48. Jaratkaaru leaves his wife

48. Jaratkaaru leaves his wife

“Soota said, ‘O you of severe Tapas wealth (Rishi Shaunaka), soon after her lord (Rishi Jaratkaaru) had left her, Jaratkaaru went to her brother (Vaasuki – The king of Naagaas or snakes). She told him everything that had happened. The prince of snakes (Vaasuki), hearing the calamitous news, spoke to his miserable sister (Jaratkaaru), himself more miserable still.

“He said, ‘You know, O friendly one, the purpose of your bestowal (to Rishi Jaratkaaru), the reason thereof. If, from that union (between Rishi Jaratkaaru and Vaasuki’s sister Jaratkaaru), for the welfare of the snakes, a son be born, then he, possessed of energy, will save us all from the Sarpa Satra. The Pitaamaha (Lord Brahma) had said so, in former times, in the middle of Devas. O fortunate one, have you conceived from your union with that best of Rishis? My heart’s desire is that my bestowal of you on that wise one (Rishi Jaratkaaru) may not be fruitless. Truly, it is not proper for me to ask you about this. But from the gravity of the interests, I ask you this. Also knowing the firmness of your lord (Rishi Jaratkaaru), ever engaged in severe penances, I shall not follow him, for he may curse me. Tell me in detail all that your lord, O friendly one, has done, and remove that terribly painful arrow that lies implanted for a long time past in my heart.’

“(Vaasuki’s sister) Jaratkaaru, thus addressed, consoling Vaasuki, the king of snakes, at length replied, saying, ‘Asked by me about offspring, the Mahatma and Maha Tapaswi (Jaratkaaru) said, ‘There is (Astee in Sanskrit),’ – and then he went away. I do not remember him to have ever before speak even in joke anything that is false. Why should he, O king (Vaasuki), speak a falsehood on such a serious occasion? He (Rishi Jaratkaaru) said, ‘You should not grieve, O daughter of the snake race, about the intended result of our union. A son shall be born to you, brilliant as the blazing Sun.’ O brother (Vaasuki), having said this to me, my husband of severe Tapas wealth went away. Therefore, let the deep sorrow cherished in your heart disappear.’

“Soota continued, ‘Thus addressed, Vaasuki, the king of the snakes, accepted those words of his sister, and in great joy said, ‘Be it so!’ The chief of the snakes (Vaasuki) then adored his sister with his best regards, gift of wealth, and fitting praises. O best of Brahmanas (Rishi Shaunaka), then the embryo endued with great splendour, began to develop, like the moon in the heavens in the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha in Sanskrit).

“O Brahmana (Rishi Shaunaka), in due time, the sister of the snakes (Jaratkaaru), gave birth to a son of the splendour of a divine child, who became the reliever of the fears of his ancestors and maternal relatives. The child grew up there in the house of the king of the snakes (Vaasuki). He studied Vedas and their branches (Vedangas) with Rishi Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu. Though being a boy, his vows (Vrata in Sanskrit) were rigid. He was gifted with great intelligence, and with the several attributes of Dharma, Gnana, freedom from the world’s indulgences, and saintliness. The name by which he was known to the world was Aastika. He was known by the name of Aastika (whoever is) because his father (Rishi Jaratkaaru) had gone to the forest, saying: ‘There is (Astee in Sanskrit)’, when he was in the womb. Though but a boy, he had great gravity and intelligence. He was parented with great care in the house of snakes. He was like the illustrious lord of Devas – Mahadeva (Lord Shiva) of the golden form, the wielder of Trishul. He grew up day by day, the delight of all the snakes.’”



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