Jealous Gods: Indra spies Pṛthu’s magnificence.

On the eastern course of River Sarasvatī is Manu’s sacred field, Brahmāvarta. There, King Pṛthu began performing one hundred horse-sacrifice rituals. Indra was the only other person who had successfully done this before. When he heard what Pṛthu was doing, he could not tolerate the possibility that someone else might excel his ritualistic accomplishments.

Indeed, he saw many signs that the king was already surpassing his glory. Most importantly, the ultimate aim of all rituals – Hari, the All-Attractive supreme master, soul of everyone, source of all power, and ultimate leader of all communities – literally and personally attended Pṛthu’s ceremonies. And he had not come alone! Brahmā and fearless Śiva accompanied him, as did the protectors of the world and all their followers. All of them created a grand kīrtan led by scholars, in which the singers and dancers of heaven performed. This company included all the celestial masters and scientists following Brahmā, the demons, anti-gods, and many other mysterious creatures following Śiva, and the most exalted associates of Hari, like Sunanda and Nanda. Among the scholars were Kapila, Nārada, and Dattātreya, powerful yogis like Sanaka, and many blessed beings enwrapped in the joy of Hari’s service.

Indra saw that Pṛthu would easily get all the opulence he needed to perform these hundred rituals more extravagantly than they had ever been performed before. The Earth Goddess, with her famous milk that grants all wishes, attended Pṛthu, producing everything the rituals required. Her abundant milk seeped into the ground, making the trees blossom with huge fruits, and drip with honey-sweet saps. It overflowed into the river, which seemed to flow with milks, creams, and yogurts. The milk-river brought extreme opulence to the lands it irrigated as it flowed to the ocean. The kings and citizens who lived along this flow came to the ceremonies bearing incredible gifts: heaps of jewels, and mountains of all sorts of food.

Jealous of the King’s unsurpassed wealth and devotion to Hari, which had caused He Who is Beyond Perception to personally appear before him, powerful and blessed Indra decided to interfere.

– Excerpt from an early draft of Part 4 of
Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive
A translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s fourth canto
[4.19.1 – 10]
By Vraja Kishor []
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