Krishna and Jarasandha

- March 7, 2022

By Srinidhi Murthy

According to the Mahabharata, a long time ago, Magadha was ruled by a virtuous and powerful king named Brihadratha. He married the twin daughters of the king of Kashi, whom he loved equally. But the king had no sons with either of his wives and this thought troubled him the most. One day, Brihadratha learnt that an illustrious sage had arrived in his city. Hoping to get a solution for his problem, the king visited the sage with many gifts. 

The sage, after hearing about the king’s misery, closed his eyes for a while. To the surprise of everyone present, suddenly a mango fell in his lap. The sage gave the mango to the king and told him to give it to his wife. He told the king that upon eating the mango, his wife would obtain a son. Brihadratha loved both of his wives dearly and didn’t want to choose one among them. Hence, he divided the mango and gave half of it to both of them. 

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Script: Kamala Chandrakant, Illustrations: Pratap Mulik

Soon, both queens were expecting a child. However, when the queens delivered, they had only half a baby each. Not knowing what to do, the midwives carried the two halves and left them in the backyard of the queens’ apartments. A few hours later, a rakshasi named Jara, passed by and saw the two halves of the baby. The demoness lived on flesh and blood and so she decided to join the halves to make them easier for her to carry.  The moment she joined the halves, the baby came to life and roared. Hearing the loud cry of the baby, the king, his wives and midwives came rushing to the scene. Jara, realising the baby was the son of the king, returned the baby to him. Brihadratha, overwhelmed with joy, announced that since Jara put his son together, he would be named in her honour. 

Script: Kamala Chandrakant, Illustrations: Pratap Mulik

Jarasandha grew up to become an able prince. Soon Brihadratha handed him the reins of the kingdom and retired to the forest with his wives. Jarasandha soon subdued almost all the kings of the territories adjoining his kingdom. He also got his daughters married to Kamsa, Krishna’s evil maternal uncle. When Krishna defeated Kamsa, Jarasandha was outraged at his daughters’ widowhood. He waged battles against Krishna constantly but was defeated each time. 

Meanwhile, the Pandavas acquired the kingdom of Indraprastha and Yudhishthira decided to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. Krishna suggested that it was necessary for them to kill Jarasandha and release the kings under his control for the successful completion of the Rajasuya. Everyone was hesitant about their ability to kill the mighty king, but soon Bheema volunteered for the task, and set out to defeat Jarasandha with the help of Arjuna and Krishna. 

Script: Kamala Chandrakant, Illustrations: Pratap Mulik

The three of them left for Magadha, disguised as Brahmins. When they reached Jarasandha’s court, the king declared that he would give the Brahmins whatever they asked for. Immediately, Krishna asked him to combat Bheema, and revealed their real identities. Jarasandha agreed to the demand, confident in his victory. He and Bheema fought fiercely with each other in a duel for the next twenty-seven days. As they were both well-matched, neither of them were defeated. 

Script: Kamala Chandrakant, Illustrations: Pratap Mulik

Krishna knew the secret of Jarasandha’s birth and therefore, the key to his defeat. Before the duel, on the 28th day, Krishna picked up a twig and split it into two lengths in front of Bheema. The strongest Pandava understood Krishna’s signal. During the duel, he seized Jarasandha by the leg and threw him to the ground. He then tore the body of the king into two halves and threw the halves away from each other. The two halves joined by the demoness were thrown away in opposite directions by Bheema to bring an end to the mighty Jarasandha.

Read more tales of Krishna in our title Bhagavad, now available on the ACK Comics App, Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart and other major e-tailers. 

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