While he was studying the Saundarya Lahari, Nataraja Guru also studied various other texts of erotic mysticism.

We present here a partial commentary on Kalidasa's "Shakuntala", together with other texts by Kalidasa and other authors.



Properly called Abhijnanashakuntalam, (Abhijnana means: "Leading toward knowledge", that is, her "recognition" by Dushyanta). this play by Kalidasa tells the story of King Dushyanta who, while on a hunting trip, meets Shakuntala, the adopted daughter of a sage, and marries her. A mishap befalls them when he is summoned back to court: Shakuntala, pregnant with their child, inadvertently offends a visiting sage and incurs a curse, by which Dushyanta will forget her completely until he sees the ring he has left with her. On her trip to Dushyanta's court in an advanced state of pregnancy, she loses the ring, and has to come away unrecognized. The ring is found by a fisherman who recognizes the royal seal and returns it to Dushyanta, who regains his memory of Shakuntala and sets out to find her. After more travails, they are finally reunited.


"Greek drama is based on the dialectics between honour and duty; Indian drama is based on the dialectics between eroticism and asceticism." Nataraja Guru

This commentary is based on the somewhat dubious and punditical translation of the Motilal Banarsidas edition from which the Guru worked (C.R. Devadhar and N.G. Suru,  Abhijnanasakuntalam of Kalidasa. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1934.)

An even more dubious and partial translation is here provided for lack of anything better.

The commentary is fragmentary and often repetitive, as it is drawn from several manuscripts, which have been left as they are, rather than risk losing important details by attempting to streamline them into a more lineal form. In any case, the Guru would often return several times to a passage and give slightly different interpretations each time. The reader will have to refer constantly to the text of the play to discover the passages referred to in the commentary; however, there is a lot to be learnt even from so partial a text, particularly from the structural methodology employed, together with the diagrams used to illustrate this.

Probably, the best way to grasp the commentary is to read the play first in its entirety, and then go through it with the commentary.

As the translation used by the Guru is not the same as the one which we have used here, there may be discrepancies, which we are trying to correct. To aid the reader, we have also provided another translation, also incomplete and only more or less accurate. All of this will not make the reader’s task an easy one, but little of the material on this website could be described as easy, in any case. The structural diagrams should perhaps be focussed on first, and the text and commentary consulted and compared with them afterwards.

We hope to improve this situation and eventually provide a more satisfactory translation.



Kalidasa sets up the audience hypnotically before the beginning of the play.
For example, the charioteer's speech about the horses.

The lines hang loose; the steeds unreined
Dart forward with a will.
Their ears are pricked; their necks are strained;
Their plumes lie straight and still.
They leave the rising dust behind;
They seem to float upon the wind.

You are being transferred from the horizontal chariot to the soul of a horse.
The horses change horizontal space into vertical space.
Kalidasa wants you to do the same thing.



"That which is the first creation of the creator,
That which bears the offering made according to due rites,
That which is the offerer,
Those two which make time,
That which pervades all space,
having for its quality what is perceived by the ear,
That which is the womb of all seeds,
That by which all living beings breathe:
Endowed with these eight visible forms, may the supreme Lord protect you."

The benediction is a masterpiece of structuralism: a god with eight visible forms, both cosmology and psychology together.
1. The first creation is fire, the centre, as with Thales etc.
2. That which bears the fire (what is put into it as an offering) according to a certain order in the universe: some grains.
3. The Hotri, or sacrificant, who makes the offering.
4 and 5. "Those two who make time": the sun and moon, which are to be verticalized so as to rise and set in your consciousness as if presented to the five senses.
6. The visible world - i.e. attainable in a schematized form.
7. Whatever you call the horizontal world - the womb of all seeds.
8. That by which all things live - breath.






(The structural diagrams on this page are drawn from Saundarya Lahari/Notes. E.g. the letters “slc8” refer to the file name in the notes, and the letters “p27” refer to the page, 27.

The existing translation (Motilal Banarsidas edition) of the Nandi proves to be inadequate, according to the Guru, who will translate the work himself.

In the Nandi only one god is praised: Ishana.
A Puranic or traditionally mythological interpretation of the eight forms listed in the Nandi would be wrong,

Kalidasa must be read as a Vedantin. The Gita, Brahma Sutras, and Upanishads must be referred to in order to understand his poetry and plays.

Shabda Pramana
means that "the words" (e.g. The words of an authority or scripture. ED) are taken as being true.

Other Pramanas (sources of valid knowledge. ED) are:
1. Pratyaksha - what is given to the senses.
2. Anumana - inference (where there is smoke, there is fire).
3. Upamana – an analogy between two examples.
4. Sastrimitva - all Shastras would be wrong if there were no Brahman (Absolute).

These are four of the ten Pramanas commonly accepted in Vedanta.

This is Shabda Pramana, here in the Nandi – scriptural authority.


In the list of eight factors in the Nandi, we find:

1. Fire

2. Ghee (clarified butter used as an offering).

3. The Brahmin sacrificer (these two are interchangeable: "ya cha hotri...")

4 and 5. Time as sun and moon. There is an alternating figure eight.
Time mounts the vertical axis, like S and S' (see Bergson in "The Science of the Absolute" on this website)
They must be verticalized.

6. Substance, attribute, sound, "that even which we speak of as Nature".

7. Manifestation of the horizontal world itself is the last mentioned, together with

8. prana "breath", which goes at the top; it is a nature-principle which gives breathing to all things.

Thus, here are eight presences that you can approach as being the visible universal concrete: also with the eight-fold content or aspects.

"Let this universal principle be your saviour - let it save you".
"I worship you and I want to be saved by what you see".
The same elements are used in the play: Shakuntala, a pregnant woman, is the centre, the king forgets her; this is the tragedy.
If you are not tuned to the Absolute, not completely verticalized, you will forget your own wife as Dushyanta forgets Shakuntala, which is the greatest injustice.

Dushyanta is horizontally oriented - thus he forgets his wife.
Shakuntala is vertical.



1. That creation which is the first of all created (things),
2. That which is the clarified butter.
3. That which is at the same time the sacrificer
4 and 5. Those two which make time
6. That ground in which inhere (stand established) quality, sound and substance
(i.e. the horizontal world), filling the whole universe (vyaya visvam)
7. That which is said to be the seed of all manifestation.
8. That which gives life to all living beings
May all of you be saved by the eight bodies (presences)
Let these, the eight manifestations of the Lord, attainable by what is given to the senses, save you.
(This is the Atman that is at the top of the vertical axis - the Omega point.









"The play is the thing" - what you see and what you feel must correspond, resulting in joy, a revealing of human nature with its echo in the soul, an equation between the Self and the Non-Self.
What you represent while being saved has one-to-one correspondence with the action of the play.

Fire is in the centre: tilt it to the Denominator and you will get Shakuntala.
The same structure will be evidenced.
There is a slight asymmetry of perspective as between the Self and the Non-Self.
The spectators are asked to put themselves in a certain mood. Tilt the camera from the positive side of the audience to the negative side of the unhappy Shakuntala.



The stage-manager says:

Why, sing about the pleasant summer which has just begun. For at this time of year
A mid-day plunge will temper heat;
The breeze is rich with forest flowers;
To slumber in the shade is sweet;
And charming are the twilight hours

Actress, sings:

The sirisa-blossoms fair,
With pollen laden,
Are plucked to deck her hair
By many a maiden,
But gently; flowers like these
Are kissed by eager bees.

He is describing the beginning of summer:
1. The days become delightful at evening.
2. To plunge in the water is so delightful.
3. The breeze is filled with perfume, blowing horizontally.
4. There is a boy sleeping in a deep shady place.

Kalidasa puts people in a proper mood by first singing to them, establishing a harmony between the people and the summer season in which the action is going to take place.
The actress sings: this gives a background for a tender, erotic context.
This is a delicate, contemplative tragedy.
Flowers kissed by bees are the most delicate.
This is the world of occasionalism.

The audience is immobilized, as in a picture: subject and object interpenetrate; interest is evenly balanced.

The wife tells the King the Denominator side.
The King is flying, so he is slightly absent-minded.
He is half-awake, to induce a similar state in the audience.
Then there is a gentle surprise - King Dushyanta is brought in and the Prologue ends.

Stage manager:

To tell the truth, madam,
Until the wise are satisfied,
I cannot feel that skill is shown;
The best-trained mind requires support,
And does not trust itself alone

The Stage Manager or Sutradhara says the words have to meet the acting: conceptualism meets perceptualism.
That twilight zone of consciousness between them is where the drama can flourish - not too vague, not too definite.


The "Pinaka-Wielder" is Shiva. This brings to mind the archetypal hunter - this is to fulfil the same purpose of revealing Brahman.
This gives the drama its place in the Indian context.
First get the horizontal line clear.
The charioteer is in the centre and speaks.

Your Majesty,
I see you hunt the spotted deer
With shafts to end his race,
As though God Shiva should appear
In his immortal chase

Then the King speaks:

His neck in beauty bends
As backward looks he sends
At my pursuing car
That threatens death from far.
Fear shrinks to half the body small;
See how he fears the arrow’s fall!
The path he takes is strewed
With blades of grass half-chewed
From jaws wide with the stress
Of fevered weariness.
He leaps so often and so high,
He does not seem to run, but fly.

See! The horses are gaining on the deer.
As onward and onward the chariot flies,
The small flashes large to my dizzy eyes.
What is cleft in twain, seems to blur and mate;
What is crooked in nature, seems to be straight.
Things at my side in an instant appear
Distant, and things in the distance, near.

The King's speech indicates the horizontal vanishing point;
The King sees a jumping, zigzag line.
This is a philosophical reflection on the notion of horizontal existence.
Hunting was a necessity in the time of Shiva, at the origin of human life.
So, the hunter reveals a horizontal line.

The infinity of space and relative speed is indicated here.

There is a Fitzgerald Contraction, a telescoping; grass is falling half-eaten out of the deer's mouth.
It moves lightly; the horizontal line is mathematical.
It is bounding; this indicates the vertical and gives the zigzag line of Bergson.
It shows fear of the horizontal.
The first axis is delineated here.
The King's mind is horizontal; the deer's is vertical.
Beauty is the sinus curve of its neck.
The deer was grazing vertically until the King appeared.
The dropped grass is a schematic, dotted line of tragedy and sympathy.
"Level ground" - the King is impatient of the speed of the chariot and wants to establish reciprocity between horses and chariot in pure motion.

Once reciprocity is established in motion, then the vertical is marked by a description of the chariot and the vision of the King.
Space and time are put into the melting pot: this is a "monde affiné", as in Bergson.
"Objects...," means the speed is great. Non-dual means vertical.
Bent becomes straight.
"So great the speed...": reciprocity abolishes all perspective.
He acts fixing an arrow, only fixing the arrow, not shooting.

Then from behind the scenes comes a voice saying that the deer must not be killed, it belongs to the hermitage.

A voice, offstage:

O King, this deer belongs to the hermitage, and must not be killed.


Your Majesty, here are two hermits, come to save the deer at the moment when your arrow was about to fall.


Stop the chariot.


Yes, your Majesty. (He does so. Enter a hermit with his pupil.)


O King, this deer belongs to the hermitage.

Why should his tender form expire,
As blossoms perish in the fire?
How could that gentle life endure
The deadly arrow, sharp and sure?

Restore your arrow to the quiver;
To you were weapons lent
The broken-hearted to deliver,
Not strike the innocent.


It is done. (He does so.)


A deed worthy of you, scion of Puru’s race, and shining example of kings. May you beget a son to rule earth and heaven.


I am thankful for a Brahman’s blessing.

The two hermits:

O King, we are on our way to gather firewood. Here, along the bank of the Malini, you may see the hermitage of Father Kanva, over which Shakuntala presides, so to speak, as guardian deity. Unless other deities prevent, pray enter here and receive a welcome. Besides,
Beholding pious hermit-rites
Preserved from fearful harm,
Perceive the profit of the scars
On your protecting arm.


Is the hermit father there?

The two hermits:

No, he has left his daughter to welcome guests, and has just gone to Somatirtha, to avert an evil fate that threatens her.


Well, I will see her. She shall feel my devotion, and report it to the sage.

"Killing" is the last word that suggests horizontality: now, the drama is about to begin as a contest between the horizontal and the vertical.
The vertical must not be forgotten.

A voice says: "the deer must not be slain"
The Brahmachari (Ashram disciple) is an agent of the Guru.

The Ashram is an island of neutrality, it is vertical, and there is no killing there.
This is treated with much respect, even by a king, who complies and puts away his bow.
This is an epoch-making statement: a Brahmachari (Ashram disciple) is greater than a king, because of the absolute value of his wisdom-seeking dedication.

The hermits are a point of insertion of the vertical into the horizontal world of the King, hunting etc.

The hermit's speech: "...perish as blossoms perish in the fire..".
Agni (fire) is brought in. A sacrifice may be necessary in the outside world, but not according to the vertical ahimsa (non-hurting) of the Ashram. Throwing flowers is a part of many rituals.

"Burning" is for the verticalisation of the horizontal.
"Puru": the mythological King Puru is a model and an archetypal pattern for all city-kings; weapons should be for decreasing, not inflicting, suffering.

He wishes:" May thou have a son", the King says, "It is accepted" and bows.
Somatirtha (the ashram) is a place on the vertical line, which intersects with the horizontal.
Kanva has gone there to rectify something about the birth of Shakuntala.
She is the daughter of Menaka, a heavenly maiden, fathered by a forest Rishi (sage); she could not be taken to heaven and so went to Kanva's ashram.
Kanva goes to determine Shakuntala's fate, but her fate is decided at Kanva's Ashram itself.
Kanva knows there is an evil fate in store for her, and has gone on a pilgrimage to Somatirtha, which is more vertical, to alleviate her evil fate, but there are certain things which are in the hands of providence.
The King's devotion - he is also innocent. (? ED)
The King's speech on entering the Ashram: there are two descriptions: one is Jaina, or pre-Vedic, and the other Vedic, he wants to put them together.


Charioteer, drive on. A sight of the pious hermitage will purify us.


Yes, your Majesty. (He counterfeits motion again.)

King (looking about).

One would know, without being told, that this is the precinct of a pious grove.


How so?


Do you not see? Why, here

Are rice-grains, dropped from bills of parrot chicks

Beneath the trees; and pounding-stones where sticks

A little ingudi-oil; and trustful deer

That do not run away as we draw near;

And river-paths that are besprinkled yet

From trickling hermit-garments, clean and wet.


The roots of trees are washed by many a stream

That breezes ruffle; and the flowers’ red gleam

Is dimmed by pious smoke; and fearless fawns

Move softly on the close-cropped forest lawns.


It is all true.

King (after a little).

We must not disturb the hermitage. Stop here while I dismount.


I am holding the reins. Dismount, your Majesty.

King (dismounts and looks at himself).

One should wear modest garments on entering a hermitage. Take these jewels and the bow. (He gives them to the charioteer.) Before I return from my visit to the hermits, have the horses’ backs wet down.


Yes, your Majesty. (Exit.)

King (walking and looking about).

The hermitage! Well, I will enter. (As he does so, he feels a throbbing in his arm.)

A tranquil spot! Why should I thrill?

Love cannot enter there—

Yet to inevitable things

Doors open everywhere.



To bring in the reciprocity of movement, you bring in the horses, who are afraid of the speed of the chariot: not just A > B, but A B
Then it becomes vertical.
Now two O Points have been created as two pedestals.





1. Some cereal grains, placed by parrots in the holes of trees, are overflowing: there is abundance and peace - the Jainas will never hunt or disturb living beings.
(See the Gymnosophists described by the Greek historian, Herodotus, in his account of Alexander the Great).
2. Ingudi is a nut crushed on stones for oil for lamps. This is a self-sufficient economic system, it is simple.
3. The deer in an Ashram know no fear and are full of confidence. The animals are protected absolutely.
4. There are lines from the washing of the clothes of the Sannyasins that mark the water level. This is inferential as are the signs described in 1 and 2; only1is visible.


There are three kinds of inference here; he may be showing the Pramanas.
The above belongs to the Jaina context, what follows belongs to the Vedic context.
Kalidasa inserts himself into these two, before presenting Vedanta.

The King must protect the Rishi performing the fire sacrifice in the forest.
The second description is closer to the altar, since the grass is cut away, this is more of a cultivated garden.
These two descriptions form a pedestal of two concentric circles on which to place the fire of the sacrificer. Then the vertical axis can be built from there to the voice from heaven, which will be heard by the Hotri, or sacrificer.
The clipped Dharba grass means that it has been put into the fire by the Brahmin.



1. Sprouts of grass indicate the horizontal axis.
2. Leaves made vague indicate the Vedic world of ghee (clarified butter used as a sacrificial offering) and the Hotri, or sacrificer.
3. "Roots bathed..." indicates the denominator side, the Alpha point source, the elementals.
4. Young fawns....

The river is horizontal.
Ripples; fire-bather-Brahmin (? ED).
The root is the source of the vertical axis.
This is a gentle attempt to verticalize the scene.

