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Pariksit (Sanskrit: परिक्षित्, Parikṣit[note 1]) was a Kuru king who reigned during the Middle Vedic period
Vedic period
(12th-9th centuries BCE).[1] Along with his son and successor Janamejaya I, he played a decisive role in the consolidation of the Kuru state, the arrangement of Vedic hymns into collections, and the development of the orthodox srauta ritual, transforming the Kuru realm into the dominant political and cultural center of northern Iron Age India.[2] He also appears as a figure in later legends and traditions. According to the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
and the Puranas, he succeeded his greatuncle Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
to the throne of Hastinapur.[note 2]

Contents

1 Mentions 2 Historicity 3 Family 4 Prophecy of Life 5 Death 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References

8.1 Citations 8.2 Sources

Mentions[edit]

Parikesit in the Javanese wayang kulit shadow theatre

"Listen to the good praise of the King belonging to all people, who, (like) a god, is above men, (listen to the praise) of Parikṣit! - ‘Parikṣit has just now made us peaceful dwelling; darkness has just now run to its dwelling.’ The Kuru householder, preparing (grains) for milling, speaks (thus) with his wife. — ‘What shall I bring you, sour milk, the mantha [a barley/milk drink?' the wife keeps asking in the Realm of King Pariksit. — By itself, the ripe barley bends heavily (iva) over the deep track of the path. The dynasty thrives auspiciously in the Realm of King Parikṣit.”[7][8]

Parikshit
Parikshit
is eulogised in a hymn of the Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
(XX.127.7-10) as a great Kuru king (Kauravya), whose realm flowed with milk and honey and people lived happily in his kingdom. He is mentioned as the raja vishvajanina (universal king).[9] Historicity[edit]

Kuru and other kingdoms of the Vedic period

Michael Witzel dates the Pārikṣita Dynasty of the Kuru Kingdom
Kuru Kingdom
to the 12th-11th centuries BC.[10] H.C. Raychaudhuri dates Parikshit
Parikshit
in ninth century BC.[11] He was succeeded by his son Janamejaya I.[12] Family[edit] There is no unanimity regarding the father of Parikshit
Parikshit
among epics and Puranas. He is depicted as the son of Avikshit, Anasva, Kuru or Abhimanyu, but is more popular as Abhimanyu's posthumous son.[13][14] According to the Shatapatha Brahmana
Shatapatha Brahmana
(XIII.5.4), Parikshita had four sons, Janamejaya I, Bhimasena, Ugrasena and Śrutasena. All of them performed the Asvamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice).[15] His bodily existence ended due to the curse of a Brahmana, who used the Nāga
Nāga
king, Takshaka, the ruler of Taxila
Taxila
as the instrument of death.[16] Parikshit
Parikshit
was a husband of Queen Iravati and was succeeded by his son Janamejaya.[17] According to the Mahabharata, he ruled for 24 years and died at the age of sixty.[18] A thesis based upon Ugrasravas’ narration suggests an alternate interpretation regarding Parikshit’s lineage. In this interpretation, Parikshit
Parikshit
fathered a firstborn son with an unnamed putrika wife. Albeit the child was Parikshit’s firstborn, he was the son of a putrika and therefore could not succeed his father on the throne as he was to be the heir of his maternal grandfather. This son’s name was Sringin; his maternal grandfather was Samika. As this would leave Parikshit
Parikshit
without an heir, he had another son, Janamejaya, with a second wife, Madravati. Sringin and Samika are seen again in the hunting story that results in Parikshit’s demise. Their relationship served an additional motive for Sringin to murder Parikshit.[19] Prophecy of Life[edit]

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Krishna
Krishna
saved the dead child of Uttarā

The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
(1.8.9) states that the son of Drona, Ashwatthama had prepared a Brahmastra
Brahmastra
(a powerful weapon summoned to Brahma) to kill King Parikshit
Parikshit
while he was in his mother's (Uttarā) womb, as a revenge against the Pandavas
Pandavas
for killing his relatives (especially his father) in the Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra
war. Uttarā
Uttarā
was terrified by the powerful rays of the weapon and worried about her child, she prayed to her uncle-in-law Krishna
Krishna
for help. Krishna
Krishna
pacified her and protected the child in the womb from the deadly weapon and thus saved his life. Parikshit
Parikshit
was thus born to Uttara and later was throned as the heir to the Pandavas
Pandavas
at Hastinapura. Death[edit]

King Parikshit
Parikshit
hunting

Sage Shukdeva narrating the story of Krishna
Krishna
to Parikshit.

