King Sagara launched a great horse-sacrifice and prince Amsumaan was in charge of
the sacrificial horse, but Indra, in the guise of a Raakshasa, managed to carry off the
animal. The Devas regarded yaagas by mortals as a challenge to their superiority, and lost
no opportunity of throwing obstacles in their way. If, however, all obstruction was
overcome and the yaaga was completed, they accepted offerings made to them. And then he
who performed the yaaga got due reward.
The king was greatly upset when he heard
that the sacrificial horse was stolen. He sent out the sixty thousand sons of Sumati to go
in search of the animal all over the earth and to spare no pains to retrieve it.
"The loss of the horse," be
impressed on them, "not only means obstruction to the yaaga; it casts sin and
ignominy on an concerned. You should, therefore, recover the horse, wherever it may be