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Chapter 13

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Vaisampayana said,–“Yudhishthira, having heard these words of Narada,began to sigh heavily. And, O Bharata, engaged in his thoughts about theRajasuya, the king had no peace of mind.

Having heard of this glory ofthe illustrious monarchs (of old) and being certain about the acquisitionof regions of felicity by performers of sacrifices in consequence oftheir sacred deeds, and thinking especially of that royal sageHarischandra who had performed the great sacrifice king Yudhishthiradesired to make preparations for the Rajasuya sacrifice. Then worshippinghis counsellors and others present at his Sabha, and worshipped by themin return, he began to discuss with them about that sacrifice. Havingreflected much, that king of kings, that bull amongst the Kurus, inclinedhis mind towards making preparations for the Rajasuya. That prince ofwonderful energy and prowess, however, reflecting upon virtue andrighteousness, again set his heart to find out what would be for the goodof all his people. For Yudhishthira, that foremost of all virtuous men,always kind unto his subjects, worked for the good of all without makingany distinctions. Indeed, shaking off both anger and arrogance,Yudhishthira always said,–Give unto each what is due to each,–and theonly sounds that he could hear were,–Blessed be Dharma! Blessed beDharma! Yudhishthira! conducting himself thus and giving paternalassurance to everybody, there was none in the kingdom who entertained anyhostile feelings towards him. He therefore came to be called Ajatasatru(one with no enemy at all). The king cherished every one as belonging tohis family, and Bhima ruled over all justly. Arjuna, used to employingboth his hands with equal skill, protected the people from (external)enemies. And the wise Sahadeva administered justice impartially. AndNakula behaved towards all with humility that was natural to him. Owingto all this, the kingdom became free from disputes and fear of everykind. And all the people became attentive to their respectiveoccupations. The rain became so abundant as to leave no room for desiringmore; and the kingdom grew in prosperity. And in consequence of thevirtues of the king, money-lenders, the articles required for sacrifices,cattle-rearing, tillage, and traders, all and everything grew inprosperity. Indeed, during the reign of Yudhishthira who was ever devotedto truth, there was no extortion, no stringent realisation of arrears ofrent, no fear of disease, of fire, or of death by poisoning andincantations, in the kingdom. It was never heard at that time thatthieves or cheats or royal favourites ever behaved wrongfully towards theking or towards one another amongst themselves. Kings conquered on thesix occasions (of war, treaty, &c.) were wont to wait upon him in orderto do good unto the monarch and worship him ever, while the traders ofdifferent classes came to pay him the taxes leviable on their respectiveoccupations. And accordingly during the reign of Yudhishthira who wasever devoted to virtue, his dominion grew in prosperity. Indeed, theprosperity of the kingdom was increased not by these alone but even bypersons wedded to voluptuousness and indulging in all luxuries to theirfill. And the king of kings, Yudhishthira, whose sway extended over all,was possessed of every accomplishment and bore everything with patience.And, O king, whatever countries the celebrated and illustrious monarchconquered, the people everywhere, from Brahmanas to swains, were all moreattached to him than to their own fathers and mothers.’

Vaisampayana said,–“King Yudhishthira, then, that foremost of speakers,summoning together his counsellors and brothers, asked them repeatedlyabout the Rajasuya sacrifice. Those ministers in a body, thus asked bythe wise Yudhishthira desirous of performing the sacrifice, then told himthese words of grave import,–‘One already in possession of a kingdomdesireth all the attributes of an emperor by means of that sacrificewhich aideth a king in acquiring the attributes of Varuna. O prince ofKuru race, thy friends think that as thou art worthy of the attributes ofan emperor, the time is even come for thee for the performance of theRajasuya sacrifice. The time for the performance of that sacrifice inwhich Rishis of austere vows kindle six fires with mantras of the SamaVeda, is come for thee in consequence of thy Kshatriya possessions. Atthe conclusion of the Rajasuya sacrifice when the performer is installedin the sovereignty of the empire, he is rewarded with the fruits of allsacrifices including the Agnihotra. It is for this that he is called theconqueror of all. Thou art quite able, O strong-armed one, to performthis sacrifice. All of us are obedient to thee. Soon will you be able, Ogreat king, to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. Therefore, O great king,let thy resolution be taken to perform this sacrifice without furtherdiscussion. Thus, spoke unto the king all his friends and counsellorsseparately and jointly. And, O king, Yudhishthira that slayer of allenemies, having heard these virtuous, bold, agreeable and weighty wordsof theirs, accepted them mentally. And having heard those words of hisfriends and counsellors, and knowing his own strength also, the king, OBharata, repeatedly thought over the matter. After this the intelligentand virtuous Yudhishthira, wise in counsel, again consulted with hisbrothers, with the illustrious Ritwijas about him, with his ministers andwith Dhaumya and Dwaipayana and others.

