In Kaliyuga, he is known as the other
Krishna. He watched the entire Kurukshetra war from a hillock. Since he had been killed, only his head could watch the entire war, including the final destruction of the mammoth Kaurava army.
A grandson of the redoubtable Bheema, this man could easily swing the Kurukshetra war either in favour of the Pandavas or the Kauravas.
Krishna, who was a witness to his heroic feat, realises that the only way he can save the Pandavas from certain death is to ask for the head of Bheema’s grandson.
A chivalrous man, Bheema’s grandson readily obliges. But he has a condition. “I have come here to watch the war and I must do so”, he says.
Krishna agrees and after getting his head, places it on a hillock where the head watched the entire battle.
This is Khatu Shyam or the other
Krishna. He is the son of Kamkantaka and Ghatotkacha, the son of Bheema.
Khatu Shyam’s real name is Barbarika. He is also called Barbarik or Barbareeka.
Barbarika was a redoubtable warrior even in his childhood. He had learnt the art of warfare from Shiva. This not only made him redoubtable but also fearless. Please with his devotion and dedication, Shiva had given Barbarika three arrows which were invincible (teen bhan). This earned Barbarika the name Teen Bana Dhaari.
Subsequently, Agni, the God of Fire, gave hum a bow that would ensure that he remained undefeated in all the three worlds.
When the preparations for the Kurukshetra War was beginning, Barbarika decided to see the battle for himself. He also promised his mother that if he felt an urge to join the battle, he would take the side of the losing party.
He then rode towards Kurukshetra with his three arrows on a blue coloured horse. When
Krishna learnt of Barbarika’s intention, he became concerned about the safety of the Pandavas. He disguised himself as a Brahmin and came face to face with Babrika.
He said the first arrow he would shoot would mark or identify the things that were to be destroyed. The third arrow would destroy all the identified objects, while the second arrow would mark the things he wanted to save. All the three arrows would return to the quiver once they completed the task, he said.
When Barbarik releases his first arrow, it marks all the leaves of the tree and then starts going around one of the legs of
Krishna. When Krishna asks why the arrow is going around his foot, Barbarika replies that there must be a leaf under his foot and the arrow was targeting his foot to mark it.
Barbarika then advises Krishna to lift his leg, since, otherwise the arrow will mark the leaf by piercing
Krishna’s leg. Krishna lifts his foot and to his surprise finds that the first arrow had marked the leaf that was hidden under his foot. Then the arrow collects all the leaves and ties them together.
Thus, in an actual war, Barbarika will keep on oscillating between the two sides, thereby destroying the army of both sides and eventually only he will remain.
Barbarika then cuts off his own head. But he wants to watch the battle.
Krishna then places the head on top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. From the hill, the head of Barbarika watched the entire battle.
When the battle ends, the victorious Pandava brothers argue among themselves as to who was responsible for their victory.
Krishna intervenes and says that Barbarika’s head should be allowed to answer.
Barbarika’s head then reveals that it was
Krishna alone who was responsible for the victory.
The head is then immersed in Rupamati river by
Krishna himself. Thousands of years later, the head was found buried in the in Rajasthan. Roopsingh Chauhan, the King of Khatu, builds a temple in 1027 and instals the idol of Khatushyam. village of Khatu
The temple was later renovated by Diwan Abhay Singh in 1720.