Story of Nala and Damayanti

Discussion in 'Hindu Stories' started by garry420, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    When the Pandavas lost the game of dice that was played by Kauravas under the guidance of Sakuni their uncle, and with a disadvantage of net having Krishna to guide them! Then they were ordained by Royal decree to spend twelve years in the forest and thirteenth year to lead a life incognito! Thus the Pandavas retired to the forest and lead an ascetic life and met many holy men, sages, seers, Gods and Goddesses. They were lead by the eldest brother Yudishtira and followed by other brothers.

    Arjuna with the help of the Lord Krishna visited the heavens ascending from the Himalayas the abode of Lord Siva. He got blessed by all of them and obtained boons and many weapons and learnt many spells that could be used in a conflict! During their sojourn they were visited by great sages. One such seer was Brihadaswa. Yudhistira and his family paid rich tributes and offered all the respects as prescribed in the Vedas, befitting the seer of his status.

    After the sage was received and seated with respect and also fed with wholesome food cooked with care and prayers by Draupati and filled in the copper vessel given by the Lord Surya, Yudishtira narrated his story and lamented about having been cheated in a game of dice and driven to the forest. He said that there could be no other monarchs who is more unfortunate than himself. This statement of him displayed his lack of self confidence and loss of faith in Dharma as it had failed him miserably!

    Hearing these words the sage Brihadaswa said that a primary requisite of a monarchs is not to feel dejected and lose faith in our Sastras and Dharma acharana. He continued and said there have been many kings in the past who had suffered untold miseries that are even greater than what his is now undergoing! So it would be prudent for him not to lament and concentrate on the duties ahead of him. He added that he would be narrating the story of a King who lost his kingdom in a game of dice like he did now.

    There was a Nishadha King Veerasena who had an illustrious son called Nala! He was a very accomplished king well versed in Sastras, Veda and also in Vedangas and was specially skilled in rearing horses and knew their language too! He was of un paralleled beauty and was like the most beautiful Ghandarva in the heavens namely “Kandharpa”. He was also fond of the game of dice. Likewise there was another king called Bhima of Nishadha clan who was equally righteous and pious. He did many holy yagnas and propitiated the Gods and honoured the seers and sages.

    But for a long time he did not have a progeny. Once a Brahma rishi called Dhamna arrived at the Kings court and after paying due respects to him he prayed to him to bless him with progeny. Pleased with his reception and honour, he blessed him to have a beautiful daughter and three illustrious sons. Accordingly a daughter and three sons were born to the King, and he named the daughter “Damayanti” after the name of the holy sage who blessed him! She was the most beautiful women in all the three worlds, and even the celestial maidens and the wife of Indra were a shade lower to her beauty! Since the two kingdoms were nearby each other there used to be many visitors who would visit both the countries.

    While visiting them and meeting the monarchs they used to describe the beauty of Nala to Damayanti and vice versa. While frequently hearing about each other, they developed a fondness about each other without even seeing one another. Both were dreaming about each other and King Nala used to spend long hours in solititude in his private quarters thinking about Damayanti! In his palace he had huge ponds full of lotus flowers and many beautiful aquatic birds, swans of golden hue.

    There were also many migratory birds, and one day a swan of remarkable beauty and grace with its dazzling golden wings was observed by the King Nala, and he caught it unawares and the bird trembled in his hands due to fear of being killed by the King, and soon addressed the King and pleaded with him not to harm it! Surprised King said that he had no intension of killing the birds, or for that matter, harm any other being just for his enjoyment. He is a just ruler!

    Saying these words he set the bird free after giving it a cosy hug, and said he caught it because of its beauty! Hearing these words of the King and having been reassured that he meant every word of what he had said, the bird told him about the beautiful princess Damayanti and also assured that she would fly back with her friends and go to Bhima’s kingdom meet Damayanti and tell her about Nala and his qualities and also ensure that she never thinks of any other kIng in her heart!

    The birds promptly landed in the private garden of Damayanti, and immediately all her maids as well as Damayanti noticing these beautiful birds, strived to chase and catch them. They sped in all directions and each one of her maids were engaged in chase, likewise Damayanti too was chasing one of these birds that looked more dazzling than others, the bird cleverly led her to a secluded part of the palace and stated addressing her in a human voice!

