7. Nakula

Nakula was beauty incarnate. He was the fourth Pandava. Like his eldest brother, Yudhishthira, he was not accustomed to hardship. Nevertheless, with his eldest brother he suffered tremendously. He always followed his elder brothers, especially Yudhishthira, like a shadow.

On his way to the exile-life in the forest he deliberately besmeared his body with earth and sand so that women would not fall in love with him for his matchless beauty.

Divinely peaceful and supremely soft-spoken by nature he always was. He said to Krishna, “O great soul, please try first to have an amiable and peaceful settlement with the Kauravas. If this process fails, you may warn them and intimidate them. Is there anything that you cannot accomplish if you want to? You can easily bring us back our lost kingdom.”

In physical beauty Nakula far surpassed all his brothers. But in physical strength, in valour, in archery and in battle-capacity even Sahadeva and Yudhishthira — not to speak of Bhima and Arjuna — far surpassed him.

After the battle of Kurukshetra was over, when Yudhishthira sat on the throne, Yudhishthira asked Nakula to look after the welfare of the army, and made him the cashier to offer regular salaries to the workers.

On their Heaven-bound journey, when Nakula’s soul left the body, Bhima said to Arjuna, “Our brother Nakula never swerved from the path of truth; he never found faults with his brothers. He always obeyed us cheerfully and devotedly. Why has he met with death?”

Yudhishthira’s immediate reply was, “He was excessively proud of his physical beauty. He and his pride were most intimate friends; therefore, death has captured him and snatched his life-breath away.”

[to be continued]