After escaping from the palace of wax, Pandavas with mother Kunti, with the help of prudent spy of Vidura, crossed the river Ganga and entered the other side of the jungle. They were tired but kept walking, saving themselves from the unexpected threats. After hours of walk when they were deep inside the woods and when the thirst overpowered their dry throats, Kunti asked them to stop and rest before moving further. Tired and thirsty Kunti in hoarse voice asked Bhima to fetch water for all of them. While Bhima went away in search of water, remaining brothers with mother Kunti settled under a huge tree. But the tired eyes were overpowered by sleep and all of them slept even before Bhima returned.
After some time, Bhima returned and when he found all his brothers and mother sleeping, he decided to stay awake and keep vigil on the wild animals or any unwanted threat in that unknown place. Bhima sat beside them and while he was seated there, beholding the tired and dirt smeared faces of his brothers, he reflected about the cruelty thrusted on them. The residents of palaces who were surrounded by unthinkable luxuries and comfort were lying on hard stones and walking along the rough patches of that dreadful forest. Thinking about the sinfulness of Duryodhana and Dhritarashtra, he was lost in immense grief.
In the same forest lived a Rakshasa, Hidimba and his sister Hidimbā. They claimed that dense forest as their land and anything roaming on that land as their property. That evening while hunting for food, Hidimbā reached near the place where those Pandavas were sleeping under the watch of Bhima. As she saw vigilant Bhima with mountainous build, she immediately fell in love with him. She made up her mind to be with Bhima as his wife. Rakshasas clan, in those days, were blessed with a unique quality of transforming their avatars in any desired form. Thus, Hidimbaa transformed herself as a beautiful and flawless demoiselle and approached Bhima. She bowed down before Bhima and expressed her desire. Bhima had no clue who that lady was. He was surprised seeing that beautiful woman roaming in that dense forest.
He asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Hidimbaa.”, she replied. “This forest belongs to me. I was roaming in hunt of food but as I saw you, I immediately decided to be with you.”, she expressed.
Before Bhima could react, Hidimbaa’s brother Hidimba reached there. Seeing the six humans, his hunger doubled, and that cannibal rushed towards Bhima and other Pandavas. Alert Bhima reacted to the danger with speed of light and stood as a wall before his brothers. Hidimba roared. Hidimbaa asked him not to hunt those five men and their mother, but in vain. Hidimba attacked Bhima, but Bhima like a lion roared and countered the attack.
Listening to affrighting voice of that Rakshasa, other Pandavas and Kunti woke up. Sensing the danger, Arjuna immediately rushed towards Bhima. Bhima stopped Arjuna and said, “I am enough for this demon.” And that ruthless mountainous built Bhima with his continuous strikes defeated that Rakshasa, Hidimba. Hidimba fell with loud roar and died.
Seeing her dead brother, Hidimbaa started crying. Bewildered Kunti approached her and tried to console her. Recovering from the sorrow of her loss, Hidimbaa shared her identity and asked Kunti to accept her as daughter-in-law. Kunti thought, consulted with Yudhishthira and they decided that if Bhima wished he could marry Hidimbaa. But Bhima could stay with Hidimbaa only till their son was born.
And then, Bhima and Hidimbaa’s marriage was solemnized. Pandavas stayed in that forest for some more months. Soon Bhima and Hidimbaa blessed with a son, and they named him Ghatotkacha. How Ghatotkacha helped Pandavas and saved life of Arjun, we will see in future episodes.
Here, as decided, Bhima and other Pandavas after the birth of Ghatotkacha left that forest and walked in search of new habitat. Their search took them to a new village, Ekachakra. And they found a Brahmana’s house as their new dweller. Life started settling gradually. They were living life of mendicants, wandering from house to house in search of food, while Kunti used to help Brahmana’s family in routine work. But one day, there was complete silence and sadness blanketed the house of Brahmana. Kunti asked to the sobbing daughter of Brahmana about it. That daughter of Brahmana told about the reason of their fear and sadness. That village Ekachakra was under the horror of a Rakshasa called Bakasur. Fear of that demon was genuine as he demanded a cart load of food and a human every week in lieu of not killing all the inhabitants of Ekachakra. That day it was turn of the daughter of that Brahmana.
Kunti listened to that affrighted girl and decided that instead of her, Bhima would go. Bhima agreed and he knew for what purpose he was being sent. Bhima followed the words of Kunti. While walking towards that cave, Bhima became hungry and he ate the food kept in that cart. After finishing his food, he walked into the cave and stood before the demon. Bakasur got angry seeing the empty cart. He pounced on Bhima in order to feast on that bulky human. Bhima countered. Both got into a duel and soon, Bhima killed Bakasur. Bakasur was dead. Bhima did what Kunti wished. But how Bakasur’s brother took revenge, we will see in upcoming episodes.
Bhima returned to the village victorious. All hailed and praised Bhima as he removed the biggest threat of their lives. The villagers celebrated and arranged a special treat for Bhima. Ekachakra was freed from that curse, and Pandavas lived happily in that village for few more months, before heading towards Panchal.