The story of Garuda unveils itself in chapters 16 to 35 ( the numbers may vary according to the versions of the Epic) of Mahabharathatm aadiparvan aastikaparvan.. where the history of the famous Snake or serpant sacrifice by Janamejaya is described. The story with minor variants appear in many Purnaas including Bhagavatam, Padmapuranam, briefly in Brahmapuranam, and in many other sources.
It is known that the grandson of Arjuna and the Son of Abhimanyu, King Parikshit, once had a slip in his noble character and adorned the neck of a sage in meditation with the dead remains of a snake. The sage did not know about it but when the son of the sage saw this indignity perpetrated on his pious father, could not control himself and made a curse that the man who caused such an insult to the sage should be bitten to death on the seventh day from thence by Takshaka, the then ruling king of Nagas. Parikshit tried to avoid the death by all means but the curse of an innocent child smarting at the insult meted out to his father was too potent, and In spite of the fact that the kind hid in a palace built in the middle of the sea, Takshaka managed to enter the kitchen of the king in the shape of a worm inside a fruit and finally executed his orders. In the meantime, when sure death was gaping at him Parikshit, the gradson of Arjuna and Krishna, became conscious of the greatness of the Lord Narayana and the Purana of Bhagavatham was imparted to him by Sage Sukabrahmam, the celebrated son of Vedavyasa in seven days and this is now taken as the practice for reciting the purana as Saptaham, or a seven days ceremony. Thus the king was purified and was prepared to meet his death because he knew death was not an end of anything but He was just going to the other world to keep company with his grand uncle Krishna and His bhaktas. But the inevitability stuck him.. Bhagavatham could secure him place in Vaikuntam (the abode of Vishnu) but the curse of a small boy, given out as a just punishment for the blasphemy of desecrating the body of a sage in meditation could not be avoided.
The story will go on. The snake sacrifice was the revenge perpetrated on the snakes but Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit as a retaliation to the action of Takshaka the naga in obedience to the just curse by the son of the Sage.
The whole story till now is a series of retaliation and curses. It is a pathetic human trait that knowingly or unknowingly some person commits an act which is not proper according to the accepted tenets of human conduct. And such impropriety often originates from the most unexpected source.. We can only say it is the play of fate. Parikshit, the scion of Kuru dynasty..and a Pandava was the epitome of virtues. Fate landed him a forest during a hunting spree, and he was very thirsty. He saw the sage in penance and demanded for water. When the sage who could listen to nothing as he was in deep meditation did not oblige, the minuscule evil rage in the otherwise most noble king jumped out and the sage was insulted. That action had no justification. It is a lesson on human conduct that any person, however noble he is may fall prey to his vanity and anger and may commit unpardonable errors. And quite unlike the general perception that even the most heinous acts can be compensated through various expiations, such compensations are not possible always. Maintaining an impeccable character and conduct is like a walk on the razor's edge and any persons who may think that he is the most efficient and sincere seeker of dharma can falter for a split second and face doom. This is the law of Karma.. One insulting laught by Draupadi, one moments' mental aberration by Vishwamitra, one false utterance by Dharmaputra regarding the dead elephant Ashwathaama… the story goes on…
God has created a perfect world with imperfect occupants..Maybe he is enjoying the dramatic situations arising on earth through the small and big blunders committed by his puffed up creations.
Another lesson to be learned is that when fate gapes at your face as sure death, there is no escape.
The story will unfurl itself further. It is too long for compilation in an hour or so. Tell me if it should be continued……