Vasishta 5

Once devendra, rhe cheif of gods was in his divine assembly 'Sudharma'. He posed a question in the assembly. Heasked, "who is the most truthful among the human beings?
Vasishta present in the assembly said,"King Harishchandra never deviates from the path of truth. He never uttersa lie". Visvamithra who hated Vasishta was present in the assembly and immetiately he stood up and said,"I amgoing to prove what Vasishta said is wrong. I am going to the world that Harishchandra is an ordinary mortal likeany other." He left the divine assembly in a huff.

Visvamithra came to king Harishchandra and put him, his wife and son to untold suffering, but the king remainedcalm all through his traumatic experiences and came out of the trial in flying colours. He proved to the worldthat he was truthful and righteousness. He won the praise of everyone including Visvamithra.

Though Vasishta knew that VISVAMITHRA was going to put Harishchandra to trouble he did not tell the king about it.His sole intention in not telling the king about it was just to prove to the world that the righteous peoplealways remain so whatever be the trouble they are subjected to. Further he did not want to be partial to the king.All the while hid righteousness was awake and thsi quality of his intrduced to the world a great king, who remainedtrue to the his word even in disastrous situations. This way he proved to the world the path of truth and righteousness.As Vasishta was an immortal, his services as the royal priest was enjoyed by king Dasharatha. He was ruling fromAyodhya. He had no children for a long time and he was very much worried about the continuation of the royal lineof kings. On the advice of Vasishta, he began to make prepartions for the Aswamedhayaga, on a large scale. On headvice of the royal priest Vasishta he invited Rshyashringa-an accompished priest in matters of performing a fire sacrifice of the magnitude of an Aswamedhayaga. A great platform for the Yaga was got ready on the river Sarayu under the direction and guidance of Vasishta and Rshyashringa.

Before beginning the great Yajna, king dashratha fell at the feet of Vasishta and sought his blesings and saidin a voice filled with humility, "Yajno me Kriyatham brahman, guruscha paramo mahan,"meaning, 'O great' Brahmarshi,please bless me and take upon yourself the entire responsibility of the yajna." Vasishta accepted the responsibilitygladly and appointed expert priests who were well-versed in the performance of yajnas, experts to prepare thenecessary vessels and other things needed for the purpose. He also appoined able men to maintain accounts and cookfood for thousands of people. Skilled various jobs connected with the yajna. when all assembled in a place he addressed them saying.

"All those who come here to attend the yagna must be provided with good food and drinks. A number of princes and kingsare going to be here and they must be provided wih excellent loging facilities. Everyone should be treated withutmost respect. Never conduct yourselves in a way which would cause dissatisfaction or shame to others. It is yourresponsibility to see that everyone is treated with respect and the yajna is completed successfully"Then he called the emperor's cheif minister Sumanthra and said,"O most efficient among the ministers of the king,kindly send invitations to all kings of the world for the yajna. See that only efficient messengers eho know the royalprotocol because those sent as messengers should conduct themselves beffiting the status and honour of emperorDashratha." He gave clear instructions to evryone inveted with some responsibility.

Janaka, the king of Mithila was well versed in all the four vedas, shastras and other rituals. He was also truthfuland brave. Vasishta wanted Sumanthra to go to Janaka in person and invite him to the yaga. In the same way thegreat kings like Kasheeraja, Kekaya king and king romapada should be invited by the minister going to them in person.On an ausoicious day the yajna began. Along with the Aswamedha, Rajasuya yoga was also performed on a grand scale.As a result, the royal wish was fulfilled. Four sons were born to the three queens of king Dashratha. Vasishta namedthem Rama, Lakshamana, Bharatha and Shathrugha. The princes grew up and mastered all the royal arts.

Once Dasharatha was in his court. Sage Visvaratha came to visit him. After the usual welcome and exchange ofcourtesies, the sage said,"O great king I am going to perform a great yajna and I would like you to send princeSri Rama to protect my yajna."

Dashratha refused to send Sri Rama to the forest. Vasishta intervened and said,"Tavaputra hitarthaya twamupetyabhiyacate,("O king Viswamithra is all poerful, but he has come to you asking for your son for his own welfare"). Send Sri Rama with him".

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