Brihadratha, the ruler of the kingdom of Magadha, was married to twin princess.

A long time passed and yet Brihadratha was not blessed with any children.

This was a matter of great sadness for the king, and he would frequently wonder about how he could remedy the situation.

One day, he met a sage named Chandakaushika who, after learning the cause of his misery, offered him a rather unusual solution.

The sage was unaware of the fact that the king had two wife and not one.

He gave the king a magical fruit and said,’ give this fruit to your wife and she will be here at child in due course.’

The king felt that it was unfair to prefer one wife over the other. So he cut the fruit into two halves and gave one half to each of his wives.

The wives soon became pregnant and the people of the kingdom rejoiced. At the end of 9 months, the wives gave birth to two dead and incomplete half babies- it was almost as if one baby had been split into two vertical halves.

The king was shocked at this horrific site. Unable to understand what to do with the infants he ordered his men to leave the half newborns in a forest.

The men followed the king’s orders without question and went back to the palace. Now the forest where they had left the babies was home to a demoness.

Her name was Jara. Picking up the smell of human flesh, she found the two half babies and picked one up in each of her hands. She had heard the rumours about the king’s half babies. Something stuck at her and she brought the babies close to each other- this seemed to fit together like a puzzle.

Suddenly, their bodies snaped together and the cry filled the air- she had a live infant her arms.

Jara could not bring herself to eat the newborn and went to the capital to meet the king and returned the prince. She told Brihadratha about how the two lifeless bodies had fused into one.

The king could not thank her enough. He said,” I will name him Jarasandha, or the one joined by Jara, in your honour.”

Krishna knew about Jarasandha’s circumstances of birth and decided to use that knowledge to help Bhim.

While going through the story I also got to know one new fact which I was not aware of.  Jarasandha’s twin daughters- Asti and Prapti- were both married to King Kansa of Mathura. When Kansa was killed by his nephew Krishna, Asti and Prapti returned to their father. Furious, Jarasandha promised to avenge his son in law’s death, and Krishna became his enemy.

PS: pls ignore typing or punctuation errors as i am drafting them on my mobile phone.

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Shalini Pandey

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