Ugrasravasu, the story teller continued to say to Sounakaa and other saints:In Krutayugaa, there was one Prajapati called Kashyapa Prajapati. He has got two wives, Vinata and Kadruva. They both prayed Kashyapa for male children.Kashyapa asked them “How many male children do you want and with what qualities?”Kadruva said that she wanted to have one thousand male children with shining personalities and long bodies.

Vinata said that she wanted to have two male children with stronger bodies than the children of kadruva.Kashyapa performed Putrakaameshti yaagaa (a sacrifice which will be performed to beget children). As a result of that Yaga, both Vinata and Kadruva became pregnant.Kadruva got one thousand eggs and vinata got two eggs.After some time, the eggs of kadruva were broken and 1000 snakes, called Aadi Seshuvu, Takshaka, Vaasuki etc. came out of the eggs with long and shining bodies.But the eggs of Vinata were not broken. Vinata was feeling jealousy as Kadruva begot children much before.Somehow or other she also wanted to have children. She forcibly broke one of the eggs.From out of that egg, one strong man came with half-grown body i.e., with upper portion of the body and nothing from waist. His name was Anura. He looked at his mother with anger.

“Oh mother, why did you brake the egg even before I got full body. You did it with jealousy. Hence, you will become a slave of your sister Kadruva. Please dont break the other egg before it ripes. The son who comes out of that egg with strong and huge body, will save you from the slavery”.

So saying, he went away as a chariot driver to Sun god.Vinatha felt very much for her deeds. She was looking after the other egg with great care.Devatas(Divine bodies) and Asuras (Raakshasas or demons) decided to churn the sea for getting Amruta (immortal drink). They held discussions as to how to churn the sea, who will be the churner and what will be the churning thread etc.

Brahma and Vishnuvu agreed to organise the task. Brahma and Vishnu decided that Mandhara Mountain will be the churner. It is a long, tall mountain. Aadi Seshu, uprooted that Mountain and brought it and dropped it into the sea. But the mountain was sinking.Sri Maha Vishnu incarnated in the form of Aadi koormamu (the great Tortoise) and became the base for the mountain. Then the mountain stood erect. They fixed the serpant king, Vasuki, as a churning thread.All the devatas was holding the snake, Vasuki, on the tail side and all the Asuras (raakshasas) held the snake on the side of the head. With great vigour, they were churning the sea.

At first, “haalaa halam” (the great poison) emanated from the sea. Lord Siva swallowed it and kept it in his neck.Then, Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) and Koustubha Mani (the great diamond) were born. Lord Vishnu received them and installed them in his heart.

Later, one white horse called “Uchaisravamu”, and one white elephant called “Airaavatamu” came out of the sea. Indra received them and kept them in his custody. Then “Amruta Kalasam” (a Vessel containing Amruta)emanated from the sea. The Asuraas (raakshasaas) received Amrutham. But Lord Vishnu, under the guise of Mohini, an Universal Beauty, mesmerized Asuras and took away Amrutam from asuras and gave it to Devatas.

Devatas sat in a row to drink Amruta. One Asura called Raahuvu, detected this trick. He mixed with Devatas under the guise of Devata and he also sat along with Devatas to drink Amruta. Amruta was served to him.

When Raahuvu was about to swallow Amruta, Sun god and Moon god, came to know about Raahuvu. Immediately, they complained to Vishnu about Raahuvu. Vishnu grew angry and cut the head of Raahuvu with his Chakra weapon.By that time, amrutham went upto the throat of Rahuvu. Hence, his head became immortal. The body from neck was cut and fell down. From then onwards, there is bitter enemity between Rahuvu and Sun god and Moon god.

Though Asuras churned the sea and got Amrutha, due to the mesmerism of Vishnu, they could not have Amrutha and get immortality. Asuras grew angry. They consulted King Bali. They decided that they could not continue friendship with Devatas any longer. Asuras waged war against Devatas. “Devaasura Yudha” (war between Devatas and Asuras) began.In that dreadful war, Nara and Narayana fought on the side of Devatas. Asuras could not resist them in the battle.

