Sakuntala

Sakuntala

Tokoh dalam mitologi Hindu
Nama: Sakuntala
Aksara Dewanagari: शकुन्‍तला
Ejaan Sanskerta: Shākuntalā

Muncul dalam kitab: Mahabharata, Purana
Kediaman: Asrama Resi Kanwa, lalu pindah ke Hastinapura
Pasangan: Duswanta
Anak: Bharata

Sakuntala (Sanskerta: शकुन्‍तला; Shākuntalā) adalah nama permaisuri Raja Duswanta, leluhur Pandawa dan Korawa dalam wiracarita Mahabharata. Ia merupakan Ibu dari Raja Bharata yang menurunkan keluarga Bharata. Ia juga merupakan anak angkat Bagawan Kanwa. Konon Ibu kandungnya adalah bidadari Menaka dari kahyangan.

Sakuntala putus asa. Lukisan karya Raja Ravi Varma.
Asal-usul
Riwayat Sakuntala muncul sekilas dalam kitab Adiparwa. Dikisahkan ada seorang pertapa bernama Wiswamitra, dulu merupakan seorang Raja namun kemudian meninggalkan kehidupan istananya karena ingin mendapatkan kejayaan seperti Bagawan Wasistha. Tapanya sangat khusuk, tak tergoyahkan. Melihat hal tersebut, Dewa Indra mengutus bidadari Menaka agar menguji tapa Sang Wiswamitra. Bidadari Menaka terbang ke tempat Wiswamitra bertapa, diiringi Dewa Bayu dan Semara.

Ketika sampai di tujuan, bidadari Menaka menjalankan tugasnya. Bidadari tersebut menggoda Sang Wiswamitra sehingga nafsu birahinya muncul. Bidadari Menaka kemudian dihamili oleh Sang Wiswamitra. Setelah merasa tugasnya telah diselesaikan dengan baik, bidadari Menaka terbang kembali ke kahyangan sementara Sang Wiswamitra pergi meninggalkan tempat pertapaannya karena gagal. Di tepi sungai Malini, Sang bidadari melahirkan bayi perempuan. Bayi tersebut ditinggalkan seorang diri di sana sementara ibunya terbang ke kahyangan tanpa cinta kasih. Kemudian sang bayi dirawat oleh burung Sakuni.

Bagawan Kanwa yang sedang mencari kembang di sekitar sungai Malini terkejut melihat seorang bayi tergeletak, dirawat oleh burung Sakuni. Lalu bayi itu dipungut, diberkahi, dipelihara, dan diberi nama Sakuntala karena dirawat oleh burung Sakuni.

Sakuntala dan Raja Duswanta
Artikel utama untuk bagian ini adalah: Duswanta

Pada suatu ketika, Prabu Duswanta pergi berburu sampai ke tengah hutan di kaki gunung Himawan. Setelah masuk jauh ke tengah hutan, ia menemukan lokasi pertapaan yang sangat indah, yang ternyata kediaman Bagawan Kanwa. Di sana ia disambut dengan ramah oleh puteri cantik jelita bernama Sakuntala. Melihat wajah sang puteri petapa yang sangat elok, timbulah keinginan Sang Raja untuk menikahinya. Sakuntala menolak, namun dirayu terus oleh Sang Raja. Akhirnya Sakuntala bersedia menikahi Sang Raja dengan syarat bahwa anak yang dilahirkannya harus menjadi pewaris tahta Sang Raja. Karena diselimuti rasa cinta, Sang Raja bersedia memenuhi permohonan tersebut.

Kemudian Sang Raja bercinta dengan Sakuntala. Tak lama setelah itu, ia pergi meninggalkan pertapaan karena terikat oleh kewajibannya sebagai seorang Raja. Ia pun pulang dan berjanji bahwa kelak ia akan kembali lagi ke pertapaan tersebut untuk menjemput Sakuntala beserta anaknya jika sudah lahir.

