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Parikshit Maharaj – Story of Parikshit King in Mahabharata

Parikshit Maharaj was the son of Abhimanyu and grandson of Arjuna in the Mahabharata. King Parikshit was in the womb of Uttara when the Kurukshetra war ended and he was the only remaining heir in the family of the Pandavas. The Brahmastra directed by Ashwathama to the womb had caused damage to the baby in the womb of Uttara but Sri Krishna revived the stillborn baby.

When Yudhisthira and the other Pandavas decided to go for Vanaprastha after abdicating the throne, Parikshit became the king of Hastinapura.

Kali Yuga began during the reign of Parikshit. There is an interesting story in the Puranas in which demon Kali is asked to reside Adharmic places by Parikshit. 

Legend has it that once King Parikshit during a hunting expedition lost his way and reached the ashram of Shamika Rishi. The king asked for water but the sage who was in deep meditation did not respond. Parikshit, who was thirsty and hungry, in a fit of rage picked up a dead snake and put it around the neck of the sage and left the place.

Shrungi, son of Shamika, returned to the ashram and saw the appalling sight and cursed that whoever did this heinous act will die on the seventh day through the bit of Snake Takshaka.

Parikshit who was crestfallen on hearing the news of the curse was visited by Shuka Deva, son of Vyasa.  Parikshit wanted to know what a person who is destined to die soon should do. The sage then narrated the Bhagavad Purana. The king realized the mysteries of earthly life and was ready to accept his fate.

There are some stories which indicate that Parikshit built a palace in the middle of sea to escape from Takshaka. But Takashaka took the form of a worm and hid himself in a fruit and killed the king on the seventh day.

The name Parikshit is mentioned in the Vedas, Mahabharata and Puranas.

Atharva Veda mentions about Parikshit as the king of the Kurus.

There are also several other kings in the Puranas who were named Parikshit.

The son of Parikshit was Janamejaya, who performed the sarpa satra to kill all the snakes in the world to avenge the death of his father. It was in this Yajna that the Mahabharata was narrated.