The King’s Proposal to Perform a Horse Sacrifice to Obtain a Son


Dasharatha decides to perform an elaborate Vedic ritual, called Aswametha yajna, Horse Ritual, to beget children. He being a considerate king in taking conscience [in all fairness] of the courtiers [one in attendance at a royal court], he discusses this aspect with the Vedic scholars and ministers of his court, beforehand.

Chapter [Sarga] 8 in Detail

To him, to such an effectual and virtuously great-souled King Dasharatha, a dynasty-enriching son is not begotten though his heart is burning to beget [get] children. [1-8-1]

To that anguished [tormented or agonized] great-soul, a thought occurred this way, "To beget sons, why should not I perform Horse ritual...[and thus appease the gods in order to beget worthy sons..."] [1-8-2]

That intellectual and a conscientious king having resolved with all of his sagacious [of keen and farsighted penetration and judgment] ministers that such a Vedic ritual is performable, then addressed best among ministers, namely Sumantra, ‘ fetch all my teachers and clerics [members of the official class of a religion], quickly...’ [1-8-3, 4]

Then Sumantra gone quickly, for he in quickness is a dauntless [fearless] one, and fetched all of the clerics like Suyajna, Vaama Deva, Jaabala, Kashyapa, and even Sage Vashishta, and also those other eminent Brahman that are Vedic scholars. [1-8-5,6]

Then on adoring [regarding with loving admiration and devotion] them, virtuous King Dasharatha spoke this impressible sentence that included justification and meaning. [1-8-7]

"My mind is tumultuous [rioting] without quietude [a quiet state] for I have no sons... for that reason, I wish perform Aswametha, Vedic Horse Ritual... this is my thinking... [1-8-8]

"Therefore, I contemplate [consider with continued attention] to perform that ritual as enshrined [cherished as sacred] in the scriptures and as a rite-oriented [a ceremonial act or action] one as well... let this contemplation of mine be well thought of... and as to how my desire to beget sons will be fulfilled... [1-8-9]

Then the Brahman scholars along with Sage Vashishta and all other important personalities in their turn have blessed and honored him, saying that "splendid is this idea..." thus, for that which is voiced by the king. [1-8-10]

All of them becoming happy have also said to King Dasharatha, "let the paraphernalia [required articles] be provided, and your ritual-horse be released... [1-8-11]

"Oh, king, by all means you will beget sons as you desired, since you, to whom an upright thinking has suggested itself... let the ritual ground be arranged on the northern banks of River Sarayu...” So said the scholars. [1-8-12, 13a]

“Then King Dasharatha is gladdened on hearing the sayings of those Brahmans. And with happiness lurching on his eyes the king spoke to the ministers, "As advised by my Vedic teachers let the paraphernalia be procured... [1-8-13b, 14]

"On the northern banks of River Sarayu the ritual ground be arranged... and the Ritual-Horse be released monitored by capable warriors, along with the religious teachers...” So said the king. [1-8-15]

"Let peace invocations be prevailing and prospering, as ordained [defined] in the scriptures and tradition...if it is possible for the correct performance to obtain results of this ritual, and if it is possible to conduct this ritual without any difficult faults during its performance, then all the kings on earth would have performed it... [1-8-16, 17a]

"Scholarly Brahma Rakshasas [He who has associated with outcasts, he who has approached the wives of other men, and he who has stolen the property of a Brahmana become Brahma Rakshasas] will be hunting for the faults alone in the course of this ritual... should the procedure of this ritual be depraved [corrupted] of its set rules, the performer gets ruined... [1-8-17b, 18a]

"Therefore, you all shall see as to how this ritual of mine be conducted and concluded procedurally, and all of you are evidently experts in conducting such rituals... isn’t it! [1-8-18b, 19a]

On listening the words of the king all the ministers adored and assured him saying, ‘It will be conducted faultlessly as has been conducted earlier...” [1-8-19b, 20a]

On hearing those words of that best king, and what that is spoken earlier, then the virtue knowing Brahman scholars hailing [acclaiming] that best king took leave of him and went away as they have come. [1-8-20b, 21a]

Then on sending off those Brahman scholars, the king spoke this way to the ministers... “As advised by the Vedic scholars this ritual shall be conducted, procedurally..." [1-8-21b, 22a]

The tigerly-king and highly intellectual Dasharatha, on saying thus to his ministers who are still in his audience, sent away those ministers also, and he entered his palace. [1-8-22b, 23a]

And on approaching his wives, that best king's heartily dear ones, he said to them, “I am performing a Vedic ritual for the reason of begetting sons and you all shall enter a vow...” [1-8-23b, 24a]

On hearing those words of the king, the lustrous [bright] countenances [face] of the queens have become more gleaming, like the blooming lotuses after the clearance of dew-fall. [1-8-24b, c]

Thus, this is the 8th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate