IN the course of their wanderings, the Pandavas reached the hermitage of Raibhya on the banks of the Ganga. Lomasa told them the story of the place: "This is the ghat where Bharata, the son of Dasaratha, bathed. These waters cleansed Indra of the sin of killing Vritra unfairly. Here also Sanatkumara became one with God. Aditi, the mother of the gods, offered oblations on this mountain and prayed to be blessed with a son. O Yudhishthira, ascend this holy mountain and the misfortunes, which have cast a cloud on your life, will vanish. Anger and passion will be washed off if you bathe in the running waters of this river." Then Lomasa expatiated in greater detail on the sanctity of the place. He began the story thus: "Yavakrida, the son of a sage, met with destruction in this very place." He continued: "There lived in their hermitages two eminent brahmanas, named Bharadwaja and Raibhya, who were dear friends. Raibhya and his two sons, Paravasu and Arvavasu, learnt the Vedas and became famed scholars. Bharadwaja devoted himself wholly to the worship of God. He had a son named Yavakrida who saw with jealousy and hatred that the brahmanas did not respect his ascetic father as they did the learned Raibhya. Yavakrida practised hard penance to gain the grace of Indra. He tortured his body with austerities and thus awakened the compassion of Indra, who appeared and asked him why he so mortified his flesh." Yavakrida replied: "I wish to be more learned in the Vedas than any has ever been before. I wish to be a great scholar. I am performing these austerities to realise that desire. It takes a long time and involves much hardship to learn the Vedas from a teacher. I am practising austerities to acquire that knowledge directly. Bless me." Indra smiled and said: "O brahmana, you are on the wrong path. Return home, seek a proper preceptor and learn the Vedas from him. Austerity is not the way to learning. The path is study and study alone."