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Kalidasa Shakuntala Essay About Myself

For other uses, see Shakuntala (disambiguation).

In HinduismShakuntala (Sanskrit: Śakuntalā) is the wife of Dushyanta and the mother of Emperor Bharat. Her story is told in the Mahabharata and dramatized by many writers, the most famous adaption being Kalidasa's play Abhijñānaśākuntala(The Sign of Shakuntala).[1]

Etymology[edit]

RishiKanva found her in forest as a baby surrounded by Shakunta birds (Sanskrit: शकुन्त, śakunta). Therefore, he named her Shakuntala (Sanskrit: शकुन्तला), meaning Shakunta-protected.[2][3]

In the Adi Parva of Mahabharata, Kanva says:

She was surrounded in the solitude of the wilderness by śakuntas,
therefore, hath she been named by me Shakuntala (Shakunta-protected).

Legend[edit]

King Dushyanta first encountered Shakuntala while travelling through the forest with his army. He was pursuing a male deer wounded by his weapon. Shakuntala and Dushyanta fell in love with each other and got married as per Gandharva marriage system. Before returning to his kingdom, Dushyanta gave his personal royal ring to Shakuntala as a symbol of his promise to return and bring her to his palace.[4]

Shakuntala spent much time dreaming of her new husband and was often distracted by her daydreams. One day, a powerful rishi, Durvasa, came to the ashrama but, lost in her thoughts about Dushyanta, Shakuntala failed to greet him properly. Incensed by this slight, the rishi cursed Shakuntala, saying that the person she was dreaming of would forget about her altogether. As he departed in a rage, one of Shakuntala's friends quickly explained to him the reason for her friend's distraction. The rishi, realizing that his extreme wrath was not warranted, modified his curse saying that the person who had forgotten Shakuntala would remember everything again if she showed him a personal token that had been given to her.[1]

Time passed, and Shakuntala, wondering why Dushyanta did not return for her, finally set out for the capital city with her foster father and some of her companions. On the way, they had to cross a river by a canoe ferry and, seduced by the deep blue waters of the river, Shakuntala ran her fingers through the water. Her ring (Dushyanta's ring) slipped off her finger without her realizing it.[citation needed]

Arriving at Dushyanta's court, Shakuntala was hurt and surprised when her husband did not recognize her, nor recollected anything about her.[5] She tried to remind him that she was his wife but without the ring, Dushyanta did not recognize her. Humiliated, she returned to the forests and, collecting her son, settled in a wild part of the forest by herself. Here she spent her days while Bharata, her son, grew older. Surrounded only by wild animals, Bharata grew to be a strong youth and made a sport of opening the mouths of tigers and lions and counting their teeth.[citation needed][6][7]

Meanwhile, a fisherman was surprised to find a royal ring in the belly of a fish he had caught. Recognizing the royal seal, he took the ring to the palace and, upon seeing his ring, Dushyanta's memories of his lovely bride came rushing back to him. He immediately set out to find her and, arriving at her father's ashram, discovered that she was no longer there. He continued deeper into the forest to find his wife and came upon a surprising scene in the forest: a young boy had pried open the mouth of a lion and was busy counting its teeth. The king greeted the boy, amazed by his boldness and strength, and asked his name. He was surprised when the boy answered that he was Bharata, the son of King Dushyanta. The boy took him to Shakuntala, and thus the family was reunited.[1]

Variants[edit]

An alternate narrative is that after Dushyanta failed to recognize Shakuntala, her mother Menaka took Shakuntala to Heaven where she gave birth to Bharata. Dushyanta was required to fight with the devas, from which he emerged victorious; his reward was to be reunited with his wife and son. He had a vision in which he saw a young boy counting the teeth of a lion. His kavach (arm band/armour) had fallen off his arm. Dushyanta was informed by the devas that only Bharata's mother or father could tie it back on his arm. Dushyanta successfully tied it on his arm. The confused Bharata took the king to his mother Shakuntala and told her that this man claimed to be his father. Upon which Shakuntala told Bharata that the king was indeed his father. Thus the family was reunited in Heaven, and they returned to earth to rule for many years before the birth of the Pandava.[citation needed]

