Jatasuravadha Parva is the thirty fourth upa parva included in the third maha parva, named as Vana Parva or Aranyaka Parva in the epic Mahabharat. The original epic was composed by Vyasa in Sanskrit. Vyshampayana had narrated to Janamejaya the historical events that happened in the forests on his queries.

How did Ghatotkacha help Yudhishtira to reach Saugandhikavana after the cyclone, at the request of Bhima?

Due to cyclone Draupadi fainted and Yudhishtira also found it difficult to climb the steep hills. Bhima had thought of his son Ghatotkacha, and he immediately appeared there and at the request of his father, he had carried Yudhishtira, Draupadi and Pandava brothers over a palanquin up to Saugandhikavana. Lomasha Rishi had used his ascetic powers to reach his goal and had already moved there. Bhima had followed his son, reached safely on the top of the Saugandhikavana and settled there on a comfortable place with his help. 

What did Hanuman explain to Bhima about Vedas, Yajnas and Gods?
आचारसंभवो धर्मो धर्माद्वेदाः समुत्थिताः।
वेदैर्यज्ञाः समुत्पन्ना यज्ञैर्देवाः प्रतिष्ठिताः ॥

Meaning: Cultural performances form the part of Dharma from which the Vedas evolve into their existences. Yajnas are created by Vedas from which the Gods manifest their existences.

Hanuman had explained to Bhima about Vedas, Yajnas and Gods.

What did Jatasura do after Lomasha Rishi had left from Saugandhikavana?

Jatasura was a demon, who possessed long, heavy and strong hair but he had disguised as a Brahmin and used to visit the camp of Pandava brothers.  He had pretended and spoken very politely, always searched for the weapons and tried to identify the places where those were stored in idle times. Bhima had noticed his hair, movements and doubted regarding his over-politeness but left without any seriousness. Jatasura was waiting for the absence of Bhima and Lomasha Rishi.

One day, Bhima was returning after procuring the Saugandhika flowers for Draupadi. Then Jatasura had assumed his original demon shape with heavy arms, large teeth and long legs. He abducted Yudhishtira, Nakula, Sahadeva including Draupadi using his long and strong hair and tied up them over his head with his hair, and started running through the dense forest. Sahadeva was very clever and he started to cut the hair of the demon using his sharp teeth. He called Bhima loudly while the demon ran fast in the forest carrying them. 

Who had escaped from the clutches of Jatasura first, and what did he do?

Sahadeva had escaped from the clutches of Jatasura, by cutting the hair tied around his body and he also ran behind the demon calling Bhima loudly.  

Bhima and demon Jatasura wrestling
Bhima and Jatasura wrestling
How Bhima had killed Jatasura?

Bhima had heard the call and immediately stood in front of the demon. Then Yudhishtira had suppressed the demon with a heavy application of weight. On seeing Bhima, the demon laughed loudly and declared he would eat them all together. But Bhima arrested his left arm immediately.

Subsequently, the demon had left Yudhishtira, Draupadi and his brothers free. Then, he plucked one tree and started striking Bhima. Bhima had also plucked another tree and started striking the demon, Jatasura. There after, they started fighting mutually with various trees.

When the trees were exhausted, they started to fight with big stone boulders. When stones were exhausted, they started to wrestle. Jatasura was tired. Bhima had raised his body and stamped into the ground. He vomited blood and died then and there. Thus, with the timely attendance of Bhima, Pandavas had lived safely.

When Arjuna wasn’t there with Pandava brothers for five years, it was very difficult for them to pass time in Kamyakavana. One day, Draupadi had asked Yudhishtira about any lady who had lived in the past who suffered more sorrows than hers. On the same day, Brihadashwa Rishi had visited Yudhishtira. Yudhishtira had put forward the same question to Brihadashwa and as a positive answer, he told the story of king Nala and queen Damayanthi of Nishada kingdom. 

Brihadashwa had consoled Draupadi as she had Yudhishtira with her in forests.

What was the name of the father of Nala?

The father of Nala was Veerasena, the king of Nishada.

What was the name of the father of Damayanthi?

The father of Damayanthi was the king of Vidarbha, with a name as Bhima. 

What was used as the message carrier by Damayanti and why?

Damayanthi when grown up desired to marry Nala, and hence she used white swan as the confidential message carrier from Vidarbha to Nishada.

Who were the other aspirants for Swayamvara of Damayanthi?

