The Mahabharata Home
Vaishampayana said, "The delighter of the Yadus then proceeded to the asylum (of Vaka) which resounded with the chanting of the Vedas. There the great ascetic, O king, named Dalvyavaka poured the kingdom of Dhritarashtra, the son of Vichitravirya, as a libation (on the sacrificial fire). By practising very austere penances he emaciated his own body. Endued with great energy, the virtuous Rishi, filled with great wrath, (did that act). In former times, the Rishis residing in the Naimisha forest had performed a sacrifice extending for twelve years. In course of that sacrifice, after a particular one called Viswajit had been completed, the Rishis set out for the country of the Pancalas. Arrived there, they solicited the king for giving them one and twenty strong and healthy calves to be given away as Dakshina (in the sacrifice they have completed). Dalvya Vaka, however, (calling those Rishis), said unto them, 'Do you divide those animals (of mine) among you! Giving away these (unto you), I shall solicit a great king (for some).' Having said so unto all those Rishis, Vaka of great energy, that best of Brahmanas, then proceeded to the abode of Dhritarashtra. Arrived at the presence of king Dhritarashtra, Dalvya begged some animals of him. That best of kings, however, seeing that some of his kine died without any cause, angrily said unto him. 'Wretch of a Brahmana, take, if thou likest, these animals that (are dead)!' Hearing these words, the Rishi, conversant with duties, thought, 'Alas, cruel are the words that have been addressed to me in the assembly!' Having reflected in this strain, that best of Brahmanas, filled with wrath, set his heart upon the destruction of king Dhritarashtra. Cutting the flesh from off the dead animals, that best of sages, having ignited a (sacrificial) fire on the tirtha of the Sarasvati, poured those pieces as libations for the destruction of king Dhritarashtra's kingdom. Observant of rigid vows, the great Dalvya Vaka, O monarch, poured Dhritarashtra's kingdom as a libation on the fire, with the aid of those pieces of meat. Upon the commencement of that fierce sacrifice according to due rites, the kingdom of Dhritarashtra, O monarch, began to waste away. Indeed, O lord, the kingdom of that monarch began to waste away, even as a large forest begins to disappear when men proceed to cut it down with the axe. Overtaken by calamities, the kingdom began to lose its prosperity and life. Seeing his kingdom thus afflicted, the puissant monarch, O king, became very cheerless and thoughtful. Consulting with the Brahmanas, he began to make great endeavours for freeing his territories (from affliction). No good, however, came of his efforts, for the kingdom continued to waste away. The king became very cheerless. The Brahmanas also, O sinless one, became filled with grief. When at last the king failed to save his kingdom, he asked his counsellors. O Janamejaya, (about the remedy). The counsellors reminded him of the evil he had done in connection with the dead kine. And they said, 'The sage Vaka is pouring thy kingdom as a libation on the fire with the aid of the flesh (of those animals). Thence is this great waste of thy kingdom! This is the consequence of ascetic rites. Thence is this great calamity! Go, O king, and gratify that Rishi by the side of a receptacle of water on the bank of the Sarasvati!' Repairing to the bank of the Sarasvati, the king falling at his feet and touching them with his head, joined his hands and said, O thou of Bharata's race, these words, 'I gratify thee, O adorable one, forgive my offence. I am a senseless fool, a wretch inspired with avarice. Thou art my refuge, thou art my protector, it behoveth thee to show me thy grace!' Beholding him thus overwhelmed with grief and indulging in lamentations like these, Vaka felt compassion for him and freed his kingdom. The Rishi became gratified with him, having dismissed his angry feelings. For freeing his kingdom, the sage again poured libations on the fire. Having freed the kingdom (from calamities) and taken many animals in grief, he became pleased at heart and once more proceeded to the Naimisha woods. The liberal-minded king Dhritarashtra also, of righteous soul, with a cheerful heart, returned to his own capital full of prosperity.
"In that tirtha, Brihaspati also, of great intelligence, for the destruction of the Asuras and the prosperity of the denizens of heaven, poured libations on the sacrificial fire, with the aid of flesh. Upon this, the Asuras began to waste away and were destroyed by the gods, inspired by desire of victory in battle. Having with due rites given unto the Brahmanas steeds and elephants and vehicles with mules yoked unto them and jewels of great value and much wealth, and much corn, the illustrious and mighty-armed Rama then proceeded, O king, to the tirtha called Yayata. There, O monarch, at the sacrifice of the high-souled Yayati, the son of Nahusha, the Sarasvati produced milk and clarified butter. That tiger among men, king Yayati, having performed a sacrifice there, went cheerfully to heaven and obtained many regions of blessedness. Once again, O lord, king Yayati performed a sacrifice there. Beholding his great magnanimity of soul and his immutable devotion to herself, the river Sarasvati gave unto the Brahamanas (invited to that sacrifice) everything for which each of them cherished only a wish in his heart. That foremost of rivers gave unto each where he was, amongst those that were invited to the sacrifice, houses and beds and food of the six different kinds of taste, and diverse other kinds of things. The Brahmanas regarded those valuable gifts as made to them by the king. Cheerfully they praised the monarch and bestowed their auspicious blessings upon him. The gods and the Gandharvas were all pleased with the profusion of articles in that sacrifice. As regards human beings, they were filled with wonder at sight of that profusion. The illustrious Baladeva, of soul subdued and restrained and cleansed, having the palmyra on his banner, distinguished by great righteousness, and ever giving away the most valuable things, then proceeded to that tirtha of fierce current called Vasishthapavaha."
Next: Section 42