In Naimisaranya, on the occasion of satra yaga, Sooti, the story teller, told Saint Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Maha Bharata as was told by Saint Vaisampayana to King Janamejaya, at the end of Sarpa yaga.

The day fixed for performing Asvamedha Yaga was fast approaching. On one auspicious day, Dharmaja along with Droupadi took deeksha from Veda Vyasa. Dharmaja worshipped the Yaga Asva (horse meant for Yaga) and left it free. Arjuna along with his forces accompanied the horse. The people of Hastinapura, stood on either side of all streets and blessed Arjuna. Receiving their blessings, Arjuna left Hastinapura, accompanying the horse. One student of Saint Yajna Valkya along with some brahmins, also accompanied the horse.

The horse proceeded towards north and entered Trigartha Kingdom. The Kings of Trigartha tried to catch the horse.

“O Princes! This is Yaga Asva left by Dharmaja. I am its protector. Any harm caused to this horse is equivalent to harming Dharmaja. Why should we bear enmity amongst ourselves. My brother Dharmaja told me thus:

“Many kings died in war. Their heirs are ruling their respective kingdoms. Dont try to kill them. Extend your friendly hand to them. Even if they catch the horse, try to pacify them and restrain them, remembering our relationship.”.

Hence I never fight with you. Kindly be friendly with me and Dharmaja. Your lives are dearest to you also.” said Arjuna politely.

But they refused to obey the preachings of Arjuna. Surya Varma king of Trigartha, showered arrows on Arjuna. Arjuna cut all those arrows in middle. Arjuna never tried to hurt him.

Meanwhile, Ketu Varma, brother of Soorya Varma, arrived there. He also poured arrowy showers on Arjuna. Arjuna chased Ketu Varma from battle field.

Meanwhile Dhruta, Varma brother of Ketu Varma, arrived there. He also covered Arjuna with his arrows. Arjuna appreciated Dhruta Varma for his archery skills. Arjuna never retaliated Dhruta Varma. Arjuna was only cutting the arrows shot by Dhruta Varma. But Dhruta Varma shot numerous arrows piercing into the body of Arjuna. Gandiva slipped from the hand of Arjuna and fell down. Arjuna picked up his Gandiva and shot numerous arrows and destroyed the entire army of Trigartha. Remaining soldiers fled away. Arjuna never chased them and killed them.

After conquering Trigartha, the horse entered Pragjyotishapura. Vajradatta son of Bhagadatta, was ruling that kingdom. Vajradatta captured the horse and proclaimed war against Arjuna. But Vajradatta was unable to stand before Arjuna and fled away. After some time, Vajradatta, mounting his huge elephant, re entered the battle field. While Vajradatta was shooting arrows against Arjuna, Arjuna was simply cutting them in middle. Arjuna never caused harm to him.

Vajradatta fought with Arjuna for three days. On the fourth day, Vajradatta challenged Arjuna:

“O Arjuna! because my father was older in age, you could kill him in war. But I am young and energetic. Your death is in my hands.!” challenged Vajradatta. Then Vajradatta drove his huge elephant against Arjuna. Arjuna, with one single arrow, killed the elephant. Vajradatta fell down.

Arjuna told Vajradatta thus: “O Vajradatta! this is Yaga Asva left by Dharmaja. I am protecting it. Dharmaja asked me not to kill any body even if they obstruct the horse. Hence I never caused harm to you. I have no anger against you. I am extending the invitation of Dharmaja to you, your friends and relatives, to attend the Asvamedha Yaga on the ensuing Chaitra Sudha Pournami.” said Arjuna politely.

Having left with no other alternative,Vajradatta accepted the invitation and left the horse.

Then the horse proceeded towards Sindhu kingdom. In the Maha Bharata War, the rulers of Sindhu viz., Saindhava and others were killed. Their sons were ruling Sindhu Kingdom. Knowing that Arjuna was proceeding towards Sindhu Kingdom, all of them collectively attacked Arjuna.

First they captured the horse and declared war against Arjuna. They all showered arrows on Arjuna incessantly. Arjuna attacked the Sindhu army and massacred them. The sindhu army fled away. But the Sindhu warriors, regrouped their army and againt attacked Arjuna.

Arjuna conveyed the message of Dharmaja to all of them. But they paid no heed to his advices. Having found no other way, Arjuna killed all the Sindhu warriors.

At that time, Dussala wife of Saindhava (sister of Suyodhana and Arjuna) arrived there. Beholding Dussala, Arjuna alighted his chariot and came near her.

Dussala told Arjuna thus: “O brother Arjuna! This boy is my grand child. Kindly bless him.” said Dussala.

“O sister! where is his father i.e., son of Saindhava?” asked Arjuna.

“O brother Arjuna! my son suffered great grief on hearing that his father, Saindhava, died at your hands. On hearing that you have come, he died with heart attack. This boy is the only heir for this kingdom.” said Dussala.

Arjuna lamented for the death of the son of Saindhava. Again Dussala said thus: “O brother Arjuna! Suyodhana and his brothers caused untold miseries to all of you. My husband Saindhava also caused much hardship to you. Kindly dont keep them in mind. My grand child is left without father. Kindly save his life.” Dussala put her grand child at the feet of Arjuna.

“O sister Dussala! your brothers and your husband may be wrong doers.. But what about us. We also fought the war and massacred our own kith and kin. It is a great sin to take birth as Kshatriya. Dont be afraid. Your grand child is safe.” said Arjuna.

Pleased with the words of Arjuna, Dussala along with her grand child, left that place. Then Arjuna followed Yaga Asva.

Afterwards, none dared to obstruct Yaga Asva. The horse was going round all kingdoms and entered Manipoora kingdom. The king of Manipoora was Babhruvahana son of Arjuna, through Chitrangada. On hearing about the arrival of Arjuna, Babhru Vahana made arrangements to receive his father, Arjuna, at the outskirts of the city. He welcomed his father. But Arjuna refused the welcome accorded by Babhruvahana.

Arjuna said: “O Babhruvahana! you are my son. You are a great warrior. It is Kshatriya Dharma to catch the horse and resist its further movement. Welcoming the enemy like a coward is not Kshariya Dharma. Such a Kshatriya cannot become a King. If you are capable, you can catch the horse and fight with me.” said Arjuna, provoking Babhruvahana.

As Babhruvahana was not inclined to fight with his father, he returned back and was passing through the royal path. Uloopi, another wife of Arjuna, came to know about this through her divine vision. She came down to Babhruvahana. (Uloopi was the daughter of a serpant king and she married Arjuna while he was going on pilgrimage).

Uloopi told Babhruvahana thus: “O Babhruvahana! I am also your mother. My name is Uloopi. I am the daughter of Serpant King. Your father, Arjuna is a great warrior. His son, that is yours, shall never remain as a coward. Catch hold of the horse and fight with Arjuna and conquer him. Whoever wins, myself and your father feel happy.” said Uloopi.

“O mother Uloopi! what you said is correct. But fighting with own father does not appear to be proper. Hence I refrained from fighting with Arjuna. Otherwise, I will never turn back without fighting. Any how, being a mother, you permitted me tofight with my father. I never seek any other’s permission. I will fight with Arjuna and please my parents.” said Babhruvahana.
He saluted his mother, Uloopi and rushed against Arjuna with his army. First, Babhruvahana captured the horse then went against Arjuna. There happened a battle between father and son. Babhruvahana showered arrows on Arjuna. While cutting all the arrows in the middle, Arjuna was enjoying the archery skills of his son. First, Arjuna cut the flag post of Babhruvahana. Then Arjuna shot arrows throughout the body of Babhruvahana. But Babhruvahana shot one single arrow against Arjuna on account of which Arjuna fainted.

Appreciating the archery skills of his son, Arjuna again shot powerful arrows against Babhruvahana which were made futile by Babhruvahana. Ajuna felt jealous of his son’s archery skills. With great wrath, Arjuna shot numerous arrows throughout the body of Babhruvahana. Enraged with great wrath, Babhruvahana shot a single arrow piercing into the heart of Arjuna. Arjuna fell down. While falling down, Arjuna also shot numerous arrows against Babhruvahana, as a result of which, Babhruvahana also fell down. Both lost consciousness.

Having heard about the fall of both father and son, Uloopi rushed to the spot. Meanwhile, Chitrangada also arrived there. Beholding Uloopi, Chitrangada said thus:

“Look at them. You provoked Babhruvahana to fight with Arjuna, resulting in the fall of both. Are you not a dutiful wife? Dont you know about Dharma. On the basis of which Dharma you provoked this young boy against a warrior like Arjuna? How can this boy fight with a Arjuna? You are responsible for this. You have to make them to regain consciousness. It is your responsibility to bring back the life of Arjuna.” said Chitrangada.

Beholding Arjuna, Chitrangada lamented thus: “O Great warrior! You saved several lives. But you could not save yourself. You have come to me after a long lapse of time. Kindly open your eyes. You have to protect the Yaga Horse and follow it.” Chitrangada was lamenting as if Arjuna was dead.

Again beholding Uloopi, Chitangada said: “OUloopi! Arjuna is the husband for both of us. You made him to lose his life at the hands of my son. You have to bring back life to Arjuna. Otherwise, I will also follow my husband to heaven.” said Chitrangada.

Meanwhile, Babhruvahana regained consciousness. Beholding his lamenting mother, Chitrangada, Babhruvahana said: “O mother! I never saw you lamenting like this. I killed my father with my own hands. There is no expiation for my sin.” lamented Babhruvahana.

Then beholding Uloopi, Babruvahana said: “O my mother Uloopi! Only to please you, I fought with my father. Now he is lying dead. Are you now satisfied? O my mother! I killed my father. I have no expiation for my sin. I do not find mental piece throughout my life. Even after death, I will not get higher regions.” lamented Babruvahana.

Then Babhruvahana took a promise. “I cannot live in this world without my father. Hence I do Prayopavesa.” proclaimed Babhruvahana.

Till then, Uloopi kept quiet tightlipped. She smiled at Babhruvahana and Chitrangada. Then she closed her eyes and chanted a mantra. A divine diamond appeared in her hands.

Beholding Babhruvahana, Uloopi said: “O my son Babhruvahana! Are you mad? Or are all of you mad? Who is Arjuna? He is the son of Devendra. How can he die? Arjuna is a great warrior. Just to test your vigour and valour, I provoked you to fight with your father. You have fulfilled the desire of your father, Arjuna, to fight with you. You both are under delusion. Arjuna just fainted. Look at your father. He will wake up as if from sleep.” said Uloopi.

Uloopi gave that diamond to Babhruvana and asked him to keep it on the heart of Arjuna. Arjuna woke up. Looking at Babhruvahana, “Are you ok” asked Arjuna.

Babhruvahana bowed before Arjuna and said: “O my fahter! we are all happy.” said Babhruvahana.

Arjuna looked around and found his wives Chitrangada and Uloopi. “O my son, Babhruvahana! I am finding both pleasure and sorrow in your faces. What had happened? This is battle field. How your mother Chitrangada and Uloopi arrived here.” asked Arjuna.

Babruvahana showed Uloopi and kept quiet.

“O Uloopi! what made you to come over here. What had happened? Have Chitrangada or Babhruvahana misbehaved with you? ” asked Arjuna.

“O my husband Arjuna! none are at fault. How can I expect my sister Chitrangada and my son Babhruvahana misbehave with me. Kindly bear with me for a while. While you were fighting with Babhruvahana, you fell down and lost consciousness. All thought you are dead.

There is a reason for this. You kept Sikhandi before you and fought with Bhishma. Bhishma fell down on bed of arrows. Thus you attained great sin. Expiation is necessary for your sin.

One day while I was taking holy bath in river Ganga, Vasuvus also were taking bath in river Ganga. River Ganga, in human form, was talking with Vasuvus. Vasuvus told Ganga thus: “O mother Ganga! Bhishma is your son. He was one amongst us. Arjuna killed your son, Bhishma, keeping Sikhandi, before him. But Bhsihma dropped his bow and arrows. Then Arjuna shot numerous arrows throughout his body. Bhishma fell upon arrow bed. Arjuna attained wicked and cruel victory upon Bhishma. Hence we intend to curse Arjuna.” said Vasuvus. River Ganga accepted their proposal.

Upon hearing the above conversation, I proceeded to my father and told him what had happened. My father immediately met Vasuvus and requested them to save Arjuna. Vasuvus agreed to save Arjuna but on condition that Arjuna shall fight with his own son, Babhruvahana and be defeated. Then only his sin will vanish. My father conveyed the same to me. Meanwhile, you have come following Yaga Asva.

As I was waiting for opportunity, I have come down to Babhruvahana and instigated him to fight with you and defeat you. As per my wish, Babhruvahana fought with you and defeated you. You fell down unconscious. All of us except me thought that you are dead. With this, all your sins are vanished. With the power of this Naga Diamond, you regained consciousness. This is what had happened.” said Uloopi.

On hearing this, Arjuna felt very happy. Arjuna invited his son Babhruvahana, Chindrangada, Uloopi and others for the ensuing Asvamedha Yaga to be performed by Dharmaja on coming Chaitra Sudha Pournami.

Babhruvahana and Chitrangada invited Arjuna to visit the Palace and stay there for few days. Arjuned refused to enter city as he has to follow Yaga Asva. After taking leave from Babhruvahana, Chitrangada and Uloopi, Arjuna followed the Yaga Asva.

Then the horse entered Raja Griha kingdom. Megha Sandhi, grand son of Jarasandha was ruling Rajagriha. Meghasandhi captured the Horse and was ready to fight with Arjuna. As usual Arjuna conveyed the message of Dharmaja to Meghasandhi. But Meghasandhi treated the message as the weakness of Arjuna. Meghasandhi showered arrows upon Arjuna. Arjuna was defending himself from those arrows. Arjuna never tried to harm either Meghasandhi or his charioteer, as per the word of his brother, Dharmaja.

Meghasandhi struck Arjuna with sharp arrows throughout his body. Finding no other alternative, Arjuna first killed his charioteer and also the horses tied to the chariot. Then Arjuna cut the flag and destroyed the chariot. Meghasandhi jumped down and took his mace and attacked Arjuna. Even then Arjuna did not hit Meghasandhi but broke his mace. Meghasandhi stood before Arjuna unarmed.

“O Meghasandhi! As per the word of my brother, I did not intend to kill you. Hence you are standing alive. As per Kshatriya Dharma, you captured the horse and fought with me. It is enough. Be friendly with me.” advised Arjuna. Meghasandhi agreed for the proposal of Arjuna. Arjuna hugged Meghasandhi and extended the invitation to attend Asvamedha Yaga on the coming Chaitra Sudha Pournami and requested Meghasandhi to attend Yaga along with his relatives and friends.

Then the horse entered Chedi Kingdom which was being ruled by Sarabha son of Sisupala. At first Sarabha captured the horse but released it immediately and made a peace pact with Arjuna. Then the horse entered Tenkana, Kosala and Kasi kingdoms whose rulers were surrendered to Arjuna and accepted the invitation for Asvamedha Yaga.

Though the King of Dasarna Kingdom captured the horse and fought with Arjuna but later surrendered to Arjuna. Then the horse entered Nishadha Kingdom which was ruled by the son of Ekalavya. Son of Ekalavya opposed Arjuna and fought with him. In no time, he was surrendered to Arjuna.

Then the horse turned towards southern side and entered Poundra, Andhra, Dravida, Kerala and Karnataka areas. Arjuna fought with all the rulers of the resepctive kingdoms and defeated them and extended invitation of AsvamedhaYaga to all the rulers. After crossing Gokarna in Sourashtra area, the horse entered Dwaraka. On hearing the arrival of Arjuna, Yadavas extended a warm welcome to Arjuna.

Then the horse passed through the western coast and arrived at Panchala Kingdom and Gandhara Kingdom. Gandhara King was ruled by the son of Sakuni. Son of Sakuni captured the horse and fought with Arjuna. Arjuna conveyed the message of Dharmaja and advised him not to fight with him. But son of Sakuni never heed his words and was ready to fight. At first, son of Sakuni showered powerful arrows upon Arjuna. Arjuna cut the crown of the son of Sakuni instead of his head. Still he never became wiser. He continued to fight with Arjuna. But his forces fled away being afraid of Arjuna.
Having heard about the fight between Arjuna and son of Sakuni, his mother i.e, wife of Sakuni along with the ministers arrived at the battle field. She prayed Arjuna to save the life of his son. Arjuna stopped fighting and saluted the wife of Sakuni. Arjuna told the son of Sakuni thus:

“O Kumara! It is painful that you fought with me. I conveyed the message of Dharmaja and advised you not to fight with me. But you foolishly fought with me. You are the near relative of my Uncle Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. Hence I never intended to kill you. What is the use of fighting with me. Are we enemies?” said Arjuna. Then Arjuna extended the invitation of Dharmaja to son of Sakuni and his mother. Then Arjuna proceeded further.

As all the kingdoms are covered, the horse started its return journey to Hastinapuram. Dharmaja was being informed from time to time about the victorious tour of Arjuna.

Magha Sudha Poornima arrived. Dharmaja was sitting in the assembly. He sent for his brothers. He told Bhima thus: “O Bhimasena! your brother Arjuna is returning to Hastinapura with Yaga Asva, victoriously. We have to make arrangements for Asvamedha Yaga. Chaitra Sudha Pournami is fast approaching. Send invitations to all the kings, saints and other prominent persons. Similarly, make arrangements for construction of Yaga Sala. Make arrangements for construction of guest houses for the visitors according to their status. Make arrangements for their comfortable stay.” said Dharmaja.

Bhima immediately sent for engineers, architects and masons. A big Yaga Sala, several guest houses were constructed with god speed. Bhimasena sent Brahmins to extend invitations to all kings, sages and saints. Having received the invitations from Dharmaja, Kings from all sides and sages and saints from all places came down to Hastinapura to grace Asvamedha Yaga. Dharmaja made all sorts of arrangements to all the guests. Arrangements were made for their comfortable stay and food, according to their status. Though servants are there, Dharmaja personally supervised the arrangements without giving room for any complaint. The arrangements are such that whenever dining of one lakh people is completed, a trumpet blows and such trumpet was blowing constantly.

Dharmaja worshipped Balarama, Sri Krishna, Satyaki and other Yadava elders. Sri Krishna informed Dharmaja about the arrival of Arjuna.

Sri Krishna also said: “O Dharmaja! It appears Arjuna invited all Kings for Yaga. There may be some kings who were inimically disposed previously. Now they are coming on our invitation. Hence Arjuna informed us to make arrangements for their comfortable stay and sumptuous food, forgetting the past enmity.” said Krishna.

“O Krishna! I also heard about it. Arjuna extended invitation for all those who were defeated in great war. Besides that, Arjuna fought with Bhishma, Drona, Karna etc great warriors and defeated them. Again he has gone along with the horse to fight with those who obstruct the movement of horse. All these woes are caused to Arjuna only on account of me.What can I do?” Dharmaja felt unhappy.

Meanwhile, a messenger from Arjuna came there and informed Dharmaja that Arjuna arrived at the outskirts of Hastinapura and will meet Dharmaja next day. Next day, while Yajna Asva was walking in front of him, Arjuna entered the city of Hastinapura. The people of Hastinapura accorded warm welcome to Arjuna. Arjuna arrived at Yaga Saala. Dharmaja, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva,Krishna and others welcomed Arjuna. Meanwhile, Babhruvahana along with his mothers, Chitrangada and Uloopi arrived at Hastina. Arjuna introduced them to Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Kunti, Dharmaja and others and received their blessings. Then Chitrangada and Uloopi were introduced by Arjuna to Droupadi and Subhadra.

The auspicious day to commence Asvamedha Yaga arrived. Vyasa said: “O Dharmaja! This is a great yaga. You have earned sufficient wealth to perform that Yaga. Hence perform Asvamedha Yaga uninterruptedly. The holy bath at the end of Yaga vanishes all your sins. You will be blessed.” said Vyasa.

Under the guidance of Vyasa, Dharmaja took Yaga Deeksha. Ritviks lit the holy fire. While chanting Mantras, they were offering holy material and pouring ghee in Holy fire. Some were extracting Soma juice from Soma plants. Bhima was supervising catering section and supplying sumptuous food to all the guests. Even divine bodies were lurking from sky, how Yaga was going on.

The main Yajna vaatika was built with golden bricks, 18 lengths(18 inches each length) on each side. Yajna Vatika was built in eagle shape. Ritviks planted Oopa Stambhas (sacred poles made up of wood extracted from several trees). They are 21 in number. Besides that, several golden poles were erected as decorative pieces. Four legged creatures, 300 in number, were tied to those 21 Oopa Stambhas. To the main Oopa Stambha (main pole), Yajna Asva (the horse which was taken round all over the country) was tied.

During the Yajna, as a ritual, all the 300 four legged creatures were killed. Along with them several birds, fish etc also were killed. Now the time has come to kill the Yajna Asva (main horse). At that time Droupadi was standing by the side of Yajna Asva. The Horse which was taken round the country, was killed by ritviks. Different parts of the body of Yajna Asva were burnt in holy fire by Droupadi personally. While the body parts of Yajna Asva were burnt in holy fire, the smoke and smell emanated from holy fire was smelt by Pandavas and Droupadi. Ritviks, while chanting Vedic hymns, burnt the remaining parts of the body of Yajna Asva.

Dharmaja offered One crore thousand gold coins to Ritviks. The entire kingdom was given to Vyasa as Bhoodaana. Then Dharmaja said:

“O Vyasa! Ihave given away the entire land owned by me as charity. Nothing remains with me. I will go to forests and perform Tapassu.” said Dharmaja.

Vyasa told Dharmaja thus: “O Dharmaja! you have given me the entire earth as charity. What can I do with the earth? Kindly take back your land and compensate the same with equal value of gold.” said Vyasa.

Dharmaja did not agree to receive back the land given as charity. Then Vyasa insisted:

“O Dharmaja! You have given me the land as charity. Now it is my own property. I am not giving the land to you free of cost. I am selling the land to you. Pay me the consideration and take back the land.” said Vyasa.

