Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 4 Chapter 19:19-32

Book 4: Chapter 19

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 4: Chapter 19: Verses 19-32
King Prthu performs a hundred horse-sacrifices

Creating a thick mass of darkness, the mighty Indra stole once more under cover of it the horse, tied with the gold chain, from the sacrificial post and the wooden ring placed in front of it (to which the horse had been secured). As Indra was hurriedly passing through the skies Atri directed the attention (of Vijitaswa). The hero, however, did not obstruct him, holding as he did (in his hand) a staff with a skull on its top. Urged, however, by Atri, he set an arrow to his bowstring in indignation and aimed it at him. Indra (thereupon) gave up the horse as well as his garb and stood invisible. The hero too thereupon returned to (the scene of) his father's sacrifice, taking the horse (with him). It was (some) weak-minded people who accepted as their own the reproachful garb assumed and shed by Indra. The hypocritical garbs and appearances that Indra assumed with the intention of stealing away the horse (came to be known by the name of 'Pakhanda' inasmuch as they) were the marks of a sinful propensity (paapasya khandaani). The word 'Khanda' has been used here in the sense of a mark. in this way the mind of men was (foolishly) attracted towards the deceitful garbs assumed and dropped by him (indra) when he stole away the horse with the motive of interrupting the sacrificial permance of Prthu as well as towards false creeds passing as true religion under the attractive labels of 'Nagnas' (a fraternity of naked mendicants), Raktapatas (monks with red robes) and so on, and preached with exceptional eloquence. When the venerable Prthu, who possessed extraordinary prowess came to know this, he lifted hi bow and took up an arrow in (great) indignation to strike at indra. Prthu's might and papidity of movement were irresistible; he was terrible to look at (on account of his great fury.) When the priests officiating at the sacrifice saw that he had made up his mind to kill Indra, they prevented him, saying, O king of great wisdom, it is not worthy of you to kill anyone other than the beast approved of (by the scriptures) on this (scared) occasion. We will invoke to this very place through powerful spells Indra, who has thwarted your purpose and has been eclipsed by your glory, and will without delay forcibly throw your enemy, O king (as an oblation) into the fire. Having addressed Prthu (the master of the sacrifice), in these words, O Vidura, his priests were indignantly proceeding to pour oblations into the sacred fire (with the avowed object of invoking Indra), with the sacrificial ladle in their hand, when Brahma (himself) appeared (before them) and prevented them (from proceeding further), saying, "Indra does not deserve to be killed by you, for Yajna (by which name the then Indra was called), whom you seek to get ride of, is a manifestation of the Lord Himself, while the gods who are (being) propitiated (by you) are (so many) forms of Indra alone. Look at the great violation of Dharma committed by Indra, O Brahmanas, with the intention of obstructing this (sacrificial) performance of King Prthu (which mischief is likely to be repeated if he is not conciliated). Therefore, let the number of sacrifices standing to the credit of Prthu of wide renown fall short of one hundred by one. (Turning to Prthu himself, Brahma said,) You have no use for sacrifices well performed, since you are conversant with the Dharma conducive to Liberation.



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