The Mahabharata Home
Vrihadaswa said. "Bhima's daughter, the cool-headed Damayanti, seeing the righteous king maddened and deprived of his senses at dice, was filled, O king, with alarm and grief. And she thought the affair to be a serious one with the king. And apprehensive of the calamity that threatened Nala, yet seeking his welfare and at last understanding that her lord
had lost everything, she said unto her nurse and maid-servant Vrihatsena of high fame, intent upon her good, dexterous in all duties, faithful and sweet-speeched, these words, 'O Vrihatsena, go thou and summon the councillors in the name of Nala, and tell them also what of wealth and other things hath been lost and what remaineth.' The councillors then, hearing of Nala's summons, said, 'This is fortunate for us' and approached the king. And when the subjects in a body had (thus) come a second time, the daughter of Bhima informed Nala of it. But the king regarded her not. Finding her husband disregarding her words, Damayanti, filled with shame, returned to her apartments. And hearing that the dice were uniformly unfavourable to the virtuous Nala, and that he had lost everything, she again spake unto her nurse, saying, 'O Vrihatsena, go thou again in Nala's name to bring hither, O blessed one, the charioteer, Varshneya. The matter at hand is very serious.' And Vrihatsena, hearing those words of Damayanti caused Varshneya to be summoned by trusty servants. And the blameless daughter of Bhima, acquainted with conduct suitable to time and place, addressing soft words said according to the occasion, 'Thou knowest how the king hath always behaved towards thee. He is now in difficulty, and it behoveth thee to assist him. The more the king loseth to Pushkara, the greater becometh his ardour for the play. And as the dice fall obedient to Pushkara, it is seen that they are adverse to Nala in the matter of the play. And absorbed in the play, he heedeth not the words of his friends and relatives, nor even those of mine. I do not think, however, that in this the high-souled Naishadha is to blame, in as much as the king regarded not my words, being absorbed in play. O Charioteer, I seek thy protection. Do my behest. My mind misgiveth me. The king may come to grief. Yoking Nala's favourite horses endued with the fleetness of the mind, do thou take these twins (my son and daughter) on the car and hie thou to Kundina. Leaving the children there with my kindred as also the car and the horses, either stay thou there, or go to any other place as it listeth thee.' Varshneya, the charioteer of Nala, then reported in detail these words of Damayanti unto the chief officers of the king. And having settled (the matter) in consultation with them, and obtaining their assent, O mighty monarch, the charioteer started for Vidarbha, taking the children on that car. And leaving there the boy Indrasena and the girl Indrasena, as also that best of cars and those steeds, the charioteer, with a sad heart grieving for Nala, bade farewell unto Bhima. And wandering for some time, he arrived at the city of Ayodhya. And there he appeared with a sorrowful heart before king Rituparna, and entered the service of that monarch as charioteer."
Next: Section LXI