During the Damayanthi Swayamvara, many kings attended. Since she was a beautiful bride, other aspirants from heaven like Indra, Agni, Varuna, and even Yama had started to the palace of Vidarbha to attend the Swayamvara of Damayanthi.

What special services were done by Nala to Indra, Agni, Varuna and Yama?

King Nala was travelling to the palace of Vidarbha for the Swayamvara of Damayanthi when he met on the way with Indra, Agni, Varuna and Yama. Nala was a human being but a very sincere king in his works. The heavenly angels were proud and they desired to use Nala as their servant. The angels introduced their names to Nala and told him to meet Damayanthi secretly and convey their message of coming there for Swayamvara. Nala had agreed but he wished to get some ascetic powers from them to keep his body unrecognized in the palace until the moment of Swayamvara. The angels had provided him with the body hiding power as required.

Nala had entered the palace of Vidarbha, but the king, the mother of Damayanthi or anybody could not see him due to the powers granted to him. He straightly entered into the chamber of Damayanthi, but she could not see him. Nala had told her the truth. She replied, let anybody come or anything happen she would marry only the king Nala. Then Nala had returned to the angels and reported back the reply of Damayanthi to them very sincerely. 

What were the boons received by Nala and Damayanthi in marriage?

During the Swayamvara moment, all the willing princes, kings, and the angels from the heavens assembled in a row. The maiden servant followed Damayanthi assisting her to hold the garland. She was free to choose her husband as per her will and desire. The angels had played a trick. They had dressed like king Nala. They had assumed the appearance of king Nala in every aspect and one could not recognize who was the real Nala. Out of the four angels, Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuna, two of them stood on both sides of the real king Nala. 

Nala was naturally benefitted by his sincere services rendered in that morning; he was not interested in the appearance of the bride and with confidence closed his eyes when Damayanthi was coming in front of the row.  Damayanthi was intelligent but when she had seen the five people identically standing in the row, initially, she had looked towards her father. Nobody could distinguish between the real Nala and the disguised angels as Nala, she understood the trick of the angels.

Damayanthi had been educated and her father had told her many things. Without any suspicion, Damayanthi had took the garland from the hands of her maiden servant and put on the neck of the real king Nala. Everybody were happy. Then her marriage was conducted by her father and the four angels had disappeared after granting the couple special boons, eight in total numbers.

Indra granted god ship in sacrifices, equivalent to Ashwamedha to Nala, with additional benefits such as Ashwahridaya and Damayanthi would get blessed legendary positions always. Agni would appear whenever Nala wished him and Damayanthi would get the brightness of fire whenever she required. Yama had granted him ability to cook foods with heavenly tastes and Damayanthi would preserve always great virtues. Varuna also granted him ability to get water with will and desire and Damayanthi would always preserve celestial fragrance. Hence the overall boons were eight in total numbers.

How did Damayanthi decide who the real king Nala was?

Damayanthi had learned that an angel’s feet would never touch the ground and they could not wink their eyes. Real king Nala was standing on the Earth and he could close his eyes. With these features, Damayanthi could recognize the real king Nala.

Why did Kali get angry over Damayanthi?

Kali was jealous in nature and slow to act. When he reached the venue, the marriage of Damayanthi was over. Hence he got angry.

How did Kali disturb Nala and Damayanthi to separate them?

The jealous Kali started to disturb king Nala. He induced his younger brother Pushkara to play dice game. In the dice game, Nala lost his kingdom and was forced to quit his country with his wife Damayanthi.

How was Karkotaka Nagaraja cursed?

Due to the bite by Karkotaka Nagaraja, the body of Nala had become black. He had abandoned the sleeping Damayanthi in the dense forest and walked away.

How did Damayanthi manage to reach the palace of princess Sunanda, under the king Subahu, at Chedipura?

With some merchants and hawkers, Damayanthi had managed to reach the palace of princess Sunanda, under the king Subahu, at Chedipura

How did Nala manage to reach the palace of king Rituparna at Ayodhya?

Nala had walked many days and reached the palace of king Rituparna at Ayodhya.

How and where Nala had lived in disguise?

Initially, Nala had worked as a cook in the palace of king Rituparna at Ayodhya, and later he got a job as a charioteer.

How and where Damayanthi had lived during her bad times?

Damayanthi had lived as maiden servant of princess Sunanda, under the king Subahu, at Chedipura.

Who was Sudeva and what did he do?

Sudeva was a Brahmin and was sent as an intelligence agent. He was searching for Damayanthi, he found her presence and carried her to Vidarbha, her father’s palace. 

Who was Parnada and what did he do?

