Parikshit, the great Bhaagavatottama, was the son of veera Abhimanyu and Viraata's daughter, Uttara and was the only successor of Pandavas (see Aswatthaama killing Upa-Paandavas story). He, while in maatru-garbham itself, used to examine carefully all directions (paritaH eekshate) for God! Krishna, the sthiti kaaraka, saved Parikshit in Uttara's garbham, from the devastating Brahmaastra of Ashwatthaama. Parikshit was such a great favourite of God, to the extent that God suppressed the unstoppable Brahmaastra, because he was a great Bhakta and never deviated from the path of Dharma.
After Shri Krishna left to Vaikuntam, the Bhu-devi (who is realized to be in the form of Goomaata) again sank into uncontrollable sorrow. The Dharma-devata (who is realized to be in Vrishabha form) was tortured and legs cut off by Kali. Due to the entrance of Kali, all kinds of adharma kaaryas were encouraged. There is no shuchi-shubhrata, no daya-daanam, no vedas, puraanaas, or shaastra knowledge, no adherence to satyam etc. But Parikshit, with his power, controlled everything and taught Kali a lesson. Kali begged Parikshit mahaaraaja not to kill him saying that, following the kaala-dharma, since it is the start of Kalikaalam, he must be allowed to come and must not be killed. Parikshit to obey the kaala-dharmam allows him some specific places to stay in.
Though Parikshit was so great, due to Kaala Mahima (also see Kaala mahima story) and due to the effect of Kali, unfortunately did a mistake — for which the punishment was death! Once after Mrugaya-vihaaram and killing the trouble causing wild beasts in the forest, completely exhausted, Parikshit reaches the ashram of the great Semeeka maharshi. The maharshi at that time was in deep Daiva-dhyaanam and completely detached from his karmendriyas. Hence, he did not notice the exhausted Parikshit mahaaraaja. King Parikshit, completely exhausted, thought that the maharshi, knowing his exhaustion, did not offer him even water, leave aside aatithyam. So he puts a dead snake around the neck of Semeeka to insult him and leaves the place. Shrungi, the kid of Semeeka, realizing that Parikshit did such an insult to his father, who was a great maharshi, gives Parikshit a shaapam that in seven days Parikshit will die of Takshaka's vishaagnijwaalas. Meanwhile Semeeka maharshi comes back from dhyaanam and comes to know about the entire story.
Semeeka tells Shrungi "Krodham is the main hinderence to tapas. Krodham only stops Animaadi Ashtasiddhis. It is a big hurdle for following the path of Dharma. A tapaswi never should get krodham. Similar to how water unknowingly leakes away quitely from a filled pot, the tapas of a tapaswi who does not have kshama, the dhanam of a dhanavanta who has garvam and the kingdom of a ruler who does not follow Dharma also fade away. Parikshit mahaaraaja is not an ordinary king. It is because of him that Dharma-devata has all four legs. It is because of him Kali has been restricted. Why did you give such a big irrevocable shaapam for a small mistake Parikshit mahaaraaja committed? One must always think twice before he acts and never come into the clutches of anger. One's anger is his greatest enemy. A person looses his dharma-adharma gnyaanam, does not think and causes harm to others and himself because of anger. On receiving scoldings or beatings or whatever harm, a parama-bhakta will experience it with shaantam and will not take pratikaaram. I am quite sure, Parikshit mahaaraaja will not give you a prati-shaapam. Sajjana's do Upakaaram to Upakaaris and Apakaaris. Mahaatmas do not even feel the pleasures and sorrows, everything is same". Semeeka, knowing that now nothing can be done (since the words of Shrungi, who is a firm satya-vaak-paripaalaka, cannot be undone!), sends his shihsya, Gauramukha, to atleast inform Parikshit about the Shrungi's shaapam. Parikshit mahaaraaja comes to know about Shrungi's shaapam.
Parikshit mahaaraaja, thinking why he was taken over by kaama-kroodhaadi (Arishadvargas), says to himself "Why did I insult the great maharshi, knowing that they must always be respected? Why did I venture into such unpardonable Paapakaaryas? Anyway, who can change Daiva-sankalpam. One has to experience the result of his own paapam. Truly speaking what is the mistake of Shrungi? With the ahankaar of a king I act like this. Which son wont give shaapam for such an insult to his father? How can I always make sure that I wont unnecessarily cause pain to goomaatas, devatas and braahmanas?". Being a winner over Arishadvargaas, due to his undisturbed Bhakti on Parameshwara, Parikshit mahaaraaja did not get even a bit angry on Shrungi. Being capable of giving a pratishaapam, he did not give shaapam to Shrungi. Later, due to listening to Srimad Bhaagavatam from none other than Shri Shuka maharshi, Parikshit attains the unattainable Moksham.
Morals in the story:
- The importance of being able to control one's anger (and other Arishadvargaas) is well portrayed in the story. One small mistake of Parikshit mahaaraaja costed him his life. (Think — Why Krishna who saved him from the Brahmaastra did not save him from this also)
- The conversations between Semeeka maharshi and Shrungi; Parikshit and himself, are a great treasure for morals. Importance of shaantam, being unaffected by joy and sorrow, nature of a true Bhakta etc. can be learnt from the conversations.
- The end result for good people is always good (also see King Nruga's story). So though Parikshit mahaaraaja had to experience the result of his mistake, in the end, because he was a true Bhakta and firm-follower of Dharma got Paramapadam in the end.
- Knowing that he will be dying in 7 days, Parikshit mahaaraaja did not want to, in hurry, enjoy off all the pleasures before he dies nor he wasted time in trying to protect himself from Takshaka. This shows what unnata-bhaavas a Bhaagavatottama's (true Bhakta) will have!