- The Pandavas journey south, out of the Himalayas and back to the plains. Along the way, Bhima goes hunting and finds himself captured by a giant magical snake. The Snake takes his time and tells Bhima his life story before proceeding to eat the hero. Meanwhile, Yuddistira sees dark omens and heads off to look for his brother on his own. For the purposes of the later story, Arjun stays at home and Yuddistira does the rescuing.
When Yuddistira gets to the scene, Bhima tells him what is going on, and that the snake is under a curse. If Yuddistira can answer the snake's question, then all would be well. Yuddistira is good at quiz games; the question is basically whether one is a Brahmin by birth or by behavior.
The Snake and Yuddistira hit it off really well, and the two discuss questions of the Soul and Karma for a while. Finally, the snake releases Bhima and then dies, his soul returning to heaven. The brothers return to the camp, where the Brahmins scold Bhima-- "He shouldn't have been out hunting anyway! Hunting is bad!"
The Pandavas then journey onward to the Kanyaka forest-- the place where they began their exile 10 years earlier. At the Kanyaka forest they meet up once again with Krishna. This time he brings his first wife Satyabhama, and they intend to stay a while.
Krishna brings news of the Pandavas' five sons. They are teenagers now, and are all being raised at Dwarka, learning the arts of war with Krishna's eldest son Pradyumna.
Finally, two more guests arrive; Narada and Markandeya. Markandeya has appeared several times in the past, but he has always been a man of few words. This time he apparently has a lot he wants to say. We'll get started on it next time!