We often tend to remember only those characters that play lead characters thereby forgetting the significant roles played by the lesser known or popular ones. We all know Draupadi as the wife of the Pandava brothers, daughter of King Panchal and the soul-sister of Lord Krishna. But many of us are not familiar with Hidimbi, whose selflessness contributed a lot to the victory of the Pandavas against the Kauravas.
Who was Hidimbi?
Hidimbi was the sister of Hidimba, a rakshas.
How, when and where did she meet Bhima?
During their exile, the Pandavas dwelled in forests. One night, when the rest of the brothers were asleep, Bhima remained awake to keep a watch. On smelling the presence of humans around, Hidimba asked his sister Hidimbi to lure Bhima and convince him to get eaten by them. Hidimbi met Bhima in disguise of a beautiful woman and instantly fell in love with him. And hence she confessed to him about her real identity.
Bhima, known for his strength and valour, refused to pardon Hidimba. The two indulged in a fight that resulted in Bhima’s victory. With Hidimba’s death, Hidimbi was orphaned. She pleaded to Bhima to marry her because she had fallen in love with him. After initially declining her proposal, Bhima married her after being asked by his mother Kunti but on one condition. He told her that he would not be able to take her to along with him after his exile period ends. She agreed to it gladly. Within a year, Hidimbi bore a son for Bhima and named him Ghatotkacha.
Ghatotkacha was raised by his mother and was later a part of the battle of Kurukshetra where he stood by his father against the Kauravas.
Her selfless contribution
Hidimbi could have been the queen of Hastinapur by virtue of her marriage to Bhima. But she chose to live in the forests and raise her son Ghatotkacha single-handedly. It was no petty sacrifice. Despite being a married woman, she lived without her husband because of the condition put forth by him. However, according to another legend Hidimbi chose to live alone to do penance.