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Chapter 135

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa said, ‘Here, O king, is visible the river Samanga, whose formername was Madhuvila, and yonder is the spot named Kardamila, the bathingplace of Bharata. The lord of Sachi, when fallen into misery inconsequence of having slain Vritra, became freed from his sin, byperforming his ablutions in this Samanga. Here, O bull among men, is thespot where the Mainaka mountain hath sunk into the interior of the earth;and it is hence called Vinasana. For obtaining sons, here Aditi in daysof yore had cooked that celebrated food, (presided over by the SupremeBeing). O ye bulls among men, ascended this lofty mountain and put an endto your inglorious misery unworthy to be uttered. Here, O king, beforethee is the Kanakhala range, the favourite resort of sages. ‘And yonderis the mighty river Ganga. Here, in ancient times, the holy sageSanatkumara attained ascetic success. O scion of the Ajamidha race, byperforming thy ablutions here in this river, thou wilt be freed from allthy sins. O son of Kunti, do thou together with thy ministers, touch (thewaters) of this lake called Punya, and this mountain Bhrigutunga and also(the water of) these two rivers, called Tushniganga. Here, O Kunti’s son,appeareth the hermitage of the sage Sthulasiras. Resign here thy angerand sense of self-importance. There, O son of Pandu, is seen thebeautiful hermitage of Raivya, where perished Bharadwaja’s son, Yavakari,profound in Vedic lore.'”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How did the mighty sage, Yavakri, son of the asceticBharadwaja, acquire profundity in the Vedas? And how also did he perish?I am anxious to hear all this, just as it happened. I take delight inlistening to the narration of the deeds of god-like men.'”

“Lomasa said, ‘Bharadwaja and Raivya were two friends. And they dwelthere, ever taking the greatest pleasure in each other’s company. Now,Raivya had two sons, named Arvavasu and Paravasu. And, Bharadwaja, OBharata’s son, had an only son, named Yavakri. Raivya and his two sonswere versed in the Vedas, while Bharadwaja practised asceticism. But, Oson of Bharata, from their boyhood, the friendship subsisting betweenthose two was unequalled. O sinless one, the highspirited Yavakri findingthat his father, who practised asceticism, was slighted by the Brahmanas,while Raivya with his sons was greatly respected by them, was overwhelmedwith sorrow, and became sore aggrieved. Thereupon, O son of Pandu, heentered upon severe austerities, for (obtaining) a knowledge of theVedas. And he exposed his body to a flaming fire. By thus practising themost rigid austerities, he caused anxiety in the mind of Indra. ThenIndra, O Yudhishthira, went to him and addressed him saying, ‘Wherefore,O sage, hast thou become engaged in practising such rigid austerities?’Yavakri said, ‘O thou adored of celestial hosts, I am practising severepenances, because I wish that such a knowledge of the Vedas as hath neverbeen acquired by any Brahmana whatever, may be manifest unto me. Oconqueror of Paka, these endeavours of mine have been for Vedic lore. OKausika, by the force of my asceticism. I purpose to obtain all sorts ofknowledge. O lord, a knowledge of the Vedas as learnt through teachers,is acquired in a long time. Therefore, (with the view of attaining inshort time a proficiency in the Vedas), I have put forth these highendeavours.’ Indra said, ‘O Brahmana sage, the way that thou hast adoptedis not the proper way. What for, O Brahamana, wilt thou destroy thyself?Go and learn from the lips of a preceptor.’

“Lomasa said, ‘O son of Bharata, having said this, Sakra went away, andYavakri of immeasurable energy, once more directed his attention toasceticism. O king, we have heard that carrying on severe austerities heagain greatly agitated Indra. And the god Indra, slayer of Vala, againcame unto that great sage, who was engaged in austere penances; andforbade him, saying, Thou art striving with the object that Vedic loremay be manifest unto thee as well as unto thy father; but thy exertionscan never be successful, nor is this act of thine well-advised.’ Yavakrisaid, ‘O lord of the celestials, if thou wilt not do for me what I want,I shall, observing stricter vows, practise still severer penances. O lordof celestials! know that if thou do not fulfil all my desires, I shallthen cut off my limbs and offer them as a sacrifice into a blazing fire.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Knowing the determination of that high-souled sage, thesagacious Indra reflected and hit upon some expedient to dissuade him.Then Indra assumed the guise of an ascetic Brahmana, hundreds of yearsold, and infirm, and suffering from consumption. And he fell to throwingup a dam with sands, at that spot of the Bhagirathi to which Yavakri usedto descend for performing ablutions. Because Yavakri, chief of theBrahmanas, paid no heed to Indra’s words, the latter began to fill theGanga with sands. And without cessation, he threw handfuls of sand intothe Bhagirathi, and began to construct the dam attracting the notice ofthe sage. And when that bull among the sages, Yavakri, saw Indra thusearnestly engaged in constructing the dam, he broke into laughter, andsaid the following words, ‘What art thou engaged in, O Brahmana, and whatis thy object? Why dost thou, for nothing, make this mighty endeavour?’Indra said, ‘I am trying, O my son, to dam the Ganga so that there may bea commodious passage. People experience considerable difficulty incrossing and recrossing (the river) by boat.’ Yavakri said, ‘O thou ofascetic wealth, thou canst not dam up this mighty current. O Brahmana,desist from, what is impracticable, and take up something that ispracticable.’ Indra said, ‘O sage, I have imposed on myself this heavytask, even as, for obtaining a knowledge of the Vedas, thou hast begunthese penances, which can never be fruitful.’ Yavakri said, ‘If, O chiefof the celestials, those efforts of mine be fruitless, even as those ofthy own, then, O lord of heavenly hosts, be thou pleased to do for mewhat is practicable. Vouchsafe unto me boons whereby I may excel othermen.’

“Lomasa said ‘Then Indra granted boons, as was prayed for by the mightyascetic, Indra said, ‘As thou desirest, the Vedas will be manifest untothee, yea–even unto thy father. And all thy other desires will also befulfilled. Return home, O Yavakri.’

“Having thus obtained the object of his desire, Yavakri came unto hisfather and said, The Vedas, O father, will be manifest unto thee as wellas unto myself and I have obtained boons whereby we shall excel all men.’Thereat Bharadwaja said, ‘O my son, as thou hast obtained the objects ofthy desire, thou wilt be proud. And when thou art puffed up with prideand hast also become uncharitable, destruction will soon overtake thee. Omy son, there is a current anecdote narrated by the gods. In ancienttimes, O son, there lived a sage named Valadhi, possessed of greatenergy. And in grief for the death of a child, he practised the severestpenances to have a child that should be immortal. And he obtained a soneven as he desired. But the gods, though very favourably disposed(towards him), did not yet make his son immortal like unto the gods. Theysaid, ‘On condition can a mortal being be made immortal. Thy son’s life,however, shall depend on some instrumental cause.’ Thereupon, Valadhisaid, ‘O chiefs of the celestials, these mountains have been existingeternally, and indestructible, let them be the instrumental cause of myson’s life. Afterwards a son was born to the sage, named Medhavi. And hewas of a very irritable temper. And hearing of (the incident of hisbirth), he grew haughty, and began to insult the sages. And he rangedover the earth, doing mischief to the munis. And one day, meeting withthe learned sage Dhannushaksha endued with energy. Medhavi maltreatedhim. Thereupon, the former cursed him, saying, ‘Be thou reduced toashes.’ Medhavi, however, was not reduced to ashes. Then Dhannushakshacaused the mountain which was the instrumental cause of Medhavi’s life,to be shattered by buffaloes. And the boy perished, with the destructionof the instrumental cause of his life. And embracing his dead son,Medhavi’s father began to bewail his fate. Now hear from me, O my son,what was chanted by the sages conversant with the Vedas, when they foundthe sage mourning. A mortal on no condition whatever can overcome whathath been ordained by Fate, Lo! Dhannushaksha succeeded in shatteringeven the mountain by buffaloes. Thus young ascetics, puffed up with pridefor having obtained boons, perish in a short time. Be thou not one ofthem. This Raivya, O my son, is possessed of great energy, and his twosons are like him. Therefore, be thou vigilant–so as never to approachhim. O my son, Raivya is a great ascetic of an irritable temper. Whenangry, he can do thee harm. Yavakri said, ‘I shall do as thou biddest me.Of father, do thou not by any means entertain anxiety for that. Raivyadeserveth my regard even as thou, my father.’ Having replied unto hisfather in these sweet words, Yavakri, fearing nothing and nobody, beganto delight in wantonly offending other munis.”

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