Previously, in the description of the chariot and horses, movement begins to build up vertically.
The chariot and the charioteer cancel into Zeno's Paradox.
Vertical values begin to prevail, the ascent begins. The dotted circle is magic, inside it there is no fear.
The second pedestal is created by bringing in the horses; actual speed is transformed into psychological speed.
There are three deer: afraid; not afraid; not sacrificed,

There are two pedestals:
1. Jaina  - referring to space, which is horizontal
2. Vedic - referring to time, which is vertical



This refers to history, not geography: one is in the mind and the other is outside it.

Returning to the opening passage describing the entrance of the hunter-King with his chariot, here are some structural diagrams illustrating the scene.




Returning to the description of the ashram, the above diagrams can help to understand the structural situation.

In the description of the Ashram above, the ripples on the river are the hairs upon the mother's skin - she descends from above to feed the baby: this is a Vedic heaven, which nourishes the child.
The river surface glistens from the sun above, not from below.

The O Point here is the navel of the mother.
The Sun God shines on the river, the nourishment is sucked up by the tree.
There is a fire at the O Point, a fire of hunger or of sacrifice.
So there are two pedestals for the sacrificial altar: one proto-Aryan and one Vedic.




This is the structure of the first description for comparison
Anyway; the two pedestals are constructed.
Bhur-, Bhuvar- and Svar-lokas (the three worlds of earth, heaven and in between) correspond to:

1. Cognition – his meeting with Shakuntala.
2. Dushyanta's forgetfulness of her, the breaking of the continuity
3. Re-cognition – at the end he remembers and recognizes her.

The second pedestal also contains fawns - for kindness is also there.
The smoke rising makes it into a "Monde affiné" - a refined version of the world - see Bergson.
Contemplation requires subjectivity.

Glistening is most important: the skin of a woman is where nourishment comes from; the glands that produce hair are closely related to those which produce the mother's milk; the hair on a mother's stomach is holy: it comes from above.
"The soul of a child is its rosy behind".

The King descends; he is going to meet Shakuntala.
He is leaving one level and going one step down; he leaves the horses there.

The King's arm throbs: this is traditionally a signal of disaster: the right arm for women and the left arm for men. Unhappiness is going to start now. There is a jolt in the machinery - a delicate cybernetic balance is disturbed

The King enters - the doors of possibility can open anywhere in this world.
You do not have to wait for possibilities that do not present themselves: what happens to you is in the scheme of the best of possible worlds.

A voice behind the scenes.

This way, girls!

King (listening).

I think I hear someone to the right of the grove. I must find out. (He walks and looks about.) Ah, here are hermit-girls, with watering-pots just big enough for them to handle. They are coming in this direction to water the young trees. They are charming!

The city maids, for all their pains,

Seem not so sweet and good;

Our garden blossoms yield to these

Flower-children of the wood.

I will draw back into the shade and wait for them. (He stands, gazing toward them.

Enter Shakuntala, as described, and her two friends.)

First friend.

It seems to me, dear, that Father Kanva cares more for the hermitage trees than he does for you. You are delicate as a jasmine blossom, yet he tells you to fill the trenches about the trees.


Oh, it isn’t Father’s bidding so much. I feel like a real sister to them. (She waters the trees.)


Shakuntala, we have watered the trees that blossom in the summer-time. Now let’s sprinkle those whose flowering-time is past. That will be a better deed, because we shall not be working for a reward.


What a pretty idea! (She does so.)

King (to himself).

And this is Kanva’s daughter, Shakuntala. (In surprise.) The good Father does wrong to make her wear the hermit’s dress of bark.

The sage who yokes her artless charm

With pious pain and grief,

Would try to cut the toughest vine

With a soft, blue lotus-leaf.

Well, I will step behind a tree and see how she acts with her friends. (He conceals himself.)


Oh, Anasuya! Priyamvada has fastened this bark dress so tight that it hurts. Please loosen it. (Anasuya does so.)

Priyamvada (laughing).

You had better blame your own budding charms for that.


She is quite right.

Beneath the barken dress

Upon the shoulder tied,

In maiden loveliness

Her young breast seems to hide,

As when a flower amid

The leaves by autumn tossed—

Pale, withered leaves—lies hid,

And half its grace is lost.

Yet in truth the bark dress is not an enemy to her beauty. It serves as an added ornament. For

The meanest vesture glows

On beauty that enchants:

The lotus lovelier shows

Amid dull water-plants;

The moon in added splendour

Shines for its spot of dark;

Yet more the maiden slender

Charms in her dress of bark.

Shakuntala (looking ahead).

Oh, girls, that mango-tree is trying to tell me something with his branches that move in the wind like fingers. I must go and see him. (She does so.)


There, Shakuntala, stand right where you are a minute.




When I see you there, it looks as if a vine were clinging to the mango-tree.


I see why they call you the flatterer.


But the flattery is true.

Her arms are tender shoots; her lips

Are blossoms red and warm;

Bewitching youth begins to flower

In beauty on her form.


Oh, Shakuntala! Here is the jasmine-vine that you named Light of the Grove. She has chosen the mango-tree as her husband.

Shakuntala (approaches and looks at it, joyfully).

What a pretty pair they make. The jasmine shows her youth in her fresh flowers, and the mango-tree shows his strength in his ripening fruit. (She stands gazing at them.)

Priyamvada (smiling).

Anasuya, do you know why Shakuntala looks so hard at the Light of the Grove?


No. Why?


She is thinking how the Light of the Grove has found a good tree, and hoping that she will meet a fine lover.


That’s what you want for yourself. (She tips her watering-pot.)


Look, Shakuntala! Here is the kesara-creeper that Father Kanva tended with his own hands—just as he did you. You are forgetting her.


I’d forget myself sooner. (She goes to the creeper and looks at it, joyfully.) Wonderful! Wonderful! Priyamvada, I have something pleasant to tell you.


What is it, dear?


It is out of season, but the kesara -creeper is covered with buds down to the very root.

The two friends (running up).



Of course. Can’t you see?

Priyamvada (looking at it joyfully).

And I have something pleasant to tell you. You are to be married soon.

Shakuntala (snappishly).

You know that’s just what you want for yourself.


I’m not teasing. I really heard Father Kanva say that this flowering vine was to be a symbol of your coming happiness.


Priyamvada, that is why Shakuntala waters the kesara -creeper so lovingly.


She is my sister. Why shouldn’t I give her water? (She tips her watering-pot.)


May I hope that she is the hermit’s daughter by a mother of a different caste? But it must be so.

Surely, she may become a warrior’s bride;

Else, why these longings in an honest mind?

The motions of a blameless heart decide

Of right and wrong, when reason leaves us blind.

Yet I will learn the whole truth.

The girls with their pots: there is a dialectical relationship between the young girls and their pots; there is an equation between them; they sit like a baby in their lap.
The pots contain sinus curves. They are like the breasts of a woman, each one is different.
The beauty is in the reciprocity between their breasts and the pots they carry.

The two girls:
Anasuya (lit. "without jealousy"): Kanva loves plants more than does Shakuntala: the girls represent the negative side of the vertical axis.

Priyamvada (lit. "praising, agreeable")

"The affection of a sister" - there is a unity of life, even plants, all is the Absolute.


Reciprocity is established here between Shakuntala and the flower of the kesara creeper.
Note that Vedanta never postulates something that you cannot see.
She cares for the plants through, by, for and in herself – that is, absolutely, this Atman (approximately, “absolute soul”) within her is the same as that within the creeper – this cancellation is the Absolute.

Advaita comes alive.

Do not talk metaphysics without its lived counterpart.

The sami cut by a lotus leaf - The King says Kanva should not discipline Shakuntala, who has all her tenderness expressed as a flower.
Ascetic discipline is not for a young girl who is like a lotus leaf.
The diamond (tapas or renunciation) is at the Omega point.
Dushyanta can see this from the horizontal.

Shakuntala's bark garment - this is a study in contrast, he purposely plays on the bark garment and the growing breasts of a young girl.
The joking between the girls is only meant to set off the sublimity of the King's poem.
"The beauty of women shines the more by contrast".
The one sets off the other, like the spot on the moon.
The two opposites cancel.
She shines by double negation - the bark garment,
and by double assertion - her own beauty.
She does violence to her own nature and becomes more beautiful; she accepts the renunciation of Shiva - she wears the simple bark cloth of the Ashram disciples, rather than luxurious silk.




What is it that could not serve as an ornament?
The paradox is transcended by her beauty.

The Kesara tree and the creeper: the moving leaves seem to beckon to her.

Priyamvada sees the same beauty as the King; it is absolute beauty; both agree.

"Dushyanta is calling you" that is the dvanyarta (saying one thing in terms of another).
The creeper hangs on the tree for support while putting out flowers.
This is also schematic.

The bark garment - why is it tied with delicate knots?
"Both spoiling the beauty, as also acting as an ornament".
This means that the dress is embellished from the Numerator and detracted from by the Denominator.
Beauty is brought out by contrast, as in the case of the spots on the moon or a lotus next to moss.
A leaf can cover a flower in its tender state; it can also be an ornament to its beauty. Both are presented here.
The King purposely leaves the paradox here.
The delicate knots are supporting the breasts from the numerator side, from the shoulders.


To appreciate the beauty of Shakuntala, approach her from the austere side, her youth comes from below, there is a tragedy when youth and austerity meet.

Shakuntala is like a mango sprouting young leaves, or a creeper putting forth flowers.

There is a dialectical relationship between them; the marriage of plants at the proper season, a gentle conspiracy of nature.
One must be attuned in order to appreciate these factors.
There is a pre-established harmony (cf. Leibniz) between the mango and the creeper.

Nature is full of occasionalism, especially in the spring.

Shakuntala (excitedly).

Oh, oh! A bee has left the jasmine-vine and is flying into my face. (She shows herself annoyed by the bee.)

King (ardently).

As the bee about her flies,

Swiftly her bewitching eyes

Turn to watch his flight.

She is practising to-day

Coquetry and glances’ play

Not from love, but fright.


Eager bee, you lightly skim

O’er the eyelid’s trembling rim

Toward the cheek aquiver.

Gently buzzing round her cheek,

Whispering in her ear, you seek

Secrets to deliver.

While her hands that way and this

Strike at you, you steal a kiss,

Love’s all, honey-maker.

I know nothing but her name,

Not her caste, nor whence she came—

You, my rival, take her.


Oh, girls! Save me from this dreadful bee!

The two friends(smiling).

Who are we, that we should save you? Call upon Dushyanta. For pious groves are in the protection of the king.


A good opportunity to present myself. Have no—(He checks himself. Aside.) No, they would see that I am the king. I prefer to appear as a guest.


He doesn’t leave me alone! I am going to run away. (She takes a step and looks about.) Oh, dear! Oh, dear! He is following me. Please save me.

King(hastening forward).


A king of Puru’s mighty line

Chastises shameless churls;

What insolent is he who baits

These artless hermit-girls?

(The girls are a little flurried on seeing the king.)


It is nothing very dreadful, sir. But our friend (indicating Shakuntala) was teased and frightened by a bee.

King (to Shakuntala).

I hope these pious days are happy ones. (Shakuntala’s eyes drop in embarrassment.)


Yes, now that we receive such a distinguished guest.

What is her caste? - his conscience is his own Pramana, his heart will only be attracted by a certain type of woman.
She must be, among other things, fully horizontal and vital.
The King belongs to the horizontal context, so the wife cannot be like a peasant, below the line on the negative side.
How can a vertical girl meet the horizontal king?
He is puzzled by the one-one correspondence in the Ashram.

The King's speech about the bee - dvanyarta (see above) – he is saying one thing in terms of another - the King is describing his own intentions through the reality of the bee.
The bee is flying between the ears and eyes and the lower lip.
This is the square root of minus-one; the beauty of a woman is to be found on the negative side.

The bee is a universal principle of honey seeking; the buzzing noise is meant for nature to hear that it is seeking something.
It is touching the throbbing eye - the eyes are like the Sapharika fish: the seat of gossip is between the eyes and the ears - between what you see and what you hear. This image is often used in the Saundarya Lahari verses describing the Devi’s eyes, from Verse 45 onwards.

The lover will be doing the same thing, kissing the eyes and the ears and whispering - just like the bees: put them together and you will get a mystical world which can take in the Absolute with all its implications.
If the bee appreciates her face, then it is Absolute Beauty.

The King is alluded to - the whole of nature conspires.
Shakuntala feels emotions not fit for an Ashram, she knows they are horizontal.
The King says that he is on duty.


There is a sparkling light - trembling beauty comes from the hypostatic side; it cannot come from the "surface of the earth".
This relates to Shakuntala being born of a heavenly nymph.
Shakuntala's beauty is not only sprung from nature, but descends as well from the Numerator: real beauty comes from the two sides - there is a glow that is not from chemistry, but it is faster than the velocity of light.



Welcome, sir. Go to the cottage, Shakuntala, and bring fruit. This water will do to wash the feet.


Your courteous words are enough to make me feel at home.


Then, sir, pray sit down and rest on this shady bench.


You, too, are surely wearied by your pious task. Pray be seated a moment.

Priyamvada (aside to Shakuntala).

My dear, we must be polite to our guest. Shall we sit down? (The three girls sit.)

Shakuntala (to herself).

Oh, why do I have such feelings when I see this man? They seem wrong in a hermitage.

King (looking at the girls).

It is delightful to see your friendship. For you are all young and beautiful.

Priyamvada(aside to Anasuya).

Who is he, dear, with his mystery, and his dignity, and his courtesy? He acts like a king and a gentleman.


I am curious too. I am going to ask him. (Aloud.) Sir, you are so very courteous that I make bold to ask you something. What royal family do you adorn, sir? What country is grieving at your absence? Why does a gentleman so delicately bred submit to the weary journey into our pious grove?

Shakuntala (aside).

Be brave, my heart. Anasuya speaks your very thoughts.

King (aside).

Shall I tell at once who I am, or conceal it? (He reflects.) This will do. (Aloud.) I am a student of Scripture. It is my duty to see justice done in the cities of the king. And I have come to this hermitage on a tour of inspection.


Then we of the hermitage have someone to take care of us. (Shakuntala shows embarrassment.)

The two friends (observing the demeanour of the pair. Aside to Shakuntala).

Oh, Shakuntala! If only Father were here to-day.


What would he do?

The two friends.

He would make our distinguished guest happy, if it took his most precious treasure.

Shakuntala (feigning anger).

Go away! You mean something. I’ll not listen to you.


I too would like to ask a question about your friend.

The two friends.

Sir, your request is a favour to us.


Father Kanva lives a lifelong hermit. Yet you say that your friend is his daughter. How can that be?


Listen, sir. There is a majestic royal sage named Kaushika—


Ah, yes. The famous Kaushika.


Know, then, that he is the source of our friend’s being. But Father Kanva is her real father, because he took care of her when she was abandoned.


You waken my curiosity with the word “abandoned.” May I hear the whole story?


Listen, sir. Many years ago, that royal sage was leading a life of stern austerities, and the gods, becoming strangely jealous, sent the nymph Menaka to disturb his devotions.


Yes, the gods feel this jealousy toward the austerities of others. And then—


Then in the lovely spring-time he saw her intoxicating beauty— (She stops in embarrassment.)


The rest is plain. Surely, she is the daughter of the nymph.




It is as it should be.

To beauty such as this

No woman could give birth;

The quivering lightning flash

Is not a child of Earth.

(Shakuntala hangs her head in confusion.)

King (to himself).

Ah, my wishes become hopes.

Priyamvada (looking with a smile at Shakuntala).

Sir, it seems as if you had more to say. (Shakuntala threatens her friend with her finger.)


You are right. Your pious life interests me, and I have another question.


Do not hesitate. We hermit people stand ready to answer all demands.


My question is this:

Does she, till marriage only, keep her vow

As hermit-maid, that shames the ways of love?

Or must her soft eyes ever see, as now,

Soft eyes of friendly deer in peaceful grove?


Sir, we are under bonds to lead a life of virtue. But it is her father’s wish to give her to a suitable lover.

King (joyfully to himself).

O heart, your wish is won!

All doubt at last is done;

The thing you feared as fire,

Is the jewel of your desire.

The Vedic world is brought in for need of a voice from heaven for his cosmology and for the telling of the story.
The deer are innocent: note their willingness to believe... this is not Jaina.

"Tremulous beams" - their origin is in the sun and the moon, not the earth, so he recognises the hypostatic side: Saraswati.
See V75 in the Saundarya Lahari of Sankara.

The hermits may be questioned: they have no reserve, no cheques to cash.
No conventional barriers; "contemplatives are not bothered by conventions".

The eyes of the female deer are like Shakuntala’s eyes.
The bright eyes of the female deer are very vertical. A husband is not needed.
This is the Absolute from the negative side. It is vitalistic.

The King is asking:

Is she going to continue vertically as an ascetic Ashram disciple, or is she going to spread out to the horizontal and marry and produce children?

