“And that illustrious man and the best of Brahmanas then left his snake-body, and attained his own form and original brightness. He then addressed the following words to Ruru of incomparable power, ’O thou first of created beings, verily the highest virtue of man is sparing the life of others. Therefore a Brahmana should never take the life of any creature. A Brahmana should ever be mild. This is the most sacred injunction of the Vedas. A Brahmana should be versed in the Vedas and Vedangas, and should inspire all creatures with belief in God. He should be benevolent to all creatures, truthful, and forgiving, even as it is his paramount duty to retain the Vedas in his memory. The duties of the Kshatriya are not thine. To be stern, to wield the sceptre and to rule the subjects properly are the duties of the Kshatriya. Listen, O Ruru, to the account of the destruction of snakes at the sacrifice of Janamejaya in days of yore, and the deliverance of the terrified reptiles by that best of Dwijas, Astika, profound in Vedic lore and might in spiritual energy.’”
And so ends the eleventh section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
“Sauti continued, ’Ruru then asked, ’O best of Dwijas, why was king Janamejaya bent upon destroying the serpents?—And why and how were they saved by the wise Astika? I am anxious to hear all this in detail.’
“The Rishi replied, ’O Ruru, the important history of Astika you will learn from the lips of Brahmanas.’ Saying this, he vanished.
“Sauti continued, ’Ruru ran about in search of the missing Rishi, and having failed to find him in all the woods, fell down on the ground, fatigued. And revolving in his mind the words of the Rishi, he was greatly confounded and seemed to be deprived of his senses. Regaining consciousness, he came home and asked his father to relate the history in question. Thus asked, his father related all about the story.’”
So ends the twelfth section in the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.