    It told her all about the beautiful Nishadha king Nala and his beautiful looks comparable to that of celestial Aswins, and his soft and benevolent nature and added that should she marry any one upon earth, she should marry him only. Hearing with astonishment all these words of the bird, she told the bird to carry her feelings for the King Nala and convey her love for him. The bird promised to do it as per her wish.

    Then all these birds gathered once again and flew out of her window into the vast sky and vanished! They went back to Nala and told him all about their encounter with Damayanti and also assured him that Damayanti is in deep love with him and he should await her call!

    The birds promptly landed in the private garden of Damayanti, and immediately all her maids as well as Damayanti noticing these beautiful birds, strive to chase and catch them. They sped in all directions and each one of her maids were engaged in chase, likewise Damayanti too was chasing one of these birds that looked more dazzling than others, the bird cleverly led her to a secluded part of the palace and started addressing her in a human voice!

    It told her all about the beautiful Nishadha king Nala and his beautiful looks comparable to that of celestial Aswins, and his soft and benevolent nature and added that should she marry any one upon earth, she should marry him only. Hearing with astonishment all these words of the bird, she told the bird to carry her feelings for the King Nala and convey her love for him. The bird promised to do it as per her wish.

    Then all these birds gathered once again and flew out of her window into the vast sky and vanished! They went back to Nala and told him all about their encounter with Damayanti and also assured him that Damayanti is in deep love with him and he should await her call!

    Days passed and Damayanti became so forlorn with love and became pale and lean, she did not like food and had no sleep and was tormented by thoughts of attaining Nala! The news of her suffering was conveyed to her father by her attendants. The King understood her condition and immediately arranged for Swayamvara to be held for her marriage and sent invitations to all the nearby Kings.

    He also had a long conversation with Damayanti to know her mind but she was not forthcoming.

    The invitations were sent to all the nearby kingdoms including the one of Nala’s.

    In the meanwhile in the Devaloka, Indra had called his assembly to deliberate and at that time the celestial sage Narada had come there . He was received with all the respect and honors and was seated.

    Lord Indra asked him why is that the most celebrated Kings of earth are not to be found in their respective kingdoms?

    To this Naradha replied that a Nishadha king called Bhima has fixed the swayamvara for his daughter, who is like a divine damsel equal to his wife Sachi! No one upon the three worlds would be a match to her beauty!

    When he was narrating the beauty of Damayanti this way, Varuna,Agni, and Yama arrived there and said in unison that they too would like to attend along with Indra the swayamvara and seek the hand of that damsel.

  2. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Indra too agreed to their proposal and soon mounted on their respective vahanas and proceeded towards the Kingdom of Bhima.

    On the way they came across Nala who was proceeding upon his chariot. They stopped him and revealed themselves to him. Immediately he prostrated before them and paid his respects due to them and with folded hands asked them what he could do for them, and added what ever be their bidding he is prepared to do.

    Pleased with his humility, they said they are proceeding to Damayanti’s swayamvara to seek her hand and he should go to her private quarters and plead with her on their behalf to choose one of them as her consort.

    Startled Nala, spoke to them with reverence and said he himself is set out to claim her as he and Damayanti are in deep love for each other and also narrated what had happened earlier, the episode of swans taking his message of love to Damayanti.

    Carefully they listened to Nala’s account and were pleased with his honesty. Nala further added that, nevertheless he would go and convey their message to Damayanti, but was worried about reaching her private quarters.

    To this Indra said that their blessings would make him invisible and he can enter her quarters un hindered. Then they waited for Nala to return from his mission. Nala went to Bhima’s palace and no one took notice of him and he entered the private quarters, and her attendants soon identified him as Nala and were delighted and brought Damayanti before him.

    She promptly sent her attendants away and was pleasantly surprised to see her hero standing before her! She addressed him reverentially and inquired about his welfare and also conveyed her deep love for him.

    Then Nala spoke to her calmly and told her about all that happened and about his present mission.

    Damayanti initially was sad, but later regained her composure and told him to go and tell the Gods about her resolve and they may take the chance of presenting themselves before her on the appointed day, and she will have the right to choose her choice! Nala promptly went back and reported to the Gods of the message that Damayanti had told. They too agreed at the fairness of the proposal and presented themselves at the decorated court.

    But to every one’s amazement all the four including Nala looked identical without any trace of difference! Damayanti came out like the full moon emerging from the clouds, in full luminance! With a garland in her hands.

    Every monarch worth his name was seated eagerly awaiting her, she gracefully passed all and came near the four identical kings seated there, she knew that the celestial are testing her, and gathered her wits and prayed to the Gods themselves and said “If it was true that she loved with all her heart the King Nala and had observed her vow to marry him as prescribed in the Vedas, she shall behold the Vedic gods before her as witness in their original form” saying these words she prostrated before all of the four kings!

    Her resolve and truthfulness, and her deep love for Nala moved the Gods and soon they appeared in their original form, their eyes were not twinkling, there was no dust and sign of fatigue in their body, their feet were not touching the ground, their garlands stayed fresh and in contrast Nala looked tired, his clothing was dusty due to long travel, and was little fatigued, his eyes were twinkling and his feet were touching the ground and the shadow can be seen.

    Confirming these she knew who Nala was and put the garland around his neck. The whole assembly went into rapture and musical instruments and drums were sounded.

    The gods too were pleased and blessed Nala and damayanti. They granted boons to Nala, Indra said that he would always be present before him whenever he could call for a mission of Justice and attain the exalted loka in after life. Agni and Varuna said that they would present themselves whenever he warranted and could use their power to his advantage, Yama said that he would rule the Kingdom with glory and be happy and also extra ordinary prowess in culinary skills and be virtuous.

    He also presented a garland of the heavens that has unique qualities of having excellent fragrance and everlasting texture! Blessed them both then the Gods disappeared.

    Later with the permission of Bhima the couple left for Nishada kingdom and ruled their subjects in the just manner and performed many Vedic Yagnas and gave large amount of gifts to Brhamins, and to the subject of his kingdom. People lived happily under the king and Queen.

    They begot two children a boy and a girl named Indrasena !

    As the celestials were returning to their respective abodes after attending the swayamvara of Damayanti, they encountered the Kalipurusha and Dwapara purusha.

    They were hurriedly coming, and briefly stopped to exchange pleasantaries! When Indra inquired about their earth bound journey, they replied that they were hurrying to attend the Swayamvara ceremony of Damayanti and would like to present themselves as suitors before her!

    All the gods had a hearty laugh and told them that the ceremony is over and Damayanti has rightfully chosen Nala as her husband and by now they must have returned to their country too begun to rule! Angered by this news the Kalipurusha cursed Nala, and said that he would afflict him and ensure doom befalls him.

    The celestial Gods said that all this had their full sanction and both Nala and Damayanti are not at fault and are of exemplary character and truthful so any such misadventure would rebound upon Kali himself!

    Still unable to accept this Kali went ahead and planned to afflict Nala, and sought the cooperation of Dwapara purusha and told him that he would turn himself into a dice and he would drive that dice and make the King Nala lose his wife , Kingdom and all other riches and suffer! Dwapara too agreed.

    Both arrived at Nala’s kingdom and were waiting for a chance to afflict the King. Twelve years passed, and one day Nala after answering a call of nature, went straight to the water front and started to offer his evening prayers without cleansing his feet prior to entering that water body!

    This being a transgression, Kali purusha immediately afflicted the King, then due to his spell, Nala invited Pushkara a neighbouring king for a game of dice, and at that moment Dwapara purusha appeared as the dice and Kali drove its movement, and during the play Nala gradually lost all his possession and then his kingdom too.

    He had only Damayanti left. All his personal possessions too were gone, and was all the while ignoring the wise counsel of Damayanti and his ministers to desist from the play that was dooming him. Nala was ordered to leave the country, and Pushkara ordered the people to avoid helping the former king and queen.

    Thus tormented by poverty and hunger they retired into the forest with a heavy heart. Damayanti had sent away her children and her trusted charioteer Varshneya with a chariot and the excellent horses to her native place under the care of King Bhima. He left the children and the chariot and the horses with King Bhima and went away and joined as a charioteer of Rituparna the King of Ayodhya.

    In the forest they wandered and the shattered Nala could not recover from this loss and was frequently weeping and lamenting his fate. On their way Nala saw a few peacocks perched on a low branch of a tree. He thought that he could catch one of them for food, as they have not eaten anything since they left their kingdom.

    He had no weapons to hunt, so took away his clothing and trew it on the bird, but to his surprise it flew away along with his clothing, and now he was deprived of his clothing too. Looking at this sorry state of affair, Damayanti offered her clothing and both were wrapped themselves in that single garment and reached a dilapidated cave. Damayanti was offering him emotional support but he was blaming his fate and feared that it would harm Damayanti more if she continued to be with him. This was denied by her and she reassured him that both in good and bad times they need to be together. The argument went on deep into the night in the dreaded forest.

    Due to fatigue, as Damayanti was tired she fell asleep and Nala was still uncomfortable and disturbed. He had mentally resolved to desert her and that would give her time to extricate her from his misfortune, and thought somehow she would reach her father’s kingdom. In the corner of the cave he found a sharp metal spear, and he brought it and cut the garment and took the small piece of cloth and wrapped it around and silently left her into the darkness and disappeared sobbing!

    Early in the morning Damayanti was in for a rude shock and cried and cried inconsolably at her misfortune and went about sobbing in the forest talking to the trees and stones as though she was a mad women! Later in the evening the forest was dark and she stumbled upon a huge python and she was caught in its coil and slowly was being drawn towards its mount, she shrieked, the sound of which echoed in the deep forest.

    This was heard by a hunter who rushed towards the sound and found Damayanti in the grip of a huge serpent. Soon he took his sword and cut off its head. He took pity upon her and gave her water and little food and calmly inquired about her and Damayanti narrated all that had happened and said that she the daughter of the King Bhima.
  3. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    By now the hunter too was driven by lust and wanted to have her for his company. Alarmed at this prospect Damayanti warned him and asked him not to harm her. But all this fell into his deaf ears and approached her, she immediately shouted that if her vow of Pathivrathya of chastity is true let this hunter burn here and now! Immediately fire engulfed him and he dropped dead.

    Then she continued her journey aimlessly into the forest and reached the middle of the forest. It was then she caught the sight of an asram with beautiful trees and shrubs and neatly laid huts with holy fires in them being attended by sages. She also saw many birds and animals quietly roaming about. She approached that asram and was received by the young ascetics and was guided into the presence of many learned seers performing yagnas.

    Soon theyenquired about her and got to know about her antecedents and told her that her bad days would be over very soon and she would be united with her husband Nala who is safe. They blessed her and told her to have faith and bid time. Suddenly all of them the asram and the whole environ disappeared from the scene!

    Bewildered Damayanti was utterly confused unable to believe what she had just experienced.

    Then she heard sound of horses and saw a caravan driven by many horses and men occupying them with some sort of merchandise emerging at a distance. She hoped that it was her chance to seek their help and find Nala. They stopped and inquired about her fearing her to be an evil spirit in disguise or some sort of an angel.

    She narrated her story once again. They offered her help and promised to take her along as they were traveling to the Chedi kingdom. They traveled quite a distance and camped in a clearing amidst the forest for the night.

    Then suddenly from nowhere a herd of wild elephants appeared and menacingly advanced towards their camp, and then attacked them destroying their caravans, trampling men, who ran

    They screamed that it was due to the lady who is none other than an evil spirit of the forest. They all fled leaving Damayanti alone with a few brahmins who had survived the attack. Damayanti could not control her tears and wept, and thought it is indeed her bad luck that drove Nala to this predicament too. Those Brahmins consoled her took her along by walk to the kingdom of Chedi.

    By walk they reached the Kingdom, Damayanti looked forlorn her attire was in rags, and her hair unkempt and matte, dust covered her being her eyes were red and tired due to constant weeping, her frame was frail due to hunger and torment.

    People looked at her with curiosity as she tread along, they crossed the Palace quarters and the queen mother was seated in the balcony and saw Damayanti and immediately recognized that she must be a women of character form her looks, and ordered her attendants to go and fetch her immediately.

    Promptly, those attendants approached her and told her about the queens wish and took her along. She was presented before the queen mother. She enquired about her antecedents and Damayanti told her that she lost her husband who was driven out of his country due to a cunning play of dice, in the forest, and she is from a faraway country and hailed from a respectable family and valued virtues.

    Pleased with her reply, the queen mother said that she could be the personal maid to the princess Sunanda. Queen mother also proposed to send a group of Bhramanas to search for Damayanti’s husband. But Damayanti politely spoke to the queen mother and put forth certain conditions for accepting this offer of employment.

    She said that she would not eat the remnants of leftover food, she would not entertain friendship of any of the male members of royal household or of attendants of queen mother or the princess, anyone making inappropriate advances towards her should be punished with capital punishment by the queen mother.

    Then Damayanti said that she would like to talk to those Brahmins who would be assigned to search her husband too. Queen mother readily agreed to all her conditions and called her daughter and told her to take Damayanti as her aid or Sairindhri and treat her like goddess! Treated with utmost respect and comfort, Damayanti happily did her job.

    In the forest, Nala was roaming aimlessly and came across a wild bush fire and found a serpent coiled in the middle of raging fire, and it spoke to Nala and asked for help! The serpent told him to come and rescue without delay. Nala took pity on this animal and immediately jumped into the ring of fire and took the snake, it immediately shrunk in size and spoke to him in kind words announcing itself as the most dreaded snake Karkodaka, it said that its reduced size would help Nala carry the snake easily out of the raging fire.

    Accordingly Nala saved the snake. The snake further told him that it was aware of the entire story of Nala who has been tormented and told him that due to his royal looks and his character he is suffering at the hands of wicked Gods, so would help him change his personality and also quicken his release for all the suffering. It said that a bite from the poisonous fangs would change his appearance also make the one who has afflicted Nala suffer the insurmountable pain and agony, that would also help Nala ward off all the dangers in the forest and form other enemies.

    It also blessed him that Nala would not be harmed by any animal in the forest and the pain of its bite would not be felt by him either. Later the snake advised Nala to proceed to Ayodhya kingdom of Rituparna who is an expert in gambling with dice and present himself before the king as an expert charioteer called Vahuka! The sanke said the day he masters the game of dice he would get back his prosperity and also unite with his wife and family and kingdom.

    Then giving two pieces of divine garment and told him whenever he wants to get back his original form he should think f the snake and wear the garment with prayers, then he would get his form back. Then as directed Nala went to Ayodhya kingdom and met the king Rituparna and told him that he is an expert charioteer and after a long deliberation the King said that he is pleased with Vahuka and shall appoint him as the in charge of the Royal stable and he should develop his steed into a fleet of swift horses that are envy of all concerned!

    He also said that he would pay him ten thousand gold coins as remuneration and other facilities and said Varshneya and Jivala would work under Vahuka. Every day in the evening Nala would lament a small couplet that said upon whose misdeeds thou lost all your possessions Oh princess, tormented by hunger and pain, upon whom thou wait to hear!

    Intrigued by this Varshneya once asked Vahuka about this act of his. Nana replied as Vahuka and said in third person, the story of a unfortunate husband who had put his wife’s life in peril, and said thing of him I was reciting this couplet! Varshneya got convinced and went away smiling. Thus Nala continued his new role as Vahuka, and days , months passed by. Bhima the father of Damayanti was grief stricken and his wife and the children of damayanti and even the citizens of that kingdom were sad thinking of the turn of events.

    The king called able Brahmanas and told them to fan out in all four directions in search of his daughter and who ever finds out shall be rewarded one thousand cattle and a village and lot of other gifts. He also said if they are unable to bring his daughter back but could just give her whereabouts too would be rewarded with thousand cattle! Enthusiastically Brahmins went out in all directions and even after prolonged search they could not succeed.

    But one Brahmin called Sudeva in the process of his effort to search reached Chedi kingdom and found a beautiful girl attendant on princess Sunanda, carefully observing her and comparing her features with his own remembrance of Damayanti he concluded that it her in disguise. He slowly approached her and with all humility presented himself before her and said that he is from Bhima’s kingdom, and told her about her father, mother, her children and her lost husband. Hearing these Damayanti burst into tears and wept profusely, and inquired about everyone’s welfare.

    He said that all are well and her father is still concerned about King Nala’s disappearance and it would be prudent for her to return and launch a search for her husband from her fathers place! Sunand a was watching this, and as she found Damayanti weeping she rushed to her mother and reported the matter, who also hurried to that spot and inquired about his presence.

    The Brahmana told everything in detail, he also pointed to a mole in between the eye brows of Damayanti that was left by the creator Brahma as a sign of prosperity at the time of birth.Upon hearing this the queen mother suddenly started weeping and said she also knew about it as she was the sister of Damayanti’s mother! She also added that Damayanti was born in that very palace!

    Immediately the princess Sunanda cleared the dust upon Damayanti’s forehead revealing the mole mentioned by the learned Brahmana! After a while everyone recovered and Damayanti spoke calmly to her aunt and told about her intension to return to her parents.

    The queen mother immediately summoned her son and told everything about Damayanti and ordered a well appointed retinue to escort Damayanti with all the honors to her parents with a message of love!

    Damayanti thus identified by Brahmin reached her father’s kingdom, the people her country and her father mother, her own children rejoiced her return. But her sorrow of not having found Nala lingered.Immediately the Bhima ordered a similar mission to find Nala and suitably honored the Brahmin for his successful effort.
  4. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Brahmins went out in all the four directions to search for Nala. Damayanti had personally given a message to those searching for her husband that went like this, Ho! Lovable gambler where have you gone cutting the half garment of your wife, leaving her to suffer in the dreaded forest? She still bears her life on her tormented self only for you!

    She also instructed that they should watch for anyone who comes forward to answer and reassure him that his identity will be kept a secret, and should gather all information about that person his status , and his whereabouts etc. For a long time search went on with no sign of success.

    A Brahmin called Pranada went to Ayodhya and repeated in the court of the King Rituparna the words of Damayanti, but none took any notice of it and after the Brahmana was dismissed by the king, on his return an ugly looking charioteer called Vahuka intercepted him and said “Virtuous women should never lament, their virtue always would protect them, and their misery is only temporary and should forgive their spouse who have erred due to misfortune and had forsaken his garment to the birds in search of food!

    He is cursed by the gods, has lost his wealth and health and appearance and repents and would spend the rest of his life with regret and resentment due to his misfortune.”

    Hearing these words of that charioteer, the Brahmana rushed back to Damayanti to report what he has heard. Meeting Damayanti he narrated the events. Now she was sure it was Nala but from the description of the person he was very short dark and ugly looking! That puzzled her.

    She soon was closeted with her mother and said that she would like to embark on a secret mission to search Ayodhya with the lead provided by the Brahmana, and said she would choose Sudeva for this mission. She wanted this to be kept a secret even from her father and others. Queen mother agreed, and promptly rewarded the Brahmin who brought the news and also told him about the need to keep this under wrap till the objective is achieve.

    Then Sudeva was called in and duly instructed in detail about the impending mission to Ayaodhya, and was instructed to go to the court of Rituparna and announce that a second Swayamvara for Damayanti the daughter of Bhima has been announced and is slated to be held in her kingdom tomorrow, and it would be proper for Rituparna to take part in it as Damayanti could not find Nala and presuming him to be lost forever has chosen to get married once again.

    As planned the Brahmana went to the court of Rituparna and announced the second Swayamvara of Damayanti. This interested the king who suitably rewarded the messenger and dismissed him and then approached his chief charioteer, Vahuka and told him that he should ready himself for a mission almost impossible and should reach Vidharba next day dawn to attend the Swayamvara of Damayanti, hearing this Vahuka was shocked but did not reveal his feelings and said that he is bound by his orders.

    In private he lamented why he was being tormented like this? Why Damayanti has chosen to get married again, had she give up on him? Is she frustrated? Or is it a ploy to fetch him there? Confused and confounded he however dertemined to go over there.

    He came to the stable chose four horses that were not so heavily built having all the required marks to distinguish them as the best of the fleet. Looking at these horses the king exclaimed that they look so frail in comparison to others and how could they take him thus far and so quickly? Vahuka replied that he had chosen them on examining them closely for marks, if the king so desires he may choose some other pair and he is ready to yoke them and start.

    The king immediately withdrew his remark and let Vahuka do his best and hastened him to start immediately. They also took Varshneya along who was actually a former charioteer of Nala! As soon as he yoked the horses and took the rein and having his guests seated behind the chariot just flu past raising dust that looked like the cloud! It went on lightening speed crossing rivers and mountains, and the draft of air was so heavy the upper garment of the King slipped and flew away, then king addressed Vahuka and asked him to stop and go back so that he could retrieve his garment, Vahuka replied with humility that they have traversed more than one yojana by then and it is almost impossible to go back.

    This astonished the king and Varshneya together, Varshneya began to think of his master Nala who was the best charioteer ever known, and wondered whether he is Nala, but his appearance is so deceptive, then he thought of Mathali the charioteer of Indra, then Salihotra sage who was an expert in equestrian science! Then weighing all these facts concluded that it must be only his master Nala but still not quite sure of his appearance!

    The chariot was still cruising in high speed like a bird in the sky! Then the King happened to see a Vibhitaka tree with many fruits in its branches, soon the King proclaimed that the tree has more fruits that have dropped to the ground than on the tree and it exeeded by one hundred and one and its two branches have fifty million leaves and two thousand ninety five fruits! Then he added that everyone possesses some expertise just like Vahuka has equestrian science with him!

    Immediately Vahuka stopped the chariot and said he would personally verify King's statement. But the king reassured what he had said was indeed correct and urged him to continue on their mission. Vahuka said that the road ahead is straight and smooth, so he would give reins to Varshneya for some time and quickly count the fruits in two branches saying so he quickly disembarked and cut the branchs of the tree and hauled them carefully into the chariot and spoke to the king after counting confirming what he had told.

    Then he addressed the king saying that he would part with his knowledge of horses, if the king imparted this knowledge of numbers employed in the game of dice! Enthused by this King readily agreed and imparted the knowledge, as soon as he acquired the knowledge, Vahuka vomited violently, bringing out the poison of the dreaded snake and there stood the Kalipurusha before him with folded hands, he said he has also been rid of his suffering due to the poison for so long and is a happy to leave Nala, but all these were only visible to Nala and not to the other occupants of the chariot that was speeding away under Varshneya’s guidance.

    Then blessing Nala for all success, Kalipurusha went back to the Vibhitaka tree and from that day it is considered inauspicious to dwell or even sit under that its shade! It is the "Kadukkai" tree with botanical name Terminalia bellirica!

    Thus the racing chariot arrived at the Vidharba kingdom and entered it capital Kundina, the roaring sound of the chariot and its horses were so familiar, the other inhabitants like the birds and elephants of the palace orchards were rejoicing at the prospect of meeting their king Nala and his horses! Even Dhamayanthi heard the familiar sound and was thrilled and sad at the same time about things to come before her.
  5. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Having alighted from the chariot King Rituparna was accorded royal welcome, Varshneya and Vahuka removed the saddles from the horses and took them to the stables allotted to the guests, but a surprise awaited the King Rituparna, as he met the King Bhima, who inquired the purpose of Rituparna’s visit.

    Taken aback Rituparna did not reveal his shock and surprise and observed keenly to find that there were no other royal guests, or Brahmanas, or any preparations for swayamvara! So he smartly recovered and answered that just to pay his respects to King Bhima he had come.

    This answer puzzled Bhima because, just within a day he had arrived from his kingdom which is no ordinary feat! Something unheard of and is possible by celestials to cross over hundred yojanas! Even as he left wondering about all this, King Bhima made arrangements for a special feast for the King Rituparna. Various delectable fresh meats were brought for the purpose.

    In the meanwhile, Damayanti drafted a capable and intelligent maid of hers to wait upon the charioteers Varshneya and Vahuka and had instructed her to keenly observe their behaviour and also carefully note what they speak among themselves and with others. She was also instructed to gather all the information about them as she was assisting them. As ordered she gathered all the information, and got to know that Varshneya was the former charioteer of Nala and Vahuka was an expert equestrian and also an excellent cook of un parallel mastery. On hearing these the maid Kesini was made to request Vahuka to help the cooks in the kitchen so that the feast to their king can be excellent.

    Vahuka readily agreed. Kesini spoke to Vahuka about her princess Damayanti and told him about her misfortune and how she was betrayed by the king Nala, hearing these Vahuka answered emotionally that the princess was a women of virtue and no curse can befall on her and she should not think that the prince Nala has done her any injustice as it was all as distained by celestial beings and his bad luck that he had to suffer all these misfortune. While he was saying all this he was shedding tears, and when asked he said he also lost his wife in a forest that is why he is able to empathize!

    These incidents were reported to Damayanti verbatim. Next Damayanti asked Kesini to keep a watchful eye on Vahuka and report all that happens with him in the kitchen and outside.

