Shani Dev Kee Mahimaa | Reference-38
This story of Nal and Damayantee comes in Mahaabhaarat and Puraan - about their love, glory and comfortable life. But he was also affected by Shani.
There was a King named Nal who was the son of Veersen of Nishadh Desh. He was a very handsome, qualitative, brave and courageous King. He was very fond of playing Chausar (a dice game). He was married to Damayantee, the daughter of the King Bheemak of Vidarbh Desh. Damayantee had selected him in the Swayamvar.  Devtaa also witnessed his marriage. Indra blessed him with his Darshan in Yagya and good Gati (life). Agni Dev said - "Wherever you will call me I will appear there and you will get a Lok shining like myself." Yam Raaj said - "You will be a good cook and you will be firm on Dharm path." Varun blessed him - "Wherever you will call me, I will appear there and your garland will always be smelling sweet." Thus all Devtaa went back to their Lok after blessing him. Nal also came back to his capital after spending some time at Bheemak's palace.
Nal started living with his wife happily and comfortably. He had one son and one daughter from his wife Damayantee - Indrasen and Indrasenaa. Everything was going smooth that his Shani Dashaa started. Shani polluted his mind so a desire arose in his heart to play Chausar. Now he had a brother named Pushkar. He started playing Chausar with his brother. As the game started, because of Shani's effect, Raajaa Nal kept losing game after game. He lost everything - gold, silver, cows, cattle, palace and in the end he lost his kingdom also.
So Nal had to go to exile. He sent his children to their maternal grandfather's house and they both went to forest. Pushkar also made an announcement in the kingdom that whoever would help Raajaa Nal, he would get life sentence. Some time passed and Nal kept wandering in the forest. He told Damayante to go to her father's house saying that when his good days would come back, he would call her back, but Damayantee said - "I am your shadow, I cannot go anywhere." Some more days passed. He had only one cloth on his body.
One day Damayantee was sleeping and Nal was resting near her that a few birds sat near him and started singing. Their wings were shining like gold, so Nal thought if he would catch them he could get some money by selling them in the market. Thinking thus he took off his cloth and threw it over them to catch them, but because of Shani's effect the birds flew carrying his cloth. They said to Raajaa in human language - "O foolish King, We were very sorry to see you coming out of the city in one cloth, but now we are taking this one cloth also and listen, we are not the birds, we are your Karm."
This was the limit of Nal's grief, so he tore Damayantee's half Saaree (a wrapping cloth worn by women in India), wrapped around his waist and went away thinking that when she would not find him with her, she herself would go to her father's house. The same happened as he thought. When Damayantee woke up, she did not see Nal around, she started crying for him, but as he was not there, nobody answered her cries.
As she was looking for Nal, a python caught her. When she cried for help, a hunter came there and killed that python. Seeing her alone the hunter tried to misbehave with her. Damayantee was a Satee woman, she cursed him to burn and he immediately burned to ashes. Wandering around she came to the Chedi Desh, to King Subaahu and started serving as the maid of his Queen.
On the other side, when Raajaa Nal went forward, he saw Karkotak Naag in flames. He saved him but the result was opposite. After he saved Karkotak, Karkotak bit him. His bite made his whole body blue, but he did not die. Later he went to Ayodhyaa to Raajaa Rituparn and there he started serving him as his Saarathee and the caretaker of his horses. He lived there for the rest of the period of Shani. When Raajaa Nal came to know that it was all because of Shani, then he did Shani's Poojaa under the guidance of Raajaa Rituparn's priest.
Damayantee had not lost the hope, so she was still trying to find out her husband. She got an idea. Her father announced that he was going to organize his daughter's Swayamvar as she wanted to marry again. He thought when Nal would hear this news, he will surely come back. Raajaa Rituparn also got this invitation, but the time Raajaa Bheemak had set was so short that he could not reach there in time. He really wanted to attend Damayantee's Swayamvar, so he called his Saarathee Nal and told his problem. Nal said - "Don't worry, I will take you there, and we will reach there in time." On one side Nal was very sad that Damayantee wanted to remarry in his absence, and on the other side he was happy that at least he will have an opportunity to see her again.
So they set off for their journey. On the way Rituparn asked him as how he was able to drive his chariot so fast? Nal had lost everything in Chausar and he has tasted the result of losing the game, he had to win it again. So he made a deal with Rituparn that he would teach him the art of driving the chariot so fast and in exchange he would teach him to play Chausar techniques.
Both came to Vidarbh Desh in time. Since Nal was a Saarathee, he got mixed up with Bheemak's Saarathee and Rituparn was welcomed inside the palace. But Rituparn found that there was no preparation of any kind of Swayamar. He was surprised to see this, b ut he remained silent. Nal wanted to see his wife. Once his children came outside for playing. He got very emotional to see them but he did no disclose anything to them. He had cooked some food for himself, he gave some of it to them to give to their mother. They promptly gave it to their mother saying that the new Saarathee had sent this food for her. She tasted it and started weeping. She understood that the new Saarathee was nobody else except Nal. She went to her father and told him that she had succeeded in her plan. Rituparn's new Saarathee was nobody else except Nal. Bheemak immediately called him and Damayantee too. Both got very happy to see each other.
Nal asked Damayantee - "Why did you do this drama of your remarrying?" Damayantee said - "There was no other way to find out about you. I knew that nobody else can come here in such a short time. And when you sent me the food cooked by you, I got sure that it was you only who cooked this food, because nobody else can cook such sweet food." Shani's period was over. All went to their kingdom.
Once again Nal sat to play Chausar with Pushkar, but this time Pushkar lost everything. Still Nal returned his kingdom to him saying - "I know how one feels after losing everything. I don't want you to go through the same what I have already gone through." Pushakar fel on his fert and asked for his forgiveness.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 8/9/2008
Updated on 06/09/11