Asuras fled away into the sea. Devatas got the victory. They handed over Amrutam to Devendra for safe custody. They kept Mandhara Mountain in its original place. The Devatas were guarding Amrutha carefully.

One day, the white horse, Uchaisrava, was moving on the sea shore. Vinatha and Kadruva, two wives of Kashyapa Prajapathi, also went to the sea shore for evening walk. They both saw the white horse from a distance. Kadruva wanted to fool Vinatha. Kadruva said : “Vinata, look at that horse. It is pure white. But, the tail was so black. See that wonder”.Vinatha also looked at the horse carefully. It is pure white including the tail. She could not understand why Kadruva was saying like that.Vinatha said “Kadruvaa, the tail of that horse is not black. It is also white. Please observe the horse carefully.”

Kadruva did not agree for that. Some how or other, she wanted to keep her word. “Vinatha, we will have a bet. If the tail is black, you will be my slave. If the tail is white, I will be your slave.”Vinatha agreed for it. “Kadruva, let us go and see whether the tail is white or black”.

Kadruva said “No. It is already sunset. We cannot observe it properly. We will come tomorrow morning and see in the sun light.”.Kadruva and Vinatha went to their respective homes. Kadruve knows that the tail is white. She wanted to win the bet by playing a trick. She called all her serpant sons.

“My dear sons, I had a bet with Vinata that the tail of Uchaisrava is black, though, in fact, it is white. I should win the bet. You have to do something or the other and make the tail black, so that i will win the bet”. The serpants did not agree for her words. “Oh mother, it is immoral. We cannot act immorally because my mother told. It is wrong. Please excuse us”.

Kadruva grew angry. She cursed her serpant sons and said: “Those who are not heeding my words, will fall in the sacred fire of Sarpa Yaaga, performed by King Janameja, and die.”Still the serpants did not agree for the proposal of their mother, Kadruva. But one of her sons, Karkotaka,was frightened with the curse.

“Oh mother. Don’t worry. I am here. I will carry out your words.” Karkotaka said. Kadruva felt very happy. Karkotaka (snake) went to the sea shore. He climbed the tail of Uchaisrava and entwined to the tail. Now the tail is looking black, as karkotaka was a black snake.

Next morning, Vinatha and Kadruva went to the seaside. They both saw the horse from a distance. The tail was looking black. Vinatha agreed for hear defeat. From then onwards, she became a slave to Kadruva. Some time passed away. The second egg which Vinatha was protecting, also broke. A huge body, with great strength, strong wings, came out of the egg. His name was Garuda.Soon after he came out of the egg, he flew into the sky with great speed and again came down to earth.

He bowed before his mother Vinatha. He also bowed before Kadruva. On seeing this great personality, Kadrua was so jealous.She could not tolerate it. “Garudaa, your mother is my slave. You are also my slave. You have to serve me and my sons, snakes. You have to take all the snakes on your back for a jolly ride daily”.

Kadruva said. Garuda agreed for that. One day, Garuda took all the snakes on his back and flew into the sky. He flew much nearer to Sun. Due to the over heat of the Sun, all the bodies of snakes were burnt and the snakes fell down unconscious.

On coming to know about this, Kadruva felt very sad and wept. She prayed Indra for heavy rain. All the snakes regained consciousness in those showers. Kadruva scolded Garuda for his foolish deeds. Garuda went to his mother Vinatha and asked her.

“Oh mother. What is this? Why should we do slavery to Kadruva and her sons. What is the reason? Please tell me”. Vinatha told Garuda what had happened including the bet between herself and Kadruva and her defeat. Garuda my son, it is due to the Saapa (curse) given to me by your elder brother, Anura. He also told me that you will relieve me from this slavery. Please do the needful”.

Garuda went to the snakes and asked them “What do I have to do to you to relieve my mother from this slavery?”All the snakes replied “We want Amrutha, which is in DevalOka, in the custody of Devendra. Please bring Amruta from Devaloka and give it to us. Your mother will be relieved of her slavery immediately”.

