Sage Gautama's student Uttanka was very devoted. Gautama
loved him very much and did not allow him to leave the ashram after
completing his studies. When Uttanka grew too old to serve Gautama, he
asked for permission to leave. Gautama agreed. He made Uttanka young
again and married his daughter to him.
Before leaving, Uttanka asked Gautama's wife, what gift she likes as
gurudakshina. She asked for the earnings that belonged to King Saudasa's
wife. Uttanka went to Saudasa, who was living the life of a cannibal in a
forest due to a curse. His wife gave Uttanka the earrings hoping that the
good deed would remove the curse. She told Uttanka that the person who
wore the earrings would be free from hunger and thirst and would be
protected from danger.
While returning, Uttanka rested under a tree. A snake stole the
earrings and entered an anthill. Uttanka started digging the anthill with
his stick, but the kingdom of the snakes was very deep underground.
Indra helped him by putting more power into his stick to help him dig
faster. Agni, the god of fire, appeared in the form of horse surrounded
by fire and filled the kingdom of snakes with smoke. The snakes came out
and to save their lives returned the earrings to Uttanka, who took them to