|Nala and Damayanti (by R.R. Varma)|
Nala, the young King of Nishada, and Damayanti, the beautiful daughter of Bhima King of Vidarbha, were madly in love with each other .
The two had never seen, but Nala was madly in love with this girl whose beauty was legendary and she, Damayanti, was lost for the young king, whose was extolled the strength and honesty, beauty and goodness, charm and affability.
When the time came, the king Bhima organized his daughter's Swayamvara, the ceremony during which the princess had to choose her spouse by putting on his neck a garland of flowers.
Many kings and princes of the whole earth went to Swayamvara and even four powerful Gods: Indra, Varuna, Agni and Yama, all drawn by the irresistible beauty of Damayanti.
The king Nala on the way encountered the four Gods, and bowed at their feet declaring their servant, willing to do anything for them.
The Gods then asked Nala to go to Damayanti and tell her that she had to choose one of them as a husband. To allow Nala to enter in the royal palace, the Gods gave him a mantra that would make him invisible.
With a heavy heart, Nala performed his task, but the princess said, "I will make the worthy honors to those powerful Gods, but as a husband I will choose the man who dwells in my heart for a long time."
Known response of the princess, the four Gods then decided to take all four of the appearance of Nala so that when the master of ceremonies announced the entrance of the king of Nishada, entered all five sovereigns perfectly equal to each other. All the people who attended the ceremony were amazed, five men all identical to each other!
At the climax of the Swayamvara, the time at which the princess was to encircle the neck of chosen with a garland of flowers, Damayanti however had no hesitation and chose the real Nala.
The Gods were astonished and asked the princess how she had to recognize the true Nala.
"I saw Nala placed his feet on the ground, his body gave shade and beating cilia, all of which you, being divine beings, do not and so I chose him, the man I love."