She is dependent on another; she will not make her own decision.
If the horizontal had not interfered, she could have continued vertically like the deer, as a Brahmacharini (ashram student), this is the implication.

Priyamvada says that Shakuntala is meant for marriage; thus the King is not violating Shakuntala's svadharma (destiny).

The vertical line of light is to be broken.
The King asks: "Is she going to live the rest of her life like the female deer, with half-drunk eyes?"
She has certain traits which show she wants a husband badly.

The King wants to say that Shakuntala is perfect both vertically and horizontally; thus the event has to take place exactly at the O Point.
It is possible for her to pass through the horizontal without incident, but Kanva intends her for a normal marriage.
This means that the two axes, vertical and horizontal, must combine and merge properly.
Do not say that one is good and the other bad.
Take what the King says, what Priyamvada says and what Kalidasa says and put them all together in the scheme of the Nandi (the invocation at the beginning of the play): get salvation.
A woman has to be dependent on her father's wish:
this is the saddest of truths. She has to be dependent.
Why is a father's soul so concerned about his daughter's chastity?


If you neglect the father's wishes there will be disaster.
The fire and the gem: the King thought that Shakuntala was a fire which could not be touched; but instead she was a gem.

Poetic justice requires that the King be correct; his duty is now clear to him; it is almost a categorical imperative that he make love to her.
But he will forget, as the first dimension causes the fourth dimension to be lost.
Neither of them is a yogi:
the King is non-innocent and horizontal,
Shakuntala is innocent and vertical.

Life is a paradox, understand that and it dissolves itself in the liquid of unitive understanding.
The obstructions seemed to have been removed from the King's social conscience. Kalidasa seems to be approving.

Shakuntala (pettishly).

Anasuya, I’m going.


What for?


I am going to tell Mother Gautami that Priyamvada is talking nonsense. (She rises.)


My dear, we hermit people cannot neglect to entertain a distinguished guest, and go wandering about.

She is going! (He starts up as if to detain her, then checks his desires.) A thought is as vivid as an act, to a lover.

Though nurture, conquering nature, holds

Me back, it seems

As had I started and returned

In waking dreams.

Priyamvada (approaching Shakuntala).

You dear, peevish girl! You mustn’t go.

Shakuntala (turns with a frown).

Why not?


You owe me the watering of two trees. You can go when you have paid your debt. (She forces her to come back.)


It is plain that she is already wearied by watering the trees. See!

Her shoulders droop; her palms are reddened yet;

Quick breaths are struggling in her bosom fair;

The blossom o’er her ear hangs limply wet;

One hand restrains the loose, disheveled hair.

I therefore remit her debt. (He gives the two friends a ring. They take it, read the name engraved on it, and look at each other.)


Make no mistake. This is a present—from the king.


Then, sir, you ought not to part with it. Your word is enough to remit the debt.


Well, Shakuntala, you are set free by this kind gentleman—or rather, by the king himself. Where are you going now?

Shakuntala (to herself).

I would never leave him if I could help myself.


Why don’t you go now?


I am not your servant any longer. I will go when I like.

King (looking at Shakuntala. To himself).

Does she feel toward me as I do toward her? At least, there is ground for hope.

Although she does not speak to me,

She listens while I speak;

Her eyes turn not to see my face,

But nothing else they seek.

A voice behind the scenes.

Hermits! Hermits! Prepare to defend the creatures in our pious grove. King Dushyanta is hunting in the neighbourhood.

The dust his horses’ hoofs have raised,

Red as the evening sky,

Falls like a locust-swarm on boughs

Where hanging garments dry.

Gautami is the mother superior of the convent; it has to have supervision.
The first-dimensional touch of anger is to be there: there is no idealism in Vedanta: it is apodictic and realistic.

Bodily movements, etc. - there is little difference between intentional movement and actual movement:
"as if he had gone and come back again".

This is a situation where intentionality dominates: the King thinks of going; then he changes his mind.
Actual going and coming has the same status as mental going and coming.

Shakuntala is spoken of as a "hermit's daughter" in order to bring in the fourth dimension, making her a universal concrete.
So, the intentional and the actual have the same status in phenomenological epistemology.
The girls are all interested in Shakuntala's love affair.
The Absolute is participated in by everybody.
There is some Absolutist interest.

Priyamvada turns her back; she does not want to leave.
A beautiful pose - we will deal with this later.

The King's ring - She must be tired from carrying water, the King will pay the debt with his signet ring.
Description: both her hands are red from lifting the two pots
There are two trees to be watered, her hands droop, her breasts heave, etc.
Thus is dvanyarta again (saying one thing in terms of another), the O point in a woman's life has been touched: the whole of nature conspires to unite her with Dushyanta.

Instead of watering the plants for her, he gives her the ring - this needs more attention.
The debt of Shakuntala is "paid": the whole thing is conceptual and nominalistic.
Shakuntala says: "I do not belong to that world - settle your disputes
- I am on the Denominator side, and that is another order of existence.


King (aside).

Alas! My soldiers are disturbing the pious grove in their search for me.

The voice behind the scenes.

Hermits! Hermits! Here is an elephant who is terrifying old men, women, and children.

One tusk is splintered by a cruel blow

Against a blocking tree; his gait is slow,

For countless fettering vines impede and cling;

He puts the deer to flight; some evil thing

He seems, that comes our peaceful life to mar,

Fleeing in terror from the royal car.

(The girls listen and rise anxiously.)


I have offended sadly against the hermits. I must go back.

The two friends.

Your Honour, we are frightened by this alarm of the elephant. Permit us to return to the cottage.

Anasuya (to Shakuntala).

Shakuntala dear, Mother Gautami will be anxious. We must hurry and find her.

Shakuntala (feigning lameness).

Oh, oh! I can hardly walk.


You must go very slowly. And I will take pains that the hermitage is not disturbed.

The two friends.

Your Honour, we feel as if we knew you very well. Pray pardon our shortcomings as hostesses. May we ask you to seek better entertainment from us another time?


You are too modest. I feel honoured by the mere sight of you.


Anasuya, my foot is cut on a sharp blade of grass, and my dress is caught on an amaranth twig. Wait for me while I loosen it. (She casts a lingering glance at the king, and goes out with her two friends.)

King (sighing).

They are gone. And I must go. The sight of Shakuntala has made me dread the return to the city. I will make my men camp at a distance from the pious grove. But I cannot turn my own thoughts from Shakuntala.

It is my body leaves my love, not I;

My body moves away, but not my mind;

For back to her my struggling fancies fly

Like silken banners borne against the wind. (Exit.)


The alarm is sounded - the harsh, horizontal world intervenes.
The elephant is Ganesha, who must be propitiated if the forest is to be peaceful: space and wind can create trouble: the elements in turmoil are Ganesha.
Shakuntala is held back: nature conspires to have its own way.
Does it really conspire? Nature can laugh at you.
Nature can both protest and conspire.
At a given moment in a woman's life it becomes absolutely necessary for her to have a child.

When nature conspires against a man, he should know how to propitiate the elephant god.


The diagram below may help to clarify the relations between the various characters in the play.




The power of the King is bright and is derived from the Numerator side.
Shakuntala gets caught in a tree, while the others fall faster.
She says: "I am an ontological reality, why do you (illegible: "plore"? ED) for me?"

The King derives his power from the sun and moon.

"Holding hair": she is trying to keep a connection with the Numerator side by pretending to be held back.
She is naturally falling down, but the tree is holding her.

The two plants to be watered mean two children.
Water is at the Alpha point, at the bottom of the vertical axis.
Perspiration is cancelling the Sirisa flower.
She is panting, in a completely negative state.
Her red hands mean that she is completely healthy - it is not due to bad health.

You have to worship the elephant to calm the situation.
The horizontal zone is forgetfulness. Memory is vertical.
The whole mistake was caused by the King coming to the Ashram.
The King kills deer, why come to the ashram?
Shakuntala is like a deer.

The drooping Sirisa flower means unhappiness - a negative suffering.
If the Devi's eyebrows vibrated, Shakuntala would be lifted up.




Shakuntala has the fatigue of a woman who is not married.
The Sirisa flower's glow is disturbed - it is numerator and disturbed by the denominator perspiration.
The flower is not happy, because she is unhappy inside.

She is almost like a dying person, she is panting.
Do not ask her not to get married.
There is delicately woven language here;
2 plants = 2 children
2 pots =    2 breasts
2 waters = 2 milks


The most important thing is that nobody asks Shakuntala what she wants.
She has to say, "Do not settle my debts"
Who is concerned with Gautami's happiness?
A civil suit for debt allows the King to enter the dispute.

The signet ring - the two friends see and read it: this is the horizontal conventional world of the King:
Shakuntala does not see it.

The King asks; "Does she feel towards me as I feel towards her?"

She pretends not to listen, but hears every word; though her body is turned away from the object of interest, her eyes and ears are really interested.
So there is a link: there is ground for hope.
This is the same as the deer turning, but this is a verticalized version.

Then the hermits' voices are heard: here the horizontal is inserted again.
The peaceful aspect of the Ashram is disturbed.
The dust is horizontal, the hermits’ cloth is vertical: put them together.
The dust becomes a patch of colour - take LSD to understand this.
It is a twilight scene; magenta colour prevails - this signifies the Absolute.

There are two magentas: the hermits' cloth is vertical, and the dust and sunset are horizontal.
The King's officers search for him: there is a conflict of horizontal and vertical interests.

The two friends say: "We are afraid, we are going back to the cottage"
They are “honoured by the sight of you" this is the perceptual side, not words.
Shakuntala is caught: "Wait until I loosen it" - she delays.

"Like silken banners borne against the wind": "I am related to the vertical, the heart, not to the horizontal body".
She is not interested in horizontal movement, but respects the reciprocity of the two movements – which is vertical.
This is the reciprocity of horizontal movement (see Bergson).

End of Act I.




(The following notes will cover these scenes again, for clarification of the schema and re-examination.)


From Shakuntala about to go away.



Shakuntala wants to leave but Priyamvada "forces her back": she says she has a "debt" of two plants to water.
The King will pay back the debt:
Kalidasa wants to give an ordinary, conventional scene; the ordinary, the horizontal axis is here exposed.
Physical fatigue.
Einstein will be brought in later.
The King desires to give her a ring: he wants to pay wages for labour; the ring has some value.
He is a gentleman as well as a King.
Reading the signet ring absolves from the debt.
"Who are you to send me away or hold me back? You are bargaining as if in a market-place or in a bank; I am real, existential."
Eyes and ears: a perfect picture of reciprocity - she turns away - and yet still looks by side-glances and listens with her ears.
The alarm is sounded: untrained elephants are raising havoc - horizontal values are prevailing.



The Secret

(Enter the clown.)

Clown (sighing).

Damn! Damn! Damn! I’m tired of being friends with this sporting king. “There’s a deer!” he shouts, “There’s a boar!” And off he chases on a summer noon through woods where shade is few and far between. We drink hot, stinking water from the mountain streams, flavoured with leaves—nasty! At odd times we get a little tepid meat to eat. And the horses and the elephants make such a noise that I can’t even be comfortable at night. Then the hunters and the bird-chasers—damn them—wake me up bright and early. They do make an ear-splitting rumpus when they start for the woods. But even that isn’t the whole misery. There’s a new pimple growing on the old boil. He left us behind and went hunting a deer. And there in a hermitage they say he found—oh, dear! Oh, dear! He found a hermit-girl named Shakuntala. Since then he hasn’t a thought of going back to town. I lay awake all night, thinking about it. What can I do? Well, I’ll see my friend when he is dressed and beautified. (He walks and looks about.) Hello! Here he comes, with his bow in his hand and his girl in his heart. He is wearing a wreath of wild flowers! I’ll pretend to be all knocked up. Perhaps I can get a rest that way. (He stands, leaning on his staff. Enter the king, as described.)

King (to himself).

Although my darling is not lightly won,

She seemed to love me, and my hopes are bright;

Though love be balked ere joy be well begun,

A common longing is itself delight.

(Smiling.) Thus does a lover deceive himself. He judges his love’s feelings by his own desires.

Her glance was loving—but it was not for me;

Her step was slow—it was grace, not coquetry;

Her speech was short—to her detaining friend.

In things like these love reads a selfish end!

Clown (standing as before).

Well, king, I can’t move my hand. I can only greet you with my voice.

King (looking and smiling).

What makes you lame?


Good! You hit a man in the eye, and then ask him why the tears come.


I do not understand you. Speak plainly.


When a reed bends over like a hunchback, do you blame the reed or the river-current?


The river-current, of course.


And you are to blame for my troubles.


How so?


It’s a fine thing for you to neglect your royal duties and such a sure job—to live in the woods! What’s the good of talking? Here I am, a Brahman, and my joints are all shaken up by this eternal running after wild animals, so that I can’t move. Please be good to me. Let us have a rest for just one day.

King(to himself).

He says this. And I too, when I remember Kanva’s daughter, have little desire for the chase. For

The bow is strung, its arrow near;

And yet I cannot bend

That bow against the fawns who share

Soft glances with their friend.

Clown (observing the king).

He means more than he says. I might as well weep in the woods.

King (smiling).

What more could I mean? I have been thinking that I ought to take my friend’s advice.

Clown (cheerfully).

Long life to you, then. (He unstiffens.)


Wait. Hear me out.


Well, sir?


When you are rested, you must be my companion in another task—an easy one.


Crushing a few sweetmeats?


I will tell you presently.


Pray command my leisure.


Who stands without? (Enter the door-keeper.)


I await your Majesty’s commands.


Raivataka, summon the general.


Yes, Your Majesty. (He goes out, then returns with the general.) Follow me, sir. There is his Majesty, listening to our conversation. Draw near, sir.

General (observing the king, to himself).

Hunting is declared to be a sin, yet it brings nothing but good to the king. See!

He does not heed the cruel sting

Of his recoiling, twanging string;

The mid-day sun, the dripping sweat

Affect him not, nor make him fret;

His form, though sinewy and spare,

Is most symmetrically fair;

No mountain-elephant could be

More filled with vital strength than he.

(He approaches.) Victory to your Majesty! The forest is full of deer-tracks, and beasts of prey cannot be far off. What better occupation could we have?


Bhadrasena, my enthusiasm is broken. Madhavya has been preaching against hunting.

General (aside to the clown).

Stick to it, friend Madhavya. I will humour the king a moment. (Aloud.) Your Majesty, he is a chattering idiot. Your Majesty may judge by his own case whether hunting is an evil. Consider:

The hunter’s form grows sinewy, strong, and light;

He learns, from beasts of prey, how wrath and fright

Affect the mind; his skill he loves to measure

With moving targets. ’Tis life’s chiefest pleasure.

Clown (angrily).

Get out! Get out with your strenuous life! The king has come to his senses. But you, you son of a slave-wench, can go chasing from forest to forest, till you fall into the jaws of some old bear that is looking for a deer or a jackal.


Bhadrasena, I cannot take your advice, because I am in the vicinity of a hermitage. So for to-day

The hornèd buffalo may shake

The turbid water of the lake;

Shade-seeking deer may chew the cud,

Boars trample swamp-grass in the mud;

The bow I bend in hunting, may

Enjoy a listless holiday.


Yes, Your Majesty.


Send back the archers who have gone ahead. And forbid the soldiers to vex the hermitage, or even to approach it. Remember:

There lurks a hidden fire in each

Religious hermit-bower;

Cool sun-stones kindle if assailed

By any foreign power.


Yes, your Majesty.


Now will you get out with your strenuous life? (Exit general.)

King (to his attendants).

Lay aside your hunting dress. And you, Raivataka, return to your post of duty.


Yes, your Majesty. (Exit.)


You have got rid of the vermin. Now be seated on this flat stone, over which the trees spread their canopy of shade. I can’t sit down till you do.


Lead the way.


Follow me. (They walk about and sit down.)


Friend Madhavya, you do not know what vision is. You have not seen the fairest of all objects.


I see you, right in front of me.


Yes, everyone thinks himself beautiful. But I was speaking of Shakuntala, the ornament of the hermitage.

Clown (to himself).

I mustn’t add fuel to the flame. (Aloud.) But you can’t have her because she is a hermit-girl. What is the use of seeing her?



And is it selfish longing then,

That draws our souls on high

Through eyes that have forgot to wink,

As the new moon climbs the sky?

Besides, Dushyanta’s thoughts dwell on no forbidden object.


Well, tell me about her.


Sprung from a nymph of heaven

Wanton and gay,

Who spurned the blessing given,

Going her way;

By the stern hermit taken

In her most need:

So fell the blossom shaken,

Flower on a weed.

Clown (laughing).

You are like a man who gets tired of good dates and longs for sour tamarind. All the pearls of the palace are yours, and you want this girl!


My friend, you have not seen her, or you could not talk so.


She must be charming if she surprises you.


Oh, my friend, she needs not many words.

She is God’s vision, of pure thought

Composed in His creative mind;

His reveries of beauty wrought

The peerless pearl of womankind.

So plays my fancy when I see

How great is God, how lovely she.


How the women must hate her!


