This part of the Skanda Purana covers the whole of Venkatacala-mahatmya which is the first Section of the second Book, namely Vaisnavakhanda. The mountain Venkatacala which is eulogized here is situated in Andhra Pradesh in the South, being an extension of the Eastern Ghats.
Out of the episodes narrated in this section two are especially note worthy, viz. those of Princess Padmavati and King Pariksit. The first one is a longer narrative which culminates in the marriage of Padmvati to Srinivasa. The story is interesting but what interests more is the revelation that Padmavati was really Vedavati reborn, who, during the Lord’s incarnation as Rama, had served as a subs-titute for Sita when Ravana abducted her.
King Pariksit belonged to the twilight period between the end by Dvapara and beginning of Kaliyuga and had, under the influence of the latter, insulted a meditating sage named Samika by throwing a dead serpent over his shoulders, thus earning the wrath of the sage’s son Srngin. Pariksit under Srngin’s curse had to die of Taksaka’s, the king of serpents, bite on the seventh day.
In recent years mercy killing/ euthanasia has become a moot ques-tion. If a patient has lost all hope for his cure, is terminally ill, should
he be saved from further suffering by injecting a fatal dose into his veins? What is legally and morally justified? Should he be allowed to live and wait for a natural and inevitable death or should the doctors stop the unnecessary suffering by ending his life merciful-ly? In this Section of our Purana a great sage Sakalya says that as long as the vital airs cling to the throat of a man about to die, it is our moral duty, it is most imperative that treatment to save him should be continued till the last moment.
There is ample evidence here to show that at the time of this Purana norms of religious and social conduct including rules of etiquette were very high and meant to be strictly adhered to. Their violation used to be stringently punished. Nowadays we seem to have become too lax in observing rules of right conduct and especially in our attitude towards women in general and brother’s wife in particular, so much so that in certain regions and sections of population the latter is treated on a par with one’s own wife, for which even social sanction sometimes exists. This Purana opposes this and cautions by declaring that one who sexually approaches one’s brother’s wife has no course open to him for expiation. Even such insignificant looking acts as wishing, greeting, making ob-eisance were treated seriously and rules, do’s and don’ts, were elaborately laid down.