‘Yudhishthira said,–“How may this wish that I entertain of performingthe excellent sacrifice of Rajasuya that is worthy of an emperor, bearfruit, in consequence of my faith and speech alone.'”

Vaisampayana said,–“O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, thus asked by theking, they replied at that time unto Yudhishthira the just in thesewords,–Being conversant with the dictates of morality, thou art, O king,worthy to perform the grand sacrifice of Rajasuya. After the Ritwijas andthe Rishis  had told these words unto the king, his ministers andbrothers highly approved of the speech. The king, however, possessed ofgreat wisdom, and with mind under complete control, actuated by thedesire of doing good unto the world, again resolved the matter in hismind, thinking of his own strength and means, the circumstances of timeand place and his income and expenditure. For he knew that the wise nevercome to grief owing to their always acting after full deliberation.Thinking that the sacrifice should not be commenced, pursuant to his ownresolution only, Yudhishthira, carefully bearing upon his shoulder theweight of affairs thought of Krishna that persecutor of all sinners asthe fittest person to decide the matter, in as much as he knew him to bethe foremost of all persons, possessed of immeasurable energy,strong-armed, without birth but born amongst men from Will alone.Reflecting upon his god-like feats the son of Pandu concluded that therewas nothing that was unknown to him, nothing that he could not achieve,and nothing that he could not bear, and Yudhishthira, the son of Pritha,having come to this settled resolution soon sent a messenger unto thatmaster of all beings, conveying through him blessings and speeches suchas one senior in age might send to one that is younger. And thatmessenger riding in a swift car arrived amongst the Yadavas andapproached Krishna who was then residing in Dwaravati. And Achyuta(Krishna) hearing that the son of Pritha had become desirous of seeinghim, desired to see his cousin. And quickly passing over many regions,being drawn by his own swift horses, Krishna arrived at Indraprastha,accompanied by Indrasena. And having arrived at Indraprastha, Janardanaapproached Yudhisthira without loss of time. And Yudhisthira receivedKrishna with paternal-affection, and Bhima also received him likewise.And Janardana then went with a cheerful heart to his father’s sister(Kunti). And worshipped then with reverence by the twins, he began toconverse cheerfully with his friend Arjuna who was overjoyed at seeinghim. And after he had rested awhile in a pleasant apartment and had beenfully refreshed, Yudhishthira approached him at his leisure and informedhim all about the Rajasuya sacrifice.

“Yudhishthira said,–‘I have wished to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice.That sacrifice, however, cannot be performed by one’s wishing alone toperform it. Thou knowest, O Krishna, even thing about the means by whichit may be accomplished. He alone can achieve this sacrifice in whomeverything is possible, who is worshipped everywhere and who is the kingof kings. My friends and counsellors approaching me have said that Ishould perform that sacrifice. But, O Krishna, in respect of that matter,thy words shall be my guide. Of counsellers some from friendship do notnotice the difficulties; others from motives of self-interest say onlywhat is agreeable. Some again regard that which is beneficial tothemselves as worthy of adoption. Men are seen to counsel thus on mattersawaiting decision. But thou, O Krishna, art above such motives. Thou hastconquered both desire and anger. It behoveth thee to tell me what is mostbeneficial to the world.”

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