King. It is most true, holy one.
Kashyapa. My son, I hope you have greeted as he deserves the son whom Shakuntala has borne you, for whom I myself have performed the birth-rite and the other ceremonies.
King. Holy one, the hope of my race centres in him.
Kashyapa. Know then that his courage will make him emperor.
Journeying over every sea,
His car will travel easily;
The seven islands of the earth
Will bow before his matchless worth;
Because wild beasts to him were tame,
All-tamer was his common name;
As Bharata he shall be known,
For he will bear the world alone.
King. I anticipate everything from him, since you have performed the rites for him.
Aditi. Kanva also should be informed that his daughter’s wishes are fulfilled. But Menaka is waiting upon me here and cannot be spared.
Shakuntala (to herself). The holy one has expressed my own desire.
Kashyapa. Kanva knows the whole matter through his divine insight. (He reflects.) Yet he should hear from us the pleasant tidings, how his daughter and her son have been received by her husband. Who waits without? (Enter a pupil.)
Pupil. I am here, holy one.
Kashyapa. Galava, fly through the air at once, carrying pleasant tidings from me to holy Kanva. Tell him how Durvasas’ curse has come to an end, how Dushyanta recovered his memory, and has taken Shakuntala with her child to himself.
Pupil. Yes, holy one. (Exit.)
Kashyapa (to the king). My son, enter with child and wife the chariot of your friend Indra, and set out for your capital.
King. Yes, holy one.
Kashyapa. For now
May Indra send abundant rain,
Repaid by sacrificial gain;
With aid long mutually given,
Rule you on earth, and he in heaven.
King. Holy one, I will do my best.
Kashyapa. What more, my son, shall I do for you?
King. Can there be more than this? Yet may this prayer be fulfilled.
May kingship benefit the land,
And wisdom grow in scholars’ band;
May Shiva see my faith on earth
And make me free of all rebirth.
* * * * *
In the first book of the vast epic poem Mahabharata, Kalidasa found the story of Shakuntala. The story has a natural place there, for Bharata, Shakuntala’s son, is the eponymous ancestor of the princes who play the leading part in the epic.
With no little abbreviation of its epic breadth, the story runs as follows:—