Sri Krishna also supported the view of Vyasa. Dharmaja paid one crore of crore gold coins and take back the land. Then Vyasa distributed that wealth in equal shares to the Brahmins attended Asvamedha Yaga.

Besides that, Dharmaja also distributed all the gold utensils manufactured for the performance of Yaga were distributed to Brahmins. Then Dharmaja made charities, to Kshatriyas, Vysyas and Soodras and also other caste people, in abundance. All those who attended the Asvamedha Yaga returned home with greatest satisfaction. Veda Vyasa gave his share of gold to Kunti. Kunti in turn distributed that wealth to poor and needy.

O King Janamejaya! after completion of Asvamedha Yaga, Dharmaja along with his brothers and wives took holy bath and cleansed his body and mind. Dharmaja prostrated before Vyasa who conducted Asvamedha Yaga uninterruptedly. After blessing Dharmaja, Vyasa along with his students, went away.

After departure of Saint Vyasa, Dharmaja honoured all the kings attended the Yaga with gold, diamonds, pearls, ornaments, elephants, horses, ladies(as servants) etc. Dharmaja also honoured Babhruvahana and permitted him to leave for his kingdom. But Chitrangada and Uloopi opted to remain in Hastinapura to serve their husband, Arjuna.

Wife of Sisupala came down from Sindhu kingdom to witness the Yaga. Dharmaja also honoured her with greast respect. Dharmaja enthroned the grandson of Sisupala as King of Sindhu. Dharmaja also gave away the respecstive kingdoms to the heirs of the Kings who died in war. All have departed except Sri Krishna and Balarama, Satyaki and other Yadavas.

Dharmaja presented several diamonds, gold ornaments and other valuable items to Sri Krishna and others. Then Sri Krishna along with Balarama, Satyaki and others left for Dwaraka.” said Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.

“O Saint Vaisampayana! You told me about Asvamedha Yaga in detail. But during the course of Yaga, was there any remarkable incident occurred. If so, kindly tell me.” asked Janamejaya. Vaisampayana told thus:

“O King Janamejaya! During the course of Asvamedha Yaga, on the concluding day, one mungooss (mungisa) entered the Yaga Saala. Half of its body was shining as Gold. Beholding the Yaga, that mungooss told the Ritviks:

“During this Asvamedha Yaga, King Dharmaja made several charities, gave presentations and served sumptuous food to all the invitees and was acclaimed by one and all. But all this has no match to what has been done by a brahmin called Saktuprastha.” said the mungooss.

All the Ritviks were astonished for the words of that mungooss. “Both human beings and divine bodies accepted the diligence and devotion bestowed by Dharmaja during the course of Asvamedhayaga and the manner in which it was conducted. What fault you have found during the Yaga.” asked Ritviks.

That mungooss said thus: “In Kurukshetra, there was a brahmin called Saktuprastha. He was having wife, son and daughter in law. They eke their livelihood by collecting grains fallen in the paddy fields after harvest. He has abandoned his desires, aggrandizement and anger. He was so soft.

Once there was a great famine. There were no rains. They could not collect grain from fields. In that situation, on one day, all the four members went to a field and with great difficulty collected some grain. They powdered it. After offering the same to God and after performing Sandhyavandanam etc., rituals, they sat together to consume the grain powder.

At that time, one guest came down to their house. The brahmin invited the guest and offered him Arghyam and Padyam. That brahmin gave away his part of grain powder to the guest for eating. The guest ate it but was not satisfied.

Then his wife said: “O my husband! please give my share of powder also to the guest and satisfy him.” said the wife. “O my wife! even birds bring food and feed their wife and children. How can I take the food from your mouth.” said Brahmin. “You are my husband. After marriage, husband is relation, friend, mother, father, teacher and God. When husband is exhausted, it is the duty of wife to help him. Hence I am helping you. Please give my share of food also to the guest.” said the wife. Accordingly, the brahim gave her share to the guest. The guest consumed it but was not satisfied. The brahmin was worrying for his inability to satisfy the guest.

Then his son offered his share of food to the guest. “O my son! though you are aged, you are still a boy for me. Generally, youngsters have more hunger. How can I take the food from your mouth” said father. “O father! you are aware that son is the replica of father. Is not your sorrw, my sorrow. As a son, it is my duty to eradicate your sorrows. Hence give away my share of food to the guest.” said the son. Accordingly, the brahmin gave the share of his son to the guest. The guest consumed it but was not satisfied.

