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Story No 13-Shakuntalaa

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When Vishwaamitra Jee did Tap to attain Brahmarshi status, Indra got scared. He sent Menakaa to disturb his Tap. She came to the place where Vishwaamitra Jee was doing Tap and spread her Maayaa and was able to attract him. So she started living with him. They spent long good years enjoying each other's company. Then they had a daughter. When that daughter was born, Vishwaamitra Jee came to his senses. He left Menakaa then and there and went back to do his Tap. Here, Menakaa also after giving birth to her daughter left her in the forest and went back to Swarg.

Fortunately Rishi Kanv was passing by from that side with his disciples. He saw a new-born baby girl cared by Shakunt birds. He picked up that girl, brought to his Aashram, and started taking care of her. Since in the beginning she was taken care by "Shakunt" named birds, Kanv named her Shakuntalaa. Gradually she grew up as a fine young woman.

Once Kanv Rishi had gone to Som Teerth and Shakuntalaa was alone in the Aashram, that the King Dushyant happened to be there while on his hunting trip. He was hungry and thirsty. As he saw an Aashram, he thought he might get something to eat and drink. When he came to the Aashram, he saw Shakuntalaa. He asked her who was she? She told him that she was Rishi Kanv's daughter and Rishi had gone to Som Teerth. She offered him some rice to eat and cool water to drink.

The King got very pleased with her manners and proposed to marry her. She hesitatingly said - "Let my father come." But Dushyant was not in a waiting mood so he suggested her to marry him by Gaandharv Vivaah method. After a little hesitation Shakuntalaa agreed and they got married by Gaandharv method. After a while Dushyant got ready to go back to his city with a promise that as soon as he would reach his city, he would take her there formally as his queen. Shakuntalaa expressed her doubt, "If he forgot her, then...?" At this Dushyant gave her his royal ring saying that she could show it to him anytime whenever he forgot her. Shakuntalaa took the ring and got satisfied. Dushyant went away. When Kanv Rishi came in the Aashram, he knew all about what happened at Aashram through the power of his Yog. Although he did not like what Shakuntalaa did behind him, but he got silent thinking it as Bhagavaan's wish.

Once Durvaasaa Rishi came to Kanv Rishi's Aashram. Shakuntalaa was sitting outside thinking about Dushyant. Durvaasaa Rishi called her a couple of times but she was so immersed in her thoughts that she did not listen his voice. At this Durvaasaa Rishi got angry with her and cursed her - "Whoever's thoughts you are immersed in, he will forget you." Hearing this Shakuntalaa fell on his feet, and prayed him. Later he softened his curse that "he will recognize you later".

As the time passed Dushyant was nowhere to be seen.  Shakuntalaa gave birth to a boy in the Aashram. After the birth of the boy Kanv Rishi thought to send the boy to his right owner - his father. So he made arrangements for Shakuntalaa to go to Dushyant and sent some of his disciples along with her.

Shakuntalaa and Dushyant
Shakuntalaa took the ring and her son and set off for her journey. When she appeared in Dushyant's court, he clearly refused to recognize her. She tried to remind him of several incidents related to both of them but he could not remember anything. Now she remembered that he gave her his ring to present it in time of need. This was the time of that need, so she took out his ring, but Lo, she could not find the ring. She remembered well that she took the ring to show it to anybody in need but now it was nowhere to be found. She thought, maybe, when she stopped to drink water from a river, she might have dropped it there. Since she could not prove anything, could not even show the ring, Dushyant did not accept her and she came back from there. She did not go back to Aashram because of shame and started living in a forest taking care of her son - the future king.

After a few days of this incident, a fisherman came to the King and presented him with his ring saying that he found it in the stomach of a fish. Since it was marked with the King's mark, he could recognized it as his and was able to bring it to him. As the King saw his ring, he remembered everything and he cried a lot for Shakuntalaa. He tried to search her everywhere but could not find her.

Once he went to help Indra in his war with Asur and was coming from there that he saw a 5-year old boy playing with lion cubs. He saw that he was putting his fist in the cub's mouth. Seeing this he said - "He must be a Kshatriya's son, but who is he?" He was so much impressed with him that he could not resist and came to him to know his whereabouts. He asked him - "What is your name?" "Bharat" "And what is your father's name?" "King Dushyant" The King shook hearing his own name, so he asked him - "What is your mother's name?" "Shakuntalaa". The King understood everything, he asked him to take him to his mother. There they met again and Raajaa brought both of them to his palace.

Next day he declared Shakuntalaa his queen. The same Bharat became the Chakravartee Raajaa of Bhaarat Varsh, and Paandav and Kaurav were born in his Vansh (lineage) only.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 06/04/13