The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Entering the palace of the Pandavas the mighty-armed prince saluted his grand-mother in soothing and sweet accents. Then queen Chitrangada, and (Ulupi) the daughter of (the snake) Kauravya, together approached Partha and Krishna with humility. They then met Subhadra and the other ladies of the Kuru race with due formalities. Kunti gave them many gems and costly things. Draupadi and Subhadra and the other ladies of Kuru's race all made presents to them. The two ladies took up their residence there, using costly beds and seats, treated with affection and
respect by Kunti herself from desire of doing what was agreeable to Partha. King Vabhruvahana of great energy, duly honoured (by Kunti), then met Dhritarashtra according to due rites. Repairing then to king Yudhishthira and Bhima and the other Pandavas, the mighty prince of Manipura saluted them all with humility. They all embraced him with great affection and honoured him duly. And those mighty car-warriors highly gratified with him, made large gifts of wealth unto him. The king of Manipura then humbly approached Krishna, that hero armed with the discus and the mace, like a second Pradyumna approaching his sire. Krishna gave unto the king a very costly and excellent car adorned with gold and unto which were yoked excellent steeds. Then king Yudhishthira the just, and Bhima, and Phalguna, and the twins, each separately honoured him and made costly presents unto him. On the third day, the sage Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, that foremost of eloquent men, approaching Yudhishthira said,--'From this day, O son of Kunti, do thou begin thy sacrifice. The time for it has come. The moment for commencing the rite is at hand. The priests are urging thee. Let the sacrifice be performed in such a way that no limb may become defective. In consequence of the very large quantity of gold that is required for this sacrifice, it has come to be called the sacrifice of profuse gold. Do thou also, O great king, make the Dakshina of this sacrifice three times of what is enjoined. Let the merit of thy sacrifice increase threefold. The Brahmanas are competent for the purpose. 1 Attaining to the merits then of three Horse-sacrifices, each with profuse presents, thou shalt be freed, O king, from the sin of having slain thy kinsmen. The bath that one performs upon completion of the Horse-sacrifice, O monarch, is highly cleansing and productive of the highest merit. That merit will be thine, O king of Kuru's race. Thus addressed by Vyasa of immeasurable intelligence, the righteous-souled Yudhishthira of great energy underwent the Diksha for performance of the Horse-sacrifice. 2 The mighty-armed monarch then performed the great Horse-sacrifice characterised by gifts of food and presents in profusion and capable of fructifying every wish and producing every merit. The priests, well conversant with the Vedas, did every rite duly, moving about in all directions. They were all well-trained, and possessed of omniscience. In nothing was there a swerving from the ordinances and nothing was down improperly. Those foremost of regenerate persons followed the procedure as laid down (in the scriptures) and as it should be followed in those points about which no directions are given. 3 Those best of regenerate ones, having first performed the rite called Pravargya, otherwise called Dharma, then
duly went through the rite of Abhishava, O king. 1 Those foremost of Soma-drinkers, O monarch, extracting the juice of the Soma, then performed the Savana rite following the injunctions of the scriptures. Among those that came to that sacrifice none could be seen who was cheerless, none who was poor, none who was hungry, none who was plunged into grief, and none that seemed to be vulgar. Bhimasena of mighty energy at the command of the king, caused food to be ceaselessly distributed among those that desired to eat. Following the injunctions of the scriptures, priests, well-versed in sacrificial rites of every kind, performed every day all the acts necessary to complete the great sacrifice. Amongst the Sadasayas of king Yudhishthira of great intelligence there was none who was not well conversant with the six branches of (Vedic). learning. There was none among them that was not an observer of vows, none that was not an Upadhyaya; none that was not well versed in dialectical disputations. When the time came for erecting the sacrificial stake, O chief of Bharata's race, six stakes were set up that were made of Vilwa, 2 six that were made of Khadira, and six that were made of Saravarnin. Two stakes were get up by the priests that were made of Devadaru in that sacrifice of the Kuru king, and one that was made of Sleshmataka. At the command of the king, Bhima caused some other stakes to be set up, for the sake of beauty only, that were made of gold. Adorned with fine cloths supplied by the royal sage, those stakes shone there like Indra and the deities with the seven celestial Rishis standing around them in Heaven. A number of golden bricks were made for constructing therewith a Chayana. The Chayana made resembled in beauty that which had been made for Daksha, the lord of creatures (on the occasion of his great sacrifice). The Chayana measured eight and ten cubits and four stories or lairs. A golden bird, of the shape of Garuda, was then made, having three angles. 3 Following the injunctions of the scriptures, the priests possessed of great learning then duly tied to the stakes both animals and birds, assigning each to its particular deity. 4 Bulls, possessed of such qualifications as are mentioned in the scriptures, and aquatic animals were properly tied to the stakes after the rites relating to the sacrificial fire had been performed. In that sacrifice of the high-souled son of Kunti, three hundred animals were tied to the stakes setup, including that foremost of steeds. That sacrifice looked exceedingly beautiful as if adorned with the celestial Rishis, with the Gandharvas singing in chorus and the diverse tribes of Apsaras
dancing in merriment. It teemed, besides, with Kimpurushas and was adorned with Kinnaras. All around it were abodes of Brahmanas crowned with ascetic success. There were daily seen the disciples of Vyasa, those foremost of regenerate ones, who are compilers of all branches of learning, and well conversant with sacrificial rites. There was Narada, and there was Tumvuru of great splendour. There were Viswavasu and Chitrasena and others, all of whom were proficient in music. At intervals of the sacrificial rites, those Gandharvas, skilled in music and well versed in dancing, used to gladden the Brahmanas who were engaged in the sacrifice.'"
151:1 The sense is this: for a horse-sacrifice, the Dakshina or sacrificial present, payable to the principal Ritwija or to be distributed among all the Ritwijas including the other Brahmanas, is enjoined to be of a certain measure. Vyasa advises Yudhishthira to make that Dakshina triple of what the enjoined measure is. By thus increasing the Dakshina, the merit of the sacrificer will increase correspondingly.
151:2 The Diksha is the ceremony of initiation. Certain mantras are uttered in which the intention is declared of performing what is desired to be performed.
151:3 The Karma of a sacrifice or religious rite is the procedure. It is, of course, laid down in the scriptures on the ritual. There are certain acts, however, which, though not laid down, should be done agreeably to reasonable inferences. What is said, therefore, in the second p. 152 line of 20 is that the procedure was fully followed, both as laid down and as consistent with inferences.
152:1 Pravargya is a special preliminary rite performed in a sacrifice. 'Abhishva' is the extraction of the juice of the Soma plant after its consecration with Mantras.
152:2 Vitwa is the Ægle marmelos, Linn. Khadira is Acacia catechu, Linn, or Mimosa catechu; Saravarnin is otherwise called, as explained by Nilakantha, Palasa. It is the Butea frondosa of Roxburgh. Devadaru is Pinus Deodara of Roxburgh, or Cedruz Deodara. Sleshmataka is a small tree identified with the Cordia latifolia. Here probably, some other tree is intended.
152:3 It is difficult to understand what these constructions or figures were. They were probably figures drawn on the sacrificial altar, with gold-dust. At the present day, powdered rice, coloured red, yellow, blue, etc, is used.
152:4 Each animal is supposed to be agreeable to a particular deity.
Next: Section LXXXIX