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1-Aadi Parv, 13-19  of 236
Kathaa-G - 0-Prolog - page 6

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Story of Jaratkaaru

[1-13] Shaunak Jee asked  - "Why did Janamejaya intend to kill snakes by means of Yagya? And why did Aasteek rescue them? Whose son was Janamejaya? And whose son was Aasteek?" Soot Jee said - "This story of Aasteek is very long. I will try to tell you it in full. Shaunak Jee said - "I wish to hear this charming story of Aasteek." Soot Jee said - "This history was first told by Krishn Dwaipaayan in Puraan. It has been previously told by my father Lomharshan to Rishi living in Naimish Aranya. I was there at that time, so I tell you as I have heard it there.

The father of Aasteek was powerful like Prajaapti. He was a great Brahmchaaree. He ate sparingly and was a great ascetic. His name was Jaratkaaru. He was one of the Yaayaavar. Once he went to see the world for pilgrimage. He lived on air and renounced the sleep. One day he happened to see some people hanging upside down in a large hole. He asked them - "Who are you hanging down thus and your rope is eaten by a rat continuously?" They said - "We are Rishi of rigid vows. We have no child that is why we are sinking inside the Earth. We had a son named Jaratkaaru who has also become a Yogee. He does not think about his children. That is why with the fear of the end of our race, we are hanging here. Who are you who is asking our welfare like a friend?" Jaratkaaru said - "I am Jaratkaaru and you are my ancestors. Tell me how can I serve you?" They said - "Try for a son so that our family line can extend. This will be good for both of us. Penance does not acquire so much merit as becoming a father."

Jaratkaaru said - "I will not marry for myself, nor I will earn money for myself, but I will do all this for your sake only. If I will get a girl of my name and whose friends will give her to me as a gift in charity, then I will marry. But then who will give his daughter to a poor man like me? That is why I will accept any girl given me in alms. As promised I will do the same and I will raise a child for your sake. So I will take the wife to attain the end, and I will raise a child from her so that you may attain to eternal regions."

[1-14] Soot Jee said - "So Jaratkaaru wandered around but could not find a wife. So one day he went to a forest and prayed for a wife three times in a faint voice. At this Vaasuki Naag came and gave his sister to him as his wife. But Jaratkaaru hesitated to accept her as his wife, thinking that she might not bear the same name as his. Then he asked Vaasuki - "What is the name of your sister?" He replied - "My sister's name is Jaratkaaru, please accept her as your wife, because I have reserved her for you only." So he offered his sister to him ceremoniously."

[1-15] Soot Jee said - "Long before, the mother of the snakes had cursed them saying - "He who has Wind as his charioteer, Agni (Fire) will burn him in Janamejaya's Yagya." So to neutralize the effect of that curse, the king of the snakes gave his sister to that high-souled Rishi. The Rishi wedded her methodically and then they had a son named Aasteek. Then after a long time of gap, a king descended in Paandav line who did the Sarp Yagya. Aasteek stopped it. Thus he saved Naag from their killing as well as his ancestors by having children. I told you the story of Aasteek, now what do you want to hear?"

Story of Aasteek

[1-16] Shaunak Jee said - "Hey Soot Jee, Please tell us Aasteek's story in more detail, because you speak so sweetly that we like to hear more from you." Soot Jee said - "God bless you, I tell you now the story of Aasteek in detail. In Sat Yug, Prajaapati had two daughters, Vinataa and Kadroo. Prajaapati married them to Maharshi Kashyap. Kashyap was very gratified with both of them so he decided to give each of them a boon. Kadroo wished to have 1,000 snakes as her sons and Vinataa wished for two sons surpassing Kadroo's 1,000 sons - in energy, longevity, size of body and power. Kashyap Jee asked Kadroo to bear the embryo carefully. After giving them boons, he went to forest.

Soot Jee said - "After long time, Kadroo brought out 1,000 eggs and Vinataa two eggs. The eggs were kept in warm vessels. After 500 years, Kadroo's eggs broke and 1,000 snakes came out of them, but the twins of Vinataa did not appear. Vinataa got jealous with her sister, so she broke one of the two of her eggs and to her surprise she found the upper part of the body of her child developed, but the lower one undeveloped. At this the child gave Shaap to his mother - "Since you have broken the egg immaturely, you will serve your sister as a slave. If you wait for 500 years more, and not break the other egg, he will deliver you from your slavery. And if you want to have the child strong, you should take care of the egg very well." and he flew in the sky. O Braahman, He became the charioteer of Soorya Dev, you can see him every morning coming before Soorya Dev. After 500 years of care the second egg broke and Garud Jee came out of it. As he saw the light, he left his mother and went out to look for food for himself."

Saagar Manthan

[1-17] Soot Jee said - "Once the two sisters, Kadroo and Vnataa, saw Uchchshraivaa horse who came out from churning out the sea." Shaunak Jee asked - "Why did Devtaa churn the sea and when this horse appeared from it?" Soot Jee said - "There is a mountain Meru. When Soory's rays fall upon its golden peak, they disperse them all around. It is immeasurable and unapproachable by sinful men. Ordinary people cannot even think of ascending it. Once Naaraayan said to Brahmaa - "You churn the sea with Devtaa and Asur. By doing this Amrit will come out along with the herbs and gems."

