Narach Philosophy

SABHA PARVA: THE ASSEMBLY HALL OF YUDHISTHIRA


Maya, who had been saved by Arjuna, was a great architect, and offered his services to that hero. At the bidding of Krsna, he promised to build a large Assembly Hall for Yudhisthira. Then Krsna, having lived there for some time, departed for Dwarka followed by the hero Satyaki.

With the permission of Arjuna, Maya went away to the north of Kailasa, near the Mainaka mountain, and brought from there a club for Bhima, a conch shell, named Devadatta, made by Varuna, for Arjuna, and untold wealth for building his Assembly Hall. With these materials he built his wonderful Hall for Yudhisthira; and, when it was completed, the king, after worshipping the gods, entered it with his brothers; and many Rishis and princes came from various countries to see it and were welcomed by him.

The Visit of Narada: There also came the great Rishi Narada, who possessed the speed of the mind; and, at the request of Yudhisthira, described to him the Assembly Hall of Indra, as well as of Brahma, Yama, Varuna and Kuvera. He then advised the king to perform the great Rajasuya sacrifice.

The Arrival of Krshna: Following the advice of Narada, Yudhisthira became anxious to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. But, not knowing whether he would be equal to the task, he sought the advice of Krshna, and sent a messenger to Dwarka; and Krshna came quickly to the king. He assured him that he was worthy of performing the sacrifice; but he asked him first to defeat Jarasandha, the father-in-law of Kamsa, who had Sisupala for his commander-in-chief; and who, by worshipping Siva, had acquired power on earth and subjugated all the kings.

The Death of Jarasandha: As there was no one else to fight with Jarasandha, Krshna, accompanied by Bhima and Arjuna, proceeded to his kingdom. They came to the city of Magadha, and were welcomed by the king; and before long they challenged him to a single combat. Jarasandha agreed, and having placed his son Sahadeva on the throne, chose Bhima for the combat. The fight was long and fierce, at the end of which Bhima whirled him into the air and broke his body into two; and then Krshna liberated all the captive kings. He installed Sahadeva on his father's throne, and returned with the Pandavas to Indraprastha. After staying there for some time, he started for his city.

The Rajasuya Sacrifice: Thereafter Arjuna and his brothers conquered the whole earth, and laid all its treasures before Yudhisthira. The king then set his heart upon performing the Rajasuya sacrifice. While necessary preparations were being made, Krshna arrived with a powerful army and a large amount of wealth, and offered them to the king. Yudhisthira asked his permission to be installed in the sacrifice, and Krsna bade him perform it as he desired. Then Sahadeva was appointed to make all arrangements and dispatch messengers to invite all; and Nakula was sent to Hastinapura to bring Bhima, Drona, Dhritarashtra, Vidura, Krpa, and the cousins of the Pandavas and they all came to the sacrifice of Yudhisthira. They were worshipped and welcomed as befitted the occasion and their rank, and took an active part in the arrangements of the sacrifice. Each had his own appointed task, and Krshna, willingly undertook to wash the feet of the Brahmanas who came.

The Arghya: The sacrifice commenced, and Yudhisthira satisfied the Brahmanas to their hearts' content. On the last day of the sacrifice Narada asked Yudhisthira to offer Arghya (respect) to the kings as each deserved, bidding him commence with the foremost of all. Then Yudhisthira inquired from Bhima as to whom should the Arghya be presented first, and Bhishma decided that Krshna was the foremost of all.

Sisupala: Commanded by him, Sahadeva proceeded to offer Arghya to Krshna; but Sisupala, the king of Cedi, could not bear this; and in the presence of all began to speak ill of Krshna, and railed at Bhishma for having transgressed the Smrtis in ignoring the other elders and preceptors and kings. Yudhisthira spoke softly to Sisupala, but in vain. Then Bhishma rebuked the king of Cedi, saying, "This Krshna, is chief among Kshatriyas and preceptors. He is the origin of the universe, and in him will the universe dissolve. He is the unmanifest primeval Nature (Prakti). He is the creator of Buddhi, Mind, the five elements, and the four kinds of life are all established in him. He is the foremost of all in the world, and will be so long as the upward, downward, and side-way course of the universe lasts. He is the worthiest to be offered Arghya first."

The Threat of Sahadeva: Then Sahadeva spoke, saying, "If there be any who cannot bear the worship offered by me to Kesava, on his head will I place my foot." and when Sahadeva showed his foot, no one among those wise, intelligent, and proud and powerful kings uttered a word.

The Death of Sisupala: But Sisupala continued to revile Krshna and challenged him to a fight. Then Krsna, who had pardoned him a hundred times for the sake of his mother who was his (Krshna's) aunt (father's sister), was roused to anger, and, throwing his discus, severed the head of the king. The mighty hero fell like a cliff struck by thunder, and a great effulgence rose from his body; and, after adoring Krsna, entered the body of the lord of the three worlds. Yudhisthira then commanded his brothers to perform the funeral rites of Sisupala, and his son was installed as the chief of Cedi in his place.

The End of the Sacrifice: The remaining ceremonies of the sacrifice were soon over, and all the princes and kings departed to their homes and Krshna, with Yudhisthira's permission, retired to Dwarka.

The Chagrin of Duryodhana: After the kings and Rishis had taken their departure, Duryodhana and Sakuni stayed on for some time, and Duryodhana was filled with surprise at the wonders of the Assembly Hall. He often mistook crystal for water, water for land, and land for water; an open door for a closed one, and a closed one for an open door. He was laughed at by Bhima, Arjuna, and the twins; and filled with jealousy, anger and shame, returned to Hastinapura.

The Proposal of Sakuni: Sakuni tried to comfort him, saying that of all the Pandavas, Yudhisthira alone could be tempted to defeat. He said that the son of Kunti (Yudhisthira) was fond of gambling, but he knew not how to play; and if challenged, would not be able to refuse. He himself was skilful in throwing the dice; and, if permitted by Dhritarashtra, would win everything in possession of Yudhisthira without doubt.