“Janamejaya said, ’There hath not been born in our race a king who hath not sought the good of his subjects or been loved by them. Behold especially the conduct of my grandsires ever engaged in great achievements. How did my father, blessed with many virtues, meet with his death? Describe everything to me as it happened. I am desirous of hearing it from you!’
“Sauti continued, ’Thus directed by the monarch, those councillors, ever solicitous of the good of the king, told him everything exactly as it had occurred.’
’And the councillors said, ’O king, that father of thine, that protector of the whole earth, that foremost of all persons obedient to the scriptures, became addicted to the sports of the field, even as Pandu of mighty arms, that foremost of all bearers of the bow in battle. He made over to us all the affairs of state from the most trivial to the most important. One day, going into the forest, he pierced a deer with an arrow. And having pierced it he followed it quickly on foot into the deep woods, armed with sword and quiver. He could not, however, come upon the lost deer. Sixty years of age and decrepit, he was soon fatigued and became hungry. He then saw in the deep woods a high-souled Rishi. The Rishi was then observing the vow of silence. The king asked him about the deer, but, though asked, he made no reply. At last the king, already tired with exertion and hunger, suddenly became angry with that Rishi sitting motionless like a piece of wood in observance of his vow of silence. Indeed, the king knew not that he was a Muni observing the vow of silence. Swayed by anger, thy father insulted him. O excellent one of the Bharata race, the king, thy father taking up from the ground with the end of his bow a dead snake placed it on the shoulders of that Muni of pure soul. But the Muni spake not a word good or bad and was without anger. He continued in the same posture, bearing the dead snake.’”
(Astika Parva continued)
’Sauti continued, ’The ministers said, ’That king of kings then, spent with hunger and exertion, and having placed the snake upon the shoulders of that Muni, came back to his capital. The Muni had a son, born of a cow, of the name of Sringin. He was widely known, possessed of great prowess and energy, and very wrathful. Going (every day) to his preceptor he was in the habit of worshipping him. Commanded by him, Sringin was returning home, when he heard from a friend of his about the insult of his father by thy parent. And, O tiger among kings, he heard that his father, without having committed any fault, was bearing, motionless like a statue, upon his shoulders a dead snake placed thereon. O king, the Rishi insulted by thy father was severe in ascetic penances, the foremost of Munis, the controller of passions, pure, and ever engaged in wonderful acts. His soul was enlightened with ascetic penances, and his organs and their functions were under complete control. His practices and his speech were both very nice. He was contented and without avarice. He was without meanness of any kind and without envy. He was old and used to observe the vow of silence. And he was the refuge whom all creatures might seek in distress.