Sunday, October 17, 2010

Episode 28 - Damayanti & Nala, part 1

Episode 28 - While Arjun remains in heaven, relaxing with his father Indra, news reaches the Kaurava court of Arjun's exploits.  Dhrtarastra then has one of his bouts of regret while Sanjay scolds him for being so stupid.  We then cut over to the rest of the Pandavas, who are still living off the dirt in the foothills of Dehra Dun.  Bhima is ready to chop off some heads and he takes his frustration out on his elder brother.

The sage Brhadashva then shows up with a story of a king who actually had it worse off then even the Pandavas; he recites the story of Nala and his clever wife Damayanti.

It is interesting to think how this story would have been told in different cultures.  If this had been an ancient Greek story, it would have been Indra/Zeus who was the offended one and cursed Nala, rather than a more obscure god.  And if this story had been told in Medieval Europe, then the Five World Guardians would have been human noblemen, and Nala & Damayanti would have been from the middle class.  These noblemen would all have wanted her to be their mistress, but she chose instead an upright townsman whom she loved instead.  Then the noblemen, in their outrage at having been passed over in favor of a commoner, would have taken their revenge in a more traditional manner-- rape & pillage!


  1. dear laurence, i am a regular listener of mahabharata podcast. i am a hindu by birth and hindu mythology always fascinates me. in nala and damayanti podcast, you mentioned about kali being addressed as he instead of she. i would like to clarify, that kali mentioned in the story is kaliyuga and not the goddess kali. like other is dwaparyuga which is the period before the kaliyug.

  2. Thanks, although I don't understand why the dvaparyuga collaborated with kaliyuga do do mean things-- I thought tugs represented Eras, not specific deities. I suppose these were the divine manifestations of the two eras? I could use a little more help with this!

    Thanks again,

  3. "tugs" is what my cell phone thought was the correct way to spell "Yuga"!!!

  4. Dear Lawrence
    I liked the way you compared how this story could have been told in different cultures in different manner. good insight.


  5. Lawrence,

    I have just started with your Podcast 2 weeks back and you do present the great epic in an interesting style and am hooked to it. I will have to second the comment made by "Anonymous" on Oct 18, 2010. Kali and Dwapar here are the demi-gods that rule over the 2 Yugas namely Kali Yuga and Dwapara Yuga and hence, Kali is referred to as a "HE". The other one is "Kālī" that refers to the goddess.

  6. Lawrence, been listening to your podcast, in this episode i think you have made a mistake

    Nalan was not caught(yep literally this is the expression Hindu's use for Sani's influence on ones life)

    He was caught by Sani god

    Nalan story is a famous legend in its own right.

    Shani is one god even the god themselves dont mess with according to Hindu beliefs

    Thanks for your podcast btw