Vyasa tells King Panchala:
Long ago your daughter was the wife of a sage. She was called Nalayani and the sage, Maudgalya. The sage was affected with leprosy (white coloured limbs). He used to cough and spit. Bad smell emanated from his body. He was stubborn. Others will not tolerate him but his wife managed. (song 4)
One day while he was eating, his finger fell of into the food along with pus. The sage stopped eating. The wife removed the finger from the food and ate the remaining food considering it to be more sweet than honey. The sage considered her to be great and chaste. (song 5)
The sage told the wife: Now I will grant you all you want. She told him her desires. The beautiful women and the sage affected by desire wandered in eight directions and fourteen worlds as Rati and Kamadeva (song 6 )
Satisfied, the sage discarded all his desires. He wanted to do penance. The wife asked: who will be my lover now? The sage said: you will be born as a prostitute and be wife to five men. She performed penance and Siva appeared. She presented her sorrow of not having a husband five times. (song 7)
Siva blessed her to be born on earth and have five husbands. She is born as your daughter.
The next day, Drupada, Pandavas, other kings, Brahmins, ministers, citizens and generals of the army assembled in the court. Then Vyasa entered the court. King Drupada welcomed Vyasa and honoured him. The King explained to Vyasa : "We are in a dilemma. Yudhishtira said that all the five Pandavas will marry my daughter. This is not agreeable to me. Yesterday we dispersed saying that today we shall discuss the matter. O great sage, kindly guide and bless us."
Vyasa said : "I shall explain to you all secrets in private". Both entered a room and closed the door.
Vyasa said : "Listen to the story of the previous birth of your daughter. She was called Indrasena and Nalayani. Her husband was a sage called Maudgalya. The beautiful Indrasena's husband was extremely ugly - old, skinny, bald, affected by leprosy, body full of wounds emitting bad smell. He was also adamant. He used to speak harshly with the wife. The wife suffered all the ill-treatment patiently. She used to clean his body thoroughly, bathe him, prepare good food and feed him lovingly. The old man used to find fault with everything she does. He always complained about the food, about her, etc. She used to listen patiently without replying to any of the accusations. She gladly ate the food left over by the husband after he had mixed and eaten it with his hands having fingers covered with wounds, swarming with worms.
Many years Nalayani served Maudgalya in this manner. One day as he was eating, one of his fingers fell into the wound along with some worms. The sage stopped eating and got up. The wife removed the finger and the worms and ate the remaining food without any hesitation. The sage was highly pleased with this. Then he appeared as a handsome man with beautiful body and limbs and embraced his wife.
Maudgalya said : " My dear Nalayani, I assumed the form of an old man to test your love.I am pleased with your devotion. Ask for any boon."
The beautiful Nalayani said : "I wish to enjoy all pleasures in this world, in the world of Devas and in the netherworld. Please assume five forms and make love to me".
The great sage assumed five forms and enjoyed the pleasures with his
One day all the five and the wife went to the city of the great Deva.
The king of Devas welcomed them. The beautiful lady and her five
husbands roamed in the world of Indra and enjoyed all pleasures. The apsaras
saw them and discussed:
"So far I did not think that such beautiful women live on earth. Why did these men come here ? Do they want to show their beautiful wife to us? Among the five men who is the lady's husband?"
"I heard all five men are her husbands!"
"Are there not more than five men on earth ? Why did this woman think that five are enough?"
"She thought it may be uncomfortable if she brings many. Hence she brought five men with her."
"Do all women on earth follow such malpractices?"
"Who knows? In any case why are you concerned? If you mock at this, you will be blamed. The lord Indra is pleased with them. He has arranged a room for them. If you talk loosely, you may be in trouble. Our lord Indra is kind to women of earth. Do you know the truth ? What do you know? The lover of Ahalya wishes to help them."
"What a misfortune! A woman of ill-fame has arrived in our land. She is bent on doing various acts day and night. She lies on the lap of one man. Then another man makes up her hair. The third one presses her feet. The fourth caresses her hand. The fifth prepares betel leaf for her to chew. What do you think? All seem to be wicked fools."
"I do not understand why Devas are keeping quiet. These people should be killed. If I am the King, I will expel them immediately. They came here to make us suffer."
" We can not tolerate this. All will laugh at us if we speak openly."
While the divine women were discussing thus, the men and the women played various water games in the divine Ganga. They enjoyed various pleasures for some time.
The sage and his wife became a Yaksha and Yakshini, a Kinnara and Kinari, Charana and Charini, Horse faced man and woman, Vidhyadhara and Vidhyadhari.
They enjoyed in the Nandana forest, sandalwood forest, in the moon, in the world of Indra and in the end returned to their hermitage on earth. The great sage and his wife became a Brahmin and Brahmin woman. The sage spoke to his wife in Sanskrit. " Listen! There is no water to perform my prayers. The house is not cleaned properly. Where are the maid servants? Where are the lamps? Prepare food immediately. I am hungry." Thus they enjoyed as a Brahmin couple.
Nalayani suggested that they should leave Kerala and visit other regions.
The sage and his wife went to Pandya country (Tamil Nadu). As a
Tamil Brahmin, the sage spoke in Tamil: "Bring food to both of us
immediately. Otherwise we shall die of hunger".
"The rice and curry are ready. We shall serve you soon."
They proceeded to Telugu land as Telugu Brahmin couple. They went to a householder and spoke in Telugu. "We shall take bath and come. Keep the food ready."
Then they went to Konkan land and spoke to a householder in Konkani.
They went to LATa country (North India?) and spoke in Hindi.
Then they became a Kshtriya couple.
They became a Sudra couple. The sage consumed liquor and got intoxicated. He started beating his wife. People threatened him and asked him to stop beating the wife.
The couple became a copper smith and his wife, a carpenter and his wife, a blacksmith and his wife, a goldsmith and his wife, a kirata and his wife, an astrologer and his wife.
They enjoyed life as fish, crab, water snake, crocodile, tortoise, sea-horse, shark, tiger, deer, bison etc. In short they enjoyed the pleasures of all varieties of human and animal world.
At last the sage was satisfied. Indrasena was not at all satisfied. She wanted to have more and more pleasure. The holy sage said: "You are still not satisfied with sexual pleasure. Go to earth and be born as the daughter of Drupada. You will have five husbands. Enjoy all sexual pleasures. A prostitute will be happy only with men of loose morals. With excess sexual desires, you shall perish. It is better to strive for salvation. So go and perform penance."
Thus cursing Nalayani in this way, the great sage went to the forest and engaged himself in performing penances.