Shakuntala, or Known Shakuntala - Kalidasa (IV-V centuries ?)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Shakuntala, or Known Shakuntala
Kalidasa (IV-V centuries ?)

The mighty king of Dushiant falls during the hunt in the peaceful forest abode of the hermits, and he meets three young girls who water flowers and trees. In one of them, Shakuntalu, he falls in love at first sight. Describing herself as a king's servant, Dushyantya asks who she is, for she fears that, being of a different origin than that of her, she will not be able to belong to him by the law of the caste. However, from Shakuntali's friends he learns that she is also the daughter of King Vishwamitra and the divine maiden Menäki, who left her in the care of the head of the monastery of the sage of Kanwa. In turn, when ramshas demons are attacked on the monastery and Dushyanthe has to defend her, it turns out that he is not a royal servant, but a great king himself.

Shakuntala is captivated by the courage, nobility and courteous behavior of the Dushiant, no less than he - her beauty and modesty. But for some time, lovers do not dare to discover their feelings to each other. And only once, when the king accidentally overhears Shakuntala's conversation with his girlfriends, in which she confesses that she burns her passionate love for Dushiant at day and night, the king makes her a reciprocal admission and swears that, although there are many beauties in her palace, "only two will make the glory of his kind: the land covered with seas and Shakuntal".

Accepting father Shakuntala Kanva was not at this time in the monastery: he went to a distant pilgrimage. Therefore, Dushyantha and his beloved make a marriage union on the rite of Gandharwas, which does not require the consent of the parents and the wedding ceremony. Shortly thereafter, called by urgent royal affairs, Dušanyte briefly, as he hopes, leaves for himself in the capital. And just in his absence, the abode is visited by the sage Durvasas. Submerged in the thoughts of Duschint, Shakuntal does not notice him, and an angry wise curses her for involuntary infertility, condemning that the one whom she loves will not remember her, "as a drunk does not remember the words previously spoken." Girlfriends ask Durvassas to soften his curse, which Shakuntal, fortunately, did not even hear, and, promising them, he promises that the curse will lose power when the king sees the ring given to them by Shakuntal.

Meanwhile, the father returns to the monastery Kanwa. He blesses the marriage of his adopted daughter, who, according to him, is already waiting for a child who cares for the whole world, and, giving him a wise instruction, sends with his two disciples to the spouse king. Shakuntala arrives in the majestic, impressive royal palace with its magnificence, which is not like a modest her abode. And here, Dushiant, enchanted by the curse of Durvasas, does not recognize her and sends away. Shakuntala tries to show him the ring he has presented to him, but finds that there are no rings - she lost him on the road, and the king rejects it completely. In despair, Shakuntala pray to open the earth and absorb it, and then, in the lightning of lightning, her mother Menaca descends from heaven and takes it with her.

After a while the palace guard leads a fisherman suspected of stealing a jewel ring. It turns out that this ring is a Shakuntala ring, which the fisherman found in the belly of the fish caught by him. As soon as Dushyantha saw the ring, the memory returned to him. Love, consolation, sorrow of separation torture him: "My heart was asleep when the gas-leaked one was knocking on him, and now it was awakened to find out the pain of repentance!" All the efforts of the courtiers to comfort or entertain the king are in vain, and only provokes Dushiant from hopeless grief, only the arrival Mataali, the king of the gods of Indra.

Mathali calls on Dushiant to help heavenly men in their struggle with mighty demon asures. The king rises to the sky with Matali, performs many military feats, and after defeating the demons, deserving Indra's gratitude, falls on an air chariot on top of Mount Hemakuta to the monastery of the progenitor of the gods of the holy sage Kashyapa. Near the monastery, Dushyantha meets a boy playing with a lioness. According to his behavior and appearance, the king realizes that his own son is in front of him. And immediately there appears Shakuntala, which, as it turns out, all this time lived in the monastery Kashyapa and bore the prince there. The Dushianta falls to Shakuntala's legs, prays for forgiveness and receives it. Kashyapa tells loving spouses about the curse that caused them to suffer innocently, bless their son Bharata, and foretold his authority over the whole world. On the chariot of Indra, Dushyanta, Shakuntala and Bharata return to the capital of the kingdom.