    She observed many unnatural things, whenever Vahuka was to descend stairs, she found the stairs raising unto his level and taking him down smoothly, and any narrow passage would automatically widen to give uninterrupted passage to Vahuka, He never fetched water, but it would flow into the vessel from nowhere! He would hold a handful of grass and look at the Sun immediately there would be fire and with that he would light the stove, and at his mere touch the food used to get cooked.

    Flowers, and other herbs, vegetable never lost their fragrance and in fact the increased at the touch of Vahuka and also retained their fresh look!

    Hearing about these Damayanti was now almost sure that it is Nala and then sent her two children with Kesini to Vahuka, and upon seeing them Vahuka could not control his tears and wept inconsolably and on inquiry he said when he looks at these children he remembers his own children.

    Then he said Princess Damayanti should not have opted for yet another swayamvara! This statement was not intended and gave away his guarded disguise, but Kesini did not express any surprise but reported these to her Princess.

    On hearing these Damayanti was now convinced that Vahuka is none other than Nala and only his appearance was still to be resolved. She decided to meet Vahuka himself, and consulted her mother and told her about her plan and also told her to obtain the permission of her father Bhima before she meets Vahuka.

    Accordingly her mother informed Bhima and he too agreed and Vahuka wassummoned to Damayanti’s quarters, and she met him eye to eye, and lamented about her misfortune and narrated how the King of Vidharbha had left him in the forest with only a half of hjer garment that she was now wearing and tears started rolling down the cheeks of Damayanti and she sobbed, hearing these words Vahuka too started weeping and said that it was quite unfortunate for the princess to have hastily decided to get married again!

    This statement made Damayanti all the more sad and said that she still retains only Nala as her beloved and alas he is not to be found! She invoked the Gods to vouch for her and having got convinced that Vahuka is none other than Nala, she went down upon her knees and pleaded with him to tell the truth.

    As she was pleading Lord Varuna spoke to Vahuka addressing him as Nala, and said Damayanti is pure and not blemished and still considers him (Nala)as her husband and he should now accept her and reveal himself. Vahuka then thought of serpent God Karkodaka, who immediately blessed him and urged Nala to wear the garments he had given, accordingly Vahuka put those garments on and got back his original form!

    This was witnessed by the King Bhima and his wife and other ministers too. Both Nala and Damayanti and their children embraced each other and the joy of the family reunion knew no bounds, the news reached the people and who decorated their streets and lit lamps and the whole town was wearing festive look and all musical instruments were sounded , Brahmins recited Vedic hymns.

    Rituparna too got the news and he was convinced that what he had suspected has come to be true, but was not angry with Bhima or for that matter with Nala! He in fact very happy for Nala and approached him and spoke to him with reverence as he was a senior monarch, and said while he was with him as Vahuka if he had conducted himself wrongly with Vahuka, he may kindly be forgiven.

    Nala too was happy for Rituparna and both expressed happiness by hugging each other and exchanging pleasantries and Nala narrated the events that forced him to be Vahuka briefly to Rituparna, both became thick friends. After some time Rituparna was given a new chariot and charioteer and horses and sent away to his kingdom with all honors.

    Similarly Nala too returned to his kingdom and was received with all the honours and joy. Then he went to the palace where his half brother Pushkara who was the ruler of his kingdom and surprised at the return of the erstwhile King Nala at his court, he asked him what made him come back, Nala challenged him for a game of dice once again, as it was customary to accept such a challenge over a kingdom that had been lost in a game of dice, the King Pushkara agreed, and said he is sure to retain it by winning and felt sorry for Nala as he would lose all his wealth once again.

    This time armed with the knowledge of the game of dice, Nala won hands down in the first throw itsel and the bet was on the Kingdom and Pushkara lost everything. But Nala was benevolent and spoke with kindness and said he would not behave like a cruel king and banish him and offered a portion of the kingdom and wealth too to happily rule, Pushkara realized his mistakes and asked for pardon, Nala embraced him and said that he was his half brother and he has no enemity over his behavior. Pushkara felt very sad and repented for what he had done to Nala and knelt down before him seeking forgiveness. Accordingly Nala blessed him and then Nala ruled his Kingdom for many years in a glorious manner.

    VIA: Vedas For the Young ones

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