This too is in my thought.

She seems a flower whose fragrance none has tasted,

A gem uncut by workman’s tool,

A branch no desecrating hands have wasted,

Fresh honey, beautifully cool.

No man on earth deserves to taste her beauty,

Her blameless loveliness and worth,

Unless he has fulfilled man’s perfect duty—

And is there such a one on earth?


Marry her quick, then, before the poor girl falls into the hands of some oily-headed hermit.


She is dependent on her father, and he is not here.


But how does she feel toward you?


My friend, hermit-girls are by their very nature timid. And yet

When I was near, she could not look at me;

She smiled—but not to me—and half denied it;

She would not show her love for modesty,

Yet did not try so very hard to hide it.


Did you want her to climb into your lap the first time she saw you?


But when she went away with her friends, she almost showed that she loved me.

When she had hardly left my side,

“I cannot walk,” the maiden cried,

And turned her face, and feigned to free

The dress not caught upon the tree.


She has given you some memories to chew on. I suppose that is why you are so in love with the pious grove.


My friend, think of some pretext under which we may return to the hermitage.


What pretext do you need? Aren’t you the king?


What of that?


Collect the taxes on the hermits’ rice.


Fool! It is a very different tax which these hermits pay—one that outweighs heaps of gems.

The wealth we take from common men,

Wastes while we cherish;

These share with us such holiness

As never can perish.

Enter Vidushaka (the clown): he is the embodiment of sarcastic wit: he is bitter and dissatisfied with everything.
We should take the value-content of what he says.
He leans on his staff, feigning paralysis.
He represents a sterile world, the opposite of Shakuntala.




The conceptual world is sterile and empty of content: there is no Omega Point.
There is no shade, little water, no sleep, he is wakened by the sons of the slave-girls. Hard work and activity are taking place; his joints are painful.
He belongs to one right angle of the scheme.
He is leaning on a staff - this is the structural key.
The King is on the horizontal axis with the tiger, bear, deer, the sons of the slave-girls, Yavanas (“Greeks”, a Sanskrit version of “Ionians”) girls, etc.
The King's speech: a man in love interprets everything with himself as a reference.
You can guess from this that he is in love.
Shakuntala has heavy hips: this is the negative vertical representing the feminine psyche.




All love affairs involve a reciprocity between two people on the vertical axis.
The law of reciprocity is like the law of gravity - there is bipolarity.
The author is abstracting and generalising about all people anywhere who are in love: he is sure to use himself as a reference and invert with one-to-one correspondence.
"She is behaving with complementarity and reciprocity to my mind."
So there is one-to-one correspondence with four aspects.
The relationship is perfectly vertical.
The Vidushaka goes on to cross the horizontal - with its own quaternion.





"Pimple on a boil" he is mocking the King for seeing only the surface, the plus side which will cause suffering.
He is not aware of the negative side of Shakuntala

The reciprocity between the King and Shakuntala is based only on eyes and ears - this is the vertical reciprocity: there is a perfect bipolarity - her hips are heavy, his are light.
Shakuntala is rich in negative emotional content.

The King and Shakuntala turn in opposite directions: this is a secret; the bee and the lotus turn in opposite directions; this is reciprocity.
The hips are compensation,

There is cancellability between the eyes and ears - this is a figure-eight.

The Vidushaka does not move. The essence of humour is horizontal conflict.
His humour is always against someone, always sarcastic.
The reed bends: "I am caught in the same situation, the same stream, as you."

"Let the buffalo plunge..." - this marks the transition from the horizontal to the vertical.
A sudden lassitude overtakes the King; his mind goes from the horizontal to the Negative vertical.

"Anyway, the deer look at me with eyes like Shakuntala's."
The horizontal is abolished through true love.
The deer and Shakuntala both look at the King: one is horizontal, the other vertical.
He cannot kill them; they turn their heads to look at him in the same way as Shakuntala: vertically, fear becomes love.
Buffaloes etc: there are three animals mentioned.
Let them come into the natural order.
The bowstring is loosened and becomes vertical.








Unstring the bow and it becomes vertical.

The hermits have fire: this is a laser ray.
There is a stone like a lens, which is pleasant to touch, but which can burn when exposed to the sun's rays.
Thus, the Ashram is quiet, but do not think there is no fire there.
If the horizontal fire falls on it, it will vomit vertical death rays.
This is a reference to the power of the Ashram’s inmates’ renunciation or tapas.


"Son of a slave-girl" means "born out of necessity".

"I am not able to bend this strung bow, with the arrow fixed upon it, against the fawns, who, abiding with my darling, have taught her those beautiful glances. When I think of Kanva's daughter, I have little relish for hunting, for...."

Horizontal deer are looking back at the arrows in the opening scene.
Vertical Shakuntala is looking back at the King.

The King and Vidushaka are sitting on a slab - the stage has been cleared.
Spirituality succeeds by a logarithmic spiral.





The creeper means Shakuntala.
The King has a positive and a negative side.
The Vidushaka has only an actual positive side – he loves sweets.
The Vidushaka tries to obstruct the King with conventional arguments.
Conventional men always obstruct true love.
The King: "I am talking about Shakuntala: speak as directly as possible - no phoney rhetoric."

Sun Plant: two plants are compared, one is more hypostatic.
There is a contrast between a sweet date and sour tamarind: the comparison is like that between an insipid Parsi woman and an earthy Marathi coolie girl.

The Drawing: at first it is mathematical, then the outline is filled in by the creator. ("A scheme in the mind of the creator")






1. Make an outline sketch -NUMERATOR
2. Give it content -DENOMINATOR
This is in keeping with the Upanishadic version of creation.

The beauty of Shakuntala is described negatively in a classical verse:
"a flower unsmelt, in itself, by and through itself" - before duality.
This is Absolute Beauty, by definition.

Shakuntala's eyes and smile: this is a paradox: the smiles are for another reason than love: i.e. she is hiding love.
"Caught": the grass is the arrow - from below.
The numerator side dress is also entangled (suppose); she is seeking imaginary reasons for staying.





The obstruction of the garment is a false pretext for turning.
The King is the centre of attraction.
Here the garment is an excuse for not going away.

The hermits give a sixth part of piety: there are no taxes for them: they meditate.
They are a vertical value for the Kingdom, surplus value.
Enter the hermit boys: they pay compliments to the king as having a very high Numerator Value.

Voices behind the scenes.

Ah, we have found him.

King (listening).

The voices are grave and tranquil. These must be hermits. (Enter the door-keeper.)


Victory, O King. There are two hermit-youths at the gate.


Bid them enter at once.


Yes, your Majesty. (He goes out, then returns with the youths.) Follow me.

First youth (looking at the king).

A majestic presence, yet it inspires confidence. Nor is this wonderful in a king who is half a saint. For to him

The splendid palace serves as hermitage;

His royal government, courageous, sage,

Adds daily to his merit; it is given

To him to win applause from choirs of heaven

Whose anthems to his glory rise and swell,

Proclaiming him a king, and saint as well.

Second youth.

My friend, is this Dushyanta, friend of Indra?

First youth.

It is.

Second youth.

Nor is it wonderful that one whose arm

Might bolt a city gate, should keep from harm

The whole broad earth dark-belted by the sea;

For when the gods in heaven with demons fight,

Dushyanta’s bow and Indra’s weapon bright

Are their reliance for the victory.

The two youths (approaching).

Victory, O King!

King (rising).

I salute you.

The two youths.

All hail! (They offer fruit.)

King (receiving it and bowing low).

May I know the reason of your coming?

The two youths.

The hermits have learned that you are here, and they request—


They command rather.

The two youths.

The powers of evil disturb our pious life in the absence of the hermit-father. We therefore ask that you will remain a few nights with your charioteer to protect the hermitage.


I shall be most happy to do so.

Clown (to the king).

You rather seem to like being collared this way.


Raivataka, tell my charioteer to drive up, and to bring the bow and arrows.


Yes, your Majesty. (Exit.)

The two youths.

Thou art a worthy scion of

The kings who ruled our nation

And found, defending those in need,

Their truest consecration.


Pray go before. And I will follow straightway.

The two youths.

Victory, O King! (Exeunt.)


Madhavya, have you no curiosity to see Shakuntala?


I did have an unending curiosity, but this talk about the powers of evil has put an end to it.


Do not fear. You will be with me.


I’ll stick close to your chariot-wheel. (Enter the door-keeper.)


Your Majesty, the chariot is ready, and awaits your departure to victory. But one Karabhaka has come from the city, a messenger from the queen-mother.

King (respectfully).

Sent by my mother?




Let him enter.

Door-keeper (goes out and returns with Karabhaka).

Karabhaka, here is his Majesty. You may draw near.

Karabhaka (approaching and bowing low).

Victory to your Majesty. The queen-mother sends her commands—


What are her commands?


She plans to end a fasting ceremony on the fourth day from to-day. And on that occasion her dear son must not fail to wait upon her.


On the one side is my duty to the hermits, on the other my mother’s command. Neither may be disregarded. What is to be done?

Clown (laughing).

Stay half-way between, like Trishanku.


In truth, I am perplexed.

Two inconsistent duties sever

My mind with cruel shock,

As when the current of a river

Is split upon a rock.

(He reflects.) My friend, the queen-mother has always felt toward you as toward a son. Do you return, tell her what duty keeps me here, and yourself perform the offices of a son.


You don’t think I am afraid of the devils?

King (smiling).

mighty Brahman, who could suspect it?


But I want to travel like a prince.


I will send all the soldiers with you, for the pious grove must not be disturbed.

Clown (strutting).

Aha! Look at the heir-apparent!

King (to himself).

The fellow is a chatterbox. He might betray my longing to the ladies of the palace. Good, then! (He takes the clown by the hand. Aloud.) Friend Madhavya, my reverence for the hermits draws me to the hermitage. Do not think that I am really in love with the hermit-girl. Just think:

A king, and a girl of the calm hermit-grove,

Bred with the fawns, and a stranger to love!

Then do not imagine a serious quest;

The light words I uttered were spoken in jest.


Oh, I understand that well enough.

He is austere in that his treasures are for the General Good of his subjects

The King is compared to a muni (sage), and says that they are both the same: this is Advaita.
The King controls his subjects - the muni controls his senses.
Structurally they are the same: this is Advaita.
If they are placed in their proper perspectives, they are the same.


The Kingdom is also self-sufficient - like an ashram.
This is a horizontal forest - the Ashram is a vertical forest.
All values are found within this magic circle.
Because he cares for the subjects, he is doing tapas (practising renunciation) every day.

"Even today, two birds sing his praises in heaven, because he holds everything in his control".
He is the master of himself and thus has the same function structurally as a muni.
The apparent difference between contemplation and politics is abolished.




The Love-making

(Enter a pupil, with sacred grass for the sacrifice.)

Pupil(with meditative astonishment).

How great is the power of King Dushyanta! Since his arrival our rites have been undisturbed.

He does not need to bend the bow;

For every evil thing,

Awaiting not the arrow, flees

From the twanging of the string.

Well, I will take this sacred grass to the priests, to strew the altar. (He walks and looks about, then speaks to some one not visible.) Priyamvada, for whom are you carrying this cuscus-salve and the fibrous lotus-leaves? (He listens.) What do you say? That Shakuntala has become seriously ill from the heat, and that these things are to relieve her suffering? Give her the best of care, Priyamvada. She is the very life of the hermit-father. And I will give Gautami the holy water for her.

(Exit. Enter the lovelorn king.)

King (with a meditative sigh).

I know that stern religion’s power

Keeps guardian watch my maiden o’er;

Yet all my heart flows straight to her

Like water to the valley-floor.

Oh, mighty Love, thine arrows are made of flowers. How can they be so sharp? (He recalls something.) Ah, I understand.

Shiva’s devouring wrath still burns in thee,

As burns the eternal fire beneath the sea;

Else how couldst thou, thyself long since consumed,

Kindle the fire that flames so ruthlessly?

Indeed, the moon and thou inspire confidence, only to deceive the host of lovers.

Thy shafts are blossoms; coolness streams

From moon-rays: thus the poets sing;

But to the lovelorn, falsehood seems

To lurk in such imagining;

The moon darts fire from frosty beams;

Thy flowery arrows cut and sting.

And yet

If Love will trouble her

Whose great eyes madden me,

I greet him unafraid,

Though wounded ceaselessly;

Mighty god, wilt thou not show me mercy after such reproaches?

With tenderness unending

I cherished thee when small,

In vain—thy bow is bending;

On me thine arrows fall.

My care for thee to such a plight

Has brought me; and it serves me right.

I have driven off the powers of evil, and the hermits have dismissed me. Where shall I go now to rest from my weariness? (He sighs.) There is no rest for me except in seeing her whom I love. (He looks up.) She usually spends these hours of midday heat with her friends on the vine-wreathed banks of the Malini. I will go there. (He walks and looks about.) I believe the slender maiden has just passed through this corridor of young trees. For

The stems from which she gathered flowers

Are still unhealed;

The sap where twigs were broken off

Is uncongealed.

(He feels a breeze stirring.) This is a pleasant spot, with the wind among the trees.

Limbs that love’s fever seizes,

Their fervent welcome pay

To lotus-fragrant breezes

That bear the river-spray.

(He studies the ground.) Ah, Shakuntala must be in this reedy bower. For

In white sand at the door

Fresh footprints appear,

The toe lightly outlined,

The heel deep and clear.

I will hide among the branches, and see what happens. (He does so. Joyfully.) Ah, my eyes have found their heaven. Here is the darling of my thoughts, lying upon a flower-strewn bench of stone, and attended by her two friends. I will hear what they say to each other. (He stands gazing.)

Enter Shakuntala with her two friends.

The two friends (fanning her):

Do you feel better, dear, when we fan you with these lotus-leaves?

Shakuntala (wearily).

Oh, are you fanning me, my dear girls? (The two friends look sorrowfully at each other.)


She is seriously ill. (Doubtfully.) Is it the heat, or is it as I hope? (Decidedly.) It must be so.

With salve upon her breast,

With loosened lotus-chain,

My darling, sore oppressed,

Is lovely in her pain.

Though love and summer heat

May work an equal woe,

No maiden seems so sweet

When summer lays her low.

Priyamvada (aside toAnasuya).

Anasuya, since she first saw the good king, she has been greatly troubled. I do not believe her fever has any other cause.


I suspect you are right. I am going to ask her. My dear, I must ask you something. You are in a high fever.


It is too true.

Her lotus-chains that were as white

As moonbeams shining in the night,

Betray the fever’s awful pain,

And fading, show a darker stain.

Shakuntala (half rising.)

Well, say whatever you like.


Shakuntala dear, you have not told us what is going on in your mind. But I have heard old, romantic stories, and I can’t help thinking that you are in a state like that of a lady in love. Please tell us what hurts you. We have to understand the disease before we can even try to cure it.


Anasuya expresses my own thoughts.


It hurts me terribly. I can’t tell you all at once.


Anasuya is right, dear. Why do you hide your trouble? You are wasting away every day. You are nothing but a beautiful shadow.


Priyamvada is right. See!

Her cheeks grow thin; her breast and shoulders fail;

Her waist is weary and her face is pale:

She fades for love; oh, pitifully sweet!

As vine-leaves wither in the scorching heat.

Shakuntala (sighing).

I could not tell anyone else. But I shall be a burden to you.

The two friends.

That is why we insist on knowing, dear. Grief must be shared to be endured.


To friends who share her joy and grief

She tells what sorrow laid her here;

She turned to look her love again

When first I saw her—yet I fear!


Ever since I saw the good king who protects the pious grove— (She stops and fidgets.)

The two friends.

Go on, dear.


I love him, and it makes me feel like this.

The two friends.

Good, good! You have found a lover worthy of your devotion. But of course, a great river always runs into the sea.

King (joyfully).

I have heard what I longed to hear.

’Twas love that caused the burning pain;

’Tis love that eases it again;

As when, upon a sultry day,

Rain breaks, and washes grief away.


Then, if you think best, make the good king take pity upon me. If not, remember that I was.


Her words end all doubt.

Priyamvada (aside to Anasuya).

Anasuya, she is far gone in love and cannot endure any delay.


Priyamvada, can you think of any scheme by which we could carry out her wishes quickly and secretly?


We must plan about the “secretly.” The “quickly” is not hard.


How so?


Why, the good king shows his love for her in his tender glances, and he has been wasting away, as if he were losing sleep.


It is quite true.

The hot tears, flowing down my cheek

All night on my supporting arm

And on its golden bracelet, seek

To stain the gems and do them harm.

The bracelet slipping over the scars

Upon the wasted arm, that show

My deeds in hunting and in wars,

All night is moving to and fro.

Priyamvada (reflecting).

Well, she must write him a love-letter. And I will hide it in a bunch of flowers and see that it gets into the king’s hand as if it were a relic of the sacrifice.


It is a pretty plan, dear, and it pleases me. What does Shakuntala say?


I suppose I must obey orders.


Then compose a pretty little love-song, with a hint of yourself in it.


I’ll try. But my heart trembles, for fear he will despise me.


