The Mahabharata Home
"Lomasa said, 'O son of Kunti, Bharadwaja returned to his hermitage after performing the ritual duties of the day, and having collected the sacrificial fuel. And because his son had been slain, the sacrificial fires which used to welcome him everyday, did not on that day come forward to welcome him. And marking this change in the Agnihotra, the great sage asked the blind Sudra warder seated there, saying, 'Why is it. O Sudra, that the fires rejoice not at sight of me? Thou too dost not rejoice as is thy wont. Is it all well with my hermitage? I hope that my son of little sense had not gone to the sage Raivya. Answer speedily, O Sudra, all these questions of mine. My mind misgiveth me.' The Sudra said, 'Thy son of little sense had gone to the sage Raivya, and therefore it is that lie lieth prostrate (on the ground), having been slain by a powerful demon. Being attacked by the Rakshasa, holding a spear, he attempted to force his way into this room, and I therefore barred his way with my arms. Then desirous of having water in an unclean state, as he stood hopeless, he was slain by the vehement Rakshasa, carrying a spear in his hand.' On hearing from the Sudra of this great calamity, Bharadwaja, sorely afflicted with grief, began to lament, embracing his dead son. And he said, 'O my son, it is for the good of the Brahmanas that thou didst practise penances, with the intention that the Vedas unstudied by any Brahmana whatever might be manifest unto thee. Thy behaviour towards the Brahmanas had always been for their good, and thou hadst also been innocent in regard to all creatures. But, alas! (at last) thou didst lapse into rudeness. I had prohibited thee, O my son, from visiting the residence of Raivya; but alas! to that very hermitage,
[paragraph continues] (destructive to thee) as the god of death himself, Yama, didst thou repair. Evil-minded is that man, who, (knowing that I am an old man), and also that (Yavakri) was my only son, had given way to wrath. It is through the agency of Raivya that I have sustained the loss of my child. Without thee, O my son, I shall give up my life, the most precious thing in the world. In grief for the death of my son, I renounce my life; but this I say that Raivya's eldest son shall in a short time kill him although he be innocent. Blessed are those to whom children have never been born, for they lead a happy life, without having to experience the grief (incident to the death of a child). Who in this world can be more wicked than those who from affliction, and deprived of their sense by sorrow consequent upon the death of a child, curse even their dearest friend! I found my son dead, and, therefore, have cursed my dearest friend. Ah! what second man can there be in this world, destined to suffer so grievous a misfortune!' Having lamented long Bharadwaja cremated his son and then himself entered into a full-blazing fire.'"
Next: Section CXXXVIII