Sage Shukadeva narrating the story of Krishna, to Parikshit

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Sage Samika Tries to Help King Parikshit Escape Sringin’s Curse

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Sage Samika felt compassion for the king and sent his disciple, Gaurmukha, as a messenger to forewarn the monarch about the curse.

In this post, we will read about Parikshit’s response to the sage’s message.

Parikshit himself, along with being a king, also practised ascetic penances. He was what we would call a royal sage, and he felt exceedingly sad when he learnt that he had insulted a sage who had undertaken a vow of silence. The anguish he felt because of his past action became even more magnified when he realised that, in spite of the insult, Sage Samika had responded with kindness by trying to save his life through Gaurmukha’s message. The monarch became deeply repentant, and at that moment, as he grieved, not for his own life, but for his conduct towards Rishi Samika, he looked very noble, magnificent, and even divine.

The king asked Gaurmukha to return to Sage Samika saying, “May the worshipful sage be gracious to me.” 

After Gaurmukha had left, the king immediately consulted with his ministers for to decide the future course of action, and in the discussion, the wise king himself decided to ask his artisans to build a house on a single column. 

This house was guarded day and night by soldiers. It was stocked with all the necessary medicines, while physicians, the king’s virtuous ministers, and Brahmanas who were well-versed in healing mantras stayed in that mansion with the king for his well-being. Protected on all sides, the king discharged his duties from that house for six days and six nights.

Note: A few posts back, we read about the incident where Samika explained to his son, Sringin, that Parikshit was a very noble king who discharged his duties well, and did not deserve to be cursed. Here, above, we see that nobility through Parikshit’s words, actions, and emotions.

And then, the sun arose on the seventh and final day of the curse.

Note: In the next post, we will find out what happened on the seventh (last) day of the curse.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Sage Kasyapa Heads to Hastinapur to Help Parikshit

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Did Sringin Regret His Rash Action?

Note: In the previous post, we learnt that Sage Samika’s wise words did not have much effect on Sringin. 

After explaining to Sringin the importance of keeping his anger under control, the rishi turned his attention to helping the king. 

In this post, we will find out how Rishi Samika tried to help King Parikshit.

Sage Samika said to Sringin, “O child, by forgiveness you can obtain worlds that are beyond the reach of Brahma Deva also. In my own ascetic practice, I have adopted peacefulness and have the desire to do as much good as I possibly can. Therefore, right now, I must do something to help the king.”

The Sage summoned one of his disciples called Gaurmukha who also practised ascetic penances and possessed excellent manners. He explained the recent events to Gaurmukha and advised him to go to the King, inquire about his welfare, and then give the actual message of the danger he faced because of the curse.

When Gaurmukha reached Parikshit’s palace in Hastinapur, he sent a message to the king through a royal servant, to inform the king about his arrival. 

Upon reaching the Parikshit’s court, Gaurmukha was respectfully worshipped by the noble monarch. After resting for some time, Gaurmukha relayed the Sage’s message to the king in the presence of his ministers.

Gaurmukha said, “O king of kings, I have been sent by a rishi called Samika who lives in your kingdom. The rishi practises hard ascetic devotions, has gained control over his passions, and is a peaceful as well as virtuous soul. O tiger among men, when the rishi was observing a vow of silence, a snake was placed on his shoulder by thyself. Even though the sage forgave you, his son, who is young and gets angry very quickly, was unable to forgive you. You have been cursed by the child that Takshaka will cause your death within seven nights. The sage asked his son to save you, but the child is unable to overcome his anger. His words are powerful and there’s nobody who can counter them. Therefore, I have been sent to convey this message for your safety.

Note: I loved Sage Samika’s patience, compassion, courage, and wisdom. He is patient towards his son’s immaturity, he feels compassion for the king and wants to save him, he is fearless in sending a messenger with such a dangerous message to the king, and he is wise because he teaches Gaurmukha the proper protocol and the correct words to use when approaching the king. Through this action, he practises what Sri Krishna taught in the Bhagwat Gita – to perform his duty with love, without fear, and without being attached to the result. 

In the next post, we will find out how Parikshit responded to the sage’s message.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: King Parikshit’s Response to Rishi Samika’s Message

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

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

Note: In the previous post, we read about why Sringin’s wise father, Sage Samika, was displeased with his son for cursing King Parikshit.

In this post, we will find out if Sage Samika’s words had any effect on Sringin.

After hearing his father’s words, Sringin replied, “O father, regardless of whether my action was rash or not, regardless of whether you like it or dislike it, the words I have spoken will have their effect. I have never uttered a lie, even for fun, and, therefore my words will come true.”

Samika, Sringin’s father, heard his son’s words calmly and replied, “Dear son, I know you are very truthful because of which your words have great power, and what you have spoken will come true, but, my child, I want to tell you something important. A father continues to guide his son even when he becomes mature, so that the son may acquire good qualities and fame (resulting from virtue). When even a mature offspring needs guidance, a child who is very young, like you are, needs even more guidance. My child, you are always engaged in ascetic penances, but even great ascetics who have all the six attributes (of greatness) experience an increase in anger when they perform such penances. That is the reason I feel the need to guide you. It’s because I am aware how strictly you observe your ascetic vows and I’m also aware that you’re still a child and often rash in your actions.”

