Episode # 49 – The “AASTHIKA PARVA” – Setting the context for the grand Mahabharata recital!!!

We’re at an important juncture wherein we’re witnessing a meeting point of two separate events – One is King Janame-Jaya preparing himself to perform the “Sarpa-Yaaga” and the other one is the narration of the family lineage of Sage Bruhu. This Sage Bruhu’s story leads us to Sage Ruru, wherein his wife was allegedly bitten by a poisonous snake. Thanks to Indra’s and the Devas’ timely intervention, she was saved from the snake bite. Eventually, Ruru is avenging his anger by killing all snakes that came in his vicinity. As he was continuously doing thus, one day, there was a water snake by name “Dundubha”. As Sage Ruru was gearing up with his agenda of killing it, the snake changed its form into a human being by name Sahasrapaada, who gave him important advice. He highlights that killing living beings isn’t a practice of a Brahmana Rishi, whose agenda is something different. Killing and protecting living beings are the roles that a Kshatrya has to play, and with this, Sahasrapaada explains the entire story of King Janame-Jaya and how he too got entangled into doing something similar that Ruru was trying to do. 

As Sahasrapaada is narrating thus, Sage Ruru asks back, “Oh Sahasrapaada! Who is this King Janame-Jaya? Why did he perform the Sarpa-Yaga? Who is Sage Aasthika who came in the middle to stop the Sarpa-Yaaga? Did King Janame-Jaya stop it? What happened to Snake Takshaka? Did he escape the fire?” Even though Ruru asked these questions, Sahasrapaada did not give an answer, but left immediately from that place. Sage Ruru was getting eager to obtain answers for all his questions. He was puzzled as to what happened to King Janame-Jaya’s Sarpa-Yaaga and was extremely eager to know whether he was successful in killing all the snakes. He straightaway goes to his father, Sage Pramati. We’ve already witnessed this, isn’t it? Sage Ruru is the son of Sage Pramati and the son is now asking the father as to who was King Janame-Jaya and why did he perform the “Sarpa-Yaga”. However, as Sage Ruru became so excited, he starts to run all his way to reach his father’s place. On the way, Sage Ruru fell down on the road and injured himself! However, that did not perturb him from reaching his father’s place and asking his questions. He finally reaches and asks Sage Pramati about the entire story.

Upon hearing this from his son, Sage Pramati is extremely happy! He replies thus, “Oh Ruru! You’ve come all the way here to understand who Sage Asthika was? Let me tell you everything in detail!” As Sage Pramati starts explaining thus, we finish up with the “Puloma Parva”, and we move on to the next “Upa-Parva” called “Aasthika Parva”. This is quite simple here – Since this “Upa-Parva” talks at length about Sage Aasthika, it is named so. This is quite a big one, where we invoke the “Charitras” of Bhagawan Garuda, Bhagawan Aadisesha, the “Charitra” wherein the divine “Amrita” (Nectar) was born and how Bhagawan Vishnu incarnated as Bhagawan Mohini to distribute it amongst the Devas, etc. Subsequently, we would also be witnessing a short accord on Sage Jagadruga and how he married the sister of Snake Vaasuki. All of us know who Snake Vaasuki is, isn’t it? We’ve already witnessed about him in our previous projects of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and Shri Vishnu Puraana. Snake Vaasuki was used by the Devas and Raakshasas to explore the “Paar-Kadal” (Ocean of Milk) to extract the divine “Amrita”. Subsequently we would also continue with how King Janame-Jaya was stopped from proceeding with the “Sarpa-Yaaga” and how Sage Lomaharshana’s son, Sage Vaishampayana heard the entire Mahabharata story along with King Janame-Jaya, and with this, we would enter into the actual set of events. 

So for today, let us leave it at this, and in the next episode, we shall commence our detailed discussion on the “Aasthika Parva”, which is going to lay the foundation for the entire Mahabharata story to be launched! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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