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Shakuntala Summary

Dushyanta, the king of India, is hunting one day when his chariot takes him into
the sacred grounds of a religious establishment. A hermit stops the king and
reminds him that he has sworn to protect the religious people who live there. The
king leaves his chariot and wanders through the hallowed groves. As he walks,
he hears voices and then sees three young women passing through the grove to
water the plants growing there. When a bee, angered by their presence, flies at
one of the young women, she playfully calls out for Dushyanta to rescue her, not
knowing that the king is anywhere near.

Dushyanta, stepping from his hiding place, announces himself, but not as the
king; rather, he says that he is the king’s representative appointed to oversee the
safety of the grove and its inhabitants. While they talk, Dushyanta learns that
akuntal, the young woman who had cried out, is no ordinary maid but the child of
a Brahman and a water nymph. Dushyanta falls in love with her. akuntal also feels
the first pangs of love for the king and believes that the Hindu god of love has
struck her with his five flower-tipped arrows.

Mathavya, the king’s jester, complains to his master that the king and his retinue
spend too much time in hunting and that this life is too hard on him. Ostensibly to
humor the jester, but actually to have more time to seek out akuntal, the king
calls off any further hunting and orders his retinue to camp near the sacred grove
in which akuntal lives with her foster father, a hermit wise man named Kanwa. A
short time later, word comes to the camp that the king’s mother wishes him to
return to the capital to take part in certain ceremonies, but Dushyanta is so
smitten with love for akuntal that he sends his retinue back while he remains at
the sacred grove in the hope of seeing akuntal again.

Since their first meeting, both the king and akuntal have languished with love. At
last Dushyanta finds an excuse and opportunity to revisit the grove, and there he
meets akuntal again. Both are clearly in love, but neither knows how to tell the
other. One of akuntal’s attendants finally conceives the idea of having her send a
love note to the king. As akuntal writes the note, Dushyanta hears her speaking
the words aloud. He steps from his place of concealment and tells her of his
determination to make her his consort and the head of his household, above all
his other wives. akuntal leaves, telling him that she will have to talk over the
subject of marriage with her attendants, for her foster father, Kanwa, is absent
and so cannot give his consent.

Sometime later, a scurrilous and eccentric sage comes to the sacred grove. He
feels himself slighted by akuntal, who had not heard of his arrival and so has not
accomplished the rites of hospitality to suit him. In his anger, he calls down a
curse on the young...
The Ramayana Summary
Born during an age when the demon Ravana terrorized the
world, Rama is the virtuous, wise, and powerful prince of Ayohya. As
a young man, he is able to accomplish what no other man has ever
done: he lifts and strings the bow of Siva, and by so doing her earns
the right to marry the beautiful Sita.
Just when he is about to ascend the throne of Ayodhya, his father
Dasaratha is forced to exile him for fourteen years to the forest due to
a vow made long ago. Unruffled, Rama accepts his exile; his wife Sita
and his loyal brother Lakshmanaaccompany him. In the forest, the
princely brothers kill many demons and visit many wise men and
women.
The evil demon Ravana hears of Sita's beauty, and kidnaps her. He
has fallen in love with her and tries to seduce her, but she rebuffs his
advances for nearly ten months.

Desperate to win her back, Rama and Lakshmana form an alliance


with the monkey king Sugriva, and invade Lanka with an army of
monkeys. After many violent battles, Rama defeats Ravana and wins
back Sita. He is concerned that she has been unfaithful during her
long captivity, and so Sita undergoes a trial by fire to prove her
chastity. Rama takes her back, and they return to rule Ayodhya for
many wonderful years.
In another version of the tale, Rama hears his people gossiping about
Sita's imagined indiscretions, and he banishes her to the forest,
where she gives birth to Rama's twin sons. Sita and the children
confront him years later; he tries to explain his harsh actions to Sita,
but she vanishes into the earth to escape him.