Raja Parikshit

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Raja Parikshit


Raja Parikshit was the last king of the Kuru Dynasty. He was the son of Abhimanyu and Uttara, and the grandson of Arjuna. He is believed to have performed more Ashwamedha yagnas than the Pandavas. He died owing to a snake bite from Takshak, the Nagaraj (snake king).

Raja Parikshit

Raja Parikshit putting dead snake on Sage Shamik's neck

Raja Parikshit putting dead snake on Sage Shamik's neck

Father Abhimanyu
Spouse Iravati
Mother Uttara
Dynasty Kurukul
Grandfather Arjuna
Children Janmejaya and 4 others
Death Place Shukartal

Introduction

 Raja Parikshit was born to Abhimanyu and Uttara . It is believed that he delayed the Kal-Yug by 32 years . He was a great king and has performed many ashwamedha yagyas as compared to his ancestors .His realm flowed with milk and honey and people prospered  in his regime.  The meaning of Parikshit is 'the one who is tested' .

Birth

During the Mahabharata war in Kurukshetra , when Parikshit was in his mother's womb (Uttara) , was attacked by Ashwatthama ( Guru Dronacharya's son ) with   Brahmastra in order to end the lineage of Pandavas and take revenge of his father's and friend's death.

Krishna's role in revival

When Parikshit was attacked by Ashwatthama in his mother's womb , he was saved or revived to life  by Shri Krishna by using the punyas he collected in his life time. Angered by this Shri Krishna cursed Ashwattham for attacking an unborn child. He was cursed that he will live till the end of kaliyug and his suffering will never end.  He will roam on Earth with blood and puss oozing out of his injuries and will cry for death but death will not come to him. He took out the mani out of  his forehead.

Sage's Curse

Parikshit was a great king . He was peacefully running his empire . One day he went for hunting in the forest , he started feeling thirsty and hungry . Soon he reached a sage's ashram near the banks of river Kaushik. When he couldn't find anyone who could quench his thirst and hunger , he started destroying the gardens and flowers of the ashram in the rage of anger . Soon he saw one sage, who was  deep down in his meditation. He was Sage Shamik . Parikshit went close to him , and thought why this sage is not greeting him and not asking for anything . In order to check whether sage was in meditation or not he put a dead snake from near the ground onto the sage's neck in anger . After no reaction from the sage and tired of his thirst and hunger he returned to his palace . When Sage Shamik's son Shrangi came to know of Raja Parikshit's misconduct , he  cursed Raja Parikshit that on the seventh day from now snake Takshak will come to end Parikshit's life . When Parikshit came to know about the curse he was deep down in repentance . In his repentance , he left his kingdom  to Janamejaya and retired to forest . He went near the banks of  River Solani and sat under a banyan tree.  Parikshit was restless and wanted answers to life's secret. A lot of sages came to answer him but no one could reply him satisfactorily.  He was full of regret and dreaded of death. So  in order to calm and remove his restlessness Sage Shukdev , one with a parrot's head and son of Sage Vedvyasa came to meet him. He sat under the banyan tree ( now called the Akshay Vatvriksh) and the king and all other hermits settled on ground all around him . In this manner Shukdev Muni started reciting the tale of JAYA , composed by his father, to the king. After listening to the epic for 7days , king Parikshit felt relieved and waited for his death. 

Death

After listening to Srimad Bhagwat all the  restlessness of Parikshit went away . On the seventh day, the common folk surrounded the king. They decided to not let anyone come close to the meditating king and prevent his death.  Thus snake Takshak came hidden as an insect in a fruit. When the king ate the fruit,  Takshak emerged in his true from  and bit the king leading to the death of Raja Parikshit .

Succession

After Parikshit , his kingdom was ruled by his son Janamejaya .

Janamejaya's revenge

[ref]

When Parikshit's son Janamejaya came to know about his father's death due to the curse and Takshak biting his father , then out of anger and revenge he started a Sarpmedh Yagya (in which all the snakes will come into the yagya agni as an aahuti) , to destroy the snake community who was responsible for his father's death . The yajna was conducted by Sage Uttank who had personal enmity with the snakes. As when snakes came falling into the Yajna, the Snake Prince Astik came to the place and persuaded the king to stop the Yajna for the good of the Earth and asked him to call Sage Vaishampayan to answer all his questions. It was on this occasion when the epic JAYA was recited publically to people. From here onwards the story was listened by Sage Romharshna who told this to his son Sage Uchhashrava who further recited this epic to a gathering of hermits in forests of Naimisharanya. From there Mahabharata travelled to all parts of Indian Subcontinent and is still an immortal legacy for people to recite , relish and learn.

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