In the previous episode, we had witnessed the Paandavas leaving the forest area where Bheemasena got married to Hidimbi and obtained Gatotgaja. After this incident, as per the agreement, Hidimbi and Gatotgaja left Bheemasena, assuring that whenever he needs his help, Gatotgaja would appear in front of him at any point in time and at any place. Thus, the Paandavas move out to the place called “Eka-Chakra-Nagara”, and by the time they enter the town, it is almost 2 to 3 years of time. By this time, the Paandavas have completely changed their appearance and they now looked like Brahmana Rishis, with their “Jataa-Mudi” and a simple “Vastra” around them. Of course, this was the instruction that was given to them by Vidura that they should be living in a disguised form for sometime wherein Duryodhana wouldn’t be able to identify. As they enter the “Eka-Chakra-Nagara”, the Paandavas meet Sage Vyaasa, who blesses them with enormous wealth, kingdom and ultimately the highest “Moksha” to them.
With this, we also came to the end of the “Hidimbi-Vadha-Parva” and now we’re entering into the “Bhaka-Vadha-Parva”. This is also a very small “Upda-Parva” like the previous ones, and this is also one story which all of us might be knowing. Hence, we shall go a bit faster here as well. Thus, the Paandavas enter into the “Eka-Chakra-Nagara” and they seek refuge at a house of a brahmin person. This person had a wife, a son and a daughter. Of course, they were going along the entire length and breadth of the town seeking “Bhiksha” for their daily food. Of whatever “Bhiksha” (Offering) they obtain, one half of it would be for Bheemasena and the remaining half would be split equally between the rest of them, including Kunthi Devi. However, as days progressed, the quantity of food that Bheemasena was eating every day came down drastically. Bheemasena was becoming weaker and slimmer because of this. Upon looking at Bheemasena’s pitiable condition thus, all of them were doubting whether he would be fit enough to fight any enemy henceforth or not. Buoyed by hunger thus, Bheemasena was eagerly looking for someone to feed him ample amount of food atleast for one day.
It is at this time that the people in the house in which they were staying were seen shouting at the top of their voice. There was a lot of commotion in that house and people were arguing very loudly with each other. There were cries too from the women of the house. Upon seeing this, Kunthi Devi did not understand what was going on. She thus peeped in to see what was going on in the house and why there was so much sound. Kunthi Devi saw the head of the family – The male member was lamenting to his wife thus, “Oh no! Is this what I married you for? Is this why I had a son and a daughter? I told you during the initial days of our marriage itself that we would not prefer to stay in this city. However, you never listened to my words. You were steadfast in residing in this place because your father resided here. Now see what is happening – We’re stuck up in the hands of this Raakshasa by name “Bhagaasura” and all of us are going to have a painful death in his hands. Now who will go to this Bhagaasura and offer him food? If I go, he would eat me off and hence, you would be alone all through your life. I wouldn’t allow that to happen. However, if we’ve to sacrifice our son, he is our next generation isn’t it? How would I have the heart to offer my darling son to this Raakshasa as his food? If I’ve to send my daughter to this Raakshasa, how do I have the heart to let this Bhagaasura kill my darling daughter who is supposed to have a good married life with her future husband? I’ll be failing in my duty as a father, isn’t it? Hence, given these constraints, I think that I should be the person who should go and give myself to this Bhagaasura today!”
As this person talks thus, his wife replies, “Oh my dear husband! What are you saying? Why should you or our children be the victims of this Raakshasa? I should be the person to go. Of what use am I here? You can still survive alone and uplift our children. Hence, I should be the one who is going!” Similarly, the son and daughter also come forward to declare that they would go, so that their parents would be protected. Upon hearing all these accords frantically from these people, Kunthi Devi did not understand what was going on! She was wondering who this Raakshasa was! Who is this Bhagaasura and why should people go and fall prey to him? What was his requirement?
Having all these questions in mind thus, Kunthi Devi comes forward and enquires with the family. The father replies thus, “Oh Devi! There is a Raakshasa by name Bhakaasura who lives in the outskirts of this town. Every now and then he would come and destroy houses here, and kill some people for his food. Thus, unable to bare his atrocities beyond a point, the city came to an agreement that every family would take turns to supply him huge amounts of food items such as milk, honey, rice, sambhar, vegetables, sweets, fruits, etc. along with one person and a cow. Bhakaasura should consume all of it for that day, and leave the rest of the people alive. Bhakaasura too agreed to this deal and it is the turn of our family to do the needful today. This is where the entire argument is shaping up from! Our dilemma is whom to go as a victim of Bhakaasura!”
As Kunthi Devi listens to the entire accord, she makes up a plan! What was Kunthi Devi’s plan? Let us eagerly wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