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Story of Jara and Jarasandha

The story of Jara, a demoness, is mentioned in the Mahabharata and is associated with the king Jarasandha. Jara is believed to be an indigenous medicine woman by some scholars. Although she is considered as a demoness, she is respected and is also mentioned as a goddess in Mahabharata for her curative powers. She is believed to have joined the body of King Jarasandha, who was born as two halves.

Brihadratha was the king of Magadha and he had two wives. After few years of marriage, the two wives delivered two halves of a male baby. The king was horrified to see them and he asked the soldiers to throw them away in the forest.

Jara, the demoness, picked them up from the forest and she joined them. When the child was joined it gave out a huge cry which shook the entire kingdom. Jara took the child to the king and told what had happened.

As the baby was joined by Jara, he was named Jarasandha and he later became the king of Magadha. He had fought numerous battles with Lord Krishna and his brother Balarama. He was finally killed by Bhima, the second of the pandava brothers.

Some scholars are of the view that Jara might have had knowledge of indigenous medicines and the child that she got might have been a Siamese twin or a defective baby. She might have cured the baby using her knowledge of medicine.

There are also scholars who believe that Jara might the forerunner of people in modern world who are branded as witches.