Brahmin Boy curses King Parikshit
One upon a time, King Parikshit had gone hunting for animals in the forest. In the scorching heat of the sun, the fatigued king was fetching for water to quench his thirst when he saw a hut, at a distance. According to the Vedic customs, a guest is always offered hospitality to his heart’s content. With this belief, Parikshit approached the hut and saw a Sage meditating. Many times, he addressed the sage, but the latter would not respond as he was absorbed in his meditative state. Bitten by the snake of insult, King Parikshit became furious and with the tip of his arrow he picked up a dead snake lying near his feet, garlanding it around the Sage’s neck. The enlightened sage was not affected by this act and continued to meditate harmoniously without any internal or external conflict. But, the sage’s son Sringin after learning from one of his fellow mates, the crime committed against his father was propelled to curse the guilty. He cursed: “Seven days from now, the ignorant king who insulted my father will be pushed into the mouth of death after being bitten by the venomous Takshak snake.” After returning to the conscious plane, the sage reprimanded his son for cursing the king. He said: “A king is considered to be the partial incarnation of Sri Narayana. We are Rishis and our duty is to serve a righteous king. Why do you hold the king responsible for insulting me, when didn’t do anything? The king did not insult me (the soul), but my body alone. You have deprived the king from life by cursing him unmindfully for merely insulting my body, which is not a grave crime. Son, the soul, which is our true self is never subjected to any insult or compliment and therefore you have misused your powers.”
After learning about the curse, King Parikshit realized his crime and accepted the curse as a befitting punishment. Repenting thus, he decided to discard his body for he could no longer bear the load of his sins and at that moment, Shukhadeva, the son of Sage Vyasa approached the King. Parikshit greeted him and fell at his lotus feet. The host prayed to his divine guest: “Oh Shukhadeva, I have been cursed with a life-span of mere seven days now. I don’t have the power to falsify the words of the potent Rishi and therefore I have a deep desire to acquire spiritual wisdom from you for this is the most intelligent way to utilize time. Whatever I was supposed to say, perform and hear in the past must be carried out at this very moment. I have to learn a lot of things from you in this short period of 7 days as these are most crucial moments of my life. So please accept me as your disciple and impart me divine knowledge.”
Suka said: “Oh Pariskhit, you have been blessed with 7 days! To acquire Spiritual teachings, number of days or time spent hearing a discourse does not hold any importance. You perceive 7 days to be a small fraction of time, but in fact I can deliver the entire essence of divine knowledge in just 7 minutes to you. Do you know King Khatawanga who absorbed spiritual knowledge in a span of one muhurta (approximately 48 minutes) as Indra revealed that his death was approaching him shortly? Therefore, do not grieve. I accept you as my disciple.”
Saying thus, Shukhadeva narrated the pastimes of Varaha dev saving Bhoomi Devi, hereby commencing the next Skanda (book), followed by Manu-Kardam Samvadam or (Conversation between Manu and Kardama), and Devahuti receiving discourses on Bhakti yoga from her son Kapila Mahamuni.
Describing Lord Krishna
कस्तूरीतिलकं ललाटपटले वक्षःस्थले कौस्तुभं
नासाग्रे नवमौक्तिकं करतले वेणुं करे कङ्कणम् ।
सर्वाङ्गे हरिचन्दनं सुललितं कण्ठे च मुक्तावलिं
गोपस्त्री परिवेष्टितो विजयते गोपाल चूडामणिः ॥
Kasturi Tilakam Lalata Patale Vakshasthale Kaustubham
Nasagre Varmauktikam Karatale Venum Kare Kankanam
Sarvange Haricandanam Sulalitam Kantheca Muktavali
Gopastree Pariveshtito Vijayate Gopala Cudaamanih
I offer my humble respects to the Great Lord who bears Kasturi-Tilakam (or the sacred symbols of Musk) on His forehead and who seats Sri Lakshmi in the centre of His heart. He whose chest is adorned with the crest jewel named Kausthuba Mani and whose nose is studded with a priceless, lustrous pearl. I salute to thou whose palms is without exception holding the Venu (flute) and whose hands are decorated with designed ornaments. Your entire body is fragranced with Chandanam (Sandalwood paste). Numerous necklaces made of pearls and other invaluable stones wrap Your slender neck from all sides. Surrounded by the Gopikas (milkmaids of Vraja) You look non-different from the moon who looks unique when surrounded by infinite, shining stars.
With a desire to hear the pastimes of this Great Lord, Sri Krishna whose description is mentioned above, Parikshit Maharaj sits in front of Shuka.
Schedule of a Bhagavatha Saptaham
The pastimes of the Lord is concisely presented in 7 days by taking into account most important events that rids individuals from fear of death and all other sorts of fear. Additionally, in a Bhagavatha Saptah stories imparting knowledge of the soul’s eternal position as a servitor of Paratma or Bhagawan is also included. The jiva never returns to the material plane to endure suffering is the most key feature of attaining the realm of Bhagawan. Parikshita Maharaj was an inquisitive, pure soul whose intentions to attain Bhagawan was proven beyond doubt. Therefore, he was able to grasp the esoteric teachings spoken by Shukadevacharya. But, before meeting an enlightened sage, feelings of sorrow, worry and fear are inevitable for common, materialistic people. To uproot these unpleasant experiences from our lives, the important teachings of the Bhagavatham come to our aid by which doubts like ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Is the world real?’ etc are dispelled. Following is the schedule of the Bhagavatha Saptaham.
1st day: Beginning of Srimad Bhagavatham to Manu-Kardama Prajapati Samvadam (Conversation between Manu and Kardama Prajapati)
2nd day: Story of Jada Bharatha relieves one from all worries and miseries of life.
3rd day: Story of Bhakta Prahalada and Narsimha deva along with story of Ajamila.
4th day: Descent of Krishna on Earth mentioned in the 10th canto-3rd chapter.
5th day: Story of Krishna marrying Rukmini Devi, present in the 10th canto
6th day: The story of Brahma’s birth from the navel of Lord Narayana and the latter incarnating as Hamsavatara (Swan-incarnation) to deliver knowledge of the Vedas to Lord Brahma.
7th day: Listening to the last canto till the last chapter, describing the future of Kali Yuga and the signs of destruction.