“Soota said, ‘Then Vaasuki spoke to the Rishi Jaratkaaru these words, ‘O best of Dwijas, this woman is of the same name with you. She is my sister and has severe Tapas merit. I will maintain your wife; accept her (i.e. Vaasuki says that he will take care of his sister Jaratkaaru even after his sister gets married to Rishi Jaratkaaru, as one of Rishi Jaratkaaru’s condition is that he won’t maintain his wife). O you of severe Tapas wealth, I shall protect her with all my ability. O foremost of the great Munis, she has been brought up by me for you.’
“The Rishi (Jaratkaaru) replied, ‘This is agreed between us that I shall not maintain her; and she shall not do anything that I do not like. If she does, I leave her!’
“Soota continued, ‘When the snake (Vaasuki) had promised, saying, ‘I shall maintain my sister,’ (Rishi) Jaratkaaru then went to the Naagaa’s (Vaasuki’s) house. Then that first of mantra-knowing Brahmanas, observing great vows (Vrata in Sanskrit), that Dharmatma and veteran Rishi (Jaratkaaru), took her (Vaasuki’s sister Jaratkaaru’s) hand presented to him according to ordained rites with mantras. Taking his bride with him, adored by the Maharishi, he entered the delightful chamber set apart for him by the king of the snakes (Vaasuki). In that chamber was a bed-stead covered with very valuable bed covers. (Rishi) Jaratkaaru lived there with his wife (Vaasuki’s sister Jaratkaaru). The excellent Rishi (Jaratkaaru) made an agreement with his wife, saying, ‘Nothing must ever be done or said by you that is against my liking. In case of your doing any such thing, I will leave you and no longer continue to stay in your house. Bear in mind these words that have been spoken by me.’
“Then the sister of the king of the snakes in great anxiety and grieving exceedingly, spoke to him, saying, ‘Be it so.’ Moved by the desire of doing good to her relatives, that lady (Vaasuki’s sister Jaratkaaru), of perfect reputation, began to attend upon her lord (Rishi Jaratkaaru) with the wakefulness of a dog, the fear of a deer, and knowledge of signs possessed by the crow.
“One day, after the menstrual period, the sister of Vaasuki (Jaratkaaru), having purified herself by a bath according to custom, approached her lord the great Muni (Jaratkaaru); Immediately she conceived. The embryo was like to a flame of fire, possessed of great energy, and glowing as Agni itself. It (the embryo) grew like the moon in the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha in Sanskrit).
“One day, within a short time, (Rishi) Jaratkaaru of great fame, placing his head on the lap of his wife (Vaasuki’s sister Jaratkaaru), slept, looking like one tired. As he was sleeping, the Sun entered his chambers in the Western mountain and was about to set. O Brahmana (Rishi Shaunaka), as the day was fading, she, the excellent sister of Vaasuki, became thoughtful, fearing the loss of her husband’s Dharma. She thought, ‘What should I now do? Shall I wake my husband or not? He is hard and punctilious in his duties of Dharma. How can I act as not to offend him? The alternatives are his anger and the loss of Dharma of a Dharmic man. The loss of Dharma, I think, is the greater of the two evils. Again, if I wake him, he will be angry. But if twilight (Sandhya in Sanskrit) passes away without his prayers being said, he shall certainly sustain loss of Dharma.’
“Having resolved at last, the sweet-speeched Jaratkaaru, the sister of Vaasuki, spoke softly to that Rishi magnificient with sever penances, and lying flat like a flame of fire, ‘O you of great good fortune, awake, the Sun is setting. O you of rigid vows (Vrata in Sanskrit), O illustrious one, do your twilight (Sandhya) prayer after purifying yourself with water and uttering the name of the Lord. The time for Agnihotra has come. O lord (Rishi Jaratkaaru), twilight (Sandhya in Sanskrit) is now gently covering the western side.’
“The illustrious Jaratkaaru of great Tapas merit, thus addressed, spoke to his wife these words, his upper lip shaking in anger, ‘O friendly one of the snake race, you have insulted me. I shall no longer live with you, but shall go where I came from. O you of beautiful thighs, I believe in my heart that the Sun has no power to set in the usual time, if I am asleep. An insulted person should never live where he has met with the insult, far less should I, a Dharmic person, or those that are like me.’
“Jaratkaaru, the sister of Vaasuki, thus addressed by her lord, began to tremble with terror, and she spoke to him, saying, ‘O Brahmana, I have not waked you from desire of insult; but I have done it so that your Dharma may not sustain any loss.’
“The Rishi Jaratkaaru, great in Tapas merit, possessed with anger and desirous of forsaking his wife, thus addressed, spoke to his wife, saying, ‘O you fair one, never have I spoken a falsehood. Therefore, I shall go. This was also settled between ourselves. O friendly one, I have passed the time happily with you. O fair one, tell your brother, when I am gone, that I have left you. Upon me going away, it is your duty not to grieve for me.’
“Thus addressed Jaratkaaru, the fair sister of Vaasuki, of faultless features, filled with anxiety and sorrow, having mustered sufficient courage and patience, though her heart was still shivering, then spoke to Rishi Jaratkaaru. Her words were obstructed with tears and her face was pale with fear. The palms of her hands were joined together, and her eyes were bathed in tears.
“She said, ‘It is your duty not to leave me without a fault. You walk over the path of Dharma. I too have been in the same path, with heart fixed on the good of my relatives. O best of Dwijas, the object for which I was given on you has not been accomplished yet. Unfortunate that I am, what shall Vaasuki say to me? O excellent one, the offspring desired of by my relatives (snakes) pained by a mother’s curse, do not yet appear! The welfare of my relatives depends on the acquisition of offspring from you. In order that my connection with you may not be fruitless, O illustrious Brahmana, moved by the desire of doing good to my race do I beg you. O excellent one, you are Mahatma; so why shall you leave me who am faultless? This is what is not just clear to me.’
“Thus addressed, the Muni (Jaratkaaru) of great Tapas merit spoke to his wife Jaratkaaru these words that were proper and suitable to the occasion. He said, ‘O fortunate one, the being you have conceived, like to Agni himself is a Rishi of high Dharmaatma and a master of the Vedas and their branches (Vedangas).’
“Having said so, the Maharishi, Jaratkaaru of Dharmaatma, went away, his heart firmly fixed on practising again the severest penances.’”
SRIMAD MAHABHARATA – AADI PARVA – AASTIKA (UPA) PARVA – CHAPTER 47 – JARATKAARU LEAVES HIS WIFE