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BHAGIRATHA

Behind the Horse - To the House of Death

Sagara now had another thought in his mind. His children were grown up, and if they had no work to do, they might create unnecessary trouble, like his first son. So he thought of giving proper work to all of his children. There was also in his mind a certain wish. Anyone, who performed a hundred horse-sacrifices, would gain Indra's position as the King of Heaven. He had already performed ninety-nine such Yagas. If he performed one more Yaga with the help of all his children, he would become Indra. So thought King Sagara.

Sagara's ministers approved his idea. The one hundredth Ashwamedha commenced. The horse was worshipped and sent to wander, as he liked. The entire army of Sagara followed, to protect the horse. Amshumanta, Sagara's grandson, was loved by all. He was made the commander of the army. Thus the sacrificial horse went from kingdom to kingdom. And behind him marched the armed forces of Amshumanta. Nobody had the courage to challenge them.

"Meanwhile, in Heaven, Indra trembled with fear; he would have to give up his position to the king who performed one hundred horse-sacrifices. He lost interest in everything because of this worry. It is always so with people who desire power and position. Until a person gets such a position, he was anxiety - to attain it. After getting it, there is the anxiety to retain that position. Indra thought of a plan to safeguard his kingship of Heaven.

"Most important in an Ashwamedha Yaga was the Ashwa or the horse. The Yaga would be complete only after the horse returned from his wanderings. Suppose the horse disappeared! Then how could the Yaga be completed? So Indra came unseen by anyone, stole the horse and took him to Patala Loka, the lower world far below the earth. A sage by name Kapila was performing 'Tapas' there. Indra tied up the horse in his Ashrama.

"There was much confusion in

Amshumanta's army when the horse was not to be seen. They searched everywhere for the horse, but in vain. They returned to Ayodhya in despair and narrated everything to the emperor.

Sagara was very worded. He called his sixty thousand sons and said, 'You must find the horse wherever he be, and bring him. Also punish the thief.' He' sent his army with them. They were all young and proud on account of their strength. They had now a huge army also with them and in addition, the father's command. Raising loud war cries, the army went far and wide searching for the horse. Every forest, hill and mountain was searched. But the horse was nowhere to be seen.

"They were angry rather than disappointed. Since they could not find the horse on the earth, they decided to go to the lower world. They did not know the way, but they started digging the earth to make a way. They dug a big hole, and crawling in it, entered Patala. Roaring aloud, they roamed everywhere and began to search for the horse. By and by, they came to Sage Kapila's Ashrama and uprooted all the trees and creepers there. They had no fear of anybody - Moreover, they were so angry they wanted to chop off everything that they saw. As they were moving on in this manner, they saw Sage Kapila in deep meditation. Their horse was grazing there. They thought that the sage has stolen the horse and were pretending to perform 'Tapas' and were very angry. So all of them rushed towards him shouting, 'Catch the thief. Beat him. ‘The Maharshis 'Tapas' was disturbed. He started with wrathful eyes at those who had disturbed his 'Tapas'. The flame of anger shot forth from his eyes and burnt all those sixty thousand brothers. Only a huge pile of ash could be seen in the place where they were standing. The horse too remained in the Ashrama itself.

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Bhagiratha - The Great hero who brought down the Ganga from the heaven to the earth.
About Bhagiratha
Introduction
"Who Was Sagara?"
'I Do Not Want A Son Who Plagues the People'
You are Here! Behind The Horse - To The House Of Death
The Duty Of The Descendants
Answering The Call Of Duty
Bhagiratha's Tapas
Taming The Ganga
The Earth Smiles
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