An image of Rishyashringi’s (most likely Rishi Sringi) hermitage

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: King Parikshit Commits the Mistake of Insulting a Noble Sage

Note: In the previous post, we saw how King Parikshit, in a state of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, made the mistake of insulting a Brahmin.

In this post, we will read about the repercussion of that mistake.

The sage whom King Parikshit had insulted had a son called Sringin. He was young and a bit immature, but he sincerely practised strict ascetic penances. Sringin also had an angry disposition and was difficult to please.

Sringin studied with a guru whose hermitage was not too far from where his father stayed. Commanded by his teacher, Sringin was going home when a fellow student called Krisa met him on the way. Krisa told Sringin in a playful way, “O Sringin, you are very proud of your asceticism and energy but I have heard that your father is sitting with a dead snake on his shoulder. Where was your manliness when the snake was placed on him? Henceforth, don’t show-off or talk rudely to students like us who also have knowledge of the truth. We have not done anything to deserve such treatment from you just as your father had done no wrong to deserve such an insult. I feel sad because of the insult your father had to suffer. 

Hearing Krisa’s words made Sringin burn with anger. However, he spoke softly to Krisa and asked, “Please tell me, why is my father bearing a dead snake on his shoulders?”

Krisa replied, “King Parikshit was in this region for the purpose of hunting. He placed the dead snake on your father’s shoulder.”

“Did my father commit any mistake?” Sringin asked, “what wrong did he do to that wicked king? O Krisa tell me the details and witness the power of my asceticism.”

Krisa said, “King Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu, wounded a deer while hunting. The deer ran into the forest. King Parikshit pursued it but the deer managed to escape. He saw your father in the forest and asked him if he had seen the deer. Your father did not reply because he was observing a vow of silence. In a state of hunger, exhaustion, and thirst, the king asked your father again and again about the deer, but received no reply. That’s when, the king picked up a dead snake with his bow and put it on your father’s shoulders. Your father was in a state of deep devotion at that time, because of which he did not remove the snake. King Parikshit has returned to his capital, Hastinapur, and your father is still sitting with the snake on his shoulder.”

Sringin was filled with anger when he heard Krisa’s account of what had happened. His eyes enlarged and became red. He touched water and cursed the king in the following words, “That sinful wretch of a king who placed a snake on my old father’s shoulder, that insultee of Brahmins and tarnisher of the fame of kurus, will be taken to the abode of Yama within seven nights by Takshaka, the king of the serpents. The power of my words will stimulate Takshaka to perform this act.”

Note: In the next post, we will find out how Sringin’s father reacted when he heard about Sringin’s curse to the king.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: The Wise Sage is Displeased With Sringin’s Rash Action