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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.

’Meanwhile, Takshaka, that prince of snakes, as soon as he heard that king Janamejaya was engaged in the sacrifice, went to the palace of Purandara (Indra).  And that best of snakes, having represented all that had taken place, sought in terror the protection of Indra after having acknowledged his fault.  And Indra, gratified, told him, ’O prince of snakes, O Takshaka, here thou hast no fear from that snake-sacrifice.  The Grandsire was pacified by me for thy sake.  Therefore, thou hast no fear.  Let this fear of thy heart be allayed.’

Sauti continued, ’Thus encouraged by him, that best of snakes began to dwell in Indra’s abode in joy and happiness.  But Vasuki, seeing that the snakes were incessantly falling into the fire and that his family was reduced to only a few, became exceedingly sorry.  And the king of the snakes was afflicted with great grief, and his heart was about to break.  And summoning his sister, he spake unto her, saying, ’O amiable one, my limbs are burning and I no longer see the points of the heavens.  I am about to fall down from loss of consciousness.  My mind is turning, my sight is falling and my heart is breaking.  Benumbed, I may fall today into that blazing fire!  This sacrifice of the son of Parikshit is for the extermination of our race.  It is evident I also shall have to go to the abode of the king of the dead.  The time is come, O my sister, on account of which thou wert bestowed by me on Jaratkaru to protect us with our relatives.  O best of the women of the snake race, Astika will put an end to the sacrifice that is going on.  The Grandsire told me this of old.  Therefore, O child, solicit thy dear son who is fully conversant with the Vedas and regarded even by the old, for the protection of myself and also of those dependent on me."’

SECTION LIV

(Astika Parva continued)

“Sauti said, ’Then the snake-dame Jaratkaru, calling her own son, told him the following words according to the directions of Vasuki, the king of the snakes.  ’O son, the time is come for the accomplishment of that object for which I was bestowed on thy father by my brother.  Therefore, do thou that which should be done.’

“Astika asked, ’Why wert thou, O mother, bestowed on my father by my uncle?  Tell me all truly so that on hearing it, I may do what is proper.’

“Then Jaratkaru, the sister of the king of the snakes, herself unmoved by the general distress, and even desirous of the welfare of her relatives, said unto him, ’O son, it is said that the mother of all the snakes is Kadru.  Know thou why she cursed in anger her sons.’  Addressing the snakes she said, ’As ye have refused to falsely represent Uchchaihsravas, the prince of horses, for bringing about Vinata’s bondage according to the wager, therefore, shall he whose charioteer is Vayu burn you all in Janamejaya’s sacrifice.  And perishing in that sacrifice, ye shall go to the

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