Garuda agreed for it. He went to his mother and said “Oh mother. I am going to Devaloka to bring Amrutha and I will give it to sankes and relieve you from this slavery. Maa. bless me”. Vinatha felt very happy and blessed her son Garuda.

After taking the blessings of his mother, Garuda flew away to Devaloka. On the way, Garuda met his father, Kashyapa. “Oh father, I am going to Devaloka for bringing Amruta to relieve my mother from slavery. I am hungry. Please give me some good food”. Garuda asked. Kashyapa said “Oh my son, Garuda, listen to me. There are two brothers called Vibhavasa and Suprateeka. Suprateeka demanded his elder brother Vibhavasa to partition the ancestral properties. Vibhavasa did not agree. Instead he cursed Suprateeka to become a huge elephant.

Suprateeka also cursed his brother Vibhavasa to become a huge tortoise.Now they became a tortoise of three yojanas long and ten yojanas width, and an elephant of six yojanas length and twelve yojanas width. (Yojana = ten miles). Still they are fighting for their ancestral property. You catch that elephant and tortise and have sumptuous food.”

Garuda was very happy and went to the place where the tortoise and elephant were staying. Garuda caught themwith the claws of his legs and flew away. On the way, one big tree called Rohana saw Garudaa and said “Garuda, come here. Keep those things on one of my strong branches, eat them, take some rest and go away.”

Garuda accepted his request and tried to sit on a big branch of that tree. But due to the heavy weight of tortoise, elephant and himself, that big branch broke out and was about to fall on the ground. Garuda was perturbed. If that branch falls on the ground, the sages called Vaalakhilyaas who were doing “Tapassu” (penance) by hanging to that branch, head downwards, will be disturbed. So, Garuda held that branch with his long beak and flew away. Carrying the huge tortoise and elephant with his legs and the big branch with his beak, he flew to his father Kashyapa. Kashyapa realised the condition of his son, Garuda. He requested the Vaalakhilyaas “Oh great saints, my son Garuda is flying to Devaloka to bring Amrutha to relieve his mother from slavery. I request you to kindly leave this branch and go somewhere else and continue your Tapassu (penance).”

Vaalakhilyas agreed for it and they went away. Garuda went to Himalayas, and kept both the tortoise and elephant on the mountain top and ate them. Then he flew away to Devaloka. While Garudaa was coming nearer to Devaloka, some bad Omens appeared in Devaloka. Deva Guruvu, Bruhaspati, told Devendra “Garuda, son of Kashyapa, is coming to Devaloka to take away Amrutha from your custody for giving it to snakes and relieve his mother from slavery.”

Devendra grew angry. Immediately, he called the Devatas who are guarding the Amrutha and cautioned them “Garuda is coming to take away Amrutha. Be careful.”.Garuda reached the place where Amrutha was kept. When he tried to take away Amrutha, the Guards attacked him. There was a big fight between the Devatas and Garuda.

Garuda fought with Devatas with his nails, claws and beak. Devatas could not resist Garuda and they fled away.Garuda, holding Amruta Kalasa(vessel containing amruta), tried to fly away. At that time Lord Vishnu came to Garuda and said: “Garuda, I am very much pleased with your strength and courage. Tell me what do you want”. Garuda bowed before Lord Vishnu “O Lord, I am blessed with your kind compliments. I must become immortal without swallowing Amrutha. Throughout my life, I must serve you”.

Lord Vishnu was very much pleased with his request. “Oh Garuda, you will be immortal without consuming Amruta. Hereinafter, you will be my “vaahana” (carrier) and also my flag.”. So saying, Lord Vishnu blessed Garuda and disappeared.

