Legacy YM

Chapter 33 - Fruitless Penance

110

IN the course of their wanderings, the Pandavas reached the hermitage of Raibhya on the banks of the Ganga.

Lomasa told them the story of the place: "This is the ghat where Bharata, the son of Dasaratha, bathed. These waters cleansed Indra of the sin of killing Vritra unfairly. Here also Sanatkumara became one with God. Aditi, the mother of the gods, offered oblations on this mountain and prayed to be blessed with a son. O Yudhishthira, ascend this holy mountain and the misfortunes, which have cast a cloud on your life, will vanish. Anger and passion will be washed off if you bathe in the running waters of this river."

Then Lomasa expatiated in greater detail on the sanctity of the place.

He began the story thus: "Yavakrida, the son of a sage, met with destruction in this very place."

He continued: "There lived in their hermitages two eminent brahmanas, named Bharadwaja and Raibhya, who were dear friends. Raibhya and his two sons, Paravasu and Arvavasu, learnt the Vedas and became famed scholars. Bharadwaja devoted himself wholly to the worship of God. He had a son named Yavakrida who saw with jealousy and hatred that the brahmanas did not respect his ascetic father as they did the learned Raibhya. Yavakrida practised hard penance to gain the grace of Indra. He tortured his body with austerities and thus awakened the compassion of Indra, who appeared and asked him why he so mortified his flesh." 

Yavakrida replied: "I wish to be more learned in the Vedas than any has ever been before. I wish to be a great scholar. I am performing these austerities to realise that desire. It takes a long time and involves much hardship to learn the Vedas from a teacher. I am practising austerities to acquire that knowledge directly. Bless me."

Indra smiled and said: "O brahmana, you are on the wrong path. Return home, seek a proper preceptor and learn the Vedas from him. Austerity is not the way to learning. The path is study and study alone." With these words Indra vanished. But the son of Bharadwaja would not give up.

He pursued his course of austerities with even greater rigor, to the horror and the distress of the gods. Indra again manifested himself before Yavakrida and warned him again:

111

"You have taken the wrong path to acquire knowledge. You can acquire knowledge only by study. Your father learnt the Vedas by patient study and so can you. Go and study the Vedas. Desist from this vain mortification of the body."

Yavakrida did not heed even this second warning of Indra and announced defiantly that if his prayer were not granted, he would cut off his limbs one by one and offer them as oblations to the fire. No, he would never give up.

He continued his penance. One morning, during his austerities, when he went to bathe in the Ganga, be saw a gaunt old brahmana on the bank, laboriously throwing handfuls of sand into the water.

Yavakrida asked: "Old man, what are you doing?" The old man replied: "I am going to build a dam across this river. When, with handful after handful, I have built a dam of sand here, people can cross the river with ease. See how very difficult it is at present to cross it. Useful work, isn't it?"

Yavakrida laughed and said: "What a fool you must be to think you can build a dam across this mighty river with your silly handfuls of sand! Arise and take to some more useful work."

The old man said: "Is my project more foolish than yours of mastering the Vedas not by study but by austerities?" Yavakrida now knew that the old man was Indra. More humble this time, Yavakrida earnestly begged Indra to grant him learning as a personal boon.

Indra blessed, and comforted Yavakrida with the following words:

"Well, I grant you the boon you seek. Go and study the Vedas; you will become learned."


Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial

Amadeus' Statistics v1.4

load time: 0.011 secs
memory: 632.50 KB

show list of 17 included files with total size of 50.85 KB