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Nala and Nila were solid builder in building Ram Setu in the Ramayan. And I have some questions and doubts.

Who are their parents?

Are they two brothers and twins?

How they got similar kind of name as Nala and Nila?

How did they meet lord Rama? And How could they make stones floatable on water while building Ram Setu?

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    Ohhhh..this seems easy but a difficult question to answer (without a contradiction).. – YDS Dec 23 '17 at 7:11
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    @YDS It is easy if you refer Valmiki Ramayana. Nala and NIla are not twins. Valmiki Ramayana is authentic than any other Ramayana. If the names are similar, ot doesn't mean they are twins or Brothers. Mainda and Dvivida are twins but they didn't have similar names. Nakula and Sahadeva are twins but they didn't have similar names. It's easy. – Sarvabhouma Dec 23 '17 at 7:16
  • @YDS No... the biological father of Nala and Nila are no where said in Ramayana. It is not the same as Hanuman having two fathers. Nala's father is Vishwakarma and Nila's father is Agni in the same way Vayu is the father of Hanuman. They are not twins. They had their amshas. Later versions of Ramayana add up the author's imagination but Valmiki Ramayana is authentic. – Sarvabhouma Dec 23 '17 at 7:24
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    @NogShine then u will say Sugriva and Bali (Vali) were also not brothers.. because their fathers were different Surya and Indra.. so what u say Sugriva and Bali were brothers or not?? – YDS Dec 23 '17 at 7:55
  • @YDS lol. That doesn't make sense. To call brothers, there is a criteria. 1. Same biological father. Vali and Sugriva 2. Same mental father. Hanuman and Bhima. So, Vali and Sugriva are brothers because they are born of Riksharajas but Nala and Nila's father is not mentioned in Ramayana. For further discussion, use chat . – Sarvabhouma Dec 23 '17 at 8:03
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Nala and Nila were valiant Vanaras and fought against Ravana. They were born due to boons from the Devatas. The names seems similars but they are not twins not even brothers. The twins in the Vanara army were Mainda and Dvivida.

Nala

He was the son of divine Architect Vishwakarma. He acquired skills just like his father.

धनदस्य सुतः श्रीमान् वानरो गन्धमादनः |
विश्वकर्मा तु अजनयन् नलम् नाम महा कपिम् || १-१७-१२

The brilliant Gandhamaadana is the son of Kubera, while the divine architect Vishvakarma procreated the great monkey called Nala. [1-17-12]

Nala was the one who built Rama Setu. The ocean God advised Sri Rama to build a bridge over the ocean to Rama and recommends the name of Nala because he was the son of Vishwakarma. He was equal to his father in skill. Vishwakarma bestowed a boon to Nala and he would be equal to him in prowess.

The ocean God says this to Rama before the bridge was constructed.

"O, excellent man! This one, named Nala, a glorious person, is the son of Vishvakarma; who was given a boon by his father and is equal to Visvakarma." [5-22-44]

Let this greatly energetic monkey build a bridge across me. I can hold that bridge. He is just the same as his father. [5-22-45]

Hearing this from Sagara, Nala who was silent stood and spoke up as follows.

The great Ocean disclosed a truth. I will construct a bridge across this large Ocean, taking recourse to the skill and ability of my father. "On the mountain of Mandara, the following boon was given by Visvakarma to my mother: O, god like lady! A son equal to me will be born to you. I am a son born of Visvakarma's own loins. I am equal to Visvakarma. This god of Ocean has reminded me. The great ocean spoke the truth. Being unasked, I have not told you my details earlier. I am capable of constructing a bridge across the ocean. Hence, let the foremost of monkeys build the bridge now itself. [5-45-47]

Hearing the words of mighty Vanara Nala, Rama and thousands of vanaras rejoiced in joy and started the construction of the bridge.

Nala was able to construct a long bridge due to the boon of Vishwakarma. Ocean God promised that he would be able to hold the bridge built by him. So, the rocks, trees and boulders brought trees for constructing the bridge.

Nila

Nila was also a valiant Vanara equal to Sugriva in might, courage and prowess. He was the son of Agni. He was one of the commanders of the Vanara army.

पावकस्य सुतः श्रीमान् नीलः अग्नि सदृश प्रभः |
तेजसा यशसा वीर्यात् अत्यरिच्यत वीर्यवान् || १-१७-१३

The bright son of Fire is Neela whose blaze is like that of fire and who excels other monkeys by his in resplendence, renown and courage. [1-17-13]

Nila was not the one who designed the plan for Ram setu bridge but he was one of very few Vanaras who could cross the ocean by flight. Hanuman thinks as follows:

चतुर्णामेव हि गतिर्वानराणां महात्मनाम् |
वालिपुत्रस्य नीलस्य मम राज्ञश्च धीमतः || ५-२-३०

Only four great Vanaras can come here - the son of Vali (Angada), Nila, myself and the wise king Sugriva. [4.2.30]

Even Ravana knew the courage and valour of Nila. When Hanuman was destroying Ashoka vana and killing the rakshasas sent by Ravana, he thinks and says this to his ministers.