Vasanth Kannabiran, the founder of Asmita Resource Center, wrote a female empowerment version of Shakuntala Recognized in 2013. The play variation added the recognition of emotional abuse and violence against women. Manaka is regarded a victim of the cultural tendency to portray women are dangerous seductresses. The most radical difference from the original legend is that Dushyanta is not the victim of a curse. Instead, he purposefully abandons Shakuntala in the forest after impregnating her because he prioritizes his duties as king over his duty to protect his new wife. Dushyanta does not experience the legendary change of heart which sent him begging Shekuntala for forgiveness. Instead, he briefly returns to take their son, his only male child, as the heir to the throne.[8]

Adaptations[edit]

Theatre, literature and music[edit]

Kalidasa[edit]

Main article: Shakuntala (play)

The Recognition of Sakuntala is a Sanskrit play written by Kalidasa.[citation needed]

Opera[edit]

See also: Sakuntala (opera) and Sakùntala

Sakuntala is an incomplete opera by Franz Schubert, which originated late 1819 to early 1820.[citation needed] Italian Franco Alfano composed an opera named La leggenda di Sakùntala (The legend of Shakuntala) in its first version (1921) and simply Sakùntala in its second version (1952).[citation needed]

Ballet[edit]

Ernest Reyer (1823–1909) composed a ballet Sacountala on an argument by Théophile Gautier in 1838.[citation needed] The Soviet composer Sergey Balasanyan composed a ballet named Shakuntala[when?].[citation needed]

Other literature[edit]

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar created a novel in Sadhu Bhasha, Bengali.[citation needed] It was among the first translations from Bengali and is a bit difficult to understand now-a-days[editorializing].[citation needed]Abanindra Nath Tagore later wrote in the Chalit Bhasa (which is a simpler literary variation of Bengali) mainly for children and preteens.[citation needed]

By the 18th century, Western poets were beginning to get acquainted with works of Indian literature and philosophy.[citation needed] The German poet Goethe read Kalidasa's play and has expressed his admiration for the work[original research?] in the following verses:

Willst du die Blüthe des frühen, die Früchte des späteren Jahres,
Willst du, was reizt und entzückt, willst du was sättigt und nährt,
Willst du den Himmel, die Erde, mit Einem Namen begreifen;
Nenn' ich, Sakuntala, Dich, und so ist Alles gesagt.

— Goethe, 1791[9]

Wouldst thou the young year's blossoms and the fruits of its decline
And all by which the soul is charmed, enraptured, feasted, fed,
Wouldst thou the earth and heaven itself in one sole name combine?
I name thee, O Sakuntala! and all at once is said.

— translation by Edward Backhouse Eastwick[10]

In 1808 Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel published a German translation of the Shakuntala story from the Mahabharata.[11]

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire mentions Shakuntala (Sacontale) in his poem "La Chanson du mal-aimé",[when?] as a model of fidelity.[citation needed][relevant?– discuss]

Other music[edit]

Károly Goldmark, the Hungariancomposer (1830–1915) wrote the Sakuntala Overture Op.13 in (1865).[citation needed] The Norwegian musician, Amethystium, wrote a song called "Garden of Sakuntala" and it can be found in the CD Aphelion[when?].[citation needed]

Film and TV[edit]

The earliest adaptation into a film was the Tamil movie Shakuntalai featuring M.S.Subbulakshmi in the role of Shakuntala. Bhupen Hazarika made the Assamese film Shakuntala in 1961. It won the President's Silver Medal and was critically acclaimed. Shakuntala was also made into a Malayalam movie by the same name in 1965. It starred K. R. Vijaya and Prem Nazeer as Shakuntala and Dushyanta respectively. Rajyam Pictures of C. Lakshmi Rajyam and K. Sridhar Rao produced a Shakuntala film in 1966 starring N. T. Rama Rao as Dushyanta and B. Saroja Devi as Shakuntala. It is directed by Kamalakara Kameswara Rao.[12] V. Shantaram also made a Hindi film titled 'STREE' on this story. On Marathi stage there was a musical drama titled 'Shakuntal' on the same story.

