King Nal

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King Nal / राजा नल

  • Nal was a king of Nishadh, son of king Virsen and husband of Damyanti, the princess of Vidarbh.
  • Nal and Damyanti had two children, Indrasen and Indrasena. Having lost all his wealth in a game of dice to his brother Pushkar, Nal and Damyanti repaired to the forest. When Nal was finally able to break away from Damyanti, he was left only with half a piece of garment.
  • By leaving her, Nal hoped that Damyanti would return to her father in Vidarbh. Nal's wanderings in the forest, led him to the serpent Karkotak, who, with his bite, changed the appearance of Nal, and on the serpent's advice, the exiled king went to Ayodhya and worked as charioteer in the stables of king Rituparn under the assumed name of Bahuk.
  • Meanwhile, Damyanti had returned to Vidarbh, and had sent messengers all over to look for Nal. A harbinger returned to Damyanti, and informed her that though he had no news from king Rituparn of Ayodhya, a charioteer form the latter's stables had followed him and on hearing Damyanti's stories had shed tears. Damyanti had immediately sent another courier with the message to king Rituparn that there was to be another Svayamvar of Damyanti the following day, and the king was supposed to arrive a little earlier.
  • Now, Nal was an expert rider and it was also known by Damyanti that only he could travel the hundred leagues within such a short while. The king immediately set out with his chief charioteer Bahuk and they proceeded at a tremendous speed. On the way, Rituparn lost his upper garment and asked Nal to stop, but Nal told him that he could not do so as he was already a league ahead. The king marvelled at the latter's skill. The king then taught Nal the art of reckoning, and Nal taught Rituparn the horse-lore. On gaining the knowledge, Nal immediately vomited out the poison injected in him by Karkotak, and with it, Kali left his person. When they arrived at Vidarbh, Nal was visited by Keshini, the maid of Damyanti, who inquired of Bahuk (Nal) certain facts and returned to report to Damyanti. When Damyanti had gathered sufficient proof that Bahuk was in fact Nal, she, with the permission of her parents, invited Bahuk in her presence.
  • On seeing her Nal started crying and Damyanti then told him of her lost husband and how she had feigned a Svayamvar, and the she was yet loyal to him. Vayu, the wind-god, testified her chastity. Then Nal put on the two garments presented to him by Karkotak and regained his original form. Thus was Nal united with his loved ones. Later, Nal returned to Nishadh with an army, and challenged his brother to a game of dice. Nal won and regained his kingdom.