Nalacharitham First Day


This garden is so very deserted



Restless Nala grew over Narada’s word,

And hurt his mind was with arrows of the love-lord,

Assigning the reins of the kingdom to the nobles

He left his self in isolation in the palace gardens.


(Nala in contemplation):

This garden is so very deserted,

That is its only quality making me feel light-hearted.

But the gods to me no more look so benign,

Neither is the lord of lust with his fish-ensign.


The objects in the garden only sharpen my woe,

I just heard Damayanti is surpassed by no maiden

Thus hearing from Narada about Damayanti,
And also remembering the words of the people praising her purity,
Nala lost his heart to her and lost its calm
And he was left thoughtful of her charm.
(Nala in contemplation):
I just heard Damayanti is surpassed by no maiden in this earth and in the heaven,
So I hear from sage Narada’s mien.
I keep hearing about her virtue,

Your power scares the enemy armies

Your power scares the enemy armies from coming near,
Oh! Nala, you are so rich in grace and valour,
You are the lord of the earth,
Yet you lay your youth to waste.
Not for long do I stay anywhere,
I keep travelling everywhere,
I am known for making conflicts between one and the other,
in this world, in that and in the nether.
Have you not heard of Damayanti,
the Vidarbha princess of unsurpassed beauty?

Oh! Narada, I bow to you and seek your blessing

Pleased with the noble way king Nala ruled his kingdom, Venerable Rishi Narada paid him a visit with all his divine wisdom.
Oh! Narada, I bow to you and seek your blessing.
Thanks to your visit, my humble dwelling has been purified and made pristine,
Are you coming from the abode of Vishnu, or from the realms of the divine?  
My heart is now filled with joy much like how the night Lily feels on the full moon rise.

Nalacharitham (Story of Nala) First Day

The story of Nalacharitham (The saga of Nala) is developed from a small anecdotal reference to the vices of the game of dice in the great epic Mahabharatham.  Adapting this story for kathakali, Unnayi Varrier penned ‘Nalacharitham’ and, owing to its length split it into four parts. This translation from Part 1 covers the scenes that are normally presented on stage. It is not a complete translation of Part 1.