Discussion in 'Hindu Stories' started by garry420, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    King Janamejaya is the son of Parikshit who was the last prominent king in the Pandava’s dynasty. His mother’s name was “Madravathi”. He married to “Vupastama”. He had three brothers by names 1)’Ugrasewna”, Shrutasena, Bheemasena all are great warriors. This very Janmejeya’s birth was pre destined as his name was took by the “Kadruva” the wife of Great Saint Kasyapa some thousands of years back. This Kadruva is a lady of jelous and is the mother of great divine serpents like Vasuki and Karkotaka. One fine day a Sage by name Udanka came to his court. The king welcomed this great saint and offered him Arghya and made him to sit on his throne. After formal introductions the sage said to the king “He Raja I heard your name and fame and fascinated by your glory but as I entered your kingdom I found that still lot need to be done and there are many shortfalls in your administration. Still traitors, treacherous, and murderers are roaming freely in your king dome”. The King was puzzled by these words of saint he controls his feelings and with utmost sincerity asks the saint “Maharshi if had not able to notice such things, you have every liberty to express before me about such things so that I can rectify my faults in administration. The Saint said to him Raja the King Murderer of your father is a great serpent by name Takshyaka is roaming freely, who is also a thief. He stole the ear rings from me which were procured by me from one Raja. They were sought by my Gurupatni in “Dakshina” and I had to face lot of difficulties to regain them. Once Raja listens to this Janmejeya become very angry he then and there decides to put an end to such persons. Immediately he calls his court priest Somashruva for the advice. Somashruva advises the Raja to perform great Sarpa Yaga (a sacrifice of serpents in a sacred fire).
    When Raja enquires into the details of "Takshaka, Somashruva tell the Raja that Takshaka is the son of Sage Kasyapa Prajapati and a brother of Indra.(Father same mothers different) and he is Under Indra's protection, he feels safe from retribution, so his conceit has grown limitless. Somashruva strongly suggests the king to perform “SARPA YAGA”. It is the snake-sacrifice. When this sacrifice is conducted, the snakes that are named by the Mantras (incantations) will be rendered powerless and be impelled to fall into the sacrificial fire. Both “Udanka and Somashruva promised the king to extend their fullest cooperation to perform sarpayaga.
    King Janamejaya then calls “lohitaksha” (sudraka) an expert in building the ritual arena. A suitable spot was chosen and Sudraka marks yagnashala, rutvika mandapa, and built the fire place. King made all arrangements for this sacrifice. A great sacrificial hall was constructed for the Ritvikaas to sit and a platform was raised in its midst and was decorated with valuable articles. He invited the greatest sages and priests to conduct this sacrifice. This was a truly great and bold undertaking, for the rituals for this sacrifice were arduous, and had to be exactly followed, if the sacrifice was to be fruitful. The king also underwent the rituals that will purify him to participate in the sacrifice.
    Once the arrangements were completed Lohitaksha visits the spots and tells "O King, I perceive from these signs that your sacrifice will not be completed”. The omens portend that this sacrifice shall be stopped due to the intervention of a Brahmana." Then king recalls the curse of divine bitch at the time of “Satra Yaga” but decides to go ahead with the proceedings.. He then gave orders to his guards that no one was let into the sacrificial hall without his permission.
    The great sacrifice began. The officiating priests wore black cloths, for this was a Yagna directed towards destruction. As they chanted the appropriate Mantras and poured the clarified ghee into the fire, snakes, impelled by the power of these incantations, started converging from all over the world. There were snakes of all shapes and sizes, some of them were as large as buildings, some as small as insects. As the priests called each snake species by name and uttered the fatal words, "may so and so fall into fire", that snake would meet its fiery end into the sacrificial fire.
    Many great Brahmanas were involved in the conduct of this sacrifice. A great Rishi named “Chandabhargava”, who was a descendant of Chyavana was the Hotri (I believe it is the Hotri who pours out the sacrificial oblations into the fire). A learned old Brahmana named Kautsa was the Udgatri (chanter of vedic hymns). A sage named Jaimini acted as the Bramaha (he is the master of the sacrifice) and Sarngarva and Pingala were the Adhvaryus (no idea what this means). Vyasa was present with many of his disciples, and was generally supervising the conduct of the sacrifice. His students were chanting the name of the Lord. Many other great Brahmanas were present to observe the conduct of this magnificent sacrifice.
    The sacrifice continued for days. Snakes were perishing in the flames in thousands. At this point, a Brahmana named Astika came to visit the sacrifice. The sacrifice was nearing completion. The King welcomed his guest and said, "O Brahmana, despite your relative youth, your very being is radiating with knowledge. I have sworn to grant whatever a Brahmana desires. Ask what you will."
    At this time, the chief priest intervened and said, "O King, the sacrifice is not yet complete. Takshaka, whose destruction you desired, is still alive. Wait till he is falling to the fire, before you begin giving gifts to Brahmanas."
    Janamejaya said, "Why is it that Takshaka is still alive? Invoke the Mantra with his name and make him fall into the fire."
    The priests uttered the appropriate incantations, but nothing happened. They then looked at the omens in the air, and used their spiritual power to divine the cause. Finally, the head priest said, "O King, Takshaka has sought asylum from Indra. The Lord of the Devas is protecting him in his palace that is why our Mantras have not worked."The king said, "Then utter the Mantra in such a way that Takshaka may be impelled to fall into this fire, even though Indra has given him sanctuary."The chief priest then invoked a powerful Mantra and said, "May Takshaka fall into this fire, accompanied by Indra."
    Such was the potency of the invocation that which both Indra and Takshaka started falling into the sacrificial fire, bound to each other. When Indra saw that his friend's fate was inevitable, he let go of Takshaka and decided to save himself. Takshaka then started falling alone into the fire.
    At this moment, Astika said, "STAY! Takshaka may your fall be arrested!" He then turned to the King and said, "This is the boon that I seek of you. May you stop the sacrifice at this time. You have already killed millions of snakes in revenge for your father's death. I am a Brahmana, but my mother Jaratkaru, is the sister of Vasuki, the foremost of the serpents. She sent me here to stop your sacrifice and to save her kinsmen. Even Lord Brahma desires that you should remain content with slaying so many evil snakes. The snakes which were left still (excluding of course, this vain Takshaka) are, virtuous and not deserving to be destroyed. Your glory will only increase if spare their lives."
    King Janamejaya demurred. At this point Vyasa spoke to him, and advised him to grant Astika's request. Thus advised by the sage for whom he had so much respect, the King gave orders for the sacrifice to end.
    The King then bestowed great riches upon Astika and all the priests who had conducted the sacrifice. He gave special honor and a great amount of wealth to Lohitaksha, the master builder who had foretold that the sacrifice would be stopped by a Brahmana.
    This is the story of the great snake sacrifice conducted by King Janamejaya. The tradition is that whoever hears this story will have nothing to fear from snakes. (Internet source is taken along with the book poorvagadha Lahari)

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