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In most literature, the character of Lord Bhima has been completely misrepresented. Bhima is often presented as a glutton, bloated fat person, someone who is perenially hot-tempered and so on. It is almost a fashion today to condemn Bhima (and, ironically, praise Duryodhana who is the epitome of evil!).
Only the great Sri Madhvacharya succeeded in bringing out the true facts of Bhima. To the followers of Madhva, Bhima’s true picture is indeed available. But, still, lot of false information is prevalent.
I wish to make my humble contribution in gathering and disseminating the truth about the great Lord Bhima, who re-incarnated as Sri Madhva in Kali Yuga.
- Avatar of Mukhya Prana, the next Brahma-in-line
- Amongst Pandavas, he represented “Jnana” or knowledge.
- He was extremely well-built, handsome, intelligent and righteous
- When he was very young, he slipped from his mother’s clutches and fell on the Shatha-shrunga mountain. The mountain broke into hundreds of pieces.
- In the Mahabharata, he was main hero (apart from Lord Krishna, of course).
- He never violated the words of Krishna even once.
- In spite of his enormous strength and knowledge, he was the epitome of humility. In the Udyoga parva, when Lord Krishna collects the opinion of the Pandavas before approaching the Kauravas, Bhima is made to give a description of his own capabilities to everyone (by Krishna). At the end of Bhima’s narrative (which is overwhelming for any other warrior), Krishna tells him that his capability is actually 1000 times more than what he has mentioned!
- He was the first person to attack at the commencement of the Kurukshetra war. He was also the last person to engage in combat, having killed Duryodhana.
- The Mahabharata describes that when the war commenced, he gave such a fierce and loud roar that horses and elephants standing there passed out.
- During the wax palace episode, the minister in-charge appointed by Duryodhana to kill the Pandavas wanted to set fire to the palace when all the Pandavas were asleep. After six months, he went ahead with his plan anyways because he realized that Bhima never slept!
- During the war, he killed six out of eleven Akshouhinis fielded by the Kauravas.
- Before the war, during the forest exile of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira gives up hopes of any post-exile rule and comforts himself with forest life. He relents from the thought of war. Arjuna does the same just before the commencement of the war. Yudhishthira is brought back on track by Bhima’s
advice. Lord Krishna does the same to Arjuna. Bhima, though, never once is confused about the necessity of war.
- The only Vaishnava killed by Bhima was King Bahlika, having received the explicit request from Bahlika himself before the commencement of the war. Every other warrior killed by Bhima was a follower of Kali (Duryodhana).
- Other important enemies of Krishna killed by Bhima during Mahabharata were Jarasandha, Keechaka, Kirmira, Hidimba, Bakasura, Manimanta and Dushashana.
- Lord Bhima had 24 wives, 20 of whom were daughters of Vasudeva (father of Lord Krishna)!
- Out of the 5 Pandavas, the first to marry was not the older Yudhishthira, but Bhimasena, the second Pandava. He married Hidimbi, a Rakshasi, upon Sri Vyasa’s instructions, in accordance with his dharma of not violating the Lord’s words (Krishna/Vyasa/Parashurama) even once!
- In the Mahabharata, Karna is defeated on numerous ocassions by Bhima, forcing Karna to retreat every single time!
- Bhima alone kills every single Kaurava cousin!
- The greatest compliment to Bhima comes from Duryodhana. He names Bhima, Balarama, Keechaka and Shalya as the best warriors and the strongest. He names Bhima first!
- Bhima killed Dushashana, held his blood in his hand and chanted the “Manyu Sukta” of Lord Narasimha as an offering to the Lord.
- During the game of dice, Bhima is the one who raises the maximum opposition to the whole incident. Not only does he take a vow to break Duryodhana’s thighs, he also rebukes Yudhishthira for getting into the game by suggesting that his hands should be burnt. When Arjuna tells him that he cannot do that to his older brother, Bhima reveals to everyone the Dharma that when elders commit mistakes, younger ones have to make it known and that mere mentioning of a punishment is enough and actual execution is not required. Thus Bhima punishes Yudhishthira for wrong doing!