The Most Powerful Warrior In Mahabharata You’ve Never Heard Of. He Could Have Ended The War In Just A Minute.
Before the Mahabharat war began, Lord Krishna asked all the warriors how many days it would take them to finish the war alone. Bhisma replied it would take him 20 days. Dronacharya said he would take 25 days. Karna said it would take him 24 days and Arjuna said it would take him 28 days. But Barbarik astonished Krishna with his answer. He said it would take him 1 minute to win the battle by himself. The story unfolds in the following manner:
Barbarik was the son of Ghatotkach and the grandson of Bheem. Having learnt the art of warfare from his mother, Maurvi, he was a brave warrior even in his childhood.
Pleased with his tapasya (meditation), Lord Shiva awarded him with 3 powerful arrows:
1. The first arrow would mark his enemy with red ink
2. The second arrow would mark the things that he wanted to save
3. The third arrow would destroy enemy target marked with red ink in the first step or destroy everything not marked in step 2
Barbarik’s Guru asked him to swear by 2 promises (vachans) as guru-dakshina
a. That Barbarik wouldn’t use the arrows for his personal vengeance.
b. That Barkarik would always fight for the weaker side in a battle/war.
Krishna wanted to test the powers of Barbarik. So he went to meet him and requested a demonstration of his arrows.
Krishna asked him to display the powers on a tree. He asked him to treat each leaf of the tree as enemy & make a hole trough them.
Barbarik started meditating.
While he was meditating, Krishna plucked a leaf off the tree and hid it under his own feet.
The first arrow was shot and it marked all the leaves in red ink.
The second arrow punched holes in every leaf marked with the red ink and-
..and it pierced through Krishna’s feet to reach for the hidden leaf. Krishna was shocked and realized that there was nothing that could possibly stop the infallible powers of Barbarik.
Krishna then asked Barbarik about the side he was planning to fight for in the war of Mahabharat. Babrbarik expressed his desire to fight for the Pandavas as they were the weaker side. (as promised to his guru).
But Krishna then revealed the paradox of Barbarik’s impossible promise: since the power of the 3 arrows made him the most powerful warrior on the battlefield, whichever side he joined would make the other side weaker. Eventually, he would end up switching sides infinitely until he destroyed everyone but himself. So to avoid this consequence, Krishna asked for Barbarik’s head.
But Barbarik expressed his desire to witness the epic battle of Mahabharat. Krishna promised him that even after his head was severed from his body, his head would be in a conscious state and that it would be placed on a hill overlooking the battlefield, so that he could witness the whole war.
Barbarik, being a true warrior and disciple of Lord Krishna, readily agreed and severed his own head.
Bheem then took the head of the greatest Kshatriya and placed it on the top of a hill as promised.
At the end of the war, the Pandavas argued amongst themselves as to who was responsible for their victory. Krishna suggested that Barbarik should be allowed to make that decision as he was a neutral witness to the whole war. To this Barbarik concluded that it was Krishna alone who was responsible for the Pandava’s victory: his advice, presence of mind and game-plan were the most crucial.
Images taken from Mahabharat Katha