The Mahabharata Home
"Vrihadaswa said, 'When the blazing guardians of the worlds were returning after the daughter of Bhima had chosen Naishadha, on their way they met Dwapara with Kali approaching towards them. And seeing Kali, Sakra the slayer of Vala and Vritra, said, 'O Kali, say whither thou art going with Dwapara.' And thereupon Kali replied unto Sakra, 'Going to Damayanti's Swayamvara, will I obtain her (for my wife), as my heart is fixed upon that damsel.' Hearing this, Indra said with a smile, 'That Swayamvara is already ended. In our sight she hath chosen Nala for her husband.' Thus answered by Sakra, Kali, that vilest of the celestials, filled with wrath, addressing all those gods spake, 'Since in the presence of the celestials she hath chosen a mortal for her lord, it is meet that she should undergo a heavy doom.' Upon hearing these words of Kali, the celestials answered, 'It is with our sanction that Damayanti hath chosen Nala. What damsel is there that would not choose king Nala endued with every virtue? Well-versed in all duties, always conducting himself with rectitude, he hath studied the four Vedas together with the Puranas that are regarded as the fifth. Leading a life of harmlessness unto all creatures, he is truth-telling and firm in his vows, and in his house the gods are ever gratified by sacrifices held according to the ordinance. In that tiger among men--that king resembling a Lokapala, is truth, and forbearance, and knowledge, and asceticism, and purity and self-control, and perfect tranquillity of soul. O Kali, the fool that wisheth to curse Nala bearing such a character, curseth himself, and destroyeth himself by his own act. And, O Kali, he that seeketh to curse Nala crowned with such virtues, sinketh into the wide bottomless pit of hell rife with torments.' Having said this to Kali and Dwapara, the gods went to heaven. And when the gods had gone away, Kali said unto Dwapara, 'I am ill able, O Dwapara, to suppress my anger. I shall possess Nala, deprive him of his kingdom, and he shall no more sport with Bhima's daughter. Entering the dice, it behoveth thee to help me.'"
Next: Section LIX