Vaisampayana said,–“in consequence of the protection afforded byYudhisthira the just, and of the truth which he ever cherished in hisbehaviour, as also of the check under which he kept all foes, thesubjects of that virtuous monarch were all engaged in their respectiveavocations.
And by reason of the equitable taxation and the virtuous ruleof the monarch, clouds in his kingdom poured as much rain as the peopledesired, and the cities and the town became highly prosperous. Indeed asa consequence of the monarch’s acts; every affair of the kingdom,especially cattle bleeding, agriculture and trade prospered highly. Oking, during those days even robbers and cheats never spoke lies amongstthemselves, nor they that were the favourites of the monarch. There wereno droughts and floods and plagues and fires and premature deaths inthose days of Yudhishthira devoted to virtue. And it was only for doingagreeable services, or for worshipping, or for offering tributes thatwould not impoverish, that other kings used to approach Yudhisthira (andnot for hostility or battle.) The large treasure room of the king becameso much filled with hoards of wealth virtuously obtained that it couldnot be emptied even in a hundred years. And the son of Kunti,ascertaining the state of his treasury and the extent of his possessions,fixed his heart upon the celebration of a sacrifice. His friends andofficers, each separately and all together, approaching him said,–‘Thetime hath come, O exalted one, for thy sacrifice. Let arrangements,therefore, be made without loss of time.’ While they were thus talking,Hari (Krishna), that omniscient and ancient one, that soul of the Vedas,that invincible one as described by those that have knowledge, thatforemost of all lasting existences in the universe, that origin of allthings, as also that in which all things come to be dissolved, that lordof the past, the future, and the present Kesava–the slayer of Kesi, andthe bulwark of all Vrishnis and the dispeller of all fear in times ofdistress and the smiter of all foes, having appointed Vasudeva to thecommand of the (Yadava) army, and bringing with him for the kingYudhishthira just a large mass of treasure; entered that excellent cityof cities. Khandava, himself surrounded by a mighty host and filling theatmosphere with the rattle of his chariot-wheels. And Madhava, that tigeramong men enhancing that limitless mass of wealth the Pandavas had bythat inexhaustible ocean of gems he had brought, enhanced the sorrows ofthe enemies of the Pandavas. The capital of the Bharata was gladdened byKrishna’s presence just as a dark region is rendered joyful by the sun ora region of still air by a gentle breeze. Approaching him joyfully andreceiving him with due respect, Yudhishthira enquired of his welfare. Andafter Krishna had been seated at ease, that bull among men, the son ofPandu, with Dhaumya and Dwaipayana and the other sacrificial priests andwith Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, addressed Krishna thus,–
‘O Krishna it is for thee that the whole earth is under my sway. And, Othou of the Vrishni race, it is through thy grace that vast wealth hadbeen got by me. And, O son of Devaki, O Madhava, I desire to devote thatwealth according to the ordinance, unto superior Brahmanas and thecarrier of sacrificial libations. And, O thou of the Dasarha race, itbehoveth thee, O thou of mighty arms, to grant me permission to celebratea sacrifice along with thee and my younger brothers. Therefore, OGovinda, O thou of long arms, install thyself at that sacrifice; for, Othou of the Dasarha race, if thou performed the sacrifice, I shall becleansed of sin. Or, O exalted one, grant permission for myself beinginstalled at the sacrifice along with these my younger brothers, forpermitted by thee, O Krishna. I shall be able to enjoy the fruit of anexcellent sacrifice.
Vaisampayana continued,–“Unto Yudhisthira after he had said this,Krishna, extolling his virtues, said.–‘Thou, O tiger among kings,deservest imperial dignity. Let, therefore, the great sacrifice beperformed by thee. And if thou performest that sacrifice an obtainest itsfruit we all shall regard ourselves as crowned with success. I am alwaysengaged in seeking good. Perform thou then the sacrifice thou desirest.Employ me also in some office for that purpose, for I should obey all thycommands. Yudhisthira replied–O Krishna, my resolve is already crownedwith fruit, and success also is surely mine, when thou, O Harishikesa,hast arrived here agreeably to my wish!’
