BHIMA who was the main pillar of support for the life of the Pandavas and Kunti was a voracious eater and a good cook too. He had hardly any match to his immense physical strength.
After escape form the wax palace, Kunit and her sons sought refuge in a Brahman’s house at Ekachakra in the guise of Brahmans.
Bakasura was the ruler of Ekachakra. He stayed in a cave many miles away. It was stipulated that each household should carry his food daily failing which he would consume the entire inhabitants. Quintals of rice, curd, side dishes, intoxicating wines, meat, two buffaloes that drive the cart and the cart driver were his lunch ingredients. One day the turn fell on the house where Kunti and her sons lived. Bhima took up the task of taking the food to Bakasura on behalf of the household.
Bhima carrying the eatables reached the cave on the face of which was impatiently waiting Bakasura with burning hunger. Seeing Bhima approach slowly, his anger rose. Ignoring his wrath, Bhima halted the cart and started consuming the food items himself. Bakasura unable to contain his anger plucked a tree and attacked him. Unmindful still, Bhima went on eating. He, having finished eating to his satisfaction responded to Bakasura in his fight. A terrible fight ensued between them. The rakshasa approached Bhima fiercely but the latter did not lose his cool. Finally, Bhima threw him down, pressed his knee on his back and broke his bones. Bakasura uttered a fightful haul with pain, vomited blood and died.
Bhima also killed Hidimba and many other rakshasas who posed threat to their life and the general public.
When Yudhishtira was ruling at Hastinapura, it was unanimously decided that the Pandavas should conduct a grand Rajasuya yajna and Yudhishtira be conferred with the little of Emperor. To become an Emperor, all other contemporary kings are to be subdued. Jarasandha was the only obstacle.
It was also resolved to kill Jarashandha in a single combat. Sri Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna proceeded to Magadha. They disguised themselves as religious pilgrims and entered the kingdom, unarmed. Nevertheless, Jarasandha could smell a rat in their behaviour and demanded them of the truth. Then they said: “We are actually your enemies and desire instant combat. You may choose any of us.”
Laughing heartily Jarasandha agreed and said: “Krishna, you are a cowherd and a coward. Arjuna is yet a boy. Bhima is famous for his physical strength. Let the fight be between us.”
They were so equally matched and the fight continued for twelve days—day and night. Finally, Bhima thrashed Jarasandha on the floor and tore him into two pieces and threw them away. To his utter surprise Bhima saw that the two pieces joined together and Jarasandha leapt up into life again.
Bhima looked at Sri Krishna helplessly who took a straw, tore it into two and cast the parts in opposite directions. Bhima took the hint. Once again he tore Jarasandha asunder and threw the two pieces in opposite directions. Jarasandha met with his end.
After twelve years of exile the Pandavas were living in King Virata’s kingdom for one year incognito; all under pseudonym. Bhima was Valala, the chief cook and Draupadi served queen Sudeshna as Sairandhri. Virata’s commander-in-chief was his mighty brother-in-law, Kichaka, who was the de facto king.
Kichaka, one of the mightiest of men on earth then, was infatuated at the beauty of Sairandhri, his sister’s servant-maid. He made overtures to her. It grew into intolerable extent. Once Kichaka in connivance with the queen bade her to his house and entreated to submit to his wills. Sairandhri violently reacted and warned him of the dire consequences. Thereuon Kichaka kicked and thrashed her. She somehow escaped and in the night went to Valala and told the whole incident . Valala advised her of a plan. Accordingly, on the next day Sairandhri approached Kichaka alone and told him that she was willing to fulfill his desires and only because of fear and same that she had been resisting his advances. She invited him to the dancing hall alone at the night. When Kichaka entered, there in the dim light he could see Sairandhri lying on the cot. He slowly approached her and embraced her. Alas! It was an iron clasp. It was Bhima. After a tough wrestle Bhima killed Kichaka.
Bhima slew several warriors and generals in the Mahabharata war. He single handed killed all the sons of Dhritarashtra as he had promised. In the single combat with Duryodhana, he broke his leg with his mace and killed him.
He tore the chest of Dussasana, drank his blood and gave a lion-roar which reverberated the entire Kurukshetra and struck terror in the hearts of the remaining Kaurava forces.
Such was the strength of Bhima.