(Even now, in Vaishnava temples, Garuda vaahanam, Garuda dwajham, Dhwajaarohanam are observed during Brahmotsavams). While Garuda was trying to fly away, Mahendra came there and hurled his Vajraayudham against Garuda to kill him. Garuda saw Vajraayudha come fiercely. Garuda bowed before Vajraayudha and said:

“Oh Vajraayudhaa, you were originated from the spine of a great Saint(Dadheeci). Hence I respect you. As you are the aayudha (weapon) of Devendra, I wont disrespect you. But your strength is not sufficient to fight with him. You can cut one feather from my wing and go away. That much is your strength”

Devendra was very much astonished for the courage and strength of Garuda. He tried to make friendship with Garuda. “Oh Garuda. I am Devendra. I want to make friendship with you. You are my friend. But one thing. you are going to give Amruta to the cruel serpants. If they consume Amrutha, they will become immortals and they cannot be controlled even by Devatas. So I request you to give back Amrutha to me. I will give you whatever you want”.

On hearing the words of Devendra, Garuda replied “Oh Devendra, after giving Amrutha to snakes, my mother, Vinata, will be relieved of her slavery. Then myself and my mother will be freed and we will go away. After that, before the snakes consume Amrutha, you can snatch Amrutha from them and take it away”.

Mahendra gladly agreed for it. “Oh Garuda, you are giving back Amrutha to me. I am very happy. Ask me what do you want. I will give you”. Mahendra said. Garuda told Mahendra: “Oh Mahendra, these snakes caused much harm and hardship to my mother and myself.

Hereinafter, the snakes shall be the main food for Garudas.”.Mahendra gladly agreed for it. (Even now, snakes are the main prey for eagles).Then, Garuda took the Amrutha and went home. Mahendra also followed him in invisible form. Garuda kept the vessel containing Amrutha (Amruta Kalasa) on dharbas (a kind of long grown grass). Garuda told snakes “As per your word, I brought Amruta from Devaloka. Please take this Amruta. My mother and myself are relieved from slavery. We are going away. Please take holy bath and take Amruta.”

So saying, Garuda flew away along with his mother on his back. Snakes are very happy as they are going to become immortals. They all went to take holy bath. Immediately, Mahendra lurking there invisibly, snatched away Amrutha Kalasa and went back to Devaloka. He handed over Amruta kalasa to the guards and directed them to proetct Amruta carefully.

After taking holy bath, all the sna kes came to the place where Amruta was kept to swallow the same. To their surprise and dismay, they could not find Amruta kalasa. They felt very sad. Thinking that, at least, if they lick the dharbhas on which the Amruta was kept, they may get some result, they began to lick the dharbhas. As the edges of dharbhas were so sharp, their tongues were cut into two. Since then they became “dvijihvas” (with two tongues). (Even now, you can find the tongue of the snakes cutinto two).

Because the Holy Amruta Kalasa was kept on Dharbhas, from then onwards, Dharbas also became sacred and holy.Adi Seshu, one of the sons of Kadruva, had been observing all these things. He was very much unhappy with his mother Kadruva and her deeds. Adi Seshu hated his mother and went away. He did Tapassu(penance). Brahma appeared before him. “Oh Adi Seshu, I am very happy for the Tapassu you have done. I like your truthfulness and straightforwardness, and harmlessness. You are the fit person to bear this earth. Nobody can do this. From this moment, you will bear this earth on your head.” So saying Brahma disappeared. From then onwards, Adi Seshu is bearing this earth on his head.

The next elder son is Vasuki. He was very much worried about the Saapa of their mother, Kadruva, about Sarpa Yaga to be performed by Janameja and the fate of the snakes. He held a conference of all his brothers, relatives and friends. He discussed the matter with them.

“Oh my dear brothers, relatives and friends. Adi Seshu is bearing this earth as per the word of Brahma. He is out of danger. As per the word of Brahma, I was used as churning thread to churn the sea. Hence I am also out of danger. What about you? As per the Sapa of our mother, You are all going to perish in the Sarpa yaga. Think about it.”.

On hearing these words, some youthful snakes rose and said: “It is simple. We will go to Janamejaya and his ministers as Brahmins, convince them that this Yaga is harmful to snakes and it is also Adharma. We will convince them to give up this idea of Satra yaga.”

