After Śiśupāla died by the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa and merged into the spiritual existence, and after the end of the Rājasūya-yajña, when all the friends, guests and well-wishers had been sufficiently honored and rewarded, King Yudhiṣṭhira went to bathe in the Ganges. The city of Hastināpura stands today on the bank of the Yamunā, and the statement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that King Yudhiṣṭhira went to bathe in the Ganges indicates, therefore, that during the time of the Pāṇḍavas the river Yamunā was also known as the Ganges. While the King was taking the avabhṛtha bath, different musical instruments vibrated, such as mṛdaṅgas, conchshells, paṇava drums, kettledrums and bugles, and the ankle bells of the dancing girls jingled. Many groups of professional singers sang as vīṇās, flutes, gongs and cymbals were played, and thus a tumultuous sound vibrated in the sky. The princely guests from many kingdoms, like Sṛñjaya, Kāmboja, Kuru, Kekaya and Kośala, were present with their different flags and gorgeously decorated elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers. All of them passed in a procession, with King Yudhiṣṭhira in the forefront. The executive members who had performed the sacrifice—the priests, religious ministers and brāhmaṇas—all loudly chanted the Vedic hymns. The demigods and the inhabitants of Pitṛloka and Gandharvaloka, as well as many sages, showered flowers from the sky. The men and women of Hastināpura, or Indraprastha, their bodies smeared with scents and floral oils, were nicely dressed in colorful garments and decorated with garlands, jewels and ornaments. Enjoying the ceremony, they threw on one another liquid substances like water, oil, milk, butter and yogurt. Some even smeared these on each other’s bodies. In this way, they enjoyed the occasion. The professional prostitutes jubilantly smeared these liquid substances on the bodies of the men, and the men reciprocated in the same way. All the liquid substances had been mixed with turmeric and saffron, and their color was a lustrous yellow.
In order to observe the great ceremony, many wives of the demigods had come in different airplanes, and they were visible in the sky. Similarly, the queens of the royal family, gorgeously decorated and surrounded by bodyguards, arrived on different palanquins. During this time, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the maternal cousin of the Pāṇḍavas, and His special friend Arjuna were both throwing the liquid substances on the bodies of the queens. The queens became bashful, but at the same time their beautiful smiling brightened their faces. Because of the liquids thrown on their bodies, the saris covering them became completely wet. The different parts of their beautiful bodies, particularly their breasts and their waists, became partially visible because of the wet cloth. The queens brought buckets of the same liquid substances and with syringes sprinkled them on the bodies of their brothers-in-law. As they engaged in such jubilant activities, their hair fell loose, and the flowers decorating their bodies began to fall. When Lord Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna and the queens were thus engaged in these jubilant activities, persons who were not clean in heart were agitated by lustful desires. In other words, such behavior between pure males and females is enjoyable, but it makes persons who are materially contaminated become lustful.
King Yudhiṣṭhira, in a gorgeous chariot yoked to excellent horses, was present there along with his queens, including Draupadī, and their features were so beautiful that it appeared as if the great Rājasūya sacrifice were standing there in person, along with the different functions of the sacrifice.
Following the Rājasūya sacrifice, there was the Vedic ritualistic duty known as patnī-saṁyāja. This sacrifice, which one performs along with one’s wife, was also duly conducted by the priests of King Yudhiṣṭhira. As Queen Draupadī and King Yudhiṣṭhira were taking their avabhṛtha bath, the citizens of Hastināpura as well as the demigods began to beat on drums and blow trumpets out of feelings of happiness, and there was a shower of flowers from the sky. When the King and the Queen finished their bath in the Ganges, all the other citizens, consisting of all the varṇas, or castes—the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras—took their baths in the Ganges. Bathing in the Ganges is recommended in the Vedic literature because by such bathing one is freed from all sinful reactions. This is still current in India, especially at particularly auspicious moments. At such times, millions of people bathe in the Ganges.
After taking his bath, King Yudhiṣṭhira dressed in a new silken cloth and wrapper and decorated himself with valuable jewelry. The King not only dressed himself and decorated himself but also gave clothing and ornaments to all the priests and the others who had participated in the yajñas. In this way, he worshiped them all. He constantly worshiped his friends, his family members, his relatives, his well-wishers and everyone present, and because he was a Vaiṣṇava, a great devotee of Lord Nārāyaṇa, he knew how to treat everyone well. The Māyāvādī philosophers’ endeavor to see everyone as God is an artificial attempt at oneness, but a Vaiṣṇava, or a devotee of Lord Nārāyaṇa, sees every living entity as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, a Vaiṣṇava’s treatment of other living entities is on the absolute platform. As one cannot treat one part of his body differently from another part, because they all belong to the same body, a Vaiṣṇava does not see a human being as distinct from an animal because in both he sees the soul and the Supersoul seated together.