Rishi Astika is Born

A Brahmin family, 9th century. Prambanan, Indonesia

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Vasuki is Anxious About the Future of the Serpents After Jaratkaru Leaves his Sister

Note: In the previous post, we read about Vasuki’s anxiety when the rishi left his sister. Vasuki was concerned about the future of the serpents because it was prophesied by Brahma Deva that the son born of the union of Rishi Jaratkaru and his sister would save the serpents in Janamejaya’s snake sacrifice. His anxiety was reduced when his sister assured him that before leaving the rishi had said there was an embryo growing in her womb who was born from their union.

In this post, we will read about that child’s birth.

In due time, Vasuki’s sister gave birth to a son who was resplendent like a celestial child. His birth came as a relief to his paternal ancestors (Jaratkaru’s Pitris who were hanging upside-down on a single cord of root) and maternal relatives (the serpents he would save in the future).

The child grew up in Vasuki’s house and studied the Vedas and their branches under the tutelage of Sage Chyavana (Bhrigu’s son). This child-sage observed rigid vows from a young age. He was also intelligent, virtuous, saintly, knowledgeable, and unattached to worldly indulgences.

This child was named Astika, which means “whoever is,” because his father, (Rishi Jaratkaru) had said “there is” in reference to an embryo in his wife’s womb before leaving for the forest.

Even though he was still a child, Astika was very different from the other boys. He possessed the maturity and intelligence of a much older person. Being raised with great love and care in the palace of the serpents, the young brahmin looked like the illustrious lord of the celestials, the golden Mahadeva, and the serpents delighted in watching the noble child grow.

Note: The next post adds one more link to the impending snake sacrifice, in the form of King Janamejaya finding out the details of his father’s death and vowing to avenge it.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Janamejaya Inquires About the Circumstances of King Parikshit’s Death