Abhigyan Shakuntalam: A Beautiful Play by Kalidasa

Abhigyan shakuntalam is one of the best plays in the entire world. It is a well-known Sanskrit Play by Kavi Kalidasa. Here Kalidasa has dramatised the story of Shakuntala told in the epic Mahabharata. It is considered the best play by Kalidasa.

His works include Ritusamharam, Meghdootam, Kumarsambhavam, Malvikagnimitram, Vikramorvashiam and Abhigyan Shakuntalam. It is the last play by Kalidasa. It is divided into seven acts. The title means recognition of Shakuntala.

This fantastic play is a beautiful tale of love and romance. Shakuntala was the daughter of Rishi Vishwamitra and Menaka. After her birth she is left alone in the dense forest. The birds protect and take care of the new born baby. By chance sage Kanva gets her and names her Shakuntala. Shakuntala grows up. She is as beautiful as nature.

One day, King Dushyant arrives in the forest on hunt. To seek the blessings of Sage Kanva, he stops at his cottage. There he finds Shakuntala. He is mesmerized by her beauty. But he does not come out of his hiding. He continues to listen to the conversation of Shakuntala with her two friends. He comes to know that the sage Kanva is not in the cottage at the moment. He will come after few days. He accepts the hospitality of Shakuntala and her friends. He expresses his love for Shakuntala and promises her that the son born from her will be the heir of his kingdom. They marry by taking help of gandharva marriage. After that the king returns back to his capital due to some emergency. He gives his ring to Shakuntala as his token of love. At the same time he promises to return very soon and take Shakuntala with him.

One day in the absence of sage Kanva sage Durvasa visits his cottage. Finding none there to serve him, he becomes very angry. In his anger he curses Shakuntala. He says that whoever she is thinking about will forget her forever. At this Shakuntala and her friends put many pleas and request him to take the curse back. Anyhow he agrees to make his curse light because it was not possible to take it back. He says that he will remind everything if he is offered a thing of his own.

Shakuntala along with Sage Kanva waits impatiently for the arrival of the king. But he does not return. After that Sage Kanva arranges a visit for pregnant Shakuntala to the royal court of king Dushyanta.

On her way, thirsty Shakuntala stops to drink water by a lake. Unfortunately the ring slips from her finger and swallowed by a fish. She reaches the court. There Dushyanta praises her beauty but fails to recognize her. She pleads a lot but it is of no use. She ultimately returns back to the hermitage.

Eventually, the king gets his ring back. He starts suffering from his guilt. He becomes very sorry. In the meantime Lord Indra’s messenger Matali brings a message to him. Following the instructions of Lord Indra, Dushyanta departs to fight against the demons.

After completing his mission, Dushyanta meets a small boy in his return journey. That boy is playing with the cub. Dushyanta is attracted by him. He notices the resemblance between him and the baby. He comes to know that his mother’s name is Shakuntala. He then finds Sakuntala and asks for her forgiveness. Shakuntala forgives him. They go to see the sage and seek his blessings. The sage tells him of Rishi Durvasa’s curse and thus frees him of his guilt. Thus, the play comes to an end with prayer of Lord Shiva.


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