Chapter 34 - Yavakrida's End
YAVAKRIDA studied the Vedas and became learned. He grew vain with the thought that he had acquired the knowledge of the Vedas through the boon of Indra and not through human tutelage.
Bharadwaja did not like this and feared that his son might ruin himself by slighting Raibhya. He thought it necessary to warm him. "The gods," he said, "grant boons to foolish people who persistently practise penances, as intoxicants are sold to fools for money. They lead to loss of self-control, and this leads to the warping of the mind and utter destruction." He illustrated his advice by the ancient tale, which is given below.
In olden times there was a celebrated sage named Baladhi. He had a son whose untimely death plunged him into grief. So, be practised rigorous penance to get a son who would never meet with death.
The gods told the sage that this could never be, for the human race was necessarily mortal, and there need must be a limit to human life. They asked him to name his own limit.
The sage replied: "In that case grant that the life of my son may persist as long as that mountain lasts." The boon was granted to him and he was duly blessed with a son named Medhavi.
Medhavi grew conceited at the thought that he was safe from death forever, since he would live as long as the mountain existed, and he behaved with arrogance towards all.
One day, this vain man showed disrespect to a great sage named Dhanushaksha. At once that sage cursed that he might be turned to ashes, but the curse took no effect on Medhavi who remained in perfect health.
Seeing this, the high-souled sage was puzzled and then remembered the gift Medhavi had been endowed with at birth. Dhanushaksha took the form of a wild buffalo and by the power of his penances butted at the mountain and broke it to pieces and Medhavi fell down dead.
Bharadwaja concluded the story with this solemn warning to his son: "Learn wisdom from this old story. Be not ruined by vanity. Cultivate self-restraint. Do not transgress the limits of good conduct and do not be disrespectful to the great Raibhya."
It was springtime. The trees and creepers were beautiful with flowers and the whole forest was gorgeous with color and sweet with the song of birds.
The very earth seemed to be under the spell of the god of love. Paravasu's wife was strolling alone in the garden near the hermitage of Raibhya. She appeared more than human, in the sweet union in her of beauty, courage and purity.
At that time Yavakrida came there and was so overwhelmed by her loveliness that he completely lost his sense and self-control and became as a ravening beast with lust.
He accosted her and taking brutal advantage of her fear and shame and bewilderment, he dragged her to a lonely pot and violated her person.
Raibhya returned to his hermitage. He saw his daughter in-law weeping, broken-hearted and inconsolable and learning of the shameful outrage perpetrated on her, he was seized with implacable anger. He plucked a hair from his bead and offered it to the fire reciting a mantra.
At once, a maiden, as beautiful as his daughter-in-law, emerged from the sacrificial fire.
The sage plucked another hair from his knotted lock and offered it as oblation. A terrible ghost rose from the fire. The sage commanded them to kill Yavakrida. Both of them bowed to the order.
While Yavakrida was performing the morning rites, the female spirit went near him and with smiles and allurements put him off his guard and as she ran away with his water-jug, the male ghost rushed on him with uplifted spear.
Yavakrida stood up in fear. Knowing that his mantras would be of no avail until he cleansed himself with water, he looked for his water-jug. When he found it missing, he rushed to a pond for water but the pond was dry. He went to nearby stream, which also dried up at his approach.
There was no water for him anywhere. The terrible fiend pursued him everywhere and Yavakrida fled for his life, with the demon hot on his heels. His sin had consumed the power of his vigils and fasts. At last, he sought refuge in the sacrificial hall of his father.
The half-blind man who was guarding the hermitage stopped him as be could not recognise Yavakrida as, distorted with mortal fear, he sought to force his way in. Meanwhile, the fiend overtook him and killed him with his spear.
When Bharadvaja returned to his hermitage, he came upon his son's corpse and concluded that disrespect to Raibhya must have led to this cruel fate.
"Alas! My child, you died of your pride and vanity. Was it not a great mistake that you tried to learn the Vedas in a way not resorted to by any brahmana? Why did you behave so as to be cursed thus? May Raibhya, who caused the death of my only son, be himself killed by one of his sons!" Thus, carried away by rage and grief the sage cursed Raibhya.
Regaining control soon, he exclaimed in anguish: "Alas! They alone are blessed who have no sons. I have not only lost my only son, but in the madness of my grief I have also cursed my friend and companion. What is the use of continuing my life?" He cremated his son's body and died by throwing himself on the funeral pyre.
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