Birth of Raghu –
War with Indira
Like clouds slowly moving, next few months passed in peace and Sudakshina conceived, soon to give birth to a pleasing offspring much to the delight of the King. Joy drums cheered, dancers twinkling feet echoed through palace halls. Benevolent in mind and heart, Dilipa left no stones unturned in rewards delighting all hearts in the kingdom. Ceremonial rituals completed, the King baptized the newly born as Raghu.
Raghu grew noble and generous. Like stream sucking ocean water, learning of all sorts he acquired and fully trained in entire sacred and kingly lore. When age of wedding attained, like Daksha’s daughters married to Moon, Raghu too was happily wedded to a noble Princess. Even before Dilipa devolved the Kingdom on his son, the saintly sage Vashishta advised that he perform Ashwametha Yahya (Horse sacrifice) to safeguard the cares and honour of the kingdom.
As Ashwametha Yahya commenced, the safety of the Yahya horse was thrust on Raghu. When the ceremony commenced, jealous of Dilipa performing the Yahya, which if allowed would take away his fame, Indira, the King of Heaven by his mystic power stole the horse well guarded by Raghu. When the ritual with all but last one of the horses were completed and the one last guarded by Raghu when called for the completion of Yahya, it was not to be seen for stolen by the heavenly lord. Amazed Raghu realized he has been mesmerized and cheated by some unknown. Hearing the cries of alarm from perplexed Raghu, sage Vashishta’s Divine Cow Nandini rushed down from Heaven to lend her help to Raghu, son of Dilipa, who once her servant guard. Aware of the scene, she offered her urine to Raghu to wash his face to lift the veil of secrecy, which when Raghu complied in unflinching faith, the veil was lifted to show before his eyes the King of Heaven Indira driving off the reluctant reed to his place. Raghu immediately challenged Indira with a loud voice .
Raghu thundered ‘King of Heaven, always foremost to accept the sacred rites, how should you impede the Yahya stealing away my Sire, the last one needed for the rite to conclude, the one under my custody? King of Heaven, Your act betray the act of an noble guardian. You shall be condemned by nature for this treacherous act of stealing a sacrificial Sire. O, highest lord of Heaven, be considerate to unshackle the Sire and and allow heaven’s bliss befall on my father, lest you shall remain a sinner for ever’
In stark amaze at the boldness of Raghu, Indira restrained his chariot to reply ‘Oh, Noble prince of Kshatriya Kingdom, you speak well, but remember, when one seek to rob the fame of another, in all fairness he shall impede the act of his foe at any cost, lest the fame fades away. Your father’s ceremony (meaning performing Ashwametha Yahya) if allowed to conclude shall ruin my fame as Lord of lords, and thus me left with nothing but to impede the Yahya’. Devendra continued
My son, listen further. Lord Vishnu reign supreme as Purushothama, Lord Siva as Thrayambaka and I hold the title Sadakrutha, lord of hundred sacrificial rites. When each one long to keep their fame and title unblemished, expect me alone not to lose it, and therefore I advise you to desist from the vain attempt to win back the Sire which I am taking to save my title. Do not tread the path of Sage Sagara’s sons who perished chasing sage Kapila. Still if you desire to pursue, pull out your stock and the choice then shall be nothing but war with me’.
Undaunted Raghu complied to call of war to pull out his weapons. Both were engaged on fierce battle when earth drank bloods from both as each inflicted severe wounds on each other. Though stunned at the gory sight, Airavatha, Lord of elephants in Heaven, and carrier of Lord Indira remained a mute spectator as terrible arrows flying both ways rained like thunder stinging each others like poisonous snakes. Difficult to predict the winner was the situation when both Raghu and Indira fell to the ground, fully exhausted.
Severely wounded Raghu proclaimed ‘Mighty lord, Move further not. Unless I am vanquished,me valor in Ikshavaku dynasty, dare not place one step further with my Sire. Either the sacred Sire be restored back to my pious father and he be allowed the reward of the arduous rites, or my fierce weapons shall continue impeding your steps to go with my Sire. Oh, lord of lords, walk away with honour releasing a boon on oath that my father beget the reward due by the ceremony and then I shall cease the fight and allow you go away.
When Raghu remained firm and unyielding to give up, the chief of heaven who lost the luster realized the futility of the fight and finally yielded to release on oath the boon Raghu craved for to reward his father, Devendra had nothing else except to comply before departing to heaven. There at King’s Palace, when Raghu reached with the last Sire needed for the sacrifice, Dilipa received his heavily wounded son with joy and sobbed uncontrollably in ecstasy and continued the Yahya till at the end mounted the throne on Raghu. As years rolled, once aged Dilipa desired to rest from earth and thus marched to heaven in peace.
The folks of Ayodhya in all fairness rejoiced on crowning of Raghu, barring Kings of neighbor states who felt jealous of him. Fairness was Raghu’s rule who neither burnt, nor chilled selective hearts, only good he chose, but never ill that wounded the hearts of folks. His sway reached far ends in all directions. Cool rays of moon and heat of Sun were his natural virtues. After ascending the throne Raghu absorbed all aspects of lore, from dialectics to ethics like the great ocean that sucked each drops of water to swell its body. His wide expanded eyes lit up his face like the moon light and his sight was clear to swell the coffers from not only from those vanquished, but also no matter from where they came from either small or big rulers that he bashed. All the frontier posts, the King safeguarded with might and as the autumn dried and spring sprang up, Raghu’s Chariots raised and elephants trumpeted across four corners on a career of universal conquest. The mighty army’s march with bearded warriors raised clouds of dust as if earth and air collided uprooting the trees. He led his valiant host (army) like furious Ganges flowing down from Heaven to earth from the braided hair of lord Siva and as he marched boundaries only continued to expand, immeasurable in length and breath.
Like the bees that swarm the thickly round honeycombs, kingdoms from Bengal to Kalinga were smoked out. Even those opposed his command beyond Mahindra Mountain were subdued one by one. Wings clipped Kings were set free once they bowed like reeds and poured their wealth under his feet. Raghu’s glory continued to spread even in south when king after kings fell beyond river Kaveri under the swiftly moving steeds of the King, and wherever he marched, mighty pillars of victory were hoisted.
After plunging countries from Persia to Kashmir, the lawful triumphant King returned home and performed Visvajit Yahya and lavishly feasted and gifted the invitees and gathered guest who sought alms. Thus the wealth he carefully accumulated from several corners of the land with his might melted soon in his acts of philanthropy and coffer dried up as fast as it swelled ultimately leaving nothing to gift except an earthen pot when Sage Kaustsa visited him seeking alms.