Pareekshit was the Emperor of India. He was a very fair and just ruler. He made sure that there were no thieves and murderers in his kingdom. No one in his country went hungry. The rains came on time. He gave lots of donations to learned men and fed the poor. Everyone was happy in his kingdom and they thanked Bhagavān for making Pareekshit their king.
One day, on a hot summer day, Pareekshit went for hunting. After pursuing wild deer for several hours, he became very tired and searched for some water. Suddenly, he saw a small hut. He thought that the owner of the hut might have some water. When he entered the hut, he saw Ṛṣi Shamika inside. The Ṛṣi was meditating, with his eyes shut and his mind thinking of Bhagavān. Hence Shamika did not notice the king arrive.
Pareekshit asked Ṛṣi Shamika for some water. But the Ṛṣi was lost deep in meditation and did not hear him. Pareekshit felt insulted and he became very angry. He said, “How dare you ignore your own King? I will teach you a lesson!” Pareekshit looked around and found a dead snake in the grass. He picked the snake with his bow, and put it around the neck of Shamika, who was still meditating. Some students of the Ṛṣi who were playing outside the hut saw this. They were shocked. They rushed to Shringi, the son of Shamika, and told him everything. Meanwhile, Pareekshit left for his palace.
When Shringi arrived and saw the dead snake around his father’s neck, he too became very angry. Shringi was also a great Ṛṣi. The words of a Ṛṣi always come true. Therefore, he now cursed Pareekshit, “Seven days from now, a flying snake will bite you to death.” After a few moments, Ṛṣi Shamika came out of his meditation. When he heard what his son had done, he scolded him, “Shringi, what was the need to curse a great king like Pareekshit? He did not do anything that hurt me or harmed me. Ṛṣi should learn to control the anger. What you did was very wrong.” Ṛṣi Shringi now felt very guilty, but he could not take back the curse.
Pareekshit thought, “I have always loved everyone. I have always respected Ṛṣi and Pundits. Why did I do such a wicked deed today? May be I was irritated because I was thirsty. But even then, I should not have gotten angry at Ṛṣi Shamika. I am sure he did not hear me because he was in deep meditation. Now, what can I do to get punishment for my evil deed, which I did because I did not control my anger?”
Shamika sent a messenger to Pareekshit to inform him that his son had cursed the king to die after 7 days of a snake-bite. When Pareekshit heard of this, he sent his apologies to Sage Shamika. Then he thought, “I do deserve this punishment. It serves me right. I will now leave my palace and go to the banks of river Ganga. There, I will spend the remaining seven days of my life in worshiping Bhagavān Viṣṇu and will wait for my death.”
Pareekshit listened to stories of Viṣṇu for seven days. Then, a snake came a bit him and he died. The story of Pareekshit shows how even good people can behave very badly when they get angry. Therefore, we should try to control our anger at every time.