“Astika said, ’Let those Brahmanas, and other men, who shall, in the morning or in the evening, cheerfully and with attention, read the sacred account of this my act, have no fear from any of you.’ And the snakes in joy thereupon said, ’O nephew, in the nature of thy boon, let it be exactly as thou sayest. That which thou askest we all shall cheerfully do, O nephew! And those also that call to mind Astika, Artiman and Sunitha, in the day or in the night, shall have no fear of snakes. He again shall have no fear of snakes who will say, ’I call to mind the famous Astika born of Jaratkaru, that Astika who saved the snakes from the snake-sacrifice. Therefore, ye snakes of great good fortune, it behoveth you not to bite me. But go ye away, blessed be ye, or go away thou snake of virulent poison, and remember the words of Astika after the snake sacrifice of Janamejaya. That snake who does not cease from biting after hearing such mention of Astika, shall have his hood divided a hundredfold like the fruit of Sinsa tree.’
“Sauti continued, ’That first of Brahmanas, thus addressed by the foremost of the chief snakes assembled together, was very much gratified. And the high-souled one then set his heart upon going away.
“And that best of Brahmanas, having saved the snakes from the snake-sacrifice, ascended to heaven when his time came, leaving sons and grandsons behind him.
’Thus have I recited to thee this history of Astika exactly as it happened. Indeed, the recitation of this history dispelleth all fear of snakes’
’Sauti continued, ’O Brahmanas, O foremost one of Bhrigu’s race, as thy ancestor Pramati had cheerfully narrated unto his inquiring son Ruru, and as I had heard it, thus have I recited this blessed history, from the beginning, of the learned Astika. And, O Brahmana, O oppressor of all enemies, having heard this holy history of Astika that increaseth virtue, and which thou hadst asked me about after hearing the story of the Dundubha, let thy ardent curiosity be satisfied.’”
“Saunaka said, ’O son, thou hast narrated to me this extensive and great history commencing from the progeny of Bhrigu. O son of Suta, I have been much gratified with thee. I ask thee again, to recite to me, O son of a Suta, the history composed by Vyasa. The varied and wonderful narrations that were recited amongst those illustrious Sadasyas assembled at the sacrifice, in the intervals of their duties of that long-extending ceremony, and the objects also of those narrations, I desire to hear from thee, O son of a Suta! Recite therefore, all those to me fully.’
’Sauti said, ’The Brahmanas, in the intervals of the duties, spoke of many things founded upon the Vedas. But Vyasa recited the wonderful and great history called the Bharata.’
“Saunaka said, ’That sacred history called the Mahabharata, spreading the fame of the Pandavas, which Krishna-Dwaipayana, asked by Janamejaya, caused to be duly recited after the completion of the sacrifice. I desire to hear duly. That history hath been born of the ocean-like mind of the great Rishi of soul purified by yoga. Thou foremost of good men, recite it unto me, for, O son of a Suta, my thirst hath not been appeased by all thou hast said.’