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Chapter 85

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having said these words, Partha set out, followingthe horse which wandered at its will. The sacrificial steed then turnedtowards the road that led to the city called after the elephant.Yudhishthira heard from his intelligence-bearers that the steed hadturned back. And hearing also that Arjuna was hale and hearty, he becamefilled with joy.[202] Hearing also the feats, accomplished by Vijaya inthe country of the Gandharas as also in another realms, the king becameexceedingly glad. Meanwhile, king Yudhishthira the just, seeing that thetwelfth day of the lighted fortnight in the month of Magha had come, andnoticing also that the constellation was favourable, summoned all hisbrothers, viz., Bhima and Nakula and Sahadeva. Endued with great energy,the king, O thou of Kuru’s race, that foremost of all persons conversantwith duties, said these words in proper time. Indeed, that foremost ofall speakers, addressing Bhima, the first of all smiters, said;–‘Thyyounger brother (Arjuna), O Bhimasena, is coming back with the horse. Ihave learnt this from those men who had followed Arjuna. The time (forthe sacrifice) is come. The sacrificial horse is near. The day of fullmoon of the month of Magha is at hand. The month is about to expire, OVrikodara. Let, therefore, learned Brahmanas conversant with the Vedaslook for a sacrificial spot for the successful accomplishment of theHorse-sacrifice.’ Thus addressed, Bhima obeyed the royal behest. Hebecame very glad upon hearing that Arjuna of curly hair was about to comeback. Then Bhima went out with a number of men well conversant with therules of laying out sacrificial grounds and constructing buildings. Andhe took with him many Brahmanas well-versed in all the rites ofsacrifices. Bhima selected a beautiful spot and caused it to be dulymeasured out for laying the sacrificial compound. Numerous houses andmansions were constructed on it and high and broad roads also were laidout. Soon enough the Kaurava hero caused that ground to teem withhundreds of excellent mansions. The surface was levelled and made smoothwith jewels and gems, and adorned with diverse structures made of gold.Columns were raised, ornamented with bright gold, and high and widetriumphal arches also were constructed on that sacrificial compound. Allthese were made of pure gold. The righteous-souled prince also causedapartments to be duly constructed for the accommodation of ladies and ofthe numerous kings who, hailing from many realms, were expected to gracethe sacrifice with their presence. The son of Kunti also caused manymansions to be duly erected for Brahmanas who were expected to come fromdiverse realms. Then the mighty-armed Bhimasena, at the command of theking, sent out messengers to the great kings of the Earth. Those best ofkings, came to the Horse-sacrifice of the Kuru monarch for doing what wasagreeable to him. And they brought many gems with them and many femaleslaves and horses and weapons. The sounds that arose from thosehigh-souled kings who resided within those pavilions touched the veryheavens and resembled the noise made by the roaring ocean. KingYudhishthira, the delighter of the Kurus, assigned unto the monarchs whothus came to his sacrifice diverse kinds of food and drink, and beds alsoof celestial beauty. The chief of the Bharatas, viz., king Yudhishthirathe just, assigned several stables well filled with different kinds ofcorn and sugarcane and milk to the animals (that came with the guests).To that great sacrifice of king Yudhishthira the just who was possessedof high intelligence, there also came a large number of Munis all of whomwere utterers of Brahman. Indeed, O lord of Earth, all the foremost onesamong the regenerate class that were then alive, came to that sacrifice,accompanied by their disciples. The Kuru king received them all. KingYudhishthira of mighty energy, casting off all pride, himself followedall his guests to the pavilions that had been assigned for theirresidence. Then all the mechanics and engineers, having completed thearrangements of the sacrifice informed king Yudhishthira of it. Hearingthat everything was ready, king Yudhishthira the just, full of alertnessand attention, became highly glad along with his brothers all of whomhonoured him duly.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When the great sacrifice of Yudhishthiracommenced, many eloquent dialecticians started diverse propositions anddisputed thereon, desirous of vanquishing one another.[203] The (invited)kings beheld the excellent preparations of that sacrifice, resemblingthose of the chief himself of the deities, made, O Bharata, by Bhimasena.They beheld many triumphal arches made of gold, and many beds and seatsand other articles of enjoyment and luxury, and crowds of men collectedat different sports. There were also many jars and vessels and cauldronsand jugs and lids and covers. The invited kings saw nothing there thatwas not made of gold. Many sacrificial stakes also were set up, made,according to the directions of the scriptures of wood, and adorned withgold. Endued with great effulgence, these were duly planted and dedicated(with scriptural Mantras). The king saw all animals, again, which belongto land and all those which belong to water, collected there on theoccasion. And they also beheld many kine and many buffaloes and many oldwomen, and many aquatic animals, many beasts of prey and many species ofbirds, and many specimens of viviparous and oviparous creatures, and manythat are filth-born, and many belonging to the vegetable kingdom, andmany animals and plants that live or grow on mountains. Beholding thesacrificial compound thus adorned with animals and kine and corn, theinvited kings became filled with wonder. Large heaps of costlysweet-meats were kept ready for both the Brahmanas and the Vaisyas. Andwhen the feeding was over of a hundred thousand Brahmanas, drums andcymbals were beat. And so large was the number fed that the sounds ofdrums and cymbals were repeatedly heard, indeed, from day to day thosesounds continued. Thus was performed that sacrifice of king Yudhishthiraof great intelligence. Many hills of food, O king, were dedicated on theoccasion. Many large tanks were seen of curds and many lakes of ghee. Inthat great sacrifice, O monarch, was seen the entire population ofJamvudwipa, with all its realms and provinces, collected together.Thousands of nations and races were there. A large number of men, O chiefof Bharata’s race, adorned with garlands and wearing bright ear-ringsmade of gold, taking innumerable vessels in their hands, distributed thefood unto the regenerate classes by hundreds and thousands. Theattendants of the Pandavas gave away unto the Brahmanas diverge kinds offood and drink which were, besides, so costly as to be worthy of beingeaten and drunk by kings themselves.'”

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