“Sauti said, ‘O thou of ascetic wealth, soon after her lord had left her,Jaratkaru went to her brother. And she told him everything that hadhappened. And the prince of snakes, hearing the calamitous news, spakeunto his miserable sister, himself more miserable still.’
“And he said, ‘Thou knowest, ‘O amiable one, the purpose of thy bestowal,the reason thereof. If, from that union, for the welfare of the snakes, ason be born, then he, possessed of energy, will save us all from thesnake-sacrifice. The Grandsire had said so, of old, in the midst of thegods. O fortunate one, hast thou conceived from thy union with that bestof Rishis? My heart’s desire is that my bestowal of thee on that wise onemay not be fruitless. Truly, it is not proper for me to ask thee aboutthis. But from the gravity of the interests I ask thee this. Knowing alsothe obstinacy of thy lord, ever engaged in severe penances, I shall notfollow him, for he may curse me. Tell me in detail all that thy lord, Oamiable one, hath done, and extract that terribly afflicting dart thatlies implanted for a long time past in my heart.’
“Jaratkaru, thus addressed, consoling Vasuki, the king of the snakes, atlength replied, saying, ‘Asked by me about offspring, the high-souled andmighty ascetic said, ‘There is,’–and then he went away. I do notremember him to have ever before speak even in jest aught that is false.Why should he, O king, speak a falsehood on such a serious occasion? Hesaid, ‘Thou shouldst not grieve, O daughter of the snake race, about theintended result of our union. A son shall be born to thee, resplendent asthe blazing sun.’ O brother, having said this to me, my husband ofascetic wealth went away–Therefore, let the deep sorrow cherished in thyheart disappear.’
“Sauti continued, ‘Thus addressed, Vasuki, the king of the snakes,accepted those words of his sister, and in great joy said, ‘Be it so!’And the chief of the snakes then adored his sister with his best regards,gift of wealth, and fitting eulogies. Then, O best of Brahmanas, theembryo endued with great splendour, began to develop, like the moon inthe heavens in the bright fortnight.
And in due time, the sister of the snakes, O Brahmana, gave birth to ason of the splendour of a celestial child, who became the reliever of thefears of his ancestors and maternal relatives. The child grew up there inthe house of the king of the snakes. He studied the Vedas and theirbranches with the ascetic Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu. And though but aboy, his vows were rigid. And he was gifted with great intelligence, andwith the several attributes of virtue, knowledge, freedom from theworld’s indulgences, and saintliness. And the name by which he was knownto the world was Astika. And he was known by the name of Astika (whoeveris) because his father had gone to the woods, saying. ‘There is’, when hewas in the womb. Though but a boy, he had great gravity and intelligence.And he was reared with great care in the palace of the snakes. And he waslike the illustrious lord of the celestials, Mahadeva of the golden form,the wielder of the trident. And he grew up day by day, the delight of allthe snakes.'”