Rajasuya

Rajasuya

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Rajasuya was a sacrifice, described in detail in the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, performed by the ancient kings
Epic India
Epic India is the geography of Greater India traditionally around early 10th century BC and later on from the Sanskrit epics, viz. the Mahabharata and the Ramayana as well as Puranic literature ....

 of India who considered themselves powerful enough to be an emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

. Rajasuya, like the ashwamedha, would occur after the return of generals of the king (in most cases his own kinsmen, like his brother or son) from a successful military campaign.

After conquering the kings of other kingdoms and collecting tribute from them, the general would invite the vanquished kings to attend the sacrifice ceremony. All the vanquished kings would in effect consider the performer of these sacrifices as an emperor. In the case of ashwamedha, the army of the military campaign is led by a wandering horse, let loose from the capital of the king who performs this sacrifice. In case of rajasuya there is no horse involved. The generals plan their route themselves. Rajasuya sacrifices were rarer than ashwamedha sacrifices, since they were riskier and costlier.

Pandava
Pandava
In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Pandava are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu , by his two wives Kunti and Madri. Their names are Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. Although, Karna is told by Lord Krishna that according to the laws and ethics he is the first son of Kunti making...

 king Yudhisthira
Yudhisthira
In the great Hindu epic Mahabharata, Yudhisthira , the eldest son of King Pandu and Queen Kunti, was king of Indraprastha and later of Hastinapura. He was the leader of the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra War...

's rajasuya is the most well known rajasuya sacrifice, described in detail in the epic
Indian epic poetry
Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called Kavya . The Ramayana and Mahabharata, originally composed in Sanskrit and translated thereafter into many other Indian languages, are some of the oldest surviving epic poems on earth and form part of...

 Mahabharata. Many chola kings are supposed to have performed this sacrifice. One of the sangam Cholas is called Rajasuyam vetta perunarkilli (i.e. perunarkilli who performed Rajasuya), for having successfully performed this sacrifice.