Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam

Balakanda Chapter 14

Aswamedha Yaga-3.

With Sanskrit text in Devanagari , Telugu and Kannada

अथ संवत्सरे पूर्णे तस्मिन् प्राप्ते तुरंगमे ।
सरय्वाश्चोत्तरे तीरे राज्ञो यज्ञोsभ्यवर्तत ॥

The aforementioned horse having returned after the completion of one year, the sacrifice then commenced on the northern banks of the river Sarayu.

Sarga 14

चतुर्दश सर्गः

The horse released as part of the Aswamedha Yaga having returned after the completion of one year, the sacrifice then commenced on the northern banks of the river Sarayu.

With Rishyasrumga as the head to supervise the sacrifice, the foremost of brahmans then discharged their duty in performing the sacrifice.

The priests officiating at the sacrifice are all well versed in Vedas. They duly performed their duties according the sriptures abiding by the procedure and following the order of sequence prescribed. Having gone through the rite called Pravargya as well as through the rite Ishti called Upasada according to the scriptures , the Brahmans performed every rite beyond the injunctions of sastras.

Offerring worship to the Gods , full of delight all the eminent sages duly performed all the rites starting from the morning Savana. The oblation intended for Indra was duly offered to him and the creeper by the name savana too was crushed. And midday Savana was gone through in due order. Ascertaining the procedure by reference to sastras , those jewels among Brahmanas further duly conducted the third Savana on behalf of that noble monarch. There was no oblation that was not offerred . No oblation was offered in the place of another. There were no lapses and everything was done strictly as per scriptures. In that sacrifice there were none who were tired or who were left hungry . There was no brahmin who was not learned . There was no brahmin who did not have followers in hundreds

The Brahmanas took their food every day. So did the servants . The Ascetics too took their food and so did the recluses. The old , disabled , women and children too had their food. All though they were eating all the times there were none who were not satisfied. With words of 'Give them' 'Give them' ringing , the food and clothes were distributed freely by many. Numerous piles of food preparations resembling mountains and prepared as they should be were seen everyday on those sacrificial grounds.

The men as well as hosts of women who arrived from different lands were fully entertained with wide variety of food preparations and drinks.The noble brahmanas spoke well of the food that was indeed cooked in the proper way and the King Dasaratha heard them saying, ' We are fully sated , may all the good happen to you'. Men richly adorned served food to the Brahmanas while others with decked with rich earrings with pearls waited on the former. During the interval between the Savanas , intelligent and higly eloquent Brahmans participated in well reasoned discussions to get the better of each other.

Every day in that sacrifice experienced Brahmans discharged their duties as prescribed in the Sastras and as directed by elders. In that congregation there were none who did not know the six Vedangas , there were none that were not well read, there were none that were not expert in skilled arguments.

When the time came for erecting the sacrificial pillars , then six pillars of Bilwa wood and an equal number of Khadiras each by the side of Bilwa and six more of another type were erected . One of `Sleshmataka' and another two of 'Devadaru' were also erected. Between two pillars there is a fixed measure of distance. All of these have been got ready for the sacrifice under guidance of experts in performing sacrifices and were plated with gold to grace the occassion. Twenty one pillars were twenty one spans high and those twenty one were adorned with many adornments.

Shaped as they were by the artisans, the pillars called Yupa Stambhas were strong and well constructed. They were all octogonal and and with smooth surface. Fixed as per scriptures , covered with cloth and adorned with flowers and sandal paste the pillars were shining like the constellation of seven Rishis in the sky.

The bricks were prepared as specified and as per scriptures . The sacrifical altar for fire was constructed as per scriptures by experienced Brahmans.That sacrificial fire meant for that altar and to be worshipped by Dasaratha , a lion among kings , resembled the figure of Garuda with wings of gold and it is three times the normal size with eighteen sacrificial fires.

Beasts , serpents, and birds too were tied down to be offerred to particular gods as per scriptures. The sacrificial horse as well as other aquatic creatures that had been brought there for the sacrifice were all at that moment bound by the seers according to the scriptural procedures. Three hundred beasts were tied down at that time to the aforesaid pillars. In that the foremost of the best of horses of King Dasaratha were also included.

