Bheemsena the Jivothamma !!!
Lot of people have a misconception about Bheemsena; this article will present simple known facts and bring to the foreground, the greatness of Bheemsena Devaru ! It is still incomplete; I've tried to maintain a chronological timeline.
1. Bheema had extraordinary strength right from an infant. This shows he needs no boons or protection. This internal strength is firm devotion to Sri Hari. Only Sri Krishna and Vayu show their strength from childhood. Hanuman's powress as a kid, here Bheemsena's strength and Sri Madhvacharya's numerous miracles as a kid.
The god of wind thereupon begat upon her the child afterwards known as Bhima of mighty arms and fierce prowess. And upon the birth of that child endued with extraordinary strength, an incorporeal voice, O Bharata, as before, said, 'This child shall be the foremost of all endued with strength.' I must tell you, O Bharata, of another wonderful event that occurred alter the birth of Vrikodara (Bhima). While he fell from the lap of his mother upon the mountain breast, the violence of the fall broke into fragments the stone upon which he fell without his infant body being injured in the least. And he fell from his mother's lap because Kunti, frightened by a tiger, had risen up suddenly, unconscious of the child that lay asleep on her lap. And as she had risen, the infant, of body hard as the thunderbolt, falling down upon the mountain breast, broke into a hundred fragments the rocky mass upon which he fell. And beholding this, Pandu wondered much.
2. Bheemsena toying with Bakasura before killing him
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_01157.php
Then Arjuna said, 'What need, O Bhima, for keeping the Rakshasa alive so long? O oppressor of enemies, we are to go hence, and cannot stay here longer. The east is reddening, the morning twilight is about to set in. The Rakshasa became stronger by break of day, therefore, hasten, O Bhima! Play not (with thy victim), but slay the terrible Rakshasa soon. During the two twilights Rakshasas always put forth their powers of deception. Use all the strength of thy arms.
"Vaisampayana continued, 'At this speech of Arjuna, Bhima blazing up with anger, summoned the might that Vayu (his father) puts forth at the time of the universal dissolution. And filled with rage, he quickly raised high in the air the Rakshasa's body, blue as the clouds of heaven, and whirled it a hundred times.
3. Bheemsena evokes fear in Karna and all the Kshatriya kings present.
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_01193.php
Fighting with each other thus for a few seconds, Bhima the foremost of the Kuru heroes taking up Salya on his arms hurled him to a distance. And Bhimasena, that bull amongst men, surprised all (by the dexterity of his feat) for though he threw Salya on the ground he did it without hurting him much. And when Salya was thus thrown down and Karna was struck with fear, the other monarchs were all alarmed. And they hastily surrounded Bhima
4a. Jarasandha accepts Bheema is greater than him
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_02023.php
Then the monarch possessed of terrible prowess, addressing Bhima. said, 'I will fight with thee. It is better to be vanquished by a superior person.' And saying this, Jarasandha, that represser of all foes endued, rushed with great energy at Bhimasena like the Asura Vala or old who rushed at the chief of the celestials.
Krishna advises Bhima to use minimal strength
It was on the night of the fourteenth of the lunar fortnight that the monarch of Magadha desisted from fatigue. And O king, Janardana beholding the monarch tired, addressed Bhima of terrible deeds, and as if to stimulate him said,--'O son of Kunti, a foe that is fatigued cannot be pressed for if pressed at such a time he may even die. Therefore, O son of Kunti, this king should not be oppressed by thee. On the other hand, O bull of the Bharata race, fight with him With thy arms, putting forth as much strength only as thy antagonist hath now left!' Then that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Pandu, thus addressed by Krishna, understood the plight of Jarasandha and forthwith resolved upon taking his life. And that foremost of all men endued with strength, that prince of the Kuru race, desirous of vanquishing the hitherto unvanquished Jarasandha, mustered all his strength and courage."
