Chapter IV - 15 Home | Index | Previous | Next

When Yudhishtira spoke thus, tears dropped on his cheeks; his lips quivered with sorrow; his body was bent with remorse. Seeing this, the heart of every sage melted with pity. The subjects of the king were moved by sympathy. Vyasa and even Vaasudeva were affected. Many Pundits shed tears, without being aware of it. The assembly was struck dumb with astonishment. All knew in a flash how soft the heart of Dharmaraja was. The brothers too, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva were standing with folded palms, in reverential humility, awaiting the word that will assure relief from the Lord who was in the presidential seat.

Then the assembly, with one voice, approved the three Aswamedha yagas, to relieve the distress of Dharmaraja. One sage gave expression to the opinion of the assembly. He said, "We shall not stand in the way of your desire. We accept it whole- heartedly. We shall celebrate the Yagas in the best Sastric way, until the final rites. For, we seek peace of mind for you, more than anything else. We are prepared to do anything which will give you satisfaction." This was acclaimed by every one in the gathering.

Hearing this, Dharmaraja said, "I am indeed blessed; I am blessed indeed." He gave his grateful thanks for the promised co-operation. He walked towards the place where Krishna and Vyasa were seated and he fell at their feet. He held the feet of Krishna and pleaded, "O Madhusudana! Didn't you hear my prayer? Didn't you witness my grief? I pray that you grant us your Divine presence at the coming Yaga, that you ensure me the fruit thereof and save me from this burden of sin."

Krishna smiled and lifted him up from the ground before Him. He said, "Dharmaraja! I shall certainly answer your prayer. But, you have taken upon your shoulders a burden as heavy as a range of mountains. This Yaga is no small affair. Moreover, the performer is the celebrated king, Dharmaraja! That means, it has to be celebrated on a scale befitting your status. I know that you have no wherewithal for this very expensive undertaking. Kings derive money only from their subjects. To spend on a Yaga, the money squeezed out of them is not desirable. Only well earned money can be used for such holy rites; else it will bring evil instead of good. Nor can your subordinate rulers come to your help, for they too have been miserably impoverished by the late war. It is clear they have nothing to spare. Aware of all this, how could you agree to celebrate three Aswamedhas in a row? I wonder how you found such audacity in spite of these adverse conditions. And, you have already announced it publicly in this great and distinguished gathering. You did not give Me even a hint about this costly idea. Then, we could have thought out some plan. Well, it is not too late. We shall take a decision after some more deliberation. It does not matter if some delay is caused."

Dharmaraja listened to these words of the Lord and laughed a hearty laugh! "Lord, you are playing a drama with me, I know. I have never decided upon an act without deliberation. Nor have I ever worried about money or the wherewithal. When we have as our guardian, You, with your inexhaustible grace, why should I worry about anything? When I have the Kalpatharu (Wish-fulfilling tree) in my garden, why should I worry, seeking roots and tubers. The all-powerful Lord who has been guarding us all these terrible years as the eyelids guard the eye, will not give us up, at this juncture.