Sri Raama’s Dwaapara yuga’s form is Krishna, Raamayana’s Dwaapara-Kali yugas’ form is Bhaagavata, Valmiki’s reincarnation is Vyaasa~Shuka. Prostrations to all. Let all of them reside in us and guide us.
It is difficult for us even to give away the things which we like; then imagine how can one handover his fiancee to others? That too, how can one go to the fiancee’s place and ask her to marry someone else? It is probably Nala’s first test. Nala is efficient in all aspects.
Damayanti shall surely choose Nala if he goes to swayamvara. But four bright men approach Nala. Their appearance is such that they are close to heart, worshipful, respectable. They ask Nala to do one deed for them. Nala, who never says no, accepts. Some people only speak but do no act; but Nala isn’t that way.
Nala accepted and then he asked for their background. One of them was the head of eastern direction-Indra. Second one was the head of south-Yama. Third one was the head of south-east – Agni. The last one was the head of west- Varuna. Nala was surprised and happy. The way Nala accepted is like signing on a blank stamp paper. Their wish was that Nala should go to Damayanti and convince her to marry one among they four. Nala was shocked hearing it. He felt that their minds had already become one and just a meeting was sufficient for their marriage; but the demigods did this. Nala says “I was going to marry her, both of our minds have become one. Being so, how can I tell her? Or I suppose that I am not suitable to tell her. Which human can say so?”. The demigods replied “You are the one who always says truth. You should never speak untruth; what you speak should never become untrue. If you do so, your vow of truth will break. We don’t need anything other than you doing what we asked for.” “How shall I say? That too, how shall I say to her? What would be her reply? What if she accepts?” these thoughts were running in his mind. He had only two choices with him: truth or love. Common man chooses love since love is blind and anyone in love cannot see anything. In that situation too, Nala chooses truth. Then he asks the demigods that how can he go there without falling into anyone’s eyes. The demigods granted him invisibility power and told him to use that. Without any choice, Nala went to meet her. He saw Damayanti in the garden with her friends. He made him visible to them. All of them were perplexed at the appearance of an unknown young lad. Naturally should have been disturbed; but due to his illumination like that of a demigod, they were dumbstruck. Damayanti stood up and asked him who was he and what did he want from her. Nala now introduced himself that he wasn’t any demigod, he was a human, a king, the ruler of Nishadha. She didn’t need any more details, she knew them. She became silent. “I have come now as a messenger of the demigods. I have brought an appeal of four demigods. You should marry one among them it seems” he said. Damayanti, who was in an ocean of happiness seeing Nala, was now drowned in the flood of sorrow. It is difficult to withstand peak of sorrow when we are in peak of happiness.
When Nala asked to marry any one of the demigods, any other woman would have done so. Love will be masked when profit will be seen. Only in true love it would not be so. After hearing Nala’s words, Damayanti prostrated to all demigods and said “Salutations to all of them; they are worshipful ones. But only you are my husband. I have already married you when the swan told about you”. Nala asked her to think about it once again. He told her that she would become immortal if she were with the demigods. He started to think in terms of concern of her, forgetting his happiness. Damayanti then said “Fine then; I will choose one among the four: fire, poison, water or rope. You yourself decide which one shall I use to kill myself. I have loved you from the bottom of my heart. Now what shall I do if you abandon me? I have one of the four choices left. I cannot give my heart, which is reserved for you, to anyone else.”
Nala replied “We should not do that which is not liked by the demigods. They can cause anything, even deluge, if they become angry. They are super powered. They are the owners of the three worlds. Marrying any of them will be good to you.”
But Damayanti did not heed to it. “I have only you in my mind. I will not marry any other person than you” she said and prostated to the demigods again.
Nala, who was until then a messenger, restored himself to Nala. “What to do? How can we marry convincing everyone?” Damayanti says “You have done your job. You come to swayamvara, let them also come. Leave the rest to me. You will not be affected by any sin. I shall marry you only.”
Nala then went to the demigods and told them everything that happened. He innocently told them without hiding the fact that she would marry him and there would be no sin in it.
The demigods decided to take forms of Nala as she would not marry anyone other than Nala. They reached the palace. While her friends were introducing the kings assembled there to Damayanti, she was moving forward not uttering a word. A poet says that those kings faces were like a bungalow which would appear bright when a light being carried on a dark road falls on it and which would disappear when the light is moved forward. Damayanti was shocked when she found five forms of Nala seated in the last. She understood that it was a trick of the demigods. She was struck in choosing who was Nala. The demigods had thought that atleast out of illusion Damayanti would marry one among them.
But Damayanti thought about the features of demigods that they will not touch the ground, they won’t blink their eyes, they won’t sweat and the flowers of the garland they wear never gets dried up. With that confidence, she turned towards them; but all of them didn’t show any of the sign above. She couldn’t
guess too as it was the question of her life. She now bowed her head, joined her hands and prayed the demigods with tearful eyes “I accepted Nala as husband by the words of the swan, and so you grant him as my husband. Let my mind and words be the same. Allow me to live my life with him. This is my vow, let it not break.”
The demigods heard her cry. They observed her determination and love she had towards Nala. They saw her purity of mind and devotion. They could test her no more. Now they expressed their divinity without losing the form of Nala. Damayanti could now notice all the features of them. They were calm and pleasant. Only Nala was tensed. She identified and garlanded him.
The demigods appreciated, blessed and wiped her tears. They praised Nala for his loyalty to truth and were satisfied by it. Indra told Nala that he himself would come to accept the havis (sacrificial offering) and Nala would have a greater life awaiting for him after his earthly life is completed. Agni assured that he would come to him whenever Nala calls him and he granted his radiance to him. Yama told that Nala would never abandon Dharma and Dharma would never leave Nala. Also, he granted him proficiency in cookery. Varuna blessed Nala that his garland would never fade and would bear a beautiful fragrance. Also, he would come whenever Nala calls him.
In this way, the demigods who came to take away the precious gem of Nala’s life, gave back Damayanti and 8 wishes; thus 9 gems were given to him.
This is swayamvara’s story. Two more men came to participate in Swayamvara, after it got over. One of them was Kali. If Kali had come to know about this swayamvara, he would have troubled them for sure. Let us see tomorrow, what happens next. Now, let us feel the truthfulness of Nala and Damayanti in our hearts. Even Seetha says that she was herself to Raama as Damayanti was to Nala.
To the ones who carry this story in their hearts, there will be no trouble from Kali. So let us contemplate on this story with a complete mind.
Picture courtesy: Internet
TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :