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! 🙂