34.MERE LEARNING IS NOT ENOUGH
KING Brihadyumna, a disciple of the sage Raibhya, performed a great sacrifice at which he requested his teacher to let his two sons Paravasu and Arvavasu officiate. With the permission of their father, both of them went joyfully to the capital of the king. While arrangements were being made for the sacrifice, Paravasu desired one day to go and see his wife and, walking alone all night, he reached his hermitage before dawn. Near the hermitage, he saw in the twilight, what seemed to him a beast of prey crouching for a spring and, hurling his weapon at it, killed it. But to his horror and grief, he discovered that he had killed his own father clad in skins, mistaking him for a wild denizen of the forest. He realised that the fatal mistake was the effect of the curse of Bharadwaja. When he had hastily performed the funeral rites of his father, he went to Arvavasu and told him the doleful tale. He said: "But this mishap should not interfere with the sacrifice of the king. Please do the rites on my behalf in expiation of the sin I have unwittingly committed. There is, mercifully, atonement for sins committed in ignorance. If you can be my substitute here for undergoing the expiation I shall be able to go and assist in conducting the king's sacrifice. I can officiate unaided, which is a thing you cannot do as yet." The virtuous brother agreed and said: "You may attend to the king's sacrifice. I shall do penance to free you from the terrible taint of having killed a father and a brahmana." The virtuous Arvavasu, accordingly, took upon himself the expiatory rites on behalf of his brother. That done, he came to the court of the king to join his brother and assist in the sacrifice. The sin of Paravasu was not washed off, since expiation cannot be by proxy. It tainted his mind with wicked designs. Becoming jealous of the radiance on his brother's face, Paravasu decided to dishonor him by casting on him an unjustice as a person and accordingly, when Arvavasu entered the hall, Paravasu loudly exclaimed so that the king might hear: "This man has committed the sin of killing a brahmana and how can he enter this holy sacrificial place?" Arvavasu indignantly denied the accusation but none heeded him, and he was ignominiously expelled from that hall of sacrifice by the orders of the king.