King Parikshita

King Parikshita

Once, sutaji narrated the tale of king Parikshita to all the assembled sages---
Parikshita ruled over Hastinapura. One day he went into a forest on a hunting spree. He saw a deer and managed to injure it with his arrow. But the injured deer disappeared from his sight. Parikshita chased the injured deer in the direction it had disappeared. He reached a place where sage Shamika was engrossed in his meditation. Parikshita enquired sage Shamika if he had seen that injured deer. Bur sage Shamika being in deep meditation did not respond to Parikshita query. This made Parikshita extremely angry and he wrapped a dead snake around Shamika's neck as a punishment for not having answered his question. But, it made no difference to Sage Shamika and he continued with his meditation. Parikshita went back fuming in anger.
Shringi was the son of Sage Shamika. When he saw a dead snake coiling around his father's neck, he cursed--'Whoever has tried to insult my father will not live to see the seventh day because a takshaka naga would bite him to death.'
When sage Shamika learnt about his son's curse, he reproached his son and sent a disciple named 'Dauramukha' to inform Parikshita so that he (Parikshita) could take some preventive measures. Dauramukha went and narrated the whole incident to king Parikshita. Parikshita became very scarred and he started living on a canopy that had been constructed in the middle of river Ganges on his instructions. Now he felt secured and safe. Meanwhile a poor brahmin named Kashyapa came to know about the curse that poor Parikshita had received. He knew how to cure a person bitten by snake. So he thought that it was an excellent opportunity for him to receive monetary awards from the king. So, he proceeded towards the place where Parikshita was staying.
On his way, Kashyapa met a brahmin who in reality was takshaka in disguise. Takshaka was on his way to kill Parikshita. He asked Kashyapa about the reason he was going to meet Parikshita. Kashyapa revealed to Takshaka that he could neutralize the influence of poison in any person bitten by a snake. Takshaka wanted to examine the authenticity of Kashyapa's statement, so he inserted his poisonous fangs into the trunk of a huge tree. A man was sitting on the branches of that tree. The tree as well as the man was charred to death within no time.

Kashyapa, really brought the tree and that man back to life. Takshaka was stunned by this unbelievable act. He asked Kashyapa how much he expected as reward from the king. Kashyapa revealed the amount, which he expected from Parikshita in lieu of giving him a fresh lease of life. Takshaka gave lot of wealth to him as a bribe and Kashyapa went back home satisfied. Takshaka then summoned all his companions and instructed them to go to the place where Parikshita lived, disguising themselves as hermits. All the serpents went to meet Parikshita impersonating as hermits and offered fruits to him. According to his plan, Takshaka had hidden himself within a plum fruit. He bit Parikshita as soon as he got a chance. Parikshita died instantly. Janamejaya was crowned as the next king. Meanwhile, people started criticizing the treacherous conduct of Kashyapa, which had resulted in the death of king Parikshita. He decided to make a pilgrimage to Venkatachaleshwara (today's Tirupati) so that he became liberated from his sin.



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