Bagawatha Purana - Part X
The garland of snake!
The fate of King Parikshit!
Now the Pandava brothers were struck with double tragedy. First they lost their dear Krishna. Now Mother Kunti has departed from them. Dharmaraja knew that his mother’s merit is more and deserving. Having just heard the news about Krishna’s departure, she left the physical body. But here, he is still living even after hearing about Krishna and seeing his mother’s passing away. Yes, my mind is a rock and I do not have the merit garnered by my mother, he thought.
After performing the funeral of Kunti, there was nothing left in this world for them. They have seen the ups and downs of life. For whom they should live? But the boy Parikshit need to grow up and he need the support of his grandfathers till he could stand upon his own leg. But they have not waited long for that. One day Dharmaraja decided to leave the palace and he made hurried arrangements for the coronation of Parikshit though he was still a boy! Hearing this Parikshit wept holding the feet of Dharmaraja. Grandpa! Do not leave me. I will become an orphan. I have no father. I have not seen Krishna. You were all guarding and guiding me like a fortress. How can you leave me in the middle? Everybody who heard this wept. Dharmaraja too could not control his tears. But he had no more desire to lead the life in the Palace!
He summoned Kripacharya, the preceptor and entrusted the custody of Parikshit to him, requesting him to guide him in the affairs of the Kingdom. On an auspicious day, the boy Parikshit had to bear the responsibility of the Kingdom. After blessing him and embracing him, they all left northward. It is a tough vow! They will be marching in the Northern direction without looking back, without food or water. Each one will fall due to exhaustion. First Droupathi fell down. But they never looked back. One by one all the brothers fell down. Undaunted, Dharmaraja was proceeding in the Northern direction. Only “Righteousness” in the form of a dog followed him till the end till he attained Heaven! This vow is known as “Vanaprastha”. Only those who are completely detached from the body can undertake this vow!
Having descended from an illustrious line of Kings who were virtuous, Parikshit too grew in wisdom and confidence and he was ruling the Kingdom very wisely. Everybody praised his administrative skills and sterling character. In due course, the marriage of Parikshit with a suitable girl was performed and a son was born to the Royal couple. Kings used to retread to forests once in a while pursuing hunting etc., It was permitted in the code of conduct. In one such errand, Parikshit went ahead of his aids pursuing some wild animal. He was tired and thirsty. He searched for some water sources. He came across one recluse who was absorbed in deep meditation! The King called him but the recluse was oblivious of the world. Due to hunger and thirst, his mind was confused. Without any motive or out of exhaustion, he laid a dead snake on the neck of the recluse like a garland!. It may be his fate which prompted him to such heinous crime. Still, the recluse was unaware of the dead snake around his neck! To be continued in next Part.