Art[edit]

Camille Claudel created a sculpture Shakuntala.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shakuntala.
Shakuntala writes to Dushyanta, painting by Raja Ravi Varma.
Shakuntala despondent, painting by Raja Ravi Varma.
  1. ^ abc"Shakuntala - the Epitome of Beauty, Patience and Virtue". Dolls of India. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  2. ^"The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section LXXII". www.sacred-texts.com. 
  3. ^"The Mahabharata in Sanskrit: Book 1: Chapter 66". www.sacred-texts.com. 
  4. ^Miller, Barbara Stoler (1984). Theater of Memory: The Plays of Kalidasa. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 122. 
  5. ^Glass, Andrew (June 2010). "Vasudeva, Somadeva (Ed. and Tr.), The Recognition of Shakúntala by Kālidāsa Olivelle, Patrick (Ed. and Tr.), The Five Discourses on Worldly Wisdom by Visnuśarman Mallinson, Sir James (Ed. and Tr.), The Emperor of the Sorcerers..."Indo-Iranian Journal. 
  6. ^Kalidasa (2000). Shakuntala Recognized. Translated by G.N. Reddy. Victoria, BC, Canada: iUniverse. ISBN 0595139809. 
  7. ^Yousaf, Ghulam-Sarwar (2005). "RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL VALUES IN KALIDASA'S SHAKUNTALA". Katha. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  8. ^"Contemporary Mythology - Menakaa, Shakuntala and Ahalya retold | The Alternative". The Alternative. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  9. ^"Goethe - Gedichte: Sakontala". www.textlog.de. 
  10. ^Pratap, Alka (2 February 2016). "Hinduism's Influence on Indian Poetry". 
  11. ^Figueira 1991, pp. 19–20
  12. ^Shakuntala on IMDb[unreliable source?]
  13. ^"CAMILLE CLAUDEL FROM 1 OCTOBER TO 5 JANUARY CAMILLE CLAUDEL COMES OUT OF THE RESERVE COLLECTIONS". Musée Rodin. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 

In HinduismShakuntala (Sanskrit: शकुन्तला, Śakuntalā) is the wife of Dushyanta and the mother of Emperor Bharata. Her story is told in the Mahabharata and dramatized by Kalidasa in his play Abhijñānaśākuntala (The Sign of Shakuntala). Rishi Kanva found her in forest as a baby surrounded by Shakunta birds (Sanskrit: शकुन्त, śakunta). Therefore he named her Shakuntala (Sanskrit: शकुन्तला), meaning Shakunta-protected. King Dushyanta first encountered Shakuntala while travelling through the forest with his army. He was pursuing a male Deer wounded by his weapon. Shakuntala and Dushyanta fell in love with each other and got married as per Gandharva marriage system.

Quotes[edit]

  • All these women [legendary women including Ambika, Devahuti, Draupadi, Parvati, Saraswati, Sati, Shakuntala and Sita.] belong to the early Vedic times and are still revered for their extraordinary powers and roles. They symbolize the virtues that Hinduism ordains its followers to pursue, establishing the fact that essence of the joy of life lies in pure, sacred and ever widening conjugal love.
  • Draupadi, Tara, Ahalya, Mandodari, Sita, Savitri, Sati, and Damayanti are worshipped by Hindus as divine women of dharma, noted for unwavering devotion to their husbands, and for standing by them through all ups and downs in their lives. These together with w:MaitreyiMaitreyi and Gargi, should be an inspiration to the succeeding generations.
    • M.L. Ahuja in: "Women In Indian Mythology".
  • In drama, his Abhijnanashakuntala is the most famous and is usually judged the best Indian literary effort of any period. Taken from an epic legend, the work tells of the seduction of the nymph Shakuntala by King Dushyanta, his rejection of the girl and his child, and their subsequent reunion in heaven. The epic myth is important because of the child, for he is Bharata, eponymous ancestor of the Indian nation(Bharatavarsha, “Subcontinent of Bharata”).
    • Edwin Gerow in: Kalidasa, Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 June 2014.
  • Europe first learned of the old Indian drama from Sir William Jones's translation of Kalidasa's Shakuntala, published in 1789. Something in the nature of a commotion was created among European intellectuals by this discovery...Goethe was powerfully impressed and paid magnificent tribute.
  • Goethe in German language:
    Willst du die Blüthe des frühen, die Früchte des späteren Jahres,
    Willst du, was reizt and entzückt, willst du was sättigt and nährt,
    Willst du den Himmel, die Erde, mit Einem Namen begreifen;
    Nenn’ ich, Sakuntala, Dich, and so ist Alles gesagt.
  • English translation by Eastwich:
    Wouldst thou the young year's blossoms and the fruits of its decline,
    And all by which the soul is charmed, enraptured, feasted, fed?
    Wouldst thou the earth and heaven itself in one sole name combine?
    I name thee, O Shakuntala, and all at once is said.
  • They [nine women in Hindu mythology] are Ahalya, Draupadi, [[[[Tara {Ramayana)|Tara]], Kunti, Mandodari, Sita, Savitri, Parvati, Damayanti, Maitreyi and Shakuntala. All of them were not held in the same degree of esteem and reverence. The first five women, known as pancakanya, may well be remembered in daily prayers but none of them is regarded as an ideal woman, at least not recommended by anyone for emulation by others.
  • In spite of several plus points to their credit – like the wisdom, courage, and sagacity of Draupadi, Tara and Damayanti, the keen and lively interest they evinced in their surroundings and also the part played by the former two in the management of their respective realms, the strong sense of duty, love and loyalty to their respective husbands as shown by Kunti, Mandodari and Shakuntala, the carving for knowledge as expressed by Maitreyi – none of them is a model for Hindu women.
    • Prabhati Mukherjee in:"Hindu Women: Normative Models", p. 49

