Dharmarāja went to the Himalayas with his younger bothers and gathered the ingredients required for the Aśvamedha-yāga. He also found large quantities of wealth there. He got them loaded on to the backs of elephants and camels and got his servants bring them to the capital city. Days rolled on and the day of the yāga came closer. Kṛṣṇa came to Hastinagara with his sister Subhadrā, brother Balarāma and several other Yādavas. Uttarā gave birth to a baby boy when Kṛṣṇa was in Hastināpura. Just as was expected, the baby was born dead.
Dharmarāja offered tarpaṇa to Bhīṣma and as he neared the shores of Ganga, he collapsed out of sorrow. Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Kṛṣṇa, Vyāsa and everyone else present there consoled him and got him back to his senses. Dhṛtarāṣṭra said – “Get up, Yudhiṣṭhira! Take care of the things that you need to hereafter. Rule the kingdom that you have won over as per the dharma of the Kṣatriyas! It is only Gāndhārī and I who will need to lament at this juncture. The hundred children that she gave birth to have only become objects of a fantastical dream.
Yudhiṣṭhira said, “However competent one might be, if destiny doesn’t smile on him, he will not earn any wealth. Even a helpless chap or a child, if favoured by fortune, earns a great deal of wealth. There are hundreds of people who have gained nothing even after great attempts and tribulations; there are also several people who have become wealthy without even trying.
Although Bhīṣma spoke many such words of peace and solace, Dharmarāja’s heart would not find peace; he would not be consoled. He lamented with the words – “Having done the most heinous of crimes with my own hands how will I now get peace just by wishing for it? When I look at your body, pierced with arrows, and blood oozing out from myriad wounds, my mind doesn’t have a moment of peace.
Yudhiṣṭhira – Are there any instances in the past when a king attained siddhi, the ultimate accomplishment, even as he was a householder? And if so, what is the nature of the mokṣa that he attained? Kindly tell me, O grandfather!
Yudhiṣṭhira asked, “How did this universe, with animate and inanimate, get created? When it dissolves, where does it go?”
In the past, Kāśyapa, the son of a certain riṣi was run over by a chariot that belonged to a vaiśya. The chariot hit him and Kāśyapa fell down. He was greatly pained because of the incident.
He thought – ‘What is the use of this helpless life? I’ll die right away, right at this spot!’. He greatly lamented for the troubles that had come his way.
Yudhiṣṭhira: As time passes by and all creatures are taken to the abode of death, which is the conduct that leads to śreyas (goodness)?
The fox said, “A golden child! Listening to the words of this eagle, you’re on the verge of leaving this boy here and going away! Will love and sorrow go away just because you leave? If you abandon him here, later you will definitely feel terrible. Long time ago, Śrīrāma killed Śambhuka and brought a brāhmaṇa boy to life, haven’t you heard? And a dhārmika brought Śvetarāja’s son back to life, don’t you know? Similarly, some siddha or muni or deity might come here upon listening to your wails and shower his compassion.”
During times of adversity, if one doesn’t despair and stands firm with determination – and added to that if he received divine grace, the adversity soon passes and he is rewarded. Long back, in Vaidiśa-nagara, a boy had died. His relatives were overcome by grief, for he was the only son in the family [who had to take forward the lineage]; drowned thus in sorrow, they took the corpse to the cemetary, placed it on their laps and wept bitterly. An eagle that came there upon hearing their cries said, “How long will you hold on to the corpse? Leave it here and return to your homes.