We’re at an important juncture wherein it is a “do-or-die” situation for all the snakes in the “Naaga Lokha”. Mother Kadru’s impending curse comes true in the form of King Janame-Jaya’s grand “Sarpa-Yaaga”, which is getting intense every minute. Thanks to Sage Utthanga’s motivation and drive, King Janame-Jaya wants to have justice for King Parikshit’s untimely demise due to Snake Takshaka’s atrocity. At the same time, Sage Utthanga wants to avenge Snake Takshaka’s torture. We’ve already witnessed in our earlier episodes as to how Snake Takshaka tried to steal the diamond rings that Sage Utthanga was about to give as a “Guru Dakshina” to his Guru, Veda. Sage Utthanga had to chase Takshaka all along the “Naaga-Lokha” and finally, thanks to Indra, the diamond rings were retrieved. Sage Utthanga had this firmly in his mind and he wanted to use King Janame-Jaya’s situation as an opportunity to avenge Takshaka. Thus, with Kadru’s curse to all the snakes for not obeying her words of enslaving Vinata, all these dots get connected together, and the Sarpa-Yaaga is happening with enormous intensity. Snake after snake comes and falls into the “Agni-Kunda” and gets burnt to death.
As this happens, the snakes in the “Naaga-Lokha” are gripped with fear! This is the first time that they’re experiencing the fear of death. Till that point, they have been instrumental in giving other living beings the fear of death, but now this is a time for them to taste their own medicine! As King Janame-Jaya and Sage Utthanga were waiting for Takshaka to come and fall into the “Agni Kunda”, he was somehow dilly-dallying and not coming and falling as expected. Snake Takshaka was a smart guy! He was running here and there, narrowly escaping the “Agni Kunda” every time. Finally after a lot of running and escaping, Snake Takshaka realized that there’s no more energy left in him to keep doing what he was doing. He quickly thinks of a plan and surrenders to Indra! Snake Takshaka smartly coils himself around Indra’s chariot wheel. If at all Snake Takshaka has to be pulled into the “Agni Kunda” now, Indra would also be dragged into it! Meanwhile, Snake Vaasuki recollects Bhagawan Brahma’s words and quickly hurries to meet Sage Aasthika. We’ve already seen how Sage Aasthika was born out of the marriage between Sage Jarath-Kaaru and Snake Vaasuki’s sister. Snake Vaasuki thus hurries to his sister’s son and explains the whole story. He surrenders to Sage Aasthika that it is only he who can save the snakes from this extreme danger and if he doesn’t do a timely intervention now, the entire “Naaga Lokha” is going to be destroyed, including Snake Vaasuki himself.
Accepting Snake Vaasuki’s request thus, Sage Aasthika starts. He quickly reaches the venue wherein the Sarpa-Yaaga was happening. The intensity of the “Sarpa-Yaaga” increases further! More and more “Aahuthis” (Offerings to Agni Bhagawan) are being given with greater intensity. Upon seeing this Sage Aasthika asks thus, “Oh Janame-Jaya! What are you doing? Did your intended snake Takshaka come and fall into your “Sarpa-Yaaga”? King Janame-Jaya upon seeing Sage Aasthika, gets up, pays his respects and replies thus, “Oh Great Sage Aasthika! It is for Snake Takshaka we’re waiting and increasing the intensity! Wait and see! He would fall prey soon, and with that, the “Sarpa-Yaaga” would come to an end!” Upon hearing this, Sage Aasthika asks the other sages assembled there thus, “Oh Sages! Where is Snake Takshaka now? What is he doing? Why is he not falling into this “Agni-Kunda”? The sages reply thus, “Oh Sage Aasthika! Snake Takshaka has apparently gone and taken refuge under Indra. He’s not going to come and fall so easily. If he has to fall now, Indra would also have to fall!”
As the sages reply thus, King Janame-Jaya was quick enough to reply – “Oh Sages! If that is the case, bring Indra also to justice! Give an “Aahuti” to Indra also, because he is trying to shield a great enemy to the very existence of this world! This is the right time to teach Indra a lesson!” As this was happening, Sage Aasthika had a divine look at all of them present there! It is to be remembered that Sage Aasthika was still a small boy, or perhaps a teenage boy, looking extremely handsome and his face full of brilliant radiance (Tejas). Upon seeing Sage Aasthika and the way he was interacting with everyone with so much humility, all the sages were extremely impressed with him! With this, slowly and steadily all the sages started dancing to the tunes of Sage Aasthika. King Janame-Jaya on his part was greatly impressed with Sage Aasthika and blurts out thus, “Oh Great Sage! I’ve heard a lot about you in the past, and it is indeed a great blessing for me that you’ve chosen to visit this place and to grace the occasion. Please ask me for a wish and I shall grant it to you without any hesitation!”
As King Janame-Jaya requested, Sage Aasthika did not ask for anything directly and immediately. He was watching the proceedings of the “Sarpa-Yaaga”, where the final “Aahuti” was given. With this, Indra’s chariot turned upside down and started descending towards the “Agni-Kunda”! Snake Takshaka was being dragged now finally into the “Agni_Kunda”. It is a “now-or-never” situation for the snakes! If Snake Takshaka falls into the “Agni-Kunda” and dies, the entire “Naaga-Lokha” is going to be torn apart into pieces and burnt! What is going to happen next? What is Sage Aasthika going to do now? Let us wait till the next episode to witness this key moment of the “Sarpa Yaaga”! Stay tuned! 🙂