4b. Krishna advises Bheema to show his mula roopa strength - Thus proving that Bheema was only toying with jarasandha; waiting for Sri Krishna's orders
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_02024.php
Krishna, desiring to encourage that hero to accomplish the death of Jarasandha without any delay, answered,--'O Bhima, exhibit today upon Jarasandha the strength thou hast luckily derived, the might thou hast obtained from (thy father), the god Maruta.' Thus addressed by Krishna, Bhima, that slayer of foes, holding up in the air the powerful Jarasandha, began to whirl him on high. And, O bull of the Bharata race, having so whirled him in the air full hundred times, Bhima pressed his knee against Jarasandha's backbone and broke his body in twain.
5. Bheema defeated Karna ( having kavach and kundal at this time ) for Rajsuya Yagnja
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_02029.php
And making the earth tremble by means of his troops consisting of the four kinds of forces, the foremost of the Pandavas then encountered Karna that slayer of foes. And, O Bharata, having subjugated Karna and brought him under his sway, the mighty hero then vanquished the powerful king of the mountainous regions
6. Gambling was stopped because of fear of Bheemsena; Bheemsena threatened to kill Duryodhana then and there; if it had'nt been stopped.
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_02069.php
Bhimasena expanding his red eyes, said unto Duryodhana in the midst of all those kings and as if piercing them (with his dart-like words),--'Let not Vrikodara attain to the regions, obtained by his ancestors, if he doth not break that thigh of thine in the great conflict. And sparkles of fire began to be emitted from every organ of sense of Bhima filled with wrath, like those that come out of every crack and orifice in the body of a blazing tree.
Vidura then, addressing everybody, said,--'Ye kings of Pratipa's race, behold the great danger that ariseth from Bhimasena. Know ye for certain that this great calamity that threatens to overtake the Bharatas hath been sent by Destiny itself.
7. Bheema makes pledge; other Pandavas confirm their targets. Reference to Narasimha avataar is there as well.
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_02075.php
Bhima, suppressing his rising rage and following the steps of Yudhishthira, also spake these words while going out of the Kaurava court, 'I will slay Duryodhana, and Dhananjaya will slay Karna, and Sahadeva will slay Sakuni that gambler with dice. I also repeat in this assembly these proud words which the gods will assuredly make good, if ever we engage in battle with the Kurus, I will slay this wretched Duryodhana in battle with my mace, and prostrating him on the ground I will place my foot on his head. And as regards this (other) wicked person--Dussasana who is audacious in speech, I will drink his blood like a lion.
"And Arjuna said,--O Bhima, the resolutions of superior men are not known in words only. On the fourteenth year from this day, they shall see what happeneth.
"And Bhima again said,--'The earth shall drink the blood of Duryodhana, and Karna, and the wicked Sakuni, and Dussasana that maketh the fourth.'
"And Arjuna said,--'O Bhima, I will, as thou directest, slay in battle this Karna so malicious and jealous and harsh-speeched and vain. For doing what is agreeable to Bhima, Arjuna voweth that he will slay in battle with his arrows this Karna with all his followers. And I will send unto the regions of Yama also all those other kings that will from foolishness fight against me. The mountains of Himavat might be removed from where they are, the maker of the day lose his brightness, the moon his coldness, but this vow of mine will ever be cherished. And all this shall assuredly happen if on the fourteenth year from this, Duryodhana doth not, with proper respect, return us our kingdom.'"
Vaisampayana continued,--"After Arjuna had said this, Sahadeva the handsome son of Madri, endued with great energy, desirous of slaying Sakuni, waving his mighty arms and sighing like snake, exclaimed, with eyes red with anger--'Thou disgrace of the Gandhara kings, those whom thou thinkest as defeated are not really so. Those are even sharp-pointed arrows from whose wounds thou hast run the risk in battle. I shall certainly accomplish all which Bhima hath said adverting to thee with all thy followers. If therefore thou hast anything to do, do it before that
day cometh. I shall assuredly slay thee in battle with all thy followers soon enough, it thou, O son of Suvala, stayest in the light pursuant to the Kshatriya usage.'
