Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Vasuki Convenes a Meeting of Serpents to Find a Way to Neautralize Kadru’s Curse

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Vasuki called for a meeting with his serpent brothers to find a way to protect themselves and their race from their mother’s curse.

In this post, we will read about the strategies proposed by various

One group of serpents suggested that they should approach Janamejaya disguised as superior Brahmins and convince him to cancel the snake sacrifice.

Another group of snakes, who considered themselves very wise, gave an alternate suggestion. A better way out, according to them, was to become Janamejaya’s favourite counsellors. Since the king would have a high regard for them, he would certainly ask for their advice before conducting the snake sacrifice. The snakes posing as the king’s counsellors, would convince him against the snake sacrifice by pointing out the evil that would happen in this life as well as the next as a result of the sacrifice.

Another suggestion which was proposed was to bite the person who was appointed to conduct the sacrifice. Not only that person, but everyone who knew the rites of the snake sacrifice, so with their demise, there wouldn’t be anyone to conduct the sacrifice.

Some of the more nobler snakes did not agree with people who knew how to perform the sacrifice. They said, “It is not correct to kill brahmins. In times of danger, let us find a righteous solution because unrighteousness eventually destroys the world.” 

In response to this objection, some snakes suggested that they should become clouds and pour rain onto the sacrificial fire and extinguish it to prevent the sacrifice. Another alternative suggested was to prevent the sacrifice by stealing the Soma juice which was necessary for the sacrifice.

This wave of virtue did not last long since another group of snakes immediately suggested that they bite the people who would attend the sacrifice thus spreading terror all along. Other snakes suggested that they prevent the sacrifice by defiling the food with urine and dung.

Others suggested that they should become the king’s Ritwika and demand their fee before the sacrifice and somehow prevent the king from performing the sacrifice.

Some snakes suggested binding the king when he stepped into a lake, while yet another group of snakes said they should bite and kill the king and thus destroy the root cause of the sacrifice.

After making all these suggestions, the snakes turned to Vasuki and said, “O you who hears with his eyes, we have given you our suggestions. Now do what you feel is best.”

After reflecting on all the proposed ideas, Vasuki said, “I don’t think these ideas are virtuous. I am responsible for ensuring the welfare of the snakes, therefore, I will have to bear the final credit or discredit that comes upon us because of the way we carry out our task. I think we should meet our illustrious father, Sage Kasyapa. He is the only person who can help us.

Note: There was one more snake in the group, called Elapatra, who was privy to some additional knowledge about the sacrifice. In the next post, we will read about his suggestion for the welfare of the snakes.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Elapatra’s Suggestion to His Snake Brothers

Statue of Vasuki in Kumortali (Image contributed by Kritzolina in the public domain on a Creative Commons licence).

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Sesha Naga Becomes the Earth’s Axis

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Sesha Naga stabilized the earth and also moved away from his vile siblings.

In this post, we will read about the noble serpent, Vasuki, and how he convened a meeting of all his siblings to find a remedy for Kadru’s curse (that all the snakes would perish in raja Janamejaya’s snake sacrifice).

Just in case you’ve forgotten, Janamajeya was Parikshit’s son, Uttara & Abhimanyu’s  grandson, and Subhadra & Arjun’s great-grandson.

Vasuki, another noble son of Kadru, had spent much time deliberating over how to ensure the welfare of all the snakes by neautralizing his mother’s curse. One day, he convened a meeting with his brothers (Airavata and others) to discuss the best course of action.

Addressing his brothers, Vasuki said, “O sinless ones, you already know that the result of this curse will be the destruction of all the snakes when Janamajeya conducts his snake sacrifice. It is our duty to find a remedy to this problem.”

Vasuki explained to his brothers that all curses had a remedy, but a curse that was uttered in the presence of the eternal was difficult to neautralize.

In a state of dejection, he said, “Surely, the time for our species to perish has come. Why else would the almighty allow our mother to utter such words?”

Note: I’d like to point out here that when we are wronged by another person, we often respond like Vasuki did. We assume that since the almighty allowed a certain event to happen, it must be in our destiny or karma to suffer. This may or may not be true. However, to assume the worst, is, in my opinion, unwise. A better course of action is to find the reason why the difficult event might have happened, to find the lesson that the almighty might be giving us. And then to learn from the event, change ourselves, and put effort for our continued welfare. 

The fatalistic attitude of surrendering to everything that happens in life is not always the wisest course of action, especially not in Kaliyuga when virtuous people face additional difficulties due to the very nature of this yuga where virtue is oppressed and vice is empowered.

Recovering from the dejection, Vasuki continued, “But, in any case, it is our duty to ensure our safety. Therefore, without wasting any more time, let us discuss various solutions and find a way to free ourselves from this curse. Let us act like the devas in ancient times who found a way to pacify Agni when he had shunned the world and retreated into a cave after Sage Bhrigu cursed him for speaking the truth to a rakshasa

Note: In the next post, we will read about the strategies proposed by various snakes.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Strategies Proposed by Various Serpents for Their Welfare