The God monster in Hindu mythology
According to Hindu Mythology, Gods and demons are often considered at equal status. Though gods are highly praised and prospered, the demons or demigods too receive a similar appraisal. Whether it be deities, demons, or even humans are considered the children of the supreme god Brahma and therefore receive the same ranking in the hierarchy. The only difference lies in the thought process, while gods think gloriously for the betterment of all, the demons on the other front think evil and for self-betterment.
There are several demons such as Ravana that are worshipped more than many Hindu gods. The demonization of demons also known as ‘asuras’ is set later in Hindu mythology. Yes, demons are of course rude, arrogant, and self-centered beings but so are many gods as well. Thus, demons can be highly positive as well and that is an important part of the creation. And this is not limited to just ‘selfless’ worship but people also worship dark spirits, Rakshas, and Pischachas as a part of black magic. This stuff is rare and obscure but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Two Demons worshipped more than Gods
Dusshera marks the victory of good over evil, and streets are lit to worship the victory of Lord Ram. Though most of India is dwelled in celebrating the Gods, there are few areas where people celebrate Ravana. Yes, in many parts of India Ravana is not considered as an evil man but a very intelligent and spiritual being. Though he kidnapped Sita during the course of Ramayana, that doesn’t stop thousands worshipping the demon. He is worshipped and respected for his unparalleled knowledge and devout dedication to Lord Shiva. The Gond tribe of Maharashtra worship Dashana Ravana and also his son Meghnada during their tribal festival known as Falgun.
Such celebration of Demon king in India is not the sole veneration; in fact, there are so many tribes whose story of Ramayana differs from the one we all know. The Mythology Ramayana, folklore well known by each one of us. Lord Rama was the son of King Dasharath of Ayodhya, ruler of Kosala. He had three siblings Lakshman, Bharata, and Shatrughna. Lord Rama was married to Devi Sita. Though he was born into the Royal family, his life was never more than that of a saint. He spent fourteen years in exile with his wife and brother Lakshman.
When Devi Sita was kidnapped by Ravana (incarnation of Jaya), Lord Rama with his brother Lakshman challenges Ravana in a war. In the war, monkey king Sugriva along with his army and Hanuman stood beside Rama. A historic battle took place between Rama and Ravana. From Ravana’s side stood his brother Kumbha-Karna (incarnation of Vijaya), and his son Indrajit. The battle lasted seven days resulting in the defeat of Ravana.
This is the basic story with which most Indian’s are familiar, but one astonishing fact is that not every Ramayana has Lord Ram as a hero. While Indians believe that the start of the war in Ramayana was initiated by the abduction of Sita by Ravana, the Sri Lankans believe otherwise. According to them, it all started with Lakshman cutting off Surpanakha’s nose after she proposed Lord Rama, and the abduction of Sita was justified as to avenge his sister. Surprisingly, some theories also suggest that the Ravana intentionally abducted Sita in order to be killed by Lord Rama. As if the demon already knew his end and deliberately wished to succumb to fate.
Barbarika was the unsung hero of Mahabharata. The warrior who’s not many knows of and much less praised about. Though people rejoice in the sacrifices of Draupadi and the bravery of the Pandavas winning the battle of Kurukshetra, the major credit of victory goes to none the less Barbarika. If not for him the war could have ended in just one minute. Yes, while many know that Lord Krishna if used his Sudarshan Chakra might have ended the war within seconds, but it wasn’t only the Krishna who could have done it. Bararika was too capable of ending the war within minutes by himself.
Barbarika was the son of Ghatodkach and Mauravi. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Once he received a boon of three arrows also known as ‘Teen Baan’. He received these arrows from eight gods, the first arrow was capable of hitting all his targets at once, the second arrow was capable of saving whoever Barbarika wish for, and the third of destroying all his enemies. Thus, his three arrows were capable of killing all he desires.
Just before the start of the Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna asked everyone how much time it would take for them to end the war. Bheem said he could end the war within 20 days, Dronacharya said in 25 days while Arjuna said in 28 days. Among the discussion, Barbarika said he could end the war within a minute. Thus, Lord Krishna played the trick. When Barbarika was on his way for the battle, Krishna disguised as a sage asked him to showcase his capabilities. He asked him to hit all the leaves on the tree. While Barbarika closed his eyes to launch the arrow, Krishna hid one of the leaves below his feet. The arrow hit every leaf on the tree while one arrow lingered around Krishna’s feet. When Krishna asked why the arrow is lingering around his feet, Barbarika replied that one of the leaves could have been beneath Krishna’s feet. Lord Krishna was now confirmed that Barbarika could end the war within a minute.
Thus he asked him, which side he would fight for. Barbarika replied that he had promised his mother to fight for the weaker side and since the Pandavas was the weaker one, he would fight with them. But this also meant that once Pandavas would regain their strength, Barbarika has to fight with the Kauravas as now they would be the weaker side. Eventually, everyone on the field would die except for him. Thus, Krishna still disguised as a sage asked for one more thing. He asked Barbarika to give him his head. Krishna transformed himself into the divine being and showed his true form of Barbarika (not only Arjuna but two heroes have seen Krishna’s divine form in the Mahabharata). Witnessing the supreme deity in front of him, Barbarika gave his head away but requested to see the war before dying. Lord Krishna then placed his head on a mountain where he could witness the whole war. After the battle of Kurukshetra ended, his head was drowned in the river Rupwati by Krishna’s blessings.
In Rajasthan, many people worship Barbarika in the name of Khatu Shyam.