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Shri Shyamji Katha

Therefore on the eleventh of the brighter half of the Phalgun month, Barbareek sang devotional songs in the whole night and on the morning of the twelfth, after bathing and doing his morning prayers, he gave his head to the playful Lord Krishna.


At that moment, all the Pandava brothers arrived there and began telling Lord Krishna, "Lord! Why have you asked for this innocent brave man's head? Then "Siddha Ambika, Tara, Kapali, Suvarna, Trikola, Chandika, Praneshwari, Bhutambika, Kodhmatru, Harisiddha, Charcha-cheeka, Yogeshwari & Tripura etc., goddesses appeared, and said "Oh brave Pandavas! Hear from us the reason for taking the sacrifice of Barbareek's head.

Once upon a time all the Gods prayed to Shri Vishnu that Lord! The unrighteousness on earth has increased greatly. Please lessen this burden from the earth. Then Lord Vishnu assured everyone and putting their minds of rest promised that he would take an incarnation and remove the burden from the earth. Then a Yaksha named Suryavarcha, who was present there, said that he alone could take an incarnation and he would remove earth's burden. As soon as he said that, Lord Brahma became extremely furious and he cursed Suryavarcha saying that whenever the time comes for him to remove the world's burden, he would die by the hands of Shri Krishna. Then Suryavarch asked what he could do to escape from Lord Brahma's curse. Lord Vishnu said that whenever the burden of sin and unrighteousness will descend on the earth, Shri Krishna will release you from your curse and with his blessings you will become famous. He is the same brave man whose head Shri Krishna has taken as a sacrifice and behind this also lies the good for righteousness.

Thereafter Shri Krishna and the goddesses secured Barbareek's head at the top of a high hill near the battlefield with the help of nectar vines so that he could watch the war till its end. Then after blessing the Pandavas and the head of Barbareek, the goddesses disappeared.The most destructive, most desolate war of Mahabharata started. Lakhs of soldiers were killed from both sides on the battlefield and it was only after 18 days of fierce battle that with great difficulty the question of victory and defeat was decided. It was because of the artful Shri Krishna's policies that the Pandavas could achieve victory. On achieving victory, all the five Pandavas began describing their own individual courage in glorious terms and began to show arrogance at their victory. Each of them was thinking himself to be the cause of this victory. While Arjuna was arrogant about his archery skills, Bhim was proud of his clubbing skills. Each of them thought himself to be the rightful recipient of victory.

Then Shri Krishna said, "Oh brave Pandavas! Don't be so proud of yourselves. The correct decision regarding the real winner can only be taken by the brave Barbareek's head. You all were fighting in the battle but that brave man's head has seen all that happened on the battlefield from beginning to end from the top of the hill with rapt attention. Come, let's go, and ask the brave Barbareek's head." All the Pandava brothers accompanied Shri Krishna to the peak of the hill where Barbareek's head was secured with nectar vines. In front of Barbareek's head, all the Pandavas began to say that they were each responsible for the victory and were so happy that they couldn't contain their happiness within themselves.

Then Barbareek's head smiled and said, "Oh brave Pandavas! You have achieved the victory in this war only because of Lord Krishna's plans and policies. It was only because of this artful God's delusions that you have emerged victorious. The actual winner of this war is only Lord Krishna. It's only because of his wisdom and policies that you have won the great battle of Mahabharata.Barbareek's head continued, "Oh brave Pandavas, I could see only the Sudarshan Chakra revolving everywhere which was hacking the Kaurava army to pieces and Draupadi assuming the fearful form of Mahakali Durga, was drinking bowl after bowl of blood and was not allowing even one drop of blood to fall on the earth." Saying this Barbareek's head became silent and flowers were showered from heaven on his head.

Hearing all this, the Pandavas became ashamed of themselves and started begging for forgiveness. Lord Krishna said, "Barbareek, I am pleased with your great sacrifice and I grant you the boon that you will be greatly worshipped by the name of Shyam in my form only in the Kaliyug. Devotees will be blessed just by remembering you and by worshipping you with a true heart and piety, all the jobs of the devotee will be completed."

The brave, philanthropic, generous, courageous Barbareek's head was later buried in the land of Khatu and by Lord Krishna's boon, and then the time came for the head to appear. A shepherd used to graze the cows of Khatu outside Khatu. One of the cows while returning home after grazing used to stop at a place some distance away from the village and milk used to start flowing from her teats into the earth. The cow's owner was very worried and upset that his cow was not giving any milk daily. He admonished the shepherd and asked him whether he milked the cow every evening so that the cow was not giving any milk to him. Even after the shepherd denied, the cow's owner did not believe him and followed the cow the whole day and what he saw was that at a particular distance from the village, milk starts flowing from the teats of the cow and enters the earth. Seeing this, he was dumbstruck with astonishment and began wondering who was inside the earth that drank the milk in such a fashion. He became eager to know more about this.

He started getting the field dug up. When the digging was completed, a sound was heard beneath the earth. Then he gave orders for the digging operation to proceed slowly. After passage of some time, the brave Barbareek's head i.e. Shyamji's head was found. The cow's owner gave away the head to a Brahmin. That Brahmin worshipped the head continuously for many days in his house.

According to Bhaghavat Purana, this place was the town of Khatu Khatank. In a dream, the king of this place saw Shyamji's head, who told him "Oh King! You build a temple here and taking the head from the Brahmin, install it in the temple. You will also get a share in the fame for this." Then a temple was built in that city and the head of Shyamji that is Barbareekji was installed there at an auspicious time according to rites and rituals on the 11th of the brighter half of the Kartik month.Even today those devotees who meditate and worship the sacrificer of the head-shyamji with a true heart, faith and deep devoutness, Shri Shyamji riding on a blue horse comes running to fulfill their prayers.The Shyamji of Khatu if known by various names.

In the midst of Khatu town, a beautiful temple of Makrana is build of Shri Shyam-the donor of the head. There is a Shyam pond at a little distance from the temple where the head of Shri Shyamji had appeared. There is a special importance to bathing in that pond. Many devotees believe that by bathing in that pond, the afflictions of the body are cured. There is a Shyam garden a little distance away from the temple. The flowers for the decoration of Shri Shyam are chosen from here.

Arati is done five times in Shyamji's temple. All the times, devotees immersed in devoutness and joyful prayer, dance and sing. A big fair is held at Khatu on the twelfth of the Shukla Paksha of the Phalgun month. Lakhs of men and women sing devotional songs on the night of the eleventh and getting immersed in the joy of Krishna, they dance the whole night. And at dawn of the twelfth, people go to the temple and worship Shri Shyam. People take their children for mundan ceremony and newly wed couples offer prayers for their happy married life on the 12th of Shukla Paksha in the month of Phalgun.

In the fair, lakhs of devotees walk in procession of foot from Reengas to Khatu carrying religious symbols and offer those colorful symbols of Shri Shyam at Khatu temple. Though devotees throng Khatu daily, it is on Vijaydasahmi that Khatu is overcrowded with devotees. The sight of thousands of devotees offering unique symbols of their faith of Shri Shyam with songs and dances is a marvelous sight. On the 11th of the brighter half of the Kartik month also, Shri Shyam's birthday is celebrated with gusto and fervor in Khatu.



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