Story of Nahusha, legend of King Nahusha. King Nahusha is also associated with Ashoka Sundari, daughter of Lord Shiva and Parvati, and the sister of Lord Ganesha.
Nahusha who was also in the lineage of Pururava had the distinction of peforming ninety nine Ashwamedha Yagnas and was nearly qualified to become Indra who should have executed hundred Yagnas. Meanwhile there was a temporary vacancy of Indratwa since Indra fled away since he killed Vritrasura with the help of the Vajrayudha made out of Sage Dadhichis’s backbone; Vritrasura who was a Brahmana by birth and Brahma Hatya Sin chased Indra.
Brahma thus appointed Nahusha as temporary Indra. Nahusha who was originally a King of Great Virtue bacame arrogant and power- mongering as he became Indra and claimed all the privileges belonging to Indra like Vajrayudha, Iravata the Elephant and even Indra’s wife Sachi Devi. Nahusha insisted that Sachi Devi be his keep! Sachi Devi was non-plussed at this proposal.
As advised by Deva Guru Brihaspati, she asked Nahusha to come to her residence but he should do so just as Indra was in the habit of arriving at her residence by a Palki (Palanquin) which actually was carried by Maharshis. Nahusha was excited to reach her Palace quickly and having got into the palanquin commanded Agastya Muni to reach him to Sachi Devi’s Place at once; he said ‘Sarpa Sarpa’ meaning ‘Quick, Quick’ and in the process gave a kick to the Muni to go fast. Asgastya purposively misunderstood the word and converted the arrogant Nahusha as an Ajagara (Python) and dropped the latter to the depths of Bhuloka into thick forests.
As a repentant Nahusha begged of clemency, the Maharshi granted a reprieve that the ‘Shaapa Vimochana’ would be possible only when Pandavas reached the forest for twelve long years before their ‘Ajnaata Vasa’ or Unknown Destiny having lost a bet in the ‘Maya Juda’ or wilful game of chess.
As Draupadi desired to secure a Sugandhika Flower Bheema got into a pond and the Ajagara caught him and agreed to release him only if he gave correct replies to the Serpent’s queries. Yudhishtara had to arrive and release Bhima and Nahusha alike. Meanwhile Brihaspati and Agastya found that Indra was hiding in a lotus stem in Mana Sarovara Lake and brought him back and prayed to Brahma who exonerated Nahusha from the Brahma Hatya Sin on the ground that Vitra was no doubt a Brahmana but committed sins of killing several virtuous and innocent persons.