44. Janamejaya and Vapushtama

44. Janamejaya and Vapushtama

“Soota said, ‘Then the ministers seeing the king (Parikshit) in the coils of Takshaka, became pale with fear and wept in exceeding grief. Hearing the roar of Takshaka, the ministers all fled. As they were flying away in great grief, they saw Takshaka, the king of snakes, that wonderful Naagaa, coursing through the blue sky like a streak of the colour of the lotus, and looking very much like the bright red-coloured line on a woman’s head dividing the dark masses of her hair in the middle.

“The mansion (Gruha in Sanskrit) in which the king was living blazed up with Takshaka’s poison. The king’s ministers, on seeing it, fled away in all directions. The king (Parikshit) himself fell down, as if struck by lightning.

“When the king (Parikshit) was laid low by Takshaka’s poison, his ministers with the royal priest (Raja Purohita in Sanskrit) – a holy Dwija – performed all his last rites. All the citizens, assembling together, made the minor son of the deceased monarch (Janamejaya) their king. The people called their new king, that slayer of all enemies, that hero of the Kuru race, by the name of Janamejaya. That best of monarchs, Janamejaya, though a child, was wise in mind. With his ministers and Purohita, the eldest son Parikshit (Janamejaya), that bull among the Kurus, ruled the kingdom like his heroic great-grand-father (Yudhishthira). The ministers of the youthful monarch, seeing that he could now keep his enemies in check, went to Suvarnavarma, the king of Kaashi, and asked him his daughter Vapushtama for a bride.

“The king of Kaashi, after due inquiries, bestowed with ordained rites, his daughter Vapushtama on that mighty hero of Kuru race (Janamejaya). The latter (Janamejaya), receiving his bride, became exceedingly glad. He gave not his heart at any time to any other woman. Gifted with great energy, he wandered in pursuit of pleasure, with a cheerful heart, on expanses of water, amid forest and flowery fields. That first of monarchs (Janamejaya) passed his time in pleasure as Pururavaa of ancient times did on receiving the celestial Apsaras Urvashi. Herself fairest of the fair, the lady Vapushtama too, devoted to her lord (Janamejaya) and celebrated for her beauty having gained a desirable husband, pleased him by the excess of her affection during the period he spent in the pursuit of pleasure.’”



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