One day, while hunting, Janamejaya noticed the hermitage of a famous rishi called Srutasrava. This rishi had a son called Somasrava who was engaged in deep ascetic practices and devotion. 

Janamejaya bowed to the famous rishi, Srutasrava, with the desire to appoint the rishi’s son as his purohit. After bowing, Janamejaya said to the rishi, “O possessor of six attributes, please allow your son to be my purohit.”

The rishi answered: 

“O Janamejaya, my son who is accomplished in the Vedas and has the full force of my asceticism was born from the womb of a female snake that had drunk my vital fluid. He can help you obtain pardon for all offenses except for offenses committed against Lord Shiva. However, my son has a particular habit. If a brahmana asks him for something, he is sure to grant it to the brahmana. If you can accept and put up with this habit, then you may appoint him as your purohit.” 

Janamejaya accepted the condition and returned to Hastinapur with Somasrava. 

In Hastinapur, he informed his brothers that Somasrava was their purohit and that any demand made by him should be fulfilled without any questions. 

Son of Sarama being beaten

This post marks the beginning of the Paushya Upa-Parva of the Adi Parva.

King Janamejaya (son of Parikshit) had three brothers: Srutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhimasena. All four of them were seated at the sacrifice on the plains of Kurukshetra. 

While they were seated, a dog happened to wander by that very place. This dog was the child of Sarama – the celestial she-dog. Janamejaya’s brothers got irritated at the presence of the dog and harassed it until it left that spot. Consequently, the dog left that place and ran to its mother, crying in pain. 

When Sarama saw that her child couldn’t stop crying, she asked her little one: “Why are you crying so much? Who has beaten you?”

The little dog replied, “I have been harassed and beaten by the brothers of Janamejaya.”

“Surely, you must have done something wrong. That is why they beat you,” Sarama told her child.

“I have not done anything wrong. I have not touched the sacrificial butter with my tongue. I have not even cast a glance at it.” The little dog replied.

Sarama was greatly distressed when she heard that her child was beaten for no reason. She immediately went to the place of the sacrifice and said to Janamejaya in anger: “My son did not commit any fault. He neither touched the sacrificial butter with his tongue nor did he look at it. When did you beat him?”

Janamejaya and his brothers unable to give a valid reason, remained silent.

Sarama, who was still angry at the injustice done to her son, cursed them saying: “Because all of you have beaten my son without any reason, evil will come upon you when you least expect it.”

Next: Rishi Ayoda-Dhaumya Tests his Pupil Aruni