Now it is the turn of the daughter-in- law to offer her share of food to the guest. “You have come as daughter in law to my house. You have shared our poverty also. Without proper nourishing food, your body deteriorated. Now we got some food. How can you give your share and suffer with hunger. I cannot see you suffering with hunger.” said brahmin. “O my father in law! You are my teacher. As long as I hold life in my body, I have to serve my teacher and help him in need. Hence I am giving my share. Kindly offer this to the guest and satisfy him.” said the daughter in law. Accordingly, the brahmin offered the share of his daughter in law to the guest.

The guest conumed it and satisfied. The guest said thus: “O brahmin! I am not an ordinary guest. I am Yama. I am very much satisfied for the virtuous behaviour of you and your family members. The humbleness, devotion, attention you and your family members have towards guests and elders is very much appreciable. Look at the sky. Even the divine bodies are watching from the sky. In heaven, all the sages and saints are waiting for your arrival. I invite you, your wife, son and daughter in law to heaven.” said Yama.

Yama continued to say: “O virtuous brahmin! hunger is worst than all. Hunger destroys our wisdom and discretion. Desire destroys kindness. Yourself, your wife, son and daughter in law conquered hunger and desire. You all worshipped guest and attained divinity. Having been acclaimed by your charitable quality, Lord Brahma invited you to Brahma Loka. In a shortwhile, a divine air craft will come to pick you up.

O virtuous brahmin! giving charity part of his wealth, and performing Yajnas and Yagas is not great. Giving charity without sparing anything for himself, is a real charity. It is greatest of all.” said Yama Dharma Raja.

Meanwhile, a divine air craft from Brahma Loka arrived there. Saktuprastha, his wife, son and daughter in law saluted Yama and stood before him. Yama asked them to board the divine air craft. Accordingly, Saktuprastha, his wife, son and daughter in law boarded the divine air craft and went to Brahma Loka.

I have clearly observed all these incidents from a hole in the adjacent wall. I found the water used for washing the feet of Yama, flowing there. I fell in the water and rolled. But only half of my body was wet with water. Miraculously half of my body became gold. From that day on wards, I have been going round all the places where great Yajnas, Yagas, charities are performed, so that the remaining half of my body becomes gold. Till now, it does not happen.

Having heard that Dharmaja is performing Asvamedha Yaga which is acclaimed by divine bodies, I have come here. But there is no use. My body remains as it is. I realised that the charity made by Saktuprastha by giving away what was acquired by him by collecting grain from harvested fileds is much more greater than the Asvamedha Yaga performed by Dharmaja and the charities made by him during the course of that Yaga. Then that mungoos went away of its own accord.

O King Janamejaya! this was the strange incident occurred during the course of Asvamedha Yaga performed by your grand father, Dharmaja.” said Vaisampayana.

Then Janamejaya said thus: “O Saint Vaisampayana! Kings are interested in performing Yajnas and yagas; saints are interested in performing Tapas; brahmins are interested in controlling their mind and sense organs. Hence, in the past, several kings performed several Yajnas and Yagas and attained higher lokas. Similarly, my grand father, Dharmaja also performed Asvamedha Yaga. He performed that Yaga with greatest faith and devotion which was acclaimed by Vyasa and other sages and saints. Dharmaja performed that Yaga as if it was performed by Devendra. In such circumstances, why that mungoos blamed that Yaga and censured it and heckled it. Is there any special reason. If so kindly tell me.” asked Janamejaya.

Vaisampayana said thus: “O King Janamejaya! as you said rightly, Asvamedha Yaga performed by Dharmaja got all such good qualities.But there is one thing to be remembered. In the Asvamedha Yaga, several creatures including the Yaga Asva were killed. Much violence occurred. In the eyes of Mungoos, the Tapo Yajna performed by that Brahmin was much better than the Asvamedha Yaga perfomed by Dharmaja with much violence and killing of animals and divine horse. With the power and glory of saatvika yajna performed by that Brahmin, half of its body was changed into gold. None can deny this. So also we cannot ignore the words of Mungoos.

In this connection, I tell you a story. In the past, Devendra intended to perform one Yajna. Several Ritviks, great saints, divine bodies attended that Yajna. They constructed huge platform for performing the Yajna. Sacred fires were lit. Several animals were procured for sacrifice.

All the saints objected for the violence and told Devendra: “O Devendra! is it necessary to kill all these animals for the sake of this Yajna. We can use three years old seeds as a supplement or substitute for animals. This was the Dharma followed in Krita Yuga. Kindly look at those animals. They are shedding tears out of fear of death. Be merciful towards those animals and leave them.” said those saints.

