Episode # 432 – We embark upon “Teertha-Yatras” to get closer to Bhagawan!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed two important questions with regards to going on “Teertha-Yatras”. We shall recall those questions as we proceed further – Why should we go for “Teertha Yatras”? What are we going to gain out of visiting various temples across our Bhaarata Desha? Why should we invest our time and money at our young age? Can we start going for all these Yatras after retirement? In this, we’ve tried answering the first question in a detailed way. We go for “Teertha-Yatras” because these are “Punya-Kshetras” designated by Bhagawan Himself, or, the “Alwars” and the “Aachaaryas”. As a “Jeevatma”, it is our bound duty to pay a visit to as many “Punya-Kshetras” as we can, so as to experience Bhagawan’s divine presence and vibrations. This is one way of looking at it. Of course, we’ve also seen that age is never a criteria to embark upon “Teertha-Yatras” to visit “Punya-Kshetras”. Many of us have pre-determined thoughts that we would take up these journeys only after retirement, and not while we’re young. We should ask ourselves here – Who said that we should not visit “Punya-Kshetras” while we are young? Who said that we should not exhibit Bhakti and Sharanaagathi while being young? What about little Prahlaada, little Dhruva and Andal? All of these people were extremely young when they embarked their spiritual journey! Hence, age is never a factor in this.

Moreover, we should also remember this – Do we know whether we would be alive the next minute? Do we even know that we would be alive tomorrow? Do we even know that we would be alive and fit next year? If such things are a huge question mark, what is the guarantee that we would live fit and fine after the age of 60 for undertaking “Teertha-Yatras”? Hence, if Bhagawan has given sound health, physical fitness and financial facilities today, we should look at making maximum use of the opportunity to visit as many “Punya-Kshetras” as possible, isn’t it? What are we going to get by postponing things further and further, without even an iota of guarantee about our life longevity? Hence, if we’ve to perform some good “Karma”, we should do it now, rather than procrastinating it to some other time! Given the uncertainty of the future, if something has to be done, it has to be finished today without any delay. Hence, this is one big reason why we should go on “Teertha-Yatras” in the present moment, if we have the time and the other requisite facilities. 

Apart from that, we had asked another question – “What are we going to gain by visiting these “Punya-Kshetras”? This is an important question and we shall address this in detail before we move on further. By visiting more and more “Punya-Kshetras” and by taking a holy dip in the waters of “Punya-Nadhis” (Holy rivers) across the Bhaarata Desha, our “Paapa Karma” gets speedily washed away. Moreover, the spiritual vibrations in all the temples that we visit, are extremely powerful in nature, and this would soothe our mind which is constantly restless. Once our mind is calmed down, our way of thinking and approaching problems in life would change for the good, and this would enable us to make informed and correct decisions – both in terms of personal and professional lives. More than all this, if we’re visiting more and more “Punya-Kshetras”, Bhagawan is going to get pleased that we are taking several steps towards Him! As Bhagawan’s heart gets happy and starts to melt, “Moksha” is assured for us! Ultimately, getting “Moksha” depends upon how we’re able to melt Bhagawan’s heart towards us. If we’re doing this on a regular basis, Bhagawan would be waiting for us! For instance, if we have the habit of visiting a temple every day, after a point, rather than we waiting to see Bhagawan, He would start waiting to see us every day! Thus, even if we cannot go to the temple some day due to some constraints, Bhagawan would get so worried! He would start thinking within Himself, thus, “Oh! My child would come to see me at this time every day! Why is he / she not to be seen today? Is there any problem with him / her? Let me go and see what happened to my child!” This is how Bhagawan’s heart would melt towards us, if we’re systematic in this! 

Thus, the main purpose of visiting “Punya-Kshetras” by undertaking “Teertha-Yatras” is to move closer and closer to Bhagawan. We should understand this point very clearly. Moreover, in today’s scenario, many things have become just a photo-op! We go to temples, click some pictures, post them on social media and come back! This should never be done! If we go to the temple, the connection should only be between us and Bhagawan (The presiding deity of the temple). There should not be anything else in between. This shows the level of depth in our connection between us and Bhagawan. If we’re doing all these photo-op business inside the temple, it merely shows that we’re on a tourism spree and not on a “Teertha-Yatra”. There is a difference between both of these terms, and readers should be aware of this. Hence, we should not transform a temple into a tourist spot. We should give the due respect to the presiding deity of that temple and take conscious efforts to get closer to Bhagawan. 

So for today, let us understand these points very clearly and in the next episode, we shall commence witnessing the various places that the Paandava brothers travelled to! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 431 – Why should we go on “TEERTHA-YATRAS”? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the “Teertha-Yatra Parva” after the culmination of the “Nala-Upaakhyaana Parva”. We had witnessed Sage Brihadarsha detailing to Yudishtra as to how King Nala too had to undergo enormous suffering because of the ill-effects of playing the gambling game. As this gets over, Yudishtra and Co. are missing Arjuna’s presence amidst them, as he had gone to the “Svarga Lokha” for a period of five years! As nobody knows when Arjuna would be back amongst them, in the meanwhile, Yudishtra and the others decide that they would go on a “Teertha Yatra” to some of the “Punya-Kshetras” in and around the Bhaarata Desha. All these details are provided by Sage Vyaasa as part of the “Teertha-Yatra Parva”, which we’re going to commence in detail from today. 

Moving forward, before we move into the details of this Parva, we should understand the reason behind going for “Teertha-Yatras”. Many of us would have this dilemma in our minds – Why should we go for “Teertha Yatras”? What are we going to gain out of visiting various temples across our Bhaarata Desha? Why should we invest our time and money at our young age? Can we start going for all these Yatras after retirement? Many questions like these would definitely be lingering in our minds, but we might not be able to ask them in a public forum upfront. We shall witness the answers for all these questions one by one. Yes! We should definitely embark on “Teertha Yatras” and this has many reasons – Firstly, every “Punya-Kshetra” and every temple has its own sacred energy. Every river in our Bhaarata Desha, starting from River Ganges in the north to River Cauvery and River Thaamiraparni in the south have their own unique significance. As a “Jeevatma” born in this earth, it is our prime duty to mark our presence in all these places and take a holy dip in all these rivers, so that our “Paapa-Karma” is brought down. We might ask immediately here – “How do we say that our “Paapa Karma” can be brought down if we take the “Snaanam” (Holy dip) in the River Ganges or River Cauvery? This is where Bhagawan’s “Deiva-Sankalpa” (Divine Will) lies in! We’ve witnessed during our earlier Ramayan project wherein Bhagawan Rama Himself proclaims to Mother Sita when both of them are crossing the “Ram-Sethu Bridge” built by the Vaanaras (Monkey Army), after Ravana’s demise! Bhagawan Rama says to Mother Sita thus, “Oh Sita! This is the holy bridge that we had constructed to cross over to Sri Lanka to see you! Please look at the bridge with your divine eyes and provide your “Anugraha” to it!” 

As Bhagawan Rama says thus, Mother Sita asks back, “Oh Rama! Why should I look at it now? I’ve been looking at it and the entire Sri Lanka all these ten months! Only you’re new to this place, whereas I’ve been here for a while now!” As Mother Sita says thus, Bhagawan Rama gives an important reply – “Oh Sita! Till now, you were looking at Lanka and the bridge very angrily because of Ravana’s wrath! But now, our son Vibhishana is going to rule Lanka! Now you should extend your divine “Anugraha” upon Vibhishana, shouldn’t you? Hence, the best way to do so is to cast your divine look on to the entire territory and on to the bridge! Moreover, in the future, whoever comes to this shore and takes a holy dip in these waters, all their sins would be permanently washed away! This place would become a “Punya-Kshetra” henceforth!” These words from Bhagawan Rama are true even today, aren’t they? Even today, we see hundreds and thousands of people flocking towards the holy town of Rameshwaram and Danushkoti in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, to take a holy dip in the ocean waters! Thus, every “Punya-Kshetra” in India has its own significance like this, and Bhagawan has established all these places for His devotees in such a way that they would be able to experience His divine presence even today! There are enormous amounts of temples in our Bhaarata Desha which have extreme spiritual vibrations in them, which can be a solution for all problems that we face in today’s world! Hence, it is our duty as a “Jeevatma” to pay a visit to such places and to experience Bhagawan’s divine presence in all of them. 

Moreover, in today’s context, all of us are busy with our own professional and personal commitments and are not able to find time to visit these places. Hence, we keep postponing our “Teertha-Yatra” trips everytime. We should understand one thing very clearly – Firstly, age is not a bar for anything in life. Prahlaada was a child when he exhibited ardent devotion towards Bhagawan Vishnu. Similarly, Dhruva was also a child who was able to see Bhagawan Vishnu in person within just days of his penance! We’ve witnessed all these “Charitras” in our “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” project earlier. Moreover, Aandal was a small girl when she exhibited ardent devotion towards Bhagawan Krishna and this is why we have the 30 Paasurams of the Thiruppaavai, which many of us chant during the auspicious month of “Maargazhi” in Tamil. Thus, there are innumerable examples wherein people have exhibited ardent Bhakti towards Bhagawan even at their tender age and have attained the highest “Moksha”! Hence, age is never a bar for approaching Bhagawan for “Moksha”. 

So for today, let us understand up to this point very clearly and we shall continue addressing the remaining questions with regards to the “Teertha Yatra” in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 430 – Yudishtra & Co. decide to go on a “Teertha-Yatra” until Arjuna comes back!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Brihadarsha concluding the lengthy accord on the “Nala-Upaakyaanam” wherein he drives home an important point that there are predecessors in the past who had undergone the wrath of suffering because of the ill-effects of the gambling game. We had seen how King Nala, under the influence of Kali-Purusha had to undergo enormous suffering by losing his kingdom and wealth, by roaming in the forest with his wife, Damayanti, by losing even his one piece of cloth that he was wearing, by losing his wife in the forest, by being bitten by a snake, by working as a charioteer under King Rituparna, until he learnt the art of gambling, which finally chases away the Kali-Purusha from his body. Thus, finally King Nala was able to reunite with Damayanti and with that, he obtained the kingdom and wealth that he had earlier lost. With this event, Sage Brihadarsha motivates Yudishtra to stay strong and follow the path of “Dharma” meticulously than ever before. Of course, Duryodhana and Co. have the upper hand at the moment because they’ve outsmarted Yudishtra in the gambling game. But this is not going to last long! Time will heal a lot of problems in life, and this is the biggest message that Sage Brihadarsha had to convey to Yudishtra. 