Vaisampayana continued,–“Commanded by Krishna, the son of Pandu alongwith his brothers set himself upon collecting the materials for theperformance of the Rajasuya sacrifice. And that chastiser of all foes,the son of Pandu, then commanded Sahadeva that foremost of all warriorsand all ministers also, saying,–Let persons be appointed to collectwithout loss of time, all those articles which the Brahmanas havedirected as necessary for the performance of this sacrifice, and allmaterials and auspicious necessaries that Dhaumya may order as requiredfor it, each of the kind needed and one after another in due order. LetIndrasena and Visoka and Puru with Arjuna for his charioteer be engagedto collect food if they are to please me. Let these foremost of the Kurusalso gather every article of agreeable taste and smell that may delightand attract the hearts of the Brahmanas.’
“Simultaneously with these words of king Yudhisthira the just, Sahadevathat foremost of warriors, having accomplished everything, representedthe matter to the king. And Dwaipayana, O king, then appointed assacrificial priests exalted Brahmanas that were like the Vedas themselvesin embodied forms. The son of Satyavati became himself the Brahma of thatsacrifice. And that bull of the Dhananjaya race, Susaman, became thechanter of the Vedic (Sama) hymns. Yajnavalkya devoted to Brahma becamethe Adhyaryu, and Paila–the son of Vasu and Dhaumya became the Hotris.And O bull of the Bharata race, the disciples and the sons of these men,all well-acquainted with the Vedas and the branches of the Vedas, becameHotragts. And all of them, having uttered benedictions and recited theobject of the sacrifice, worshipped, according to the ordinance the largesacrificial compound. Commanded by the Brahmanas, builders and artificerserected numerous edifices there that were spacious and well-perfumed likeunto the temples of the gods. After these were finished, that best ofkings and that bull among men Yudhishthira. commanded his chief adviserSahadeva, saying,–‘Despatch thou, without loss of time, messengersendued with speed to invite all to the sacrifice. And Sahadeva, hearingthese words of the king, despatched messengers telling them,–‘Invite yeall the Brahmanas in the kingdom and all the owners of land (Kshatriyas)and all the Vaisyas and also all the respectable Sudras, and bring themhither!’
Vaisampayana continued,–“Endued with speed, these messengers then, thuscommanded, invited everybody according to the orders of the Pandava,without losing any time, and brought with them many persons, both friendsand strangers. Then, O Bharata, the Brahmanas at the proper timeinstalled Yudhishthira the son of Kunti at the Rajasuya sacrifice. Andafter the ceremony of installation was over, that foremost of men, thevirtuous king Yudhishthira the just like the god Dharma himself in humanframe, entered the sacrificial compound, surrounded by thousands ofBrahmanas and his brothers and the relatives and friends and counsellors,and by a large number of Kshatriya kings who had come from variouscountries, and by the officers of State. Numerous Brahmanas, well-skilledin all branches of knowledge and versed in the Vedas and their severalbranches, began to pour in from various countries. Thousands ofcraftsmen, at the command of king Yudhishthira the just, erected forthose Brahmanas with their attendants separate habitations well-providedwith food and clothes and the fruits and flowers of every season. And, Oking, duly worshipped by the monarch the Brahmanas continued to residethere passing their time in conversation on diverse topics and beholdingthe performances of actors and dancers. And the clamour of high-souledBrahmanas, cheerfully eating and talking, was heard there withoutintermission. ‘Give,’ and ‘Eat’ were the words that were heard thereincessantly and every day. And, O Bharata, king Yudhishthira the justgave unto each of those Brahmanas thousands of kine and beds and goldcoins and damsels.
Thus commenced on earth the sacrifice of that unrivalled hero, theillustrious son of Pandu, like the sacrifice in heaven of Sakra himself.Then that bull among men, king Yudhishthira despatched Nakula the son ofPandu unto Hastinapura to bring Bhishma and Drona, Dhritarashtra andVidura and Kripa and those amongst his cousins that were well-disposedtowards him.