In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important juncture wherein, Sage Aasthika gives a grand entry into the venue where the “Sarpa-Yaaga” is taking place vigorously. Snake after snake is coming and falling into the offering, and Snake Takshaka was the next to fall. At this time, King Janame-Jaya asks Sage Utthanga and the other sages to increase the intensity further to drag Snake Takshaka along with Indra into the “Homa-Kunda”. It is at this time, Sage Aasthika orders things to come to a grinding halt. He highlights the point to King Janame-Jaya that by continuing with this “Sarpa-Yaaga”, he is doing a great injustice to nature. For just one Takshaka, why should he end up punishing and destroying all the snakes? Sage Aasthika thus expresses his concern to King Janame-Jaya and with this, the king too could not disobey Sage Aasthika’s words! This is because, King Janame-Jaya had granted a boon to Sage Aasthika and it is as part of this, Sage Aasthika asked King Janame-Jaya to stop proceedings immediately.
Even though King Janame-Jaya was extremely upset with Sage Aasthika’s request, he had no option but to stop. Even the other sages assembled there were of the same opinion and with this, the “Sarpa-Yaaga” came to an end. As the Sarpa-Yaaga finishes, all the snakes that were kind-hearted in nature assemble at the venue and celebrate the significance of Sage Aasthika. It should be noted that those snakes that were wicked in nature had to fall into the “Sarpa-Yaaga”, whereas those which were good, were allowed to escape the wrath of it. As the snakes assemble there thus, they give a boon to Sage Aasthika and to all those who would read this “Parva” about the “Sarpa-Yaaga” in the future thus – “Oh Sage Aasthika! From today onwards, yourself and all those people who take the effort to read and understand this particular “Aasthika Parva” and about the “Sarpa-Yaaga”, would be completely devoid of fear of snakes. If they have any sort of “Sarpa-Dosha” (Some accumulated sins due to killing / harming of snakes in the past), it would completely be destroyed with this. All those people who dedicatedly read this “Parva” would be blessed with a disease-free long life!”
“Yeta-chruthvaa priyamaanaam samethaaye tatraasan pannagaaveetha mohaaha!”
Thus, as Sage Aasthika asks the boon to the snakes, they collectively declare that those who read this story would never have the fear for snakes anymore in their life. At this point, the snakes together preach an important “Mantra” to Sage Aasthika thus,
“Asitam cha aatthimantham cha suneetan chaapiyah smareth!
Vivaa vaa yadhivaa raatrou naasa sarpa bhayam bhaveth!!”
The snakes collectively declare thus, “Oh Sage Aasthika! If one recites this above sloka meticulously in the morning and evening every day, he / she would be completely devoid of any sort of fear in life, especially the fear of snakes. Those who chant this mantra regularly would never be touched upon by any snake in this world, and this has enormous power!” With this declaration, we come to the end of this “Adhyaaya”. So all these stories are being narrated by Ruru to Pramati, isn’t it? We should recollect this from our earlier episodes. This is where the confusion would come – All of a sudden we would go back to some past happening, which we would have conveniently forgotten! 🙂 All these stories in turn, were being narrated to explain the “Vamsa” of Sage Bruhu. These stories were being narrated by Sage Pouranika’s son and Sage Shounaka was amidst the audience at Naimishaaranya, listening to the entire set of narratives. With this, we also come to the end of the “Aasthika Parva”, wherein the entire lineage of Sage Bruhu was explained with all the sub-stories that we have seen till now.
So for today, let us understand upto this point, and in the next episode, we shall witness the continuation of this discussion with the commencement of the next “Parva”! Stay tuned! 🙂