In the previous episode, we had witnessed Arjuna’s return from the “Svarga Lokha” after spending almost five years there. In the meanwhile, we had also witnessed Arjuna learning music, dance, and other art forms from Indra, and subsequently killing a few Raakshasas who were long-standing enemies of Indra as well. Thus, as Arjuna fulfils Indra’s “Guru Dakshina”, Indra provides him with his divine “Anugraha” and as Maathali drives his chariot, Arjuna returns back to the forest where Yudishtra and Co. are residing after their successful “Teertha Yatra”. As Arjuna comes back, he narrates all his anecdotes to Yudishtra and Co. and in return, Yudishtra too narrates what all happened during Arjuna’s absence in these five years.
Moving on thus, we now enter into the next “Parva” by name “Aajagara Parva”. The word “Ajagaram” in Sanskrit means a python or a mountainous snake. A python is going to pose a few questions to Yudishtra and in return, Yudishtra is going to give important and interesting answers to these questions. We might wonder what made the python test Yudishtra with its questions. This is what we’re going to witness here. This Aajagara Parva is one of the most important “Upa-Parvas” under the main “Vana Parva”. In fact, the “Vana Parva” is extremely big – It covers the entire set of incidents that took place when the Paandavas were in the forest. It contains 21 “Upa-Parvas” within it and each “Upa Parva” has various Adhyaayas inside, which makes it massive! Till now we’ve been discussing this “Vana Parva” for so many episodes, but we’ve to understand here that we’ve only crossed half of it! We shall take another 100 episodes or more to complete the full “Vana Parva” and then we shall move on further!
Now let us look at the content of this “Aajagara Parva”. There was once a king by name Aayu. King Aayu had a son by name “Nahusha”. King Aayu is part of the “Chandra-Vamsa” and subsequently Nausha is the son of King Aayu. Nahusha had a son by name “Yayaati”. Yayaati had two wives, and the first son was Yadhu and the last son was Puru. We’ve witnessed all these stories earlier itself in our previous episodes. Readers should try and chart out a small map with all these family lineages, so that we can remember them easily. This is because there would be so many characters in the Mahabharata story, and as we progress further and further, there is a possibility that we might forget key characters. This might make it difficult to connect who is whom and where this person is! Hence, readers have to take notes very carefully here.
Now coming back to the story, we shall witness an important accord about King Nahusha. King Nahusha once performed a deep penance to attain Indra’s Svarga Lokha and also to attain a position equal to Indra’s! I’m just explaining this because we’ve to understand why King Nahusha transformed into a python and after this, we shall come back to why Bheemasena got into a tiff with this Nahusha snake. Thus, King Nahusha had a long-pending wish that he should rule the “Svarga Lokha” somehow. He had the desire to sit on Indra’s grand throne and rule the “Svarga Lokha”. Accordingly he obtained it as well, as a result of severe penance! Thus, King Nahusha ascended Indra’s throne and wherever he went, he was carried in a small carriage by a group of great Maharishis. One among these Maharishis was Sage Agasthya, and as we know, Sage Agasthya was very short and stout. As the Maharishis carried King Nahusha in the carriage, Sage Agasthya used to be there at the front. Once upon a time, as the sages were carrying King Nahusha, he wanted to go a bit faster. He first requested the sages to carry him faster, but since Sage Agasthya was short and stout, he wasn’t able to go in the speed at which King Nahusha wanted to! However, King Nahusha did not understand Sage Agasthya’s problem, and since he wanted speed, he started kicking Sage Agasthya with all his arrogance. Upon looking at this, all the sages felt bad and humiliated. How can an ordinary king ill-treat sages like this?
Thus, as King Nahusha was instructing the sages to travel faster, he used the Sanskrit Shabdha called “Sarpa”. This word “Sarpa” obviously means “Snake”, but it has another connotation here called “Speed”. Thus, in a bit to fasten their movement, King Nahusha was repeating the phrase “Sarpa” “Sarpa” many times. Upon hearing this for a while, Sage Agasthya lost his patience and decided to give it back to King Nahusha! Sage Agasthya says thus, “Oh Nahusha! How dare you instruct sages like us to carry you fast? You’ve just come to the Indra Lokha only for a few days, and within this short period itself you’ve gained so much arrogance! This is not good on your part. How did you get that atrocity to insult the “Brahma-Dhanda” that we carry? How dare you insult and humiliate Maharishis in the way you’re doing? Hence, I hereby curse you thus – You would immediately go down to the Manushya Lokha and be born as a python! You would have a tough time and suffer for food and water, for all that you’ve done to all of us!”
Saying thus, Sage Agasthya curses King Nahusha and this is why Nahusha is in the form of a snake! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall witness how Nahusha came in contact with Bheemansena and what happened further! Stay tuned! 🙂