[1-18] Soot Jee said - "Now there is a mountain called Mandar adorned with cloud like peaks. It is one of the best of mountains. There grow many herbs and it is always echoed by the sweet singing of various birds. It is 11,000 Yojan (1 Yojan =  8 miles) high, and 11,000 Yojan deep inside the earth. They wanted to dig it up to use it as a churning rod to churn the sea, but failed to do so, so they approached Vishnu so that they can lift it up for their good. Vishnu assigned this job to Anant (the prince of snakes). He torn it up and brought it to ocean. Devtaa also came to the ocean with Anant and said to the ocean - "We want to churn you with the desire of Amrit." The ocean replied - "Be it so, but I will also have my share." Then Devtaa went to the king of tortoise, they said to him - "Please be the base of our churning rod." The tortoise agreed. Indra kept the mountain on the back of the tortoise.

Devtaa and Asur made Mandar mountain as churning rod, the tortoise as its base and Vaasuki Naag as the churning rope and set to churn the ocean. The Asur held Vaasuki by its head, and Devtaa by its tail. And Anant who was on the side of Devtaa suddenly raised its head and lowered it thus spitted black vapors with flames. These turned into clouds and rained and cooled down Devtaa. Many flowers were also showered on Devtaa to refresh them. Many kinds of animals died in that salty ocean. After some time of churning, the juice of trees and herbs turned into Amrit got mixed with the water of the sea, and celestials became immortal by drinking that water. The milky water turned into clarified butter but the nectar did not appear. Devtaa went to Brahma Jee and said - "We are tired and the nectar has not yet appeared." Brahmaa requested Vishnu to give His power to Devtaa to churn it again. Naaraayan gave them His powers to churn the ocean again. So they put the mountain again and started churning the ocean.

There are several anomalies here in this version of Saagar Manthan story --
--It says that Anant Naag lifted the Mandar Mountain, but it has been heard that Vishnu sent His Garud to uproot it and kept it in the ocean, and he did it
--Devtaa and Asur went to the King of Tortoise to keep the mountain on his back - but who was the King of Tortoise, this is not mentioned here. While it is known that Vishnu assumed the form of a Tortoise and lifted the mountain on His back.
--It says that they churned the ordinary salt ocean, while it is known that it was Ksheer Saagar.
--It says that juice of trees and herbs got mixed with the water of the sea and drinking it Devtaa became Immortal. If it was so - it means that the whole sea became Amrit; and if the whole sea was Amrit then what was the need of nectar again? The story of Mohinee Avataar etc has no place in it, although it is there in the following paragraph.
--When the sea was salty, then how it can be milky water?

After a while a mild Moon came out; then came out Lakshmee dressed in white; then Som; then the white horse; then Kaustubh Mani which adorned Naaraayan's chest. Then Lakshmee, Som and the horse came to Naaraayan. Then came out Dhanvantari himself with white vessel of nectar. Seeing it Asur cried, "It is ours, it is ours." After it came out the huge elephant Airaavat with two pairs of tusks. Indra took him. Then appeared Kaalkoot poison. At the request of Brahmaa Jee Shiv swallowed that poison. He kept it in his throat. It is said that he was called Neelkanth from the same time. Seeing all these things Asur got confused and started quarreling with Devtaa to take Lakshmee and Amrit. Naaraayan had to call His Maayaa, she assumed the form a enchanting female. Seeing Her all Devtaa and Asur lost their reasoning and gave the Amrit pot to Her unanimously."

[1-19] Soot Jee said - "Daanav and Daitya attacked Devtaa [to take Amrit] with their weapons, so Vishnu assumed the form of a beautiful woman and accompanied by Nar she took the Amrit from their hands. All Devtaa drank Amrit from the hands of Vishnu. A Daanav Raahu also drank Amrit in disguise of Devtaa. As the Amrit reached Raahu's throat only, Soorya and Som (Chandramaa or Moon) recognized him as a Daanav and told this to Naaraayan. Naaraayan immediately cut his neck by His Chakra. His head rose in the sky and made loud cries. His headless trunk fell on the ground and rolled on. From that time a big quarrel started between Raahu's head and the Sun and the Moon. To this day it swallows the Sun and the Moon on the days of solar and lunar eclipses. Then Naaraayan left His woman form and started fighting with Asur and great fight occurred between Devtaa and Asur on the shore of salt water sea. Many Asur were killed during this fight.

Then Nar and Naaraayan entered the field. Seeing the celestial bow in the hand of Nar, Naaraayan called His Chakra and used it to destroy Asur which it did. When Asur were throwing rocks on Devtaa from the sky, Nar crushed them into dust which spread through out, by his gold-headed arrows. After defeating Asur, Devtaa respected Mandar mountain, returned him on his base, went to their abodes and kept the remaining Amrit under the custody of Naaraayan."


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 12/18/12