Thus with this, we come to the end of the “Nala-Upaakhyaana Parva” and moving on, we shall witness what happened to Arjuna next. As we had witnessed earlier, Arjuna had a good time at Indra’s Svarga Lokha and he had learnt the arts of music and dance. Meanwhile, we had also witnessed earlier that Urvashi had fallen in love with Arjuna, but since he did not accept her, she became angry with Arjuna and cursed him. However, Urvashi’s curse is going to become an “Anugraha” for Arjuna later, during the “Agnyaatavaasam” period. After all this fiasco, Arjuna should have ideally returned back to Yudishtra and Co., but he did not. Rather, he spends more time with Indra in the “Svarga Lokha”, and this time period is almost five years! Readers should understand that the entire tenure for the Paandavas in the forest is twelve years, out of which, they had spent four to five years in the “Kaamyaka Vanam” and the “Dvaitha Vanam”. Subsequently, Arjuna goes for his “Teertha Yatra” to the Gandha-Madhana Parva and then to the Svarga Lokha, where he is currently in, and this tenure is another five years. Thus, after Arjuna returns from the Svarga Lokha, it is almost the eleventh year running. This is when the Paandavas begin to strategize how to win over Duryodhana and how to regain whatever they had lost earlier. 

So for now, let Arjuna remain in the “Svarga Lokha” for sometime, and in the meanwhile let us witness what happens with Yudishtra and the others in the “Bhoo-Lokha”. We now move on into the “Teertha-Yatra Parva”. One fine day, Yudishtra talks to his brothers and Draupati thus, “Oh brothers! Oh Draupati! All of us are pained with the absence of our Arjuna and nobody knows his whereabouts as of now. I’m sure he would be safe and secure because of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine “Anugraha” and I’m also sure that he would return back to us at some point in time. He has gone on a mission somewhere, and once he is done with it, he will be back amongst all of us. However, until the time he comes back, all of us should leave this “Dvaitha Vanam” and go on a “Teertha-Yatra”. We shall together visit many “Punya-Kshetras” around our Bhaarata Desha and let us spend our time in this way. 

Thus, with this, we shall commence the “Teertha-Yatra” Parva and so for today, we shall understand up to this point. We shall wait till the next episode to witness which are the places the Paandava brothers had visited! In fact, we would be surprised to know that the Paandava brothers have made their way to South India as well, all the way up to Sri Lanka wherein King Vibhishana was still ruling the kingdom! We’re going to witness all this starting from the next episode! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 429 – “This is a test of your patience & perseverance towards Dharma” – Sage Brihadarsha advises Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Nala and Damayanti reuniting with each other after an eight-year suffering that they had to undergo because of Kali-Purusha. We’ve witnessed that as King Nala learnt the art of gambling, Kali-Purusha had no other option but to run away from King Nala’s body. With this, life took a huge “U-turn” for King Nala towards the good! As King Rituparna takes King Nala and Vaarshneya to Vidharba Desha, Damayanti identifies King Nala who was at that moment, in his disguised form as Bahuka. As Damayanti comes closer to Bahuka with her garland as part of the second “Svayamavara” event, he quickly uses the two clothes that Snake Kaarkotaka had given him to regain his original form. As Bahuka transforms into King Nala, Damayanti’s doubts are all cleared once and for all, and both of them reunite with each other! With this, King Nala defeats Pushkara and regains all his kingdom and wealth that he had earlier lost. King Nala requests Pushkara to stay on with him and gives him some important responsibility in the administration of the Nishaada Kingdom. Thus, King Nala’s “Charitra” becomes an evident example as to how a king has suffered because of the loss that he had obtained due to the gambling game. 

Highlighting this story thus, Sage Brihadarsha explains to Yudishtra – “Oh Yudishtra! Now do you understand how King Nala had to undergo enormous difficulty because he had to lose the gambling game? If you compare your and his experiences, yours is much better! You atleast have five people near you who can cry for you! Whereas, King Nala had to cry all alone for himself! You have your wife with you to pour out all your emotions, and your wife is there with you to protect you in all ways! Whereas, King Nala had to lose his wife also in this pursuit. He was pushed to that extent wherein he had no other option but to desert his wife in the midst of the dark forest! Both of them had to roam alone, crying for each other in the forest! Are you having that sort of difficulty? Hence, Yudishtra! Please make up your mind and do not feel bad for whatever has happened! I’m of course, not criticising you that you’re bad. However, all I’m trying to tell you is that, please do not lose heart. Things will change with time. You’ve to be patient, and this is a test for your perseverance towards the path of “Dharma”! Please do not deviate from it!” 

As Sage Brihadarsha says thus, he continues further to advise Yudishtra – “Oh Yudishtra! These are the ill-effects of playing the gambling game. It is an illegal affair and this is the reason why our ancestors had deemed this game to be illegal. However, I know that you were pulled into the game, and you never volunteered to play it. You were cornered and Duryodhana used your so-called “weakness” and tried to outsmart you. But please trust me – This is not going to be the situation for a long time. You would definitely regain all what you’ve lost. You are a great “Chakravarthy” and you would regain all your lost kingdom and wealth. Catch hold of Bhagawan Krishna firmly and He will guide you to glory very soon!” 

As Yudishtra and the others hear this emotional and heart-touching accord from Sage Brihadarsha, the Paandavas pay all their respects towards him as he prepares to leave the place! So for today, let us understand the important message that Sage Brihadarsha conveys – If someone tries to outsmart us in the path of “Adharma”, this is not going to last long. We’ve to be patient and exhibit perseverance towards “Dharma”, and definitely Bhagawan would uplift us in some way or the other! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further as we move on with what happened to Yudishtra and Co. from here on! Stay tuned! 🙂  

Episode # 428 – The reunion of King Nala & Damayanti – King Nala regains all his wealth & kingdom!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Nala and King Rituparna reaching Vidharba Desha after a long journey. King Nala is still in his disguised form as Bahuka and enroute the journey, he learns the art of gambling and its nuances from King Rituparna, who is deemed as an expert in it. As King Nala shuts down this weakness in him, Kali-Purusha has no other option but to run away from him! Thus, as King Nala learns more and more of the gambling game, Kali-Purusha becomes more and more uncomfortable and finally exits his body! As this happens, King Nala is now free of any sort of danger henceforth! However, he still chooses to remain as Bahuka for some more time. Meanwhile, Damayanti has serious doubts about the identity of Bahuka. Can this Bahuka be King Nala? Is he in a disguised form like this? So she sends her children to Bahuka and as they play along with him, Bahuka’s emotions come out as a father of the kids! Strengthening her doubts thus, Damayanti patiently waits till the next day morning for the “Svayamvara” event to take place. 

Moving on thus, the “Svayamvara” event commences and as Damayanti comes with the garland in her hand, she spots Bahuka also standing at a distance, and comes straight in front of him. As Damayanti comes by, she asks the same set of questions which she wanted that Brahmin Pandit to ask earlier. Damayanti asks thus, “Oh gentleman! Is it “Dharma” to leave a wife in a pitiable state of affairs alone in the forest during the time of suffering? Is it “Dharma” for a husband to not share his suffering with his beloved wife when she is devoted completely towards him?” As Damayanti asks such questions straightaway in front of Bahuka, he gives the same set of answers which he had given to the Brahmin Pandit earlier. Bahuka replies thus, “Oh Damayanti! It completely depends upon the situation in which the husband is in. This is a very subjective question and you should look at it on both sides. If the husband feels that he would be a burden to the wife because of his suffering, it is “Dharma” that he leaves her, so that the suffering goes away only with the husband and not for the wife!” 

As Bahuka gives a sporting reply thus, Damayanti clearly understands now that this Bahuka is none other than King Nala himself! The game is over! As Bahuka gives this straightforward answer, Damayanti sinks down in tears! As Damayanti does so, Bahuka also thinks that he has had enough! He quickly puts on the two pieces of clothes which Snake Kaarkotaka had given him earlier, and with this, he once again regains his original form! King Nala is now standing in front of Damayanti and the couple reunites once again after almost eight long years! Both Damayanti and King Nala are extremely happy to see each other after all the difficulties that both of them had to endure! As King Rituparna sees this, he is surprised as well! Vaarshneya couldn’t believe his eyes! King Rituparna is very happy upon seeing King Nala reuniting with Damayanti and says thus, “Oh King Nala! Till this moment, I never knew that you were in this disguised form. I mistook you completely as Bahuka and as a charioteer! Now that I’ve identified your true form, I hereby pay my respects to you and Damayanti together! You are a divine couple and you’ve undergone a lot in your lives till today. Hence, I’m blessing both of you for a great life ahead from now onwards, without any problems!” 

As King Nala and Damayanti reunite thus, King Bheema is also extremely happy. He now understands that this “Second Svayamvara” fiasco was none other than a ploy created by his intelligent daughter, Damayanti to identify King Nala in front of everyone! Thus, the entire reunion event gets over, and it is now time for King Nala to regain all his lost wealth and kingdom. Hence, he once again calls Pushkara for a game of gambling. Now that Kali-Purusha is no more a hindrance for King Nala to roll the dice, and since King Nala now knows the nuances of the game – Thanks to King Rituparna’s timely intervention to teach him, King Nala now easily wins over Pushkara and with this, he regains his entire kingdom, his wealth, etc. There is no stopping King Nala now! Thus, as Pushkara tries to flee away from the kingdom, King Nala stops him. He says to Pushkara thus, “Oh Pushkara! Where are you going? I’m not that stone-hearted to make you run away and experience all the suffering that I had to undergo! Please don’t worry. You can stay here along with all of us, and I shall treat you as my own brother. From now on, you would also jointly rule the kingdom along with me. I shall give you all the powers and respect that you deserve. You are an excellent administrator and we need your services!” 

As Pushkara hears this from King Nala, he is in tears! Pushkara replies to King Nala thus, “Oh great King! First of all, my deepest and sincere apologies for all the sufferings that I had given to you and to your wife! I was the sole reason for all whatever you had to undergo till date! This is the difference between a king and a great king (Chakravarthy) – A king would chase away a loser from the kingdom, whereas a Chakravarthy would respect and revere even a loser and give him protection! Today, you’ve proved to the world that you’re not just a king, but a great “Chakravarthy”! From today onwards, I shall be a true assistant to you and would help you in all ways to administer our kingdom efficiently!” Saying thus, Pushkara and King Nala become excellent companions and the duo rule the Nishaada Desha with all the aspects of “Dharma” being followed! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point, and let us also join hands along with Pushkara to congratulate King Nala and Damayanti for their auspicious reunion! Narrating this story thus, Sage Briahdarsha is going to drive home an important point to Yudishtra! We shall wait till the next episode to witness this narrative. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 427 – King Nala learns gambling – Kali-Purusha is chased out of his body!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bahuka and King Rituparna making their way towards Vidharba Desha for Damayanti’s “Second Svayamvara”. Vaarshneya is also going along with both of them, as Bahuka is doing the job of the charioteer. Readers should understand that even though Vaarshneya worked under King Nala previously, he was not able to identify the fact that Bahuka was none other than King Nala himself! King Rituparna also knows the significance of King Nala, but he too could not identify that Bahuka was King Nala and is working along with him. However, as the journey progressed, Bahuka proves his worth of being an excellently skilled person in horse-riding and horse-selection, and King Rituparna also proves his expertise in Mathematics and counting. Thus, both of them appreciate each other’s skill sets, and however, as the journey is on, Bahuka has one important desire that he is urged to talk about, with King Rituparna. Let us witness this today. 

Moving on thus, as Bahuka is riding the chariot with a great speed, he talks to King Rituparna thus, “Oh King! Now that I understand your great expertise in mathematics and counting, I’ve also heard that you’re an expert in gambling. So if you don’t mind, can you teach me that art as well? I’m very eager to learn from you!” As Bahuka expresses his wish thus, King Rituparna is more than happy to teach Bahuka. He requests Bahuka to stop the chariot mid-way and the classes begin! They select a nice scenic forest area and King Rituparna starts teaching Bahuka the art of gambling. As King Rituparna is an expert in this art, he teaches Bahuka the nuances of it very clearly! As Bahuka is a quick learner, he grasps whatever King Rituparna is teaching him. As this learning is going on at a brisk pace, Kali-Purusha, who is wreaking havoc in King Nala’s life till date, starts feeling uncomfortable! Readers should remember that the moment Snake Kaarkotaka bit King Nala, Kali-Purusha’s discomfort started, and now as King Nala is learning the art of gambling, Kali-Purusha is getting more and more uncomfortable, staying within his body. We should also remember that Kali-Purusha had used King Nala’s weakness in the gambling game to wreak havoc in his life and now that King Nala is correcting that weakness and converting it into a strength, Kali-Purusha is running out of options to create hurdles for King Nala. 

Thus, as King Rituparna completes the entire course of teaching, and as King Nala gains supreme confidence over the game of gambling, Kali-Purusha gets out of King Nala’s body! He has had enough with King Nala! The moment Kali-Purusha exits his body, King Nala regains all his lost strength and power! However, he doesn’t disclose his true identity and continues as Bahuka, as King Rituparna commences his journey towards Vidharba Desha. Thus, at the end of the day, the trio reaches King Bheema’s palace, and to their dismay, there is no special arrangement for any sort of “Svayamvara”! Normally, for a grand “Svayamvara” event, there would be enormous amounts of decorations, many people coming in and going, etc., isn’t it? But here, the palace was completely empty and there are no signs of any function or auspicious happening! Is this a ploy created by Damayanti to somehow identify King Nala? 

However, since the trio have made their way to Vidharba Desha, King Bheema welcomes them and makes them comfortable. King Bheema informs them that the “Svayamvara” is still on, and would take place the next day! With this, all of them go to rest, and Damayanti meanwhile begins her investigation. It should be remembered that Damayanti’s children are at Vidharba Desha only and as a smart move, Damayanti lets her children go and interact with the trio. She has a close watch on Bahuka’s reactions towards her children. This is because she knows the identity of Vaarshneya and King Ritpuarna already. But this Bahuka is the person who is under Damayanti’s doubt! As expected, Bahuka interacts with the children nicely and in a unique manner, since he is the father of the two children. Bahuka also identifies them personally, but still he doesn’t want to reveal his true identity as yet! He just wants to go with the flow of things. Bahuka has made up his mind with a plan before he reaches Vidharba Desha! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall witness what Bahuka’s plan is, and how he is going to reveal his true identity to Damayanti and the others! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 426 – Bahuka & King Rituparna prove their expertise to each other!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Damayanti having her own doubts about the whereabouts of King Nala. She is quite sure that King Nala is roaming around somewhere, and is still alive. However, he is in a disguised form, else people would have identified him quite easily. With this intention in mind, she sends a Brahmin Pandit from the Vidharba Desha in search of King Nala with a couple of questions. As the Pandit goes around and meets many kings with these questions, he isn’t quite convinced, until he comes to King Rituparna. As King Rituparna tries giving answers, Bahuka (King Nala in disguised form) intervenes timely and gives a peculiar answer to both questions, which triggers a doubt in the Pandit’s mind. He makes a note of the answers of Bahuka carefully and conveys this to Damayanti. Upon hearing this from the Pandit, Damayanti is surprised! Nobody would give such an answer and is quite apt to what she has undergone with him! Is King Nala somewhere associated with King Rituparna? With this doubt in mind, Damayanti requests her father to arrange for a second “Svayamvara”, which shocks King Bheema. However, later he understands that this is a ploy being created by Damayanti to find out the whereabouts of King Nala. Accordingly, the “Svayamvara” invitation is passed on to King Rituparna in particular. King Rituparna accepts it immediately and gets ready to travel to Vidharba Desha to participate in the “Svayamvara” event, and requests Bahuka to ride his chariot. 

Moving on thus, Bahuka readies the chariot for King Rituparna with the best set of horses that would take him swiftly to Vidharba Desha. As King Rituparna gets on to the chariot, he is somehow not convinced with the set of horses that are tied to his chariot. He asks Bahuka to change them and replace them with the set of horses that he wanted. However, Bahuka tries to convince King Rituparna that these are the best in the lot and can travel long distances with ease. Bahuka is an expert in identifying the best horses and riding them with absolute expertise. However, King Rituparna does not know of Bahuka’s expertise, and insists with his set of horses. Obeying the king’s orders, Bahuka changes horses and rides them. However, to the king’s dismay, the horses that he selected aren’t even moving a few miles and are collapsing one after the other! Thus, King Rituparna understands slowly that what Bahuka had told earlier was right. Thus, he changes the set of horses to which Bahuka wanted to ride, and requests Bahuka to go ahead with his plan. Accordingly, Bahuka ties the horses that he wants to ride, and the horses run quite swiftly as expected! Upon looking at the swiftly running horses, King Rituparna is surprised with Bahuka’s unique expertise with his horse-selection and horse-riding skills! Thus, both of them, along with Vaarshneya proceed towards Vidharba Desha. 

As the trio are driving their way, they spot a huge banyan tree and upon spotting it, King Rituparna immediately exclaims that there are exactly 2505 leaves in this tree! As Bahuka hears this, he is shell-shocked! How can a person tell exactly how many leaves are there in a huge banyan tree, given the fact that he has just glanced at the tree only once during the fast travel? Having this thought in mind, Bahuka immediately asks King Rituparna thus, “Oh king! How is it possible that you’re able to tell exactly the number of leaves that are present in the tree? Are you simply faking it or, are you telling the truth?” As Bahuka asks thus, King Rituparna replies, “Oh Bahuka! Don’t you know? I’m extremely good at mathematics, counting and gambling. With my mathematical and counting skills, I was able to exactly count the number of leaves in the tree even as we were swiftly passing through that tree. If you want, you may stop the chariot and count it for yourself! But we do not have sufficient time!” 

As Bahuka hears thus, he really wants to confirm the number. He stops the chariot for a while, with due permission from King Rituparna and starts counting the number of leaves in the tree. As the counting is going on, King Rituparna also says exactly the number of leaves that had fallen on the ground, as against the exact number of leaves that are still in the tree! Upon counting the leaves, Bahuka is startled to find the exact number of leaves as King Rituparna had said! Thus, with these two incidents, both Bahuka and King Rituparna prove themselves to each other! On one hand, Bahuka has already proved that he has enormous levels of expertise in horse-riding and horse-selections whereas on the other hand, King Rituparna proves that he is an expert in mathematics and counting. This is exactly what Snake Kaarkotaka had advised King Nala before asking him to go to King Rituparna and spend a few days there. Apart from counting and mathematics, King Rituparna is also extremely skilled in gambling, which Bahuka remembers in a flash! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall witness how Bahuka is going to exploit this expertise on gambling that King Rituparna possesses. Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂

Episode # 425 – A second “Svayamvara” for Damayanti – King Bheema makes arrangements!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Nala in a disguised form, introducing himself to King Rituparna as Bahuka and joining his group of charioteers, as one among them. We should remember that King Nala’s ex-charioteer, Vaarshneya is already employed there, but since King Nala is in a disguised form, Vaarshneya is unable to identify him. As this is on one side of the story, on the other side, we had witnessed Damayanti somehow reaching her father’s place, which is the Vidharba Desha. We had witnessed a messenger from Vidharba Desha coming to meet the king of Chedi Desha, where Damayanti was staying for a few days. Upon identifying Damayanti, the messenger takes her to Vdiharba Desha, wherein her father understands Damayanti’s sad story. As days pass by, Damayanti, along with her father launch a search operation to find out where King Nala is. Speculations are rife that King Nala would be roaming around somewhere in the forest in a disguised form, and because of this, his identity is very difficult for anybody to spot. Had King Nala been in his original form, anybody in this world would have identified him somehow! But since this hasn’t happened, Damayanti suspects that he is in a disguised form. Hence she calls a Brahmin Pandit to go around, asking a few questions to people whomever he comes across. 

So moving on from here, let us witness the questions that Damayanti wants the Brahmin Pandit to ask. First question – Is it “Dharma” to forgo and desert a devoted wife who sacrificed her life and well-being for a husband? Second question – If someone does so, won’t “Paapa Karma” surround him and haunt him till his death? Hence, Damayanti says to the Brahmin Pandit thus, “Oh Pandit! You go around the territory and ask these two questions to whomever you see, and let me know what kind of answers you get!” As the Brahmin Pandit obtains the questions and instructions from Damayanti, he goes to various kingdoms, meets various kings and asks the two important questions of Damayanti. Obtaining their answers thus, the Pandit slowly comes to King Rituparna and asks the same questions. As he is asking these questions, King Rituparna is amongst all his charioteers. Bahuka (King Nala) is also one amongst that group as the pandit asks the questions. As the Pandit is posing the questions from Damayanti, Bahuka is unable to resist himself from giving an answer to it. He somehow feels that these questions are pricking him very badly, because these questions seem quite apt to whatever he has done to Damayanti in the past! Unable to resist his urge to answer thus, Bahuka replies to the Pandit – “Oh Great Pandit! I shall give you an answer to the questions that you’ve asked – It depends on the situation for a husband whether to desert his wife or not. If the situation for the husband is extremely harsh and unfavourable, the husband would have no other option but to leave his wife. However, while leaving, the husband would have complete faith in his wife that she would be able to protect herself through her power of chastity! Hence, to put my answer in perspective, of course, leaving the wife alone during a favourable situation is opportunism and this is “Adharma”. I agree! But, if the situation for the husband is extremely unfavourable, leaving the wife behind is not “Adharma”. In fact, if the husband sticks on to his wife, even though he knows that if he does so, would bring great danger to both of the, this is gross “Adharma”. At a time when the husband has to leave his wife, he has to, and this is “Dharma”! 

As Bahuka gives this answer, the Pandit is surprised! He has not heard such an answer before from anybody whom he had met till now! He carefully notes this answer down, goes back to Damayanti and explains this to her! Upon hearing this, Damayanti’s doubts strengthen further! Can this person be King Nala? If yes, why is he in a disguised form? What has happened to him? Why is he amongst a group of charioteers under another king? Mystery deepens for Damayanti and she decides to explore this further. As Damayanti thinks thus, she goes to her father and talks to him thus, “Oh father! Please make an announcement of a second “Svayamvara” for me immediately!” As Damayanti requests thus, King Bheema is shell-shocked! He immediately quips Damayanti thus, “Oh daughter! What are you saying? You’re already married! How can we go in for a second “Svayamvara”? Isn’t this gross “Adharma”?” As King Bheema asks thus, Damayanti insists him. She says, “Oh father! Please do what I say. I know that it is gross “Adharma”, but I’m saying this for a reason, which you would not be able to understand if I explain. You would see the outcome of it and then understand it by yourself!” 

