To average his father's death at the hands of Takshaka, the
king of serpents, Janmejaya held a snake sacrifice. Mantras were chanted
to destroy the snakes but Takshaka did not appear. The head priests
thought that Takshaka had sought protection from Indra. They chanted a
special mantra to compel Takshaka had sought protection from Indra.
They chanted a special mantra to compel Takshaka to appear and fall in the
sacrificial fire along with Indra. Soon, both Takshaka and Indra appeared
and fell into the fire together. When Indra saw that Takshaka was bound to
die, he deserted him.
Meanwhile, Jararkaru, Takshaka's younger sister, ordered her son,
Astika, to save Takshaka. Astika approached Janmejaya and requested him
for a boon. He said that the snake sacrifice had led to the death of
millions of snakes and if Janmejaya spared the remaining few, including
Takshaka, he will be glorified. Sage Vyasa advised Janmejaya to grant
Astika's request and end the snake sacrifice. He agreed and thus, Takshaka