LXXXV Vaisampayana said, Having said these words, Partha set out, following the horse which wandered at its will.
The sacrificial steed then turned towards the road that led to the city called after the elephant. Yudhishthira heard from his intelligence-bearers that the steed had turned back. And hearing also that Arjuna was hale and hearty, he became filled with joy Hearing also the feats, accomplished by Vijaya in the country of the Gandharas as also in another realms, the king became exceedingly glad. Meanwhile, king Yudhishthira the just, seeing that the twelfth day of the lighted fortnight in the month of Magha had come, and noticing also that the constellation was favourable, summoned all his brothers, viz, Bhima and Nakula and Sahadeva. Endued with great energy, the king, O thou of Kuru's race, that foremost of all persons conversant with duties, said these words in proper time. Indeed, that foremost of all speakers, addressing Bhima, the first of all smiters, said, Thy younger brother Arjuna, O Bhimasena, is coming back with the horse. I have learnt this from those men who had followed Arjuna. The time for the sacrifice is come. The sacrificial horse is near.
The day of full moon of the month of Magha is at hand. The month is about to expire, O Vrikodara. Let, therefore, learned Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas look for a sacrificial spot for the successful accomplishment of the Horse-sacrifice' Thus addressed, Bhima obeyed the royal behest. He became very glad upon hearing that Arjuna of curly hair was about to come back. Then Bhima went out with a number of men well conversant with the rules of laying out sacrificial grounds and constructing buildings. And he took with him many Brahmanas well-versed in all the rites of sacrifices. Bhima selected a beautiful spot and caused it to be duly measured out for laying the sacrificial compound. Numerous houses and mansions were constructed on it and high and broad roads also were laid out. Soon enough the Kaurava hero caused that ground to teem with hundreds of excellent mansions.
The surface was levelled and made smooth with jewels and gems, and adorned with diverse structures made of gold. Columns were raised, ornamented with bright gold, and high and wide triumphal arches also were constructed on that sacrificial compound. All these were made of pure gold. The righteous-souled prince also caused apartments to be duly constructed for the accommodation of ladies and of the numerous kings who, hailing from many realms, were expected to grace the sacrifice with their presence. The son of Kunti also caused many mansions to be duly erected for Brahmanas who were expected to come from diverse realms. Then the mighty-armed Bhimasena, at the command of the king, sent out messengers to the great kings of the Earth. Those best of kings, came to the Horse-sacrifice of the Kuru monarch for doing what was agreeable to him. And they brought many gems with them and many female slaves and horses and weapons. The sounds that arose from those high-souled kings who resided within those pavilions touched the very heavens and resembled the noise made by the roaring ocean. King Yudhishthira, the delighter of the Kurus, assigned unto the monarchs who thus came to his sacrifice diverse kinds of food and drink, and beds also of celestial beauty.
The chief of the Bharatas, viz, king Yudhishthira the just, assigned several stables well filled with different kinds of corn and sugarcane and milk to the animals that came with the guests. To that great sacrifice of king Yudhishthira the just who was possessed of high intelligence, there also came a large number of Munis all of whom were utterers of Brahman. Indeed, O lord of Earth, all the foremost ones among the regenerate class that were then alive, came to that sacrifice, accompanied by their disciples. The Kuru king received them all. King Yudhishthira of mighty energy, casting off all pride, himself followed all his guests to the pavilions that had been assigned for their residence. Then all the mechanics and engineers, having completed the arrangements of the sacrifice informed king Yudhishthira of it. Hearing that everything was ready, king Yudhishthira the just, full of alertness and attention, became highly glad along with his brothers all of whom honoured him duly' Vaisampayana continued, When the great sacrifice of Yudhishthira commenced, many eloquent dialecticians started diverse propositions and disputed thereon, desirous of vanquishing one another The invited kings beheld the excellent preparations of that sacrifice, resembling those of the chief himself of the deities, made, O Bharata, by Bhimasena. They beheld many triumphal arches made of gold, and many beds and seats and other articles of enjoyment and luxury, and crowds of men collected at different sports.
There were also many jars and vessels and cauldrons and jugs and lids and covers. The invited kings saw nothing there that was not made of gold. Many sacrificial stakes also were set up, made, according to the directions of the scriptures of wood, and adorned with gold. Endued with great effulgence, these were duly planted and dedicated with scriptural Mantras. The king saw all animals, again, which belong to land and all those which belong to water, collected there on the occasion. And they also beheld many kine and many buffaloes and many old women, and many aquatic animals, many beasts of prey and many species of birds, and many specimens of viviparous and oviparous creatures, and many that are filth-born, and many belonging to the vegetable kingdom, and many animals and plants that live or grow on mountains. Beholding the sacrificial compound thus adorned with animals and kine and corn, the invited kings became filled with wonder. Large heaps of costly sweet-meats were kept ready for both the Brahmanas and the Vaisyas. And when the feeding was over of a hundred thousand Brahmanas, drums and cymbals were beat. And so large was the number fed that the sounds of drums and cymbals were repeatedly heard, indeed, from day to day those sounds continued.
Thus was performed that sacrifice of king Yudhishthira of great intelligence. Many hills of food, O king, were dedicated on the occasion. Many large tanks were seen of curds and many lakes of ghee. In that great sacrifice, O monarch, was seen the entire population of Jamvudwipa, with all its realms and provinces, collected together. Thousands of nations and races were there. A large number of men, O chief of Bharata's race, adorned with garlands and wearing bright ear-rings made of gold, taking innumerable vessels in their hands, distributed the food unto the regenerate classes by hundreds and thousands. The attendants of the Pandavas gave away unto the Brahmanas diverge kinds of food and drink which were, besides, so costly as to be worthy of being eaten and drunk by kings themselves