Living in a democratic world, we tend to take governance for granted. Many among us, though educated, brush aside politics as not being our forte. How important is it for us to have a good government? What are the most important attributes of a good ruler? What happens when a scoundrel rules?
Once, the Pandavas had to live in hiding in Ekachakra. They lived in a Brahmana’s house donning the garb of Brahmanas and they went to beg their food every day.
One day, the four brothers had gone out to beg while Bhima was at home with Kunti. They heard a commotion in the other part of the house. The Brahmana, weeping, said: Oh, dear! What would I do if you go away as you say you would? What would our poor little ones do? We have to protect our precious daughter and preserve the race as is ordained by God.
The wife replied: My dear! I have to go. I cannot let you go. How can a woman take care of her children single-handed? These innocent children cannot be fatherless. I have no fear of death as I have lived a virtuous life. Marry again and take good care of these children when I am gone.
Their young daughter said: Please let me have my say too, though I am but a child. If you go this little brother of mine and I would perish. All your problems would be solved if you let me go.
The parents tearfully embraced their daughter. Then the little boy came up wielding a stick and said: Why do you all cry? Do not be afraid! I shall go and kill him!
At the little one’s childishness they all laughed but it brought them no solace. At this opportune moment, Kunti came in and asked: May we know what be the matter?
The Brahmana said: Dear sister, a Rakshasa came to Ekachakra thirteen years ago and overthrew the Kshatriya ruler. He then went on a rampage, killing and destroying as he pleased. The citizens of the town came together and begged of him not to continue and made arrangements for a cartful of food to be taken to him every week. One member from each family in turn has to go whom the Rakshasa gobbles as also the bullocks. This time it is our family’s turn.
There is not one strong man left to fight him for Bakasura, the Rakshasa, killed them all. With no ruler to protect, it is better for men not to marry and beget children for it would only spell ruin for the family. No happiness is possible when there is no good ruler to protect the subjects. Since none of us can bear to live without the others, all four of us are going to become food for this glutton.
I am sorry to bother you with our problem, sister, but you asked.
Kunti said: Brother, do not worry. I have five sons and one of them can go and fight this monster.
The Brahmana was surprised at this unexpected offer and declined outright, but Kunti continued: This son of mine is endowed with immense powers and I have seen him kill many a Rakshasa before. He is sure to return victorious. So please let him go in your stead.
The repast for Bakasura was drawn in a cart by two bullocks and Bhima happily went riding it towards his cave. When he reached the place, Bhima began to gobble up the food and his first concern was that he had to finish the food fast as it might get spilt in the fight. Moreover, he would not be able to eat after having come in contact with Bakasura’s corpse!
Bakasura was outraged when he saw Bhima eating the food. Bhima defended himself from a hurtled tree with his left hand and rocks bounced off him like little pebbles. Bakasura showered blows but Bhima continued to eat. Finishing all the food, Bhima rose up and tossed Bakasura about as if he were a pillow and killed him.