The Mahabharata Home
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed by the illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying the worlds. But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy--the son of Saktri--the foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas--performed a grand Rakshasa sacrifice. And remembering the slaughter of (his father) Saktri, the great Muni began to consume the Rakshasas, young and old, in the sacrifice he performed. And Vasishtha did not restrain him from this slaughter of the Rakshasa, from the determination of not obstructing this second vow (of his grandson). And in that sacrifice the great Muni Parasara sat before three blazing fires, himself like unto a fourth fire. And the son of Saktri, like the Sun just emerging from the clouds, illuminated the whole firmament by that stainless sacrifice of his into which large were the libations poured of clarified butter. Then Vasishtha and the other Rishis regarded that Muni blazing with his own energy as if he were the second Sun. Then the great Rishi Atri of liberal soul desirous of ending that sacrifice, an achievement highly difficult for others,--came to that place. And there also came, O thou slayer of all foes, Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu the performer of many great sacrifices, all influenced by the desire of saving the Rakshasas. And, O thou bull of the Bharata race, Pulastya then, seeing that many Rakshasas had already been slain, told these words unto Parasara that oppressor of all enemies:
'There is no obstruction, I hope, to this sacrifice of thine, O child! Takest thou any pleasure, O child, in this slaughter of even all those innocent Rakshasas that know nothing of thy father's death. It behoveth thee not to destroy any creatures thus. This, O child, is not the occupation of a Brahmana devoted to asceticism. Peace is the highest virtue. Therefore, O Parasara, establish thou peace. How hast thou, O Parasara, being so superior, engaged thyself in such a sinful practice? It behoveth not thee to transgress against Saktri himself who was well-acquainted with all rules of morality. It behoveth not thee to extirpate any creatures. O descendant of Vasishtha's race, that which befell thy father was brought about by his own curse. It was for his own fault that Saktri was taken hence unto heaven. O Muni, no Rakshasa was capable of devouring Saktri; he himself provided for his own death. And, O Parasara, Viswamitra was only a blind instrument in that matter. Both Saktri and Kalmashapada, having ascended to heaven are enjoying great happiness. And, the other sons also of the great Rishi Vasishtha who were younger than Saktri, are even now enjoying themselves with the celestials. And, O child, O offspring of Vasishtha's son, thou hast also been, in this sacrifice, only an instrument in the destruction of these innocent Rakshasas. O, blest be thou! Abandon this sacrifice
of thine. Let it come to an end.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Pulastya, as also by the intelligent Vasishtha, that mighty Muni--the son of Saktri then brought that sacrifice to an end. And the Rishi cast the fire that he had ignited for the purpose of the Rakshasas' sacrifice into the deep woods on the north of the Himavat. And that fire may be seen to this day consuming Rakshasas and trees and stones in all seasons.'"
Next: Section CLXXXIV