Image for Monday Musings - 20 - Nala & Damayanthi

MONDAY MUSINGS – 20

Story of HOPE and True Love

King of Nisadh had two sons Nala and Pushkara. Nala was very popular for his prowess and kindness. One day a brahmin suggested the name of Damayanthi, the daughter of the King of Vidarbh, Bhima, as the perfect match for Nala. He painted such an impressive picture of the princess that Nala fell in love with her without seeing her. 

Nala pined for Damayanthi spending long hours in the garden of his palace dreaming about her. A group of swans in the garden observed the despondent king. One day the leader of the swans approached the king and offered to help him by conveying his love to the princess Damayanthi. 

After a week of agonizing wait, the swan came back with the good news that Damayanthi reciprocated her love for Nala. Damayanthi arranged a swayamvara and messaged Nala to immediately come to Vidarbh to attend the swayamvara. 

The news of Damayanthi’s beauty and the swayamvara reached the heavens and many demi-gods wanted to compete in the swayamvara. Four of the demi-gods, Indra, Agni, Varun and Yama, descended to the earth for the swayamvara. They accosted Nala as he was nearing Vidarbh and asked him a favor. Nala immediately agreed to help them without asking them the details. Indra then told him to approach Damayanthi and plead with her to choose one of them as her groom. Nala was aghast but agreed to do the same as he had made the promise.

A day before the swayamvara, Indra transported Nala to Damayanthi‘s chamber using his divine powers. The two recognised each other instantaneously. After a long embrace, Nala stated the purpose of his visit but Damayanthi was steadfast in her decision to marry Nala unmindful of the possibility of marrying a demi-god.

During the swayamwara, the demi-gods connived and all of them took the form of Nala. But Damayanthi’s determination and intelligence prevailed. After watching the five for a few minutes she identified the real Nala and garlanded him as he was the only one who was blinking and sweating. Demi-Gods were impressed with the true love and blessed the bride and groom and returned.

They met Dwapar and Kali, two yuga purushas on their way who got delayed going for the swayamvara.  Indra conveyed the message of Damayanthi’s marriage to them. Kali was bitter and swore to make the life miserable for Nala and Damayanthi.

Nala and Damayanthi lived happily for thirteen long years. Kali was waiting for the right opportunity and the opportunity came in the thirteenth year after their marriage. Nala in his haste forgot to wash his feet before doing homage to the Immortals. Kali possessed him instantly akin to COVID19 waiting to enter the body of the person who forgets to wash his/her hands in haste! That is probably the reason why viruses are quite common and spreads fast in Kali Yuga.

Nala played the game of dice with his jealous brother Pushkara under the influence of Kali and lost his kingdom as the stake in the play of dice. Nala liked playing dice but was not a match to the prowess of Pushkara in the game of dice, Unlike Yudhistra, Nala refused to bet his lovely wife as a stake and walked out of the kingdom empty handed followed by his faithful wife Damayanthi. Damayanthi sent their son and daughter to her father Bhima and walked out with Nala without any remorse. 

Nala could not bear to see his wife suffering with him and requested her to go back to her father. But the queen smiled bravely at him and said, “I cannot leave you because you have fallen on evil time. For, in times of trouble, there is no such remedy as a wife’s love”. Instead, Damayanthi suggested Nala to return to her father’s kingdom but Nala declined the offer as he did not want to face the ignominy of meeting his father-in-law as a pauper.

But Nala could not continue to see his wife who was used to palatial rich life suffering with him. Nala left Damayanthi and walked to the forest when she was sleeping. Damayanthi met a demon on her way who threatened to eat her. Impressed with her fearlessness he came into his real form and told her that she would unite with her husband after twelve years.  

Damayanthi then proceeded to Chedi kingdom where she became the queen’s maid.

Nala helped a serpent Karkotaka in the forest from forest fire but the serpent bit him and he became dark and a hunchback. Nala felt devastated looking at his ugly form and questioned Karkotaka on his treachery. Karkotaka replied that he indeed helped him to hide his original form in the time of his misery and that he will regain his original form at the right time.  Nala went to the kingdom of Samsumara and became a servant of the king Rituparna. Rituparna was incidentally a master in the game of dice and Nala mastered the game with the help of Rituparna.

One day, King Bhima’s men found Damayanthi in Chedi and brought her back to her father. King Bhima tried to find Nala but failed, so he conceived a plan. He arranged the second Swayamvara for Damayanthi knowing that Nala would come to the swayamvara of his wife for sure.  Nala came with his master.  A day before the Swayamvara, Damayanthi saw the dark hunch back servant and immediately recognized him. Nalaalso regained his original looks as per the boon of the serpent. On the day of swayamvara, she put the garland around Nala’s neck and they were united.

Nala invited Pushkara for a game of dice now confident with the mastery attained with the help of Rituparna. Nala regained his kingdom by winning the game. But Nala gave back his brother a share of his kingdom and set him free. Pushkara was touched by his brother’s generosity. King Nala, grown wiser through his adversity, ruled over his kingdom with such wisdom that no other kingdom in India was governed like it. He was regarded by all as the chief of the kings in all the lands of the Aryas.

True Love prevailed over twelve long years of misery and separation. HOPE will bloom even if it is after a long time for those who were determined and who don’t compromise their beliefs during their misery.

 
Learnings from the story in the next episode.
 
 

Management and Leadership Topics covered in the previous posts

  1. The right attitude — Ch 1Ch 2  Ch6 Ch10  Ch11  Ch14  Ch15  Ch18
  2. Governance — Ch 3  Ch4  Ch7  Ch13
  3. Leadership — Ch 5  Ch 8  Ch10 Ch14  Ch15
  4. Management — Ch 7  Ch13  Ch16
  5. Intelligence & Wisdom — Ch 9  Ch10  Ch11  Ch14  Ch15  Ch16
  6. Happiness & Success — Ch10  Ch14 Ch15  Ch18

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