The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said,--On the last day of the sacrifice when the king was to be sprinkled over with the sacred water, the great Brahmana Rishis ever deserving of respectful treatment, along with the invited kings, entered together the inner enclosure of the sacrificial compound. And those illustrious Rishis with Narada as their foremost, seated at their ease with those royal sages within that enclosure, looked like the gods seated in the mansion of Brahma in the company of the celestial Rishis. Endued with immeasurable energy those Rishis, having obtained leisure, started various topics of conversation. 'This is so,' 'This is not so,' 'This is even so.' 'This cannot be otherwise,'--thus did many of them engage in discussions with one another. Some amongst the disputants, by well-chosen arguments made the weaker position appear the stronger and the stronger the weaker. Some disputants endued with great intelligence fell upon the position urged by others like hawks darting at meat thrown up into the air, while some amongst them versed in the interpretations of religious treatises and others of rigid vows, and well-acquainted with every commentary and gloss engaged themselves in pleasant converse. And, O king, that platform
crowded with gods, Brahmanas and great Rishis looked extremely handsome like the wide expanse of the firmament studded with stars. O monarch, there was then no Sudra near that platform of Yudhisthira's mansion, nor anybody that was without vows.
"And Narada, beholding the fortunate Yudhisthira's prosperity that was born of that sacrifice, became highly gratified. Beholding that vast concourse all the Kshatriyas, the Muni Narada, O king of men, became thoughtful. And, O bull amongst men, the Rishi began to recollect the words he had heard of old in the mansion of Brahma regarding the incarnation on earth of portions of every deity. And knowing, O son of the Kuru race, that that was a concourse (of incarnate) gods, Narada thought in his mind of Hari with eyes like lotus-petals. He knew that that creator himself of every object one, that exalted of all gods--Narayana--who had formerly commanded the celestials, saying,--'Be ye born on earth and slay one another and come back to heaven'--that slayer of all the enemies of the gods, that subjugator of all hostile towns, in order to fulfil his own promise, had been born in the Kshatriya order. And Narada knew that the exalted and holy Narayana, also called Sambhu the lord of the universe, having commanded all the celestials thus, had taken his birth in the race of Yadus and that foremost of all perpetuator of races, having sprung from the line of the Andhaka-Vrishnis on earth was graced with great good fortune and was shining like the moon herself among stars. Narada knew that Hari the grinder of foes, whose strength of arm was ever praised by all the celestials with Indra among them, was then living in the world in human form. Oh, the Self-Create will himself take away (from the earth) this vast concourse of Kshatriyas endued with so much strength. Such was the vision of Narada the omniscient who knew Hari or Narayana to be that Supreme Lord whom everybody worshipped with sacrifice. And Narada, gifted with great intelligence and the foremost of all persons and conversant with morality, thinking of all this, sat at that sacrifice of the wise king Yudhisthira the just with feelings of awe.
"Then Bhishma, O king, addressing king Yudhisthira the just, said, "O Bharata, let Arghya (an article of respect) be offered unto the kings as each of them deserveth. Listen, O Yudhishthira, the preceptor, the sacrificial priest, the relative, the Snataka, the friend, and the king, it hath been said are the six that deserve Arghya. The wise have said that when any of these dwell with one for full one year he deserveth to be worshipped with Arghya. These kings have been staying with us for some time. Therefore, O king, let Arghyas be procured to be offered unto each of them. And let an Arghya be presented first of all unto him among those present who is the foremost.
"Hearing these words of Bhishma, Yudhishthira said--'O Grandsire, O thou of the Kuru race, whom thou deemest the foremost amongst these
and unto whom the Arghya should be presented by us, O tell me.'
"Vaisampayana continued,--Then, O Bharata, Bhishma the son of Santanu, judged it by his intelligence that on earth Krishna was the foremost of all. And he said--'As is the sun among all luminous objects, so is the one (meaning Krishna) (who shines like the sun) among us all, in consequence of his energy, strength and prowess. And this our sacrificial mansion is illuminated and gladdened by him as a sunless region by the sun, or a region of still air by a gust of breeze. Thus commanded by Bhishma, Sahadeva endued with great prowess duly presented the first Arghya of excellent ingredients unto Krishna of the Vrishni race. Krishna also accepted it according to the forms of the ordinance. But Sisupala could not bear to see that worship offered unto Vasudeva. And this mighty king of Chedi, reproving in the midst of that assembly both Bhishma and. Yudhishthira, censured Vasudeva thereafter."
Next: Section XXXVI