Mahabharata Stories: 14 – Pride Leads to a Fall

Whatever we may have achieved should be safeguarded from the beast called pride. For this is a sure poison which kills every proud man and strips him of his happiness and sometimes, as in this story, even of his life.

Lomasa continued his narration to the Pandavas: Yavakrida, in course of time with Indra’s blessings, became learned in the Vedas. He grew conceited with the thought that Indra’s boon had made him learned. Sage Bharadwaja, probably foreseeing his son’s doom, warned him of the consequences of slighting Raibhya and his sons, Paravasu and Arvavasu. But all this fell on ears that had gone deaf blocked with pride.

One lovely spring day Paravasu’s wife, a very beautiful woman, was strolling close to the hermitage of Raibhya. Yavakrida was passing by when he saw her. Just as his father had anticipated, his pride had turned to disrespect for the sage Raibhya and his sons. A beastly passion overcame him and he was unable to restrain his senses. He forced her to a lonely spot and violated her person as a ravenous beast would.

When Raibhya returned to his hermitage, he found his daughter-in-law inconsolably weeping and broken hearted. When Raibhya learnt of the shameful and beastly act that had been perpetrated against her, he was outraged. He plucked a hair from his locks and, reciting a mantra, flung it into the fire. Out emerged a maiden as beautiful as his daughter-in-law. He flung in another hair and created a beast. He commanded them both to kill Yavakrida.

Yavakrida2

As Yavakrida was performing his morning rites, the female spirit allured him to distraction and carried off his water-jug. The monster then rushed upon him with a spear. Yavakrida could dispel of with the beast with certain mantras but he needed to cleanse himself with water in order that his mantras be fruitful. Finding his jug gone, he ran to a pond, but found it dry. He ran to a stream nearby, but that too dried up at his approach. Fleeing for his life, he sought refuge in his father’s sacrificial hall. The half-blind guard could not recognise Yavakrida’s face, distorted with fear as it was. Even as Yavakrida was trying to force his way in, the beast struck him with the spear.

Yavakrida met with a gruesome end!

 

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