King Parikshit used to listen to Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran until he died from a snake bite. At the time of his death, his son Janamejaya was only seven years old. Later on, Janamejaya became a great and brave king. However, one day he had a doubt. He wondered why, during the time of the Mahabharat war, when his ancestors were fighting and Lord Shri Krishna was present on Earth, the Lord did not prevent the battle from taking place. To clear this doubt, Janamejaya sought the guidance of the merciful Veda Vyasa.
Veda Vyasa explained that there are certain things destined to be. However, Janamejaya could not accept it. He said that with our effort, we can change every aspect of destiny. Veda Vyasa replied, "Alright, let me give you a prophecy. In your life, there will be a honi, cut it and show me. Five years from today, do not go horse riding, and if you do, do not ride on a white horse. If you ride on a white horse, do not go in the northern direction. And if you do go, do not fall in love with a beautiful girl. But even if you do fall in love with her, do not bring her home to marry her. However, if you make her your queen, do not kill any Brahmins on her prodding. But you will definitely do it, and because of the sin of killing Brahmins, you will develop leprosy on your body and die from it."
He returned from there in deep thought, "What have I been told all right? Wait, we are five years from today, do not go horse riding. I will give it up right away." However, when the five-year period was coming to an end, the urge to ride on a horse became so strong that Janamejaya could not resist it. So, he called his commander-in-chief and said, "I will go riding but on a brown horse, arrange for one." The commander-in-chief said, "Yes, your majesty." Now, when Janamejaya came down to the stables, he found a white horse had been readied. His heart went tucked, and he asked the commander-in-chief, "I had asked you to arrange for a brown horse."
But the commander-in-chief said, "Your majesty, the brown horses had been taken elsewhere. This was the only good stallion we had." Janamejaya thought, "Never mind, I had been warned not to go toward the South so I won't go in that direction." He took off at great speed and began hunting a deer. The deer was running away, but then it suddenly changed direction and began running. Not long before Janamejaya realized he was hungry and thirsty. He reached a lake and there he discovered a beautiful girl. He became enchanted right away and requested that she would marry him. She said she would on one condition that he would make her his chief Queen. Janamejaya brought her back on the horse.
When they reached the palace, she insisted that not a moment be lost in conducting the marriage ceremony. Janamejaya found out that the Brahmins had gone for conducting rituals elsewhere. So, as a solution, he got the sons of these Brahmins to conduct the marriage rituals. At the end of the ceremony, the new chief queen of Janamejaya was giving Dakshina to these Brahmin children. When in a gust of wind, her top plot began flying, seeing her body revealed in that manner, these Brahmin children began laughing. That hurt the pride of the lady, and she fumed to the King, "They have insulted me, they must be punished. I wish to see them all dead." The King had become enslaved by her charms, and he obeyed her command. These Brahmin children were killed.
The consequence of that sin of Brahma Hatya was that, in a few months' time, Janamejaya's body was covered with leprosy. He now remembered what Veda Vyasa had said. So, he went away to Veda Vysasa and said, "O sage the honi, you had described has happened, how can I be saved?" Veda Vyasa also responded, "I had told you. Nevertheless, there is one solution. Go to Vaishampayan Rishi, and hear the entire Mahabharat from him, as you keep hearing each chapter, leprosy from one limb of your body will start getting healed. But the condition is, do not create doubt anywhere, and if you do that, correspondingly, the limb will not be cured. I have told you the solution, but I am also telling you; you are going to doubt, because of which your knees will retain leprosy, and you will die from it."
He proceeded from there to Vaishampayan Rishi and he pleaded before the sage to hear the great stories about his ancestors. His father, Parikshit, his grandfather, Abhimanyu, and knew his great-grandfather, Arjuna. began relating the story and thus the Mahabharata is the dialogue between Vaishampayan Rishi and Janamejaya. Janamejaya continued to hear one chapter after another, and the leprosy from one limb of his body started getting cured. However, at one point, Vaishampayan Rishi related that Bhima had such strength that if he lifted an elephant by the trunk, turned it around, and threw it, the elephant would reach satellite velocity and begin circumambulating the planet Earth.
Hearing that, Janamejaya guffawed loudly. "Who said you expect me to believe such rubbish?" Vaishampayan Rishi said, "You do not believe me, let me prove it to you." He lifted a hand and one elephant, who had been rotating since the time of Bhima, came and fell upon the earth. Vaishampayan Rishi had proved the point, but the doubt that Janamejaya had resulted in leprosy from his limb not getting cured.
This story is placed in the Mahabharata to convey to us all the instruction that if you wish to benefit from the Leela's, the pastimes of the Lord, then apply your mind to them to increase your love, but don't apply the intellect, the way do towards the world. "I am NOT the body, I am the soul. Why do I still repeatedly get attached to the world?" Here, use your whole intellect towards the names, forms, words, pastimes, and abode. Apply your mind, and increase your love. That is the way to benefit from these scriptures.