"Narada said, 'The king has not been burnt to death by an unsanctified fire. I have heard this there. I tell thee, O Bharata, such has not been the fate of Vichitraviryya. It has been heard by us that when the old king endued with great intelligence and subsisting on air alone entered the woods (after his return from Gangadwara), he caused his sacrificial fires to be duly ignited. Having performed his sacred rites therewith, he abandoned them all. Then the Yajaka Brahmanas he had with him cast off those fires in a solitary part of the woods and went away as they liked on other errands, O foremost one of Bharata's race. The fire thus cast off grew in the woods. It then produced a general conflagration in the forest. Even this is what I have heard from the ascetics dwelling on the banks of Ganga. United with that (sacred) fire of his own, O chief of the Bharatas, the king, as I have already said unto thee, met with death on the banks of Ganga. O sinless one, this is what the ascetics have told me,--those, viz., whom I saw on the banks of the sacred Bhagirathi, O Yudhishthira. Thus O lord of Earth, king Dhritarashtra, coming into contact with his own sacred fire, departed from this world and attained to that high goal that has been his. Through service rendered by her to her seniors, thy mother, O lord of men, has attained to very great success. There is not the
slightest doubt of this. It behoveth thee, O king of kings, to now discharge the rites of water to their honour, with all thy brothers. Let, therefore, the necessary steps be taken towards that end.'
"Vaisampayana continued,--'Then that lord of Earth, that foremost of men, that upholder of the burthens of the Pandavas, went out, accompanied by all his brothers as well as the ladies of his household. The inhabitants of the city as also those of the provinces, impelled by their loyalty, also went out. They all proceeded towards the banks of Ganga, every one clad in only single peace of raiment. Then all those foremost of men, having plunged into the stream, placed Yuyutsu at their head, and began to offer oblations of water unto the high-souled king. And they also gave similar oblations unto Gandhari and Pritha, naming each separately and mentioning their families. Having finished those rites that cleanse the living, they came back but without entering their capital took up their residence outside of it. They also despatched a number of trusted people well conversant with the ordinances relating to the cremation of the dead, to Gangadwara where the old king had been burnt to death. The king, having rewarded those men beforehand, commanded them to accomplish those rites of cremation which the bodies of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari and Kunti still awaited. 1 On twelfth day, the king, properly purified, duly performed the Sraddhas of his deceased relations, which were characterised by gifts in abundance. Referring to Dhritarashtra, Yudhishthira made many gifts of gold and silver, of kine and costly beds. Uttering the names of Gandhari and Pritha, the king, endued with great energy, made many excellent gifts. Every man received what thing he wished and as much of it as he wished. Beds and food, and cars and conveyances, and jewels and gems, and other wealth were given away in profusion. Indeed, the king referring to his two mothers, gave away cars and conveyances, robes and coverlets, various kinds of food, and female slaves adorned with diverse ornaments. Having thus made many kinds of gifts in profusion, that lord of Earth then entered his capital called after the elephant. Those men who had gone to the banks of Ganga at the command of the king, having disposed of (by cremation) the remains of the king and two queens, returned to the city. Having duly honoured those remains with garlands and scents of diverse kinds and disposed of them, they informed Yudhishthira of the accomplishment of their task. The great Rishi Narada, having comforted king Yudhishthira of righteous soul, went away to where he liked. Even thus did king Dhritarashtra make his exit from this world after having passed three years in the forest and ten and five years in the city. Having lost all his children in battle, he had many gifts in honour of his kinsmen, relatives, and friends, his brethren and own people. King Yudhishthira after the death of his uncle, became very cheerless. Deprived of his kinsmen and relatives, he somehow bore the burthen of sovereignty.
One should listen with rapt attention to this Asramavasika Parvan, and having heard it recited, one should feed Brahmanas with Habishya, honouring them with scents and garlands."'