Ketika Sakuntala termenung mengenang kepergian Sang Raja, Bagawan Kanwa pulang dari hutan sambil membawa bunga dan kayu bakar. Sakuntala hanya diam membisu. Karena kesaktiannya, Bagawan Kanwa mengetahui kejadian yang dialami Sakuntala meskipun Sakuntala bungkam. Bagawan Kanwa membesarkan hati Sakuntala dan memberinya kata-kata yang lembut. Nasihat Bagawan Kanwa menyejukkan hati Sakuntala.

Kelahiran Sang Bharata
Dari hasil hubungannya dengan Raja Duswanta, lahirlah seorang putera rupawan, diberi nama Sarwadamana. Tanda-tanda ia merupakan calon seorang penguasa dunia tampak dari gambar cakra di telapak tangannya. Setelah anaknya lahir, Sakuntala dengan setia menunggu kedatangan Raja Duswanta. Namun Sang Raja tak kunjung datang. Hati Sakuntala menjadi semakin sedih memikirkan masa depan anaknya yang tak kunjung dijemput sang ayah sebagai pewaris kerajaan. Meliha hal tersebut, Bagawan Kanwa menyuruh Duswanta beserta anaknya agar pergi menghadap Sang Raja di ibukota.

Penolakan Sang Raja
Shakuntala menulis surat kepada Duswanta. Lukisan karya Raja Ravi Varma.

Karena ingin agar anaknya menjadi Raja, Sakuntala rela pergi ke ibukota. Setelah sampai di ibukota, Sakuntala menghadap Sang Raja yang sedang bersidang di istana kerajaan. Di depan umum, Sakuntala menjelaskan maksud kedatangannya bahwa ia hendak menyerahkan puteranya, Sarwadamana, sebagai putera mahkota karena janji Sang Raja. Mendengar pengakuan tersebut, Raja Duswanta menolak kebenaran perkataan Sakuntala. Bahkan ia menolak telah menikah dan memiliki anak dari Sakuntala. Ia juga menghina dan mencela Sakuntala di muka umum. Sakuntala menangis karena dipermalukan. Bagaimana pun penjelasannya agar Sang Raja mau mengakui Sarwadamana sebagai putera, Sang Raja selalu mengelak.

Tiba-tiba terdengar suara dari langit yang membenarkan perkataan Sakuntala. Raja tak bisa mengelak lagi lalu ia menyongsong dan memeluk Sakuntala beserta anaknya. Kemudian ia menagis karena bahagia sambil berkata, “Duhai Sakuntala, sebenarnya aku sangat gembira akan kedatanganmu. Namun aku terhalang karena kedudukanku sebagai Raja. Apa kata dunia bila akau menikahimu yang tidak dikira sebagai istriku? Kini kesangsian itu tak ada lagi, karena semuanya telah mendengar sabda dari langit yang membenarkan ucapanmu. Karena itu, engkau adalah istriku dan Sarwadamana adalah puteraku. Ia akan kuangkat sebagai Raja menggantikan kekuasaanku. Namanya kuganti menjadi Bharata karena berdasarkan sabda dari langit”.

Setelah Raja Duswanta berkata demikian, ia menyerahkan tahta kepada Sarwadamana yang berganti nama menjadi Bharata. Kemudian Bharata menaklukkan daratan India Kuno (Bharatawarsha) dan menurunkan Kuru, yang menurunkan Wangsa Kaurawa (Korawa).

Silsilah

Story of Shakuntala & Dushyanta.
Stories from Mahabharata

In Hindu mythology Shakuntala is considered to be the mother of Emperor Bharata and the wife of Dushyanta who was the founder of the Paurav vansha (Paurav Dynasty). Shakuntala was born of Vishvamitra and Menaka. Rishi Kanva found her in the forest surrounded and protected by birds (Shakunton in Sanskrit), so she was named Shakuntala.

