The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'O best of the Bharatas, when a person commits sin from want of judgment, how may he be cleansed from it? Tell me everything about it.'
"Bhishma said, 'I shall in this connection recite to thee the old narrative, applauded by the Rishis, of what the regenerate Indrota, the son of Sunaka, said unto Janamejaya. There was in days of yore, a king possessed of great energy, called Janamejaya, who was the son of Parikshit. That lord of earth on one occasion, from want of judgment became guilty of killing a Brahmana. Upon this, all the Brahmanas together with his priests abandoned him. Burning day and night with regret, the king retired into the woods. Deserted by his subjects too, he took this step for achieving high merit. Consumed by repentance, the monarch underwent the most rigid austerities. For washing himself of the sin of Brahmanicide he interrogated many Brahmanas, and wandered from country to country over the whole earth. I shall now tell thee the story of his expiation. Burning with the remembrance of his sinful act, Janamejaya wandered about. One day, in course of his wanderings, he met Indrota, the son of Sunaka, of rigid vows, and approaching him touched his feet. The sage, beholding the king before him, reproved him gravely, saying, 'Thou hast committed a great sin. Thou hast been guilty of foeticide. Why has thou come here? What business hast thou with us? Do not touch me by any means! Go, go away! Thy presence does not give us pleasure. Thy person smells like blood. Thy appearance is like that of a corpse. Though impure, thou seemest to be pure, and though dead thou movest like a living! Dead within, thou art of impure soul, for thou art ever intent upon sin. Though thou sleepest and wakest, thy life, however, is passed in great misery. Thy life, O king, is useless. Thou livest most miserably. Thou hast been created for ignoble and sinful deeds. Sires wish for sons from desire of obtaining diverse kinds of blessings, and hoping they perform penances and sacrifices, worship the gods, and practise renunciation. 1 Behold, the whole race of thy ancestors has fallen into hell in consequence of thy acts. All the hopes thy sires had placed upon thee have become fruitless. Thou livest in vain, for thou art always inspired with hatred and malice towards the Brahmanas--them, that is, by worshipping whom other men obtain long life, fame, and heaven. Leaving this world (when the time comes), thou shalt have to fall (into hell) with head downwards and remain in that posture for innumerable years in consequence of thy sinful deeds. There thou shalt be tortured by vultures and
peacocks having iron beaks. Returning thence into this world, thou shalt have to take birth in a wretched order of creatures. If thou thinkest, O king, that this world is nothing and that the next world is the shadow of a shadow, the myrmidons of Yama in the infernal regions will convince thee, dispelling thy unbelief.'"
330:1 Making gifts, etc.
Next: Section CLI