Women in Indian Mythology[edit]

M.L. Ahuja in: Women in Indian Mythology, Rupa Publications

  • The epic Mahabharata tells the story of the noble descendants of King Bharat from whose name India, i.e., Bharat originated. Bharat was the son of Shakuntala and Dushyanta. This story is also the subject matter of Kalidasa's Abhijñānaśākuntala.
  • Shakuntala in both the epic and Kalidasa's play is shown as the daughter of the royal sage Vishwamitra and Menaka, the celestial nymph. Long ago, the powerful sage Vishwamitra is engaged in concentrated meditation, great austerities and penance that would give him almost absolute power over kingdom of earth and heavenIndra decided to put obstacles in his austerities and thereby break his sadhana...
  • Menaka had to return to heaven. Therefore they leave the child amidst a beautiful garden near a lake. A swan in the lake sees the crying child and gives it some water. Then a sage named Kanva, who is passing by, sees the swan giving water to the child. In this way the child protected by birds (Shakunton in Sanskrit), and, therefore, she is named Shakuntala. The sage Kanva decides to take the child home and names it ‘Shakuntala’. Vishvamitra, whose tapas are broken, leaves for forest to retreat. Rishi Kanva brings up the child. Shakuntala blossoms as a most beautiful lady under the loving care of Kanva.
  • One day, King Dushyanta, while on a huntingexpedition, pursues a male deer wounded by his arrow...He reaches Kanva’s ashram. Shakuntala and her two companions were watering the plants at that time with sisterly affection and Shakuntala was nursing the wounded deer.
  • He [Dushyanta] first chooses to eavesdrop on all the young women and then introduces himself as an officer of the king. Of the three girls Shakuntala captures his fancy. Shakuntala appears to him as beautiful as the goddess of fortune, but dressed as an ascetic....he then feels that Shakuntala is his perfect bride.
  • Dushyanta and Damayanti fall in love with each other...They are married according to the Gandharva rites, while still basking in the euphoria of love. As an evidence of his office, the king shows her the ring with his own name Dushyanta inscribed on it. Dushyanta gets ready to leave for his capital and promises to send a huge escort sent to her later to bring her to the capital. But before leaving he gives his precious ring to Shakuntala, cautioning her not to loose it.
  • Shakuntala becomes pregnant. One day a powerful rishi, Durvasa comes to the ashram. Since Shakuntala is lost in thoughts about Dushyanata, she fails to greet him properly. Incensed by this slight, the rishi curses Shakuntala, saying that the person she is dreaming of would forget about her altogether. As Durvasa is about to depart in a rage, one of Shakuntala's friends quickly explains to him the reason for Shakuntala's distraction. The rishi, realising that his extreme wrath is not warranted, modifies his curse, saying that the person who has forgotten Shakuntala would remember everything again if she shows him a personal token that had been given to her.
  • After some days, Shakuntala wonders why Dushyanta has not returned to her. Her worry almost turned into panic because of the fact that she is pregnant. Soon, her condition reveals the truth. Rishi Kanva and ladies of the ashram notice the change.
  • Rishi Kanva had brought up Shakuntala as his own daughter, and hence, he decides to send her to her husband, King Dushyanta, where she should be accepted as Dushyanta's queen. On the way, they cross a river by a canoe ferry. Shakuntala feels charmed by the deep blue waters of the river and runs her fingers through the water Her ring slips of her finger, and she does not realize it.
  • Shakuntala reaches the court of Dushyanta. A message is sent to the king of the arrival of a woman who claims to be his wife. Dushyanta, under the influence of the ascetic's curse, disowns Shakuntala in open court, dashing her hopes, and crushing her reputation.
  • Shakuntala tells him about the ring and tries to show it to him, but she is not able to find it on her finger... [She] failed to remind Dushyanta of his promise to marry him.
  • Frustrated at this, Shakuntala leaves for the forest all alone and decides to give birth to the child...She lives in the penancegrove of Maricha and learns the lessons of suffering. In due course she gives birth to a most beautiful and intelligent son. The boy is named Bharat. Bharat blossoms into a strong youth. His only human companion is his mother. He starts playing with wild animals and rides on them as one rides horses. The mother teaches him as a prince. He opens the mouths of tigers and lions to count their teeth.
  • A fisherman is surprised to find a royal ring in the belly of a fish he has caught. He recognizes the royal seal. Upon seeing this ring Dushyanta’s memories of Shakuntala flashes into the mind. An old curse of forgetfulness laid on the king is broken and the king is repentant and becomes subdued.
  • He immediately set out to find her. He reaches her father’s ashram, but she is no longer there. He goes deeper into the forest to find out Shakuntala. There he finds a young boy opening the mouth of a lion. The boy is counting its teeth. The king greets the boy. He is amazed by the boy's boldness and strength and asks his name. He feels surprised when the boy answers that he is Bharat, the son of king Dushyanta. The boy takes him to Shakuntala. Shakuntala and her son are accepted with dignity and reverence by Dushyanata.
  • Amazed at the whole spectacle, the king, in the words of Kalidasa in his play thus speaks:
    In a dusty apparel, grey appearing
    With a face penance, impaired;
    with hair unknotted;
    So unkind as I was, yet chaste her bearing
    From myself, parted so long, remains devoted.
  • Thus, Shakuntala, the fine character in the Mahabharata and Kalidasa's Abhijnanasakuntalam has been the finest love. Although and the most striking specimen of romantic born of a heavenlynymph, she is shown essentially as human. She errs, suffers, corrects herself, and is elevated to the galaxy of great women.

Kalidasa[edit]

K.T.Pandurangi in: Kalidasa, Litent, 1 January 2014

Mahabharata version

  • King Dushyanta, while on a gaming expedition (safari), and arrives at the hermitage of sage Kanva. The latter was away and his adopted daughter Shakuntala looks after the distinguished guest’s needs. Dushyanta, immediately on seeing her, is struck by her beauty and offers to marry her. Shakuntala lays down a condition that the king should promise to hand over the kingdom to the son born to her and Dushyanata agrees. They marry and spend some happy days, after which the king returns to his capital.
  • Shakuntala in course of time gives birth to a son who is named Sarvadamana.
  • Six years pass and still Dushyanta does not send for his spouse and son. Sage Kanva voluntarily decided to send Shakuntala to the palace. When she arrives at Dushyanta’s abode, he refuses to recognize her. Shakunatala is grief stricken Then amidst her lament a heavenly voice commands Dushyanta: “He is your son. Accept him”. The king then takes him in and the boy later comes to be reknowned as Bharata.

