Barbari – if he had fought the Mahabharat war
Barbari or Barbarika has been a less written but important character of Mahabharat. He has been the illustrious son of the great warrior Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha has been himself the son of great Bhima and Hidimba.
Lord Shiva has granted him three infallible arrows which had the power to conquer the whole world. Agni god has bestowed him with a bow.
Before the Mahabharata war began, Lord Krishna queried the warriors how many days he would take to finish Mahabharat war alone. Bhishma answered that he would take 20 days to finish the war. Dronacharya said 25 days. Karna said he would take 24 days. Arjuna told Krishna it would take 28 days for him to complete the battle.
Then he asked Barbari as how many days he would require? Barbari replied that he would take only a minute. Krishna baited Barbarika by mocking him for going to the great battle with only three arrows. In reply, Barbari proved to Krishna that he indeed would require only a minute.
Krishna then asks the boy whom he would favour in the war of Mahabharat. Barbarika reveals that he intends to fight from the weaker side. As Pandavas have only seven Akshouhini army, when compared to Kauravas eleven, he considers that Pandavas are weak and hence wants to support them. Krishna explains consequence of his word to Barbari’s mother.
Krishna tells that whichever side Barbari supports will only make the other side weak due to his power. Nobody has the skill or power to defeat him. Hence, he is forced to support the other side that has become weaker due to his word to his mother. Thus, in an actual war, he will keep switching between the two sides, thereby destroying the entire army of both sides and eventually only he survives. Subsequently, none of the side is victorious as he will be the only lone survivor. Hence, Krishna avoids his participation from the war by seeking his head in charity.
As a true Kshatriya, he offered himself to be sacrificed, but he did have a condition. The condition was that he had left his home with a singular desire to witness the epic battle, so could Lord Krishna use some of his divinity to grant him that ability. So it is said that after the sacrifice, Barbareek’s head was installed atop a hilltop from where he witnessed the entire battle and thus he is also referred to as ‘Barbari – the silent witness’.
He is also known as Teen Baandhari and Khatu Shyamji. He is one of the persons who saw Shri Krishna’s vishwaroopa form.