Eastern Spirituality

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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In the Indian Mahabharata epic, Kichaka (also spelled Keechaka, Keechak, and Kichak) was the army commander of Matsya, the country ruled by King Virata. He is also the brother of Sudeshna, the queen. KichakBadh, an ancient historical village of Jhapa District in Nepal, is believed to be associated with Kichaka. Now there is a village called Kichakbadh at that place.

Malini is the name of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas when she was disguised as a sairandhri (female servant) in King Virata's palace for one year. Kichaka once saw Malini and madly desired to enjoy her beauty, but she refused. Kichaka mentioned his lust for Malini to Queen Sudeshna, and requested to send her to serve wine for him. While Malini was serving the wine, Kichaka embraced Malini and tried to kiss her. Malini cried and pushed him down. Draupadi, alias Malini, was pursued by Kichaka to the throne room, where she was once again humiliated before a full assembly of courtiers, including her disguised husband Yudhishtira and King Virata himself, neither of whom could bring himself to react because Kichaka wielded so much power within the kingdom. Seething from the public insult, Draupadi consulted her husband Bhima, who was disguised as the palace cook. Together, they hatched a plan wherein Draupadi, disguised as Malini, would seduce Kichaka and arrange a rendezvous in the dance hall after dark. When Kichaka arrived in the dance hall, he saw, much to his pleasure, whom he thought to be a sleeping Malini. As Kichaka advanced forward, however, the person who he thought to be Malini revealed himself as Bhima and proceeded to brutally kill Kichaka with his bare hands, leaving the corpse almost unrecognizable. Through the course of the brawl, Arjuna, in his role as Brihannala, loudly practiced on his drum to mask the sound of Bhima and Kichaka.

Some believe that the village named Ekachakra, where the Pandavas finally settled after the escape from the murder-attempt, belonged to the kingdom of Kichaka. It is mentioned that the city named Vetrakiya (a city on the banks of river Vetravati, the modern-day river Betwa) was the capital of this kingdom. Vetravati is believed to be same as the river Suktimati on the banks of which lied the Chedi capital Suktimati. It is a tributary of Yamuna to the east of Charmanvati, yet another tributary of Yamuna. Kingdom of Kichaka is identified to be lying between Charmanwati and Vetravati rivers, i.e., to the south of southern-Panchala; to the north of Chedi and to the east of Matsya-proper.

Also in the Amravati District situated in the State of Maharashtra, there is a place named Chikhaldara. It is somewhat like a Hill Station to the nearby region because of its exotic scenery and significant altitude. There one finds a waterfall and adjacent to it a board is installed (probably by Mahrashtra Tourism Development Board) which says that Bhima had killed Kichaka at that spot and upon throwing his body in the deep waterfall, had washed his blood filled hands in the water flowing through the creek. And because of this, the place had derived its name as 'Kichakdhara' and with the affluence of time, it became as present days 'Chikhaldara'.

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z