Ghoshayatra Parva is the thirty ninth upa parva included in the third maha parva, named as Vana parva or Aranyaka parva in the epic Mahabharata. The original epic was composed by Vyasa in Sanskrit. Vyshampayana had narrated to Janamejaya the historical events, happened in the forests on his queries.

This upa parva is also called as Gau Goshayatra since the inspection of the cow herds of the Kauravas had been carried out near the Dvaitavana in this parva.

How a Brahmin had described about Pandavas to Dritarashtra and how he felt it?

A Brahmin from the Dvaithavana had visited Hastinapura and met with Dritarashtra. He had reported about the Pandavas narrating the hardships and their sufferings in the forests. Then Dritarashtra had become sympathetic towards Pandavas and repented for the past events of dice games held in his palace. Dritarashtra felt afraid of Arjuna since he procured special weapons and anticipated destruction of Duryodhana and his other children if a war would start. 

How Duryodhana had secured the permission of Dritarashtra to go near Dvaitavana?

Shakuni advised Duryodhana to carry out the inspection of their royal cow herds that grazed near the Dvaithavana. They accompanied veterinary doctors with them and with inspection of cow herds as their primary reason, asked the permission of Dritarashtra to go near Dvaithavana. Dritarashtra had consulted with Bhishma and Drona and advised Duryodhana not to go near the camp of Yudhishtira to avoid unprecedented incidences. Then Duryodhana with his wife Bhanumathi and Karna started with their ministers and required security troops.

What Duryodhana had done near Dvaitavana and why Karna had escaped from the battle field?

Duryodhana and Karna had intended to tease the Pandava brothers when they reached their grazing ground for cow herds near Dvaithavana. On the first day, Duryodhana had instructed his kinsmen to conduct the required inspection of cows and to take all the required actions to satisfy Dritarashtra. Then he ordered to build a playground camp near the lake but the Gandharva king Chitrasena had already made his camp prior to their arrival there. Duryodhana had ordered to drive away the Gandharva troops to his security persons claiming priority on this Earth. But Chitrasena was very strong and gradually a war had started with the troops of Duryodhana. The war site was within the vicinity of the camp of Yudhishtira.

When the Gandharva troops started Maya Yuddha, Karna was afraid and ran away from the site leaving Duryodhana behind. The Gandharva troops had abducted Duryodhana with his security men and taken into an unknown place, leaving behind Bhanumati and the minister of Duryodhana behind. Then the wife of Duryodhana, Bhanumati felt helpless and started weeping. Their camp was destroyed by the Gandharva troops.   

Duryodhana captured by Gandharva troops
Duryodhana captured by Chitrasena
How Arjuna, Bhima and Pandava brothers had saved Duryodhana from the grip of Chitrasena?

The minister of Duryodhana had approached Yudhishtira and sought his help, to get Duryodhana released from the grip of Chitrasena. Yudhishtira had instructed his brothers to provide the possible assistance to him and help Bhanumati to get back her husband. The troops of Chitrasena were still fighting with the soldiers of Duryodhana and then Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva had started to support the side of Duryodhana. When Arjuna had come to the scene he found the Gandharava chief was his friend and recognized as Chitrasena.

चित्रसेनः पाण्डवेन समाश्लिष्य परन्तपः ।
कुशलं परिपप्रच्च तैः  पृष्टश्चाप्यनामयं  ॥

Meaning: Chitrasena then greeted Arjuna as his friend and abandoned the war robes and had spoken as a formal friend. Arjuna had blocked by Shabdavedi weapon the spot of Duryodhana, and then the war was dropped.

Bhanumati thanked Arjuna for his intervene and assistances. Then the troop of Duryodhana had returned to Hastinapura suffering great shame but on his route Karna had joined again with him. Then Shakuni had also arrived and met him on his way. The Pandava brothers returned to their camp and reported everything to Yudhishtira. 

Why Duryodhana wanted to perform Prayopavesha Vrata?

Duryodhana was depressed highly, hence wanted to perform Prayopavesha Vrata.

How Shakuni had boasted his mental strength by demons worship?

Shakuni had arranged for Yajna with milk offering to fire in order to boast the mental strength of Duryodhana by the demons worship.  

How Bhishma advised Duryodhana?

Bhishma advised Duryodhana not to rely upon the strength of Karna and to treat Yudhishtira with Pandavas as his brothers. 

What Brahmins advised Duryodhana when he desired to perform Rajasuya?

A king would be eligible to perform Rajasuya if his father had expired. When Duryodhana had desired to perform Rajasuya, the Brahmins advised Duryodhana he could not perform it since his father Dritarashtra was still living as king, but he could do Vaishnava Yajna which was more rewarding to his position. Then Bhishma, Drona and Dritarashtra had agreed to perform the Vaishnava Yajna.  

How Vaishnava Yajna performed by Duryodhana?

The priests advised Duryodhana as follows:

एष ते वैष्णवो नाम यज्ञः सत्पुरुषोचितः ।
एतेन नेष्टवान्कश्चिदृते विष्णुं पुरातनं ॥​

Meaning: This Yajna is called as Vaishnava Yajna and it is better suited for the good persons. Except old Vishnu nobody on this Earth had performed this Yajna.

Duryodhana had ordered for the manufacturing of one golden plough. It was done and using the same, the land was tilled and paddy was cultivated plenty. All the responsible persons were allotted their work roles and the day for the ritual was ready. With huge quantities of gold and grains, people had been satisfied by donations. Vidura had arranged for food and accommodation and everybody felt happy. Invitation for the ritual had been sent to all. 

How Bhima had responded to the invitation to the Vaishnava Yajna?

The invitation was received by the Pandava brothers also. But Yudhishtira had expressed to the messenger his disability to attend Hastinapura due to his exile. Bhima was very active and told him after completion of their exile for twelve years and one year Ajnathavasa, he would attend the Yajna of war and Bhima would offer then the body of Duryodhana into the war rituals.

What Karna had sworn as a vow?

Karna had satisfied Duryodhana by his vow as not allowing his feet to be washed by anybody until he faces Arjuna in the war.

Why Yudhishtira was worried about Karna after Vaishnava Yajna by Duryodhana?

Hatred is bad. Vishnu is a deity of peace. Karna had permanently preserved hatred in his heart towards Arjuna. After Vaishnava Yajna by Duryodhana, peace and brotherhood was expected by all but Karna had not changed his mind. Hence Yudhishtira was worried about the attitudes of Karna.

What was the story of Somaka and Jantu told by Lomasha Rishi?

In order to ease the worries of Yudhishtira, Lomasha Rishi told the story of Somaka and Jantu. The attitudes of persons are pushing men into actions that lead them to hell or heaven.

Somaka was a great emperor but he was not having any children even though he married for ninety nine times. Finally, his court astrologer advised him to procure a priest and then try another marriage. Somaka had procured one priest and tried another marriage. In the hundredth wife, he got a child. The child had a mole on his left hand and the priest had named him as Jantu. Since Somaka was becoming aged and Jantu was the lone child, everybody started to treat the child with extra attention. All his hundred wives had spent their time in nursing Jantu and Somaka could not attend his royal duties properly. 

One day, one small ant had bitten Jantu and the baby started crying. Then almost all of his wives started complaining to the king and he had become restless to console the child. Then Somaka thought it would be better to have one hundred children than a single child, and thus consulted the priest again to make another ritual to have hundred children.

The priest told him it would be possible only if Juntu had been put into fire as sacrifice and all of his wives inhaled the smoke to have one child by each including the mother of Jantu. The attitude of Somaka could not be changed and he started for another ritual. Even though the mother protested, the priest had managed with the help of the soldiers to cut the throat of Jantu and put it into the ritual fire. The mother was close to the fire and hence inhaled the smoke first. Then all the ninety nine wives of Somaka had inhaled the smoke of the ritual fire.

His last wife got the first child with a mole on his left hand and the priest had named him as Jantu as he remembered it. Then all the ninety nine wives of Somaka had one child each. The priest had named them according to the pleasures of the king and queens. Later the royal business was conducted with more attentions and the country had prospered. Then Somaka was impressed by the power of the priest and later got interested in ascetic penances. But the priest had died.

After gaining huge ascetic powers, Somaka had also died after his full life time. Due to his ascetic powers, he could see Yama and the priest in front of him. Yama had enquired about the accounts of the priest regarding virtues and sins. Due to killing of Jantu, the priest was allotted to hell first and after hundred years he would be ascending to the heaven.

