“Sauti said, ‘That best of snakes, viz., Vasuki, hearing the curse of hismother, reflected how to render it abortive. He held a consultation withall his brothers, Airavata and others, intent upon doing what they deemedbest for themselves.’
“And Vasuki said, ‘O ye sinless ones, the object of this curse is knownto you. It behoveth us to strive to neutralise it. Remedies certainlyexist for all curses, but no remedy can avail those cursed by theirmother. Hearing that this curse hath been uttered in the presence of theImmutable, the Infinite, and the True one, my heart trembleth. Surely,our annihilation hath come. Otherwise why should not the Immutable Lordprevent our mother while uttering the curse? Therefore, let us consulttoday how we may secure the safety of the snakes. Let us not waste time.All of you are wise and discerning. We will consult together and find outthe means of deliverance as (did) the gods of yore to regain lost Agniwho had concealed himself within a cave, so that Janamejaya’s sacrificefor the destruction of the snakes may not take place, and so that we maynot meet with destruction.’
“Sauti continued, ‘Thus addressed all the offspring of Kadru assembledtogether, and, wise in counsels, submitted their opinions to one another.One party of the serpents said, ‘We should assume the guise of superiorBrahmanas, and beseech Janamejaya, saying, ‘This (intended) sacrifice ofyours ought not to take place.’ Other snakes thinking themselves wise,said, ‘We should all become his favourite counsellors. He will thencertainly ask for our advice in all projects. And we will then give himsuch advice that the sacrifice may be obstructed. The king, the foremostof wise men, thinking us of sterling worth will certainly ask us abouthis sacrifice. We will say, ‘It must not be!’ And pointing to manyserious evils in this and the next worlds, we will take care that thesacrifice may not take place. Or, let one of the snakes, approaching,bite the person who, intending the monarch’s good, and well-acquaintedwith the rites of the snake-sacrifice, may be appointed as thesacrificial priest, so that he will die. The sacrificial priest dying,the sacrifice will not be completed. We will also bite all those who,acquainted with the rites of the snake-sacrifice, may be appointedRitwiks of the sacrifice, and by that means attain our object.’ Othersnakes, more virtuous and kind, said, ‘O, this counsel of yours is evil.It is not meet to kill Brahmanas. In danger, that remedy is proper, whichis blessed on the practices of the righteous. Unrighteousness finallydestroyeth the world.’ Other serpents said, ‘We will extinguish theblazing sacrificial fire by ourselves becoming clouds luminous withlightning and pouring down showers.’ Other snakes, the best of theirkind, proposed, ‘Going, by night, let us steal away the vessel of Somajuice. That will disturb the rite. Or, at that sacrifice, let the snakes,by hundreds and thousands, bite the people, and spread terror around. Or,let the serpents defile the pure food with their food-defiling urine anddung.’ Others said, ‘Let us become the king’s Ritwiks, and obstruct hissacrifice by saying at the outset, ‘Give us the sacrificial fee.’ He (theking), being placed in our power, will do whatever we like.’ Others theresaid, ‘When the king will sport in the waters, we will carry him to ourhome and bind him, so that that sacrifice will not take place!’ Otherserpents who deemed themselves wise, said, ‘Approaching the king, let usbite him, so that our object will be accomplished. By his death the rootof all evil will be torn up. This is the final deliberation of us all, Othou who hearest with thy eyes! Then, do speedily what thou deemestproper.’ Having said this, they looked intently at Vasuki, that best ofsnakes. And Vasuki also, after reflecting, answered saying, ‘Ye snakes,this final determination of you doth not seem worthy of adoption. Theadvice of you all is not to my liking. What shall I say which would befor your good? I think the grace of the illustrious Kasyapa (our father)can alone do us good. Ye snakes, my heart doth not know which of all yoursuggestions is to be adopted for the welfare of my race as also of me.That must be done by me which would be to your weal. It is this thatmakes me so anxious, for the credit or the discredit (of the measure) ismine alone.'”
So ends the thirty-seventh section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.