Consecrating the horse meant for sacrifice on all sides , with great joy queen Kausalya touched it three times with a sword. With intent of acquiring religious merit queen Kausalya spent one night with the horse with a perfectly composed mind

The three officiating priests Hota Adhvaryu and Udgata then made the queens Mahishi, Privrytya, and Vavata touch the sacrifcial horse with their hands. The chief priest who had controlled his senses,and possessed great skill in performing sacrifical rites cooked the edible part of that plant. King Dasaratha too smelt the odour of the steam of that plant at the proper time according to sacrificial rites thereby driving away his sins.

All the sixteen Brahmana priests as body cast into the fire with due ceremoney all the articles that needed to be consigned to the fire according to the scriptures. In other sacrifices the offerings to be made are placed on the boughs of a Plaksha tree. The offerings to be made in Aswamedha sacrifice are placed on a mats of cane. The Kalpasutras which are part of scriptural brahmanas declare that Aswamedha sacrifice as having three days for Savana rite. Chatustoma is the name given to the Savana rite to be performed on the first day.The second days Savana rite has been named as Ukthya and the third days Savana has been named as Atiratra. Many other sacrifiecs as enjoined by the scriptures were performed by King Dasaratha.

Jyotistoma, Ayustoma , two rounds of Atiratra , Abhujit , Viswajit , two rounds of Aptoryama - these were the great sacrifices performed on that occassion.

The King , the promoter of his race gave away the eastern part of the earth to Hotru, western part to Adhvaryu , Southern part to Brahman and the northern part to Udgatru. Such is the dakshina prescribed for the great Aswamedha Sacrifice which was performed for the first time by Brahma himself . Thus having concluded the sacrifice according to scriptural rites, the King a jewel among men and promoter of his race actually gave away to the priests the earth itself on that occassion.

Having thus given away everything that scion of Ikshwaku then felt extremely delighted. However all the priests spoke to the sinless king as follows. ' You alone are able to protect the entire globe. We have nothing to do with this earth nor are we able to maintain it , as we are constantly devoted to prosecution of the study of vedas. O King ! You may give us anything what so ever by way of consideration at this moment. Bestow on us some superb gem , gold or cows, or whatever may be available. O Jewel among men and protector of earth we have no use for the earth !'

Thus told by the brahmanas who are masters of vedas, the King who acknowledged none as his own ruler bestowed on them ten lakh cows, a hundred million gold coins and four times as many silver coins, There upon all the priests handed over the wealth to Rishyasrumga and the wise Vasisitha . Having had the wealth equitably distributed, all the eminet brahmanas now felt much delighted at heart and said " We are very much delighted"

There after Dasaratha gave away crores of pure gold coins to the Brahmanas who came to see the sacrifice.
When a Brahman without wealth came to him with expectation , Dasaratha gave away the bracelet worn on his hand.
Thus with abundance of gifts received , all the Brahmans were very much satisfied. The king too shed tears of happiness paying obeisance to them. Then the Brahmanas blessed the king who has prostrated before them chanting appropriate Vedas.

Then the king was very much pleased having performed the Aswamedha sacrifice which is difficult for ordinary kings and which is a sacrifice meant for attaining heaven through progeny as well as destroying sins and . Then the king spoke to sage Rishyasrumga as follows . 'O best of Ascetics ! only you are cable of performing the ceremony for obtaining the children', and requested him to do so.

The best of the Brahmansa agreed and said " O King you will get four sons who will enhance the prestige of the line of Ikshwakus"

Hearing those sweet words of Sage Rishyasrumga the king was delighted and with a mind free of worries made obeisance to him. Then again he requested the sage to perform the appropriate rites .

So ends the chapter 14 of Balakanda in Valmiki Ramayan.

|| om tat sat ||

स तस्य वाक्यं मथुरं निशम्य
प्रणम्य तस्मै प्रयतो नृपेंद्र ।
जगामहर्षं परमं महात्मा
तं ऋष्यश्रुंगं पुनरप्युवाच ॥

Hearing those sweet words of Sage Rishyasrumga the king was delighted and with a mind free of worries made obeisance to him. Then again he requested the sage to perform the appropriate rites

|| om tat sat ||

|| om tat sat ||