Parikshit

Parikshit and Snake
  • Parikshit was a son of Abhimanyu by his wife Uttara, and grandson of Arjun.
  • He was married to Madravati, and she bore him a son named Janmejay.
  • Parikshit was killed by Ashvatthama in the womb of his mother and was born dead, but he was brought to life by Krishna, who blessed him and cursed Ashvatthama.
  • When the Pandavs retired to the forest, Yudhishthir installed Parikshit on the throne of Hastinapur and Kripacharya was appointed as his preceptor.
  • King Parikshit was fond of hunting and on one of his trips, he followed a wounded deer deep into the forest, till he reached the hermitage of sage Shamik.
  • The king inquired of the sage if he had seen the deer, but the sage, who was under a vow of silence, could not answer, and the tired and irritated Parikshit, in his anger, threw a dead snake around Shamik's neck and returned to Hastinapur.
  • Shringi, the son of Shamik, was told by his companion Krish of the dead serpent around his father's neck. Shringi grew angry and cursed Parikshit, saying that the latter would be dead by the sting of the serpent Takshak within seven days.
  • Shamik, knowing Parikshit to be a charitable and noble king, was not too pleased with the curse, and sent his disciple Gaurmukh to inform the king of the curse. Parikshit then started to think up means to escape the curse.
  • A wall was built around his palace and sages appointed who protected the king with antidotes and special Mantras. Takshak then caused some serpents to enter the palace disguised as Brahmans and to offer the king some fruits, in one of which Takshak had hidden himself as a small worm. When the Brahmans presented the fruit, the king selected a large and delicious one, cut it open, and from it a small worm appeared, who suddenly assumed his original form, bit the king and disappeared.
  • Thus Parikshit breathed his last, leaving the kingdom in charge of his ministers, as Janmejay was still young. When Janmejay grew of age and learnt of the circumstances of his father's death, he took revenge by performing the serpent sacrifice to destroy the whole of the serpent race.


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