Next Somaka was called for judgment by Yama. Due to ascetic penances, he gained only virtues and his sin was nil. Hence Yama ordered to ascend him to the heaven. Then Somaka felt sympathetic towards the priest and requested with Yama to share his virtues and provide half of his virtues to the priest.  

Yama didn’t agree for the proposal of Somaka. Then Somaka requested Yama to send him also to the hell and he would ascend into the heaven only with the priest. Since Somaka was an ascetic with virtues, his request for hell with the priest was considered and they got into the heaven after hundred years together. 

 What was the story of Raibhya and Yavakri told by Lomasha Rishi?

The attitudes of persons are pushing men into actions that reward them to have social status in this world also. The story of Raibhya and Yavakri was told by Lomasha Rishi as a moral one to avoid a jealousy mind like Duryodhana.

Raibhya and Bharadvaja Rishi were neighbors and lived as good friends in the same forest.  Raibhya had two children, Aravasu and Paravasu. Raibhya and his children had studied under teachers for a long time to become great scholars. Hence various kings frequently invited them for royal debates and honored them with huge donations.

Bharadvaja had one child. His name was Yavakri. Bharadvaja and his child, Yavakri were simple Rishis. Hence various kings frequently sent their children to their Ashram for learning education. Bharadvaja was satisfied with his penances and routine oblations and lived happily in the forest. Yavakri had seen frequently Aravasu and Paravasu returning with huge gold, gems, dresses and donations and told his father their achievements. Bharadvaja told his son, Yavakri to do penance, conduct rituals, and get the huge knowledge of all Vedas. Yavakri desired to become a famous, great Rishi quickly and conducted hardest penances in the forests. 

One day, Indra had appeared before Yavakri and advised him to seek the help of a teacher and learn Vedas systematically but Yavakri desired to have the great knowledge quickly and continued his rituals and penances. Again, on a later day, Indra had appeared before him and granted him maximum knowledge. On his request, Indra had granted maximum knowledge of Vedas to his father, Bharadvaja also. Then he stopped his penance and informed his father.

His father was pleased and advised him to be humble, and not to go near the residence of Raibhya to show his power of knowledge with ego. Contrary to his father’s advice, Yavakri had visited the residence of Raibhya and started to show his power of knowledge but the daughter in law of Raibhya disliked his attitudes. Raibhya had created a demon and ordered to kill the disturbing Yavakri. 

Raibhya had been invited by king Brihadyumna for the performance of a great Yajna in winter season. Due to old age, Raibhya had instructed his sons Aravasu and Paravasu to perform the Yajna of the king. Aravasu had daily returned in the evening to his home and Paravasu had remained near the Yajnavedi overnight. One evening, when Aravasu was returning home his father was moving near his home, covered with deer skin. Thinking as deer, when Aravasu had striked with a stick to drive aside the animal, the body fell down and his father died.

By then, Bharadvaja had sadly started for the last rituals of Yavakri at his residence.

Aravasu had also sadly started for the last rituals of his father, Raibhya at his residence.

Then Paravasu alone continued the Yajna of Brihadyumna and he completed it satisfactorily. From the fire of Yajna, the angel had appeared and blessed Brihadyumna. Also, the angel asked Paravasu about his desired boons. Paravasu requested the angel to give rebirth to his father, and his neighbor Yavakri also. The angel had agreed.

Hence, Raibhya and Yavakri both got up as rebirth fulfilled his desires. There after Yavakri had mended his attitudes and all people lived happily. This story is called as Yavakritopakhyana and Pandavas decided to satisfy Rishi people.

धार्तराष्ट्रो ऽपि नृपतिः प्रशशास वसुन्धराम् ।
भ्रातृभिः सहितो वीरैर्भीष्मद्रोण्कृपैस्तथा ॥

Meaning: Even Dritarashtra had ruled the world as a king with his brothers Vidura, brave Bhishma, Drona as well as Kripa. Ancient India had shown the entire world about the moral as a king born blind, like the angel of law, could make the people to live happily. Kunti was living in the house of Vidura for thirteen years.

On reading this story, children would gain more memory power.

Next post, Mahabharat: Mrigaswapnodbhava would be more interesting.

Mahabharat: VrihiDraunika would be presented separately in another article.

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Krishna upon us. 

Readers may share this story with children, friends and family.

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