The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana, said, 'Hearing that the Pandavas were near, that crusher of
foes, viz., Vasudeva, accompanied by his ministers, went out for seeing them.
The Pandavas then, uniting with the Vrishnis according to the usual formalities, together entered, O king, the city named after the elephant. With the hum of voices and the clatter of cars of that mighty host, the Earth and the welkin, and the firmament itself, became as it were entirely filled. The Pandavas, with rejoicing hearts, accompanied by their officers and friends entered the capital, placing that treasure in their van. Repairing, agreeably to custom, to king Dhritarashtra first, they worshipped his feet, announcing their respective names. Those foremost ones of Bharata's race, O chief of kings, then paid their respectful salutations to Gandhari, the daughter of Suvala and to Kunti, They next worshipped (their uncle) Vidura and met Yuyutsu, the son of Dhritarashtra by his Vaisya wife. Those heroes were then worshipped by others and they blazed forth in beauty, O king. After this, O Bharata, those heroes heard the tidings of that highly wonderful and marvellous and glad-some birth of thy father. Hearing of that feat of Vasudeva of great intelligence, they all worshipped Krishna, the delighter of Devaki, who was every way worthy of worship. Then, after a few days, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, endued with great energy, came to the city named after the elephant. The perpetuators of Kuru's race worshipped the great Rishi according to the usual custom. Indeed, those heroes, with those foremost princes of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races, paid the sage their adorations. After having conversed on various subjects, Dharma's son Yudhishthira addressed Vyasa and said, 'This treasure, O holy one, which has been brought through thy grace I wish to devote to that great sacrifice known by the name of the horse-sacrifice. O best of ascetics, I desire to have thy permission. We are all, O Rishi, at thy disposal, and at that of the high-souled Krishna.'
"Vyasa said, 'I give thee permission, O king. Do what should be done after this. Do thou worship the deities duly by performing the horse-sacrifice with profuse gifts. The horse-sacrifice, O king, is a cleanser of all sins. Without doubt, having worshipped the deities by that sacrifice thou wilt surely be cleansed of all sins.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the Kuru king Yudhisthira of righteous soul then set his heart, O monarch, on making the necessary preparations for the horse-sacrifice. Having represented all this unto the Island-born Krishna, the king endued with great eloquence approached Vasudeva and said,--'O foremost of all beings, the goddess Devaki has, through thee, come to be regarded as the most fortunate of mothers! O thou of unfading glory, do thou accomplish that which I shall now tell thee, O mighty-armed one. O delighter of the Kurus, the diverse enjoyments we enjoy have all been acquired through thy puissance. The whole Earth has been subjugated by thee with the aid of thy prowess and intelligence. Do thou, therefore, cause thyself to undergo the rites of initiation. Thou art our highest preceptor and master. If thou performest the sacrifice, O thou of the Dasarha race, I shall be cleansed from every sin. Thou art Sacrifice. Thou art the Indestructible. Thou art this All. Thou art Righteousness. Thou art Prajapati. Thou art the goal of all creatures. Even this is my certain conclusion.'
"Vasudeva said, 'O mighty-armed one, it becomes thee to say so, O chastiser of foes. Thou art the goal of all creatures. Even this is my certain conclusion. Amongst the heroes of the Kuru race, in consequence of thy righteousness, thou shinest today in great glory. They have all been cast into the shade, O king, by thee. Thou art our king, and thou art our senior. With my approval freely granted, do thou adore the deities in the sacrifice suggested. Do thou, O Bharata, appoint us to whatever tasks thou likest. Truly, do I pledge myself that I shall accomplish all, O sinless one, that thou mayst bid me accomplish. Bhimasena and Arjuna and the two sons of Madravati will be sacrificing when thou, O king, sacrificest.'" 1
124:1 The sense is this: thou art the eldest brother of the Pandavas; if thou sacrificest, thy brothers also will come to be regarded as sacrificing with thee.
Next: Section LXXII