Abhijñānaśākuntalam of Kālidāsa is a world-renowned play, of Nātaka category. The famous saying, “काव्येषु नाटकं रम्यम्, तत्र रम्या शकुन्तला” (“Among all types of literature, Drama is beautiful; Among dramas, śākuntala is enchanting”) captures the excellence of this drama beautifully.
This celebrated play has seven acts. It is based on the story of king Duṣyanta and Śakuntalā in the Mahābhārata, involving their temporary union, separation and reunion. This play majorly follows the rules of dramaturgy, laid down by Bharata in his Nāṭyaśāstra. The language is graceful in style, highly elegant, dignified and sublime.
The plot has the following events- Duṣyanta entering into the penance place of Kaṇva ṛṣi, developing of mutual love between Duṣyanta and Śakuntala, their gāndharva vivāha, the curse of Durvāsa, Śakuntalā leaving for Hastināpura, she losing the token ring, Duṣyanta rejecting Śakuntalā, the accidental discovery of the ring by Duṣyanta, Duṣyanta’s deep pain on remembering the course of events, Duṣyanta’s journey to heaven and unexpected meeting with his son in the hermitage of Māricha, the meeting with Śakuntalā and happy union of the lovers in the end.
In these lectures, Smt. Visalakshi Sankaran takes us through this crown-jewel of Kālidāsa with inimitable passion, beautifully bringing out the exceptional linguistic and dramatic features of the play.
Note: These ongoing lectures are recorded from live classes, and will be uploaded as and when they are made available by the teacher.