crushed and slaughtered in to a meat ball by Bhima. Later Kichaka's allies plotted to murder Sairindri, but Bhima vanquished all of them.
The archenemy of Virata was King Susharma of the Trigarta Kingdom, under the aegis of Duryodana, waged a battle against Virata by stealing the cows in his kingdom. Bhima lead the other Pandavas and Virata, and helped to rout the army of Susarma easily. Before he was about to strangle Susarma to death, Yudhishthira told him to spare him.
By this time, the 13-year exile period was completed and the rivalry between the siblings was renewed.
During the Kurukshetra War
Before the battle had begun, Bhima suggested that Satyaki would lead the Pandava forces, as their general, but Yudhishthira and Arjuna opted for Dhrishtadyumna. The flag of Bhima's chariot bore the image of a gigantic lion in silver with its eyes made of lapis lazuli and his chariot was yoked to horses as black as bears or black antelopes. He wielded a celestial bow named Vayavya a massive conch named Paundra and a huge mace equivalent to a hundred thousand maces. Bhima distinguishes himself in battle several times throughout the war; some of Bhima's major engagements during the war include:
Later years and death
After the war, Dhritarashtra was enraged by Bhima's slaying of all his sons. When the Pandavas arrive at Hastinapur to claim the kingdom and pay their respects, Krishna, sensing his anger, placed an iron statue of Bhima in front of Dhritarashtra. When embracing Bhima, Dhritarashtra crushed the statue into pieces, but later realised his folly and apologised to Bhima.
Yudhishthira appointed Bhima as the commander of Hastinapur. Upon the onset of the Kali yuga, Bhima and the other Pandavas retired. Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas.
On the journey, the group, one-by-one, begins to fall. When Bhima tires and falls down, he asks his elder brother why he, Bhima, is unable to complete the journey to heaven. Yudhishthira explains his brother's vice of gluttony. In some versions of the story, Yudhishthira points out Bhima's boastfulness, pride, and battle-lust as the reasons for his fall.