Heir - Apparent, Raghu
Dileepa now pondered as to what else
was his duty. A king had to perform the
Ashwamedha sacrifice. Well, when the
heroic prince Raghu was there to guard the horse, there was no need to
fear anything. So, one after another, he performed ninety-nine Ashwamedha
sacrifices and achieved high glory. He decided to perform one more, and
get the throne of Indra, the Lord of Heaven. So he first underwent the
consecration ceremony. Then he left the sacrificial horse to go in any
direction it chose. For its protection, crown prince Raghu started with
an army. Now Indra was worried. If the hundredth sacrifice was completed,
then Dileepa would become Indra. So Indra thought of seeing to it that
this time the Taga' or sacrifice was not completed. Unseen by
any one he came and took away the
horse. Raghu's soldiers were surprised and did not know what to do.
Just then Nandini the divine cow came
there. Was it not by serving and worshipping Nandini that Dileepa got Raghuas
his son? Raghu also knew it. He thought the arrival of Nandini was a good
omen. He prostrated before her and worshipped her. Owing to her favor,
Raghu could now see Indra taking away the horse meant for the Ashwamedha
sacrifice- Raghu chased him. A terrible war was ensued between the two.
In the end Indra used his Vaira' weapon, the thunder. Seeing Raghu
fight on in spite of that, Indra was pleased with his valor. He told Raghu
- " Leaving this horse, ask for anything else, and you will have it."
Raghu, who had such great piety, said:
"0 Lord Indra, if you do not wish to return the
horse for the sacrifice, please giant
this. My father king Dileepa is still committed to
performing the sacrifice. So please
ordain that he gets the merit as for having performed the sacrifice in
the prescribed manner. And you must send this information to him in the
sacrificial hall through your servants."
Devendra agreed to Raghu's request,
and his charioteer Matali to Dileepa. Learning of all that had happened
through Matali, Dileepa felt happy that he had completed the sacrifice.
He admired his son's valor.