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Chapter 14: King Dasharatha Begins the Sacrifice

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King Dasharatha Begins the Sacrifice

 

Summary

The Horse Ritual of Emperor Dasharatha is started on the banks of Sarayu River. The details of the arrangements for the participants, and visitors along with some aspects of the Vedic Ritual are narrated.

King Dasharatha Begins the Sacrifice

Chapter [Sarga] 14 in Detail

atha samvatsare puurne tasmin praapte turangame |

sarayvaah ca uttare tiire raajno yajno abhyavartata || 1-14-1

Then after completion of one year and on regaining [getting back] the ritual horse, the Emperor Dasharatha commenced [started] his Vedic Ritual on the northern banks of River Sarayu. [1-14-1]

risyashringam puraskritya karma cakruh dvijarsabhaah |

ashvamedhe mahaayajne raajno.asya sumahaatmanah || 1-14-2

Keeping Rishyasringa at the helm [head or lead] of affairs those eminent [famous] Brahmans commenced, ashva medha , the Horse-ritual of that noble-souled Dasharatha. [1-14-2]

karma kurvanti vidhivat yaajakaa vedapaaragaah |

yathaa vidhi yathaa nyaayam parikraamanti shaastratah || 1-14-3

Those well-versed conductors of Vedic rituals called ritviks, have started to perform works relating to ritual as per canon [an accepted principle] and rules, and conducted them scripturally and customarily. [1-14-3]

pravargyam shaastratah kritvaa tathaa eva upasadam dvijaah |

cakruh ca vidhivat sarvam adhikam karma shaastratah || 1-14-4

On performing pravargya ritual as per scriptures, like that upasada ritual too, those Brahmans have customarily performed all of those other rituals incidental [minor] to the main one scripturally. [1-14-4]

abhipuujya tadaa hristaah sarve cakruh yathaa vidhi |

praatah savana puurvaani karmaani munipu.ngavaah || 1-14-5

Then all of those distinguished sages are contended with what they have performed by worshipping gods already summoned, they also conducted early morning savana ritual and its ancillaries [subsidiaries] as enjoined [commanded]. [1-14-5]

aindrashca vidhivat datto raajaa cha abhisuto.anaghah |

madhya.ndinam cha savanam praavartata yathaa kramam || 1-14-6

The oblations addressed to Indra are well given as ordained [defined], and the flawless king Dasharatha also crushed the Soma creeper to squeeze Soma juice, and thus the mid-day savana ritual has come to pass according to sequence. [1-14-6]

Like that those proficient [skilled] Brahmans have also performed the third savana , ritual of that great-exalted soul Dasharatha according to the viewpoint of scriptures. [1-14-7]

aahvaan chakrire tatra shakraadiin vibudhottamaan |

risyashringaaadau mantraih shikshaakshara samanvitau || 1-14-8

Rishyasringa and other best scholars with their well lettered and intonated [uttered] Vedic hymns have invoked Indra and other gods to that place. [1-14-8]

giitibhih madhuraih snigdhaih mantra aahvaanaih yathaarhatah |

hotaaro daduraavaahya havirbhaagaan divaukasaam || 1-14-9

The hotaa-s, invocators, have welcomed the celestials for partaking [to take part] oblations [the act of making a religious offering] by singing saama Veda hymns sweetly and harmoniously, and on inviting them with Vedic hymns they have offered oblations to them. [1-14-9]

na ca ahutam aabhuut tatra skhalitam vaa na ki.mcana |

drishyate brahmavat sarvam ksemayuktam hi cakrire || 1-14-10

There is no un-burnt oblation [the act of making a religious offering] resulted in that fire-ritual nor even a small mishap [misfortune] slipped in the performance of ritual. Everything appeared canonically [conforming to a general rule] correct and hymn oriented. Indeed the ritual is performed in a secure way. [1-14-10]

na tesu ahassu shraanto vaa ksudhito vaa na drishyate |

na avidvaan braahmanah kashchin na ashata anucarah tathaa || 1-14-11

In these days of ritual none found there to be weary or hungry, and there is no single unscholarly person, nor any Brahman without at least a hundred apprentices [trainees]. [1-14-11]