दृष्टा हि हरयः शीघ्रा मया विपुल विक्रमाः |
वाली च सह सुग्रीवो जाम्बवान् च महाबलः || ५-४६-१०
नीलः सेना पतिः चैव ये च अन्ये द्विविद आदयः |
न एव तेषाम् गतिः भीमा न तेजो न पराक्रमः || ५-४६-११

Earlier, I saw the monkeys of a great prowess like Vali and Sugreeva, the mighty Jambavan, Nila the Chief of army and so on like Dvivida. their scheme of performance is not so fearful as this; nor their efficacy, nor their prowess, nor their intellect, nor this capacity to change their form or energy at will. [4.46.10]


Both the Vanaras were part of Vanara army led by Sugriva. So, these met Sri Rama after meeting Sugriva.

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Who are Nala and Nila in Ramayan?

Nala

अयम् सौम्य नलो नाम तनुजो विश्व कर्मणः |

पित्रा दत्त वरः श्रीमान् प्रतिमो विश्व कर्मणः || 6.22.50

(Sea God to Lord Shri Rama) O, excellent man! This one, named Nala, a glorious person, is the son of Vishvakarma; who was given a boon by his father and is equal to Visvakarma.

Nala was the creator of the bridge (Rama Setu or Nala Setu). -Valmiki Ramayana 6.26.21

Nala fought in a extra-ordinary duel with Pratapana. -Valmiki Ramayana 6.43.23

That virtuous Nala swiftly brought water form the sea for Lord Shri Rama's rajatilak. -Valmiki Ramayana 6.128.57

Nila

पावकस्य सुतश्श्रीमान् नीलोऽग्निसदृशप्रभ:।

तेजसा यशसा वीर्यादत्यरिच्यत वानरान्।।1.17.12।।

Nila (Neela), the prosperous son of Agni the firegod who equalled him in glow surpassed other monkeys in energy, renown and prowess.

Nila was the Army General of Monkeys. -Valmiki Ramayana 6.3.32/6.59.72

Nila was one of only four great monkeys (Angada, Nila, Sugriva and Hanuman) who could cross the ocean. -Valmiki Ramayana 5.2.30

Prahasta the Army chief of Rakshasas was slain in the battle by Nila. -Valmiki Ramayana 6.59.1

Who are their parents? Are they two brothers and twins? How they got similar kind of name as Nala and Nila?

Their parents from monkeys are unknown. Their fathers from Devas were different Vishvakarma and Agni as described above.

Not sure about twins but they could be brothers (this might be same as how Sugriv (Sun of Surya) and Bali or Vali (son of Indra) were brothers as their father (Riksharaja, who was their mother too) from monkeys was same).

Ramcharitmanas says:

जामवंत बोले दोउ भाई। नल नीलहि सब कथा सुनाई।।

राम प्रताप सुमिरि मन माहीं। करहु सेतु प्रयास कछु नाहीं।।

How did they meet lord Rama?

After Bali's death his youger brother Sugriva became king of monkeys. He later asked all the monkeys to join Rama's army.

How could they make stones floatable on water while building Ram Setu?

The bridge was not built with stones only but trees, rocks and mountains (Source). The floating stones theory doesn't seems 100% true rather it seems the great work of an Engineer/Architect. Nala was son of Vishvakarnma (the great Architect of Devas) and got to know the art from his father. This is what Nala himself says in Valmiki Ramayana:

मम मातुर् वरो दत्तो मन्दरे विश्व कर्मणा |

औरसस् तस्य पुत्रो अहम् सदृशो विश्व कर्मणा || ६-२२-४९

On the mountain of Mandara, the following boon was given by Visvakarma to my mother: "O, god like lady! A son equal to me will be born to you.

औरसस्तस्य पुत्रोऽहम् सदृशो विश्वकर्मणा|

स्मारितोऽस्म्यहमेतेन तत्त्वमाह महोदधिः || ६-२२-५०

न च अपि अहम् अनुक्तो वै प्रब्रूयाम् आत्मनो गुणान् |

I am a son born of Visvakarma's own loins. I am equal to Visvakarma. This god of Ocean has reminded me. The great ocean spoke the truth. Being unasked, I have not told you my details earlier.

समर्थ्श्चाप्यहम् सेतुम् कर्तुम् वै वरुणालये || ६-२२-५१

तस्मादद्यैव बध्नन्तु सेतुम् वानरपुङ्गवाः |

I am capable of constructing a bridge across the ocean. Hence, let the foremost of monkeys build the bridge now itself.

Note:

Ramcharitmanas says that the bridge was built by both Nala and Neela:

सैल बिसाल आनि कपि देहीं। कंदुक इव नल नील ते लेहीं।।

बाँधा सेतु नील नल नागर। राम कृपाँ जसु भयउ उजागर।।

But as per Valmiki Ramayana, the bridge was constructed by Nala hence at many places it is referred as Nala Setu:

दशयोजनविस्तीर्णम् शतयोजन मायतम् || 6.22.74

ददृशुर्देवगन्धर्वा नलसेतुम् सुदुष्करम् |

The celestials and Gandharvas, the heavenly musicians saw Nala's bridge, having a width of ten yojanas and a length of hundred yojanas and which was very difficult to be built.

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