"'Then, O monarch hearing these words of Sahadeva, Nakula the handsomest of men spake these words,--'I shall certainly send unto the abode of Yama all those wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, who desirous of death and impelled by Fate, and moved also by the wish of doing what is agreeable to Duryodhana, have used harsh and insulting speeches towards this daughter o Yajnasena at the gambling match. Soon enough shall I, at the command of Yudhishthira and remembering the wrongs to Draupadi, make the earth destitute of the sons of Dhritarashtra.'
8a. Might of Bheema. Bheema mentions his strength.
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_05076.php
Behold, O Krishna, these--the firmament and the earth--which are immovable, immense, and infinite, and which are the refuge of, and in which are born these countless creatures. If through anger these suddenly collide like two hills, just I, with my arms, can keep them asunder with all their mobile and immobile objects. Behold the joints of these my mace-like arms. I find not the person who can extricate himself having once come within their grasp. The Himavat, the ocean, the mighty wielder of the thunderbolt himself, viz., the slayer of Vala,--even these three cannot, with all their power extricate the person attacked by me. I will easily trample on the ground under my feet all the Kshatriyas, who will come to battle against the Pandavas
8b. Sri Krishna says the whole weight of the war lies on Bheemsena, which means Sri Krishna acknowledges Bheemsena devaru as the foremost warrior.
Krishna, says what Bheemsena has mentioned as his strength is very less.
Similar to this incident, when Sri Madhvacharya presents his Gita Bhasya to Bhagwan Ved Vyasa; Bhagwan Ved Vyasa asks Sri Madhvacharya to change the word Shaktitah to Leshitaha ( Meaning his capacity is much more, he has demonstrated only part of his ability)
It's not enough if one person, performs seva to Sri Hari; it has to be accepted by Sri Hari.
Vayu's seva is always accepted by Sri Hari; Hanuman is embraced by Sri Rama in Sundarkanda. The above two examples; shows that Vayu's seva is always accepted by Sri Hari.
Aa Vayu Devaru namma Kula Gururayano
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_05077.php
O son of Pandu, a thousand times greater will be the benefit conferred by thee on the Pandava's cause than that which thou thinkest thyself to be capable of conferring on it. Thou, O Bhima, with thy kinsmen and friends, art exactly that which one should be that has taken his birth in a family like thine, that is regarded by all the kings of the earth.
Burden of War lies on Bheema as told by Sri Krishna
In this war burthen resteth on thee, O Bhimasena. That burthen should also be borne by Arjuna, while other warriors should all be led by both of you. In case of war happening, I will certainly be the driver of Vibhatsu's car, for that, indeed, is Dhananjaya's wish and not that I myself am not desirous of fighting. It is for this that, hearing thee utter thy intention, I rekindled that thy energy, O Vrikodara.
9. Let's look at the war itself; many people comment Bhisma was unstoppable, Drona was unstoppable etc.
If all the kauravas had died on the first day itself, would there have been a war the next day ?
Since there was no heir in line, the war would have stopped. So instead of looking at the general's powress, the general's powers need to be measured in terms of how much protection they could provide the kaurava's.
Kaurava's were killed by Bheemsena in the presence of all general's. Bhisma & Drona panick, at the rate at which Bheema kills the kauravas. Karna runs away from battlefield when Bheema challenges him to protect dusshasana.
Also, Bheemsena single handedly kills all the kauravas, thereby officially winning the war.
"bheesan dushtkulantaka Bheemam, Bheemama bheetiya mishta jananam"
10. Naryanastra same as Bheema ( Vayu is abhimani devata for Narayana Astra proof ) The reference below clearly states that Bheema was unharmed, is the same as the Narayana astra. Note, Narayana astra is greater than all divya astras, because Arjuna did not have a counter astra for this. Similar to this, Sri Krishna receives the Vaishnava astra from Bhagadatta intended for Arjuna. The astra becomes a flower garland for Sri Krishna. Bheemsena also tackles the Bhargava astra hurled by Karana, the result being the same, he is unaffected by the astra.
