By Swami Harshananda
Parikṣit literally means ‘one who examines or searches’.
Parīkṣit was the son of prince Abhimanyu and Uttarā. He was the grandson of Arjuna and Subhadrā. After the Mahābhārata war, Aśvatthāma the vengeance-incarnate, discharged the Brahmāstra towards the womb of Uttarā, who was pregnant, to destroy the entire race of the Pāṇḍavas. Parīkṣit, the baby in the womb died but still he took birth. However, Lord Kṛṣṇa, revived the baby by his divine powers.
It is said that the Lord Viṣṇu had given him his vision and the baby-boy started examining every nook and corner through his eyes, to find the Lord. Hence he came to be known as Parikṣit. Pāṇḍavas crowned him as the king and left on their final journey. His queen was Bhadravatī. She was also known as Irāvatī. He had four sons through her. They are:
After being crowned as the king, he drove away Kalipuruṣa, the personification of evil of the age of Kali and ruled the kingdom righteously for sixty years.
Once due to his bad luck, he showed disrespect to Samīka, a great sage, who was in deep-meditation. He disrespected him by ‘garlanding’ him with a dead snake. Being cursed by Sṛṅgī to die of snake bite within a week, he ultimately died of the same reason. The snake who bit him was Takṣaka himself, the king of snakes. It was during his last seven days that he listened to the recitation of the Bhāgavata by the sage Śuka.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore