Khatu Shyam Bhajan Sandhya
In Hinduism, KhatuShyam is a name and manifestation of Barbarik, son of Ghatotkach grandson of Bhima. This manifestation is especially popular in the Indian state of Rajasthan and Haryana. The original Sanskrit name Barbarīka is often replaced in Rajasthan by the Hindi version, Barbarīk, often written as Barbareek.
Barbarika had obtained a boon from Krishna to the effect that he would be known by Krishna's own name (Shyam) in the Kaliyuga era (presently ongoing) and worshiped. Krishna had declared that Barbarika's devotees would be blessed just by pronouncing his name from the bottom of their hearts. Their wishes would be granted and troubles removed if they worship Shyamji (Barbarika) with a true piety.
The legend begins with the Mahābhārata. Barbarika alias 'KhatuShyam' alias Shyam Baba was a grandson of Bhima, Second of the Pandava brothers. He was the son of Ghatotkachch and Morvi . Even in his childhood, Barbarika was a very brave warrior. He learnt the art of warfare from his mother. God Shiva, pleased with him, gave him the three infallible arrows (Teen Baan). Hence, Barbarika came to be known by the appellation Teen Baan Dhaari, the "Bearer of Three Arrows". Later, Agni (the god of Fire) gave him the bow that would make him victorious in the three worlds.
When Barbarika got to know that battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas had become inevitable, he wanted to witness what was to be the Mahābhārata War. He promised his mother that if he felt the urge to participate in the battle, he would join the side which would be losing. He rode to the field on his Blue Horse equipped with his three arrows and bow.
Krishna tests Barbarika
Krishna disguised as a Brahmin and stopped Barbarika to examine his strength. He baited Barbarika by mocking him for going to the great battle with only three arrows. On this, Barbarika replied that a single arrow was enough to destroy all his opponents in the war, and it would then return to his quiver. He stated that, the first arrow is used to mark all the things that he wants to destroy. On releasing the third arrow, it would destroy all the things that are marked and will then return to his quiver. If he uses the second arrow, then the second arrow will mark all the things that he wants to save. On using the third arrow, it will destroy all the things that are not marked. In other words, with one arrow he can fix all his targets and with the other he can destroy them.
Barbarika's phenomenal power
Krishna then challenges him to tie all the leaves of the peepal tree under which he was standing with these arrows. Barbarika accepts the challenge and starts meditating to release his arrow by closing his eyes. Then, Krishna without the knowledge of Barbarika, plucks one of the leaf of the tree and puts it under his foot. When Barbarik releases his first arrow, it marks all the leaves of the tree and finally starts revolving around the leg of Krishna. For this Krishna asks Barbarika, as why was the arrow revolving around his foot? For this, Barbareek replies that there must be a leaf under his foot and the arrow was targeting his foot to mark the leaf that is hidden under him. Barbarika advises Krishna to lift his leg, since, otherwise the arrow will mark the leaf by pricking Krishna's leg. Thus, Krishna lifts his foot and to his surprise, finds that the first arrow also marks the leaf that was hidden under his foot. Of course, the third arrow does collect all the leaves (including the one under Krishna's foot) and ties them together. By this Krishna concludes that the arrows are so infallible, that even if Barbarika is not aware of his targets, the arrows are so powerful that they can still navigate and trace all his intended targets. The moral of this incident is that, in a real battle field, if Krishna wants to isolate some one (for example: the 5 Pandava brothers) and hides them elsewhere in order to avoid them from being Barbarika's victim, then Krishna will not be successful as the arrows after destroying the whole army, trace the hidden targets also and destroy them. So, nobody will be able to escape from these arrows. Thus Krishna gets a deeper insight about Barbarika's phenomenal power.
The Consequence of Barbarika's word to his mother
Krishna then asks the boy whom he would favour in the war. Barbarika reveals that he intends to fight for the side whichever is weak. As Pandavas have only seven Akshouni army, when compared to Kauravas eleven, he considers that Pandavas are weak and hence wants to support them so that Pandavas will become victorious. But Krishna asks him, did he seriously gave a thought about the consequences before giving such a word to his mother (to support the weak side). Barbarika guesses that his support to the weaker side will make them victorious. Then, Krishna reveals the actual consequence of his word to his mother:
Krishna tells that, according to the strategy of Kauravas not the entire eleven Akshouni army will be used to wage a war on the first day. Hence, the part of Kaurava's army that comes before Pandavas on the first day, will be completely destroyed by Barbareek. But, that part of Kaurava's army that does not come before Pandavas on the first day will become weak. This will force Barbareek to support Kauravas and fight against Pandavas. Now, Barbareek will destroy that part of Pandavas army that comes before Kauravas. The remaining part of Pandavas army that does not come before Barbareek will now become very weak. Thus, whichever side he supports will only make the other side weak due to his phenomenal power and nobody will be able to defeat him. Thus, in an actual war, he will keep oscillating between the two sides, thereby destroying the entire army of both sides and eventually only he will remain. 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.
The other interpretation of three arrows
The three arrows are signs of three "taaps" that humans experience. These include the physical, mental and emotional conflicts and confusions that are found almost everywhere. These three "taaps" are cleared with chanting of name of Krishna. Thus, giving Barabarika the name "Shyaam", the Lord intended to remove the three taaps of human like, symbolized with the three arrows.
Act of charity
Barbarika donates his head to Krishna.
The guised Krishna then sought charity from Barbarika. Barbarika promised him anything he wished. Krishna asked him to give his head in charity. Barbarika was shocked. Perceiving that all was not as it appeared, he requested the Brahmin 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 fulfilment of his promise, and in compliance with the Krishna's command, Barbarika gave his head to him in charity. This happened on the 12th day of the Shukla Paksha (bright half) of the month of phaagun on Tuesday.
Why Lord Krishna asks for Barbareek's head
This was because lord krishna knew that if lord barbareek participates in the war with the weaker side, then he will keep on switching sides, as the other side will become weak because of his boons. Then, only he will be alive at the end of the war, with both Pandavas and Kauravas will die due to his constant switching of sides.
Bearing witness to the war
Before decapitating himself, Barbarika told Krishna of his great desire to view the forthcoming battle and requested him to facilitate the same. Krishna agreed and placed the head on top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. From the hill, the head of Barbarika watched the entire battle.
At the end of the battle, the victorious Pandava brothers argued amongst themselves as to who was responsible for their victory. Krishna suggested that Barbarika's head, which had watched the whole battle should be allowed to judge. Barbarika's head suggested that it was Krishna alone who was responsible for the victory: his advice, his presence, his game plan had been very crucial.