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The birth of King Parikshit.
While Parikshit was suffering from the scorching heat of Ashvattama’s brahmastra within his mother’s womb, he could see the Supreme Lord coming to his rescue. The Lord appeared in a four-armed form that was the size of a thumb. His beautiful body was very blackish and His dress was a dazzling yellow. Adorned with a golden helmet and earrings, the Lord was continually wielding His club in a circular motion, to dispel the radiation of Ashvattama’s brahmastra, just as the sun dissipates the morning dew. Actually, the embryo within Uttara’s womb had been burnt by the brahmastra, but being the supreme magician, the Lord instantly provided Parikshit with a second body. Then, as the wonder-struck child looked on, the Lord suddenly disappeared.
Thereafter, when all good astronomical signs had gradually evolved in the sky, the great-grandson of Pandu was born. Maharaja Yudhisthira performed the birth ceremonies with great satisfaction while learned brahmanas, headed by Kripa and Dhaumya, recited the Vedic mantras. At the conclusion of the ritualistic performances, Maharaja Yudhisthira gave abundant gold, land, villages, grains and animals to the brahmanas.
In return, the satisfied brahmanas informed him, “O King, this child was saved by the Lord because he is a pure devotee and the last remaining descendent of the pious king Puru. Therefore, he will be known as Vishnu-ratah, as well as Parikshit.”
Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired, “Will this child become as great and saintly a king as the others that had appeared in this royal dynasty?”
The brahmanas assured him, “This child will maintain the praja exactly like Ikshvaku; he will be true to his promise just like Lord Rama, the Personality of Godhead; and he will be a munificent giver of charity and protector of the surrendered, like Shibi, the son of Ushinara. He will be as great a bowman as Arjuna, and as strong as a lion. He will be forbearing like the earth, and as worthy a shelter as the Himalayas. In terms of equanimity of mind, he will be like you, my dear Yudhisthira; he will be munificent like Lord Shiva; and he will be the resort of everyone like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayana. In magnanimity, he will become as great as King Rantideva; he will be like Bali Maharaja in patience; and he will become a great devotee of Lord Krishna, like Prahlada Maharaja. After hearing the prediction of his death at the hands of Takshaka, he will inquire about self-realization from Shukadeva Gosvami, and thus achieve a life of fearlessness.”
Thereafter, the brahmanas departed, and, gradually, just as the waxing moon develops day after day, the child grew up luxuriantly under the care of his grandfathers. Because he examined all human beings in his search for that personality whom he had seen within his mother’s womb, he constantly contemplated the Lord and became famous as Parikshit, the examiner. From his very childhood, Parikshit was a maha-bhagavata, and he used to imitate the worship of the family Krishna Deity while playing with dolls.
After some time, Maharaja Yudhisthira desired to perform the horse-sacrifice, so that he could free himself from the sinful reactions that he had incurred during the battle at Kurukshetra. Because the state treasury had become exhausted by the war, Lord Krishna advised the Pandavas to collect the gold that had formerly been left in the Himalayas after King Marutta’s great sacrifice. In this way, Maharaja Yudhisthira was enabled to perform three ashvamedha-yagyas under Lord Krishna’s direction, and for His satisfaction alone. After the completion of the horse sacrifices, Lord Krishna remained in Hastinapura for a few months and then returned to Dvaraka, as previously described.