Yudhishtar was in his palace, when a guard came trembling with shock and fear. Yudhishtar composed himself and spoke sharply, ‘What is it my man? You are shaking like a leaf, what is it?’
As the guard spoke his voice shook, ‘Lord Krishna….Lord Krishna…’
‘What happened to Lord Krishna?’ Yudhistar almost shouted as the guard stopped.
‘Your majesty…Lord Krishna is no more….He has been killed….’ The guard finally said as he spoke haltingly.
Yudhishtar blinked and shook his head. It was no way, he had heard right….How could Lord Krishna….No he had heard wrong….
By then the other Pandavas – Bheema, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadeva also came closer.
Arjuna roughly clutched the guards shoulders and shook him as he spoke harshly, ‘What are you saying? How could anything happen to Lord Krishna?’
The guard spoke faintly, ‘Sir! After the death of the Yadavas, Lord Krishna was walking alone through the forest….He was sleeping under a tree, sir! A hunter Jara….thought that…that it was a deer and shot….’ The guards looked down almost sobbing unable to continue any further.
Arjuna’s eye’s filled with tears as he thought of his Krishna….Krishna, the beautiful, black Krishna….the cheerful Krishna, the most brilliant strategist in the world….Arjuna looked at the guard blankly….Without Krishna he felt….empty, without any purpose….
Arjuna and Lord Krishna were born on the same day. [In Hindu mythology Lord Krishna is an avatar of Lord Narayana. It is also believed that Nara had been created out of Lord Narayana. Arjuna was supposed to be an incarnation of Nara]
Arjuna suddenly felt living a big burden and swayed as he fell unconscious….
When Arjuna woke up, the pain would still not go away…
Yudhishtar also found that he no longer had the wish to rule Hastinapur and looking at his brothers he realized that they also felt the same way….
The Pandavas then crowned their grandson Parikshit as the king of Hastinapur anaraaand along with their wife Draupadi, gave up their kingdom and went to the Himalayas to meditate.
Parikshit was a great ruler and looked very well after Hastinapur. But unknown to the Pandavas and Parikshit, a greater threat loomed with the death of Lord Krishna.
During the ninth day of the Mahabharatha war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the third yuga had ended and last yuga – Kali yuga had started. However because of the power of Lord Krishna, Kali could not spread all through the earth….
Now with Lord Krishna gone, Kali started spreading evil in the minds of people. However try at it might, Kali could not enter Parikshit’s kingdom. Parikshit was a good ruler and his people loved him. Kali could not corrupt the minds of the people there….
‘Then one day, the Kali demon came to speak with Parikshit. It told Parikshit, ‘Oh King! I am Kali! The Kali Yuga has started, but I cannot enter your kingdom…If things have to go properly, I have to take over all the places in earth…’
Parikshit shook his head, ‘You are a demon…You make people wicked…I will not let you inside my kingdom…’
Kali smiled and said, ‘You don’t have a choice my king, the four ages – Satya yuga, Treta yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kali yuga are a cycle…each must follow the other…it is the law of the universe…’
Parikshit was troubled but realized that Kali would eventually take over the kingdom…I have to just make sure he does not hurt innocent people…Then I will be able to make sure that only people who do bad things would get hurt….Parikshit spoke, ‘I will let you in Kali! But on the condition…You cannot be everywhere…you can only be where there is gambling, drinking of alcohol, prostitution, killing of animals and where ever there is gold… and no where else….’
Kali let out a sly smile, as he just figured out a brilliant idea to trap the king…He meekly nodded his head and vanished from before Parikshit. Parikshit could not help shake the feeling that he had done something which he was going to regret…
Parikshit was a king and like all kings, he always a crown…a crown of gold….
Now Kali smugly entered into Parikshit’s crown and waited…
A few days later, Parikshit was traveling through the jungle. He was tired and separated from his army. He was thirsty and going as he came to the ashrama of Sage Samika. The sage was so deep in meditation that he did not even notice the king.
Parikshit bowed again and again at the Sage, but the sage never realized it…A new voice spoke inside the king’s head…the voice of Kali, ‘You are a king…and this worthless man dares defy you….’
Parikshit shook his head…That was a sage…he could not think like this about him…But the voice persisted, ‘That man is defying you…He must be punished…He must be made to look silly for what he has done….’
Though Parikshit tried fighting with the voice in his head, he lost. He looked around and saw a dead snake lying near the sage. With an cruel grin, he picked up the snake and hung it around the neck of the sage and left. Serves the man right…Who does he think he is…
The sage Samika was so deep in his meditation that he did not even realize what had happened….In the evening, Samika’s son Sringan had come to ashrama and was horrified to find a dead snake on his father’s neck. He removed the snake and looked furiously around.
With a deep breath he closed his eyes and meditated. He realized that it was King Parikshit who had done this. A king is acting like this…Such a king need not exist…
Sringan opened his eyes and in anger cursed Parikshit, ‘Parikshit, you will die seven days…from now by a snake bite…’
When King Parikshit had heard the curse, he immediately gave up the throne up to his son Janamejaya. He called for Sage Suka and listened to the Bhagawat Purana the whole of the next seven days….
As Parikshit listened to the stories, his fear of death went away. He realized the ultimate truth of life and death and gave up his body to attain moksha.
True to Sringan’s curse, Takshak, the king of the snakes bit King Parikshit’s body after the soul had left it, thereby making the sage’s words true.
Janamejaya who became the king of Hastinapur after his father, was very angry with Takshak for killing his father. He conducted the great Snake Sacrifice to avenge the death of his father. It was during the Snake Sacrifice that the story of Mahabharatha was narrated for the first time by Sage Vaysampayana to Janamejaya.