by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1891 | ISBN-13: 9788171101566

This page describes Chapter XIV of the English translation of the Ramayana, one of the largest Sanskrit epics of ancient India revolving around the characters Rama, Sita and Ravana. It was orignally authored by Valmiki at least over 2500 years ago. This is the first book of the Bāla-kāṇḍa (Bala-kanda) of the Ramayana, which consists of 24,000 Sanskrit metrical verses divided oer seven books.

After the expiry of full one year, when the sacrificial horse had returned, the sacrifice, of the king commenced on the north bank of the Sarayū.

And with Ṛṣyaśṛṅga at their head, the principal twice-born ones began the proceedings in that mighty horse-sacrifice of that high-souled monarch.

And the priests, each duly and according to the ordinance performing his proper part, engaged in the ceremony in consonance with the scriptures.

And the regenerate ones, having performed the pravargya as well as the upasada according to the ordinance, duly completed the additional ceremonies. Then, worshipping the deities with glad hearts, those foremost of ascetics duly performed the morning ablutions and the other prescribed rites.

The oblations of clarified butter first having been offered to Indra, according to the ritual, the king with a purified heart performed his ablutions. And then the mid-day ablutions took place in proper sequence.

Those foremost of Brāhmaṇas, in due form, and according to the ordinance, officiated at the third bath of that high-souled monarch.

The priests presided over by Ṛṣyaśṛṅga, invoked Śakra and the other deities, reciting measured mantras.

The sacrificial priests, chanting sweet Samans and soft mantras, duly invoking the dwellers of the celestial regions, offered each his share of the oblations.

And no part of the ceremony was performed improperly, or left out, and every thing was satisfactorily celebrated with mantras.

And on that day no Brāhmaṇa ever felt tired, or hungry and there was none that was not learned, or that was not followed by an hundred persons.

Brāhmaṇas, and Śūdras having among them ascetics, and Śramaṇas, and the aged, and the infirm, and women, and children, were continually fed. And although they ate their fill, yet they know no repletion.

And Give food, and clothes of various kinds (was heard all around) And those employed in the task gave away profusely.

And every day food dressed properly in due form was to be seen in countless heaps resembling hills.

And men and women coming from various countries to the sacrifice of that high-souled one were excellently entertained with meats and drinks.

The foremost regenerate ones said, The viands have been prepared in the prescribed form, and they taste excellent. We have been gratified. God bless you! All this was heard by the descendant of Raghu.

Persons adorned with ornaments distributed the victuals among the Brāhmaṇas, and they were assisted by others wearing jewelled pendants.

In the interval between the completion of one bath and the beginning of the next, mild and eloquent Vipras, desirous of victory, engaged in various disputations.

Every day in that sacrifice, skilful Brāhmaṇas, engaged in the ceremony, did every thing, according to the ritual.

There was no twice-born one that was not versed in the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas, or that did not observe vows, or that was not profoundly learned, nor did any assist at the sacrifice that could not argue ably.

And when the time came for planting the Yūpas of bilva, as many of catechu, and as many of Palasa, and one of Śleṣmātaka, and two of Devadāru well-made and measuring two outstretched arms.

Persons versed in the arts and science of sacrifice constructed these Yūpas. And at the time of throwing up the Yūpas for embellishing the sacrifice, these one and twenty Yūpas, each measuring one and twenty Aratnis, having eight angles, and smooth-faced, were decked out in one and twenty pieces of cloth, and were firmly planted with due ceremonies by artisans.

And being wrapped up in cloths, and worshipped with flowers, they looked like the seven Ṛṣis appearing in the welkin.

And an adequate number of bricks was also duly made (for the ceremony.) And Brāhmaṇas accomplished in the arts constructed the sacrificial fire-place with those bricks.

That fire-place of that lion among kings, set by skilful Brāhmaṇas, consisting on three sides of eighteen bricks, looked like the goldenwinged Garuḍa. And for the purpose of sacrificing them to the respective deities were collect beasts and reptiles, and birds, and horses, and aquatic animals. And the priests sacrificed all these in proper form.

