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After The War
|by Dr. C.S. Shah|
Story of King Parikshita
and Beginning of Dark Age (Kali Yuga)
Five Pandavas and their wife Draupadi survived in the Great War of Mahabharata, while all the Kauravas and the sons of Pandavas died. Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, also died. However, Uttara, wife of Abhimanyu, was carrying the seed of her husband in her womb. Although Ashwatthama, son of Guru Drona, tried to kill the fetus in the womb of Uttara, Sri Krishna revived the child with his spiritual power.
The child of Uttara and Abhimanyu was born as Parikshita. Then in Dwaraka Sri Krishna left the mortal body after being hit by a poisonous arrow of a hunter. This is the story of the period C. 3200 BCE. Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, descended with the demise of Sri Krishna.
Story of King Parikshita
The child Parikshita grew as a healthy, intelligent, and brave prince. He succeeded King Yudhishthira, the Pandava King, to the throne of Hastinapur. For many years, Parikshita ruled with love, care, and compassion towards all. All over, in his kingdom, there was peace and prosperity.
In such an atmosphere of righteousness (dharma), Kali, representing the sinful elements of lust and greed, jealousy and hatred, found it extremely difficult to establish his rule. Therefore, he decided to play tricks to corrupt the king and the people of Hastinapur.
Kali went on rampage with killing of fetuses, insulting the Brahmins, and injuring the cows. To put an end to the atrocious and malicious Kali, King Parikshita one day confronts the Kali and decides to put and end to his life. Kali begs for the pardon and agrees to leave the kingdom of Hastinapur. However, taking advantage of the softhearted King Parikshita, the clever Kali asks for some place to reside. Parikshita permits him to dwell in the places like wine shops and gambling dens, houses of ill repute and prostitution, and in greed and corruption.
As gold is taken to be the symbol of 'greed and corruption', Kali, without any delay, entered the golden crown of the King! King Parikshita was unaware of this clever ploy of Kali. Thus, whenever the king wore the golden crown on his head his mind wavered and he had such thoughts as lust, greed, indecision, and indiscretion.
In such a state of mind, once the king, with the royal crown over his head, went for hunting. After a strenuous day in the forest he did not find any game despite long chases. Tired and dejected the king reached the hut of a sage in the hope of some refreshments and cold drinking water.
The ashram belonged to a sage of high austerity and wisdom. However, when king Parikshita reached there the sage was in a state of deep meditation, in fact in samadhi. He was oblivious to the outer senses and therefore was not aware of the entry of the King in his ashram.
The king called out, "Is anyone home?" Getting no reply, the king entered the hut and saw the sage sitting in verandah in deep introversion. Normally the king would have bowed down and left without disturbing the Yogi, but on that fateful day due to the presence of Kali in his crown, the refusal of the sage to welcome him annoyed the king in its extreme. He took sage's trance as his insult and shouted, "O fool, get up. Respect your king. Why are you sitting like a dead stone?" But how could a person in samadhi know outer world!
Seeing no movements on the part of the sage, the King lost his temper and mental poise. The king saw a dead snake lying near the seat of the sage. And no one knows what went through the mind of the king; he picked up the dead snake and put it around the neck of the sage. Thus having insulted the sage, the king returned to his palace.
After some time the son of the sage returned from his errand, and was shocked to see the dead snake around his father's neck. Exasperated, the son sent the deadly curse, "Whosoever has done this ghastly act that person will be killed within seven days by the poisonous bite of Serpent Takshaka Nag." He uttered these words thrice and completed his vow by reciting a mantra to invite the deadly serpent to do his duty. The truthful and agitated son's words were sure to be true!
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