Jarasandh was the son of king Brihadrath of Magadh. Brihadrath, being childless, went to the sage Chandkaushik, who gave him a mango fruit to feed his wives. The king cut the mango in half and gave it to his wives. Soon the wives conceived and each gave birth to half a son. The queens frightened at the horror, quietly slipped away and left the halves in the forest. A giantess named Jara came along and picked up the halves, when the two halves became one whole and the child started crying. Jara returned the child to the king. The child was called Jarasandh, as he was joined by Jara. Jarasandh became the king of Magadh. He was very powerful and people from fear of him. His two daughters, Asti and Prapti, were married to Kans, the uncle of Krishna.
When Kans had been killed by Krishna, the two sisters rushed to their father and asked him to avenge the death of their husband. Jarasandh attacked the Yadavs with a huge army and routed the enemy, as a result of which the Yadavs fled from Mathura to Dvarka. Jarasandh was a devotee of Shiv, and all the kings that he had defeated, he held captive in Girivraj, so that he could later sacrifice them to Shiv. But Jarasandh had to be defeated, and the princes released, so that Yudhishthir could perform his Rajsuya sacrifice. Hence, after obtaining Yudhishthir's permission, Krishna took Bhim and Arjun to Magadh. The three of them went disguised as Brahmans. When they reached Girivraj, they headed straight for the palace of Jarasandh, where they were greeted and welcomed with the necessary formalities. Krishna told Jarasandh that his two friends had a vow of silence which would break at midnight; the king quartered them in the sacrificial hall and left. He returned' later at midnight and learnt that in fact the Brahmans were Bhim and Arjun, who had been sent by Yudhishthir to set free the kings, whom Jarasandh intended to sacrifice to Shiv. Jarasandh was asked to set them free or fight. He chose to fight with Bhim. Jarasandh then installed his son Sahdev on the throne and then the fight began. Bhim and he fought only with the fists, and after fourteen days, when the strength of Jarasandh began to wane, Bhim lifted him and threw him on the ground breaking him into two halves, and thus brought about the end of Jarasandh.