Sri Hari and Vayu both demonstrate that they can receive all astras without harming even a single hair.
Please note here that nobody has survived astras unscratched by themselves. Karna was killed by Anjalika astra ( part of the divya astras )
Ref : http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_07197.php
As the (Yuga) fire consuming the entire universe with its mobile and immobile creatures when the hour of dissolution comes, at last enters the mouth of the Creator, even so at the weapon of Drona's son began to enter the body of Bhimasena. As one cannot perceive a fire if it penetrates into the sun or the sun if it enters into a fire, even so none could perceive that energy which penetrated into Bhima's body.
11. Bheemsena hits the base of the spine of duryodhana. See the proof, duryodhana has jumped up; one blow breaking both thighs.
Ref 2: http://www.mahabharataonline.com/translation/mahabharata_09058.php
Beholding Bhimasena of immeasurable energy filled with rage and rushing towards him, thy high-souled son, O bull of Bharata's race, desiring to baffle his blow, set his heart on the manoeuvre called Avasthana. He, therefore, desired to jump upwards, O monarch, for beguiling Vrikodara. Bhimasena fully understood the intentions of his adversary. Rushing, therefore, at him, with a loud leonine roar, he fiercely hurled his mace at the thighs of the Kuru king as the latter had jumped up for baffling the first aim. That mace, endued with the force of the thunder and hurled by Bhima of terrible feats, fractured the two handsome thighs of Duryodhana. That tiger among men, thy son, after his thighs had been broken by Bhimasena, fell down, causing the earth to echo with his fall
Ref 1: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.13-14
yadā mṛdhe kaurava-sṛñjayānāḿ
vīreṣv atho vīra-gatiḿ gateṣu
bhartuḥ priyaḿ drauṇir iti sma paśyan
kṛṣṇā-sutānāḿ svapatāḿ śirāḿsi
upāharad vipriyam eva tasya
jugupsitaḿ karma vigarhayanti
yadā — when; mṛdhe — in the battlefield; kaurava — the party of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; sṛñjayānām — of the party of the Pāṇḍavas; vīreṣu — of the warriors; atho — thus; vīra-gatim — the destination deserved by the warriors; gateṣu — being obtained; vṛkodara — Bhīma (the second Pāṇḍava); āviddha — beaten; gadā — by the club; abhimarśa — lamenting; bhagna — broken; uru-daṇḍe — spinal cord; dhṛtarāṣṭra-putre — the son of King Dhṛtarāṣṭra; bhartuḥ — of the master; priyam — pleasing; drauṇiḥ — the son of Droṇācārya; iti — thus; sma — shall be; paśyan — seeing; kṛṣṇā — Draupadī; sutānām — of the sons; svapatām — while sleeping; śirāḿsi — heads; upāharat — delivered as a prize; vipriyam — pleasing; eva — like; tasya — his; jugupsitam — most heinous; karma — act; vigarhayanti — disapproving.
When the respective warriors of both camps, namely the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas, were killed on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra and the dead warriors obtained their deserved destinations, and when the son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra fell down lamenting, his spine broken, being beaten by the club of Bhīmasena, the son of Droṇācārya [Aśvatthāmā] beheaded the five sleeping sons of Draupadī and delivered them as a prize to his master, foolishly thinking that he would be pleased. Duryodhana, however, disapproved of the heinous act, and he was not pleased in the least.
12. Haria mattave Hanumana mattavo- Hanumana mattave Hariya mattavo
Sri Hari and Vayu are always synchronized on their opinion. See stanzas below...
Observe, both Sri Krishna and Bheemsena insist on punishment whereas the remaining people are opposed ( except Draupadi ) If you observe before the last sentence, Sri Krishna seems to agrees with everyone.
But once Bheemsena has spoken; Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he needs to act according to Bheemsena, Draupadi and himself i.e. as per Bhakti, Shastras and Sri Hari ( Essence of Madhwa Philosophy )
As per Madhwa siddhanta; when Vedas seem to make ambiguous statements; the true meaning can be obtained only through grace of Vayu & Bharati Devi
Although it seems that Bheemsena is alone in his opinion; the last line makes it clear that Sri Krishna, Bheemsena and Draupadi Devi are a team. Infact the whole thing turns into a test for Arjuna.
Please note, Draupadi devi and Bheemsena are not contradicting each other. Bheemsena is talking about dharma i.e. the why, Draupadi Devi is talking about the method in negation i.e. indirect how.
Ref : Srimadbhagvatam 1.7.33 - 52
(33) Then Arjuna, angered with eyes red as copper, arrested the son of Gautamî, binding him skillfully with ropes as if it concerned an animal. (34) When he with force had bound the enemy and was about to take him to the military camp, the Supreme Lord, looking on with His lotus eyes, said to the angered Arjuna: (35) 'Never let this relative of the learned go, punish him, for he has killed innocent boys in their sleep. (36) Someone who knows the principles of religion is afraid to kill an enemy who is careless, intoxicated, insane, asleep, of tender age, a woman, foolish, a surrendered soul or someone who has lost his chariot. (37) But someone who shameless and cruel thinks he can rightly maintain his own life at the cost of the lives of others, certainly for his own good deserves to be stopped in his tracks, because the person [of the criminal as well as the one consenting] is brought down by crime. (38) I personally heard you making the promise to the daughter of the King of Pâñcâla: 'I will bring you the head of the one you consider the murderer of your sons.' (39) He, being not more than the burnt ashes of his family, an offending sinner who is responsible for the assassination of your sons and is someone who displeased his own master, must therefore be sentenced.' " (40) Sûta said: "Although Arjuna, by Krishna being put to a test concerning the matter of his duty, was encouraged to do so, he didn't aspire to kill the son of his teacher, despite of the fact that he was the heinous murderer of his sons. (41) When he thereafter together with his dear friend and charioteer Govinda reached his own camp, he entrusted the assassin to his dear wife who was lamenting over her murdered sons. (42) Upon seeing the criminal silent from his heinous act thus being brought in like an animal tied in ropes, Draupadî, from the beauty of her nature out of compassion showed the son of the teacher due respect. (43) She couldn't bear the sight of him brought in ropes and said: 'Release him, for he as a learned one [a brâhmana] is our teacher. (44) By his [Drona's] mercy you yourself have received the confidential knowledge of the martial arts and the release and control of all kinds of weapons. (45) The lordship of Drona for certain still exists in the form of his son, because his other half Kripî [his wife] with a son present didn't follow her husband into death [by means of satî]. (46) Therefore, o most fortunate one in knowing the dharma, by the goodness that is in you, cause no grief to the ever respectable and honorable family. (47) Do not make his mother, Drona's devoted wife, cry the way I do in constantly shedding tears in distress over a lost child. (48) If the noble administration is of no restraint in relating to the order of the learned, that rule will burn up in no time and will, together with its family members fall to grief.' "
(49) Sûta said: "O learned ones, the king [of the Pândavas, Yudhishthhira] supported the statements of the queen as they were in accord with the dharma of justice, merciful, without duplicity and glorious in equity. (50) And so did Nakula and Sahadeva [the younger brothers of the king] and also Sâtyaki, Arjuna, the Supreme Lord the son of Devakî, as well as the ladies and others. (51) Thereupon Bhîma said : 'About the fact that he without a good reason, nor for himself nor for his master, has killed sleeping children, is stated that he deserves death.'
(52) The four-armed one [Lord Krishna] who had heard the words spoken by Bhîma and Draupadî and had seen the face of His friend [Arjuna], said with a faint smile: (53-54) 'One should not kill the relative of a brahmin, even though one kills an aggressor - as far as I am concerned both is prescribed to be carried out when we want to follow the rules. You have to keep to the truth of the promise you made when you pacified your wife and also act to the satisfaction of Bhîma as well as of Me.' "