Once, while out on a hunt with his army, Dushyanta passed through a forest full of bilv, ark, khadir, kapith, dahv etc. trees. The forest undulated with interspered rocky hillocks and extended over several yojanas and there was no trace of any man. It was full of wildlife.

Dushyanta, along with his powerful army, happened to pass through extensive desert after which he reached a good forest. This forest was full of ashramas (hermitages) and there were fruit-bearing trees but no xerophytic trees. Here Dushyanta came across the ashrama of Rishi Kanva, the son of Kashyapa Rishi. It was surrounded by the Malini River.

Menaka had come at the behest of the King of the Gods Indra to distract the great sage Vishvamitra from his deep meditations. She succeeded in distracting him, and sired a child by him. Vishwamitra, angered by the loss of the virtue gained through his many hard years of strict ascetism, distanced himself from the child and mother to return to his work. Realizing that she could not leave the child with him, and having to return to the heavenly realms, Menaka left Shakuntala, just after birth, on the banks of the Malini River on the peaks of the Himalayas. As stated above, Rishi Kanva found the newly born girl in the forest surrounded and protected by birds and thus named her Shakuntala. According to a source Titwala, a small town near Kalyan in Maharashtra, is considered to be the site of the hermitage where Shakuntala was born.
Dushyanta, pursuing a male deer wounded by his arrow into the ashrama, saw Shakuntala nursing the deer, her pet, and fell in love with her. He profusely begged her forgiveness for harming the deer and spent some time at the ashrama. They fell in love and Dushyanta married Shakuntala there in the ashrama. Having to leave after some time due to unrest in the capital city, Dushyanta gave Shakuntala a royal ring as a sign of their love, promising her that he would return for her.

Shakuntala spent much time dreaming of her new husband and was often distracted by her daydreams. One day, a powerful rishi, Durvasa, came to the ashram but, lost in her thoughts about Dushyanta, Shakuntala failed to greet him properly. Incensed by this slight, the rishi cursed Shakuntala, saying that the person she was dreaming of would forget about her altogether. As he departed in a rage, one of Shakuntala’s friends quickly explained to him the reason for her friend’s distraction. The rishi, realizing that his extreme wrath was not warranted, modified his curse saying that the person who had forgotten Shakuntala would remember everything again if she showed him a personal token that had been given to her.
Time passed, and Shakuntala, wondering why Dushyanta did not return for her, finally set out for the capital city with her father and some of her companions. On the way, they had to cross a river by a canoe ferry and, seduced by the deep blue waters of the river, Shakuntala ran her fingers through the water. Her ring slipped off her finger without her realizing it.
Arriving at Dushyanta’s court, Shakuntala was hurt and surprised when her husband did not recognize her, nor recollected anything about her. Humiliated, Shakuntala returned to the forests and, collecting her son, settled in a wild part of the forest by herself. Here she spent her days as Bharat, her son, grew older. Surrounded only by wild animals, Bharat grew to be a strong youth and made a sport of opening the mouths of tigers and lions and counting their teeth!

Meanwhile, a fisherman was surprised to find a royal ring in the belly of a fish he had caught. Recognizing the royal seal, he took the ring to the palace and, upon seeing his ring, Dushyanta’s memories of his lovely bride came rushing back to him. He immediately set out to find her and, arriving at her father’s ashram, discovered that she was no longer there. He continued deeper into the forest to find his wife and came upon a surprising scene in the forest: a young boy had pried open the mouth of a lion and was busy counting its teeth! The king greeted the boy, amazed by his boldness and strength, and asked his name. He was surprised when the boy answered that he was Bharata, the son of King Dushyanta. The boy took him to Shakuntala, and thus the family was reunited.

In the Mahabharata, a slightly different version of this tale is told, where Dushyanta’s failure to recognise Shakuntala is in fact a ploy to have his subjects accept her as his true wife, since he had feared rumors might otherwise have arisen as to the propriety of the marriage.

One Response to Sakuntala

  1. pausunpamehum says:

    Happy New Year everyone

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