“And that king of the Kuru race, himself engaged in ascetic practices, having heard these cruel words and recollecting his own sinful act, became exceedingly sorry. And the king, learning that foremost of Rishis in the forest had been observing the vow of silence, was doubly afflicted with sorrow and seeing the kindness of the Rishi Samika, and considering his own sinful act towards him, the king became very repentant. And the king looking like a very god, did not grieve so much for hearing of his death as for having done that act to the Rishi.’
“And then the king sent away Gaurmukha, saying, ’Let the worshipful one (Samika) be gracious to me!’ And when Gaurmukha had gone away, the king, in great anxiety, without loss of time, consulted his ministers. And having consulted them, the king, himself wise in counsels, caused a mansion to be erected upon one solitary column. It was well-guarded day and night. And for its protection were placed there physicians and medicines, and Brahmanas skilled in mantras all around. And the monarch, protected on all sides, discharged his kingly duties from that place surrounded by his virtuous ministers. And no one could approach that best of kings there. The air even could not go there, being prevented from entering.
“And when the seventh day had arrived, that best of Brahmanas, the learned Kasyapa was coming (towards the king’s residence), desirous of treating the king (after the snake-bite). He had heard all that had taken place, viz., that Takshaka, that first of snakes, would send that best of monarchs to the presence of Yama (Death). And he thought, I would cure the monarch after he is bit by that first of snakes. By that I may have wealth and may acquire virtue also.’ But that prince of snakes, Takshaka, in the form of an old Brahmana, saw Kasyapa approaching on his way, his heart set upon curing the king. And the prince of snakes then spake unto that bull among Munis, Kasyapa, saying, ’Whither dost thou go with such speed? What, besides, is the business upon which thou art intent?’
“And Kasyapa, thus addressed, replied, ’Takshaka, by his poison, will today burn king Parikshit of the Kuru race, that oppressor of all enemies. I go with speed, O amiable one, to cure, without loss of time, the king of immeasurable prowess, the sole representative of the Pandava race, after he is bit by the same Takshaka like to Agni himself in energy.’ And Takshaka answered, ’I am that Takshaka, O Brahmana, who shall burn that lord of the earth. Stop, for thou art unable to cure one bit by me.’ And Kasyapa rejoined, ’I am sure that, possessed (that I am) of the power of learning, going thither I shall cure that monarch bit by thee.’”
(Astika Parva continued)
“Sauti said, ’And Takshaka, after this, answered, ’If, indeed, thou art able to cure any creature bitten by me, then, O Kasyapa, revive thou this tree bit by me. O best of Brahmanas, I burn this banian in thy sight. Try thy best and show me that skill in mantras of which thou hast spoken.’