56. Lord Indra revokes protection to Takshaka

56. Lord Indra revokes protection to Takshaka

“Janamejaya said, ‘Though this one is a boy, but he speaks yet like a wise old man. He is not a boy but one (who is) wise and old. I think, I desire to gift on him a boon (Varam in Sanskrit). Therefore, O Brahmanas, give me the necessary permission.’

“Sadasyaas said, ‘A Brahmana, though a boy, deserves the respect of kings. The learned ones (Vidwaan in Sanskrit) do more so. This boy deserves every desire of his being fulfilled by you, but not before Takshaka comes with speed.’

“Son of Soota continued, ‘The king (Janamejaya), being inclined to grant the Brahmana a boon, said ‘You ask a boon.’ The Hotaa, however, being rather displeased, said, ‘Takshaka has not come as yet into this yagna.’

“Janamejaya replied, ‘You exert to the best of your might, so that this yagna of mine may attain completion, and Takshaka also may soon come here. He is my enemy.’

“Ritwijas replied, ‘As the Shaastraas declare to us, and as the Agni also say, O monarch (Janamejaya), (it seems that) Takshaka is now staying in the abode of (Lord) Indra (Indra Bhavanam in Sanskrit), pained with fear.’

“Son of Soota continued, ‘Mahatma Soota named Lohitaaksha also, familiar with the Puraanaas, had said so before. Asked by the king (Janamejaya) on the present occasion he (Lohitaksha) again told the monarch, ‘O Deva, it is so as the Brahmanas have said. Knowing the Puranas, I say, O monarch, that (Lord) Indra has granted him (Takshaka) this boon, saying, ‘Stay with me in concealment, and Agni shall not burn you.’

“Son of Soota continued, ‘Hearing this, the king (Janamejaya) installed in the yagna became very sorry and urged the Hotaas to do his duty. As the Hotaas, with mantras, began to pour clarified butter into the Agni, (Lord) Indra Himself appeared on the scene. The illustrious one (Lord Indra) came in His chariot, adorned by all Devas standing around, followed by masses of clouds, divine singers, and the several groups of divine dancing girls (Apsaras in Sanskrit).

“Takshaka anxious with fear, hid himself in the upper garment of (Lord) Indra and was not visible. Then the king (Janamejaya) in his anger again said to his mantra-knowing Brahmanas these words, bent upon the destruction of Takshaka, ‘If the snake Takshaka be in the abode of (Lord) Indra, put him into the fire along with (Lord) Indra Himself.’

“Son of Soota continued, ‘Urged thus by the king Janamejaya about Takshaka, the Hotaas poured libations (into Agni), naming that snake then staying there. As the libations were poured, Takshaka, with Purandara (Lord Indra) Himself, anxious and pained, became visible in a moment in the skies. Then Purandara (Lord Indra), seeing that yagna, became much alarmed, and quickly removing Takshaka off, went back to his own abode (Indra Bhavanam in Sanskrit). After (Lord) Indra had gone away, Takshaka, the prince of snakes, insensible with fear, was by virtue of the mantras, brought near enough the flames of the sacrificial Agni.’

“Ritwijaas then said, ‘O king of kings (Rajendra in Sanskrit), the yagna of your is being performed duly. It is your responsibility, O Lord (Janamejaya), to grant a boon now to this first of Dwijas (Aastika).’

“Janamejaya then said, ‘O immeasurable one of such handsome and child-like features (Aastika), I desire to grant you a worthy boon. Therefore, you ask that which you desire in your heart. I promise you, that I will grant it even if it be ungrantable.’

“Ritwijaas said, ‘O monarch, look, Takshaka is soon coming under your control! His terrible cries, and loud roar is being heard. Assuredly, the snake (Takshaka) has been forsaken by the wielder of Vajra (Lord Indra). His body being disabled by your mantras, he is falling from sky. Now, rolling in the skies, and deprived of consciousness, the prince of snakes (Takshaka) comes, breathing loudly.’

“Son of Soota continued, ‘While Takshaka, the prince of snakes, was about to fall into the sacrificial Agni, during those few moments Aastika spoke as follows, ‘O Janamejaya, if you would grant me a boon, let this yagna of yours come to an end and let no more snakes fall into the fire (Agni in Sanskrit).’

“O Brahmana (Rishi Shaunaka), the son of Parikshit (Janamejaya), being thus addressed by Aastika, became exceedingly sorry and replied to Aastika thus, ‘O illustrious one, gold, silver, cows, whatever other possessions you desire I shall give to you. But let not my yagna come to an end.’

“Aastika immediately replied, ‘Gold, silver or cows, I do not ask of you, O monarch! But let your yagna be ended so that my maternal relations be relieved.’

“Son of Soota continued, ‘The son of Parikshit (Janamejaya), being thus addressed by Aastika, repeatedly said this to that foremost of speakers, ‘Best of the Brahmanas, ask some other boon. O, blessed be you!’ But, O you of Bhrigu’s race (Rishi Shaunaka), he did not ask any other boon. Then all Sadasyaas familiar with the Vedas told the king in one voice, ‘Let the Brahmana receive his boon!’”


Janamejaya asks Sadasyaas to get Takshaka quickly to into the sacrificial fire; Due to the power of mantras, Lord Indra gets pulled along with Takshaka; Lord Indra revokes his protection to Takshaka and leaves; Takshaka began to fall in the sky; Janamejaya asks Aastika to ask for a boon; Aastika asks the yagna to be stopped immediately.



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