But some radical snakes did not agree. “We all go in groups to the Yaga place, spill poison in the holy vessels and all eatables prepared for yajna and we will spoil the yagna. All the brahmins and priests will be fled away with fear”. Hearing all these discussions, one Elaa putra, a smallsnake said:

“Please hear me. I know some thing about this”. Vasuki asked Elaputra to tell in detail. Elaputra continued to say: “While our mother was giving Sapa(curse) to you, I was a small child sleeping in the lap of my mother. I heard the conversaion between Brahma and Devatas. After the Sapaa was given, all the Devatas asked Brahma:

“Oh Lord Brahma, Kadruva gave a dreadful Saapa to all her sons. Is there any way out to get rid of that curse.”.Brahma replied “As the snakes are harmful to the mankind, that curse is good and acceptable. But there are some great snakes who are wise and pure. There is one Saint called Jaratkaaru. He will marry the sister of Vasuki, a girl of the same name, Jaratkaaru, and beget a son called Aaastika.

Aastika will convince Janamejaya and put an end to this Sarpa yaga and rescue the remaining snakes. Therefore, there is no worry about Sarpa yaga.” Elaputra concluded.On hearing the words of Yelaputra, Vasuki was so happy. He was waiting for the arrival of Jaratkaaru to marry his sister.

Jaratkaaru was a great saint. He did not marry. He was following Brahmacharya and doing Tapassu. One day, he went near a pond for collecting Dharbas. (a long grown grass used for rituals). He found some grass plants growing in the water. Some rats ate the roots of the grass plants and some grass plants are standing only with single root. Some saints are hanging to those grass pants head downwards.

Jaratkaaru was very much surprised. “Oh mahatmaa, why are you hanging like this. Is it also a tapassu?” Jaratkaaru asked the saints. Those saints replied “We donot know who you are . We are the fathers and forefathers of a sinner, Jaratkaaruvu. He did not marry and beget children. Without children we cannot get Uttma Lokas (higher status after death). If you happen to meet that sinner Jaratkaaruvu, kindly tell him about our fate and convince him to marry and beget children and save us”.

On hearing this Jaratkaaruvu felt ashamed. “Oh my grand parents, I am that sinner Jaratkaaruvu. I am very sorry for what I did. I will immediately marry and beget children and you will get Uttama Lokas. But I wanted to marry a girl with the same name. I will go in search of her”.

So saying Jaratkaaruvu went away. In spite of his search, he could not get a girl of his name. Vasuki came to know about this through his agents. He immediately approached Jaratkaaruvu along with his sister, Jaratkaaruvu. Vasuki told to Jaratkaaruvu “Oh great saint. She is my sister, Jaratkaaruvu, same name as yours. I intend to give her in marriage to you. Please accept my sister and marry her”.

As Jaratkaaruvu was searching for a girl of the same name, he gladly accepted the offer of Vasuki and married his sister, Jaratkaaruvu. On the first night, Jaratkaaruvu went to her husband. Jaratkaaruvu told her wife “Dear, I am a bit arrogant and angry man. You should adjust with me. Even by mistake, you should not do anything which is against my will and pleasure. If you do so, I will immediately leave you and go for Tapassu. Please be careful”.

Wife Jaratkaaruvu, accepted it. She was serving her husband with great care and devotion, without giving any scope for his displeasure. In the passage of time, she became pregnant. One day, Jaratkaaruvu was sleeping, keeping his head on the lap of his wife. The sun was set. It was time for performing sandhya vandanam (evening ritual). Husband was sleeping. The wife could not control herself. She slowly woke up her husband. Jaratkaaruvu woke up. He grew angry “Why did you wake me up in the midst of sleep?” he asked his wife. “Because the sun was set and it is time for sandhyaa vandanam. Hence I woke you up” she replied. “Any how, you caused displeasure to me. I could not tolerate it. I am going away. You are pregnant. You go to your brother, Vasuki's, residence and stay there. You will beget a son who will become a great and famous saint.”

So saying, the husband Jaratkaaruvu went to forest for Tapassu. Wife Jaratkaaruvu went to her brother--Vasuki house and was staying there. In due course of time, she gave birth to a male child. His name was AAstikaa. He learnt Vedaas, Puraanas and other Saastraas under a Guru, Pramathi.

