Srimad Bhagavatam 12.06.16-25 - Maharaja Janamejaya's Sarpa yajna (download mp3)
by Raas Gopal Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
nāgān satre saha dvijaiḥ
Hearing that his father had been fatally bitten by the snake-bird, Mahārāja Janamejaya became extremely angry and had brāhmaṇas perform a mighty sacrifice in which he offered all the snakes in the world into the sacrificial fire.
takṣakaḥ śaraṇaṁ yayau
When Takṣaka saw even the most powerful serpents being burned in the blazing fire of that snake sacrifice, he was overwhelmed with fear and approached Lord Indra for shelter.
apaśyaṁs takṣakaṁ tatra
rājā pārīkṣito dvijān
uvāca takṣakaḥ kasmān
When King Janamejaya did not see Takṣaka entering his sacrificial fire, he said to the brāhmaṇas: Why is not Takṣaka, the lowest of all serpents, burning in this fire?
taṁ gopāyati rājendra
śakraḥ śaraṇam āgatam
tena saṁstambhitaḥ sarpas
tasmān nāgnau pataty asau
The brāhmaṇas replied: O best of kings, the snake Takṣaka has not fallen into the fire because he is being protected by Indra, whom he has approached for shelter. Indra is holding him back from the fire.
pārīkṣita iti śrutvā
sahendras takṣako viprā
nāgnau kim iti pātyate
The intelligent King Janamejaya, hearing these words, replied to the priests: Then, my dear brāhmaṇas, why not make Takṣaka fall into the fire, along with his protector, Indra?
tac chrutvājuhuvur viprāḥ
sahendraṁ takṣakaṁ makhe
Hearing this, the priests then chanted this mantra for offering Takṣaka together with Indra as an oblation into the sacrificial fire: O Takṣaka, fall immediately into this fire, together with Indra and his entire host of demigods!
sthānād indraḥ pracālitaḥ
When Lord Indra, along with his airplane and Takṣaka, was suddenly thrown from his position by these insulting words of the brāhmaṇas, he became very disturbed.
taṁ patantaṁ vimānena
rājānaṁ taṁ bṛhaspatiḥ
Bṛhaspati, the son of Aṅgirā Muni, seeing Indra falling from the sky in his airplane along with Takṣaka, approached King Janamejaya and spoke to him as follows.
naiṣa tvayā manuṣyendra
vadham arhati sarpa-rāṭ
anena pītam amṛtam
atha vā ajarāmaraḥ
O King among men, it is not fitting that this king of snakes meet death at your hands, for he has drunk the nectar of the immortal demigods. Consequently he is not subject to the ordinary symptoms of old age and death.
jīvitaṁ maraṇaṁ jantor
gatiḥ svenaiva karmaṇā
rājaṁs tato ’nyo nāsty asya
The life and death of an embodied soul and his destination in the next life are all caused by himself through his own activity. Therefore, O King, no other agent is actually responsible for creating one’s happiness and distress.
Although King Parīkṣit apparently died by the bite of Takṣaka, it was Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself who brought the King back to the kingdom of God. Bṛhaspati wanted young King Janamejaya to see things from the spiritual point of view.