braahmanaa bhunjate nityam naathavantah ca bhunjate |

taapasaa bhunjate ca api shramanaah caiva bhunjate || 1-14-12

Given anytime the Brahmans, servants, sages, and pilgrims are fed with food for their arrival at the place of boarding is unpredictable [cannot be said], and that arrival is dependent on their duties for Brahmans, and by their masters for servants, and for pilgrims that do not have a particular time of arrival or departure. [1-14-12]

vriddhaah ca vyaadhitaah ca eva strii baalaah tathaa eva ca |

anisham bhunjamaanaanaam na triptih upalabhyate || 1-14-13

Elderly people, sick ones, women and children though dining on always thus, there is no satisfaction to Emperor Dasharatha, for it appeared to be too meager [small] a serving and a lot more is to be served.] [1-14-13]

diiyataam diiyataam annam vaasaamsi vividhaani ca |

iti samcoditaah tatra tathaa cakruh anekashah || 1-14-14

"Food be given abundantly, clothing be given variously" are the directives, accordingly the king's men have distributed numerously there at the ritual place. [1-14-14]

anna kuutaah ca drishyante bahavah parvata upamaah |

divase divase tatra siddhasya vidhivat tadaa || 1-14-15

Heaps of foodstuffs are also appearing there, many of them and mountain similar, which is made available customarily, day after day. [1-14-15]

naanaa deshaat anupraaptaah purusaah strii ganaah tathaa |

anna paanaih suvihitaah tasmin yajne mahaatmanah || 1-14-16

To that ritual of that great-souled Dasharatha masses of men and women have arrived from different countries, and they are all well-pleased with the sumptuous [magnificent] food and drink supplied. [1-14-16]

annam hi vidhivat svaadu prashansanti dvijarsabhaah |

aho triptaah sma bhadram te iti shushraava raaghavah || 1-14-17

"The eminent Brahmans have appreciated the food that is prepared by perfect cooking to be relishable [that can be enjoyed], and it is heard as they said, "Oh, Raghava, blessed are you for we are satisfied..." [1-14-17]

svala.nkritaah ca purusaa braahmanaan paryavesayan |

upaasante ca taan anye sumrista mani kundalaah || 1-14-18

Well-decorated men have served food to Brahmans, while others who wore gem-studded and lustrous [bright] earrings have helped them. [1-14-18]

karmaantare tadaa vipraa hetuvaadaan bahuunapi |

praahuh suvaagmino dhiiraah paraspara jigiisayaa || 1-14-19

Those eminent Brahmans that are good debaters have debated [to discuss a question by considering opposed arguments] many intellectual debates to defeat each other, during the gap-periods of ritual works. [1-14-19]

divase divase tatra samstare kushalaa dvijaah |

sarva karmaani cakruh te yathaa shaastra.m pracoditaah || 1-14-20

Day by day those expert Brahmans have performed all ritual works as encouraged by Vashishta and others and as contained in scriptures. [1-14-20]

na asadanga vit atra aasiit na avrato na abahushrutah |

sadasyah tasya vai raajno na avaada kushalaa dvijaah || 1-14-21

There is no scholar without the knowledge of the six branches of Vedas, none who is an unavowed [not acknowledged] scholar, none who heard learnt less scriptures, and none among the members of the ritual of that king Dasharatha is an inexpert in debating, thus all are scholarly Brahmans. [1-14-21]

praapte yuupah ucchraye tasmin sad bailvaah khaadiraah tathaa |

taavanto bilva sahitaah parninah ca tathaa apare || 1-14-22

shlesmaatakamayah disto devadaarumayah tathaa |

dvaaveva tatra vihitau baahu vyasta parigrahau || 1-14-23

When the time came to stake [a pointed piece of wood or other material driven or to be driven into the ground as a marker or support] wooden ritual posts, six posts of bilwa wood, six posts of khadira wood, and further the same number of posts of parnina wood are staked. One post of sleshmaataka wood and two of devadaaru wood as stipulated [commanded] are staked. Then the distance between each post is maintained at the length of extended arms. [1-14-22, 23]

kaaritaah sarva evaite shaastrajnaih yajnakovidaih |

shobhaaartham tasya yajnasya kaa.ncana ala.nkrita abhavan || 1-14-24

All of those the posts are made by the authorities on scriptures and ritual scholars, and they are gold-pleated and decorated for the purpose of elegance [refined grace] to that ritual. [1-14-24]

eka vimshati yuupaah te eka vimshat aratnayah |

vaasobhih eka vimshadbhih ekaikam samala.nkritaah || 1-14-25

They are altogether twenty-one posts, each post is twenty-one cubits [length based on the length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger and usually equal to about 18 inches] in height, and each is decoratively clothed with each cloth. [1-14-25]

vinyastaa vidhivat sarve shilpibhih sukritaa dridhaah |

asta aasrayah sarva eva shlaksna ruupa samanvitaah || 1-14-26

Carpenters have carved all the posts well, and built them strongly with octahedral [having eight plane faces] surfaces that are smoothened, and thereby they are implanted procedurally. [1-14-26]

aacchaaditaah te vaasobhih puspaih gandhaih ca puujitaah |

sapta risayo diiptimanto viraajante yathaa divi || 1-14-27

Those posts draped in cloths and worshipped with flowers and perfumeries are irradiant [not bright], and they shone forth like the constellation of Seven Sages in the sky. [1-14-27]

istakaah ca yathaa nyaayam kaaritaah ca pramaanatah |

cito.agnih braahmanaih tatra kushalaih shiplakarmani || 1-14-28

The bricks for Altar of Fire are well designed and made according to rules and standard measurements. The Brahmans who are experts in the architecture of laying Fire Altar, by calculating the ritual field with a one-ply rope and decide where and how the that shall be, the Altar of Fire is layered well with bricks in that ritual. [1-14-28]

sacityo raaja si.mhasya sa.ncitah kushalaih dvijaih |

garudo rukmapakso vai triguno astaa dashaatmakah || 1-14-29

That Altar of Fire of that King, the Lion, is layered by expert Brahmans in the shape of an eagle with golden wings, with its size being three folds bigger than the altars of other rituals, thus it has eighteen separators, and fire is laid on it. [1-14-29]

niyuktaah tatra pashavah tat tat uddishya daivatam |

uragaah paksinah ca eva yathaa shaastram pracoditaah || 1-14-30

In that ritual animals, serpents and birds designated to such and such deities are readied [to make ready] according to the scriptural directives. [1-14-30]

shaamitre tu hayah tatra tathaa jalacaraah ca ye |

risibhih sarvam evai tan niyuktam shaastratah tadaa || 1-14-31

The sages have arranged those animals that are to be there in animal sacrifices, like horse and other aquatic animals, in that ritual according to scriptures. [1-14-31]

pashuunaam trishatam tatra yuupesu niyatam tadaa |

ashva ratnah uttamam tasya raajno dasharathasya ha || 1-14-32

Three hundred animals are tied to the ritual posts, along with the gemlike best ritual horse of that King Dasharatha. [1-14-32]

kausalyaa tam hayam tatra paricarya sama.ntatah |

kripaanaih vishashaasah enam tribhih paramayaa mudaa || 1-14-33

With great delight coming on her Queen Kausalya reverently [worshipfully] made circumambulations [to go around in circle] to the horse, and symbolically killed the horse with three knives. [1-14-33]

patatrinaa tadaa saardham susthitena ca cetasaa |

avasat rajaniim ekaam kausalyaa dharma kaamyayaa || 1-14-34

Queen Kausalya desiring the results of ritual disconcertedly [not wholeheartedly] resided one night with that horse that flew away like a bird. [1-14-34]

hotaa adhvaryuh tatha udgaataa hastena samayojayan |

mahisyaa parivrittyaa atha vaavaataam aparaam tathaa || 1-14-35

Thus, the officiating priests of the ritual, namely hota, adhwaryu and udgaata have received in their hand the Crowned Queen, the neglected wife, and a concubine of the king, next as a symbolic donation in the ritual by the performer, the king. [1-14-35]

patatrinah tasya vapaam uddhritya niyateindriyah |

ritvik parama sa.mpannah shrapayaamaasa shaastratah || 1-14-36

Then the priest, one with controlled senses and rich in scriptural wealth, took up the omentum [fat] of the horse and cooked it as per scriptures while dropping into the altar of fire to bake as a food to the celestials. [1-14-36]

