Loving very important way of life in a lot

Loving Everyone: The love and culture of Hindi
with the Dharma in the Sakuntala


In Hindu way of life, the idea of dharma is a very
important way of life in a lot of people. When views of an individual’s caste,
this way of life dictates the type of work that individuals can do. This also shows
the proper way people should respond to others of higher or lower castes,
something we see in the Sakuntala when talked about with the fisherman. The
individual’s personal life requires a person to respond in certain ways to
family members or other people throughout society, as seen in the section of
The Ramayana when King Dasaratha must grant Queen Kaikeyi’s request that he
exile his loved son Rama even though the exile is unfair and not what
Dasaratha’s wanted to happen.

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When considering the Sakuntala and The Ramayana
together, there are big differences in the role that dharma plays in the story.
The duty of the Sakuntala is more of background setting of the story and only
when it is dishonored does it really become a factor. Instead of the emphasis
being on dharma like the Ramayana, the focus of The Sakuntala is on love, and
dharma’s influence is secondary to love. Early in the Sakuntala, it is seen
that the dharma presented to establish the main characters as good people. Dushyanta’s
acquiescence to the hermits’ requests, and deference to the hermits is an
example of this (Kalidasa 379-382). Dushyanta’s honorable reply to the hermits,
are priests with higher social status than Dushyanta, be an indicator of dharma.
It shows Dushyanta recognizes and respects his place in the caste. The
knowledge and respect of the caste system is shown in Dushyanta’s wish that
Sakuntala might be “sprung from a caste different from that of the Head of the
hermitage” (Kalidasa 384), cross-caste marriages are not seen as appropriate and
Dushyanta anticipations that dharma will not stop their union. He knows that if
Sakuntala is of the same caste as Kanwa then Dushyanta being of a different
caste then he cannot marry Sakuntala without violating social restrictions.

Another manifestation of dharma in The
Sakuntala is revealed with the importance of Sakuntala’s proper performance of hospitality.
The correct adherence to rites of hospitality is seen when Sakuntala and her
attendants are offering Dushyanta the appropriate greetings. However, later it
is these same rites that become the main cause of conflict when they are not
observed. Sakuntala is daydreaming of Dushyanta while the duty of respectful
greeting for Durvasas is ignored, which causes Durvasas to utter the curse that
makes Dushyanta forget Sakuntala: He, even he of whom thou thinkest, he Shall
think no more of thee; nor in his heart Retain thine image. Vainly shalt thou
strive To waken his remembrance of the past; He shall disown thee, even as the
sot, Roused from his midnight drunkenness, denies The words he uttered in his
revellings. (Kalidasa 415) Durvasas’ curse focuses on the object of Sakuntala’s
daydream. It was sort of a punishment that could be considered as karma for her
neglect of duty. Love triggered the responsibility of duty to be forgotten. To show
the importance of duty love must be forgotten in turn. The eye for an eye curse
for violating dharma might seem to be considered more important than love since
at this point in the play neglect of duty causes love to be lost. Love and the
romantic relationship between Dushyanta and Sakuntala succeeded in the end.

Duty became just an agent used to add the
conflict that drives the plot. The conflict between love and duty shows that love
ends up winning. Durvasas was being appeased by Priyamvada and is willing to
provide a way for the curse to be broken. Durvasas still wants this even though
Sakuntala never rouses herself to greet him or ask for forgiveness. In the
Ramayana, duty seemed to be a much stronger as it is duty and not love which motivates
the characters the most. Duty will even interfere with the motivations driven
by love, as is what happened with Dasaratha’s limitation by duty to Queen
Kaikeyi when he was forced to exile his loved son Rama. If duty were not that
important then Dasaratha would not have given in to Kaikeyi’s jealousy. His
love for Rama would instead overcome these obstacles. Dasaratha made an oath to
grant Kaikeyi’s request but then he is forced by his duty to fulfill his word
to do something offensive to him and the love for his son. The same problems
with Rama and Sita’s relationships after each time she was kidnapped shows this
issue of duty winning over love. Whereas this love focused story might represent
that love conquerors all and the faith of Rama that Sita was pure, we instead
see that Sita demands of duty and prove her transparency. In Sakuntala, love is
the number one motivation of each action.

In the end, Sakuntala does not have to prove her purity; it is instead
Dushyanta must prove his love, as we eavesdrop on his lamentations along with
the nymph Sanumati in Act VI (Kalidasa 446-460). Dushyanta’s love strung behavior
and his ensuing compliance to the gods proved him worthy of recovering his lost
wife and meeting his superhuman son. All in all, love is the focus in
Sakuntala, and since dharma has a place, it is more as a background. While
reading The Sakuntala in conjunction with The Ramayana, dharma is the main character
and is very clear how small dharma and karma play in the story of Dushyanta and
Sakuntala. Though duty drives home the action of the Sakuntala and shows what
the characters are like, love is the main idea and the final winning force of
the story.