As Damayanti insists repeatedly thus, King Bheema had no other option but to go with her words. A grand “Svayamvara” is getting arranged, yet again for Damayanti and the invitation for the same is being sent to various kings from various territories. One of the invitations for the “Svayamvara” event is sent to King Rituparna as well. Upon hearing the significance of Damayanti, King Rituparna gets interested and wants to try his luck at the event! Thus, as King Rituparna decides to leave for Vidharba Desha, he goes to his charioteer group to pass on certain instructions, wherein King Nala is also a part! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall witness a very important turnaround of events – Does King Rituparna attend the “Svayamvara” of Damayanti? What happens to Bahuka? Does he also accompany King Rituparna? Let us witness all the answers tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 424 – Damayanti goes back to her father’s Vidharba Desha, as Nala works under King Rituparna!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important turning point in King Nala’s suffering, wherein he is being bitten by Snake Kaarkotaka. This transforms King Nala from a handsome-looking person to an ugly and ghastly looking person. Upon questioning, Snake Kaarkotaka explains his strategy to King Nala that with this poison, Kali-Purusha who is residing currently in his body would run away very soon, and with this, King Nala would soon be liberated from all this suffering. Moreover, Snake Kaarkotaka asks King Nala to go to King Rituparna and join his group of charioteers. Thus, Snake Kaarkotaka instructs King Nala to spend a few days like this in a disguised form, and when the time comes, he can regain his original form by wearing two pieces of clothes (“Angi”) that Snake Kaarkotaka gives him. Obeying his instructions thus, King Nala makes his way to the kingdom of King Rituparna. Meanwhile, Damayanti’s suffering is also having no end! She tries to join a group of trades, so as to go along with them wherever they go, to make a fortune for her living. However, she is being chased away by them, due to an attack on them by a herd of elephants. The traders think that this attack happened due to Damayanti’s presence along with them! Chased away thus, Damayanti joins yet another group of Brahmins, who are making their way towards the “Chedi Desha”. 

Moving on thus, Damayanti travels along with these people and reaches the Chedi Desha. Impressed by her beautiful looks, the queen of Chedi Desha comes forward and greets Damayanti. She understands that Damayanti is not an ordinary woman by any means. She enquires with Damayanti, but she doesn’t disclose her full story to the queen. Understanding that Damayanti is under a huge problem, the queen requests her to stay in the kingdom itself for some days. However, Damayanti puts a clause to her if she has to reside here – Damayanti says thus, “Oh queen! It is so nice of you to allow me to stay here with you. But I would not bow down to anyone. I wouldn’t wash someone’s feet. I wouldn’t become another person’s servant. Moreover, please do not try to marry me off to someone. I wouldn’t like to go as someone’s wife! If you agree to these conditions, I shall reside here!” Upon hearing from Damayanti, the queen also accepts her as her own daughter and Damayanti is also happy. Thus, life for Damayanti is moving on in this way. 

At this point in time, one fine day, somebody from the Vidharba Desha pays a visit to the king of Chedi Desha. We should remember that Vidharba Desha is Damayanti’s father’s kingdom. As this person catches a glimpse of Damayanti in the Chedi Desha kingdom, he has a doubt whether this woman is Damayanti or not! Her looks are extremely familiar and her body language and habits also suggest the same. With this doubt in mind, this messenger from Vidharba Desha goes to Damayanti and enquires who she really is. As Damayanti realizes that this person is from her father’s kingdom, she pours out all her emotions and cries to him! Damayanti discloses the fact that she has lost her husband and is roaming around, in search of him! Meanwhile, as the queen’s daughter sees Damayanti in tears, she doesn’t understand why this is so! Of course, the queen’s daughter isn’t in the vicinity of Damayanti, but figures out that something is wrong with her. She immediately passes on the message to her mother, that Damayanti is not feeling good. 

Hearing this from her daughter, the queen rushes to see Damayanti and enquires what happened to her. As the queen enquires thus, Damayanti finally reveals her true identity that she is none other than King Nala’s wife, and that, she has lost her husband to the wrath of Kali-Purusha and she is trying to find out his whereabouts. As the queen hears Damayanti’s heart-wrenching story, she consoles Damayanti and replies thus, “Oh my daughter! Till this point, I did not know that you are Damayanti! I’ve heard about you a lot in the past, and I had always envied your character and your chastity! I couldn’t believe that you’re one amongst us now! We are extremely fortunate to have you in our kingdom and from today, you would be treated as a royal princess! You would have no dearth of any kind of help and facilities! I shall ensure that you will rejoin your husband very soon!” As the queen says thus, Damayanti replies back, “Oh queen! I’m extremely happy with your words! I deeply acknowledge your respect and kindness towards me! However, I’ve got a point to make – Till now, I’ve suffered enough and more. I do not have the heart to suffer any further. I shall go with this messenger to my father’s place for sometime. Maybe I shall come back to you at a later stage if I require any help! Thank you very much for your kindness and your hospitality at the right time!” Saying thus, Damayanti starts her journey along with the messenger of Vidharba Desha and reaches her father’s home finally! 

