The Transformation of Nala – Part II

The three of them then continued their journey and just before sunrise, they entered the city of Kundinpur, the capital of Vidharbha. As the horses entered they made a roaring sound and Bahuka sounded his conch shell. Damayanti who was sitting in her palace heard the sounds and recognised that they could only be Nala’s. She saw the chariot being driven by Bahuka who had the appearance of a dwarf. Damayanti then sent her maid, Keshini, to the stables to inquire who the dwarf was. This sending of the maid Keshini is very significant. The word ‘kesh’ also has the root ‘klesha’ or that which is the seed of suffering. The sending of Keshini means the time has come for Nala to be free of suffering.

Patanjali says that by removing the seeds of suffering called ‘klesha’, the soul is freed from bondage. Keshini came and asked many questions of Bahuka, but he still wanted to learn the truth behind why Damayanti was marrying again, and so he did not reveal himself as Nala. Then she went back and reported everything to Damayanti. She also told her that the dwarf had cooked a meal. Damayanti told her to go back and when Bahuka was not looking, to bring some of the food. Keshini did this and the minute Damayanti tasted the food, she knew that this Bahuka was definitely Nala. She then sent her two children to the stables and when Bahuka saw his children, he broke down and started caressing them. He then, with the two children, went to Damayanti’s palace and asked her why she was marrying again. When she told him that it was just a trick to make him reveal himself, Nala put on the cloth which the snake Karkotaka had given him and assumed his original form. He then recounted to Damayanti all that had happened and how Kali had entered his body and controlled him.

They then went to meet Damayanti’s father, the king. He gave Nala a lot of wealth. Nala went to his kingdom and challenged his brother Pushkar to a game of dice. Seeing his newly acquired wealth Pushkar agreed. This time Nala won back his kingdom and all his wealth. He gave a part of the kingdom to his brother and told him to live in peace and rule justly. Nala and Damayanti then lived happily in their kingdom for more than a thousand years.

In this story we see how a student can rise in consciousness and acquire the power called Damayanti. This is called ‘Dharna Shakti’.

After hearing the story from the rishi, Yudhisthira’s pain and suffering was lessened. He tells the rishi that the story has elevated him from the suffering he was going through. In this story, we learn how the soul can use suffering to create the fires of austerity and tapas. This fire then burns the impurities that go to form our lower psychic nature. This allows the student to open both his higher faculties and his perception changes, allowing him to see and live the supreme truth.