Once a devoted householder couple visited Divya Guru [Perfect Spiritual Master] Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji, Head & Founder of Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan. The couple was extremely perturbed by the death of their neighbor whose young wife and two kids were left alone. Everybody thought it was a massive blow for the family. What would the widow do now? Whom will she live for the rest of her life? How will she manage the kids and home? Perfect answers to such questions lie only with the Perfect Spiritual Masters. Divya Guru Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji rendered such a unique perspective to the aforesaid situation that the whole gamut of depressing pain waves transmuted into soothing surfs of motivation and enthusiasm. WHO SAYS THAT A HUSBAND AND A WIFE MAKE A PERFECT MARRIAGE ONLY IF THEY STAY PHYSICALLY CLOSE?, asked the Divya Guru. A group of Disciples were sitting at His Lotus Feet. They all appeared awe-struck. Then, Gurudev narrated the life transforming story of Rishi Kanya Shakuntala and her son King Bharata whose name reverberates even today as the name of our Country. The story finds mention in the Adi Parva of Mahabharata and Kalidasa’s Play Abhigyana-Shakuntalam, that means, The Recognition of Shakuntala.
Shakuntala, who faced stormy winds of challenges in her life right from the time of her birth, was the daughter of Rishi Vishwamitra and Apsara Menaka. The Rishi, after tough penance of thousands of years, got captivated by the charms of Apsara Menaka and succumbed to sensual delight. Menaka gave birth to Rishi’s daughter. But soon after the birth of child, the Rishi drooped into the ocean of repentance and resumed His spiritual sojourn. Menaka was sent by the deities to test the Rishi, so she too left. Now the girl child got abandoned. However, another Rishi by the name of Kanva accepted her and raised her in His ashram (hermitage) with utmost love and care. This girl grew into a beautiful, comely woman. Once, in the absence of Rishi Kanva, the then King of Hastinapur, Dushyanta, visited the Jungles for hunting. The King encountered this lovely maiden and fell for her. He courted Shakuntala in the royal manner for few days and they tied a knot with each other in the form of gandharva vivaha (a socially sanctioned marriage alliance of older times with no involvement of families). The King had to then leave for his Kingdom at the outbreak of certain unprecedented circumstances. However, he promised the Rishi Kanya for a ceremonial wedding too in the royal fashion and also gave his ring to her. Fast forward few days, Rishi Durvasa visited the ashram of Rishi Kanva where he could find none except Shakuntala who was lost in the thoughts of the King to such an extent that she didn’t acknowledge the presence of Rishi Durvasa who is infamous for His anger. The Rishi got furious at this insult and cursed Shakuntala – The one in whose thoughts you are lost will forget you! Shakuntala gained conscious state. She was terrified. She pleaded, holding the feet of the Sage. Then, the Sage said – Only when you show the signet ring to the King, will he get reminded of you. And the Sage left. In few days, Shakuntala discovered that she was pregnant. By now Rishi Kanva had also returned to the hermitage and he was trying to counsel Shakuntala very compassionately that she should make efforts to contact her husband, the King. Shakuntala, thereafter, stepped out to reach King Dushyanta. However, while crossing a river on her way, her signet ring got slipped from her hands and was lost in the waters. Unfortunately when Shakuntala met the King, he didn’t recognize her and she had to return back. Shakuntala, now started being introvert. She gave birth to King Dushyanta’s child and Rishi Kanva named him as Bharata. Now, the sole focus of Shakuntala in her life was her child’s ideal upbringing and righteous value creation in him. Bharata’s childhood was a fusion of tough terrains of the Jungle as well as exposure to virtuous disciplines in the abode of Rishi Kanva. Henceforth, Bharata was getting sculpted into a meld of wisdom, intelligence and valiance as well as compassion and sensitivity. Years passed by. A fisherman found the signet ring inside a fish while chopping it off. Because of the signs over it, he immediately recognized it as that of belonging to the King of Hastinapur. With the hope of reaping a good incentive, he took it to the King. It was then that the words of Rishi Durvasa materialized and the King was reminded of Shakuntala. He presented good incentive to the fisherman and hurried towards the Jungles. There happened the chance meeting of father and son duo; however none were aware of it. King Dushyanta was enthralled to see an infant boy playing courageously with tough Lions in the Jungles. He met the boy who gracefully showed his valor to the King. And sooner, the King was apprised by Shakuntala that the boy is His heir only. The firm foundation of tough and righteous living carved Bharata into an idyllic King whose glory is sung even today.
Divya Guru Shri Asutosh Maharaj Ji said – Had Bharata been born in the lavish Kingdom, he would never had got the values and virtues that he received in the Rishi’s abode; a perfect blend of Valiance and Wisdom.
Verily, hardships in life come not to fumble you but to carve you into a yet more strengthened version of yours!