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Although Dushyant and Shakuntalaa are not the witnesses of Mahaabhaarat, but its story begins from her son Bharat only. That is why Shakuntalaa may be said to be a character of MBH.  She was the daughter of Vishwaamitra Jee and Apsaraa Menakaa. It happened when Vishwaamitra Jee was doing severe Tap to become a Brahmarshi. Indra wanted to disturb his Tap so He sent Menakaa Apsaraa to destroy his Tap. She stayed there for 10 years and they had a girl. After the girl was born Menakaa left both Vishwaamitra Jee and the girl and came back to Swarg. The girl was named Shakuntalaa because she was taken care by Shakunt birds till Kanv Rishu found her. After that Kanv Rishi took her to his Aashram and handed over to Gautamee and thus she was brought up by Gautamee in Kanv Rishi's Aashram.

Once Kanv Rishi went out of the Aashram to Som Teerth to set Shankuntalaa's birth chart

Shakuntalaa and Dushyant
Once Raajaa Dushyant was out for hunting that he came out towards Kanv Rishi's Aashram. That Aashram was very cool and comfortable. He looked here and there and found a beautiful girl wandering in her garden. He greeted her, Shakuntalaa also welcomed him in her Aashram, offered him some food and drink, and requested for some rest as she felt that he was a bit tired.

She said - "This is Muni Kanv's Aashram. I am his daughter Shakuntalaa. At this hour Muni is not in his Aashram, but you are free to have some food and take rest." Raajaa got impressed with her behavior, so he had some food and rest there. Muni had gone to Som Teerth at that time. Both had fallen in love with each other. So they got married according to Gandharv Vivaah system. Raajaa did not want to take her to his palace at the same time, so he said that - "You wait for me, I will come later to take you."

Shakuntalaa got scared and asked him whether he wouldn't forget her? At this Raajaa gave her his ring and said - "If by chance I could not return soon, you may use this ring to remind me about our relationship." Shakuntalaa kept that ring, and Raajaa went away to his capital. When Muni came he knew everything with his Yog power.

Some time passed. Shakuntalaa was pregnant, she gave birth to a son in due course of time. She named him Bharat. He had all the signs and characteristics of being a Chakravartee Raajaa, but there was no information of Raajaa Dushyant. Shakuntalaa was very sad at this. Then one day Kanv Rishi said to her - "You have his ring. Take this ring and his son. I am sure he will recognize you." So Kanv Rishi bade farewell to her to Raajaa's place with all his good wishes. He sent some disciples also along with her to take care of her in the way.

Shakuntalaa Arrives in Dushyant's Court
When Shakuntalaa came to Dushyant's court, she said that she was the wife of Raajaa Dushyant, and the child was his son and she wanted to see him, but since Raajaa had never introduced her as his wife to his people, so nobody accepted her words. Still she persuaded them to let her see the Raajaa and was able to enter Raajaa's court. Raajaa saw her but couldn't recognize her at all. Then Shakuntalaa wanted to show him his ring which she brought with her but unfortunately she couldn't find it also in spite of a thorough search. Helplessly she came out of the court crying and came back to her Aashram.  Read about  "Why Dushyant could not recognize Shakuntalaa"

Dushyant Finds the Ring
One day a fisherman caught a large fish. When he cut that fish to eat, he found Raajaa's ring in its stomach. He recognized that ring and brought it to Raajaa and gave it to him. Seeing that Raajaa immediately remembered Shakuntalaa and he got very sad on not being bringing her here and not recognizing her when she came to his court with his son. He immediately sent his people to bring her to the palace and introduced her and his son as his wife and son. Thus both lived happily ever after.

Why Dushyant did not Recognize Shakuntalaa?
It is when Dushyant had left Shakuntalaa, she was in deep love with him. Once she was sitting in her Aashram, remembering Dushyant and lost in his thoughts deeply. She was so much lost in her thoughts of Dushyant that she couldn't know that Durvaasaa Muni came to her Aashram along with his disciples.

When nobody attended Muni for some time he got severely angry and gave Shaap to Shakuntalaa - "In whose thoughts you are sitting lost, he will forget you." Shakuntalaa said - "But I have his ring." He said - "But when you will need that ring, you will not find it." At this Shaap Shakuntalaa fell on Muni's feet and asked for his forgiveness. Then Durvaasaa Muni said - "OK, Later on he will find his ring and will call you back to his palaces." 

And because of this Shaap only Dushyant forgot everything about Shakuntalaa and could not come back to take her to his palace until the fisherman brought his ring to him. And that is why he could not recognize also her when she went to his court. And for the same reason Shakuntalaa also could not find the ring when she needed it most. Of course Dushyant found it later. In fact the ring fell down in the river where she was drinking water on her way to palace. A fish swallowed that ring. A fisherman caught that fish and cut it for his food and got the ring. Recognizing that ring of Raajaa, he gave it to Raajaa. Then only Raajaa could recognize it and then only he remembered  Shakuntalaa and went to bring her to his palace.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 03/04/13