In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of an important accord given by Sage Brihadarsha to Yudishtra, with regards to an example of a king who suffered because he had lose the gambling game, just like Yudishtra. Sage Brihadarsha is trying to drive home the important point through this example that Yudishtra’s suffering is nothing in comparison to what King Nala had suffered. By this, he narrates the story of King Nala, the king of Nishadha Desha, and we had witnessed yesterday how he fell in love with Damayanti of the Vidarbha Desha, without even seeing each other. There came a stage that both of them were fixed to each other that if at all a marriage happens for both of them, it would definitely be with each other only. At this time, Damayanti’s father, King Bheema is arranging for a grand “Svayamvara” event as part of his daughter’s marriage. As the “Svayamvara” is announced, countless numbers of kings from various territories make their way to the Vidarbha Desha to participate in it. King Nala is also informed of it, and he too makes his way to the Vidharba Desha. At this time, Sage Naarada hurries to the “Svarga Lokha” and meets Indra. He informs Indra of the “Svayamvara” of Damayanti and with this, Indra too gets interested!
As Sage Naarada pokes Indra thus, Indra replies back to him, “Oh Sage Naarada! Is Damayanti that significant that all the kings are even ready to sacrifice the Svarga Lokha and go there? If that is the case, I’m also going there to try my luck! Let me see who this Damayanti is!” Hearing this, all the other Devas like Yama, Varuna, etc. also want to try their luck on Damayanti as all of them start their journey towards the Vidarba Desha. As they proceed further, they see King Nala making his way to the same place! Upon seeing King Nala, the Devas become jealous of him. Indra talks to his other colleagues thus, “Oh Devas! By the way this Nala is proceeding forward, I think he would be the lucky chap to win the Svayamvara event! If this happens, we would be cheated very badly! Hence, let us somehow stop this Nala from proceeding further!” As the other Devas also agree with what Indra says, all of them make a plan together and approach King Nala. Indra greets King Nala and in turn, Nala also pays his respect to him. Indra says to King Nala thus, “Oh Nala! We would like to have a favour from you! All of us are extremely interested in marrying Damayanti and we want you to go to her as a messenger to express our love towards her and our interest to marry her! Will you do this for all of us? If you do so, we would bless you with enormous amounts of wealth, name and fame!”
Upon hearing Indra’s words, King Nala is perplexed! He did not know what to reply to them initially. Composing himself within a few seconds, King Nala replies calmly thus, “Oh Indra & Co.! All of you know that I’m also proceeding towards the Vidharba Desha with the interest of marrying Damayanti, just like how all the other kings are doing as well!” As King Nala replies thus, Indra gets angry! He replies back in a harsh tone to Nala thus, “Oh Nala! Who are you afterall? You’re an ordinary human being! We’re Devas! Now I give you the instruction – Go to Damayanti and express our love to her, as our messenger!” As Indra instructs thus, King Nala did not have another option, but to accept it. Hence he makes up his mind to sacrifice his love for Damayanti! He thus goes as a messenger of Indra and reaches Vidharba Desha and straightaway proceeds to Damayanti’s Antahpura.
As Damayanti sees a handsome and a young person approaching her, she quickly understands that this person is none other than King Nala himself, whom she has been dreaming of all these days and months! As Damayanti starts talking to him, King Nala stops her! He says thus, “Oh Damayanti! I know what you’re going to talk to me about! However, I’m no longer interested in you. This is because the Devas, including Indra, Varuna, Kubera, etc. are in deep love with you and they want to somehow marry you in the Svayamvara event. I came here to convey this news to you!” As Damayanti hears this from King Nala, she is shell-shocked! She replies back to Nala with so much pain in her heart thus, “Oh King Nala! This is comical and ironic! Whatever you’re saying is so funny for me! After so many months of living together with you virtually, how do you have the heart to come and tell me that someone else is in love with me? Oh King Nala! Please take it from me today – I’ve already decided that you would be my husband for my entire life! There is no place for another person in my heart – Even if it is Indra or Varuna or whoever! This can never happen and I shall not let it happen as well!”
As Damayanti says thus, King Nala is in tears and replies back, “Oh Damayanti! I’m afterall an ordinary human being! Why do you want to have so much interest on me? The Devas are celestial beings. If you marry them, your life would be extremely prosperous, isn’t it? Why don’t you leave me and go with them?” As King Nala expresses his grief thus, Damayanti replies slowly to him, “Oh King Nala! I understand your point, and I also know that you’ve been cornered by Indra, which is making you say all this! Do one thing – You go back and participate in tomorrow’s Svayamvara. Let Indra and Co. also come along. In front of everybody, I would choose you as my husband! End of the day, the choice is mine, isn’ t it? If I choose someone in front of everyone, nobody can object to it, isn’t it? Hence, let them also come. I shall use my freedom of selection in front of everybody and select you! In that way, nobody will be able to question you nor me!” As Damayanti firmly replies thus, King Nala agrees to her proposal somewhat, but with a heavy heart! As he goes back, he meets Indra once again and narrates everything that happened to him! Indra too agreed and all of them decide to proceed to the Vidharba Desha for the Svayamvara event!
So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall witness what happened during the Svayamvara event. Is Damayanti going to execute her plan to perfection, or, is Indra going to play spoilsport there? An interesting accord awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