The Meaning of the Name Jaratkaru

Manasa with her husband, Jaratkaru, and son, Astika.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: The Devas Request Brahma Deva to Help Vasuki

Note: In the previous post, we read about how the devas requested Brahma Deva to help ease Vasuki’s anxiety which was caused by the impending threat faced by the serpents.

Brahma Deva provided relief by saying that the son born from the union of sage Jaratkaru and Vasuki’s sister, who was also called Jaratkaru, would save the innocent serpents.

In this post, we will find out the meaning of the name, “Jaratkaru.”

Saunaka Kulapati, the ascetic in Naimisha Forest said to Ugrasrava Sauti, “O son of Suta, why was the illustrious Rishi whom you just mentioned, named Jaratkaru? I would also like to know the origin and meaning of that word.”

Sauti said, “The meaning of ‘Jara’ is to waste away and ‘Karu’ means huge. This illustrious rishi once had a huge body which he gradually reduced by severe ascetic penances. He is known as Jaratkaru because his huge body was wasted away and reduced in mass due to his penances.

Vasuki’s sister is also called Jaratkaru for the same reason.

The virtuous ascetic of Naimisha Forest, Saunaka Kulapati, was pleased by Sauti’s answer. He smiled and said, “That is correct.”

Note: In the next post, Saunaka Kulapati expresses the desire to know more about the birth of Jaratkaru’s son, Astika. At a higher level, there were several events that became the cause of circumstances that led to Jaratkaru’s marriage and Astika’s birth. At this point, the narrative of the Mahabharata begins a sub-story to describe the events that led to Astika’s birth. These events are related to Abhimanyu’s son, Parikshit, the serpent king, Takshaka, and many others. In the next post, we will also find out how Abhimanyu’s son, Raja Parikshit, committed the blunder of insulting a noble sage.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

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