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Chapter 89

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having cooked, according to due rites, the otherexcellent animals that were sacrificed, the priests then sacrificed,agreeably to the injunctions of the scriptures, that steed (which hadwandered over the whole world). After cutting that horse into pieces,conformably to scriptural directions, they caused Draupadi of greatintelligence, who was possessed of the three requisites of mantras,things, and devotion, to sit near the divided animal. The Brahmanas thenwith cool minds, taking up the marrow of that steed, cooked it duly, Ochief of Bharata’s race. King Yudhishthira the just, with all his youngerbrothers, then smelled, agreeably to the scriptures, the smoke, capableof cleansing one from every sin, of the marrow that was thus cooked. Theremaining limbs, O king, of that horse, were poured into the fire by thesixteen sacrificial priests possessed of great wisdom. Having thuscompleted the sacrifice of that monarch, who was endued with the energyof Sakra himself, the illustrious Vyasa with his disciples eulogised theking greatly. Then Yudhishthira gave away unto the Brahmanas a thousandcrores of golden nishkas, and unto Vyasa he gave away the whole Earth.Satyavati’s son Vyasa, having accepted the Earth, addressed that foremostone of Bharata’s race, viz., king Yudhishthira the just, and said, ‘Obest of kings, the Earth which thou hast given me I return unto thee. Dothou give me the purchasing value, for Brahmanas are desirous of wealth(and have no use with the Earth).’ The high-souled Yudhishthira of greatintelligence staying with his brothers in the midst of the kings invitedto his sacrifice, said unto those Brahmanas, The ‘Dakshina ordained inthe scriptures for the great Horse-sacrifice is the Earth. Hence, I havegiven away unto the sacrificial priests the Earth conquered by Arjuna. Yeforemost of Brahmanas, I shall enter the woods. Do ye divide the Earthamong yourselves. Indeed, do you divide the Earth into four partsaccording to what is done in the Chaturhotra sacrifice. Ye best ofregenerate ones I do not desire to appropriate what now belongs to theBrahmanas. Even this, ye learned Brahmanas, has been the intention alwayscherished by myself and my brothers.’ When the king said these words, hisbrothers and Draupadi also said, ‘Yes, it is even so.’ Great was thesensation created by this announcement. Then, O Bharata, an invisiblevoice was heard in the welkin, saying,–‘Excellent, Excellent!’ Themurmurs also of crowds of Brahmanas as they spoke arose. The Island-bornKrishna, highly applauding him, once more addressed Yudhishthira, in thepresence of the Brahmanas, saying, ‘The Earth has been given by thee tome. I, however, give her back to thee. Do thou give unto these Brahmanasgold. Let the Earth be thine.’ Then Vasudeva, addressing kingYudhishthira the just, said, ‘It behoveth thee to do as thou art bid bythe illustrious Vyasa.’ Thus addressed, the foremost one of Kuru’s race,along with all his brothers, became glad of soul, and gave away millionsof golden coins, in fact, trebling the Dakshina ordained for theHorse-sacrifice. No other king will be able to accomplish what the Kuruking accomplished on that occasion after the manner of Marutta. Acceptingthat wealth, the Island-born sage, Krishna, of great learning, gave itunto the sacrificial priests, dividing it into four parts. Having paidthat wealth as the price of the Earth, Yudhishthira, cleansed of his sinsand assured of Heaven rejoiced with his brothers. The sacrificialpriests, having got that unlimited quantity of wealth, distributed itamong the Brahmanas gladly and according to the desire of each recipient.The Brahmanas also divided amongst themselves, agreeably toYudhishthira’s permission, the diverse ornaments of gold that were in thesacrificial compound, including the triumphal arches, the stakes, thejars, and diverse kinds of vessels. After the Brahmanas had taken as muchas they desired, the wealth that remained was taken away by Kshatriyasand Vaisyas and Sudras and diverse tribes of Mlechechas. Thus gratifiedwith presents by king Yudhishthira of great intelligence, the Brahmanas,filled with joy, returned to their respective abodes. The holy andillustrious Vyasa respectfully presented his own share, which was verylarge, of that gold unto Kunti. Receiving that gift of affection from herfather-in-law, Pritha became glad of heart and devoted it to theaccomplishment of diverge acts of merit. King Yudhishthira, having bathedat the conclusion of his sacrifice and become cleansed of all his sins,shone in the midst of his brothers, honoured by all, like the chief ofthe celestials in the midst of the denizens of Heaven. The sons of Pandu,surrounded by the assembled kings, looked as beautiful, O king, as theplanets in the midst of the stars. Unto those kings they made presents ofvarious jewels and gems, and elephants and horses and ornaments of gold,and female slaves and cloths and large measures of gold. Indeed, Pritha’sson by distributing that untold wealth among the invited monarchs, shone,O king, like Vaisravana, the lord of treasures. Summoning next the heroicking Vabhruvahana, Yudhishthira gave unto him diverse kinds of wealth inprofusion and gave him permission to return home. The son of Pandu, forgratifying his sister Dussala, established her infant grandson in hispaternal kingdom. The Kuru king Yudhishthira, having a full control overhis senses, then dismissed the assembled kings all of whom had beenproperly classed and honoured by him.[212] The illustrious son of Pandu,that chastiser of foes, then duly worshipped the high-souled Govinda andValadeva of great might, and the thousands of other Vrishni heroes havingPradyumna for their first. Assisted by his brothers, he then dismissedthem for returning to Dwaraka. Even thus was celebrated that sacrifice ofking Yudhishthira the just, which was distinguished by a profuseabundance of food and wealth and jewels and gems, and oceans of wines ofdifferent kinds. There were lakes whose mire consisted of ghee, andmountains of food. There were also, O chief of Bharata’s race, miryrivers made of drinks having the six kinds of taste. Of men employed inmaking and eating the sweetmeats called Khandavaragas, and of animalsslain for food, there was no end.[213] The vast space abounded with meninebriated with wine, and with young ladies filled with joy. Theextensive grounds constantly echoed with the sounds of drums and theblare of conches. With all these, the sacrifice became exceedinglydelightful. ‘Let agreeable things be given away,’–‘Let agreeable food beeaten,’–these were the sounds that were repeatedly heard day and nightin that sacrifice. It was like a great festival, full of rejoicing andcontented men. People of diverse realms speak of that sacrifice to thisday. Having showered wealth in torrents, and diverse objects of desire,and jewels and gems, and drinks of various kinds, the foremost one ofBharata’s race, cleansed of all his sins, and his purpose fulfilled,entered his capital. ‘”

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