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Jatasura is a Rakshasa who kidnapped Yudhishthira, the twins, and Draupadi during the Pandavas’ exile. He wanted to avenge the deaths of other Rakshasas that the Pandavas had slain, such as Baka and Hidimb. But his efforts were rendered futile by Bhima, who eventually killed him.

Jatasura Abducts the Pandavas

This story is told in the Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 154

When the Pandavas were defeated by the Kauravas in the gambling game, they were forced into a 13-year exile, which the thirteenth year being an incognito year. If they were caught in the incognito year, they would have to repeat the exile. In approximately the tenth of the Pandavas’ exile, the Pandavas completed their tirth-yatra (pilgrimage) with Lomasa Rishi. They reached Nara-Narayana’s hermitage in the Himalayas and waited there for Arjuna to arrive from Swarga. Many rishis and Brahmins lived in and nearby this hermitage. But one of them was an imposter: Jatasura. He had taken the form of a learned Brahmin, but in reality, he was a vicious Rakshasa. Jatasura had learned everything about the Pandavas and their weapons in the months he had stayed with them in the hermitage. Now, he was just waiting for his time to strike.

One day, Bhima went out to hunt in the wilderness. This was the moment Jatasura had been waiting for. Bhima was the strongest Pandava, and without him, the others were weak. Jatasura quickly turned into his true form: a gigantic, monstrous Rakshasa. He grabbed the Pandavas’ weapons, and then grabbed Yudhishthira, Nakula, Sahadeva, and Draupadi. Jatasura started running away from the hermitage with the four in his grasp.

Bhima Kills Jatasura

This story is told in the Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 154

Yudhishthira, Nakula, Sahadeva, and Draupadi struggled to escape Jatasura’s grip, and after a lot of effort, Sahadeva escaped and ran away. Sahadeva ran in the direction Bhima had gone, yelling his name. Meanwhile, Yudhishthira began hurling abuses and insults at Jatasura. He criticized Jatasura for betraying them and for shamelessly abducting them without a fight. By that time, Sahadeva wasn’t able to find Bhima, so he returned to face the Rakshasa.

At this time, Bhima appeared at the scene by complete chance. He saw the giant Rakshasa and he shouted, “I knew you weren’t who you looked like. Earlier, I saw you examining our weapons, and I lost trust in you. However, I didn’t kill you then because you hadn’t done anything wrong and you were in the form of a Brahmin. But now, you have committed a sin and it’s time for you to die!”

Hearing Bhima’s speech, Jatasura let go of the Pandavas and Draupadi. “I have heard about all of the Rakshasas you have killed in the past. Today, I will avenge their deaths!” Jatasura challenged. Bhima and Jatasura ran towards each other and grasped each other with their arms. They uprooted trees and threw them at each other. Loud roars could be hard, and enormous tree trunks were shattered. When all of the trees in the vicinity had been uprooted, the two foes turned to rocks. They began throwing rocks of all sizes at each other. Soon, a deadly fist-fight erupted. Bhima clenched his fists and swing at the Rakshasa’s neck with great force. Jatasura was extremely injured and exhausted by this point. Bhima grabbed him, raised him up in two arms, and then threw him down to the ground, killing Jatasura.

Huge rakshasa Jatasura and Bhima jump at each other to fight

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