Chapter 3: Mount Meru Meet
Yagnavalkya has almost completed his training under Vaisampayana in Yajur Veda. By then, his master and proficiency in the Vedas and Sastras came to be widely known. Many eminent Maharishis who happened to be present at the performance o yagnas and rituals by Vaisampayana and his disciple Yagnavalkya appreciated the complete competence and adept skill o Yagnavalkya in the conduct of the yagnas as a result of his intimate knowledge of the mantras, practices and procedures relating to rituals. Narada Maharishi, the abimana putra i.e., the adopted son of Lord Brahma, was very happy to learn of the accomplishments and efficiency attained by Yagnavalkya in the Vedas, Sastras and Scriptures. Narada happened to visit MountMeru where lived several erudite Maharishis. Narada spoke to the assembly of Maharishis, extolling the greatness of Yagnavalkya. The sages of MountMeru were pleased to hear the words of Narada. Narada explained to them the scholarship of Yagnavalkya in the Vedas, Sastras and procedural practices in performing religious rites. The assemble of the Devas and the learned Maharishis took the initiative of their own accord, to call for a sadas of all the Devas, Yogis, Maharishis and scholars in the Vedas and Sastras. A joint conference of the Devas and Maharishis was convened exclusively for the purpose of witnessing the scholarship of Yagnavalkya. Invitations were extended to one and all of the Devas, Maharishis and Vedic scholars and communications were expeditiously sent to all of them about the convening of the meeting at MountMeru. The main purpose of that assembly was to extol the greatness and loftiness of the Vedas and Sastras and Yagnavalkya's perfect proficiency and methodical mastery in them.
Sage Veda Vyasa, when he made compartment of the Veda into four, taught Vaisampayana the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda to Jaimini, Rig Veda to Bashkala and Atharva Veda to Aruni and commanded them to transmit the knowledge of the Vedas over the entire human world. All the sages so entrusted by Veda Vyasa were in the beginning in a place called Naimisaranya. The sages were conducting adhyayana of the different divisions of the Veda and teaching their respective sishyas the Vedas, Sastras, Vedangas etc. as classified by Veda Vyasa. It was then agreed amongst the sages, in consultation of Veda Vyasa himself that they should all meet in an assembly at a particular time at MountMeru to make an assessment of their propagation of Vedas and to acclaim the proficiency of the best sishyas. The sages themselves unanimously decreed that anyone of the elder Maharishis failing to attend that meeting would be afflicted with Brahmahathya dosha within seven days; a grievous sin should on any sage who did not present himself and participate in the Mount Meru Vedic conference.
All the senior Maharishis, Vedic scholars and Sastraic pandits duly assembled at the venue of the conference in MountMeru. Discussions of a high order on metaphysical topics took place at the meeting. The conference was a great success and everyone was pleased to note Yagnavalkya's accomplishments and command over philosophical subjects during the course of the discussions and debates on intricate subjects of theology and metaphysics. Yagnavalkya was thought of very highly by Maharishis, scholars and sages present as an embodiment of wisdom.
Vaisampayana did not attend the conference, swayed by his own personal prejudices and differences with his nephew Yagnavalkya. Vaisampayana had always entertained a feeling that Yagnavalkya, in the final stages of his studentship, was conscious of his own personal attainments and consequently over bearing in his general attitude and behaviour. Yagnavalkya was blessed with a commanding personality with a soprano voice and, because of his great erudition and knowledge, spoke with authority, clarity and emphasis in all matters. His outspokenness and free felicity of expression of his views with clearness in any company was mistaken by Vaisampayana as pride and arrogance. Vaisampayana therefore developed a personal prejudice and a sense of hatred towards his nephew, even though in the beginning he was full of admiration for his pupil. Based on the feeling of hostility, Vaisampayana did not attend the meeting of the Maharishis at MountMeru as it was convened mainly to felicitate Yagnavalkya's accomplishments. Therefore as per the original decree and invocation of the Maharishis, the Brahmahathya-dosha has to descend on Vaisampayana and distress him.
The affliction of Brahmahathya-dosha came about through the medium of a child, which happened to cut across the teacher and the pupils through the Vedic class conducted by Vaisampayana. Vaisampayana admonished the child and struck it on the shoulder with a bundle of dharba i.e., reeds like dry grass and the child immediately fell dead. It was considered highly improper for anyone to pass between a guru and his sishyas, particularly when he is engaged in holding Veda adhyayana classes. This was deemed as a sinful obstruction and a disrespectful affront to the Vedas themselves. The moment the child fell dead Brahmahathya-dosha overtook Vaisampayana. Immediately there appeared before Vaisampayana, an ugly wicked gross Satan looking woman, with red bulging blood-shot eyes, protruding long teeth and fire emitting tongues, the very personification of death, threatening to kill and destroy Vaisampayana.
Vaisampayana accosted his pupils leaving out Yagnavalkya and appealed to them to save him by carrying out some prayachitta or rites of expiation to relieve him, from this Brahmahathya-dosha, which had rendered him a karma candela, a condemned man. Vaisampayana suggested to the sishyas to perform the charakdwara vrata. To save themselves from the ignominy of being dubbed as incompetent they merely submiteed to Vaisampayana that the doer of the sinful act must perform his own prayachitta. So saying they kept quiet without being able to do anything towards their guru. At this juncture Yagnavalkya approached his guru and pointed out that the sishyas whom his guru approached were not capable of coming to his rescue. He also told that the propitiation to effect the remedy could be done only through the procedures prescribed in the Atharva Veda taught to him by Veda Vyasa and Aruni. Yagnavalkya performed the necessary purificatory rites and instantaneously removed his master's affliction. Vaisampayana felt indignant that Yagnavalkya was discourteous even to his co-vidyarthis and arrogant because of his assumed superior knowledge. Instead of thanking and feeling grateful to Yagnavalkya, Vaisampayana pretended as if he was not completely cured and directed his other sishyas to perform charakdwara to substantiate that he secured relief only through them. The other sishyas performed charka vrata and hence came to be known as charaka adhvaryus.