- Introduction by Prof.K.T.Pandurangi 

Chapter XXX 

Pandavas rule of the kingdom 

30th chapter describes the Ashvamedha sacrifice performed by Yudhishtira. After Bhishma entered into his vasurupa, Yudhishtira performed the necessary rites. Sri Vedavyasa consoled Ganga and Yudhishtira. However, he continued to feel depressed. SriVedavyasa advised him to perform Ashvamedha sacrifice and rule the kingdom in a noble way. He lived in Pandu’s residence. Bhima lived-in Duryodhana’s residence with Draupadi and Kali. He also had twenty daughters of Vasudeva as his wives. Bhima selected five Brahmanas in each village and asked them to make villagers perform Ekadashi and other austerities. No one opposed Vishnu and dharma in his kingdom. No one violated the code of conduct. No one was unhappy in life. Kaliyuga looked like Kritayuga. Arjuna undertook victory tours. Without harassing he kept the other kings under his control. He lived in Dushyasana’s residence with Subhadra and Chitrangadha. Nakula was entrusted with the work of paying enumeration to servants. He lived with Satya’s daughter in the residence of Durmukha a son of Dhritarashtra. Sahadeva lived in the residence of Durmarshana with his wife the daughter of Jarasandha. He had been a bodyguard of Yudhishtira. During the rule of Pandavas, there were no diseases, no sorrow. There was good rain, cows gave plenty of milk, mountains, forests and rivers yielded good wealth. Kali and Bali were kept under control. Yudhishtira told Kali “It is the king who influences the time; the time does not influence the king. You do not play foul in respect of the border of countries, the pledged articles, the witness of majority, weighing balance, and measuring vessel. This is the tribute that you have to pay to the king”. Arjuna had forgotten the teachings of Gita. Hence, Sri Krishna taught him again in detail in Anugita. Shri Krishna returned to Dwaraka. On the way Udanka met him and proceeded to curse Shri Krishna for instigating Pandavas to kill his disciple Duryodhana. Shri Krishna consoled him and told him that Indra would give him nectar. He instructed Indra to give him nectar. Indra told Shri Krishna that he would deceive Udanka. Indra went to Udanka holding the nectar vessel in the place of Urine and asked Udanka to take it. Udanka thought it was made dirty and asked Indra to get away. Since, the nectar was meant for deities only Indra did not want to give it to Udanka. 

Pandavas Undertake Ashvamedha sacrifice 

Yudhishtira thought of performing Ashvamedha sacrifice. However, to gather necessary resources were a problem, He did not want to squeeze his subordinate rulers. At this stage Sri Vedavyasa appeared. He told Yudhishtira “at the meeting point of Himalaya and Meru lord Vishnu himself performed a great sacrifice. At that place there is a lot of wealth. You may go to that place and obtain the required wealth with permission of Parashurama. Pandavas went to the place accompanied by Sri Vedavyasa. Sri Vedavyasa pointed out the place of wealth. Pandavas bought it. Sri Vedavyasa and Pandavas returned to Hastinavati. Shri Krishna also arrived. At this time Uttara delivered a dead child. Shri Krishna put life into it. Pandavas started Ashvamedha; they got a golden sacrificial hall built for it. Ashvamedha horse started moving. Arjuna followed it. He went round different kingdoms conquering the respective kings. He invited the kings to sacrifice. In the course of his victory journey Arjuna went to Manalur. His son Babruvahana’s mother Ulupi came from Pathala and asked him to fight. He started fighting. His flag was cut, the horse tied. He stood on the ground and fought. He employed Sammohana weapon and Arjuna became unconscious. Chitrangadha started blaming Ulupi. Ulupi bought Sanjivini and revived his consciousness. Arjuna went near Dwaraka Pradyumna took away the horse and invited Arjuna for fighting. Vasudeva intervened and allowed the horse to move. Yudhishtira asked Shri Krishna as to why Arjuna was always made to wander. Before Shri Krishna started explaining Draupadi winked at him and prevented him. The fact is, Shri Krishna, Satyabhama, Bhima and Draupadi only have perfect physical featured according to Samudrika Shastra. Arjuna’s head and body were little disproportionate. Ashvamedha sacrifice was started. The sages conducted the sacrifice under the guidance of Sri Vedavyasa. Vedavyasa, Shri Krishna and Parashurama graced the sacrifice by their presence. Brahma, Rudra, Indra etc deities were personally present. Gandharvas sang, apsaras dances and the sages debated on the philosophical issues. Bhimasena was presenting gifts. There was good feast with a variety of menus and plenty of milk and honey. The sacrifice was spread over three years with three main offerings. Since five Pandavas performed it for three years it resulted in sacrifice of fifteen years. At the close of the sacrifice, Pandavas Draupadi and other wives gifted away all the belongings excepting Mangalasutra. The priests accepted the gold and other gifts but desired to give the kingdom back to Pandavas. Pandavas were reluctant to accept the kingdom back. However, Sri Vedavyasa persuaded them to accept the kingdom. They agreed, At this juncture, a demon came in the form of a hare and said "your sacrifice and gifts are nothing compared with the gift of flour of a poor Brahmana, to Yama. Half of my body became golden when the holy waters of the gift were sprinkled. But here even after I took a full dip in the avabhritha water, the other side of my body did not become golden". Sri Krishna and the sages laughed at him. He became invisible and went into deep darkness. A Virtuous person attains greater results by his good deeds. The deeds performed by the devotees of Vishnu yield greater results. The devotion to Vishnu goes on increasing in the devotees of Vishnu in a greater way up to Brahma. In that assembly of deities and sages Yudhishtira requested Sri Krishna to teach him. Sri Krishna taught Vaisnava dharma.