Snakesacrifice.jpg The snake sacrifice of Janamejaya, as Astika (boy in red) stops the king
Astika was an ancient Hindurishi (sage), and he was a son of Jaratkaru by the serpent goddess Manasa - a sister of the great serpent king Vasuki. According to the Mahabharata, he saved the life of a serpent Takshaka, the king of snakes, when king Janamejaya organized a snake sacrifice known as Sarpa Satra, where he made great sacrifices of serpents, to avenge for the death of his father Parikshit due to snake bite of Takshaka. Ultimately, he induced and prevailed upon the king to end his persecution of the serpent race. That day was Shukla PakshaPanchami in the month of Shravan and is since celebrated as the festival of Nag Panchami.
Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (Template:ISBN) by Anna L. Dallapiccola