15.THE SLAYING OF BAKASURA
IN the city of Ekachakra, the Pandavas stayed in the guise of brahmanas, begging their food in the brahmana streets and bringing what they got to their mother, who would wait anxiously till their return. If they did not come back in time, she would be worried, fearing that some evil might have befallen them. Kunti would divide the food they brought in two equal portions. One half would go to Bhima. The other half would be shared by the other brothers and the mother. Bhima, being born of the Wind god had great strength and a mighty appetite. Vrikodara, one of the names of Bhima, means wolf-bellied, and a wolf, you know, looks always famished. And however much it might eat, its hunger is never quite satisfied. Bhima's insatiable hunger and the scanty food he used to get at Ekachakra went ill together. And he daily grew thin, which caused much distress to his mother and brothers. Sometime later, Bhima became acquainted with a potter for whom he helped and fetched clay. The potter, in return, presented him with a big earthen pot that became an object of merriment to the street urchins. One day, when the other brothers had gone to beg for alms, Bhimasena stayed behind with his mother, and they heard loud lamentations from the house of their brahmana landlord. Some great calamity surely had befallen the poor family and Kunti went inside to learn what it was. The brahmana and his wife could hardly speak for weeping, but, at last the brahmana said to his wife: "O unfortunate and foolish woman, though time and again I wished we should leave this city for good, you would not agree. You persisted in saying that you were born and bred here and here you would stay where your parents and relations had lived and died. How can I think of losing you who have been to me at once my life's mate, loving mother, the wife who bore my children, nay, my all in all? I cannot send you to death while I keep myself alive.