Rāmāyana | Bala Kaṇḍa | Chapter 8

Sargam [Chapter]: 8
Aśvamedha Sacrifice Proposal

[Daśaratha, feeling the need to have a son, decides to do Aśvamedha sacrifice. He consults his Gurus and priests about it. All of them second his wish and order him to make necessary arrangements. Daśaratha, having decided on the sacrifice, instructs his wives to lead a disciplined life.]

The Majestic Daśaratha, the knower of righteousness, who was a great soul, was extremely sad for not having any son for perpetuating the race in spite of performing hard penances. 8.1

That magnanimous King reflecting over this matter thought of performing a horse sacrifice for getting sons and decided on that course. 8.2

Pious and wise, that King after making up his mind, called his ministers who had control over themselves and firmly instructed them on the need of performing the horse sacrifice and commanded, the best among his ministers to go and bring all his Gurus along with the family priests. 8.3-8.4

After that Sumantra who could move swiftly brought Sujajñā, Vāmadeva, Jābāli, Kaśyapa as well as his family priest sage Vasistha along with great Brahmins who were expert in Vedas. 8.5-8.6

Daśaratha, the soul of Dharma, then worshipped all of them and uttered these meaningful words drenched in Dharma to them. 8.7

Due to the sorrow filing my mind for not having sons, I do not have happiness and I intend to perform the horse sacrifice. 8.8

So I am desirous of performing it according to śāstra. Please discuss and tell me as to how I would be able to fulfil my desire. 8.9

The Brahmins led by sage Vaṣiṣṭha agreed with the words spoken by the King and extolled it by saying "well, well" 8.10

All of them were highly pleased and told Daśaratha, "Let the requisite articles be collected and the horse be released." 8.11

"Oh king, the desire that arose in your mind for getting sons is right and you will definitely obtain sons as desired." 8.12

Hearing the words spoken by the Brahmins, thereafter the King was very much pleased and with excited eyes told the ministers. 8.13

"Let the articles required for the sacrifice be procured as per the advice of the Guru and the horse be released under protection of able men." 8.14

"Let a sacrificial hall be constructed according to the ritual code on the northern bank of river Sarayu. Let auspicious rites be performed so that the sacrifice is conducted without any interruption." 8.15

"It would be definitely possible to get desired results by the kings if difficulties and interruptions do not happen in this great fire sacrifice." 8.16

"The learned Brahma Rākṣasas would be trying their best to find flaw in its conduct. If they find it, they will destroy the sacrifice and kill the performer." 8.17

"For that reason, let efforts be made to conduct it without any flaw and let the sacrifice be completed according to rules as laid out in the scriptures as you are all experts in doing so.," 8.18

All the Ministers heard these words of King Daśaratha, worshipped him and replied, "It would be done that way, Sir". 8.19

Those Brahmins, who were experts in Dharma, congratulated Daśaratha, the best among the kings, for his perseverance, took leave of him and returned to the places from where they came. 8.20

After bidding farewell to those great Brahmins, King Daśaratha told his ministers, "Let the fire sacrifice be done as enjoined by the scriptures and as directed by the officiating priests." 8.21

That very eminent king, who was greatly intelligent, after ordering his ministers, who were sitting nearby, to leave and entered in to his private apartments. 8.22

After that, the King went near his dearest wives and told them, "I intend to observe a fire sacrifice for getting sons and so all of you may start observing a strictly disciplined religious life." 8.23

After hearing his very charming words, his wives, who had lotus like faces and were bright looking, shined like lotus flower coming out of the covering of the ice. 8.24

This is the end of Eighth Sarga of Bala Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.