Balarama travelled with his group to the hermitage of sage Bakadaalbhya along river Saraswati next. The sage had become famous from an encounter with Dhritarashtra. The sage was living in the hermitage when Balarama visited the place.
Sage Bakadaalbhya wanted to perform a twelve year long sacrificial ritual (Satra). This was done even before the one that was conducted in the Naimisha forest by Janamejaya. He wanted to get the cows to give away as Dakshina (gift) from Dhritarashtra. It is said that the king offered several dead cattle and said. “If you like, take these away for your ritual!” This was spoken in the open royal assembly in which several eminent guests were seated.
The sage got very angry for the rudeness on the part of the king. He could have refused
to give any. That was a different matter. What he did was an insult. It is said that the sage went back with the dead cattle. He, then, performed a sacrifice with the meat intending the destruction of the kingdom of the Kurus.
Soon, Dhritarashtra found that his kingdom started decaying for no apparent reason. He tried several remedies, but, nothing worked. He, then, consulted some astrologers. They found out about the disastrous ritual that was done by the sage.
Dhritarashtra felt sorry for what he had done. He went to the sage taking with him a large number of excellent cattle and other gifts. The king apologized to the sage profusely and offered all the gifts he had carried with him. Apparently, the sage was pacified. He, then, conducted a different ritual, this time for the well being of the Kauravas. The land of the Kurus prospered from that time onwards.
Balarama took a holy dip in the river, performed charities at that place and went to the holy waters of Saraswati where king Yayati had performed rituals.
(I find it very hard to make meaningful stories from the rest of Balarama’s pilgrimage. Hence, we return to Arshajnanam and continue with the battle between Bhima and Duryodhana).