(Now, let us revert back to Udanka approaching Janamejaya.)Udanka went to Hastinaapura and met Janamejaya. Udanka told JanamEjaya that Takshaka, the serpant, killed his father, Pareekshit, brutally.On hearing this, Janamejaya called all his Ministers. “Is it true? Had Takshaka killed my father, Parikshit? Why should he kill my father? How he killed my father? What had actually happened? Please tell me”. asked Janamejaya.

All the ministers told Janamejaya what had actually happened.“KingJanamejaya, Arjuna was one of the five pandavas.He married Subhadra, the sister of Lord Krishna. Their son was Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu married Uttara. Their son was Pareekshit, your beloved father. Your father was very much interested in hunting cruel animals.

One day, King Pareekshit went to forest for hunting.He saw a wild animal in the forest. He began to chase thatanimal. But the animal escaped. He went into an Ashram where Saint Sameeka was in Mounavratha (no-talking ritual), closed his eyes and was in deep meditation.Pareekshit came near him. “Oh great saint, Have you seen any wild animal coming this side? please tell me.” asked Pareekshit.The saint did not give any reply. Pareekshit grew angry.He could not control his anger. He saw dead snake nearby. He picked up that dead snake with his arrow and put it in the neck of Sameeka. Then he went away to his capital, Hastinaapura. At that time, Srungi, the son of Sameeka, was not in Aashramam. But, all this was seen by a sishya (student) called Krusa. Immediately, Krusa went to Srungi and told him what had happened. Srungi grew angry.“My father was in deep meditation and also in Mounavratha somewhere in the forest. What harm he had done to that King? Why should that King insult my father?He should suffer the consequences. Within seven days from today, King Pareekshit will die with the snake bite of the serpant Takshaka.” Srungi gave Saapa(curse) to Pareekshit.

Then Srungi went to the Aashramam. He removed the dead snake from the neck of his father. Sameeka opened his eyes. Srungi told his father what had happened. Sameeka felt very sad.“Oh my son, what is this? Anger is the root cause for all the misdeeds and sorrows. That is the reason why Brahmins should not get anger. We are living here peacefully, safely and performing our rituals and meditation and tapassu uninterruptedly, only due to the safety given by the Kings. King Pareekshit is not an Ordinary King. He is the protector of Dharma. He is kshatriya. Unable to conntrol his hunger and thirst, he might have done this small mistake. For that small mistake, is it proper on your part to give such a harsh Saapaa to King Pareekshit. Please take back your Saapa and save the king.”said Sameeka. But Srungi did not agree for it. “Oh father, my word is unretrievable. I cannot take it back” Srungi told his father.

Then Sameeka called one of his Sishyas, Gouramukha, “You go to King Pareekshit. Tell him about the Saapa given by my son Srungi. Ask him to make arrangements to save himself from this Saapa.”Accordingly, Gouramukha, went to Pareekshit and told him “O King Pareekshit, Saint Sameeka sent me to you. You put a dead snake in the neck of Saint Sameeka. His Son Srungi, grew angry and cursed you to die within seven days with snake bite. Saint Sameeka is feeling sorry for that. At his request, I have come to you to caution you. Plese make all arrangements to save yourself from the snake bite.”

On hearing this, King Pareeshit also was very much unhappy for what had happened. He called his ministers and discussed with them. On their advice, he got a single pillar structure, constructed. He was staying in that building. He kept expert snake bite doctors, anti-venemous medicines, and also snake charmers, and all other herbs.

Once Lord Brahma felt that all the snakes are causing much harm to the mankind. Lord Brahma blessed one Brahmin Kashyapa with divine power to give life to those who die with snake bites. On hearing the Saapa of Srungi, Kashyapa started to go to Hastinapura to save King Pareekshit from the snake bite.Takshaka also started to go to Hastinapura to carry out the “Saapa” of Srungi. On the way Kashyapaa and Takshaka met.Takshaka asked the Brahmin “Oh Brahmin, who are you? Where are you going?”“My name is Kashyapa. I am going to Hastinapura to save King Pareekshit from the snake bite of Takshaka and get huge gifts and presentations.” Kashyapa replied.

