"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Krishna, Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, endued with great intelligence, saluted Vyasa and said these words: 'Do thou cause me to be initiated when the proper hour, as thou truly knowest, comes for that rite. This my sacrifice is entirely dependent on thee.'
"Vyasa said, 'Myself, O son of Kunti, and Paila and Yajnavalkya, shall without doubt, achieve every rite at the proper time. The rite of initiating thee will be performed on the day of full moon belonging to the month of Chaitra. Let all the necessaries of the sacrifice, O foremost of men, be got ready. Let Sutas well-versed in the science of horses, and let Brahmanas also possessed of the same lore, select, after examination, a worthy horse in order that thy sacrifice maybe completed. Loosening the animal according to the injunctions of the scriptures, let him wander over the whole Earth with her belt of seas, displaying thy blazing glory, O king!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed (by the Rishi), Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, that lord of Earth, answered,--'So be it!'--and then, O monarch, he accomplished all that that utterer of Brahma had directed. All the articles necessary for the sacrifice, O king, were duly procured. The royal son of Dharma, possessed of immeasurable soul, having procured all the necessaries, informed the Island-born Krishna of it. Then Vyasa of great energy said unto the royal son of Dharma,--'As regards ourselves, we are all prepared to initiate thee in view of the sacrifice. Let the Sphya and the Kurcha and all the other articles that, O thou of Kuru's race, may be needed for thy sacrifice, be made of gold. 2 Let the horse also be loosened today, for roaming on the Earth, agreeably to the ordinances of the scriptures. Let the
animal, duly protected, wander over the Earth.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Let arrangements be made by thee, O regenerate one, about loosening this horse for enabling it to wander over the Earth at its will. It behoveth thee, O ascetic, to say who will protect this steed while roaming over the Earth freely according to its will.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed (by king Yudhishthira), O monarch, the Island-born Krishna said,--'He who is born after Bhimasena, who is the foremost of all bowmen, who is called Jishnu, who is endued with great patience and capable of overcoming all resistance,--he will protect the horse. That destroyer of the Nivatakavachas is competent to conquer the whole Earth. In him are all celestial weapons. His body is like that of a celestial in its powers of endurance. His bow and quivers are celestial. Even he will follow this horse.--He is well versed in both Religion and wealth. He is a master of all the sciences. O foremost of kings, he will agreeably to the scriptures, cause the steed to roam and graze at its will. This mighty-armed prince, of dark complexion, is endued with eyes resembling the petals of the lotus. That hero, the father of Abhimanyu, will protect the steed. Bhimasena also is endued with great energy. The son of Kunti is possessed of immeasurable might. He is competent to protect the kingdom, aided by Nakula, O monarch. Possessed of great intelligence and fame, Sahadeva will, O thou of Kuru's race, duly attend to all the relatives that have been invited to thy capital.' Thus addressed by the Rishi, that perpetuator of Kuru's race, viz., Yudhishthira, accomplished every injunction duly and appointed Phalguna to attend to the horse.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Come, O Arjuna, let the horse, O hero, be protected by thee. Thou alone art competent to protect it, and none else. Those kings, O mighty-armed hero, who will come forward to encounter thee, try, O sinless one, to avoid battles with them to the best of thy power. Thou shouldst also invite them all to this sacrifice of mine. Indeed, O mighty-armed one go forth but try to establish friendly relations with them.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The righteous-souled king Yudhishthira, having said so unto his brother Savyasachin, commanded Bhima and Nakula to protect the city. With the permission of king Dhritarashtra, Yudhishthira then set Sahadeva, that foremost of warriors, to wait upon all the invited guests.'"
124:2 Sphya was a wooden sword or scimitar, used for slaying the sacrificial animal. Kurcha is a handful of Kusa grass. All these things are directed by Vyasa to be made of pure gold.