Uttanka Pursues the Serpent King Takshaka

Indra Dev helps Uttanka with his thunderbolt

Note: In the previous post, we read about how the queen gave Uttanka her earrings but also warned him that the serpent king, Takshaka, coveted those earrings too. Sometime after leaving Paushya’s kingdom, Uttanka put the earrings on the ground when he went to perform his ablutions. However, while he was cleaning himself, a beggar stole those earrings and ran away. In this post, we will learn more about the beggar and how Uttanka pursued him.

Utanka first completed his ablutions in water, purified himself, and reverently bowed down to the gods and his spiritual masters. After that, he chased the thief and overtook him with great difficulty. However, the moment he seized the thief, the beggar changed his form and stood before Uttanka as his real self – that of Takshaka, the serpent king. 

Upon returning to his real form, Takshaka, the serpent, entered a large hole in the ground and proceeded toward the region of the serpents (his abode). 

This is when Uttank recollected the queen’s words about how Takshaka also coveted the same earrings. The hole that Takshaka had entered was large for a snake but small for a human, so Uttanka began to expand the hole with his stick to pursue the serpent, but he wasn’t able to make much progress. 

When Indra, the king of the Gods, noticed Uttanka’s problem, he sent his thunderbolt to the brahmin boy. That thunderbolt entered Uttanka’s stick and rapidly enlarged the hole leading the way for Uttanka to follow. Following his stick powered by the thunderbolt, Uttanka went deep into the earth until he reached the region of the serpents.

The region was vast. It felt like it extended infinitely in all directions. There were hundreds of elegant mansions with gateways, turrets, and domes. There were also wonderful places for entertainment and games. 

Uttanka glorified the serpents with the following shlokas (verses).

“O Serpents, subjects of King Airavata, you are splendid in battle and shower weapons in the field like lightning-charged clouds driven by the winds! 

You are handsome and of various forms and decked with many colored earrings, you children of Airavata, you shine like the Sun in the firmament! 

On the northern banks of the Ganges, there are many habitations of serpents. There I constantly adore the great serpents. Who except Airavata would desire to move in the burning rays of the Sun? When Dhritarashtra (Airavata’s brother) goes out, twenty-eight thousand and eight serpents follow him as his attendants. You who move near him and you who stay at a distance from him, I adore all of you that have Airavata for your elder brother!

O Takshaka, to obtain the earrings, I adore you also. You, who formerly dwelt in Kurukshetra and the forest of Khandava! 

Takshaka and Aswasena, you are constant companions who dwell in Kurukshetra on the banks of the Ikshumati! 

I also adore the illustrious Srutasena, the younger brother of Takshaka, who resided at the holy place called Mahadyumna with the intention of becoming the chief of the serpents!”

Thus, Rishi Uttanka glorified Takshaka to obtain the earrings from him. However, his attempt did not succeed. Takshaka did not return the earrings.

Note: In the next post, we’ll find out how Uttanka got the earrings from Takshaka.

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