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1-Aadi Parv, 69-74
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Story of Dushyant-1

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Story of Dushyant-1
Ch 69-73
Branched from   G-1-Beginning-1      Page 1     Page 2

Dushyant Meets Shakuntalaa

Vaishampaayan Jee said - Raajaa Dushyant was a Chakravartee Raajaa and he ruled even over Mlechchh countries. In his times there were no tillers (because land gave crops without tilling), no mine workers, no sinners, no thieves. He himself was skilled in four kinds of mace (see Gadaa)." Janamejaya said - "I want to hear about Dushyant and Shakuntalaa in detail, that how did he get Shakuntalaa."

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Once Dushyant went to forest with his Chaturanginee army. When he used to go like this women admired him and called him like Sakra (Indra). As he went he saw the forest full of many kinds of trees. Its soil was uneven, stones scattered all over, without water, without human beings extended for Yojans together, full of terrible beasts. There he killed many animals, wounded many animals, and he wandered in the forest agitating it. After killing thousands of animals, the King entered another forest along with his minister and priest. He was hungry and thirsty.

Wandering in the forest he came to its border from where onward a desert started. He crossed this desert and came to another forest. This forest was full of fruit trees. There were many birds chirping and singing all around. There were living many Siddh, Chaaran, Gandharv and Apsaraa. At the same time he saw an Aashram also where ascetics were doing Havan etc. A river named Maalinee was flowing around. Many water fowls were playing in that river, and many animals were roaming on the banks of that river. Many ascetics were busy in their routines there. Among them was an Aashram of Muni Kashyap also. The King asked his army to stay there only until he returns and entered that Kashyap's Aashram. As he entered the Aashram, he forgot his hunger and thirst, he lay his royal signs aside and proceeded towards the Aashram. At one place, ascetics were reciting many kinds of Mantra all around there; at other place they were reading Shaastra; yet at another place other ascetics were discussing astrology, science of word (grammar). The King entered that Aashram along with his minister and the priest."

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "As he entered the Aashram, he left his remaining articles of kingship outside the door. Upon entering the Ashram, he found the Aashram quite empty. The Rishi Kanv was not there, so he just called - "Anybody is here?" Hearing this a maiden, as beautiful as Lakshmee herself but in an ascetic's dress, came out of the hut. As she saw the King, she welcomed him, offered him to wash his feet and asked his welfare. The King said to her - "I have come here to see Rishi Kanv, where has he gone?" Shakuntalaa said - "My father has gone to fetch fruits, as he will come you may see him."

In the meantime Dushyant noticed that Shakuntalaa was a graceful maiden, so he asked her - "Who are you? Whose daughter are you? Why and from where have you come here?" Shakuntalaa said - "I am the daughter of Maharshi Kanv." He said - "But Maharshi is bachelor, anybody else' vow can be broken but not of Maharshi's, so how come that he has daughter?" Shakuntalaa said - "Listen to what I have heard regarding this. Once a Rishi came to him and asked about me. He said to him - "Once Vishwaamitra Jee was doing Tapasyaa, that Indra called Menakaa Apsaraa and sent her to break his Tap. Menakaa said - "He is a great ascetic and is short tempered too, as you know yourself. He has made anxious even you?" Indra replied - "Yes, Maenakaa, He is the one who has killed Vashishth's children prematurely. He is the one who was first born as Kshatriya and then became an ascetic by his severe penance. He is the one who for the purpose of his ablutions has created a deep river Kaushikee. He is the one whose wife was maintained by the King Matang (Trishanku) who was living as a hunter under his father's curse, when he went to do Tap. And in return of his services later he became his priest. Even Brahmaa Jee went to drink Som juice because of his fear. It was he only who created many starts beginning with Shravan."

Menakaa said - "Then tell me the way so that I may not be burnt buy his Shaap. He can burn the three worlds by his splendor, and cause earthquakes by just stamping his foot. The pupils of his are like the Sun and the Moon, he can go round the earth in a second, how do you expect me even to touch him? Even the great Devtaa are afraid of him, then how can I touch him? However I will obey you, but you must devise some plane to protect me from him. I think when I go there, let Pavan Dev flow my dress, and even Kaam Dev should also help me. Marut should spread this fragrance to tempt Rishi." Saying this Menaka went to the sage Vishwaamitra."

"Kanv continued - "Indra ordered Marut to do as Menakaa has asked him to do. So as Menakaa went there, Marut flew her clothes as white as Moon. She went after her clothes showing her anger towards Marut. At the same time Vishwaamitra saw her faultless beauty which shook his mind. He called her with sign. She accepted his company as planned, and she lived with for a long time as if it was a single day. She got a daughter from the Rishi named Shakuntalaa. As the pregnancy advanced Menakaa went to the hills of Himvant. There she gave birth to her daughter, left her on the banks of the river and went away. A number of vultures surrounded the baby to protect her from wild animals. I went there to worship, found a girl lying there, so I made her my own daughter. You all have protected her and brought up her. Since she was protected by Shakunt birds, that is why I have named her as Shakuntalaa (bird protected). Thus she is my daughter, and she also regards me as her father." My father told this to that Rishi and I also regard him as my father."

Vaishampaayan Jee continued - "Dushyant said - "Be my wife. What should I do to get you? I present you today beautiful clothes, large pearls from several countries, and golden jewelry. I give you even my whole kingdom, please marry me by Gandharv method. It is the first and foremost method among all the methods of marriage." Shakuntalaa said - "My father has gone to bring fruits, let him come and he will give me to you." Dushyant said - "One is one's own friend, and with this relationship you can give yourself to me. There are eight kinds of marriages - (1) Braahm, (2) Daiv, (3) Arsh, (4) Praajaapatya, (5) Asur, (6) Gandharv, (7) Raakshas, (8) Paishaach. According to Manu, the first four are fit for Braahman; and first six are for Kshatriya, but for kings, even Raakshas marriage is permissible. The Asur form is permissible for Vaishya and Shoodra. Of the first five, the first three are proper, and the remaining two are improper. The Paishaach and Asur forms should never be practiced. Gandharv and Raakshas marriages are common with Kshatriya. That is you should not hesitate in this."

Shakuntalaa said - "If this is recommended by religion and I can give myself to you, then listen to my terms - the son will born from me will be your heir. If this is agreeable to you then I can be of yours." Without thinking even for a moment, the King said - "Let it be so. I will take even you to my capital." Shakuntalaa agreed and she gave herself to him. Then Dushyant went away promising her to send his Chaturanginee army soon to escort her to his capital. And he thought in his mind, "What the ascetic would say when he will come to know about this?"

As Dushyant left, Maharshi Kanv arrived. Shakuntala did not go to receive him, but Maharshi knew everything. He said to her - "Whatever you have done today in my absence, has not spoiled you at all because Gandharv marriage is perfectly all right for a Kshatriya. Your son will be very mighty and will rule over the Earth." At this Shakuntalaa took off the load Maharshi was carrying, washed his feet and offered him fruits. Then she said to him - "Please bless Dushyant and his ministers." Kanv Rishi said - "Sure, I will, but first you ask what you want?" Shakuntalaa asked him that Paurav kings should always be mighty and never be deprived of throne.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 03/16/12