Kalidasa's version in in his play Abhijnanasakuntalam

  • Dushyanata in the course of hunting expedition arrives at Kanva’s hermitage and there in the garden he sees Shakuntala engaged in watering the plants along with her maids. Mesmerized by her beauty, he desires to marry her while she also is deeply impressed by the sight of the royal dignitary. They then marry in the 'Gandharva' style. The king returns to the capital while Shakuntala, left behind does not ask her the king's promise to make her son the prince consort to succeed him.
  • After the king returns, sage w:DurvasaDurvasa comes to call on sage Kanva. The latter was away and Shakuntala was so lost in her thoughts of king Dushyanata that the sage’s words:” I, a guest has come”, fell on her deaf ears.
  • May the person about whom you are thinking forget you.! Later he relents and says: When he says an object, which he has given you and recognizes it, he will remember you.
    • Durvasa in: p. 15
    • The sage is enraged and always quick to anger, curses Damayanti.
  • Unfortunately Shakuntala loses the ring given by Dushyanta who just forgets her.
  • Kanva sends Shakuntala, now pregnant, to the court of Dushyanta along with his disciples....Kalidasa portrays the farewell of sage Kanva to Shakuntala very touchingly. The whole ashram is plunged in sorrow. Kanva, Shakuntala’s maids, all shed tears at departure; even the trees, plants and birds bow down with grief.
  • Upon her arrival, King Dushyanata cannot recognize Shakuntala. He even thinks it improper to eye a damsel who is a stranger to him. He could not believe that this woman was his wife.
  • The ring is lost on the way and Shakuntala, overcome with grief after being rejected by Dushyanta, collapses and is then she is carried away by a divine light. After a few days the ring is found in the stomach of a fish and Dushyanta, upon seeing it, remembers everything. He feels sad he rejected Shakuntala. Later on his way back from heaven where he had gone to assist Indra on an errand, he visits the hermitage of Maricha. There he sees a boy daringly attempting to bare the jaws of a lion’s cub. On inquiry he learns he is none other than his own son Sarvadamana.

The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa[edit]

Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan GanguliThe Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Fullbooks.comSome excerpts from Sections LXIX, LXXI, LXXII,LXXIII, LXXIV, Sambhava Parva related to Shakuntala and Dushyanta.

  • And the king [Dushyanta] having entered that forest which was like unto Indra's garden, soon forgot his hunger and thirst. And he was pleased beyond measure. And the monarch, laying aside all signs of royalty, entered that excellent asylum with but his minister and his priest, desirous of beholding that Rishi [Kashyapa] who was an indestructible mass of ascetic merit.
  • And entering quite alone he saw not the Rishi (Kanwa) of rigid vows. And not seeing the Rishi and finding that the abode was empty,... there came out of the Rishi's abode a maiden beautiful as Sri herself but dressed as an ascetic's daughter. And the black-eyed fair one, as she saw king Dushyanta, bade him welcome and received him duly.
  • My illustrious father hath gone away from the asylum to fetch fruit. Wait but a moment and thou wilt see him when he arrives...'O Dushyanta, I am the daughter of the virtuous, wise, high-souled, and illustrious ascetic Kanwa.
  • O thou of the fairest complexion, how hast thou been born as his daughter? This great doubt of mine it behoveth thee to dispel.
  • Viswamitra, of old, having been engaged in the austerest penances alarmed Indra, the chief of the celestials, who thought that the mighty ascetic of blazing energy would, by his penances, hurl him down from his high seat in heaven. Indra, thus alarmed, summoned Menaka.
  • Thou, O Menaka, art the first of celestial Apsaras...My heart is trembling with fear. Indeed, O slender-waisted Menaka, this is thy business...you must see that Viswamitra of soul rapt in contemplation and engaged in the austerest penances, who might hurl me down from my seat. Go and tempt him and frustrating his continued austerities accomplish my good.
  • And the timid and beautifulMenaka then entered the retreat and saw there Viswamitra who had burnt, by his penances, all his sins.... And beholding her beauty and accomplishments that bull amongst Rishis was possessed with lust and made a sign that he desired her companionship...And they then passed a long time there in each other's company. And sporting with each other, just as they pleased, for a long time as if it were only a single day, the Rishi begat on Menaka a daughter named Sakuntala. And Menaka went to the banks of the river Malini...And there she gave birth to that daughter. And she left the new-born infant on the bank of that river and went away.
  • And beholding the new-born infant lying in that forest destitute of human beings but abounding with lions and tigers, a number of vultures sat around to protect it from harm.... I went there to perform my ablution and beheld the infant lying in the solitude of the wilderness surrounded by vultures. Bringing her hither I have made her my daughter. And because she was surrounded in the solitude of the wilderness, by Sakuntas (birds), therefore, hath she been named by me Shakuntala (bird-protected).
    • Kanva to Damayanti, as conveyed to Dushyanta.
  • Well-spoken, O princess, this that thou hast said! Be my wife, O beautiful one! What shall I do for thee? Golden garlands, robes, ear-rings of gold, white and handsome pearls, from various countries, golden coins, finest carpets, I shall present thee this very day. Let the whole of my kingdom be thine today, O beautiful one! Come to me, O timid one, wedding me, O beautiful one, according to the Gandharva form.
  • If this be the course sanctioned by religion, if, indeed, I am my own disposer, hear, O thou foremost one of Puru's race, what my terms are. Promise truly to give me what I ask thee. The son that shall be begotten on me shall become thy heir-apparent. This, O king, is my fixed resolve. O Dushyanta, if thou grant this, then let our union take place.
  • ...first of kings wedded the handsome Shakuntala of graceful gait and knew her as a husband.
  • I shall send thee, for thy escort, my troops of four classes. Indeed, it is even thus that I shall take thee to my capital, O thou of sweet smiles!
    • Dushyanta to Damayanti before departing for his capital.
  • The moment the king had left, Kanwa arrived at his abode. But Shakuntala, from a sense of shame, did not go out to receive her father. That great ascetic, however, possessed of spiritualknowledge, knew all. Indeed beholding everything with his spiritual eye, the illustrious one was pleased
  • Amiable one, what hath been done by thee today in secret, without, having waited for me--viz., intercourse with a man--hath not been destructive of thy virtue. Indeed, union according to the Gandharva form, of a wishful woman with a man of sensual desire, without mantras of any kind, it is said, is the best for Kshatriyas. That best of men, Dushyanta, is also high-souled and virtuous. Thou hast, O Shakuntala, accepted him for thy husband. The son that shall be born of thee shall be mighty and illustrious in this world.
  • After Dushyanta had left the asylum having made those promises unto Shakuntala, the latter... brought forth a boy of immeasurable energy. And when the child was three years old, he became in splendour like the blazing fire.
  • When he was only six years of age, endued with great strength he used to seize and bind to the trees,... lions and tigers and bears and [[buffaloes and elephants. And he rode on some animals, and pursued others in sportive mood. The dwellers at Kanwa's asylum thereupon bestowed... on him a name called Sarvadamana (the subduer of all).
  • Bear ye without delay this Sakuntala with her son from this abode to that of her husband, blessed with every auspicious sign. Women should not live long in the houses of their paternal or maternal relations. Such residence is destructive of their reputation, their good conduct, their virtue. Therefore, delay not in bearing her hence.
    • Kanva commanding his disciples to take Shakuntala to her husband's palace.
  • This is thy son, O king! Let him be installed as thy heir-apparent. O king, this child, like unto a celestial, hath been begotten by thee upon me. Therefore, O best of men, fulfil now the promise thou gavest me. Call to mind, O thou of great good fortune, the agreement thou hadst made on the occasion of thy union with me in the asylum of Kanwa.
    • Damayanti after paying due respects to King Dushyanta presents their son to him makes a request.
  • O Shakuntala, I do not know having begot upon thee this son. Women generally speak untruths. Who shall believe in thy words? Destitute of all affection, the lewdMenaka is thy mother, and she cast thee off on the surface of the Himavat as one throws away, after the worship is over, the flowery offering made to his gods. Thy father too of the Kshatriya race, the lustfulViswamitra, who was tempted to become a Brahmana, is destitute of all affection. However, Menaka is the first of Apsaras, and thy father also is the first of Rishis. Being their daughter, why dost thou speak like a lewd woman?
  • Thou seest, O king, the fault of others, even though they be as small as a mustard seed. But seeing, thou noticest not thy own faults even though they be as large as the Vilwa fruit. Menaka is one of the celestials. Indeed, Menaka is reckoned as the first of celestials. My birth, therefore, O Dushmanta, is far higher than thine. Thou walkest upon the Earth, O king, but I roam in the skies! Behold, the difference between ourselves is as that between (the mountain) Meru and a mustard seed!Behold my power, O king!....O king, Truth is God himself; Truth is the highest vow. Therefore, violate not thy pledge, O monarch! Let Truth and thee be even united. If thou placest no credit in my words, I shall of my own accord go hence. Indeed, thy companionship should be avoided. But thou, O Dushyanta, that when thou art gone, this son of mine shall rule the whole Earth surrounded by the four seas and adorned with the king of the mountains.'
  • Shakuntala having spoken to the monarch in this wise, left his presence. But as soon as she had left, a voice from the skies, emanating from no visible shape, thus spoke unto Dushyanta...
  • The mother is but the sheath of flesh; the son sprung from the father is the father himself. Therefore, O Dushyanta, cherish thy son, and insult not Shakuntala. O best of men, the son, who is but a form of one's own seed, rescueth (ancestors) from the region of Yama. Thou art the progenitor of this boy. Shakuntala hath spoken the truth. The husband, dividing his body in twain, is born of his wife in the form of son. Therefore, O Dushyanta, cherish, O monarch, thy son born of Shakuntala.
  • A celestial voice spoke to Dushyanta
  • The monarch, then, O thou of Bharata's race, seeing the purity of his son established by the celestial messenger, became exceedingly glad. And he took unto him that son with joy. And the king with a joyousheart then performed all those rites upon his son that a father should perform.
  • O goddess, my union with thee took place privately. Therefore, I was thinking of how best to establish thy purity. My people might think that we were only lustfully united and not as husband and wife, and therefore, this son that I would have installed as my heir apparent would only have been regarded as one of impure birth. And dearest, every hard word thou hast uttered in thy anger, have I, O large-eyed one, forgiven thee.

