Section LIX - The Tragic Game of Dice: Nala vs Pushkara - Story Summary

| Posted in: Hinduism Itihasa

Book index: Mahabharata (English)
This page contains a summary of the Mahabharata Section LIX including examples of moral lessons in daily life. The Maha-Bharata is one of the largest epics ever written containing roughly 100,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with the legendary history of ancient India and contains a large number of interwoven tales.

Mahabharata Section LIX - The Tragic Game of Dice: Nala vs Pushkara - Story Summary
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Short summary of the chapter:
Kali, a malevolent spirit, made a pact with Dvapara to cause chaos in the kingdom of the Nishadhas. He waited for an opportunity to enter a human body and found it when Naishadha, the king of the Nishadhas, neglected to wash his feet before performing his prayers. Kali possessed Nala, the king, and urged Pushkara to challenge him to a game of dice with the promise of victory, leading to the gradual loss of Nala's kingdom and possessions. Despite attempts by his friends and citizens to intervene, Nala could not break free from the grip of Kali, causing great distress to him and his wife Damayanti.

Damayanti, devastated by Nala's losses, pleaded with him to meet with the citizens and offer them an explanation for his actions. However, Nala, under the influence of Kali, remained silent and refused to address his people, causing them to leave in despair, believing their king to be lost. Over several months, Nala continued to gamble with Pushkara, facing defeat after defeat, as his virtuous nature was overshadowed by the malevolent spirit controlling him. Despite the efforts of Damayanti and the citizens, Nala's downfall seemed inevitable as Kali's influence grew stronger.

The citizens, witnessing Nala's continued losses and his lack of response to their pleas, were filled with grief and shame, as their once noble and righteous king seemed to be slipping away. Nala's situation worsened as he became consumed by his desire to win back his losses, falling deeper into the trap set by Kali and Pushkara. Despite the support of his wife and subjects, Nala's downfall appeared to be sealed as Kali's wicked influence clouded his judgment and actions.

As Nala's losses mounted, his kingdom and possessions dwindled, leading to a state of despair and hopelessness for both him and Damayanti. The citizens, once loyal and proud of their king, could only watch in sorrow as Nala's downfall continued unabated, with no end in sight to his suffering. Kali's cunning plan to bring chaos and destruction to the kingdom of the Nishadhas had succeeded, leaving Nala and his loved ones trapped in a cycle of loss and despair.

Full English translation:

This page is merely a summary which is automatically generated. If you are looking for authentic sources such as the Sanskrit text or the Full English translation of Mahabharata Section LIX - The Tragic Game of Dice: Nala vs Pushkara - Story Summary, have a look at the following articles:

Section LIX, online text

English translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli.

Read this and other chapters online.

Mahabharata (English Summary)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | ISBN-10: 8121505933

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FAQ of Mahabharata, Section LIX:

What was the consequence of Nala's mistake in the game of dice?

Nala ended up losing his kingdom, wealth, and possessions to Pushkara due to Kali's influence, causing distress to his people.

How did Damayanti try to intervene in the dice game? Damayanti urged Nala to meet with his citizens and counselors, who were distressed by his losses, but Nala remained silent and continued playing.

Who instigated Pushkara to challenge Nala to a game of dice?** Kali appeared before Pushkara and encouraged him to play against Nala, promising him victory and the Nishadha kingdom.

Daily life: The Tragic Game of Dice: Nala vs Pushkara - Story Summary:

The story revolves around Nala, a king, who falls victim to his own neglect of rituals and becomes possessed by Kali, leading to a disastrous gambling addiction. This tale serves as a profound warning about the importance of mindfulness and adherence to one's principles. In our daily lives, we might not face the exact scenario of becoming possessed due to skipping washing feet, but the core lesson remains relevant. It teaches us the significance of maintaining our values and being wary of seemingly small yet potentially harmful lapses in judgment.

The narrative highlights the destructive power of addiction, in Nala’s case to gambling, which not only affects him but also his kingdom and loved ones. The story illustrates how an obsession, when fueled by external negative forces, can lead to one's downfall. Thus, it's crucial to stay conscious of our actions and their consequences, ensuring we don't fall prey to habits that might appear harmless initially but can have severe ramifications.

Moreover, the story underlines the role of support systems, like Nala's citizens and counselors, who tried to intervene and help him. It teaches us the value of accepting help and guidance from those around us when we find ourselves in detrimental situations. Through this ancient tale, we're reminded of the timeless lesson of self-awareness, responsible behavior, and the significance of community support in overcoming adversities.

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