Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 2 Chapter 8
THE SECOND BOOK
On the extinction of the family of Yadu and on the tale about Parīksit
1-23. Sūta said: -
On the third day after the Pāṇḍavas had returned to Hastināpur, the king Dhritarāṣtra was burnt up together with Gāndhāri and Kunti, by the conflagration of fire in the forest. Sanjaya went away at that time, leaving Dhritarāṣtra in the forest, on a tour on pilgrimage.
The king Yudhisṭhīra heard all this from Nārada and was very sorry.
Now after thirty six years after the Kuru family had become extinct, all the descendants of Yadu in the Prabhās tīrtha were destroyed by the Brāhmaṇa’s curse.
The high-souled descendants of Yadu, intoxicated by drinking wine, fought against each other and were extirpated in the presence of Kṛṣṇa and Balarām. Balarām then quitted his mortal coil; the lotus-eyed Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa quitted his life, struck by the arrows of a hunter, to pay respect to a Brahmin's curse.
Vasudeva heard of Hari's quitting his mortal coil, and meditated the Goddess of the Universe within his heart and left his holy life.
Arjuna became very sorry; he went to Prabhāsa and performed the funeral obsequies of all duly. Seeing the dead body of Hari, Arjuna collected fuel and burnt his body together with his eight principal wives; he burnt also Balarām's body with that of his wife Revatī.
Arjuna, then, went to the Dvārakā city and removed all the inhabitants of the city when the whole Dwārkā city of Vasudeva was drowned in the waters of the ocean.
While Arjuna was taking all the persons with him after getting out of Dwārkā, he felt himself very weak on the way; and therefore a band of robbers, known by the name of Ābhīras plundered all the wealth and all the wives of Kṛṣṇa.
Arjuna, of indomitable valour, after his arrival at Indraprastha made Vajra, Aniruddha's son, the king of the place.
Then the highly powerful Arjuna informed Vyāsa of his powerlessness when Vyāsa said:
“O highly intelligent one! When Hari and you will reincarnate in another Yuga, then your heroic strength will again be manifested. Hearing all these words, Prithā's son Arjuna returned to Hastinā with a sorrowful heart and informed everything to Yudhisṭhīra, the Dharmarāja.
Hearing the extinction of the Yādavas and Hari's quitting His mortal coil, Yudhisṭhīra wanted to go to the Himalayas.
He installed Parīksit, Uttarā's son who was then thirty six years old on the throne and went out of his palace in company of his brothers, and Draupadi to the forests of the Himalayas.
Thus the Pāṇḍavas, Prithā’s son, reigned for thirty six years in Hastinā and quitted their mortal coils in the Himalayas.
Here the greatly religious sage-king Parīksit governed with vigilance all his subjects for sixty years. After this, Parīksit went once on a hunting expedition to a dense forest and shot a deer. He then searched for the deer and it became noon and he felt very thirsty, hungry, quite fatigued with his body, perspiring, when he saw a Muni merged in meditation; he asked the Muni:
“Where can water be had?” But the Muni held at that time the vow of silence; so he did not answer anything. Seeing this, the thirsty king, influenced by Kali, became angry and raised a dead serpent by the fore-end of his bow and coiled it round the Muni's neck. Even thus coiled with a snake round his neck the Muni remained as before motionless in his state of enlightenment and spoke nothing. The king also returned home.
24-49. Then the Muni's son, born from the cow's womb, Śringī, a great ascetic, a fiery devotee of Mahāśaktī, heard of the above event, while he was playing in the forest. His friends spoke to him: -
“O Muni! Somebody has now enclosed a dead serpent around the neck of your father.”
Hearing their words, Śringī became very angry and taking water in his hands, cursed thus: -
“He who has coiled today a dead serpent around my father's neck, let that villain be bitten by the serpent Takṣak within one week from this day”.
One disciple of the Muni then went to the king in his house and informed him of the Muni's curse. Abhimanyu's son Parīksit heard of the curse pronounced by a Brāhmin, and knowing infallible, spoke to the aged councillors:
"O Ministers! Certainly it is through my fault that I have been cursed by a Brāhmin's son. Now find out and settle what is to be done though the persons versed in the Vedas say that death is inevitable under these circumstances; yet the wise ones should try their best to thwart this according to the Śāstras. Many sages who are the advocates of taking steps to redress any act, say that all the actions of wise persons are fructified by proper means; their solution does not remain unsolved.
Therefore I am saying that the powers of maṇis, mantrams and herbs (oṣadhis) are indescribable; if applied duly, do you think that they will bear no fruit in this case?
I heard that when a Muni's wife died out of snake-bite, the Muni gave away the half of his life to his wife Apsarā and made her alive again. It is not proper for the learned to depend on the maxim that what is inevitable must come to pass; one must try one's best to act for the living present.
O Ministers! Have you seen any person in the Heavens or in the world who remains idle, depending on fate alone? The Sannyasins have renounced the world; but they must have to go to the houses of the householders, whether they be invited or not invited.
See again, supposing that the food of a person is brought to him unasked and suppose it is thrown into the mouth by someone, can you conceive that food would go down into the belly, from the mouth without one's effort?
Therefore one should exert one's own prowess from the very outset; though the intelligent ones should be satisfied with the thought:
“What can be done? It is not ordained in my fate.”
When Parīksit said thus, the ministers asked:
“Which Muni made his dead wife alive again, by giving her half his own life? And how did his wife die? Kindly describe all these in detail to me.”
The king said:
Bhrigu Muni had a very beautiful wife Pulomā. In her womb the world renowned Chyavana Muni was born.
Sukanyā, the daughter of Śaryāti was the wife of Chyavana. In her womb was born a beautiful son named Pramati; he was very famous.
Pramati had his famous beautiful wife Pratāpī. In her womb was born the great ascetic son Rurū.
At this time a person named Sthūlakeśa, a religious truthful man of great name, was practising tapasyā.
O Ministers! In the meanwhile, the chief Apsarā Menakā held sexual intercourse with Viśvāvasu Gandharva on the banks of a river and became pregnant. She went out from that place to the hermitage of Sthūlakeśa on the river bank and gave birth to a very beautiful daughter.
Seeing this girl quite an orphan and very beautiful, the Muni Sthūlakeśa began to rear up her and named her Pramadvarā. This all- auspicious girl Pramadvarā attained youth in due course when the Muni Rurū saw her and became smitten with passion.
Thus ends the eighth chapter of the Second Skandha on the extinction of the family of Yadu and on the anecdote of Parīksit in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses.