Jai Shri Shyam
The saga of Shyam Baba comes in Mahabharata.
Bhima and Hidimba gave birth to a son who was named Ghatotkacha, since he did not have any hair on his head. Ghatotkacha got married to Kamkantakata, daughter of demon Mur in Manipur. Kamkantakata bore an illustrious, strong, wise, kind hearted and religious son named Barbareek.
At the time of his birth, he had hair like a lion’s mane. Hence the name “Barbareek” was given to him. Ghatotkacha took Barbareek to Dwarka and placed him at the feet of lord Shri Krishna.
Upon the instruction of Lord Krishna, Barbareek went to the meeting place of the oceans to seek the blessings of ‘Sureshwari Bhavani Bhagvati.’ Reaching the meeting place of the oceans, he gained his perception and began to meditate upon the goddess. The goddess was so pleased that she said “Son, we grant you unparalleled strength. Nobody will be able to defeat you in this world. But you stay here for a few more years because a Brahmin named Vijay will come here and you will receive even more blessings as a result of his company.”
Barbareek stayed there following the goddess’ command. The Brahmin named Vijay came there from Megadha and worshipping seven Shivlings, he became immersed in the meditation of the same goddess. The goddess came in the Brahmin’s dream and blessed him and also asked him to meditate before the Sidha Mother to practice all his skills and learning. They told him that my devotee Barbareek would help him. Then that Brahmin named Vijay said to Barbareek, “Oh Brother! Please take care that my meditation is not disturbed till I practice all my skills.” Therefore, Barbareek killed Replindu demon, and Dhruv-Dhruva demoness etc., who were obstructing in the Brahmin’s meditation. He also killed the demons called Palasi who had been troubling Nagas from the Patal lok. On the killing of those demons, the king of the Nags, Vasuki came there and told Barbareek to ask for a boon. Barbareek humbly asked for a boon that the Brahmin Vijay’s meditation may be completed uninterrupted.
At that time many Nag maidens seeing Barbareek’s looks and bravery, were eager to marry him. But Barbareek told all of them that he had taken the vow of bachelorhood. Those Nag maidens were very pleased with his bahaviour and gave him the boon of being ever victorious. Thereafter the goddess granted Brahmin Vijay the boon of wealth and fortune and the Lord Shiva gave Barbareek three infallible arrows (Teen Baan) and blessing him, said that by using these arrows he would always be victorious in the three worlds. Hence, Barbarika came to be known by the appellation Teen Baandhaari, the ‘Bearer of Three Arrows.’ Agni Deva gave him bow which would make him victorious in 3 worlds.
After a long time of his leaving that area, the Pandava brothers also reached the Sindh pilgrimage after losing everything in gambling. All the Pandavas worshipped the goddess and then sat a little away to take some rest. Bhim stood up and without washing his hand and feet, entered the sacred pond and began rinsing and gargling his mouth. Barbareek became very angry on seeing this. He went to Bhim and said “You know the water from this pond is used for the worship of the goddess and you have entered the pond without even washing your hands and feet and you are also gargling and rinsing your mouth.” At this, Bhim also got very angry and both started fighting. Bhim was very proud of his might and even after applying all his strength he couldn’t defeat Barbareek. Seeing this, Bhim became very depressed and at the same time, Lord Shiva appeared at that place with all the goddess. Lord Shiva told Bhim not to feel depressed as Barbareek was from his own family and was indeed his descendent. He is Barbareek, the son of your son Ghatotkachch. Barbareek was very sad at having fought with his grandfather. He felt disdain for his life and he went ahead to end his life. Then the goddess, who had granted Barbareek the might and Lord Bholenath, advised Barbareek that this is not the time for him to end his life. On everybody’s advice, Barbareek calmed down and reunited with his family. Even after meeting the Pandavas, the flame of devoutness and meditation was there in Barbareek’s mind.
Barbareek also completed his meditation at the meeting place of the oceans, returned to his mother, and touched her feet. When Barbarika came to know that battle between Pandavas and Kauravas will happen, he also wished to see the same and told his mother about his desire. Then his mother told him, “If you want to see the battle, then go. But you are so brave and courageous that if you feel the urge to participate in the war, what will you do?
Then Barbareek said, “Mother, I will first watch the battle and then afterwards I will join the side of the party which is losing.” Then taking his mother’s permission and blessing, he rode on his Blue Horse (Neela Ghoda) equipped with 3 arrows and bow towards the battlefield of Mahabharata, Kurukshetra.
Lord Krishna saw through his divine foresight that Barbareek was proceeding towards the battlefield. Lord Krishna, disguising himself as a Brahmin sat under a peepal tree, a little distance away from the battlefield. He stopped Barbarika to examine his strength. He even tried to mock Barbareek saying that he was going to the great battle with only three arrows. 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.
Lord Krishna challenged him to tie all the leaves of the peepal tree under which he was standing, with one arrow. 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, within moments 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. Lord Krishna asked the boy whom he would favour in the war. Barbarika revealed that he will fight for whichever side is weak. Lord Krishna knew that the defeat of the Kauravas was inevitable if this boy joins them.
The Brahmin (Lord Krishna) then sought charity from the boy. Barbarika promised him anything he wished. Lord Krishna asked him to give his head in charity. Barbarika was speechless, he requested the Brahmin to disclose his real identity. Lord Krishna showed Barbarika His Divine Form. He explained to Barbarika that before the battle, in order to worship the battlefield, head of the bravest Kshatriya needs to be sacrificed. And he considered Barbarika to be the bravest among Kshatriyas, and hence asked for his head in charity. In fulfilment of his promise, and in compliance with the Lord’s command, Barbarika gave his head to Krishna in charity. Therefore on the eleventh of the Shukla Paksha (bright 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 Lord Krishna.
Barbareek requested that he wanted to see the battle till its end, and his wish was granted.
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.
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. When the battle was over, the victorious Pandava brothers argued amongst themselves as to who was responsible for the victory. Each of them was thinking himself to be the cause of this victory.
At this, Lord Krishna suggested that Barbarika’s head had watched the whole battle, and he should be allowed to judge. Barbarika’s head suggested that it was Lord Krishna who was responsible for the victory, his advice, his presence, his game plan had been crucial. It was only because of this God’s delusions that you have emerged victorious. He said that he had seen the Sudarshana Chakra revolving around the battlefield, hacking the Kaurava army to pieces; and Draupadi, assuming the fearful form of Mahakali Durga, drinking bowl after bowl of blood without allowing even one drop of blood to fall on the earth.
Lord Krishna, pleased with Barbarika’s great sacrifice, granted him the boon that when Kaliyuga descends, he would be greatly worshipped by the name of Shyam (Lord Krishna’s own name) in his form. His 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.
After the Mahabharata battle, Barbarika’s head was buried in the village called Khatu. 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 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 head was handed over to a Brahmin who worshipped it for many days in his house.
Roopsingh Chauhan, King of Khatu, then had a dream where he was inspired to build a temple and install the head therein. Subsequently, a temple was built and the head “Shish” was installed on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha (bright half) of 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.
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.
The original temple was built in 1027 AD by Roopsingh Chauhan. In 1720 AD, a nobleman known as Diwan Abhaisingh renovated the old temple, at the behest of the then ruler of Marwar. The temple took its present shape at this time and the idol was enshrined in the Sanctum Sanctorum. The idol is made of rare stone.
Other names of the deity
Barbarika – Khatushyamji’s childhood name was Barbarika. His mother and relatives used to call him by this name before the name Khatushyamji was given by Shri Krishna.
Sheesh Ke Dani - Literally: “Donor of Head.”
Hare Ka Sahara – Literally: “Support of the defeated.” Upon his mother’s advise, Barbarika resolved to support whoever has less power and is losing. Hence he is known by this name.
Teen Baan Dhaari – Literally: “Bearer of three arrows.” Reference is to the three infallible arrows that he received as boon from God Shiva. These arrows were sufficient to destroy the whole world. The title written below these three arrows is Maa Sevyam Parajitah.
Lakha-datari – Literally: “The Munificent Giver,” one who never hesitates to give his devotees whatever they need and ask for.
Leela ke Aswaar – Literally: “Rider of Leela,” being the name of his blue-coloured horse. Many call it Neela Ghoda or “blue horse.”
Khatu Naresh – Literally: “The King of Khatu“; One who rules Khatu and the whole universe.
Two special hymns, the Shri Shyam Aarti and the Shri Shyam Vinati, are chanted on all these occasions.
Shyam Baba aarti :
Om jai shri shyam hare, baba jai shri shyam hare
Khatu dham virajat, anupam roop dhare, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Ratan jadit singhasan, sir per chanvar dule
Tan keshariya baago, kundal shravan pade, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Gal pushpon ki maala, sir par mukut dhare
Khevat dhoop agni par, deepak jyoti jale, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Modak kheer choorma, suvaran thaal bhare,
Sevak bhog lagaave, seva nitya kare, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Jhanj katora aur ghadiyaaval, shankh mridang dhure,
Bhakt aarti gaave, jay jay kaar kare, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Jo dhyave phal paave, sab dukh se ubare,
Sevak jan nij mukh se, shri shyam shyam uchare, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Shri shyam bihariji ki aarti, jo koi nar gave
Kahat alusingh swami, manvanchit phal paave, Om jai shri shyam hare…
Om jai shri shyam hare Ooo, baba jai shri shyam hare,
Nij bhakton ke tumne, pooran kaaj kare, Om jai shri shyam hare…
The vinati (shyam puspanjali) :
Haath jod vinati karu, sunjyo chit lagaye
Das aa gayo sharan main, rakhiyo iski laaj
Dhanye dhudharo desh hain, khatu nagar sujan
Anupam chavi shri shyam ki, darshan se kalian
Shyam shyam to main ratu, shyam hain jeevan pran
Shyam bakht jag main bade, unko karu pranam
Khatu nagar ke beech main, banyo aapko dham
Phalgun shukla mela bhare, jai jai baba shyam
Phalgun shukla dwadshi, utsav bhari hoye
Baba ke darbar se, khali jaye na koye
Umapati laxmipati, sitapati shri ram
Lajja sabki rakhiyon, khatu ke shri shyam
Paan supari ilachi, atar sugandhit bharpur
Sab bhaktan ki vinti, darshan devo hazoor
Alusingh to prem se, dhare shyam ko dhyan
Shyam Bhakt pave sada, shyam kripa se maan
“BOLO SHYAM PRABHU KI JAI”
“LELE KE SAWAR KI JAI”
“SHISH KE DANI KI JAI”