Monday, 16 April 2018

The Less Well Known Tale from Mahabharata: Nala and Damayanti


Tale from Mahabharata: Nala and Damayanti
Yudhishthira is not the only one who fell prey to gambling in Mahabharata. Nala, the King of Nishadha Kingdom also lost his entire wealth in gambling. Nala-Damayanti story is less well known story from Mahabharata which takes place before the Mahabhrata war. Nala is excel for his skill with horses and he also well known for culinary expertise (Nala Bheema paakam).
            The prince is a man among men and he always follows the Dharma in his kingdom. One day he heard about the beautiful daughter of King Bhima from a Swan who is travelling from earth to heaven to send message to gods about the Damayanti Swayamvar. Nala was bewitched with her beauty and wants to ask for her hand in marriage.
Damayanti
         Nala asked the swan to tell about him to Damayanti. The swan soon flew to Damayanti and tells her about the mightiness of the great prince Nala. She fell in love with him and want to marry only him. On the day of her Swayamvar, many god and kings enters the kingdom, Nala also enters the kingdom to win the Swayamvar.
            Gods are enchanted with Damayanti’s beauty and want to take her as wife. On the day of Swayamvar, Damayanti choose Nala as her husband. Both went to the kingdom of Nishadha and married. They were blessed with two children.
Nala the king of Nishadha
            After few years,  Nala neglecting his duties to his kingdom and at that time his brother take advantage of his weakness on gambling and tries to take his wife and Kingdom. His brother Kuvara challenged his brother to a game of dice in which Nala lost everything and Kurava became the King and banish him from Kingdom.
                        Nala and Damayanti went to forest and there Nala leaves his wife because he doesn’t want her precious wife to face hardships by following him. Damayanti found note from Nala asking her to return her kingdom. She met beasts in her journey which  threatened her to eat. Damaynati prayed to God Indra and he banished that demon and said she will meet her husband after 12years. Later she became maid servant to the queen of Achalpura.
Nala-Damayanti
 Kurava wants to banish his brother from the earth and send people to kill him. In an attempt to save a snake, the snake spilled poison on Nala and Nala turned disfigured. The snake said his new form will save him from his brother.
                        Meanwhile, the king Bhima found Damayanti in Achalpura kingdom and took her back to the kingdom.  The King Bhima sends his men to find Nala but they found none. Damayanti made a plan to find Nala and ask her father to arrange Swayamvar. She thought on hearing her marriage with another person her husband will come and rescue her. On the Day of her Swayamvar she saw a dark servant and she immediately recognize him. The Nala who is the form of a dark servant answered the questions to her puzzles. Nala regain his older form by wearing the ornament given by his father. Damayanti put the garland around Nala’s neck. They were united after 12 year period.  Later Nala challenged his brother for a game of dice and defeat him in that game. Nala and Damayanti returned to their kingdom and lived happily with their two children.
Nala-Damayanti Folk Tale
                        Damayanti rejects the immortality by choosing the mortal King Nala among gods and face hardships in the forest, threatened by demons and works as a queen maid to reach her love of her life. By losing all his wealth to his brother, he feels guilty for his situation and his wife. He turned in to a dark dwarf and worked as a horse trainer and cook in other kingdom. He also wrote a book on culinary.  After all these hurdles they united because of their love and belief on each other.

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