The Noble Prince
The Birth of Karna
The Pandava Princes
The Great Archer
The Charioteer's Son
The Shellac Palace
The Slaying of Bakasura
Draupadi's Swayamvara
The Rajasuya Sacrifice
The Game of Dice
In Exile
The Year in Hiding
The Defence of Matsya
The Exile Ends
Envoys and Missions
Preparing for the War
Kurukshetra and After
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The Slaying of Bakasura

There was a strange gloom over the city of Ekachakrapura, to which the Pandavas went next. The people did not laugh or talk but human about as if bowed under a terrible burden.

The Pandavas found a room to stay in, in the house of a poor potter. Here they lived for several months. One day, Kunti over heard sounds of weeping and wailing in the potter's family. When she asked the reason, they told her that Ekachakrapura was under the sway of a demon named Bakasura. He killed and devoured people. The king and his ministers had fled, leaving the citizens to defend themselves as best they could. They would send Bakasura one person and a bullock cart full, of food everyday. "Tomorrow it is my family's turn," cried the potter in anguish.

Kunti returned to her room. In the evening, when her sons came home, she told them what she had learnt. When Bhima heard the story, he resolved to go in place of the potter's daughter and meet the demon Bakasura.

"Do not despair," Kunti told the potter. "I have five sons. One of them will take the food to the rakshasa."

Bhima was filled with great joy at the prospect of food. Next morning he set out driving a bullock cart laden with all sorts of delicacies that the citizens had provided. At last he reached the rakshasa's den and, stopping the cart, got off and began to eat the food he had brought.

The rakshasa rushed out of the cave and, maddened at the sight of Bhima eating his food, started raining blows on him. When these had no effect, he uprooted a tree and threw it at Bhima. Casually brushing it aside with his left hand, Bhima continued to eat. He rose after he had finished all the food, feeling satiated and ready to face the rakshasa. A great fight then took place between the two.

Bhima played with rakshasa as with a doll, and finally he threw him down with great force and, placing one knee on his back, bent him backward and broke his bones. The rakshasa let out a frightful howl of rage and pain and died. Bhima dragged the body to the gates of the city and left it there.

The citizens of Ekachakrapura thanked Bhima for ridding them of the demon.