Here stands the eager lover, and you pale

For fear lest he disdain a love so kind:

The seeker may find fortune, or may fail;

But how could fortune, seeking, fail to find?

And again:

The ardent lover comes, and yet you fear

Lest he disdain love’s tribute, were it brought,

The hope of which has led his footsteps here—

Pearls need not seek, for they themselves are sought.

The two friends.

You are too modest about your own charms. Would anybody put up a parasol to keep off the soothing autumn moonlight?

Shakuntala (smiling).

I suppose I shall have to obey orders. (She meditates.)


It is only natural that I should forget to wink when I see my darling. For

One clinging eyebrow lifted,

As fitting words she seeks,

Her face reveals her passion

For me in glowing cheeks.


Well, I have thought out a little song. But I haven’t anything to write with.


Here is a lotus-leaf, glossy as a parrot’s breast. You can cut the letters in it with your nails.


Now listen, and tell me whether it makes sense.

The two friends.


Shakuntala (reads).

I know not if I read your heart aright;

Why, pitiless, do you distress me so?

I only know that longing day and night

Tosses my restless body to and fro,

That yearns for you, the source of all its woe.

King (advancing).

Though Love torments you, slender maid,

Yet he consumes me quite,

As daylight shuts night-blooming flowers

And slays the moon outright.

The two friends(perceive the king and rise joyfully).

Welcome to the wish that is fulfilled without delay.

(Shakuntala tries to rise.)


Do not try to rise, beautiful Shakuntala.

Your limbs from which the strength is fled,

That crush the blossoms of your bed

And bruise the lotus-leaves, may be

Pardoned a breach of courtesy.

Shakuntala (sadly to herself).

Oh, my heart, you were so impatient, and now you find no answer to make.


Your Majesty, pray do this stone bench the honour of sitting upon it.

(Shakuntala edges away.)

King (seating himself).

Priyamvada, I trust your friend’s illness is not dangerous.

Priyamvada (smiling).

A remedy is being applied and it will soon be better. It is plain, sir, that you and she love each other. But I love her too, and I must say something over again.


Pray do not hesitate. It always causes pain in the end, to leave unsaid what one longs to say.


Then listen, sir.


I am all attention.


It is the king’s duty to save hermit-folk from all suffering. Is not that good Scripture?


There is no text more urgent.


Well, our friend has been brought to this sad state by her love for you. Will you not take pity on her and save her life?


We cherish the same desire. I feel it a great honour.

Shakuntala (with a jealous smile).

Oh, don’t detain the good king. He is separated from the court ladies, and he is anxious to go back to them.


Bewitching eyes that found my heart,

You surely see

It could no longer live apart,

Nor faithless be.

I bear Love’s arrows as I can;

Wound not with doubt a wounded man.


But, your Majesty, we hear that kings have many favourites. You must act in such a way that our friend may not become a cause of grief to her family.


What more can I say?

Though many queens divide my court,

But two support the throne;

Your friend will find a rival in

The sea-girt earth alone.

The two friends.

We are content.

(Shakuntala betrays her joy.)

Priyamvada (aside toAnasuya).

Look, Anasuya! See how the dear girl’s life is coming back moment by moment—just like a peahen in summer when the first rainy breezes come.


You must please ask the king’s pardon for the rude things we said when we were talking together.

The two friends (smiling).

Anybody who says it was rude, may ask his pardon. Nobody else feels guilty.


Your Majesty, pray forgive what we said when we did not know that you were present. I am afraid that we say a great many things behind a person’s back.

King (smiling).

Your fault is pardoned if I may

Relieve my weariness

By sitting on the flower-strewn couch

Your fevered members press.


But that will not be enough to satisfy him.

Shakuntala (feigning anger).

Stop! You are a rude girl. You make fun of me when I am in this condition.

Anasuya (looking out of the arbour).

Priyamvada, there is a little fawn, looking all about him. He has probably lost his mother and is trying to find her. I am going to help him.


He is a frisky little fellow. You can’t catch him alone. I’ll go with you. (They start to go.)


I will not let you go and leave me alone.

The two friends (smiling).

You alone, when the king of the world is with you! (Exeunt.)


Are my friends gone?

King (looking about).

Do not be anxious, beautiful Shakuntala. Have you not a humble servant here, to take the place of your friends? Then tell me:

Shall I employ the moistened lotus-leaf

To fan away your weariness and grief?

Or take your lily feet upon my knee

And rub them till you rest more easily?


I will not offend against those to whom I owe honour. (She rises weakly and starts to walk away.)

King (detaining her).

The day is still hot, beautiful Shakuntala, and you are feverish.

Leave not the blossom-dotted couch

To wander in the midday heat,

With lotus-petals on your breast,

With fevered limbs and stumbling feet.

(He lays his hand upon her.)


Oh, don’t! Don’t! For I am not mistress of myself. Yet what can I do now? I had no one to help me but my friends.


I am rebuked.


I was not thinking of your Majesty. I was accusing fate.


Why accuse a fate that brings what you desire?


Why not accuse a fate that robs me of self-control and tempts me with the virtues of another?

King (to himself).

Though deeply longing, maids are coy

And bid their wooers wait;

Though eager for united joy

In love, they hesitate.

Love cannot torture them, nor move

Their hearts to sudden mating;

Perhaps they even torture love

By their procrastinating.

(Shakuntala moves away.)


Why should I not have my way? (He approaches and seizes her dress.)


Oh, sir! Be a gentleman. There are hermits wandering about.


Do not fear your family, beautiful Shakuntala. Father Kanva knows the holy law. He will not regret it.

For many a hermit maiden who

By simple, voluntary rite

Dispensed with priest and witness, yet

Found favour in her father’s sight.

(He looks about.) Ah, I have come into the open air.

(He leaves Shakuntala and retraces his steps.)

Shakuntala (takes a step, then turns with an eager gesture).

King, I cannot do as you would have me. You hardly know me after this short talk. But oh, do not forget me.


When evening comes, the shadow of the tree

Is cast far forward, yet does not depart;

Even so, beloved, wheresoever you be,

The thought of you can never leave my heart.

Shakuntala (takes a few steps. To herself).

Oh, oh! When I hear him speak so, my feet will not move away. I will hide in this amaranth hedge and see how long his love lasts. (She hides and waits.)


Oh, my beloved, my love for you is my whole life, yet you leave me and go away without a thought.

Your body, soft as Sirisa-flowers,

Engages passion’s utmost powers;

How comes it that your heart is hard

As stalks that Sirisa-blossoms guard?


When I hear this, I have no power to go.


What have I to do here, where she is not? (He gazes on the ground.) Ah, I cannot go.

The perfumed lotus-chain

That once was worn by her

Fetters and keeps my heart

A hopeless prisoner. (He lifts it reverently.)

Shakuntala (looking at her arm).

Why, I was so weak and ill that when the lotus-bracelet fell off, I did not even notice it.

King (laying the lotus-bracelet on his heart).


Once, dear, on your sweet arm it lay,

And on my heart shall ever stay;

Though you disdain to give me joy,

I find it in a lifeless toy.


I cannot hold back after that. I will use the bracelet as an excuse for my coming. (She approaches.)

King (seeing her. Joyfully).

The queen of my life! As soon as I complained, fate proved kind to me.

No sooner did the thirsty bird

With parching throat complain,

Than forming clouds in heaven stirred

And sent the streaming rain.

Shakuntala (standing before the king).

When I was going away, sir, I remembered that this lotus-bracelet had fallen from my arm, and I have come back for it. My heart seemed to tell me that you had taken it. Please give it back, or you will betray me, and yourself too, to the hermits.


I will restore it on one condition.


What condition?


That I may myself place it where it belongs.

Shakuntala (to herself).

What can I do? (She approaches.)


Let us sit on this stone bench. (They walk to the bench and sit down.)

King (taking Shakuntala’s hand).


When Shiva’s anger burned the tree

Of love in quenchless fire,

Did heavenly fate preserve a shoot

To deck my heart’s desire?

Shakuntala (feeling his touch).

Hasten, my dear, hasten.

King (joyfully, to himself).

Now I am content. She speaks as a wife to her husband. (Aloud.) Beautiful Shakuntala, the clasp of the bracelet is not very firm. May I fasten it in another way?

Shakuntala (smiling).

If you like.

King (artfully delaying before he fastens it).

See, my beautiful girl!

The lotus-chain is dazzling white

As is the slender moon at night.

Perhaps it was the moon on high

That joined her horns and left the sky,

Believing that your lovely arm

Would, more than heaven, enhance her charm.


I cannot see it. The pollen from the lotus over my ear has blown into my eye.

King (smiling).

Will you permit me to blow it away?


I should not like to be an object of pity. But why should I not trust you?


Do not have such thoughts. A new servant does not transgress orders.


It is this exaggerated courtesy that frightens me.

King (to himself).

I shall not break the bonds of this sweet servitude. (He starts to raise her face to his. Shakuntala resists a little, then is passive.)

Oh, my bewitching girl, have no fear of me. (Shakuntala darts a glance at him, then looks down. The king raises her face. Aside.)

Her sweetly trembling lip

With virgin invitation

Provokes my soul to sip

Delighted fascination.


You seem slow, dear, in fulfilling your promise.


The lotus over your ear is so near your eye, and so like it, that I was confused. (He gently blows into her eye.)


Thank you. I can see quite well now. But I am ashamed not to make any return for your kindness.


What more could I ask?

It ought to be enough for me

To hover round your fragrant face;

Is not the lotus-haunting bee

Content with perfume and with grace?


But what does he do if he is not content?


This! This! (He draws her face to his.)

A voice behind the scenes.

Sheldrake bride, bid your mate farewell. The night is come.

Shakuntala (listening excitedly).

Oh, my dear, this is Mother Gautami, come to inquire about me. Please hide among the branches.

(The king conceals himself. Enter Gautami, with a bowl in her hand.)


Here is the holy water, my child. (She sees Shakuntala and helps her to rise.) So ill, and all alone here with the gods?


It was just a moment ago that Priyamvada and Anasuya went down to the river.

Gautami (sprinkling Shakuntala with the holy water).

May you live long and happy, my child. Has the fever gone down? (She touches her.)


There is a difference, mother.


The sun is setting. Come, let us go to the cottage.

Shakuntala (weakly rising. To herself).

Oh, my heart, you delayed when your desire came of itself. Now see what you have done. (She takes a step, then turns around. Aloud.) O bower that took away my pain, I bid you farewell until another blissful hour.

(Exeunt Shakuntala and Gautami.)

King (advancing with a sigh.)

The path to happiness is strewn with obstacles.

Her face, adorned with soft eye-lashes,

Adorable with trembling flashes

Of half-denial, in memory lingers;

The sweet lips guarded by her fingers,

The head that drooped upon her shoulder—

Why was I not a little bolder?

Where shall I go now? Let me stay a moment in this bower where my beloved lay. (He looks about.)

The flower-strewn bed whereon her body tossed;

The bracelet, fallen from her arm and lost;

The dear love-missive, in the lotus-leaf

Cut by her nails: assuage my absent grief

And occupy my eyes—I have no power,

Though she is gone, to leave the reedy bower.

(He reflects.) Alas! I did wrong to delay when I had found my love. So now

If she will grant me but one other meeting,

I’ll not delay; for happiness is fleeting;

So plans my foolish, self-defeated heart;

But when she comes, I play the coward’s part.

Up to this point there are three references to Shakuntala’s bodice hurting.
They must be located schematically :

Shakuntala is verticalized in the tree - the tree is a vertical axis.
Anasuya is next.
Priyamvada is the most conventional.

The King has loosened the bowstring - that is, he has verticalized.
He interprets what she does with reference to himself; he wants to establish an equation between the Self and the non-Self.
Shakuntala is leaving: the tree and the thorn are imaginary.

The Hermits: "O, joy...."
The King represents the complementary counterpart of the hermits: this is imaginary benefit in the vertical axis.
It is a great event: all the great numerator values belong to the King, they are complementary.
The poor Denominator cancels out against the rich Numerator.
(Give the superintendent of police a chair in the ashram)
"Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's..."
Here are two economic worlds existing without conflict.



Structure slp

The surplus value of the munis (ashram hermits) is their tapas (penance), one sixth of it goes to the King

The surplus value of the king goes to the Omega Point with the birds.

One sixth is the surplus value; the glory of a king's crown is a compliment to the servant.
A sum of money from the welfare state is another matter; it is horizontal and ordinary.

The praise of the King: (see above)
The general good and the good of each are both secured: they are open to everyone.
The King and the people both use an umbrella: this is qualitative equality.
He is looking at the people quantitatively and qualitatively.
He is living from day to day, serving the vertical axis.
Penance is the surplus value.

So there is mutual admiration between two economic systems: abundancist and opulencist.
The King is free of passion, though vertically in love with Shakuntala.
The first hermit is qualitative, the second hermit is quantitative; but they agree.
The second is talking about geography and battles; the kingdom girded by the ocean.
This is a circle, a peripheral limit, while the first refers to the vertical axis.
This is a horizontal circle protecting the frontiers: - boundaries are important.
Indra's thunderbolt is vertical.


A voice behind the scenes.

O King!

The flames rise heavenward from the evening altar;

And round the sacrifices, blazing high,

Flesh-eating demons stalk, like red cloud-masses,

And cast colossal shadows on the sky.

King (listens. Resolutely).

Have no fear, hermits. I am here.

Shakuntala’s Departure

Scene I

(Enter the two friends, gathering flowers.)


Priyamvada, dear Shakuntala has been properly married by the voluntary ceremony and she has a husband worthy of her. And yet I am not quite satisfied.


Why not?


The sacrifice is over and the good king was dismissed to-day by the hermits. He has gone back to the city and there he is surrounded by hundreds of court ladies. I wonder whether he will remember poor Shakuntala or not.


You need not be anxious about that. Such handsome men are sure to be good. But there is something else to think about. I don’t know what Father will have to say when he comes back from his pilgrimage and hears about it.


I believe that he will be pleased.




Why not? You know he wanted to give his daughter to a lover worthy of her. If fate brings this about of itself, why shouldn’t Father be happy?


I suppose you are right. (She looks at her flower-basket.) My dear, we have gathered flowers enough for the sacrifice.


But we must make an offering to the gods that watch over Shakuntala’s marriage. We had better gather more.


Very well. (They do so.)

A voice behind the scenes.

Who will bid me welcome?

Anasuya (listening).

My dear, it sounds like a guest announcing himself.


Well, Shakuntala is near the cottage. (Reflecting.) Ah, but to-day her heart is far away. Come, we must do with the flowers we have. (They start to walk away.)

The voice.

Do you dare despise a guest like me?

Because your heart, by loving fancies blinded,

Has scorned a guest in pious life grown old,

Your lover shall forget you though reminded,

Or think of you as of a story told.

(The two girls listen and show dejection.)


Oh, dear! The very thing has happened. The dear, absent-minded girl has offended some worthy man.

Anasuya (looking ahead).

My dear, this is no ordinary somebody. It is the great sage Durvasas, the irascible. See how he strides away!


Nothing burns like fire. Run, fall at his feet, bring him back, while I am getting water to wash his feet.


I will. (Exit.)

Priyamvada (stumbling).

There! I stumbled in my excitement, and the flower-basket fell out of my hand.

(She collects the scattered flowers. Anasuya returns.)


My dear, he is anger incarnate. Who could appease him? But I softened him a little.


Even that is a good deal for him. Tell me about it.


When he would not turn back, I fell at his feet and prayed to him. “Holy sir,” I said, “Remember her former devotion and pardon this offence. Your daughter did not recognise your great and holy power to-day.”


And then—


Then he said: “My words must be fulfilled. But the curse shall be lifted when her lover sees a gem which he has given her for a token.” And so he vanished.


We can breathe again. When the good king went away, he put a ring, engraved with his own name, on Shakuntala’s finger to remember him by. That will save her.


Come, we must finish the sacrifice for her. (They walk about.)

Priyamvada (gazing).

Just look, Anasuya! There is the dear girl, with her check resting on her left hand. She looks like a painted picture. She is thinking about him. How could she notice a guest when she has forgotten herself?


Priyamvada, we two must keep this thing to ourselves. We must be careful of the dear girl. You know how delicate she is.


Would any one sprinkle a jasmine-vine with scalding water? (Exeunt ambo.)

Scene II.—Early Morning

(Enter a pupil of Kanva,just risen from sleep.)


Father Kanva has returned from his pilgrimage, and has bidden me find out what time it is. I will go into the open air and see how much of the night remains. (He walks and looks about.) See! The dawn is breaking. For already

The moon behind the western mount is sinking;

The eastern sun is heralded by dawn;

From heaven’s twin lights, their fall and glory linking,

Brave lessons of submission may be drawn.

And again:

Night-blooming lilies, when the moon is hidden,

Have naught but memories of beauty left.

Hard, hard to bear! Her lot whom heaven has bidden

To live alone, of love and lover reft.

