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Bagawata Purana - Part XVI
sculpture depicting aswameda by Pandavas!
The great Ashwameda Yaga by Dharmaraja!
After the great Mahabaratha war, the eldest of the Pandava brothers, Dharmaraja felt very much remorse. He was contemplating on the destruction of many lakh of warriors, kings and kinsman. Other brothers tried to assuage his grief by soothing words. Even Krishna consoled him that in a war, destruction of lives is inevitable. Moreover, the war was thrust upon the Pandavas by the Kauravas. While he was thus feeling remorse, he consulted all how this great sin could be annuled? The preceptor had suggested that he could perform an “Aswamedha Yaga”(great horse sacrifice ritual). Dharmaraja thought that one such ritual won’t be sufficient. He had to conduct three Yagas to propitiate the sin of killing elders, kings and other soldiers. Both Krishna and others approved this plan!
Then the Pundits were called for consultations. They conceded for the proposal. After deliberation, they thought that by chanting the formulae 3 times consequently, they would get the merit of performing three Yagas (rituals). Though Dharmaraja has taken the vow to perform three Aswamedha Yagas, he had not thought about the wherewithal required for performing such a great fire ritual. Naturally, after the Great War, no resources were left. Krishna told him, “How he could perform such great Yagna which needed lot of resources and wealth? Dharmaraja politely replied, Oh Lord! You are the indweller of our Hearts. How we can contemplate on anything, if it is not prompted by your will? Krishna agreed to this Truth and said, “I know a way out of this dilemma”. Long ago, a great King performed a magnificent Yagna in which many Brahmins, Pundits and Kings participated. All were sumptuously fed for many days and they have been accommodated in fine cottages. The Brahmins and Pundits were gifted with cows, gold and cloth. The Brahmins and Pundits could not carry the gold due to heavy weight. Hence they have deposited the excess gold in wayside. It is lying buried under soil. He pointed out the exact location where the treasure is located. Immediately, the brothers along with many horses and elephants went to the exact location where the gold was found in huge quantities. They brought it to Hasthinapura on horseback and elephants. People could not believe their eyes.
With the enormous quantity of Gold and silver, the Yagna was performed in a grand and lavish style. All were fed and accommodated in places according to their status. All the people were gifted with cows, gold and silver befitting their function in the Yagna. All were praising Dharmaraja for the grand performance of the great Yagna. Krishna was happy and after participating in the entire rituals, he too left for Dwaraka, where his citizens were living. Thus he assuaged the grief of Dharmaraja!