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Vrikodhara – A name of Bhima in the Mahabharata - Voracious Appetite of Bhim



Vrikodhara is one among the numerous names of second of the five Pandava brothers in the Mahabharata. Vrikodhara means the wolf bellied. Vrika means 'the wolf' and udara means 'the belly.' He got the name because of his voracious appetite which was like that of a wolf.

Bhima gorged himself on any feast spread before him.

Due to this, he got into trouble when Duryodhana mixed deadly poison in his food and threw him into River Ganga.

Another time Bhima ate all the food that the villagers had given to Bakasura. Bhima ate the food and then killed the asura and rescued the villagers

There are numerous stories of food associated with Bhima. Avial a famous South Indian dish is believed to have been created by Bhima.

During the incognito year of the exile in the Mahabharat, Bheema became the chief cook in the palace of Virata. It is said that he was an excellent cook.

In the Mahabharata, of the entire food prepared for the Pandava brothers, half of it was eaten by Bhima (Adi Parva 7161)

Folklore from Gujarat states that Bhima consumed 192 Maunds of corn; 13 ghanis of oil and a maund and quarter of betel nuts. (one maund is 82.6 pounds) (ghani is a traditional oil pressing method in India)

Another folklore states that Bhima took food only after worshiping Shiva. Once he could not located a Shiva Temple, so he turned his bowl upside down and worshipped it as Shiva. This form of Shiva is known as Bhimanath Mahadev.

Another legend has it that Shiva gave him the boon that he would be able to digest all the food that we wanted to eat and he will not have any discomfort due to the food he ate.

The name may be also attributed to his ferociousness in the battlefield. He was like a wolf when he tore opened the chest of Dushasana and then uses that blood to bathe the hair of Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas. Draupadi had taken the pledge that she will not fasten up her hair until it was bathed in the blood of Dushasana. She had taken this pledge after Dushasana dragged her by hair to the Kaurava court. 

This deed infused terror in the hearts of soldiers fighting on the Kaurava side. Thus the name also means one who performs terrible deeds like the wolf. Wolves are merciless hunters.

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