Mb037. The Story Of Nala And Damayanti (2)

MAHABHARATA

Kali, the deity of degradation,
Who had no proper invitation,
Or any such prior intimation,
Was coming to the function,

On the way the deities met him,
She selected Nala they told him.
On the couple to wreck vengeance,
He was waiting for that chance.

Gambling was Nala's pastime,
Kali got into dice this time,
And brought Nala such a defeat,
His wealth and kingdom he lost.

Silently having left the capital,
Towards forest went the couple.
A bird to catch his garment he threw,
With that garment up it flew.

He had to share her cloth
This way went ahead both.
"Let us go to Vidarbha, " she told,
"Go to your parents, " he replied.

"Sorry, how can I leave you,
As your wife, well I need you, "
She wept and told him.
Everywhere she followed him.

At midnight in her sleep,
At the moment it was deep,
A piece he tore from her cloth,
Silently took an unknown path.

She got up to find him nowhere.
She searched for him everywhere.
She reached a safe place where,
Sages in the hermitage took care.

With a caravan that was moving,
When the forest they were crossing,
She went to the kingdom of Chedi,
Accompanying its leader, Suchi.

The queen watched her from balcony,
And was impressed with her beauty.
As matron, sairandhri, she took her
To take care of Sunanda, her daughter.

On the other side of the story,
Aimless Nala became weary.
He met a serpent on the way,
For help it made a loud cry.

To a safe place he took it,
But with its fang it bit.
Dark blue his body became,
Karkotaka, it said, was its name.

"In this shape hide you'll,
The poison at your will
Disappear once for all,
When later you recall."

"My poison will not affect
And free you from any defect,
Or any kind of diseases,
Or from attacking viruses."

He thanked the serpent.
Then to Ayodhya he went.
In king Rituparna's kitchen,
He joined one fine morn.

Chief cook there he became.
Also wild horses he did tame.
Fast he could drive a chariot.
The king slowly knew his merit.

"Where Damayanti has gone?
Is she now with her children?
With her parents she stays?
Or, she had lost her ways? "

Similar thoughts worried him,
And they mentally tortured him.
Sleepless nights he spent,
For his faults he did repent.

by Rajaram Ramachandran

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