Shakuntala is under deep regret, emotional trauma and pain. All this struck her after Dushyant calls her daughter of a prostitute. This statement was just unacceptable for her. Who would except own husband to make derogatory statements? Nobody. At least during those days, it was unthinkable. She was taken aback, King Dushyant was throwing such derogatory words at her.

But, only he knew the bad karma he is adding to his Sanchita Karma. He was helpless. He was cornered. The King in him thought differently, coming from a respected family and ruling most prestigious kingdoms Hastinapur ‘Dushyant’ did not want to set a bad example. The point here is ‘actions’. King’s actions have been questioned, should he be so cruel and rude to Shakuntala just because of his title ‘King’. Still, people have various opinions on this subject.

Facing the charges of a liar, Shakuntala decided to leave Bharat with Dushyant.

Shakuntala went through extreme pain since the time she stepped into the palace. She is rejected outrightly by King Dushyant. In the process, people have got to know that she is Vishwamitra’s daughter.

Though she didn’t mean to tell it, it came out. People in the palace got shocked and suddenly the wind started to blow on her side. Everyone respected Vishwamitra and being his daughter she got the respect that she deserved. After listening patiently to Dushyant, Shakuntala decided to challenge the king.

Shakuntala says ‘you have disregarded our relationship, your words have left me heartbroken. I will never come back to you even if you beg me. But, I don’t wish to see my son live a life that I led. I want him to grow properly like the son of a King. So I am leaving my son here’.

Listening to this, Dushyant is furious. He understood the atmosphere and gets an idea that Shakuntala is taken seriously by the people. Dushyant starts abusing Shakuntala and asks her to get out. He says ‘get out from this place along with your son, otherwise, I’ll have to put you in jail and punish on grounds of Rajdroha’.

Mother Menaka is hurt as she watches her daughter Shakuntala suffer in Bhu Loka

Maneka watches, as it’s getting worse she runs to Indra. She then asks him for help. ‘I have done all that you wanted. I followed your words without debating. But today my daughter is suffering. She is heartbroken. Please help my daughter’. Indra agrees.

In the Bhu Loka, after continuous force and abuse by Dushyant, Shakuntala walks towards the exit door. Then ‘Akashvani’ is heard. A message is going to be delivered. Akashvani is a channel of communication between two Lokas during those days. The two Lokas are Bhu Loka and Deva Loka.

Shakuntala: A love that went through a test of fire - Katha Kids
Pic Courtesy: Google

An angry voice in the air says ‘King Dushyant, you have committed enough blunders by taking things this far. Just because we aren’t speaking out, you cannot punish Shakuntala. We witnessed the marriage you had with Shakuntala. Don’t let us explain things to you’. As the words fill the palace, Dushyant realises his mistake. He runs towards Shakuntala. He pleads and asks for her to stay back. ‘I love you and I am sorry for my behaviour. I was lost and taken over by the role of a King and did injustice to the role of a husband’. Please stay, pleads Dushyant.

‘How can you even think of that. You called me a prostitute and what not. I will never come back to you. You need to take care of our son. Teach him the right things and make him a powerful king who can manage the kingdom and family. That’s the least you can do’.

Turning to Bharat she said, ‘My son, from now my role in your life ends. From now your father is everything for you. Listen to him and follow his words, I’ll leave now’. She turns around and leaves the palace. No one could’ve dared to stop her, she looked like a fireball as she left. Touching her would’ve fired the entire kingdom.

But there’s another famous version of this story. It’s written by poet Kalidasa as Abhignya Shakuntalam.

As per him after Dushyant left the Ashram, Shakuntala is thinking of the King and Durvasa Maharshi comes to the ashram. But she fails to notice him, seeing this ignorant behaviour he curses her. ‘The person whom you are thinking of will now forget you’ cursed Durvasa.

Shakuntala pleads for mercy. After which Durvasa Maharshi says ‘okay, he will only remember you when you show him anything that he has given you’. Dushyant after their Gandharva vivah gives his ring with royal impression on it to with Shakuntala. Shakuntala takes Son, the ring and goes to Kingdom.

As expected, Dushyant completely forgets her. Unfortunately while travelling to Hastinapur, she loses her ring in a river and fish swallows it. So her plans of reunion got shattered. Soon after this incident, a fisherman catches the fish and cuts it. But to his surprise, he sees a Ring. Because it’s a royal ring, he goes to King and submits the ring. Seeing the ring, Dushyant rememberers everything. He brings back Shakuntala and Bharat to his kingdom and they live happily thereafter… This version we read in school books is just an imagination of Kalidas.

Now coming back to the story, What does Shakuntala do after she leaves Dushyant’s palace?

Shakuntala is hurt and she seeks revenge. She calls upon ‘Parashuram’.

Shakuntala wanted to take revenge. She is the one who opposed the punishment on Ahalya. She is strong and brave women. So she wanted revenge and decides that the only person who can do that is Parshuram – the sixth Vishnu, her relative.

So here’s how Shakuntala and Parshuram are related. Vishwamitra, as we know, is the father of Shakuntala. Going up further, Vishwamitra’s father is Gaadi. Gaadi had two children, Vishwamitra and Satyavati.

Satyavati is married to a Rishi called Ruchik. Son of Rishi Ruchik and Satyavati is Jamadagni. Son of Rishi Jamadagni is Parashuram. That way, Vishwamitra is the grandfather of Parashuram and similarly, Shakuntala is like a mother to Parshuram. So Shakuntala goes to Parshuram to seek revenge on Dushyant.