History of King Bharat

by Kalidasa's Abhigyan Shakuntalam

Discover Bharat

6/6/20232 min read

Bharat was son of king Dushyanta , who was the king of Chandravamsha and Shakuntala, who was daughter of Rishi Viswamitra and apsara Menka and grown up in Rishi Kanva’s ashram.

One day King Dushyanta, was once hunting in the forests, while Shakuntala was collecting flowers in the forest accompanied by her friends, named Anasuya and Priyamvada . Dushyanta was renowned for his bravery and noble character. As soon as he laid eyes on Shakuntala, he was enchanted by her ethereal beauty. Dushyanta and Shakuntala fell in love with each other. Since Rishi Kanva was absent from the ashrama, they married according to the gandharva rites. The king presented her with his signet ring, and left for his palace. Shakuntala soon became pregnant.

One day, Rishi Durvasa arrived at Kanva Rishi's ashram. Shakuntala, consumed by her thoughts of Dushyanta, failed to greet the sage with due respect and care. Filled with anger, Rishi Durvasa cursed her, declaring that the person she was thinking of would forget her completely.Shakuntala did not hear this curse being placed upon her. When Rishi Kanva returned and learnt of these events, he sent Shakuntala to the palace of King Dushyanta. Owing to the curse, Dushyanta did not recognise her. Greatly aggrieved, while Shakuntala was returning to the ashrama, her mother, Menaka, took her to the ashrama of Rishi Kashyapa, where Shakuntala gave birth to a son.

The boy grew brave and fearless, and was able to subdue even the wildest of beasts in the region. Rishi Kashyapa, therefore, named him Sarvadamana. In the meantime, as fate would have it, a fisherman caught a big fish from the river nearby. When he cut it open, he discovered a royal ring inside its belly. This ring happened to be the same one Dushyanta had given Shakuntala as a token of their love. The ring was presented it to the king. Upon seeing the ring, Dushyanta could memorize everything about Shakuntala and his promises.

After a period of time, when Dushyanta was returning home after visiting Indra, he came across Rishi Kashyap’s ashram where Shakuntala resided. When their eyes met, a flood of memories rushed back to Dushyanta's mind. He recognized Shakuntala as his beloved and realized the depth of his love for her. Dushyanta embraced Shakuntala, seeking forgiveness for the pain he had unknowingly caused her.

Their love was rekindled, and they rejoiced in their reunion. Shakuntala introduced Dushyanta to their son, Bharata, who would go on to become a great emperor, founding the lineage known as the Bharata dynasty.

Bharata conquered the world and ruled for many years, and therefore, the kingdom that he inherited and expanded came to be known as Bharata, named after him.

The above story is taken from the book Abhigyan Shakuntalam. You can Buy from Amazon if you want. The link is given below.