As this is happening with Damayanti, we’ve already witnessed King Nala going and joining King Rituparna’s group. He also doesn’t disclose who he really is, and he introduces himself to King Rituparna as Baahuka. However, we have to understand one thing here – We’ve seen earlier that Vaarshenya, who was King Nala’s charioteer earlier, is also working amidst the same group of King Rituparna. But because of King Nala’s disguised form, Vaarshneya is not able to identify King Nala! Thus, days progress in this way, and meanwhile, Damayanti is completely upset and heart-broken on the other end. Hence, she calls a Brahmin pandit to seek some advice. She requests him to go in search of King Nala, to find out where he is! Damayanti has a doubt whether King Nala’s form might have changed. Because, if King Nala would have retained his original form, anybody in this world would have identified him! Thus, as the Brahmin Pandit is about to start his search, Damayanti wants him to ask a few questions to the people whom he comes across! So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall witness what are the questions that Damayanti wants to pose! Stay tuned for an interesting and an absorbing accord! 🙂 

Episode # 423 – King Nala is bitten by Snake Karkotaka – Meets King Rituparna!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a heart-wrenching accord on how King Nala had no other option but to desert his beloved wife, Damayanti amidst the forest where both of them were wandering around. We’ve already seen that King Nala had been exiled from the kingdom because of losing all his wealth and “Raajya” to King Pushkara as a result of the gambling game. Post that, King Nala also lost his single piece of cloth to Kali-Purusha’s wrath and with this, Damayanti protected him with her saree, by wrapping it around him. However, as that night progressed, King Nala decides that he would only be more burdening to Damayanti if he stays any further with her. Kali-Purusha is going to trouble Damayanti more and more if King Nala is going to be with her. With this thought firm in his mind, and with a heavy heart, King Nala deserts Damayanti in the middle of the night as she is in deep sleep. Next morning, Damayanti understands that her husband has moved away from her, and she goes searching for him, crying loud for help! As she wanders all alone by herself, a python catches her and tries to squeeze her to death, only for a hunter to come forward and save her. However, the hunter’s intentions towards Damayanti are bad, which results in Damayanti burning him down to death! 

Meanwhile, King Nala on the other side, spots a huge forest fire and within that fire, Snake Kaarkotaka has got stuck! Snake Karkotaka requests King Nala to protect him and for it, he promises King Nala that he would do something good for him in return. Accordingly, King Nala saves Snake Kaarkotaka from the raging forest fire, and as King Nala is bringing Snake Kaarkotaka out of the fire, the snake requests King Nala to count numbers from one to ten. King Nala obeys, and as the tenth number (“Dasha”) comes out of King Nala’s mouth – It should be understood here by readers that the word “Dasha” in Sanskrit has two meanings – One is “Ten” and the other is “To bite”. Thus, as King Nala utters the word “Dasha”, Snake Kaarkotaka bites him! As the snake’s bite is highly poisonous in nature, the poison is rushing its way fast into King Nala’s body. As the poison takes over thus, King Nala becomes extremely bad-looking and disgusting! Thus, the poison completely changes King Nala’s external appearance! Stunned by this, King Nala asks Snake Kaarkotaka thus, “Oh Kaarkotaka! You told me that you would do something good for me if I save you from the fire. But now, you’ve bitten me very badly and look at how I’ve been transformed into such a ghastly look! Is this the way you show your gratitude to someone who has saved your life?” 

As King Nala asks thus, Snake Kaarkotaka replies back, “Oh King Nala! Please do not worry! I’ve bitten you on a purpose. This bite is going to give you all the change in your life. Kali-Purusha is making you dance to his tunes by sitting inside your body. Now this poison is going to sting him very badly and within a short period of time, he is going to run away from your body, unable to bear the wrath of my poison. Moreover, I’m giving you two pieces of clothes. If you feel that you should regain your original form at any point in time, you shall wear these clothes on your body, and you would regain your original form! Oh King Nala! Please take this in the positive sense. I understand that you’re in extreme pain, but this pain is for your good only!” As Snake Kaarkotaka explains in detail thus, King Nala understands the ploy clearly. He thanks Snake Kaarkotaka for his timely help and moves on from there. As King Nala makes the move, he asks Snake Kaarkotaka for guidance as to where he should go now. Snake Kaarkotaka replies thus, “Oh King Nala! You do one thing! Go straight to King Rituparna, and be his charioteer. The moment you go there, he will definitely give you the job! Meanwhile, you’re extremely good at “Ashwa-Rahasya” (The art of riding horses) aren’t you? Go and teach this to King Rituparna. In return, learn the art of gambling, numbers, mathematics, etc. from him, wherein his strength lies. Thus, let this meeting transform into an exchange of knowledge and skills between both of you!” Paying heed to Snake Kaarkotaka’s advice and guidance, King Nala makes his way towards King Rituparna’s kingdom and joins hands with King Rituparna thereafter. This is on one side. 

Now, moving on to what happens to Damayanti – As she burns down the hunter, Damayanti continues walking further, all by herself! As she crosses over a distance, she spots a group of traders going from one place to the other as a caravan. Upon seeing this caravan, Damayanti decides to join their group and go to whichever place they are going to. However, as the caravan is proceeding further, a huge herd of elephants attack the caravan, of which, half of the traders lose their life to the elephants’ stampede! The other half of the group, including Damayanti, somehow escape the wrath of the elephants. As the elephant herd moves away, the remaining traders thought that all the deaths happened only because of this Damayanti joining them and hence, they chase Damayanti away from their group! Unable to bare the insult and humiliation, Damayanti again starts walking alone, all by herself, and this time, she meets a group of Brahmins who are going towards the “Chedi-Desha”. Damayanti decides to join this group and to somehow reach Chedi-Desha, so that she can try and earn her fortune there! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall continue this discussion further, to see how all the problems for the Nala-Damayanti couple come to an end! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