King Yudhiṣṭhira became very happy after hearing the details of the Jarāsandha episode, and he spoke as follows: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, O eternal form of bliss and knowledge, all the exalted directors of the affairs of this material world, including Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and King Indra, are always eager to receive and carry out orders from You, and whenever they are fortunate enough to receive such orders, they immediately take them and keep them on their heads. O Kṛṣṇa, You are unlimited, and although we sometimes think of ourselves as royal kings and rulers of the world and become puffed up over our paltry positions, we are very poor in heart. Actually, we are fit to be punished by You, but the wonder is that instead of punishing us You so kindly and mercifully accept our orders and carry them out properly. We are all very much surprised that Your Lordship can play the part of an ordinary human being, but we can understand that You are performing these activities just like a dramatic artist. Your real position is always exalted, exactly like that of the sun, which always remains at the same temperature during both the time of its rising and the time of its setting. Although we feel the difference in temperature between the rising and the setting sun, the temperature of the sun never changes. You are always transcendentally equipoised, neither pleased nor disturbed by any condition of material affairs. You are the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, and for You there are no relativities. My dear Mādhava, You are never defeated by anyone. Material distinctions—‘This is me,’ ‘This is you,’ ‘This is mine,’ ‘This is yours’—are all conspicuous by dint of their absence in You. Such distinctions are visible in the lives of everyone, even the animals, but pure devotees are freed from these false distinctions. Since these distinctions are absent in Your devotees, they cannot possibly be present in You.”
After satisfying Kṛṣṇa in this way, King Yudhiṣṭhira arranged to perform the Rājasūya sacrifice. He invited all the qualified brāhmaṇas and sages to take part and appointed them to different positions as priests in charge of the sacrificial arena. He invited the most expert brāhmaṇas and sages, whose names are as follows: Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva, Bharadvāja, Sumantu, Gautama, Asita, Vasiṣṭha, Cyavana, Kaṇva, Maitreya, Kavaṣa, Trita, Viśvāmitra, Vāmadeva, Sumati, Jaimini, Kratu, Paila, Parāśara, Garga, Vaiśampāyana, Atharvā, Kaśyapa, Dhaumya, Paraśurāma, Śukrācārya, Āsuri, Vītihotra, Madhucchandā, Vīrasena and Akṛtavraṇa. Besides all these brāhmaṇas and sages, he invited such respectable old men as Droṇācārya, Bhīṣma (the grandfather of the Kurus), Kṛpācārya and Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He also invited all the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, headed by Duryodhana, and also the great devotee Vidura. Kings from different parts of the world, along with their ministers and secretaries, were also invited to see the great sacrifice performed by King Yudhiṣṭhira, and the citizens, comprising learned brāhmaṇas, chivalrous kṣatriyas, well-to-do vaiśyas and faithful śūdras, all visited the ceremony.
The brāhmaṇa priests and sages in charge of the sacrificial ceremony constructed the sacrificial arena as usual with a plow of gold, and they initiated King Yudhiṣṭhira as the performer of the great sacrifice, in accordance with Vedic rituals. Long years ago, when Varuṇa performed a similar sacrifice, all the sacrificial utensils were made of gold. Similarly, in the Rājasūya sacrifice of King Yudhiṣṭhira, all the utensils required for the sacrifice were golden.
Present by the invitation of King Yudhiṣṭhira to participate in the great sacrifice were all the exalted demigods, including Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Indra, the King of heaven, accompanied by their associates, as well as the predominating deities of the higher planetary systems, including Gandharvaloka, Siddhaloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, Nāgaloka, Yakṣaloka, Rākṣasaloka, Pakṣiloka and Cāraṇaloka, as well as famous kings and their queens. All the respectable sages, kings and demigods who assembled there agreed unanimously that King Yudhiṣṭhira was quite competent to take the responsibility of performing the Rājasūya sacrifice; no one was in disagreement on this fact. Everyone thoroughly knew the position of King Yudhiṣṭhira; because he was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, no accomplishment was extraordinary for him. The learned brāhmaṇas and priests saw to it that the sacrifice by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was performed in exactly the same way as it had been in bygone ages by the demigod Varuṇa. According to the Vedic system, whenever there is an arrangement for sacrifice, the members participating are offered the juice of the soma plant, which is a kind of life-giving beverage. On the day for extracting the soma juice, King Yudhiṣṭhira very respectfully received the special priest who had been engaged to detect any mistake in the formalities of the sacrificial procedure. The idea is that the Vedic mantras must be enunciated perfectly and chanted with the proper accent; if the priests who are engaged in this business commit any mistake, the checker, or referee priest, immediately corrects the procedure, and thus the ritualistic performances are perfectly executed. Unless perfectly executed, a sacrifice cannot yield the desired result. In this Age of Kali there is no such learned brāhmaṇa or priest available; therefore, all such sacrifices are forbidden. The only sacrifice recommended in the śāstras is the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.