“And much time did not elapse from this, when the gods and the Asuras, assembling together, churned the abode of Varuna. And Vasuki, the foremost of all gifted with strength, became the churning-cord. And directly the work was over, the king of the snakes presented himself before the Grandsire. And the gods, accompanied by Vasuki, addressed the Grandsire, saying, ’O lord, Vasuki is suffering great affliction from fear of (his mother’s curse). It behoveth thee to root out the sorrow, begotten of the curse of his mother, that hath pierced the heart of Vasuki desirous of the weal of his race. The king of the snakes is ever our friend and benefactor. O Lord of the gods, be gracious unto him and assuage his mind’s fever.’
“Brahman replied, ’O ye immortals, I have thought, in my mind, of what ye have said. Let the king of the snakes do that which hath been communicated to him before by Elapatra. The time hath arrived. Those only shall be destroyed that are wicked, not those that are virtuous. Jaratkaru hath been born, and that Brahmana is engaged in hard ascetic penances. Let Vasuki, at the proper time, bestow on him his sister. Ye gods, what hath been spoken by the snake Elapatra for the weal of the snakes is true and not otherwise.’
“Sauti continued, ’Then the king of the snakes, Vasuki, afflicted with the curse of his mother, hearing these words of the Grandsire, and intending to bestow his sister of the Rishi Jaratkaru, commanded all the serpents, a large numbers of whom were ever attentive to their duties, to watch the Rishi Jaratkaru, saying, ’When the lord Jaratkaru will ask for a wife, come immediately and inform me of it. The weal of our race depends upon it.’”
(Astika Parva continued)
“Saunaka said, ’O son of Suta, I desire to know the reason why the illustrious Rishi whom thou hast named Jaratkaru came to be so called on earth. It behoveth thee to tell us the etymology of the name Jaratkaru.’
“Sauti said, ’Jara is said to mean waste, and Karu implies huge. This Rishi’s body had been huge, and he gradually reduced it by severe ascetic penances. For the same reason, O Brahmanas, the sister of Vasuki was called Jaratkaru.’
The virtuous Saunaka, when he heard this, smiled and addressing Ugrasravas said, ‘It is even so.’
Saunaka then said, ’I have heard all that thou hast before recited. I desire to know how Astika was born.’
Sauti, on hearing these words, began to relate according to what was written in the Sastras.
“Sauti said, ’Vasuki, desirous of bestowing his sister upon the Rishi Jaratkaru, gave the snakes (necessary) orders. But days went on, yet that wise Muni of rigid vows, deeply engaged in ascetic devotions, did not seek for a wife. That high-souled Rishi, engaged in studies and deeply devoted to asceticism, his vital seed under full control, fearlessly wandered over the whole earth and had no wish for a wife.