External links[edit]

It tells the story of the hermit girl Shakuntala, the daughter of the celestial nymph Menaka and the sage Vishvamitra. The poet Kalidasa intends Shakuntala to be the focus of attention....Kalidasa.
...Taken from an epic legend, the work tells of the seduction of the nymph Shakuntala by King Dushyanta, his rejection of the girl and his child, and their subsequent reunion in heaven... - Edwin Gerow
Dushyanta and Damayanti fall in love with each other...They are married according to the Gandharva rites, while still basking in the euphoria of love....
After some days, Shakuntala wonders why Dushyanta has not returned to her. Her worry almost turned into panic because of the fact that she is pregnant. Soon, her condition reveals the truth. Rishi Kanva and ladies of the ashram notice the change.
Rishi Kanva had brought up Shakuntala as his own daughter, and hence, he decides to send her to her husband, King Dushyanta, where she should be accepted as Dushyanta's queen....
...There he finds a young boy opening the mouth of a lion. The boy is counting its teeth. The king greets the boy. He is amazed by the boy's boldness and strength and asks his name. He feels surprised when the boy answers that he is Bharat, the son of king Dushyanta. The boy takes him to Shakuntala. Shakuntala and her son are accepted with dignity and reverence by Dushyanata.
King Dushyanta, while on a gaming expedition (safari), and arrives at the hermitage of sage Kanva. The latter was away and his adopted daughter Shakuntala looks after the distinguished guest’s needs. Dushyanta, immediately on seeing her, is struck by her beauty and offers to marry her....
Dushyanata in the course of hunting expedition arrives at Kanva’s hermitage and there in the garden he sees Shakuntala engaged in watering the plants along with her maids. Mesmerized by her beauty, he desires to marry her while she also is deeply impressed by the sight of the royal dignitary...
May the person about whom you are thinking forget you.! Later he relents and says: When he says an object, which he has given you and recognizes it, he will remember you. - Durvasa.
And beholding her beauty and accomplishments that bull amongst Rishis was possessed with lust and made a sign that he desired her companionship...And they then passed a long time there in each other's company. And sporting with each other, just as they pleased, for a long time as if it were only a single day, the Rishi begat on Menaka a daughter named Sakuntala...
Well-spoken, O princess, this that thou hast said! Be my wife, O beautiful one! What shall I do for thee? Golden garlands, robes, ear-rings of gold, white and handsome pearls, from various countries, golden coins, finest carpets, I shall present thee this very day. Let the whole of my kingdom be thine today, O beautiful one! Come to me, O timid one, wedding me, O beautiful one, according to the Gandharva form.