Chapter 71

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

Vaisampayana, said, ‘Hearing that the Pandavas were near, that crusher offoes, viz., Vasudeva, accompanied by his ministers, went out for seeingthem.

The Pandavas then, uniting with the Vrishnis according to the usualformalities, together entered, O king, the city named after the elephant.With the hum of voices and the clatter of cars of that mighty host, theEarth and the welkin, and the firmament itself, became as it wereentirely filled. The Pandavas, with rejoicing hearts, accompanied bytheir officers and friends entered the capital, placing that treasure intheir van. Repairing, agreeably to custom, to king Dhritarashtra first,they worshipped his feet, announcing their respective names. Thoseforemost ones of Bharata’s race, O chief of kings, then paid theirrespectful salutations to Gandhari, the daughter of Suvala and to Kunti,They next worshipped (their uncle) Vidura and met Yuyutsu, the son ofDhritarashtra by his Vaisya wife. Those heroes were then worshipped byothers and they blazed forth in beauty, O king. After this, O Bharata,those heroes heard the tidings of that highly wonderful and marvellousand glad-some birth of thy father. Hearing of that feat of Vasudeva ofgreat intelligence, they all worshipped Krishna, the delighter of Devaki,who was every way worthy of worship. Then, after a few days, Vyasa, theson of Satyavati, endued with great energy, came to the city named afterthe elephant. The perpetuators of Kuru’s race worshipped the great Rishiaccording to the usual custom. Indeed, those heroes, with those foremostprinces of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races, paid the sage theiradorations. After having conversed on various subjects, Dharma’s sonYudhishthira addressed Vyasa and said, ‘This treasure, O holy one, whichhas been brought through thy grace I wish to devote to that greatsacrifice known by the name of the horse-sacrifice. O best of ascetics, Idesire to have thy permission. We are all, O Rishi, at thy disposal, andat that of the high-souled Krishna.’

“Vyasa said, ‘I give thee permission, O king. Do what should be doneafter this. Do thou worship the deities duly by performing thehorse-sacrifice with profuse gifts. The horse-sacrifice, O king, is acleanser of all sins. Without doubt, having worshipped the deities bythat sacrifice thou wilt surely be cleansed of all sins.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed, the Kuru king Yudhisthira ofrighteous soul then set his heart, O monarch, on making the necessarypreparations for the horse-sacrifice. Having represented all this untothe Island-born Krishna, the king endued with great eloquence approachedVasudeva and said,–‘O foremost of all beings, the goddess Devaki has,through thee, come to be regarded as the most fortunate of mothers! Othou of unfading glory, do thou accomplish that which I shall now tellthee, O mighty-armed one. O delighter of the Kurus, the diverseenjoyments we enjoy have all been acquired through thy puissance. Thewhole Earth has been subjugated by thee with the aid of thy prowess andintelligence. Do thou, therefore, cause thyself to undergo the rites ofinitiation. Thou art our highest preceptor and master. If thou performestthe sacrifice, O thou of the Dasarha race, I shall be cleansed from everysin. Thou art Sacrifice. Thou art the Indestructible. Thou art this All.Thou art Righteousness. Thou art Prajapati. Thou art the goal of allcreatures. Even this is my certain conclusion.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘O mighty-armed one, it becomes thee to say so, Ochastiser of foes. Thou art the goal of all creatures. Even this is mycertain conclusion. Amongst the heroes of the Kuru race, in consequenceof thy righteousness, thou shinest today in great glory. They have allbeen cast into the shade, O king, by thee. Thou art our king, and thouart our senior. With my approval freely granted, do thou adore thedeities in the sacrifice suggested. Do thou, O Bharata, appoint us towhatever tasks thou likest. Truly, do I pledge myself that I shallaccomplish all, O sinless one, that thou mayst bid me accomplish.Bhimasena and Arjuna and the two sons of Madravati will be sacrificingwhen thou, O king, sacrificest.'”[188]

Chapter 72
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