Death of Parikshit
Parikshit
and Kashyapa alive burnt tree from Razmnama.

There seem to be two Parikhits and two Janamejayas, former being referred to in Vedas
Vedas
and the latter in the Puranic literature[20]. The following is about the Puranic king. On hearing this, Parikshit's son Janamejaya II
Janamejaya II
vowed to kill Takshaka within a week. He starts the Sarpamedha Yajna, which forced each and every snake of the entire universe to fall in the havan kund. However one snake got stuck around Surya's chariot and because of the force of Yajna the chariot was also getting pulled inside the hawankund. This could have ended up taking the Surya's chariot in the sacrificial altar and ending the regime of Sun from the universe. This resulted in plea from all the gods to stop the sacrifice. When Takshaka
Takshaka
arrived then this Yajna was stopped from doing so by Astika Muni, as a result of which Takshaka
Takshaka
lived. That day was Shukla Paksha Panchami in the month of Shravan
Shravan
and is since celebrated as the festival of Nag Panchami.[21] See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Parikshit.

Kuru Kingdom Hindu mythology Janaka Bimbisara

Notes[edit]

^ "Parikshit" is the correct Sanskrit
Sanskrit
form of the name. "Pārikṣita" refers to a son/descendant of Parikshit, e.g. Janamejaya (Witzel 1997). Parīkṣita is a past participle meaning "examined", not a name. ^ According to the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
his capital was at Hastinapura. But the Vedic literature
Vedic literature
indicates that the early Kurus had their capital at Āsandīvat,[3] identified with modern Assandh
Assandh
in Haryana.[4][5][6]

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, 97–265. ^ Michael Witzel, "Early Sanskritization. Origins and development of the Kuru State". B. Kölver (ed.), Recht, Staat und Verwaltung im klassischen Indien. The state, the Law, and Administration in Classical India. München : R. Oldenbourg 1997, 27-52 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2010.  ^ Michael Witzel, "Early Sanskritization. Origins and development of the Kuru State". B. Kölver (ed.), Recht, Staat und Verwaltung im klassischen Indien. The state, the Law, and Administration in Classical India. München : R. Oldenbourg 1997, 27-52 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2010.  ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=AL45AQAAIAAJ&q=asandh ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=DH0vmD8ghdMC&pg=PA177 ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, p. 18. ^ Witzel 1997 ^ Bloomfield, Hymns of the Atharva-Veda. (Sacred Books of the East 42.) Oxford 1897, repr. Delhi 1964 ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, pp. 10-13. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects, p.141 ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, p. 29. ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, p. 30. ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, pp. 11-16. ^ Dowson, John (1888). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History, and Literature. Trubner & Co., London. p. 1.  ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, pp. 14,39. ^ "Maharaja Parikshit". Archived from the original on 14 July 2006.  ^ Misra, V.S. (2007). Ancient Indian Dynasties, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-413-8, p.278 ^ Raychaudhuri 2006, pp. 19. ^ Brodbeck, Simon. 2008. “Janamejaya’s Big Brother: New Light on the Mahābhārata's Frame Story.” Religions of South Asia 2 (2): 161-176. ^ Pruthi, Raj (2004). Vedic Civilization. Discovery Publishing House. ISBN 9788171418756.  ^ Garg 1992, p. 743.

Sources[edit]

Garg, Gaṅgā Rām (1992), Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World, Concept Publishing Company, ISBN 978-81-7022-376-4, retrieved 2 August 2013  Raychaudhuri, Hemchandra (2006), Political History of Ancient India, Cosmo Publications, ISBN 81-307-0291-6 

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Hidimbi Ghatotkacha Ahilawati Subhadra Uttarā Ulupi Chitrāngadā Abhimanyu Iravan Babruvahana Barbarika Upapandavas Parikshit Janamejaya

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