Bhima (mythology)

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Bhima with club ( gada )

Bhima or Bhimasena ( Sanskrit : भीम; German about "the terrible") is the second oldest of the five Pandava brothers, whose deeds are described in the Mahabharata epic.


Bhima's foster father, Pandu , accidentally shot a wise man ( rishi ) in the forest who, shortly before death, placed the curse on him that he would die if he hugged his wife Kunti . Thereupon he abdicated as king of Hastinapur and handed power over to his older but blind brother Dhritarashtra . However, in her youth Kunti had received the prophecy from the Rishi Durvasas that she could invoke the gods ( devas ) at any time and that every deva called would bless her with a child - father Bhimas thus became the wind god Vayu . He and his brothers, the Pandavas, were brought up together with the 100 sons of Dhritarashtra, the Kauravas ; all received the same mental and physical training. The Bhima, endowed with enormous physical strength, specialized in handling the club ( gada ); he became so strong that even the god Indra could not defeat him in a fight . He was also a good eater.

Bhima kills Bakasura
Bhima goes into exile with his brothers and Draupadi

Duryodhana , the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, felt challenged by Bhima; he poisoned his meal and threw it into the Ganga river , where Bhima was saved by the serpent king Vasuki and endowed with supernatural powers. Duryodhana and his adviser Purochana hatched a new plan to destroy the Pandavas and invited them to a palace made of lacquer , which they set on fire. Bhima saved his brothers and barricaded the palace so that Purochana would find death even in the process. After that, Kunti and her sons hid in a village in the country, which was however haunted by a demon named Bakasura , who ate the people's supplies; Bhima killed him.

A little later he married Hidimbi , from whom he had a son named Ghatotkacha ; however, both withdrew from the Pandavas for a long time. Later, however, he and his brothers married Princess Draupadi ; each of them fathered a son with her - Bhima's son was Sutasoma. He later married a third time - the Princess Valandhara bore him another son named Sarvada.

Yudhishthira , Bhima's elder brother, became king of Indraprastha . He sent his brothers to the neighboring kingdoms to persuade them to hold a common Rajasuya sacrifice festival; as these did not come voluntarily, Bhima used force. Yudhishthira later lost his kingdom in a dice game, whereupon the Pandava brothers and their wife Draupadi hid in the forest for 13 years, where they victoriously fought other demons and had other adventures.

The stories of the Mahabharata culminate in the battle of Kurukshetra , in the run-up to which the famous conversation between Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna , the Bhagavad-Gita , takes place. In the course of the battle, Bhima slays almost all enemies of the Pandavas and kills all 100 sons of Dhritarashtra, but two of his own sons are also killed. He was appointed ruler of Hastinapur by his older brother. With the beginning of the new era ( Kali-Yuga ), all five brothers gave up the fight and their offices and began a pilgrimage to the Himalayas together with their wife , from which they did not return.


Bhima does not appear in classical Indian visual art. The first miniatures and book illuminations did not emerge until the Mughal rulers and during the British colonial period . In the 20th century numerous prints were made with depictions from the cycle of legends about the five Pandava brothers and their sister Draupadi.


Bhima is one of the central figures in the Javanese shadow play wayang kulit purwa , which stages stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana . He is considered an ideal figure because of his supernatural powers and wisdom. In Javanese folk beliefs, Bhima is associated with ancestral cult, fertility and sexuality. With a corresponding characterization, he is shown on a stone relief at Candi Sukuh , a medieval temple complex on the slope of the Lawu volcano .


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