Parnada was a Brahmin and was sent as an intelligence agent. After a thorough search and reviewing the conditional question asked by Damayanthi, Parnada had moved through many places, and one day, he met a charioteer called Bahuka working in the palace of king Rituparna at Ayodhya. He answered the question by saying that chaste women would not get angry and her virtuous behaviour would protect her in distress. He reported the news to Damayanthi at Vidarbha. 

How and why was the remarriage of Damayanthi populated?

With the help of her own mother, Damyanthi had again sent the messenger Sudeva to the palace of Rituparna for populating Damayanthi’s remarriage by Swayamvara. It was so arranged that the message would be conveyed two days prior to the Swayamvara. Sudeva had done accordingly, and Rituparna started to negotiate with Bahuka to attend the function.

Bahuka had arranged the journey with the king Rituparna to Vidarbha since the distance of one hundred yojana from Kosala to Vidarbha could not be covered by other routine charioteer. Damayanthi had known about her husband’s ability to achieve, as he knew Ashwahridaya. 

Who were the trio who travelled to Vidarbha and how was their journey?

King Rituparna, Bahuka (Nala in disguise) and the usual charioteer were the trio who travelled to Vidarbha.  The journey went with very high speed and on the way, Rituparna had got a doubt about Bahuka that he could be Nala but did not tell him. But Rituparna desired to learn Ashwahridaya from Bahuka and requested him to teach on his route. Bahuka agreed and in lieu, he sought him to teach him Akshavidya by which one could always win in the dice game.

सर्वः सर्वं न जानाति सर्वज्ञो नास्ति कश्चन ।
नैकत्र परितिष्ठास्ति ज्ञानस्य पुरुषे क्व चित् ॥

Meaning: All people are not fully possessing all knowledge. There is not a man who knows everything. Knowledge never accumulates on a single person always.

Bahuka and Rituparna shared the knowledge branches, Ashwahridaya and Akshavidya mutually on the route and reached Vidarbha palace before time.

Who was Sukeshini and what did she do?

Sukeshini was a maiden servant of Sunanda and was sent as an intelligence agent towards Bahuka. She brought the cooked horse-food from Bahuka and gave it to Damayanthi. By its taste, she could guess Bahuka could be king Nala.

How did Damayanthi confirm about Bahuka as he could be real Nala?

Damayanthi had sent her children with Sukeshini near Bahuka and instructed her to watch his behaviours. When Bahuka had greeted his children as a father, Sukeshini had confirmed as he should be the real father of those children and reported to Damayanthi.

Later Sukeshini had invited Bahuka to meet Damayanthi, children with his mother in law. Damayanthi had treated Nala with honor and provided him good royal clothes. Later when Damayanthi had memorized the boons of the angels, he got his real king Nala’s appearance.

What were the special features of Nala?

Nala was a sincere king and he was a best ruler also. He got the boons from angels and due to devoting the Dharma, Kali had to leave him causing him again to rule his kingdom for a long time. Nala had got his name unforgettable as an emperor.

How was Damayanthi Punaswayamvara completed?

Rituparna had been greeted by the king of Vidarbha as his guest but there was no preparation of any signs of Swayamvara.  He was happy to know the full history. Hence he had returned with his routine charioteer to Ayodhya, blessing the couple.

What did Brihadaswa do to Yudhishtira later?

Brihadaswa had taught Aksha vidya to Yudhishtira later.

What are the benefits of telling, reading or hearing the story of Nala Damayanti?
कार्कोटकस्य नागस्य दमयंत्या नलस्य च ।
ऋतुपर्णस्य राजर्षेः कीर्तनं कलिनाशनं ​॥

Meaning: The bad times of a person would be eliminated and luck would shower wealth on him on telling, reading or hearing the story of Nala, Damayanti, Nagaraja Karkotaka or Rituparna Rajarshi. 

What are the names memorized by people everyday morning to gain virtues?
पुण्यश्लोको नलो राजा पुण्यश्लोको युधिष्ठिरः ।
पुण्यश्लोका च वैदेही पुण्यश्लोको जनार्दनः ॥

Meaning: The virtuous names are Punyashloka Nala, Yudhishtira, Janardana and Vaidehi. Vaidehi is the name of Sita, the wife of Sri Ramachandra.

People memorize the above virtuous names every morning to gain virtues.

On reading this story, children would gain more memory power.

Next post, Mahabharat: Yakshayuddha would be more interesting.

Mahabharat: Ajagara parva would be presented separately in another article.

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Krishna upon us. 

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