The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes The Birth of Barbarika which is chapter 60 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the sixtieth chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 60 - The Birth of Barbarīka

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This name [viz., Barbarīka] is derived from Barbara, an alien tribe in India. The son of Ghaṭotkaca was so named as his hair was like that of Barbaras. This story of Barbarīka is found only in SkP and not in BhP which is the source of such legends.

Sūta said:

1. He saw a thousand-storeyed golden mansion standing in a great park outside the city of Prāgjyotiṣa.

2. It was filled with the sounds of flutes, lutes and Mṛdaṅgas (drums). It was teeming with maid-servants, ten thousand in number.

3. The servants of Bhagadatta coming in and going out enquired: “What does the sister wish?” and they filled the whole mansion.

4. Approaching that mansion that resembled the peak of Meru, the son of Hiḍaṃbī saw a female companion Karṇaprāvaraṇā.

5. The hero said to her gently, “O gentle lady, where is the daughter of Muru. I am a guest coming from a far-off land, a lover of hers. I wish to see her.”

Karṇaprāvaraṇā said:

6. O mighty-armed one, what have you to do with the daughter of Muru? O lover, crores of lovers have been killed by her previously.

7. On seeing your form with a potful of laughter with the tresses always lifted up, O hero, I bow down to your feet. I am standing by ready to carry out your behests.

8. Therefore, rejoice in my company, O lover; enjoy all types of pleasures. I shall give three beloveds to your three followers.

Ghaṭotkaca said:

9. O blessed lady, O splendid one, what you have proposed befits you. But these words of yours do not enter my mind.

10. That is because, O gentle lady, Kāma who is antagonistic to one does not bind the person to whom one is drawn and attached. Therefore, what can we do?

11. One of these two shall occur today: your mistress will be seen and won over by me and she will sport with me or I will be defeated by her and shall go the way (i.e. death) the previous lovers have gone.

12. Therefore, O Karṇaprāvaraṇā, let her be quickly informed so that she can adore the guest at least by her sight.

13. On hearing these words of the son of Bhīma, the demoness (went up to the top of the palace) with faltering steps and spoke these words to the daughter of Mura, who was on the top of the palace:

14. “O gentle lady, a certain glorious young man of splendour unparalleled in the three worlds is standing at the gate as your guest of love. Command what should be done next.”

Kāmakaṭaṅkaṭā said:

15. Let him be quickly allowed to come in; why do you delay? Perhaps by good fortune, my condition may be fulfilled.”

16-17. On being told these words, the chaperon went to Ghaṭotkaca and said:

“O lover, go immediately to her presence, the presence of Death.”

On being told so, the son of Bhīma laughingly left his followers there and entered the mansion like a lion entering a cave of Meru.

18-22. He saw there a number of parrots, doves and thrushes as well as inebriated female companions.

Then he saw that (daughter of Muru) too. She was superior to Rati in giving pleasure by her beauty and youth. Bedecked in all ornaments, she was comfortably seated on a swing. On seeing her flashing like lightning, the son of Bhīma thought: ‘Ah! this is the lady suggested (as wife) for me by Kṭṣṇa (and) my father as befitting (me). It is justifiable (natural) that for the sake of this (lady) a number of lovers have met death formerly. A large number of lovers pine away for the sake of their beloved ones and lose their bodies. Then why should this destruction (death) be reckoned as great?’

Thus the lover, the son of Bhīma, thought in various ways and (ultimately) said:

23. “O ruthless one with adamantine heart! I have come here as your guest. Hence offer me the adoration due to good persons in accordance with what you have cherished in your heart.”

24. On hearing these words of the son of Hiḍaṃbī, Kāmakaṭaṅkaṭā was struck with wonder (to see) at his handsome features. She censured her own childishness.

25. ‘Fie upon me, because such a condition has been previously stipulated by me! If it had not been made formerly, this (man) would have become my husband.’

26-27. Thinking thus, she spoke these words to the son of Bhīma: “You have come in vain, O gentle Sir. Return alive and live happily. Or if you love me (ardently) quickly narrate a tale. If you recount a story and put me in a doubtful fix, I shall come under your control; otherwise you will be slain by me and have an eternal sleep.”

Sūta said:

28-30. As she spoke these words, he looked at her with the extremity of his eye, remembered Kṛṣṇa, the sire of the mobile and the immobile beings, and began the story:

“A certain young man indulged freely in sensual pleasures with his wife. She gave birth to a daughter. The wife died thereafter and the man brought up his daughter and nursed her properly.

31-32. That splendid girl grew into a young maiden with all the limbs fully developed, with the breasts and waist shining brilliantly and with the lotus-like face beaming. At that time his mind, overwhelmed by lust, broke all ties and fetters. The vicious fellow embraced his daughter and said:

33. ‘You are the daughter of my neighbour. You were brought here and nourished by me for a long time so that you can be my wife. Hence fulfil that task, my beloved one.’

34. On being told thus, she accepted his words as true. She resorted to him as her husband and he to her as his wife.

35. A daughter was born to her from that lecherous donkey. Tell me whether that child is his daughter or granddaughter. If you are capable of it, answer my question immediately.”

Sūta said:

36-39a. On hearing this question, she pondered over it in many ways in her mind. She could not arrive at any decisive conclusion at all. When she was defeated by means of that question, she made use of her power.

With her hands she struck at the golden chain of the swing. Thereupon crores of extremely terrible Rākṣasas came out. Lions, tigers, boars, deer, buffaloes and leopards also came out.

39b-41. On seeing those numerous animals rushing at him furiously in order to swallow him, the son of Bhīma laughingly sounded (rubbed against one another) the nails of his small finger and thumb. Thereupon twice the number of Rākṣasas etc. came out. All those (animals) created by the daughter of Muru were swallowed in a moment by them. When her power was repulsed, she resorted to her physical force.

42-44. She got up suddenly from the swing and wished to seize her sword. The son of Bhīma chased her speedily as she stood up, caught hold of her hair with his left hand and made her fall on the ground. He then placed his left foot on her neck and took up the knife in his right hand with a desire to chop off her nose. Then the daughter of Muru trembled and spoke slowly to Ghaṭotkaca:

45. “O Lord, I have been defeated by you in three ways, viz. by the question, by means of the (magical) power and by means of physical force. Obeisance to you. Hence leave me. I am your servant. Command me. I shall carry it out.”

Ghaṭotkaca said:

46. If it is so, you are released. Show me your force once again.

After saying this he released her. On being released she bowed down and said:

47. “I know you, O mighty one, as a hero, the most excellent one among powerful persons. You are the leader of all Rākṣasas. You have unlimited and unparalleled valour in all the three worlds.

48. You are the overlord of Guhyakas known as Kālanābha. For the protection of Yakṣas, you are born on the earth as the lord of sixty crores.

49. It was Kāmākhyā who told this to me. I remembered everything. This mansion of mine along with my followers have been given to you by myself.

50-54. O my dear Lord, command me. What behest shall I carry out?”

Ghaṭotkaca said:

O daughter of Mura, if one has parents and kinsmen, it is not proper at all that one should marry secretly. Hence, O splendid lady, carry me quickly to Śakraprastha (i.e. Indraprastha) now. This is our family tradition that the wife should carry the husband. After getting their permission, I shall marry you there.

Thereafter, the daughter of Muru intimated (everything) to king Bhagadatta. After taking ample wealth, she bade farewell to her brother. Then carrying Ghaṭotkaca on her back the uncensured (praiseworthy) lady came to Śakraprastha surrounded by many attendants, equipped with various kinds of articles.

55. Thereafter, he was congratulated by Vāsudeva and the Pāṇḍavas. At an auspicious hour the son of Bhīma grasped her hand (i.e. married her).

56. After marrying her in accordance with the excellent ways current among Kurus as well as among the Rākṣasas, he propitiated the Pāṇḍavas with her wealth.

57 Both Kuntī and Draupadī who were propitiated by the wealth of the daughter of Muru rejoiced very much. They performed auspicious rites for her.

58. After the marriage celebration was concluded, the king duly honoured Ghaṭotkaca accompanied by his wife and directed him (to go back) to his own kingdom.

59. After accepting his behest with bent head, the son of Hiḍambī accompanied by his wife, the daughter of Muru, went to his own auspicious kingdom in the forest of Hiḍaṃba.

60. With enhanced blessings proclaimed by the Rākṣasa women through Vīrakāṃsyas (i.e. reception by waving lamp in a tray of bell-metal), he rejoiced in his own kingdom with great celebrations and festivities.

61. Thereafter, the son of Bhīma sported with her in the forests of variegated colours and the banks of rivers like Rāvaṇa along with Mandodarī.

62. Even as the son of Hiḍaṃbī, a tiger among Rākṣasas, (a leader) of great lustre was sporting about thus, a son was born to him. He had the lustre of the rising sun.

63-66. As soon as he was born, he increased in size. In a moment he became a young man. He had the lustre of a blue cloud. His face resembled a pot. He had long eyes. His hair on the head as well as on the body rose up. He bowed down to his parents and said: “I bow down to both of you. Parents are the preceptors of a person born. I shall become free from the indebtedness to you by always doing what is pleasing to you. I wish to have a name given by you two. Thereafter what is conducive to welfare and prosperity should be performed.”

Thereupon the son of Bhīma embraced his son and spoke these words:

67-68. “Since you have the hair like that of a Barbara, you will be named Barbarīka, O mighty-armed one. You will increase the delight of the family. What is conducive to your welfare is glorified by the leading Brāhmaṇas in various ways. Therefore, we shall go to the city of Dvārakā and ask Vāsudeva, the Lord of the race of Yadu.”

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