But Devendra did not agree for their proposal. All saints also vehemently resisted the violence during Yajna. But divine bodies supported Devendra and voted for violence. Deva Loka was divided into two.
In those days, there was a friend of Devendra. His name was Uparichara Vasuvu. That Vasuvu arrived there to witness the Yajna. Divine bodies and saints sought his advice as mediators. Vasu heard the arguments on both sides. As he was the friend of Devendra, Vasuvu decided in favour of Devendra and declared that violence is a must in Yajnas. As a result, Uparichara Vasuvu was consigned to hell. Hence, O Janamejaya! Yaga or Yajna without violence is best of all. There is no doubt about it. Besides that, that Brahmin who was eking his livelihood by collecting grains from paddy fields after harvest, has given away what all he got. Is it not an appreciable thing.” said saint Vaisampayana.

Having having those words, Janamejaya said: “O Saint! what you said is correct. I agree. His virtuous act is appreciable. Kindly elaborate the view that for purpose of charity, lawfully earned money only is eligible.”asked Janamejaya.

In reply, Vaisampayana said thus: “O King Janamejaya! in this connection, I tell you a story. In the past, Saint Agasthya intended to perform a Yaga to be continued for 12 years uninterruptedly. For that yaga, several Ritviks, experts in performing Yaga and saints have arrived. All preparations were being made for Yaga. But there were no rains. As a result, there were no crops, no food grains, no material for performing yaga. This is all on account of Indra. Everybody was eagerly watching how Agasthya performs the Yaga.

By that time Agasthya was in 12 years Deeksha. He was not inclined to touch even a single grain, earned unlawfully. To perform Yaga in virtuous manner, it should be rainy and cultivation shall start. Beholding this situation Agasthya told the Ritviks thus: “O saint! if Indra gives us water through rains, it is alright. Otherwise, I myself become Indra and rule the three regions. If that is not possible, I go round the three regions and collect surplus food grains and perform Yaga. I hear that in northern Kuru lands, there were plenty of food grains. I will send for food grains from northern kuru lands. It appears Indra is angry as I am performing Yajna only with seeds and not by animal sacrifice. Therefore, you need not worry.” said Agastya.

“O saint Agastya! you need not spend the power of your tapas for these paltry things. Why should you borrow food grains from others. We all bring our own material from our places. The Yaga will be performed uninterruptedly.” assured the sages and saints. Satisfied with the words of saints, Agasthya continued to perform Yajna.

Having heard about this, Indra was afraid. Immediately, he ordered the water bearing clounds to rain. Devendra, along with Brihaspati came down to Agasthya and prayed excuse. Agasthya invited Indra for the Yaga and honoured him. After receiving his share of Yajna (Havis), Indra and Brihaspati went back to heaven. Agashtya worshipped the Ritviks and other sages and saints who attended the yaga and made it successful.

Therefore, King Janamejaya! Yajnas and Yagas are to be performed only with the money earned, not out of illegal and unlawful means and also without violence and killing of animals. Such Yajna is a glorious Yajna.” said Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.

King Janamejaya entertainred a doubt. “O Saint Vaisampayana! you told me that one Mungoos spoke in human language. That must be a great soul in its previous birth. Who was he or she? kindly tell me.” asked Janamejaya.

Vaisampayana said thus: “O King Janamejaya! Once Saint Jamadagni was performing his father’s annual ceremony. He secured cow milk and kept the pot in a corner of Ashram. “Krodha” (the Anger) in human form arrived there and broke the pot, as if it had accidentally happened. Beholding this , Jamadagni did not get angry. He smiled and tried to procure another pot of milk. Krodha appeared before him and said:

“O Saint Jamadagni! I heard that persons born in Bhrigu clan in which you were born are all filled with great wrath and anger. But you proved it futile. I am defeated before you. Kindly excuse me.” prayed Anger (Krodha).

“No no. You have not committed any wrong. Therefore there is no question of excusing you. If you feel any guilt in your mind, wipe it out. Now I am invoking my Pitaras. They may curse you. Leave this place.” said Jamadagni. Krodha went away.

Then Jamadagni invoked his Pitaras and performed the ceremony. Having come to know about this incident, Pitaras of Bhrigu grew angry. They cursed Jamadagni to take birth as Mungoos, for not cursing Krodha. Jamadagni prayed mercy. The ancestros told him the remedy.

“If you find fault with a great person in an open assembly about a great event, you get rid of this curse.” told those Pitaras. Accordingly, Saint Jamadagni was born as Mungoos. He found fault with the Asvamedha Yaga performed by Dharmaja and proved that Asvamedha Yaga was performed against all virtues and principles and got rid of his curse.” said Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.