Chapter 33 Yavakrida and His Penance
The Pandavas eventually found Raibhya’s hermitage on the banks of the Ganga during their wanderings.
Lomasa related the location’s history to them: “The son of Dasaratha, Bharata, bathed at this ghat. Indra was absolved of the sin of wrongfully slaying Vritra by these waters. Sanatkumara also united with God at this place. The mother of the gods, Aditi, did Yagna with animals and begged for a son atop this peak. And later animals were freed. O Yudhishthira, climb this sacred peak, and the calamities that have clouded your life shall disappear. If you take a bath in the flowing waters of this river, your anger and passion will be washed away.”
Then Lomasa went into further detailing on the location’s holiness.
“Yavakrida, the son of a scholar, met with disaster in this exact area,” he said to start the narrative.
He went on: “Two distinguished brahmanas, Bharadwaja and Raibhya, who were close companions, resided in respective hermitages. In addition to learning the Vedas, Raibhya and his two sons, Paravasu and Arvavasu, also excelled in academia. Bharadwaja dedicated his entire life to worshipping Bhagwan. He had a son named Yavakrida, who watched with resentment and jealously as the brahmanas treated the educated Raibhya with greater regard than they did to his austere father. Yavakrida engaged in rigorous penance in order to win Indra’s favour. He tormented his body with austerities, awakening Indra’s compassion in the process. Indra then arrived and enquired as to why he had been so cruel to his body.”
Yavakrida answered: “I want to know the Vedas better than anyone has ever done. I want to excel in academia. I’m making these sacrifices in order to fulfil that dream. Learning the Vedas from a teacher is difficult and requires a lot of time. I am making sacrifices in order to personally learn that information. I want to be blessed.”
Indra grinned and remarked: “Brahmana, you’re going in the wrong direction. Return home, look for a suitable preceptor, and take Vedic instruction from him. Learning cannot be done via austerity. Study and study alone is the way to go.” Indra disappeared after saying these words. But Bharadwaja’s son resisted giving up.
The Gods were horrified and distressed as he continued his austerity path with even more intensity. Indra once more appeared before Yavakrida and cautioned him: “You’ve chosen the incorrect route to knowledge acquisition. Only through study is knowledge acquired. By diligent study, your father was able to master the Vedas, and so can you. Study the Vedas right away. Stop mortifying your body so pointlessly.”
Yavakrida made a brazen declaration that if his request was not answered, he would chop off each of his limbs one by one and give them as sacrifices to the fire. He did not listen even this second warning from Indra. He wouldn’t give up, not ever.
He kept up his repentance. When he went to the Ganga for a morning bath during his fast, he noticed a slender elderly brahmana laboriously tossing handfuls of sand into the river from the bank.
“Old man, what are you doing?” demanded Yavakrida. Old man’s response was: “I’m going to construct a dam to span this river. People may easily cross the river once I have created a sand dam here with handful after handful. See how difficult it is right now to cross it. It’s a good job, isn’t it?”
Laughing, Yavakrida said: “What a fool you must be to think that your silly handfuls of sand can construct a dam across this powerful river! Get up and start doing some more beneficial task.”
“Is my ambition more stupid than yours of learning the Vedas not by study but through austerities?” the old man said. Yavakrida now recognised the elderly man as Indra. This time, Yavakrida was more contrite and sincerely pleaded with Indra to bestow upon him the blessing of learning.
Yavakrida was soothed and blessed by Indra with these words: “Well, I give you the favour you ask for. You will learn through studying the Vedas, therefore do it now.”
Yavakrida developed a sense of vanity after becoming well-versed with Vedic scripts since he acquired his education from Gods rather than humans. His father advised him not to be vain. However, Yavakrida was too smug to pay attention to him.
The wife of Paravasu was one day by herself in the garden of Raibhya’s hermitage. By chance, Yavakrida noticed her. She was so stunning and alluring that Yavakrida was overcome by an overwhelming desire to possess her. He completely lost control of himself. He drove her to a lonely location where, driven by passion, he physically abused her, acting like a beast, committing the heinous offense.
Raibhya learned about Yavakrida’s shameful treatment of his daughter-in-law. He went into a fury. He was at a loss on how to comfort his daughter-in-law. He summoned a maiden as lovely as his own daughter-in-law from his Yagna fire, together with a terrifying ghost, and ordered them to kill Yavakrida using yogic power.
The female ghost enchanted Yavakrida with her charms before fleeing with the water jug (kamandal) that Yavakrida had been using for sacred ceremonies. The second ghost pursued Yavakrida from behind as he ran after her to reclaim his water jug, without which he was helpless to rescue himself. Together, the spirits were successful in their mission. At the door of his father’s hermitage, Yavakrida was slain.
Bharadwaja was in a deeply disappointed. He cursed his close ally Raibhya for killing his son, Yavakrida. He then hurled himself onto the same funeral pyre after cremating his son’s body.
Learning does not shield one from desire or conceit. Practice of self-control does. A sensible person never should lose his composure. Many people achieve fame and learning only to lose self control, give in to desire, and become corrupt. Vishwamitra also failed in his mission when he was lured by the beauty of Menaka. Lust and desire bring demise even to learned men.
Keep Mahabharat Book at Home and Read Daily – DO NOT FALL TO FAKE PROPAGANDA and Allow Enemies to Weaken our Dharma and Bharat
This historical epic Mahabharat is known as fifth Veda. It is a common misconception spread by mlecchas; muslims and christian missionaries, and secular Hindus that reading Mahabharat or keeping it at home will likely lead to arguments and fighting. All of this misinformation was spread by illiterate mlecchas and anti-Hindus, and it is completely incorrect. It is done to mentally weaken Hindus so that they avoid reading Mahabharat. Because Mahabharat invokes bravery, pride and sense of confidence in Hindus.
Keep a copy of Mahabharat at home and read it online at the HariBhakt website. Mahabharat is rightly called the fifth Veda for Kaliyuga people because it is a tool and guidance to invoke confidence and bravery in Sanatan Dharmi Hindus.
You can read complete Mahabharat by following Chapter links given below. You can check Glossary of Mahabharat here.