BOOK 7: UTTARA KANDA
After the conversation between Rama and Bharata had been over, Lakshmana, with reasonable words, said to the former "O worshipful Sir, amongst sacrifices Asvamedha is the best and the remover of all sins ;it is my prayer therefore that thy desire might be turned towards this great and highly puifying sacrifice.
It is said in this Puranas, that Purandara, sullied by the sin consequent upon slaying a Brahmana, was again purified by celebrating a horse sacrifice. O thou having long arms, formerly, during the war between Devas and Asuras there flourished a highly honored Asura under the name of Vritra. The breadth of his body was a hundred Yojanas and the height thereof was three hundred Yojanas.
Considering all under his subjection he used to regard them with afection. He was pious, grateful and used to perform nothing without proper deliberation. And treading pious tracks he used to govern his subjects very carefully.
During his administration earth produced all wished for objects; roots and fruits were tasteful and lowers were fragrant. Without being cultivated earth used to yield crops. In this wise for many long years he governed a prosperous and wonderful kingdom.
Thereupon he determind upon performing a hard penance. He considered asceticism as the best of all and regarded all other things as mere illusions. Having resolved thus and placed his son Madhureswara on the throne Vritra engaged in austerities creating terror unto all Devas.
He being thus engaged is asceticism, Indra, greatly terrified, approached Vishnu and said "O thou having long arms, by virtue of his asceticism Vritra is about to conquer all the worlds. He is pious, so I cannot subdue him. O illustrious Sir, if his ascetic powers grow more we shall be constrained to live under his control for ever from the creation.
Do thou therefore not neglect any longer this highly generous Asura. Thyself being enraged, O lord of Devas, Vritra shall not live even for a moment. O Vishnu, from the time he succeeded in propitiating thee, he hath obtained the sovereignty of the three worlds.
Do thou, therefore, be propitiated now ;save thee none can free this world from thorns and bring it at rest. O Vishnu, all the Devas are waiting for thee ;do thou help them by slaying Vritra. O thou having a large mind, thou at always the help of these high souled Devas.
It is impossible for any one else to accomplish the present work. Thou art the refuge of the helpless."