The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said,--"Yudhishthira, having heard these words of Narada, began to sigh heavily. And, O Bharata, engaged in his thoughts about the Rajasuya, the king had no peace of mind. Having heard of this glory of the illustrious monarchs (of old) and being certain about the acquisition of regions of felicity by performers of sacrifices in consequence of their sacred deeds, and thinking especially of that royal sage Harischandra who had performed the great sacrifice king Yudhishthira desired to make preparations for the Rajasuya sacrifice. Then worshipping his counsellors and others present at his Sabha, and worshipped by them in return, he began to discuss with them about that sacrifice. Having reflected much, that king of kings, that bull amongst the Kurus, inclined his mind towards making preparations for the Rajasuya. That prince of wonderful energy and prowess, however, reflecting upon virtue and righteousness, again set his heart to find out what would be for the good of all his people. For Yudhishthira, that foremost of all virtuous men, always kind unto his subjects, worked for the good of all without making any distinctions. Indeed, shaking off both anger and arrogance, Yudhishthira always said,--Give unto each what is due to each,--and the only sounds that he could hear were,--Blessed be Dharma! Blessed be Dharma! Yudhishthira! conducting himself thus and giving paternal assurance to everybody, there was none in the kingdom who entertained any hostile feelings towards him. He therefore came to be called Ajatasatru (one with no enemy at all). The king cherished every one as belonging to his family, and Bhima ruled over all justly. Arjuna, used to employing both his hands with equal skill, protected the people from (external) enemies. And the wise Sahadeva administered justice impartially. And Nakula behaved towards all with humility that was natural to him. Owing to all this, the kingdom became free from disputes and fear of every kind. And all the people became attentive to their respective occupations. The rain became so abundant as to leave no room for desiring more; and the kingdom grew in prosperity. And in consequence of the virtues of the king, money-lenders, the articles required for sacrifices, cattle-rearing, tillage, and traders, all and everything grew in prosperity. Indeed, during the reign of Yudhishthira who was ever devoted to truth, there was no extortion, no stringent realisation of arrears of rent, no fear of disease, of fire, or of death by poisoning and incantations, in the kingdom. It was never heard at that time that thieves or cheats or royal favourites ever behaved wrongfully towards the king or towards one another amongst themselves. Kings conquered on the six occasions (of war, treaty, &c.) were wont to wait upon him in order to do good unto the monarch and worship him ever, while the traders of different classes came to pay
him the taxes leviable on their respective occupations. And accordingly during the reign of Yudhishthira who was ever devoted to virtue, his dominion grew in prosperity. Indeed, the prosperity of the kingdom was increased not by these alone but even by persons wedded to voluptuousness and indulging in all luxuries to their fill. 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 monarch conquered, the people everywhere, from Brahmanas to swains, were all more attached 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 repeatedly about the Rajasuya sacrifice. Those ministers in a body, thus asked by the wise Yudhishthira desirous of performing the sacrifice, then told him these words of grave import,--'One already in possession of a kingdom desireth all the attributes of an emperor by means of that sacrifice which aideth a king in acquiring the attributes of Varuna. O prince of Kuru race, thy friends think that as thou art worthy of the attributes of an emperor, the time is even come for thee for the performance of the Rajasuya sacrifice. The time for the performance of that sacrifice in which Rishis of austere vows kindle six fires with mantras of the Sama Veda, is come for thee in consequence of thy Kshatriya possessions. At the conclusion of the Rajasuya sacrifice when the performer is installed in the sovereignty of the empire, he is rewarded with the fruits of all sacrifices including the Agnihotra. It is for this that he is called the conqueror of all. Thou art quite able, O strong-armed one, to perform this sacrifice. All of us are obedient to thee. Soon will you be able, O great king, to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. Therefore, O great king, let thy resolution be taken to perform this sacrifice without further discussion. Thus, spoke unto the king all his friends and counsellors separately and jointly. And, O king, Yudhishthira that slayer of all enemies, having heard these virtuous, bold, agreeable and weighty words of theirs, accepted them mentally. And having heard those words of his friends and counsellors, and knowing his own strength also, the king, O Bharata, repeatedly thought over the matter. After this the intelligent and virtuous Yudhishthira, wise in counsel, again consulted with his brothers, with the illustrious Ritwijas about him, with his ministers and with Dhaumya and Dwaipayana and others.
'Yudhishthira said,--"How may this wish that I entertain of performing the excellent sacrifice of Rajasuya that is worthy of an emperor, bear fruit, in consequence of my faith and speech alone.'"
Vaisampayana said,--"O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, thus asked by the king, they replied at that time unto Yudhishthira the just in these words,--Being conversant with the dictates of morality, thou art, O king, worthy to perform the grand sacrifice of Rajasuya. After the Ritwijas and the Rishis
had told these words unto the king, his ministers and brothers highly approved of the speech. The king, however, possessed of great wisdom, and with mind under complete control, actuated by the desire of doing good unto the world, again resolved the matter in his mind, thinking of his own strength and means, the circumstances of time and place and his income and expenditure. For he knew that the wise never come to grief owing to their always acting after full deliberation. Thinking that the sacrifice should not be commenced, pursuant to his own resolution only, Yudhishthira, carefully bearing upon his shoulder the weight of affairs thought of Krishna that persecutor of all sinners as the fittest person to decide the matter, in as much as he knew him to be the 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 there was 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 that master of all beings, conveying through him blessings and speeches such as one senior in age might send to one that is younger. And that messenger riding in a swift car arrived amongst the Yadavas and approached Krishna who was then residing in Dwaravati. And Achyuta (Krishna) hearing that the son of Pritha had become desirous of seeing him, 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, Janardana approached Yudhisthira without loss of time. And Yudhisthira received Krishna 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 to converse cheerfully with his friend Arjuna who was overjoyed at seeing him. And after he had rested awhile in a pleasant apartment and had been fully refreshed, Yudhishthira approached him at his leisure and informed him 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 to perform it. Thou knowest, O Krishna, even thing about the means by which it may be accomplished. He alone can achieve this sacrifice in whom everything is possible, who is worshipped everywhere and who is the king of kings. My friends and counsellors approaching me have said that I should perform that sacrifice. But, O Krishna, in respect of that matter, thy words shall be my guide. Of counsellers some from friendship do not notice the difficulties; others from motives of self-interest say only what is agreeable. Some again regard that which is beneficial to themselves as worthy of adoption. Men are seen to counsel thus on matters awaiting decision. But thou, O Krishna, art above such motives. Thou
hast conquered both desire and anger. It behoveth thee to tell me what is most beneficial to the world."
Next: Section XIV