Story when Krishna asks for Barbarika’s head in charity

When Krishna asks Barbarika whom he would favour in the war. Barbarika reveals that he intends to fight for the side whichever is weak. As the Pandavas have only seven Akshauhini armies compared to the eleven of the Kauravas, he considers that the Pandavas to be relatively the weaker side and hence wants to support them. But Krishna asks him, if he had seriously given a thought about the consequences, before giving such a word to his mother (about supporting the weaker side). Barbarika assumes that his support, to the relatively weaker Pandava side, will make them victorious. But, Krishna reveals the actual consequences of his word to his mother: Krishna tells that whichever side he supports will end up making the other side weaker due to his power. Nobody will be able to defeat him. Hence, as he will be forced switch sides to support the other side that has become weaker (due to his word to his mother). Thus, in an actual war, he will keep oscillating between two sides, thereby destroying the entire army of both sides and eventually only he would remain. Subsequently, none of the sides would become victorious and he would be the lone survivor. Hence, Krishna avoids his participation in the war by seeking his head in charity. Barbarika was shocked. Perceiving that all was not as it appeared, he requested the Brahmin (Krishna) to disclose his real identity. Krishna showed Barbarika a vision of His Divine Form and Barbarika was thus graced. Krishna then explained to him that before a battle, the head of the bravest Kshatriya needs to be sacrificed, in order to worship/sanctify the battlefield. Krishna said that he considered Barbarika to be the bravest among Kshatriyas, and was hence asking for his head in charity. In fulfillment of his promise, and in compliance with the Krishna’s command, Barbarika gave his head to him in charity.

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