Showing posts with label Abhijnanashakuntala. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abhijnanashakuntala. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Menaka In Hindu Mythology?


Menaka is a lovely heavenly girl/nymph/celestial maiden (apsara) who is a minion of Indra, the ruler of the gods, in Hindu mythology.

Menaka's main job is to seduce sages who are threatening to dethrone Indra as king of the heavens.

Semen is seen as the concentrated essence of a man's vital energy in traditional Indian culture, and celibacy is viewed as a way to maintain and keep these energies.

Menaka's attracting abilities are employed to seduce these ascetics, reducing their spiritual force.

The sage Vishvamitra, who is twice charmed by her charms, is her most noteworthy companion.

Their first encounter leads in the birth of the maiden Shakuntala, which is honored in the poet Kalidasa's play Abhijnanashakuntala.

Vishvamitra spends 10 years with Menaka during their second liaison before abandoning her for renunciant existence in the bush.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Abhijnanashakuntala?


Abhijnanashakuntala ("Recognition of Shakuntala") is a Sanskrit word that means "recognition of Shakuntala." 

  • Kalidasa (5th century C.E.) wrote a drama that is generally regarded as the finest classical Sanskrit poet.
  • The Abhijnanashakuntala is Kalidasa's finest play, depicting the hardships and tribulations of the legendary heroine Shakuntala. 

While King Dushyanta is gone from his realm on a hunting expedition, Shakuntala, the daughter of the philosopher Vishvamitra and the heavenly nymph Menaka, catches King Dushyanta's attention. 

In what is known as a gandharva marriage, Shakuntala and Dushyanta married by mutual agreement.

  • Dushyanta returns to his realm after their marriage. Shakuntala stays at home and accidentally irritates the sage Durvasas, who curses her to be forgotten by her lover. 
  • Shakuntala begs Durvasas to lift the curse so that Dushyanta would remember everything if Shakuntala can present Dushyanta a symbol of their marriage. 
  • Shakuntala has received Dushyanta's signet ring, but she misplaces it before she can meet him.
  • Shakuntala is repeatedly denied by Dushyanta until she discovers the ring in the belly of a fish. 
  • When Dushyanta sees the ring, he recognizes Shakuntala (thus the title of the play), and the two marry and live happily ever after.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.