Let us look into a story from Mahabharata which finds its relevance to the topic of Kali. It will be an example about checking Kali in ourselves and in the country.
Nala Damayanti equals Seeta Rama as an ideal couple. In the Sundarakanda of Ramayana, Seeta herself claims to have been following Damayanti. Hence their story too is very appealing. The story of Nala has not become as famous as Ramayana or Mahabharata since he is not a God but a normal human being who stepped to reach such a great place. Kali troubles him to only get troubled later and starts fearing even the name of Nala.
During the Vanaparva of Mahabharata, Pandavas were travelling to different hermits of saints. Similarly, many saints visited Pandavas too. During such a time, Maharshi Brihadashwa too visits them; details about Brihadashwa has been enumerated only in Nalopakhyana and Vangmaya. Dharmaraja while speaking laments about his state of, living a life of nothing in a forest after being a Chakravarti. When Dharmaraja tells that no one has ever faced such a plight, Maharshi recites the story of Nala; about how he lost everything and faced troubles a hundred times more than what Dharmaraja was facing, roamed around forests literally even without a piece of cloth, without his near and dear ones, all that after being a king to the entire earth!
The poet of Mankutimmana Kagga tells that the formula to being happy while in a trouble is to look at those people who are more troubled. Our problems seem mere and also our heart lightens when we see people who are facing greater problems compared to us.
The existence of Nala Maharaja preceeds the time of SriRama. Nala was the son of Veerasena, the king of Nishadha; he was a very great personality, charming and a paladin. Usually, the soft ones will be weak and the strong ones are strict, however Nala was an exception; this quality is being observed even in case of Rama (सुकुमारो महासत्व:).
There is a local story about Seeta that she lifted the bow of Lord Shiva with her left hand, which even Raavan couldn’t lift. It is too much of exaggeration. It will be a joke. Praise her for her noble character, beauty, softness. Rare men have both. Even for Durga, it is told when she went to kill the demons. In other places it is incorrect. Nala was a noble-heared, all knowledgeable one, truthful, one who knew Ashvahridaya vidya. When such people are born, there will be suitable counterparts born too (Hanuman had first seen Raama; when he sees Seeta, he decided that both are perfect counterparts)
Damayanti was born in Vidarbha state. Her name is so because she was born by the grace of sage Dama when king Bheema didn’t have a progeny (dama means to keep control of the senses). She was beautiful among the three worlds. She would cause control of senses, according to her name. She had three brothers. No prose in the world would have such a character who became great due to the way she lived. Attracted by her, thousands of friends would voluntarily come to her. She had the glamour of a lightning behind clouds. Both Nala and Damayanti were famous for their beauty. Both had known about each other through their spies. Both had the same feelings; both had respect and curiosity towards each other.
Once, when Nala was in his garden, a group of swans came there. Their leader had the power of conversing with humans. When Nala caught the leader swan, it told Nala that he was thinking of Damayanti. She is beautiful and has good qualities. The leader told to leave him as he would go to Damayanti and mediate between them. Nala believed his words and left him. The swans flew to Vidarbha.
While listening to this story, many would have remembered their stories. Here the aim is not that we should strive like Nala, but his clean life should be an example to us.
The swans which came accidentally to Nala, went to Damayanti having a reason. They attract her who was resting in garden. The leader swan tactically makes only her to remain and when she pampered him, he tells about Nala. He tells that there is no demigod, demon, gandharva as equivalent to Nala in beauty and valour. There is no negative points in him, said the leader swan and continued that even he might had the same opinion about her. He mesmerized her and asked what help he had to do. He also encouraged her that she was virtuous and she had obtained till then what all she desired and so she might obtain Nala too. Damayanti has acceptance to it but she could not say it as she was shy. The poet beautifully describes what she could have told : “चेतोनलंकामयते मदीय:” – “I don’t have interest in anything. My mind is longing for Nala. If I don’t obtain him, I would sacrifice myself in fire”. The leader swan says that if she wished, he would talk to Nala and make him love her. The world has only few of such mediators. The remaining ones will separate the two. The leader swan obtained her acceptance and left to meet Nala.
The prose written by poet SriHarsha is famous as Naishadha Charita. It is one of the five great novels in Sanskrit literature. Damayanti’s mind had dissolved in thoughts of Nala. She becomes weak because of that. Out of shyness, she didn’t express her feelings to anyone. The king got disturbed and called doctor. Wise doctors would know that it is a disease of the mind. When the king is informed of this, he makes arrangements for her swayamvara where she can choose the bridegroom whom she wished. There are two types of swayamvara. In Raama’s case, it was of valour testing type. To protect highly qualified Seeta, it was necessary too. But here, inviting all kings and when they are introduced individually, the bride can choose who she wishes.
The swayamvara was announced. From youth to old, kings came from various states. Damayanti is like moonlight; none can deny her. Meanwhile in the meeting at heaven, Naarada and Paravata came. Indra got a doubt: ‘On earth, fights between kings are common. Who have fought and died, they would come to heaven for sure. But it has been many days and no one has come. Why? How?’ Naarada answers: “Now the kings have no interest in wars. All their attention is towards Damayanti. They have forgotten to fight because of the wish of marrying her”. Indra too was curious now and plans to attend the swayamvara. Also, Agni, Yama and Varuna decides to accompany Indra and to participate in the Swayamvara.
On the way they saw Nala who was going to swayamvara. They were disappointed that Damayanti would not wish to marry them after seeing Nala as he was more qualified than them in beauty and character. So they planned a plot to make her accept one among themselves.
Though it is apparently a worldly move, it is not. This story begins as an entertaining one. Until now, only the physical aspects have been told. But further, there was a fight between Kali and Nala where Kali ran away out of fear. It should happen with us too. From beautiful physical aspects, we should move towards more beautiful inner aspects.
Picture courtesy: Internet
TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :