- Bhima (literally fearsome or terrible) is the second of the five PANDAVA brothers, whose story is told in the great epic MAHABHARATA.The five Pandavas were all born of the same mother, KUNTI, with different gods as their fathers. That Bhima’s father was the wind god VAY U explains his violence, temerity, and quickness to anger. He is also known for overweening pride and gluttony. Bhima was prodigiously strong and a formidable, undefeatable wrestler.From childhood, Bhima faced an angry rival in his cousin DURYODHANA, who persistently plotted to usurp the kingdom that rightfully belonged to the sons of PANDU. One time Duryodhana poi-soned Bhima and threw him into the GANGES. This action backfired: the poison was neutralized by the snake-people or NAGAS who lived in the river, who also gave Bhima a magic potion to make him superstrong. When Duhshana, one of the Kaurava sons, tried to disrobe DRAUPADI, the wife of the Pandavas, Bhima angrily vowed that he would one day kill Duryodhana and drink the blood of Duhshasana, a vow he eventually fulfilled. Bhima married the demoness Hidimba and fathered a son with her named Ghatokacha, who became a fierce fighter in the war with the KAURAVAS. In the final battle Bhima struck Duryodhana below the waist; he was forever labeled an unfair fighter on this account.Further reading: J. A. B. van Buitenen, The Mahab-harata, Vol. 1, The Book of the Beginnings, Vol. 2., The Book of the Assembly Hall, Vol. 3., The Book of Virata and the Book of Effort (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973–78); P. C. Roy, trans., The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, 12 vols. (Calcutta: Bhavata Karyalya Press, 1888–96).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.