The Mahabharata Home
"Vrihadaswa said, 'Having made this compact with Dwapara, Kali came to the place where the king of the Nishadhas was. And always watching for a hole, he continued to dwell in the country of the Nishadhas for a long time. And it was in the twelfth year that Kali saw a hole.
[paragraph continues] For one day after answering the call of nature, Naishadha touching water said his twilight prayers, without having previously washed his feet. And it was through this (omission) that Kali entered his person. And having possessed Nala, he appeared before Pushkara, and addressed him, saying, 'Come and play at dice with Nala. Through my assistance thou wilt surely win at the play. And defeating king Nala and acquiring his kingdom, do thou rule the Nishadhas.' Thus exhorted by Kali, Pushkara went to Nala. And Dwapara also approached Pushkara, becoming the principal die called Vrisha. And appearing before the warlike Nala, that slayer of hostile heroes, Pushkara, repeatedly said, 'Let us play together with dice.' Thus challenged in the presence of Damayanti, the lofty-minded king could not long decline it. And he accordingly fixed the time for the play. And possessed by Kali, Nala began to lose, in the game, his stakes in gold, and silver, and cars with the teams thereof, and robes. And maddened at dice, no one amongst his friends could succeed in dissuading that represser of foes from the play that went on. And thereupon, O Bharata, the citizens in a body, with the chief councillors, came thither to behold the distressed monarch and make him desist. And the charioteer coming to Damayanti spake to her of this, saying, 'O lady, the citizens and officers of the state wait at the gate. Do thou inform the king of the Nishadhas that the citizens have come here, unable to bear the calamity that hath befallen their king conversant with virtue and wealth.' Thereupon Bhima's daughter, overwhelmed with grief and almost deprived of reason by it, spake unto Nala in choked accents, 'O king, the citizens with the councillors of state, urged by loyalty, stay at the gate desirous of beholding thee. It behoveth thee to grant them an interview.' But the king, possessed by Kali, uttered not a word in reply unto his queen of graceful glances, uttering thus her lamentations. And at this, those councillors of state as also the citizens, afflicted with grief and shame, returned to their homes, saying, 'He liveth not.' And, O Yudhishthira, it was thus that Nala and Pushkara gambled together for many months, the virtuous Nala being always worsted.'"
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