Note: In the next post, we will see how Sage Samika tries to help King Parikshit escape his fate.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Sage Samika Tries to Help King Parikshit Escape Sringin’s Curse

A temple relief of a rishi

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Sringin’s Wrath

Note: In the previous post, we read about how an angry youth, Sringin, cursed King Parikshit because the monarch had insulted his father.

In this post, we will find out what Sringin’s father told his son when he learned of the curse.

After cursing King Parikshit, Sringin continued on his homeward journey to his father. There, he saw his father sitting in the cow-pen with the dead snake on his shoulder.

Seeing his father in that state, Sringin was once again filled with anger and grief. With tear-filled eyes, he said to his father, “O father, I was informed about how that wicked king, Parikshit, insulted you. It filled me with anger and I cursed that king. He very well deserves to be thus cursed. Within seven days, the powerful snake, Takshaka, will send that king to the abode of death.

Hearing Sringin’s angry words, his father, the wise sage, said, “My child, I am not pleased with your action. Ascetics should not act like this. We live in King Parikshit’s kingdom. He is a righteous monarch who always protects us. A reigning (and righteous) king should always be forgiven by ascetics. My child, if you destroy dharma, then dharma will destroy you. We depend on the king’s protection to perform our ascetic practices without being disturbed by outlaws. It is because of his protection that we earn the merit from our ascetic practices. Therefore, the king also deserves a share of our merit.”

The sage continued, “O Sringin, Parikshit is very similar to his great-grandfather (King Pandu). He performs his duties well and cares for us like a king should care for his subjects. He made the mistake of putting a dead snake on my shoulder because he was hungry and tired. O child, a country without a king has to suffer many difficulties. The king maintains law and order by punishing offenders. The fear of punishment results in peace and peace ensures that the righteous can perform their duties and rites without being disturbed. This way the king establishes dharma and the way of heaven on earth. Because of the king’s protection, we are able to conduct yagnas and sacrifices. These please the devas, and the devas cause rain. The rains help in the production of grains and herbs which are very useful to humans. Manu says that a good king who rules over the destinies of humans is equal, in dignity, to ten priests who have studied the Vedas. The noble king committed this mistake due to hunger and fatigue. Why then have you cursed the king, O Sringin? Your action is childish, rash, and unrighteous. O son, the king has not done anything wrong to deserve a curse from us.”

Note: In the next post, we will find out if Sringin regrets his rash action, after hearing his father’s words.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Did Sringin Regret His Rash Action?

13th-century Cham sculpture depicting Garuda devouring a Naga serpent (Image by DoktorMax – Own work. Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by User:Vinhtantran using CommonsHelper)

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Indra and Garuda Become Eternal Friends

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Indra and Garuda became eternal friends.

In this post, we will find out how the snakes became Garuda’s natural food.

After the friendship between Indra and Garuda was sealed, Indra said, “If you don’t need the amrit, return it to me because the beings to whom you plan to give the amrit have always been opposed to us.”

Garuda replied, “I have taken the amrit for a specific reason. However, I won’t allow anyone to drink it. O Indra, when I place the amrit on the ground, you can take it immediately and bring it back to heaven.”

Indra was very pleased with Garuda’s reply and offered the king of birds a boon.

Having been offered a boon, Garuda recollected how the serpent sons of Kadru had deceived his mother into slavery. But Garuda also knew that his mother’s misfortune was due to his brother, Aruna’s curse. That’s the reason he did not fight the snakes even though he could have easily overpowered them. Remembering all this, Garuda asked Indra for the following boon. He said, “O Sakra, let the mighty snakes become my food.”

“So be it,” Indra replied. However, Indra also considered it necessary to seek Vishnu’s permission before Garuda could make snakes his natural food. Therefore, Garuda and Indra approached the great Shri Hari Narayan, who immediately consented to the boon.

Note: Once again, we are given a window into Indra’s wisdom, discernment, and nobility. In the previous post, we got a glimpse into Indra’s nobility when defeated by Garuda, he reached out to the great bird for eternal friendship instead of harboring ill-will against him.

In this post, we get a glimpse of Indra’s wisdom and understanding of his limits. He knew that the natural order of the food chain would be affected when the snakes became Garuda’s food. So, even though he had himself given the boon to Garuda, Indra did not allow his ego to bypass Narayana and enforce the boon simply because he was the king of the devas. Here we see Indra as someone who knew his limits, and therefore, consulted Shri Hari Narayan, to validate the boon he had granted to Garuda.

After meeting Vishnu, Indra turned to Garuda and informed him that he would take possession of the pot of amrit as soon as Garuda had placed it on the ground.

Having reached an understanding about how the amrit was to be safeguarded, Garuda sped to the island where the snakes had held his mother in slavery.

Note: In the next post, we will read about how Garuda deceived the snakes and freed his mother from slavery.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Garuda Frees His Mother From Slavery