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Story of King Nahusha and the Curse of Sage Agastya

Indra, the king of Devas, killed the demon Vritrasura but he also incurred the sin of Brahmahatya. For redemption of the sin, he started performing meditation in Manasaras. The story of King Nahusha and the curse of Sage Agastya begin here.

Indra had not informed anyone about his whereabouts. So heaven was without a king and everyone was worried.

During this time King Nahusha completed hundred horse sacrifices and became eligible for the throne of Indra.

Soon Nahusha was anointed as the next Indra.

Nahusha enjoyed his newly found status to the zenith. Nahusha, a pious and noble soul on earth, was now a slave of his senses. He had all the celestial women at his disposal but he was not satisfied. He wanted to have Indra's wife, Sachi.

When Sachi realized this, she became furious and she went to Brihaspati, the Guru of Devas, for advice.

Brihaspati advised her to tell Nahusha that he can only have her if he came in a palanquin carried by seven sages.

Nahusha immediately deputed seven sages to carry his palanquin. One of the sages was Agastya.

The sages were carrying the king slowly. Stung by lust and impatience, the king angrily shouted at the Sages and asked them to walk quick – Sarpa, Sarpa (walk quick, walk quick)

Nahusha was not stilled satisfied with the speed and kicked Sage Agastya.

Agastya got angry and cursed Nahusha – Since you kicked me by saying 'Sarpa Sarpa' you will be transformed into a huge serpent and will live on earth. The word 'sarpa' also means a serpent.

Nahusha who realized his mistake pleaded for forgiveness.

Sage Agastya told Nahusha that he will be relived of the curse when he he will encounter Yudhisthira on earth during the Dwapara Yuga.

Nahusha became a huge snake and took refuge in the Himalayas. Pandavas during their exile reached the cave in which the huge snake was hiding. It attacked Bhima, the second of the Pandavas.

Yudhisthira immediately came to know that this was no ordinary snake. He then asked the snake about its origin. On narrating his story Nahusha was relieved of the curse.