Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on differences between both sakuntala’s (kalidasa versus mahabarata version). The interpretation of Karma theory is simple and straightforward. ‘Every action has the reaction and the intensity of the reaction is in proportion to the intensity of the action.’ No dispute exists between the scientists and the spiritualists as for this issue. So, Sakuntala and Dushyanta are both the victims of their past deeds and they had to suffer the fated consequences of separation. Kalidasa generously uses flowers and trees to describe his women characters. Bee and deer are used as metaphors to highlight the activities and amorous adventures of the King. In Act I, the King is compared to a bee that is out to suck honey from the flowers, in this case the one and the only flower, Sakuntala. Sakuntala is not accustomed to such attacks from the bee. Initially she wonders why the bee has left the Jasmine vine and now tries to fly to her face. As the bee is persistent in flying towards her, she turns her bewitching eyes swiftly to watch the bee’s flight. Not out of love, but due to fright. But this bee is bold, and seems as if he has come to conquer her. He reaches out to her eyelids, then cheek and gently buzzing around, he whispers some sweet nothings into her ear. She tries to ward off the bee, but he strikes at her hand and steals a kiss. The King is so much enamored of Sakuntala that he wishes that she should accompany him. Sakuntala is awfully afraid and thinks that her virginity is in peril. She cries out to her friends to save her from the dreadful bee. This bee episode appears in act I. The story of Sakuntala appears in the ‘Adiparva’ chapter of the epic Mahabharata. “Sakuntala from the Mahabarata version is confident, outspoken and independent in nature, whereas the Sakuntala from Kalidasa’s “The Recognition of Sakuntala” is displayed as quiet, immature (romantic), and dependent.” Sakuntala of Mahabharata: “The two Sakuntalas are a good example of the change in characterization of a heroine. The Sakuntala of the Mahabharata stands her ground and speaks up for her right. Kalidasa’s Sakuntala does try to argue her case, but it is not her independence or the power of her words which we remember.”(Rustomji, p.45) When Sakuntala reached the court of Dushyanta, he took a defensive posture. Rather he was trying to defend the indefensible. He pleaded with her that no one knew about their association. Dushyanta presented before Sakuntala his queer logic that women were capable of enticing men to achieve their objective and he further argued that his people would conclude that she did the same thing to trap him and demand that her son should become the crown prince, which was part of her game plan. So, Dushyanta said that he did not admit to the marriage immediately and denied any association with her. He was clearly taking the defensive position as Sakuntala could not be browbeaten by his barbs. She reminded him about his promise and put forth her demand with all the confidence and with adamancy. Dushyanta remembered everything but shamelessly denied knowing her or having married her in Gandharva style. In such a grim situation anybody would turn cynical.


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