dhuuma gandham vapaayaah tu jighrati sma naraadhipah |

yathaa kaalam yathaa nyaayam nirnudan paapam aatmanah || 1-14-37

The king Dasharatha smelt the smell of smoke as per time and procedure to cleanse his own sin. [1-14-37]

hayasya yaani ca angaani taani sarvaani braahmanaah |

agnau praasyanti vidhivat samastaah sodasha ritvijah || 1-14-38

Those remaining body parts that horse are there, the sixteen officiating priests have procedurally flattened all of them into fire. [1-14-38]

plaksa shaakhaasu yajnaanaam anyesaam kriyate havih |

ashva medhasya yajnasya vaitaso bhaagah isyate || 1-14-39

In other rituals the oblations will be offered into sacrificial fire with spoon-like sticks of plaksha tree, but in Horse-sacrifice ritual they are offered through the vetasa creeper, a rattan [a climbing palm with very long tough stems] plant, cane. [1-14-39]

tryaho.ashva medhah sa.mkhyaatah kalpa suutrena braahmanaih |

catustomam ahah tasya prathamam parikalpitam || 1-14-40

The Horse Ritual is to be performed for three days as laid down in kalpa sutra-s, the rules governing such rituals, and by Brahmanas, the penultimate parts of Veda-s, and the one performed on the first day is called chatuhstoma ritual. [1-14-40]

ukthyam dvitiiyam samkhyaatam atiraatram tathottaram |

kaaritaah tatra bahavo vihitaah shaastra darshanaat || 1-14-41

The ritual on the second day is called ukthyam, and the next one performed on third day is called atiraatra. These apart many of the preordained rituals are performed there in that ritual as envisaged [said] in scriptures. [1-14-41]

jyotistoma aayusii ca evam atiraatrau vinirmitau |

abhijit vishvajit ca evam aptoryaamo mahaakratuh || 1-14-42

The rituals called jyothistoma, aayusi, and atiraatra rituals are performed. And also rituals of great kind like abhijit, vishwajit, aptoryaama are performed. [1-14-42]

praaciim hotre dadau raajaa disham svakula vardhanah

adhvaryave pratiiciim tu brahmane daksinaam disham || 1-14-43

udgaatre ca tathaa udiiciim daksinaiesaa vinirmitaa |

ashvamedhe mahaayajne svayambhu vihite puraa || 1-14-44

As the promoter of his own dynasty that king Dasharatha donated eastern side to hota, western to adhvaryu, and southern to Brahma. And to udgaata northern side is given in donation. These were the donations stipulated in that great ritual, ashwamedha, by the Self-Created Brahma from earlier times. [1-14-44, 43]

kratu.m samaapya tu tadaa nyaayatah purusarsabhah |

ritvigbhyo hi dadau raajaa dharaam taam kulavardhanah || 1-14-45

On completing the ritual thus that best man Dasharatha justifiably donated those lands to the officiating priests, called ritwiks, to promote of his dynasty. [1-14-45]

evam dattvaa prahristo abhuut shriimaan ikshvaaku nandana |

ritvijah tu abruvan sarve raajaanam gata kilbisam || 1-14-46

Thus on giving away the vast expanses of his kingdom he that glorious one born in Ikshvaku dynasty is gladdened, but all the officiating priests said to the king who by now is rid of his sins. [1-14-46]

bhavaan eva mahiim kritsnaam eko raksitum arhati |

na bhuumyaa kaaryam asmaakam na hi shaktaah sma paalane || 1-14-47

"You alone are capable to protect the earth in its entirety, and there is no use for us with these lands, and we are not capable to rule it, either." Thus the priests are addressing the king. [1-14-47]

rataah svaadhyaaya karane vayam nityam hi bhuumipa |

nishkrayam kimcit eva iha prayacchatu bhavaan iti || 1-14-48

"We are always preoccupied with self-study and teaching of scriptures, oh, king, thus you may give us something else in barter [exchange], any modest thing.” [1-14-48]

mani ratnam suvarnam vaa gaavo yad vaa samudyatam |

tat prayaccha narashresta dharanyaa na prayojanam || 1-14-49

"Let best gems, gold, or cows or anything else that is available you may give us, what is the use of these vast expanses [great extent] to us." So said the scholars. [1-14-49]

evam ukto narapatih braahmanaih veda paaragaih |

gavaam shata sahasraani dasha tebhyo dadau nripah || 1-14-50

dasha koti suvarnasya rajatasya catur gunam |

The king Dasharatha, the lord of people, thus requested by the scholarly Vedic Brahmans gave them millions of cows, ten of ten million gold coins, and the silver four times thereof. [1-14-50, 51a]

ritvijah ca tatah sarve pradaduh sahitaa vasu || 1-14-51

risyashringaaya munaye vasisthaaya ca dhiimate |

Then all those officiating priests collectively gave that wealth to sage Rishyasringa and to the enlightened sage Vashishta. [1-14-51b, 52a]

tatah te nyaayatah kritvaa pravibhaagam dvijottamaah || 1-14-52

supriita manasah sarve pratyuucuh muditaa bhrisham |

Then all of those Brahmans are well satisfied at heart and distributed among themselves the wealth passed on by Rishyasringa and Vashishta, and then they said, "We are highly gladdened." [1-14-52a, 53a]

tatah prasarpakebhyastu hiranyam susamaahitah || 1-14-53

jaambuunadam kooti samkhyam braahmanebhyo dadau tadaa |

Then to the other Brahmans who arrived there to see the ritual, King Dasharatha sincerely donated ten million gold coins. [1-14-53b, 54a]

daridraaya dvijaaya atha hasta aabharanam uttamam || 1-14-54

kasmai chit yaacamaanaaya dadau raaghava na.ndanah |

That descendent of Raghava dynasty gave an excellent hand ornament to someone who is an impoverished [represented by individuals] Brahman and who is beseeching [wanting and anxious]. [1-14-54a, 55a]

tatah priitesu vidhivat dvijesu dvija vatsalah || 1-14-55

pranaamam akarot tesaam harsa vyaakulita indriyah |

While those Brahmans are becoming happy then that king and the patron of Brahmans venerated them dutifully with his senses fluttering with happiness. [1-14-55b, 56a]

tasya aashisoatha vividhaa braahmanaih samudaahritaah || 1-14-56

udaarasya nriviirasya dharanyaam patitasya ca |

Then that benevolent [organized for the purpose of doing good] and valiant King Dasharatha prostrated [stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission] on ground venerating the Brahmans, and the Brahmans too chanted various blessing hymns on that prostrating king. [1-14-56b, 57a]

tatah priita manaa rajaaa praapya yajnam anuttamam || 1-14-57

paapa apaham svar nayanam dustaram paarthivarsabhaih |

Then that king is gladdened at heart for the successful achievement of the completion of that excellent ritual that removes sin and that leads to heaven as well, and that which cannot be undertaken by many of the best kings. [1-14-57b, 58a]

tato.abraviit rishyshringam raajaa dasharathah tadaa || 1-14-58

kulasya vardhanam tvam tu kartum arhasi suvrata |

Thereafter king Dasharatha said to sage Rishyasringa thus, "oh, sage with best vows, you alone are eligible to perform the ritual for the expansion of my dynasty." [1-14-58b, 59a]

tatheti ca sa raajaanam uvaaca dvijasattamah |

bhavishyanti sutaa raajan catvaarah te kulodvahaah || 1-14-59

That best Brahman Rishyasringa saying yes to the proposal, said this to king Dasharatha, "oh, king, there will be four sons to you that ennoble [elevate] your dynasty. [1-14-59b, c]

sa tasya vaakyam madhuram nishamya

pranamya tasmai prayato nripendra |

jagaama harsam paramam mahaatmaa

tam risyashrngam punarapi uvaacha || 1-14-60

On hearing the sweet words of Sage Rishyasringa, he that king of kings Dasharatha went into a state of ecstasy [joy] and venerating [worshipping] that great soul, Rishyasringa, again said this to him. [1-14-60]

iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadikaavye baala kaande caturdashah sargah

Thus, this is the 14th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate

References

Desiraju Hanumanta Rao. (1998). Balakanda - Book Of Youthful Majesties.

Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.

Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.

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