Takshaka laughed at him. “Oh Kashyapa. I am Takshaka. I am so powerful. Any body can escape a thunderbolt but not my bite. You cannot save King Pareekshit. Please go away”. Kashyapa did not agree. “I can save the king with the power given by Lord Brahma” replied Kashyap.“If you want to see, I will show my power. I will bite that huge tree and reduce it to ashes. If you are more powerful than me, you restore that tree as it is” So saying Takshaka bit a huge tree. On the spot, that huge tree was consigned to flames and reduced to ashes.

Kashyapa collected all the ashes. With the power given by Lord Brahma, he restored that tree with all branches and green leaves, flowers and fruits as before. Takshaka was astonished. He bowed before Kashyapa.“Hey mahatman, I agree you are more powerful than me. But the “Saapa” given by Srungi is unretrievable. King Pareekshit should die. I will give you more presentations than what King Pareekshit will give you. Please go back”.

Kashyapa also visualised the future with his “divya dhrushti” (supernatural vision). He realised the words of Takshaka. He received plenty of presentations from Takshaka and turned back. All these things are known from a wood cutter. At the time when the tree was burnt by Takshaka, the wood cutter was on the tree and he was also burnt away. When Kashyapa gave life to the tree, the wood cutter also got life. Later, he went to Hastinapura and told this incident to one and all. After Kashyapa left that place, Takshaka, the serpant, called some young snakes. He asked them to be under the guise of Brahmins. He gave fruits and flowers to them.

“You all take these fruits and flowers. You go to King Pareekshit, and give all these fruits to him. I will hide in one of the fruits as a small insect. Soon after he breaks the fruit, I will come out and kill him.”. So saying he entered into one big fruit as a small black insect. As told by Takshaka, all the snakes under the guise of Brahmins, visited King Pareekshit. King Pareekshit welcomed them. The Brahmins (serpants) blessed him and presented him the fruits and flowers. King Pareekshit was very happy.

That was the evening of the 7th day. If that night passes away, Takshaka couldnot do anything. He received the fruits from the Brahmins. He distributed them to all the ministers and others assembled there. He took one big fruit and broke it. From that fruit, Takshaka, in the form of a small black insect, came out and bit King Pareekshit. The deadly poison, came out of his teeth, burnt away not only King Pareekshit but also the one-pillar building. All the ministers and others ran away. King Pareekshit was no more. O Jaanamejayaa, that serpant Takshaka, even without considering whether it is good or bad, just on the cursing words of a Brahmin, Srungi, caused the death of your father.

Therefore, you also invite all the Brahmins, perform Sarpa yaaga, invite all the snakes by chanting Mantraas, and make them fell in the sacred fire and die.” The ministeres concluded. After hearing the words of Ministers, King Janamejaya was very angry. He decided to take revenge on Takshaka for killing his father. He invited Ritviks (Chief Priests) and asked them to make arrangements for Sarpayaaga. He got constructed a big building for performing Sarpayaaga.While the construction was going, one architect told him “O king Janamejaya, the proposed Sarpayaaga will not be completed. It will be stopped in the middle”.

But King Janamejaya did not heed his words. He was ready to perform SarpaYaga along with his wife, Vapushtama. King Janamejaya invited the great Saints like Vyaasa, Vaisampaayana. Sarpayaaga was started.Ritviks (Chief Priests) and other Priests were chanting Mantras and inviting all the snakes. All the snakes were coming and falling into the sacred fire of Sarpa Yaaga and were dying. On seeing this, Takshaka was frightened. He ran to Devendra and requested him for help “Devendra, please help me. Ritviks are inviting snakes, by chanting Mantras, to Sarpayaaga. Please save me”.

Indra knows that Lord Brahma gave exception to some snakes from Sarpayaaga. Hence, Devendra said “Dont worry Takshaka. Nothing will happen to you.”. While the Ritviksat the Sarpayaaga were chanting mantras, all the snakes are coming and falling in the sacret fire. But Takshaka was not coming. They came to know that Devendra gave shelter to Takshaka.Therefore, Ritviks chanted mantras that “Takshakaalong with Devendra are invited to come and fall in the sacred fire”.With these Mantras, Deva loka was shaking.

Mahendra also was frightened.“Takshaka, I cannot give you shelter anymore. You are being invited at Sarpayaaga. Please go”. So saying, Mahendra thrown Takshaka out of Devaloka.Takshaka was flying in the sky, ready to fall in the sacred fire of Satra yaaga. On coming to know of all these developments, Vaasuki also was frightened. He called his sister, Jaratkaaruvu “Oh My sister Jaratkaaruvu, please see what is happening. All the snakes are falling in the sacred fire of Sarpayaagaa and are dying. You only can solve this problem.

As per the words of Lord Brahma, your son, Aastika, can only stop the Satra yaaga and save the snakes. That is the reason why you are given in marriage to Jaratkaaruvu, a saint of your name.Your son, Aastika is a great saint. Now you have to request your son, Aastika to stop Sarpa yaaga and save the snakes.”

On hearing the words of her brother, Vasuki, she called her son Aastika. “Oh my son, you have heard what your maternal uncle, Vasuki, is saying. You please go to Hastinaapura immediately and stop Sarpayaaga and save the serpant community.” said Jaratkaaruvu to her son Aastika. Saint Aastika bowed before his mother, touched her feet and took her blessings(Aaseervaada). Then he went to Hastinaapura and visited the place where Sarpa yaagaa was being performed.King Janamejaya cordially invited Aastika, welcomed him and did all formalities intended for a distinguished guest.(atithi maryaadalu).

Saint Aastika praised King Janamejaya: “Oh King Janamejaya, you are a great king having good qualities like right knowledge, forbearance, control over the senses and mind, non-violence, equanimity, contentment, austerity and charity and you are famous like your fore fathers and great fore fathers viz., Maandhatha, Raghuvu,Dasaradha, Raama and Dharmaraajaa. All the good qualities of those kings are also embedded in you.You have done many Yajnas and Yagas (sacrifices) and have become pure. The Sages and Saints performing this Sarpayaagaa also have got the knowledge of all Saastraas and Puraanaas. The fact that Great Saints like Bhagavaan Vyaasaa, Vaisampaayana are gracing this Sarpa Yaagaa itself tells about the greatness of this Yaagaa. I wish all good things shall happen to you in future”. So saying, Saint Aastikaa praised King Janamejaya.

Having satisfied with the blessings and praises of Saint Aastika, King Janamejaya felt very much happy and said: “Oh great Saint Aastika. Kindly ask me what do you want. I will immediately fulful your wish”. Immediately Saint Aastika asked “King Janamejaya, please stop this disastorous Sarpa Yaga and save the serpant community who are my relatives through my maternal uncle, Vaasuki”.

Janamejaya was in dilemma. But all the Ritviks and Brahmins and Sages and Saints who visited Sarpayaaga also told King Janamejaya “Oh king Janamejaya, Aastika is a great saint. He should be given what he wants. His wish should be fulfilled. He is a fit person to receive anything. As per his request, please stop this Sarpayaaga.”The wish of the Saint Aastika on one side, and the request of Ritviks, Brahmins and Saints on the other side made King Janamejaya to agree for the stoppage of Satra yaaga.

Sarpa yaagaa was stopped. At that time, Takshaka was making rounds in the sky and was about to fall in Sarpa yaaga. Aastikaa raised his voice “Oh Takshaka, stop stop. Be there. Sarpayaaga is stopped. You can go away.”. On hearing this, Takshaka had a sigh of relief. He returned to Naagaloka. For stopping the Sarpayaaga and saving all the remaining serpants, all the Brahmins, Sages and Saints praised Saint Aastikaa. After fulfilling the desire of his mother, Aastika also went to his Aashram.

Mahaabhaarat, Aadiparva, dviteeyaasvaasa

(Second Chapter completed).