By prostrating at the feet of that Vaasudeva who becomes a vessel for the beings, He who appreciates and arranges for Advaita, let us begin the final chapter of NalaCharitra. Which is greater- Respect (Maana) or Life(Praana)? If this question arises, for good people, Maana is greater. They value respect more than life. While Raavan kidnapped Seetha and he was forcing her to become his, she had said that she would rather become a corpse than becoming his.
Here, Damayanti also is like this. She became an inspiration to Seetha. She was ready to die but not give away her respect. It is equally important that people who believe in us and have a special relation with us, should not have doubt about our Maana. No matter whoever gets it, those who love us at least should not. Whoever is supposed to believe us, must believe us; especially those ones without whom our life is meaningless, if they do not believe in us. Now with the intention of calling Nala to her palace, she had mortgaged Nala’s love and had created a huge question mark in his heart.
Now she was ready to mortgage her own life and achieve it. Therefore she takes an oath. “Considering the three i.e., the sun, moon and the wind as witnesses of my life, let them tell what I am like” – she puts across this challenge. In that, the sun and moon represent light and the wind represents breath. Like this, light and breath are the witnesses of life.
आदित्य चन्द्रौ अनिलानलौ च द्यौर्भूमिरापो हृदयं यमश्च |
अहश्च रात्रिश्च उभे च सन्ध्ये धर्मश्च जानाति नरस्य वृत्तम् ||
All of the above stay with us in our life and remain as witnesses to our life and practices. Those who commit sins in secrecy, even in mind also have Yama as the witness.
Damayanti was aware of these three being present around her. Nala had not asked her to take any oath and asks her as to why she did so. But she goes ahead with the oath. Sins are of three kinds- Maanasika, Vaachaka and Kaayaka(related to thought, word and deed). Always having bad thought counts as a Maanasika sin; if these get converted to speech, it counts as Vaachaka sin and if they end up in action, is counted as Daihika/Kaayaka sin.
She says, if I have done any such mistake among the three types, let those three Gods take my life. While her husband had wagered his Kingdom because of Kali, Damayanti wagered her own life. She was his perfect match and in fact, a step ahead of him. O Gods! If what I said was true, please answer me, else take away my life, she says.
Look at the beautiful personality! “If I live, I shall do so as Damayanti, else she won’t live. If I have committed a mistake, I don’t want this life, let death arrive. Otherwise tell Nala and the world the truth”. Nala watched thunderstruck, as his wife was unavoidably going till the point of sacrificing her life.
Nala’s question was normal- he asks gently but seriously whether it was right for her to think of a second Swayamvara. She takes it so sharply that she calls the sun, moon and the wind. See, if such situations arise, the Gods also speak. If spoken at that height, Gods too speak. It is possible to know it through experience.
If you firmly believe and keep your foot forward, you will know that during your times of happiness and obstacles the God will show the right path. If you pay attention, you will come to know of His miracles. She had a great belief in her character and the God. They did not live like the common people. With humans they behaved as humans and with Gods they behaved like Gods- they lived like this.
Thus, water and fire would appear, doors would open when Nala used to call. The three were always there with Damayanti which is why the tribal was burnt when he tried to abuse her; it was because of the same sun’s heat.
The wind gives an answer to her oath from the space- “O Nala! Your Damayanti has not committed any sort of sin. Her illuminant character is safe. We are the witnesses for this fact. We have been with her for past three years when you were not there to protect her and watch over her. The swayamvara is just a plan made by Damayanti in order to get you back, that’s it. It was just a tactic. To remind you again, swayamvara- to bring you, one day time- to ensure that you only have come because there is no one else who can cover 100 yojanas in one day. There is no Damayanti without you and you are not there without Damayanti. There is no love without you both responding to each other. You both are created for each other. Don’t have even a pinch of doubt about what has happened. Live a happy family life”. Then there was a rain of flowers from the heaven. There were divine instruments played. A cool, fragrant breeze blew. It was a blessing for them to be together through eyes, ears and touch. Nala’s questions were answered after seeing the miracle; he dissolved his doubts and became calm. He decided to return to his original form. Until then he was in the deformed body because he thought that if Damayanti had decided to have another marriage and if she was no more available to him, then his handsome form was of no use.
We remember Raama here also. After completing 14 years of vanavaasa (forest life) and after Raavan’s death, with the army of monkeys, Raama came to Ayodhya. He stopped near hermitage of Bhardwaja and sent Hanumantha to see whether Bharatha had desire to become the king. He told “Bharatha had no desire then. But if his desires have changed now then I will not return to Ayodhya at all.” Like this, Nala also did not want his appearance again if Damayanti did not want to return. This is how a relationship should be. Ours is all doubtful relationships. There is neither consistency nor complete belief on each other. Now Nala wore the cloth given by Karkotaka and thought about him. Immediately he got his previous appearance and body with all his characteristics and more glow. As Damayanti saw his appearance, she cried out and both hugged each other like creepers get tied. Like this husband and wife were together again. Nala lived happily like before, with his children and wife. Mahabharata tells that the wife and husband hugged each other for hours, shed tears and stayed like that. They had suffered inside not knowing how to express their pain in words. Oneness of God and the soul is the greatest of oneness. As a foreword for that, the souls themselves should unite. Brother-sister, father-son, husband-wife, such relationships must unite. Souls should unite as it is the preparation to unite with God later. If wife righteously leans on the husband, then leans on God himself. That is a way for liberation for her. If there is consistency and purity in a relationship, then it is not just a wordly bondage, but it becomes a way for liberation.They both spent that whole night talking to each other it seems. We don’t know what they talked. May be they shared their thoughts about the times they were not together. There will be no end to chating when you meet somebody after so long, not necessarily wife or husband. They might have chatted about all that was pending in three long years of separation. King Bhima got to know that his son-in-law has come and it was like his life had come back. Pride on son-in-law doubled. Not just Bhima, the whole kingdom rejoiced.
“Damayanti rejoiced like the earth which enjoys the rain when it has the sprouts in it” -it is said so in Mahabharata but it is the sentence of Raamayana. Vyaasa, who has authored lakhs of verses, has taken this from Raamayana directly because this was said by Seetha to Hanumantha. So Vyaasa wants to tell that Damayanti is also like Seetha and should be remembered. Damayanti was now glowing and had regained her hue. These people are great examples for life.
A one night test, a one night wait -Bhimaraja thought to wait for one night. Because of the earlier experience of 5 Nala forms in the swayamvara, Bhimaraja decided to wait till the morning. The next morning, Nala came to him and prostrated. Bhimaraja accepted him like his son and welcomed him. He provided hospitality more than that which he did for their marriage. The couple accepted it respectfully. By that time, the whole state got to know the news. The town was filled with the sounds of happiness. Everyone was happy in the town; life should be in this way causing happiness to everyone. Some will be there, there will be no difference in their presence or absence. But some are so graceful that their presence makes the heart dance. Nala was such a one who brings happiness to everyone. Even Raama was a Punyashloki, he had a similar personality. The citizens of Vidharba were so happy that they decorated the whole town, cleaned the roads and drew rangolis. Every house was adorned with the ‘Toranas’ (string of flowers or leaves hung on the door top). They celebrated by showering flowers. All temples of the town witnessed special worships; even they became fortunate because of Nala! While the whole town was enjoying, another soul too was very happy. He was Rituparna. He was so delighted to know that his companion was not Baahuka, but disguised Nala. The hidden meaning here is that Rituparna had not come there for swayamvara but only to follow the kingship protocols.
Obtaining back our originality brings us bliss. Nala invited Rituparna to his palace. The first thing he did was, he apologized Rituparna for not revealing who he was and also for humiliating him many times. This kind of attitude, humbleness are the reasons why great men become great. Rituparna was still in a surprise mood. He replied “You are a great soul in the world. I feel guilty for keeping you as a servant. I haven’t behaved inappropriately with you right? Even if I have behaved so, please forgive me”. Nala told “You have not done such acts anytime. Even if you have done, it is faultless because I have got Aksha Vidya from you and we are friends too”. He continued “You have kept one of your possessions- Ashva Vidya with me. Please take it”. Again, this is the way of great souls. They don’t keep any debt unpaid. Nala gave the Ashva Vidya to Rituparna, both became complete then. Rituparna then went to Ayodhya with the help of another charioteer. Vaarshneya joined as Nala’s charioteer again. Nala stayed in Vidarbha only for a month then. He organised an army and marched towards Nishadha kingdom to win over Pushkara and obtain back his kingdom. He followed the path of Raajadharma and went to conquer. The army at Nishadha had been organised and trained by Nala only; but now he has a very small army of a silver war chariot, 16 elephants, 50 horses, 600 soldiers. His army was not big but his mind was. As he was self dependant always, he might had organised the army by the salary he got when he was working under Rituparna as Baahuka. He entered his own kingdom which was occupied by Pushkara. He became very angry about Pushkara. “You are my brother. You lived under my compassion. You did such a betrayal. See what happens now”, he thought. Let us see the face-to-face meeting between Nala and Pushkara. We should find the lost things at the place where it was lost. So war was not preferred and gambling was the way. But did he win in the gambling game? What happened further? What did Nala keep as pledge? What opportunity did he get that proved him great still more? Let us see it tomorrow.
Let us keep this story of Rituparna, Damayanti, Nala and Karkotaka in our hearts which frees us from the adversities of life. Thus, getting rid of Kali.
Picture courtesy: Internet
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