Episode # 92 – King Dushyanta refuses to accept Shakuntala Devi & Bharata!!!

We’re at an important juncture wherein Shakuntala Devi had been endlessly waiting for King Dushyanta to come and marry her, but he didn’t turn up at all. Eventually because of their union, Shakuntala had a baby boy by name “Bharata”, who was extremely powerful right from day one of his birth. As months and years passed by, Shakuntala was waiting on and on without any fruit. Knowing this, Kanva Maharishi advised her to go in search of King Dushyanta and remind him of his promise. As Shakuntala gets ready, Bharata was not ready to leave Kanva Maharishi because he was so attached to him. However, on the advice of Kanva Maharishi, Bharata agreed to accompany his mother in search of King Dushyanta and both of them thus set out on their pursuit. As they reach King Dushyanta’s kingdom, they were amazed to see how it was! As they enter inside the kingdom slowly, they finally reach King Dushyanta’s palace and eventually they reach the courtroom of King Dushyanta. Now the biggest question here is whether King Dushyanta would accept Shakuntala and Bharata or not! 

As Shakuntala introduces herself and Bharata, King Dushyanta doesn’t even remember who Shakuntala was. Even though Shakuntala tried her best to remind him of what had happened between him and her amidst the forest and how he had promised her to come and marry her as quickly as possible, all of these fell into the deaf ears of King Dushyanta. He was not ready to believe all these stories, as he did not remember even an iota of what had happened in the past. Of course, this was the game of fate (“Vidhi”) in some way or the other and it made King Dushyanta forget the entire past. However, the ministers in the courtroom were extremely convinced with Shakuntala’s claim and as they looked at little Bharata, they saw that he looked exactly the same as King Dushyanta. Even the ministers and the others in King Dushyanta’s courtroom joined the chorus along with Shakuntala Devi that he should accept her and Bharata. Eventually, the ministers’ claim was that Bharata should be coronated as the “Yuva-Raja” (Successor of King Dushyanta) as Bharata was his son. 

Even though everybody around him joined in this chorus of convincing the king to accept both of them, King Dushyanta was still not convinced. He replied back to Shakuntala thus, “Oh Devi! I seriously do not remember all of what you’re saying. I’m born in this world for “Dharma” and its establishment. My sole aim in this world is to ensure that “Dharma” is prevailing everywhere in the kingdom and in the world. With this in mind, I do not have anything else that would disturb my pursuit. Hence, even if whatever had happened were true, I’m not ready to accept anybody who would disturb me from my path of “Dharma”. I cannot go a step forward to accept Bharata also, even though he might be looking like me and even though he might be my son!” 

Upon hearing these words from King Dushyanta, Shakuntala Devi was extremely hurt. She started crying on the spot as she did not find words initially to counter King Dushyanta. His stance was extremely clear – He’s not going to accept her and Bharata! Now what does poor Shakuntala Devi do? She consoles herself after a few minutes of the shock, composes herself and replies back thus, 

“Yaha annyataasantham aathmaanam annyathaa prathipadhyathe!

Kim tena nakritham paapam chorena aatmaapahaarinaa!!”

This is a very famous sloka and our “Aachaaryas” would have referred to this atleast 200 or 300 times in their “Vyaakyaanas” in different contexts. This sloka appears as part of the Mahabharata, wherein Shakuntala replies to King Dushyanta thus, “Oh King Dushyanta! Who do you think you are? You’ve forgotten your identity and are saying something irrelevant. You’re afterall a “Jeevatma” like me and you’re talking as if you’re “Paramatma” who has incarnated in this world! You’re thinking that you can do something in private and escape off without the knowledge of anyone. There is Bhagawan who is looking at all of what you’re doing. You cannot get away so easily. You’re thinking too much about yourself – You’re thinking that you’re an embodiment of your physical body, however, on the contrary you’re an embodiment of your “Atman”. You’ve stolen another “Atman” which is Bhagawan’s property. You’re not realizing this. Moreover, you’re thinking that you’re the king and nobody is there to question your actions. However, there is Bhagawan Narayana who is the actual ruler of this entire world. He’s watching all your actions and is going to question you big time very soon. Hence, please do not go ahead further and commit a sin. Those who are performing such sins, would never escape the wrath of Yama-Dharma-Raja! You can ever escape from him!” 

As Shakuntala Devi thunders thus, the entire courtroom is stunned to bits! King Dushyanta is also speechless! He did not anticipate this kind of a response from Shakuntala Devi. Now what is King Dushyanta going to do? This is a test of his righteousness. What is going to be Dushyanta’s response? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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