Maharaja Parikshit

Ruler of the world for 60 years and life long devotee of Sri Krsna

After being cursed by a brahmin boy ( another syptom of the arrival of Kali yuga ) Parikshit maharaja went to the Naimasaryana forest to hear Srimand Bhagavatam fro the youthful son of Srila Vyasadev,  Sri Suka dev Goswami. With out food or drink the discourse lasted seven days, afterward he returned to his Kingdom

A short narration leading up to the recital of Srimand Bhagavatam.

Parikshit was the grandson of the Pandavas. His father was Abhimanyu, Arjun's son. Parikshit's son Janmejaya was curious about the way in which his father had died. He asked his ministers the cause of his father's death. Then the ministers told him the whole story of how Parikshit lived and met with his death. Parikshit was a great and just king who looked after his subjects well. He was considered to be the personification of goodness and nobody could match him in valour. He had no enemies and neither did he feel enmity towards anyone for he was a pure unalloyed devotee of the supreme personality of godhead. He had learnt the art of archery from Guru Kripacharya. He was a favourite of Krishna. As he was born when the Kuru Clan was put to a great test (the Mahabharata), he got the name Parikshit (which is derived from the word "Parikshan" meaning `One who has been put to a test'). He ruled for sixty years when he died and left Janmejaya as his heir. Janmejaya was still not satisfied and told his ministers that they had not answered his question, which was how his father had died.

He said that all the rulers of his clan had been noble and just and were devoted to the personality of godhead, what he wanted to know was how his father was killed.

The ministers told him that Parikshit, like his great-grandfather Pandu, was very fond of hunting. Once he was on a hunting trip when he aimed at a deer but the deer, although hit managed to escape. Parikshit followed it deep into the forest but was unable to locate it. He was sixty years old and the deer chase had made him hungry and tired. As he was wandering in the woods alone looking for food he came across a Rishi in deep meditation and who had taken the vow of silence. Parikshit, who did not know this asked him where he could find food and shelter. The ascetic did not answer the king. The king was tired and very hungry and  ascetic was being rude. To insult the ascetic he picked up a dead snake by the tip of his bow and laid the dead snake on the shoulders of the silent Rishi. The ascetic did not speak even after that and the king, who was by now very tired left for his kingdom. The ascetic was called Rishi Shameek and he had a son named Shringi. Shringi was a great ascetic and had great powers. When he heard that King Parikshit had insulted his father while he was under a vow of silence, he was very angry. He took some holy water in his hand and cursed King Parikshit. He said that the poisonous snake Takshak would bite the man who insulted my innocent father and put a dead snake on his shoulders, within seven days. Thus cursing, Shringi went to his father and narrated the whole incident to him. Rishi Shameek was not pleased to hear what his son had done. He knew the deep meening of what Parikshit had done. So he sent his most intelligent pupil, Gaurmukh to Parikshit to warn him of the impending danger and to protect himself in any way that he can. King Parikshit listens and accepted his fate with out argument.
 

On the seventh day as the serpent Takshak was coming to bite Parikshit, he met a brahmin called Kashyap on his way. Takshak asked the brahmin where he was going in such a hurry. The brahmin replied that he was going to the court of Parikshit because he could save him from the poison of Takshak. Takshak was surprised at the confidence of this brahmin and told him that he was Takshak and there was no one in the world who could save the man whom he had bitten. The brahmin smiled and said that he could prove that he had an antidote for the poison of Takshak. So Takshak tried to test him. He bit a green tree and within seconds the tree was turned into ashes as the poison of Takshak was so strong. The brahmin chanted a few mantras and the tree was back to life as lush green as before! Takshak was amazed to see the power of the brahmin. He asked the brahmin whether he was going to Parikshit's court hoping for rewards. The brahmin said that he hoped to get a lot of wealth from Parikshit if he could bring him back to life. Takshak said that he would give the brahmin even more than he expected to get from Parikshit and that he should go back. The brahmin took the wealth from Takshak and went back happily from where he had come. Having got rid of the brahmin, Takshak went to the kingdom of Parikshit and found that there was no way in which he could get in. He then converted himself into a caterpillar and entered into one of the fruits in the basket which were being taken to the king as an offering.

Once inside the king's chambers, Takshak came out of the fruit, assumed his original form and bit Parikshit. Parikshit immediately died and his body turned into ashes. Later Janmejaya was crowned the king. The ministers having told the story to Janmejaya asked him to do whatever he deemed fit. Janmejaya asked the ministers how they were so sure of the story of the brahmin Kashyap and of how he revived the tree. The ministers told him that unknown to both Takshak and the brahmin, there was a man sitting in the branches of the tree that Takshak had killed with his poison. The man had also died when the tree was burnt to ashes due to the poison and revived when the brahmin read his mantras. He had heard the whole conversation of Takshak and the brahmin and he had later related the whole story to the ministers. Janmejaya was incensed and filled with a desire to avenge his father's death. He decided to do something to punish the snakes for having killed his father.

End