Story of Shakuntala

Dejected and disappointed, Shakuntala left for the forest all alone and decided to give birth to the child. Gradually her self confidence returned, her fear vanished, and in due course of time she gave birth to a most beautiful and well developed son. She named him Bharata.

Bharata grew without any human company other than her mother. All around in the jungle he encountered wild animals, plants and trees. He developed into a fearless, healthy, and active child. Lions and tigers were his friends, and he used to ride them as we ride horses! The mother taught him, as a prince should be taught, skills in archery, and use of other weapons; as also acquainted him with Scriptures: Veda, and Upanishad. Bharata soon grew up as handsome, intelligent and fearless youth - a prince in exile!

There in the kingdom of Dushyanta, one fisherman caught the fish that had swallowed the royal ring that had slipped from the finger of Shakuntala. When he cut open the fish, he found the ring. He rushed to the royal court, and narrated the story to the king. On seeing his ring, the king remembered everything about Shakuntala and his love for her. He was sorry to send her pregnant wife away with such rudeness. He sent his men all around the kingdom in search of Shakuntala.

And one day the good news reached him when his minister told him about Shakuntala and her handsome son safe in the heart of the forest. The king went to fetch his wife and son, begged their pardon and with due honour and festivity brought them to the palace.

Later, Bharata became the king of ancient India. His rule extended over vast area, almost all over India. Righteousness and justice prevailed everywhere. There was no want, no misery, nor any disease in his kingdom. Since then India is also known as Bharatavarsha - the Land of Bharata.

After Bharata, his descendants flourished as mighty Kurus. Their kingdom extended in north India, the capital city of which was Hastinapur. The successive great kings ruled from here; great not only in material prosperity but also in their strength of character. Their whole life and activity was centered around upholding the rule of Dharma -righteousness. To these noble rulers, life was meaningless if not lived according to the Dharma. For this, they even went as far as sacrificing their own lives.

The story of one such great king will illustrate this point better.

Previous Index Next