In the previous episode, we had moved forward after the Jaraasandha-Vadam into Yudishtra’s “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga”. The preparations are going on in full steam and the Paandava brothers go in different directions to collect gifts and other items from various kings from various kingdoms. As this is being done, Bhagawan Krishna once again arrives at Indraprastha to oversee the preparations. At this time, Yudishtra requests Bhagawan Krishna that He should take up the “Yaaga-Deeksha” to perform the Yaaga on behalf of the Paandava brothers, as He was the apt person to do so. However, Bhagawan Krishna had other plans – He wanted Yudishtra to perform the Yaaga, only through which he is going to attain more prosperity. If such is the case, what is the use of Bhagawan Krishna doing it? Thus, Bhagawan politely refuses Yudishtra’s request and advises him to go ahead and undertake the “Yaaga-Deeksha”.
As this happens meanwhile, the day of the grand event is fast approaching. All the kings who had been invited for the event, start arriving in huge caravans! Indraprastha is now transforming itself into a grand festive mood! All the people of Indraprastha are extremely happy that their king is performing such a great Yaaga, which not many other kings might have performed till now. This was a unique Yaaga and to witness it, several great Maharishis make their way to Indraprastha. Sage Veda-Vyaasa also arrives at Indraprastha as well. He doesn’t come alone – He brings his four disciples along with him, including Sage Vaishampayana and Sage Jaime. As the day arrives, everybody assembles in Yudishtra’s grand courtroom, which has the capability to house and seat as many thousands of people as they pour in. The entire courtroom is buzzing with activity and Yudishta arrives at the center! As Yudishtra takes his seat, it was as if Indra is seated at the “Deva-Lokha”! Yudishtra was surrounded by all his four brothers on one end and Bhagawan Krishna on the other!
As people pour in from various directions, everybody was welcomed with a grand feast consisting of various food varieties. In fact, Sage Vyaasa was so impressed with the food that was served, and he dedicated one full “Adhyaaya” only to talk about all the different food items that were present as part of the grand buffet. Of course, if I start talking about it now, all of us would start feeling hungry, and hence for now, let us skip this and move forward! 🙂 If we’re still interested in this, we shall always go back and refer to the text, to find out what were the food items and how we can prepare them at home! 🙂
Moving on further thus, as all the people have a sumptuous feast, Yudishtra goes around and inspects if everything is in place. He also enquires with each and every person assembled there, to make sure that they’re receiving the best of the best hospitality with regards to food, accommodation, etc. Yudishtra also ensures that all the Maharishis are satisfied and they’re chanting all the Veda-Mantras as per the prescribed norms. As all these happen in tandem, the Yaaga commences! Now Yudishtra asks an important question here – “To whom should I perform the “Agra-Puja”? Normally, “Agra-Puja” is the custom wherein one great Maharishi is selected amongst the entire group and a special offering is performed. Of course, there are extraordinarily significant Maharishis who have assembled at Indraprastha, including Sage Naarada himself, along with Sage Vyaasa, Sage Vaishampayana, and the likes. Now amongst these great stellar Maharishi-groups, whom should Yudishtra select for the “Agra-Puja”?
As Yudishtra asks thus, Bhagawan Krishna replies to him that before he does the “Agra-Puja”, Bhagawan Krishna would Himself volunteer to welcome all the Maharishis who had assembled there. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna stands up from His seat and goes near each of the Maharishis, bows in front of them, washes their feet with divine water and welcomes them as per the protocol! Here we can see that Bhagawan Himself is welcoming the Maharishis! We might wonder as to why He should do so! Rather, the Maharishis should welcome Bhagawan, shouldn’t they? The message from Bhagawan is very clear – There is a way and a protocol to welcome and respect great Aachaaryas, and even Bhagawan is none in front of them! Thus, Bhagawan Krishna drives the message that no matter who one may or may not be, due respects should be given to Aachaaryas and Maharishis. Thus, the significance of a Guru is being brought out by Bhagawan Krishna through this gesture.
So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall continue with the proceedings of the Raaja-Suya Yaaga further in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