And to these Yūpas were bound, three hundred beasts, as well as the foremost of the best horses belonging to king Daśaratha.

Then Kausalyā, having performed the preliminary rites, with three strokes slew that horse, experiencing great glee.

And with the view of reaping merit, Kausalyā, with an undisturbed heart passed one night with that horse furnished with wings.

Hotas and Adhvaryus, and the Udgatās joined the king’s Vāvātā along with his Mahiṣī and Parivṛtti.* And priests of subdued senses, well-up in sacrificial rites, began to offer oblations with the fat of the winged-horse, according to the ordinance.

*The Kṣatriya kings could marry wives from among Ksatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras. The Kṣatriya wife is called Mahiṣī, the Vaiśya wife Vāvātā and the Śūdra wife Parivṛtti.

The lord of men, desirous of removing his sins, at the proper time smelt the odour of the smoke arising from the fat, agreeably to the scriptures.

Then sixteen sacrificial priests in the prescribed form offered the various parts of the horse to the fire.

It is customary in other sacrifices to offer the oblations by means of a Plakṣa bough; but in the horse-sacrifice a cane is used instead. The horse-sacrifice, according to the Kalpa-Sūtras and the Brāhmaṇas, extend over three days. Thereafter, on the first day was the Catuṣṭoma celebrated; and on the second, the Uktha, and on the third the Atirātra.

And then the jyotiṣṭoma, and then Āyuṣtoma, and the Atirātra, and the Abhijit, and the Viśvajit, and the Āptoryāma, all these various great sacrifices were celebrated with due rites.

And in this mighty horse-sacrifice founded of yore by Svayambhū, that perpetuator of his line, the king, bestowed the Eastern quarter on his chief sacrificial priest, the Western on his Adhvaryu, the Southern on Brahmā, and the Northern on the Udgātā, as Dakṣiṇās.

Having completed that sacrifice, that perpetuator of his race, and foremost of men, the king, conferred on the priests the earth; and having conferred it, that auspicious descendant of Ikṣvāku experienced high delight. And then the priests spoke to that monarch, who had all his sins purged off saying.

You alone are worthy to protect the entire world. We do not want the earth; nor can we rule it, being, O lord of Earth, constantly engaged in Vedic studies. Do you, therefore, confer upon us something instead, as the price thereof.

Do you confer upon us gems, or gold, or kine, or anything else, for, O foremost of monarchs, we do not want earth.

Thus addressed by the Brāhmaṇas versed in the Veda, that best of kings bestowed upon them ten lace of kine, and ten Koṭis of gold, and forty of silver.

Then those priests in a body, accepting the wealth, brought it to the ascetic Ṛṣyaśṛṅga and the intelligent Vasiṣṭha. Then having received each his share, those foremost of regenerate ones were exceedingly pleased, and said, We have been highly gratified.

Then to those Brāhmaṇas that had come there, the king with due regard gave Koṭis of gold.

Then to a certain poor twice-born one that asked for gifts, the descendant of Raghu gave an excellent ornament from his own arm.

When the regenerate ones were thus properly gratified, that one cherishing the Brāhmaṇas, with senses intoxicated by excess of joy, reverentially bowed to them.

Thereupon the Brāhmaṇas uttered various blessings upon that generous king, bending low to the earth.

Then having celebrated that excellent and sin-destroying sacrifice, bringing heaven, and incapable of being celebrated by foremost monarchs, king Daśaratha, well pleased, spoke to Ṛṣyaśṛṅga, saying, O you of excellent vows, it behove you to do that whereby my line may increase.

Thereupon the best of Brāhmaṇas told the king that he would have four sons, born to him, as perpetuators of his race.

Hearing these sweet words of his, that foremost of monarchs bended low to him with controlled faculties, and experienced the excess of joy. And then that high-souled one again spoke to Ṛṣyaśṛṅga.

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