Section LXVI - King Nala's Encounter with the Naga Karkotaka

| Posted in: Hinduism Itihasa

Book index: Mahabharata (English)
This page contains a summary of the Mahabharata Section LXVI 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 LXVI - King Nala's Encounter with the Naga Karkotaka
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Short summary of the chapter:
After deserting Damayanti, King Nala encounters a raging fire in a dense forest and hears a voice calling for help from within it. He bravely enters the fire and finds a mighty Naga named Karkotaka, who had been cursed by the Rishi Narada to stay immobile until Nala takes him to a specific place. The snake asks Nala for help, promising to be his friend and offer him protection from harm. Nala carries the snake to a safe place, where Karkotaka bites him on the tenth step, causing Nala's appearance to change but also granting him immunity from venom and enemies.

The snake reveals that he has altered Nala's form to protect him from recognition and harm, and that Nala's deceiver will suffer in his place within his body. Karkotaka assures Nala that he will be victorious in battles, free from fear of animals and enemies, and will eventually regain his kingdom and reunite with his family. The snake advises Nala to go to the city of Ayodhya and pose as a charioteer named Vahuka to learn dice skills from King Rituparna, who will also become his friend and offer assistance. Nala is given celestial cloth by the Naga, which he can wear to return to his original form when desired. The story ends with the Naga disappearing after imparting these instructions to Nala.

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 LXVI - King Nala's Encounter with the Naga Karkotaka, have a look at the following articles:

Section LXVI, online text

English translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli.

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Mahabharata (English Summary)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | ISBN-10: 8121505933

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FAQ of Mahabharata, Section LXVI:

What did Nala do when he heard the voice calling for him in the fire?

Nala entered the fire and found a snake named Karkotaka who asked for his help.

What curse was placed on the snake Karkotaka by the Rishi Narada?

Karkotaka was cursed to stay immobile until Nala carried him to a specific place.

How did the snake Karkotaka help Nala after biting him?

Karkotaka transformed Nala's appearance, protected him from harm, and provided instructions.

Daily life: King Nala's Encounter with the Naga Karkotaka:

In the story shared, we encounter Nala, a king who undergoes severe trials, including loss and transformation, with guidance and intervention from a celestial serpent named Karkotaka. The narrative unfolds with Nala helping Karkotaka, despite the apparent danger, which leads to Nala undergoing a transformation that hides his true identity and grants him new abilities. This act of kindness towards Karkotaka, despite Nala's own suffering, and the subsequent challenges he faces, hold profound life lessons.

Applying this tale to our daily lives means recognizing the value of helping others, even when we ourselves are in challenging situations. It teaches us that our actions, especially those of kindness and bravery, can lead to unforeseen benefits and opportunities for growth, even if they may not be immediately apparent. Moreover, the story emphasizes resilience and adaptability; Nala's willingness to embrace his new identity and circumstances eventually leads him to regain what he lost and discover new strengths.

In essence, this story encourages us to face adversities with courage and to remain open to helping others, as our actions can catalyze positive changes in our lives. It also highlights the importance of being adaptable and not losing hope, as our darkest moments may lead to new paths and eventual triumph.

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