And again:

On jujube-trees the blushing dewdrops falter;

The peacock wakes and leaves the cottage thatch;

A deer is rising near the hoof-marked altar,

And stretching, stands, the day’s new life to catch.

And yet again:

The moon that topped the loftiest mountain ranges,

That slew the darkness in the midmost sky,

Is fallen from heaven, and all her glory changes:

So high to rise, so low at last to lie!

Anasuya (entering hurriedly. To herself).

That is just what happens to the innocent. Shakuntala has been treated shamefully by the king.


I will tell Father Kanva that the hour of morning sacrifice is come. (Exit.)


The dawn is breaking. I am awake bright and early. But what shall I do now that I am awake? My hands refuse to attend to the ordinary morning tasks. Well, let love take its course. For the dear, pure-minded girl trusted him—the traitor! Perhaps it is not the good king’s fault. It must be the curse of Durvasas. Otherwise, how could the good king say such beautiful things, and then let all this time pass without even sending a message? (She reflects.) Yes, we must send him the ring he left as a token. But whom shall we ask to take it? The hermits are unsympathetic because they have never suffered. It seemed as if her friends were to blame and so, try as we might, we could not tell Father Kanva that Shakuntala was married to Dushyantaand was expecting a baby. Oh, what shall we do? (Enter Priyamvada.)


Hurry, Anasuya, hurry! We are getting Shakuntala ready for her journey.

Anasuya (astonished).

What do you mean, my dear?


Listen. I just went to Shakuntala, to ask if she had slept well.


And then—


I found her hiding her face for shame, and Father Kanva was embracing her and encouraging her. “My child,” he said, “I bring you joy. The offering fell straight in the sacred fire, and auspicious smoke rose toward the sacrificer. My pains for you have proved like instruction given to a good student; they have brought me no regret. This very day I shall give you an escort of hermits and send you to your husband.”


But, my dear, who told Father Kanva about it?


A voice from heaven that recited a verse when he had entered the fire-sanctuary.

Anasuya (astonished).

What did it say?


Listen. (Speaking in good Sanskrit.)

Know, Brahman, that your child,

Like the fire-pregnant tree,

Bears kingly seed that shall be born

For earth’s prosperity.

Anasuya (hugging Priyamvada).

I am so glad, dear. But my joy is half sorrow when I think that Shakuntala is going to be taken away this very day.


We must hide our sorrow as best we can. The poor girl must be made happy to-day.


Well, here is a coconut casket, hanging on a branch of the mango-tree. I put flower-pollen in it for this very purpose. It keeps fresh, you know. Now you wrap it in a lotus-leaf, and I will get yellow pigment and earth from a sacred spot and blades of panic grass for the happy ceremony. (Priyamvada does so. Exit Anasuya.)

A voice behind the scenes.

Gautami, bid the worthy Sharngarava and Sharadvata make ready to escort my daughter Shakuntala.

Priyamvada (listening).

Hurry, Anasuya, hurry! They are calling the hermits who are going to Hastinapura. (Enter Anasuya, with materials for the ceremony.)


Come, dear, let us go. (They walk about.)

Priyamvada (looking ahead).

There is Shakuntala. She took the ceremonial bath at sunrise, and now the hermit-women are giving her rice-cakes and wishing her happiness. Let’s go to her. (They do so. Enter Shakuntala with attendants as described, and Gautami.)


Holy women, I salute you.


My child, may you receive the happy title “queen,” showing that your husband honours you.


My dear, may you become the mother of a hero. (Exeunt all but Gautami.)

The two friends (approaching).

Did you have a good bath, dear?


Good morning, girls. Sit here.

The two friends (seating themselves).

Now stand straight, while we go through the happy ceremony.


It has happened often enough, but I ought to be very grateful to-day. Shall I ever be adorned by my friends again? (She weeps.)

The two friends.

You ought not to weep, dear, at this happy time. (They wipe the tears away and adorn her.)


You are so beautiful, you ought to have the finest gems. It seems like an insult to give you these hermitage things. (Enter Harita, a hermit-youth, with ornaments.)


Here are ornaments for our lady. (The women look at them in astonishment.)


Harita, my son, whence come these things?


From the holy power of Father Kanva.


A creation of his mind?


Not quite. Listen. Father Kanva sent us to gather blossoms from the trees for Shakuntala, and then

One tree bore fruit, a silken marriage dress

That shamed the moon in its white loveliness;

Another gave us lac-dye for the feet;

From others, fairy hands extended, sweet

Like flowering twigs, as far as to the wrist,

And gave us gems, to adorn her as we list.

Priyamvada (looking atShakuntala).

A bee may be born in a hole in a tree, but she likes the honey of the lotus.


This gracious favour is a token of the queenly happiness which you are to enjoy in your husband’s palace. (Shakuntala shows embarrassment.)


Father Kanva has gone to the bank of the Malini, to perform his ablutions. I will tell him of the favour shown us by the trees. (Exit.)


My dear, we poor girls never saw such ornaments. How shall we adorn you? (She stops to think, and to look at the ornaments.) But we have seen pictures. Perhaps we can arrange them right.


I know how clever you are. (The two friends adorn her. Enter Kanva, returning after his ablutions.)


Shakuntala must go to-day;

I miss her now at heart;

I dare not speak a loving word

Or choking tears will start.

My eyes are dim with anxious thought;

Love strikes me to the life:

And yet I strove for pious peace—

I have no child, no wife.

What must a father feel, when come

The pangs of parting from his child at home?

(He walks about.)

The two friends.

There, Shakuntala, we have arranged your ornaments. Now put on this beautiful silk dress. (Shakuntala rises and does so.)


My child, here is your father. The eyes with which he seems to embrace you are overflowing with tears of joy. You must greet him properly. (Shakuntala makes a shamefaced reverence.)


My child,

Like Sharmishtha, Yayati’s wife,

Win favour measured by your worth;

And may you bear a kingly son

Like Puru, who shall rule the earth.


My child, this is not a prayer, but a benediction.


My daughter, walk from left to right about the fires in which the offering has just been thrown. (All walk about.)

The holy fires around the altar kindle,

And at their margins sacred grass is piled;

Beneath their sacrificial odours dwindle

Misfortunes. May the fires protect you, child!

(Shakuntala walks about them from left to right.)


Now you may start, my daughter. (He glances about.) Where are Sharngarava and Sharadvata? (Enter the two pupils.)

The two pupils.

We are here, Father.


Sharngarava, my son, lead the way for your sister.


Follow me. (They all walk about.)


trees of the pious grove, in which the fairies dwell,

She would not drink till she had wet

Your roots, a sister’s duty,

Nor pluck your flowers; she loves you yet

Far more than selfish beauty.

It was festival in her pure life

When budding blossoms showed;

And now she leaves you as a wife—

Oh, speed her on her road!

Sharngarava (listening to the song of koïl-birds).


The trees are answering your prayer

In cooing cuckoo-song,

Bidding Shakuntala farewell,

Their sister for so long.

Invisible beings.

May lily-dotted lakes delight your eye;

May shade-trees bid the heat of noonday cease;

May soft winds blow the lotus-pollen nigh;

May all your path be pleasantness and peace.

(All listen in astonishment.)


My child, the spirits of the pious grove bid you farewell. For they love the household. Pay reverence to the holy ones.

Shakuntala (does so. Aside to Priyamvada).

Priyamvada, I long to see my husband, and yet my feet will hardly move. It is hard, hard to leave the hermitage.


You are not the only one to feel sad at this farewell. See how the whole grove feels at parting from you.

The grass drops from the feeding doe;

The peahen stops her dance;

Pale, trembling leaves are falling slow,

The tears of clinging plants.

Shakuntala (recalling something).

Father, I must say good-bye to the spring-creeper, my sister among the vines.


I know your love for her. See! Here she is at your right hand.

Shakuntala (approaches the vine and embraces it).

Vine sister, embrace me too with your arms, these branches. I shall be far away from you after to-day. Father, you must care for her as you did for me.


My child, you found the lover who

Had long been sought by me;

No longer need I watch for you;

I’ll give the vine a lover true,

This handsome mango-tree.

And now start on your journey.

Shakuntala (going to the two friends).

Dear girls, I leave her in your care too.

The two friends.

But who will care for poor us? (They shed tears.)


Anasuya! Priyamvada! Do not weep. It is you who should cheer Shakuntala. (All walk about.)


Father, there is the pregnant doe, wandering about near the cottage. When she becomes a happy mother, you must send some-one to bring me the good news. Do not forget.


I shall not forget, my child.

Shakuntala (stumbling).

Oh, oh! Who is it that keeps pulling at my dress, as if to hinder me? (She turns round to see.)


It is the fawn whose lip, when torn

By kusha-grass, you soothed with oil;

The fawn who gladly nibbled corn

Held in your hand; with loving toil

You have adopted him, and he

Would never leave you willingly.


My dear, why should you follow me when I am going away from home? Your mother died when you were born and I brought you up. Now I am leaving you, and Father Kanva will take care of you. Go back, dear! Go back! (She walks away, weeping.)


Do not weep, my child. Be brave. Look at the path before you.

Be brave, and check the rising tears

That dim your lovely eyes;

Your feet are stumbling on the path

That so uneven lies.


Holy Father, the Scripture declares that one should accompany a departing loved one only to the first water. Pray give us your commands on the bank of this pond, and then return.


Then let us rest in the shade of this fig-tree. (All do so.) What commands would it be fitting for me to lay on King Dushyanta? (He reflects.)


My dear, there is not a living thing in the whole hermitage that is not grieving to-day at saying good-bye to you. Look!

The sheldrake does not heed his mate

Who calls behind the lotus-leaf;

He drops the lily from his bill

And turns on you a glance of grief.


Son Sharngarava, when you present Shakuntala to the king, give him this message from me.

Remembering my religious worth,

Your own high race, the love poured forth

By her, forgetful of her friends,

Pay her what honour custom lends

To all your wives. And what fate gives

Beyond, will please her relatives.


I will not forget your message, Father.

Kanva (turning to Shakuntala).

My child, I must now give you my counsel. Though I live in the forest, I have some knowledge of the world.


True wisdom, Father, gives insight into everything.


My child, when you have entered your husband’s home,

Obey your elders; and be very kind

To rivals; never be perversely blind

And angry with your husband, even though he

Should prove less faithful than a man might be;

Be as courteous to servants as you may,

Not puffed with pride in this your happy day:

Thus does a maiden grow into a wife;

But self-willed women are the curse of life.

But what does Gautami say?


This is advice sufficient for a bride. (To Shakuntala.) You will not forget, my child.


Come, my daughter, embrace me and your friends.


Oh, Father! Must my friends turn back too?


My daughter, they too must some day be given in marriage. Therefore they may not go to court. Gautami will go with you.

Shakuntala (throwing her arms about her father).

I am torn from my father’s breast like a vine stripped from a sandal-tree on the Malabar hills. How can I live in another soil? (She weeps.)


My daughter, why distress yourself so?

A noble husband’s honourable wife,

You are to spend a busy, useful life

In the world’s eye; and soon, as eastern skies

Bring forth the sun, from you there shall arise

A child, a blessing and a comfort strong—

You will not miss me, dearest daughter, long.

Shakuntala (falling at his feet).

Farewell, Father.


My daughter, may all that come to you which I desire for you.

Shakuntala (going to her two friends).

Come, girls! Embrace me, both of you together.

The two friends (do so).

Dear, if the good king should perhaps be slow to recognise you, show him the ring with his own name engraved on it.


Your doubts make my heart beat faster.

The two friends.

Do not be afraid, dear. Love is timid.

Sharngarava (looking about).

Father, the sun is in mid-heaven. She must hasten.

Shakuntala (embracing Kanva once more).

Father, when shall I see the pious grove again?


My daughter,

When you have shared for many years

The king’s thoughts with the earth,

When to a son who knows no fears

You shall have given birth,

When, trusted to the son you love,

Your royal labours cease,

Come with your husband to the grove

And end your days in peace.


My child, the hour of your departure is slipping by. Bid your father turn back. No, she would never do that. Pray turn back, sir.


Child, you interrupt my duties in the pious grove.


Yes, Father. You will be busy in the grove. You will not miss me. But oh! I miss you.


How can you think me so indifferent? (He sighs.)

My lonely sorrow will not go,

For seeds you scattered here

Before the cottage door, will grow;

And I shall see them, dear.

Go. And peace go with you. (Exit Shakuntala, with Gautami, Sharngarava, and Sharadvata.)

The two friends (gazing long after her. Mournfully).

Oh, oh! Shakuntala is lost among the trees.


Anasuya! Priyamvada! Your companion is gone. Choke down your grief and follow me. (They start to go back.)

The two friends.

Father, the grove seems empty without Shakuntala.


So love interprets. (He walks about, sunk in thought.) Ah! I have sent Shakuntala away, and now I am myself again. For

A girl is held in trust, another’s treasure;

To arms of love my child to-day is given;

And now I feel a calm and sacred pleasure;

I have restored the pledge that came from heaven.

(Exeunt omnes.)

The King rises when the hermits enter, he says:
"What is your command? I am the servant of the Ashram"
The descendants of Puru (i.e. kings) are officiating priests for the distressed.
The same function - sacrifice to the Absolute - is performed both by the King and by the hermits.

At the end of the act: there is a barrier, revealed by Kalidasa; but the verticality of the King and Shakuntala is so absolute that all other arguments fall away.

"Both speak": this means that there is perfect parity between them.
They will fly up in a spiral to the top of a dome where the two birds are praising the vertical axis.
In another verse, the eyes and ears of Shakuntala also have this parity;

There are two voices at the bottom and two birds at the top.

At the Omega point, there is just light;

At a lower level there is Indra's thunderbolt;

At a lower level still there is the completely horizontal pulling of the bowstring to the shoulder to protect the borders of the country.

He invites the King and the charioteer because the charioteer is the lift-driver for going up the vertical axis.

"Putra pinda palana" - protecting the lump of matter that will develop in the womb into a child: so this is a reflection of what will happen in the ashram.





"Putra pinda palana"
Solves a problem schematically.
A paradox is resolved here.
The King says what to do - the Vidushaka says to stay suspended between them.
There are two rival duties to be performed.
The King tells the Vidushaka to go, as he has been treated as a son.
Thus the mother is given the status of the queen, who is kind even to a servant.





The Vidushaka is not really afraid of demons - these are negative demons - not sent from heaven.
This refers to some kind of reciprocity between son and servant, between Shakuntala and the demons: "we are doing the same thing".
There are stages in abolishing a paradox, only at the fourth stage do you abolish it - but a proper methodology is needed to get there.
The King: "do not think am serious about loving Shakuntala".
So, there are three worlds of rivalry between them.






King and Vidushaka are both sons, this is a paradox.
Shakuntala or mother? The King says both.
The third world is the world of absurdity and jokes.

At the end of Act II, the King tries to neutralise the whole situation.
Where are we? - On the numerator side - "where are those who live with fawns, strangers to love?"
"Parocha mantritta" - means Kama (Eros) goes to the conceptual side.

Paradox - the King cancels at the third dimension by a joke.
This is not a complete fourth-dimensional cancellation.
Fourth dimensional - hence the ceremony will be held in the fourth dimension.
Trisanka was pushed up by his guru, Visvamitra, but pushed down by Indra, again and again.
Finally Indra created a third world between heaven and earth; then he compromised and admitted him to heaven; there is no third platform.
Two are good, but not three.
Thus he is sometimes suspended in a third world where there is no game, and which is absurd.

No sitting on the football - there is no stable third platform.

Enter disciple of the chief hotri. (sacrificial priest)
Draw a circle and mark the centre: this is a Vedic circle inside the Jaina circle.
Now we are nearer to the inner altar.

These are the concentric circles of the Sri Chakra.
Vedism is going to be revised in the light of Vedanta.
Note here that the King has the power of driving away poltergeists.
Spirits thrive on negativity and loneliness, they need a world in which negativity can thrive.
Vedism runs contrary to this: bathing, a clean altar, ashes, etc.


In the Prelude - Kalidasa is mixing three circles:
A Vedic circle
Kanva's circle
Shakuntala's circle.

Kusa grass is something that pricks the skin and is to be scattered around the Vedic altar.
Shakuntala is suffering from exposure to the sun of Dushyanta - the girls soothe her with lotus leaves and ointment (hypostatic) to be sent through Gautami.
Gautami is the intermediary between Shakuntala and the boys.
The Vedic context contributes numerator water and Ayurveda (traditional medicine) contributes denominator oils; both combine to cure her.

The lotus leaf is the surface of the skin; the stalk is the nervous system.

Shakuntala looking at the King was a sudden glare, which she could not bear.
As in the Greek myth, where Artemis bathing must not be looked at, or the hunter who sees her will die.
Pathological disease has its origin in friendship or passion,
It affects the whole body (and personality): there are two cures: sprinkle holy water, give consolation to the body - lotus leaves and unguents for the nervous system and for the surface of the body.
This is the treatment outlined here.

The King banishes demons - his presence abolishes negativity in the Ashram.
Similarly, an ayurvedic doctor is supposed to wear many jewels when he visits the sick.

Anasuya and Priyamvada
- Priyamvada has the ointments,
- Anasuya gets the water and delivers it through Gautami.
You can heal the emotions with mantras and the body with medicines.

Enter the King: "like water on a slope"
You cannot go against the laws of nature, or gravitation.
In the world of necessity, obey the laws of nature.
He knows that tapasvis (those who practice renunciation or tapas) have powers by representing Truth.
The power of penance is demonstrated here; it is called Ajña Shakti.

Moonbeams and arrows: the moon is enjoyable, but not when one is affected by love.
"Flower arrows are like fire arrows to me".
"Cool moonbeams are like fire to me, increasing my passion."
This is like sub-marine fire: volcanic eruptions at the bottom of the sea.
“You were burned on the numerator side - I am burned by the fire at the deepest, negative Alpha Point”.
There is a great fire at the Alpha Point as well as at the extreme, positive Omega Point.





Eros was burned when he emerged at the O Point, but the King was burned when descending.
The light of double negation gives light to the sun and other luminaries.






Volcanic fire is nearer to the Absolute than the light of the sun.
It is deeper - a light of lights.
The sun is superficial light.
Is there an explanation for this without the structure?
Otherwise, without the structure, you just explain one story with another; one purana (legend) with another.
"Strikes me because of her..."  - he is afflicted by negative fire.
He says his suffering will be a delight if he is put in the vertical axis.






The banner is on the plus side.
His soul will be reflected in her eyes.
So, double negation occurs.
If he can fall into the vertical axis, then the suffering will be doubly negated.
(“God wanted me to have a first class degree next time, that's why I failed”)

The King will see the banner and Shakuntala on the positive side.
Suffering from fire is the first negation, striking is the second.
Then from the O Point he can see the numerator banner and by double assertion reach the Omega Point.
"If Shakuntala's eyes in the vertical axis are what I gravitate towards, then I will fall into the vertical axis and be saved."
He must fall in the vertical axis - it does not matter where.
Whether by double negation or assertion, the King will reach salvation.

Shakuntala's eyes are still within human life and values.
If the King wants to, by double assertion he can go beyond and out of the circle.
Double negation just puts him on the plus side - double assertion can then operate to take him to the Omega Point.

(referring back to Act I)
There is a previous verse referring to the eyes of deer and to two kinds of celibacy.
Here, where Shakuntala's eyes are the attraction, the King will attain a kind of salvation or verticality.
The previous verse refers to her living like the deer, or else marrying.
The two alternatives are not different, but hang together; the same situation exists here.

"Vaikanasa vrta" is a monastic vow.
The King asks, "Is she completely celibate, or is she to have the eroticism natural to the deer?"
If he knew this, then the King would know how to behave.




There is no duality between the male and female deer.
The alternatives are between ordinary marriage and the free life of a deer.
Judged by the eyes of a deer, there is no sexual dimorphism:
They continue in their sex-life without abrupt duality; there is no sudden break from girlhood in the Ashram into marriage.
The lifelong vow is not to be confused with strict Jaina or Buddhist austerities, which are dualistic and not Vedantic.
He wants to say that there is an Advaitic, vertical, sex-life within the Ashram, as opposed to Buddhistic or Jaina austerities.
There is abrupt, dualistic brahmacharya (Literally, walking in the way of Wisdom, but often viewed as mechanistic dualistic celibacy by Jainas and others) or a natural, vertical brahmacharya.
Finally, even Shiva is to have at least one baby, according to Kalidasa, in his “Kumarasambhava”.

Note that this verse is not translated properly: "Like the deer...WITH their friends" should be the correct translation; not "with her friends, the female deer", as the Pundits say in Motilal Banarsidas’ translation.

Both kinds are here recommended for Shakuntala, because she is an Absolutist.
The life of a deer and of a woman who wants a child can be put together; both axes will cancel out and I will be saved.
The child will be there and the vertical axis will also prevail.
So, the combination is what is recommended by Kalidasa for the kind of girl that Shakuntala is.

There are two alternatives - one vertical and one horizontal.

The vertical is living like the deer in the Ashram; the horizontal is marriage.
Kalidasa says: do both; this is the normalised Absolute: combine and cancel out austerity and eroticism.

Return to Act II and the double negation: the King's speech.
If you are caught in negation, double negate it and come to the plus side, finding there your natural level, so as not to be burned by the sun.
So there is an inner and an outer heat, the outer having a more... (?)
The fire is the propeller and Shakuntala's eyes are the steering wheel.
The eyes of the deer or of Shakuntala are here seen in the banner of Kama, the God of Love.
“Long eyes” mean a meditative state that unites the horizontal and the vertical.





"Burn me with the negative fire so that I can pass through the tube and come to the eyes of Shakuntala"


King, continuing after the banner of Eros:
"Where indeed can I refresh my soul?" i.e. make it happy.
The King descended when he got out of the chariot - a kind of depression.
It is a kind of rebirth - a transition from the horizontal to the vertical.
"Permitted at the end of the ritual..." some Vedic rite is over, pertaining to Karma Kanda (the domain of action) - he has transcended dualistic Karma (action) and is passing on to Vedanta; going from the necessary to the contingent side.

"Malini" is a tributary of the Ganges.
"Sunlight" indicates a positive side where he will find Shakuntala in the shade of a creeper near the Malini.
Karma Kanda (the domain of action) is over and Jñana Kanda (the domain of wisdom) begins.

"Gesticulating touch" the most ontological aspect of what you see objectively - the first.
He will build up the senses from here, from ontology to teleology.
He will put the senses into the schema.
"Embrace the breeze" to cool the incubatory heat of the body.
Malini can be translated as "skin". (There is a word play here.)
Wind plays on the perspiration on the skin.
So there is the beginning of pleasure on the objective side.
"She must be here..." - this is guesswork - This is anumana (argument by inference - see the pramanas).
There is a circle of reeds around a bower of creepers.
The heel sinks in deep to show the heaviness of the behind, the negative psyche of a woman.
Being big in the behind is better for carrying a baby.
This is structurally perfect for the soul.
A weighty behind gives the balance for the horizontal axis.

"Circle of reeds" - she is love-sick in a world of her own, encircled and circumscribed.
This shows a degree of subjectivity.
There is a one-to-one correspondence between her circle and a circle around his feelings.
"My eyes are fully gratified..."

There is nothing partial in the Absolute: "my eyes have completed their purpose": this is a perfectly vertical reaction.
The eyes are not wasted; there is a one-to-one correspondence and cancellation - the second in the series.
Enter Shakuntala - they are not going or coming, just abolishing the distance between them - Bergson's reciprocity is present here.

Vertically, the distance tends to be abolished.
One coming to the other is horizontal and vulgar.
The stone slab is a pedestal or an ontological limit.
Her friends are fanning her - she is in a swoon - consciousness is at the square root of minus-one.
Her senses are not functioning; she is swooning from a negative state of consciousness


The King's description of Shakuntala - the swoon at the square root of minus-one is more beautiful than that of sunlight.
They are in the same circle and Shakuntala is at the bottom of the vertical axis.
There is salve on her breast and a lotus-stalk bracelet on her wrist.
Her breasts are swelling; this is a sign of horizontalization, so salve is applied.
Her fatigue is equal to that of a lotus in summer, faded, fatigued and tender: completely fatigued.
The hand corresponds to action, the breast to feeling.

Not all women can go beyond the square root of minus one;
Shakuntala is thus shown to be infra-human, representing absolute negativity.
The hand is a lotus-flower and the wrist is a stalk belonging to the vegetable world.
There is a complete equation between Shakuntala and the lotus.
"Is her malady due to the King?" - Kalidasa wants to teach a lesson, not to tell a story.
The sage-king's (raja rishi's) influence from the plus side means that Shakuntala has to sink correspondingly on the negative side.

These girls are conventional and do not appreciate the depth of all this.
The upper half rises to give torsion to the body, like Michelangelo's Adam in the Sistine Chapel.
This is a most difficult kind of painting.

Anasuya and Priyamvada interrogate Shakuntala - they are conventional women,
Shakuntala is absolute - understand her and you can have salvation.
The two girls delineate the conventional human limit.
Shakuntala is beyond this limit at the square root of minus-one...inside and inside and inside...
There is a negative spark of life in a woman.
"Shakuntala cannot disclose... ": There is a negative part that she cannot disclose, a lonely part of a woman that no one can share: the flight of the alone to the alone, extending beyond the human.

Kalidasa describes the fading Shakuntala - there is a tragic touch in this description, it is not just romantic.
It is beautiful vertically and deplorable horizontally.
The thinner the crescent, the more beautiful it is.
The King's "new fear" this is at close quarters - his fate is to be decided - he is like a man waiting for a job in the minister's anteroom.
The nearer the ghost, the greater the fear.
"My love for him has reduced me to this plight" - there is no flourish, he just states the case.
This is the best poetry - straightforward - a beauty in itself with maximum effect.
The best writers do not indulge in any flourishes.


King: "I have heard what is worth hearing..." the response is also straightforward: there are no tricks.
The heat of noon causes clouds, and the clouds relieve the heat.
This is a supreme example of double negation.

Shakuntala asks for the King. The girls are in charge of convention, but they say there is no immorality here; there is no immorality in the Absolute.
The categorical imperative is the motive; every detail is explained.
This is Kalidasa's point: human conventions are here effaced.

The mango supports the atimukta creeper: this is ordinary horizontality, perfect compatibility.
The river runs into the sea: this is vertical cancellability.

So there are two kinds of compatibility: the creeper is weak and needs the support of a husband in the form of a mango tree - this is horizontal and conventional.
Then there is a tradition of the family that has to be maintained when choosing a husband for a girl.

Priyamvada and Anasuya represent two grades of conventionality - this is the classic standard in Sanskrit drama.

The King says about them: "what wonder two Visaka stars follow the crescent moon?"
"Secretly and quickly...", "quickly, I can handle; secretly is another thing, as the matter is already public".
There is nothing more that the companions have to arrange; the fruit is ripe on the tree, everything is ready.

The King's gold bracelet: the scar represents the horizontal duty of the King.
Vertically, the ontological diamond on the bracelet and the tear in his eye fit together.

There is a four-fold structure here: tears from the corner of his eye wet the diamonds of the bracelet, vertically.
The hard bracelet is constantly being pushed backwards - he is getting thinner - but does not touch the scars left by the bowstring which is horizontal, representing his duty.
"The bracelet used to touch the shoulder scar, reminding me of the horizontal world"
When he was fatter, the bracelet was tight, now that he is thinner, it is loose: vertical suffering has replaced horizontal suffering - he is as pitiable as Shakuntala, who has fallen down.


Kalidasa goes to great trouble to show that Shakuntala and the King suffer equally: he won't have it one-sided.
Also, this match needs no "campaigners" or arrangers, because there is a perfect equality of absolute love between them.
The tear dropping to the diamond is the vertical axis, with suffering inside.
There are two pains and two movements: you have to put them together somehow.
The King hunts during the day to protect the Ashram from evil elementals; he is also capable of the deepest sentiments of love in the Absolute sense - he combines the horizontal and the vertical.

"But could fortune, seeking, fail to find?": this means, go from the effect to the cause, from the contingent to the necessary.
There can be only one cause for a certain effect, though many effects are possible from one cause.

"The seeker of fortune may fail, but the fortune seeking a seeker could not fail to find him"
Shakuntala is diffident about writing a love poem to the king: she agrees to write the poem, as there is a savoir-faire necessary in a woman procuring her mate.

Anasuya and Priyamveda both approve of the plan from the conventional side, then Shakuntala only has to give her consent from the vertical.
"Allusion to yourself..."; do not begin with theory, begin with yourself:
"I have been in love..." (cogito ergo sum).
Begin with the real - this is Vedantic methodology, Satkaranavada.

The letter is to be hidden in flowers offered to the deity.
The letter is conceptual. Any conventional "lie" she might tell would be cancelled against the requirements of the ritual.
The ritual cancels out conventional poetry - the ritual is conventional
Moonlight is good for the love-afflicted body: expose it to the full moon to cancel out the incubatory heat inside: the double assertion of the moon cancels out the double negation of the heat.

"Do not now cover the body with a cloth...":
i.e. we are suggesting something natural, accept it.


(Back to the King's bracelet)



Put the two, daytime and night, together.

The King is an absolutist at both times.

The King trains himself to shoot the deer.
Here we have absolute speed, absolute verticality and absolute difficulty.
"I am cancelling: a hunter against the deer; but now I am becoming thin for the deer-eyed one, I am verticalized"

The bracelet does not touch the scar; this means that there is no contradiction.
He is an absolutist hunter and an absolutist lover.
Here, he says, do not talk about the horizontal, I am suffering vertically.
Back to the crescent moon and stars.




Astronomically: two stars abolish the duality between them with reference to the brighter moon.
The souls of all of them will be merged and ascend into heaven.





Anasuya and Priyamvada put it in denominator language - a creeper on a mango tree.
The King puts it in numerator language - two stars follow the moon.
The fates of Anasuya and Priyamvada are inextricably entwined with the final salvation of Shakuntala; the King comments on this.

(returning to our place)
Shakuntala sits up smiling: women can change quickly in the vertical axis of the Kundalini:
"You have given me hope, support on both sides: how shall I begin?"
"O, fickleness, thy name is Woman".

The King with eyes unwinking: "Her face reveals passion for me; one eyebrow lifted and cheeks thrilling"
The cheeks are most superficial but reveal the positive state of the body.
The raising of one eyebrow makes a sinus curve, a figure-eight, like holding the hair with one hand.
This is a horizontal figure-eight, which is tilting slightly to the vertical.
The King is immobile and completely interested.
This is called Khecari Mudra: the numerator copulation has already taken place.
On the numerator side there must be a sex act as complete as possible.

Shakuntala as a poetess strains for intellectual (positive) achievement.
Kalidasa will not bother to describe the denominator sex act.
Her smile shows that she has shifted from first to second gears: this is easy for a woman.

She writes on a lotus leaf: nothing artificial should intervene; use a conducting material to pass from negative to positive.

Shakuntala reads her poem: this is a challenge to all other poets.
She is speaking as an ontological philosopher only.
The King is on the numerator side, and is to be known only.

"Anyhow, I am suffering". Kama, the God of Love, is described as "all-powerful",
Not as the "cruel one" - or is it the King?

Enter King: "love only torments you, but me he quite consumes, day causes the lotus to fade, but completely effaces the moon"

The King's description of Shakuntala on the couch – she is like crushed lotus-stalks.
She is like a creeper that has fallen from the tree to the ground; he treats her limbs pluralistically.
Shakuntala: "why do you delay the King?"

- horizontally there is a gap between the King and his wives
- a horizontal sense of justice.

The vertical sense of justice is that she, Shakuntala, is a humble person, and he is a Raja Rishi (sage-king).

(looking back)
The King's bangle moves up and down the vertical axis that is his arm.
It does not participate with the horizontal; it is not like the lust of people who do not have the vertical participating with the horizontal, they escape in a figure-eight.

Shakuntala sits up and smiles and writes a poem.
Kalidasa is showing that one has alternate states of consciousness that come like electricity.

A simple arched eyebrow is an attempt to verticalize.
The King tells Shakuntala not to rise: "you are almost my equal - in your own way, you are as great as I am, a complementary part of myself".
This one-one correspondence of complementary factors belonging together to the absolute is the essence of Vedanta.


Only Kalidasa and Sankara say that it is no sin to sleep with your wife: no other religion says this.
All the works of Kalidasa are aimed at just this one point; verticalize it and there is nothing wrong - that a child is born is only incidental.

"Something superfluous": The King says that you had better say it, you had an intention to say it, and the first promptings of an excellent woman will generally be right.
First impressions are promptings of the soul - but you have to catch them clearly and promptly.
So Kalidasa enunciates a general law.

Priyamvada: "love has smitten her on your account: you and Kama - both are on the numerator side, let her kick the ball".

The King says: "We are sailing in the same boat; passion is reciprocal"
Never say "darling" to your wife - "our suffering is reciprocal."
Then you can cancel it out. Find the centre of the situation.
Admit no duality; you will save yourself trouble all through your life.
This not only gives you freedom, but confers freedom on the other as well.
This cancellation is the secret of Advaita Vedanta.

Do not try to become sublime or ridiculous.
Here, at the most important point of the play, he says: "our passion is reciprocal" - finished.

Shakuntala says, "Why detain the King from his other consorts - he has responsibilities"
There is a wonderful heroism here: she keeps the frame of reference - when you lose the form of your thoughts that is called hysteria.
(Here the Guru votes for European women, especially German.)

Who loves whom here? This is not a love story - it is cancelled love, glorified.
King: "I was once slain by a numerator Eros - the eye at the top, now I am slain by the eye below: I am a fully verticalized person - the other wives in my harem do not count. Do not push me to the horizontal."
Killing is a contradiction.


King: there are two glories of his race: the sea-clad earth - a circle, the horizontal world - and Shakuntala, as the vertical.
His wives are incidental and included in the horizontal world, but Shakuntala is the vertical axis.

After showing Shakuntala's concern for the wives of the King, and that of the King himself, they are put in a circle.
After Anasuya's concern for Shakuntala and her people, the King says: "I shall tell you my whole interest in one verse: the sea-clad earth and this Shakuntala".
Do not worry about the small change, I am showing you the whole bold structure at one stroke.




When the King and Shakuntala come together, they make one absolute gold coin with two sides.
Here is the theory of ramified sets and sub-sets.

Anasuya and Priyamvada want to love: an antelope seeking its mother has the tender feeling of a woman concerned with the denominator side of bringing babies to their mothers.
Note the delicacy of the device - the fawn is turning towards its mother; again the eyes, but this time without fear.
Anyone else would have written. "Well, dear, we have business elsewhere"

"Let one of you come back, if you both go and take the horizontal support, then I shall fall down":
the flagpole needs a stay-wire to hold it firmly.

"The protector of the earth is with you": this is irony, but not sarcastic; both of them fall into the vertical axis, no sin can arise here.

There are two ways of relieving pain: one is pressing the legs (traditional in North India) - consoling from the negative side - the other is a cool breeze from the numerator side.
The King will normally stop with the latter, but he will function on the denominator side.
This is so near the sex act that it will be of absorbing interest to the audience.


Shakuntala will not offend those whom she is bound to respect: there is no pretence, she is thinking of Kanva.
She absolves herself of the last charge, she is completely conscious of all of her responsibility - one does not make love to a guest in the absence of the head of the Ashram.
This respect of every aspect of the situation is a great lesson of Kalidasa.
The King forcibly draws her back: Sec. 133 of the penal code, but a little forcing is in place in nature.
She can normally go vertically, it requires force for direct participation with the horizontal.
Thus Brigitte (A disciple of Nataraja Guru) can be allowed to remain unmarried.
It is normal for the female to run away from the male, as is a certain amount of force.
She is leaving for three-dimensional reasons, but the King represents the fourth: he is right to use force.
Kalidasa is not wrong. (Cf. Narayana Guru and Nabi Mohammed)

"Restrain yourself." moral strength comes from the female side.
She is in love, but is not her own master.
The same thing occurs with Satyavati, yielding to Vyasa.

Gandharva marriage: it is an exception, not a bad example which is being set for human values, "we are both semi-divine".
This is vertical morality, the other morality is horizontal - cf. Bergson’s “The two Sources of Morality and Religion”.
Christ will allow Gandharva Marriage; only the presbyters will object.
The question of sin does not arise in the Absolute, so how can we discuss it?
This is a vertical situation.

She again wishes to take counsel with Anasuya and Priyamvada, very correctly.

The King will go once he has sipped her nectar; it is the perfection of the analogy that keeps you from laughing here.
It is serious and sublime.

Enter Gautami: the King hides himself; she sprinkles water on the head of Shakuntala.
There is the numerator consolation of the kiss and the denominator aspect is not to be acted out.
As she leaves, she bids farewell to the bower and the King: "Hoping once more to be happy under your shade".


Shakuntala is satisfied in the numerator sense or aspect.

She addresses her own heart: she did not accept the King's approaches (numerator)
but now she does not want to leave (denominator).
So there are numerator and denominator satisfactions.
The heart is the O point.

The marriage has been made in heaven - she is satisfied.
But she wants to come back here for it to be enacted on earth - she is not yet satisfied.





The same heart and the same bower are there; only the feeling is different.
The King speaks of the lower lip: then he says he will remain in the bower, although deserted by her: then describes the bower - couch, letters, bracelet.
Then he is called away by the voice, to chase the flesh-eating demons.

Movement here is from the Omega Point scene, just enacted, to the Alpha Point scene about to be enacted, as suggested by the demons.

The King and the deer are on the horizontal axis.
The King and Shakuntala are on the vertical axis.
The circle of reeds is vertical.
You have to put eyes everywhere.




The reeds are only time verticalized. Sand and mud are needed for the reeds to grow.

"The handle of the mirror of the face"
- the face of Shakuntala cancels out with the face of the King.

(Compare this to the Saundarya Lahari, Verse 67.)

Kalidasa is showing negative nature and its counterpart on the numerator side.
The conic section is now being described at the horizontal axis.
The King does not leave the bower, because it is vertical.
The King does not ever kiss.








The King wants to remain in qualitative space.
The arrow here is the light on the King's diamond bracelet.
The King descends, Shakuntala ascends gently, and they participate at the level of the horizontal axis.
There are eyes everywhere.
Throbbing cheeks and raised eyebrows give a figure-eight.
Eyelashes are the upper limit of the circle, lips cancel repeatedly.
He lifts repeatedly, like the Kundalini when it rises through the Chakras.

Words of denial: "please don't violate me!"
Stammering is a paradox; turned on one side it is a figure-eight, like the deer.

"Somehow raised" means a seat.
A physical thing - somehow or other it happened.
It has to face the light many times - "handle of the mirror of the face".

The King remains: Shakuntala is there in principle, her non-existence is there.
Looking all around: recognising the circle -the vectorial space of the colour solid.

"Repeatedly lifting" must refer to Kundalini Shakti:
Kalidasa must have been a yogi - a man of the highest culture.


Some secrets on sex from structuralism.
Gotra skalana (Lack of respect for a woman’s family) - women are mutually exclusive on the negative side: do not ask ANY woman to excuse you for calling her by another's name.


EDITORIAL NOTE: from here until the end of the commentary on Shakuntala, we have notes taken from a different source. There are, therefore, repetitions and duplications of the text above, but also additional elements and structural diagrams. We have preserved the two sources separately so as not to lose any details.


THE NANDI (Introductory Invocation)
"That creation which is of created things the first,
Which bears what is offered according to (obligatory) rules,
That which is the ghee,
That which is at the same time the sacrificer,
Those two which ordain time,
That ground which inhere in sound, substance and quality,
Filling the whole universe,
That which is said to be seed of all manifestation.
That by which gives life to all beings,
Let these eight manifestations of the Lord
Attainable by what is given to the senses,
Bless you.


"Ya srishti srashturadya" - That creation which was of created things the first.
"Vahati" - bears.
"Vidhibutam" - what is offered according to rules.
"Ya havir" - that which is ghee.
"Ya ca hotri" - that which is the sacrificer.
"Ye dve kalam vidhattam" - those two which ordain time.
"Shrutimshayaguna" - the three categories of sound, hearing, substance, quality inhere (not clear, ed.)
"Ya sthita vyaya vishvam"
"Yam ahuh sarva bya prakrtiti" - that which is the potential source of all manifestation in Nature.
"Yaya praninaha pranavantah" - that by which all living creatures attain to breathing status.
"Pratyakshabhih prapamah" - attained by what is given to the senses.
"Tanubhih" - bodies.
"Ashtabhihi vastabhihi ishah avatu" - of the eight bodies all of you, Lord, let it save.
Eka Purusha - there is a golden-haired and bearded man inside the sun and also inside the pupil of your eye.


There is another version of this structure:


On page 81 of this document there are two structures
It appears clear to the Editor, who was also the person who originally made these notes, that the word "hylozoic", which appears in between the two structures on the page, refers to the lower structure, and that there is a missing word "hypostatic", which should refer to the upper structure.
Structural diagram 81A is a hypostatic version, with a positive reference.
81B is a hylozoic version , which would have a more earthy, negative reference.

The error of the pundits is that Kalidasa is not speaking in Puranic but Upanishadic terms.
The first verse of the invocation (the nandi) is:
"That which is spoken of as "eka purusha".
There are two purushas (persons) - Vedanta believes in a hypostatic and a hierophantic purusha,
which two cancel out in the "eka purusha". (eka = one)
The duality of Samkhya on the subject of purusha, as well as all other duality, is revised by the Gita.
Sāmkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two realities; puruṣha (consciousness) and prakriti (phenomenal realm of matter).
"Shiva" is the oldest name of the Absolute on Indian soil.

The butter is also the person sacrificing.
The sacrificer is not distinguished from the sacrifice.
Time can be divided horizontally or vertically.
Generalise the notion of nature and you get prakriti.
That which is said to be the universal nature principle is breath:
that is the principle which gives life to all living beings.

"That creation which is the first of all created things,
Which bears what is offered according to (obligatory) rules;
that which is the clarified butter, that which is at the same time the sacrificer (hotri).
Those two which make time; that ground in which inhere quality, sound, substance - filling the whole universe.
That which is said to be the seed of all manifestations.
That which gives life to all beings.
Let these eight manifestations of the Lord, attainable through what is given to the senses - bless you."

Sutradara - the stage manager.
Entry of Dushyanta.
The "Pinaka-wielder" is Shiva.
This is the archetypal figure of Shiva pursuing a deer.
"The deer is scarcely perceived" – there is a vanishing point.
It makes a horizontal line, more through the air than on land.
The arrow flies, this is the tragedy of the horizontal axis.
The path is strewn with half-eaten grass; the dotted line of tragedy.
There is a Fitzgerald contraction of the deer.
(The Fitzgerald contraction, also called space contraction is, in relativity physics, the shortening of an object along the direction of its motion relative to an observer. Dimensions in other directions are not contracted.)
With the speed of the chariot objects are distorted, etc.
He wants to treat the horses and chariot as counterparts.
Near and distant things are being mingled, a monde affiné, a refined version of the universe, as in Bergson’s writings, is being created.
Far becomes near horizontally.
Divided becomes united vertically.



This is a horizontal and vertical union.
Bent seems straight.
The charioteer gesticulates to illustrate the horizontal speed - then the Ashram appears - a vertical factor.
The Ashram is a vertical island of neutrality.
Fire on flowers = agnihotra (fire sacrifice)
Deer = Shakuntala = flowers
Burning is the beginning of verticalisation.

The first description of the Ashram (in Jaina terms):
1) Grains pecked by the parrots are left undisturbed by the Rishis, forgetting food.
2) Nut-crushers for lamp oil - the Ashram is Self-sufficient.
3) The deer are not afraid of the chariot inside the Ashram.
4) Marks of die from the bark cloth indicate the simplicity of Ashram life.
The King's throbbing arm is an omen of disaster.
There is a dialectical relationship between pot and damsel - their shape.
The name Anasuya means "without jealousy".
The roots of the trees bathe in the canal.
The fire is lit with ghee, clarified butter.


Shakuntala's garment covers and spoils her beauty, but is also an ornament - paradox.
Shakuntala seems to be a creeper on a tree - this is a suggestion of Shakuntala's involvement with Dushyanta.
The bee goes to her lower lip - square root of minus-one.
Only a woman's lower lip is referred to; a man's never.
A bee is a universal principle of honey-seeking.
"Between eyes and ears" - the seat of gossip is between the eyes and ears.
NANDI (introductory invocation)


The Brahmacharis come to collect firewood (for Vedic sacrifice) = pedestal.
Ahimsa (non-hurting) (a Jaina quality) inside the Ashram = pedestal.




Abhijnana (as in title of play) means "recognition".
Eyes of Shakuntala >< eyes of deer >< chastity.
Dushyanta asks if Shakuntala must continue a life of chastity, like a female deer.
Both the tendencies are merged.
What the King wants; what Priyamvada says; what Kanva wants - together they are a solution and salvation.


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Dushyanta is non-innocent horizontality;
Shakuntala is innocent verticality.
They combine for this error or non-error.
Vedanta does not explain anything away.
He gives the ring to pay the debt to the waterman.
There are two trees with two pots and her two reddened hands.
By describing her physical fatigue, he describes her erotic feeling.



She is indebted horizontally



Plant = child
Water = breast milk
Creeper and tree = Shakuntala and her husband.
The hair represents numerator glossiness, sunshine.
She holds it up to show that she is not wholly overwhelmed by love.
She turns her eyes like a deer turning its head.
She is a banner blown against the wind.


The king gives the situation an everyday interpretation by attributing Shakuntala's state to ordinary fatigue.
The elephant means horizontal values are prevailing.
The buffoon complains of the hard work and the chase.


"A man in love interprets everything with reference to himself."

First there is nothingness on the plus side (the buffoon).
The buffoon leans on a pillar (a right angle).
Everything he talks of is on one side of the quaternion.


The eyes and ears are the link.
Heavy hips imply rich emotional content.
"A man in love interprets everything in relation to himself"
This is a universal law.
The King is converted from a horizontal state to a vertical.
The deer have Shakuntala's eyes.

The buffoon is tired.
The king is still full of activity - but not fatigued of love affairs - he is tired of killing deer.
There is reciprocity between the fawn and Shakuntala.
The deer's glance in the first scene turns from fear to love.
There are four kinds of animals referred to:
buffaloes, deer, boars and .......(birds? horses? ED.)
The loosening bowstring brings bow and string together in the vertical axis.
Surya Kanta is a stone which creates rays when the sun falls on it, like a hermit's potential power.

"Son of a slave girl".

The creeper reoccurs continuously, it stands for Shakuntala.
The King speaks directly of his love, shows honour as Puru's descendant.
One flower drops on another, one is more hypostatic than the other.
Sweet dates and sour tamarind - like refined Bombay Parsi ladies and crude Marathi coolie girls.
An outline of beauty filled with content from the existential side.
The creation of existence from the ontological side.
Describe Shakuntala's beauty.
An unsmelt flower - on, from, by, through, for itself – this defines the Absolute
The hermits' heads shine with cheap ingudi oil (insult), they have no other oil than this humble one, from nuts gathered in the forest.


This page is filled with the Sanskrit version and transcription.
The King is compared to a Muni - he is the ruler of the kingdom as the Muni is the ruler of the senses.
There are three references to her dress.
An imaginary thorn.
Her two friends are almost vertical: Shakuntala is verticalized, she is like a creeper on a tree,
Anasuya is almost verticalized; Priyamvada slightly so.


"A person in love sees himself" - this is cancellation - it equates the Self with the non-Self.
The buffoon views the world horizontally, the King has the honour of the Puru race.
The hermit boys say: "we have attained the object of our desires - we are satisfied"
They are going to see the King who is a complementary value to them.

Abundance between two systems.
"He has conquered his passions" - but he is in love with Shakuntala.


Both are treated as duties, to the Queen or to the hermitage.
The Queen treats the servant as a son.
Shakuntala is also a mother principle
- there is parity between them.
Reciprocity - there are real demons on the existential side.
Substitutes a messenger for the son - fear of Rakshasas (demons).
Both are the same.
Previously the King and the jester were alone under the tree,
Now they enter three worlds, one the rival of the other
(the Queen and Shakuntala).
The boy sends water to Shakuntala.
The King has power to drive away ghosts.
Trishanku - a Manu (sage) sent up to heaven by his guru and rejected by Indra.
Sunyavada - Madhyamika - the philosophy of Nagarjuna - it does not cancel out, it blows neither hot nor cold.
The lotus stalk represents the central nervous system of Shakuntala.
She is injured in her simplicity by her encounter with the King.
(Ayurveda Shastra, Verse 1: "Disease is caused by affection".)
There are two cures: chant some mantras and pour holy water or treat with oil and baths.
Water pouring down a hill.
The laws of nature are operating in the world of necessity.
"Burnt by Shiva's fire" - there is fire also at the Alpha Point.
The light of double negation makes a light that dulls the sun.
Double assertion likewise.


The King is burnt
The banner of the God of Love depicts a fish; her eyes are shaped like a fish.
She is on the negative side, but her eyes reveal her position on the positive side.
"This god with fish-banner (Eros) who pains my mind, will delight me if he strikes me for the large-eyed one."

Suffering in the vertical axis is doubly negated.
Kama Deva (Eros) is burned and sinks to the Alpha Point.
By subterranean heat he can burn if there is no double negation or double assertion.
The King has asked if Shakuntala's vow of celibacy is until marriage, or for good.


The lotus leaf is horizontal.
The stalk is vertical.
Neither celibacy nor non-celibacy are recommended here.
Shiva burns Kama Deva, the God of Love.

Sacrifice - ritual.
Permitted at the end of a rite.
Vedanta is the end (-anta) or final point of the Vedas.
Going beyond Karma (or beyond necessity) to contingence.
The banks of the Malini have little wavelets.
This is the world of sunlight; thus She is on the plus side.
Karma Kanda (that which pertains to action) is over,
Jnana Kanda (that which pertains to wisdom) begins.
Kama Deva gesticulates that he feels the touch - at the ontological limit; it is the most basic sense.
This is in order to banish the heat of the love affair - the wind can cool.
The name of the river, Malini, means "skin".
(The bower of creepers - see "Shakuntala".)
There is a circle of reeds - then of creepers - then footprints.
The heavy behind of Shakuntala implies a walk like a duck or swan. (See Saundarya Lahari, Verse 91)
The child, when born, will balance the weight of the behind.
This is structural, not aesthetic perfection.
The circle of reeds represents the boundary around the world of a girl in love.
He looks at her and feasts his eyes.
It is a "full feast" - in the Absolute there are no parts.
A stone slab strewn with flowers;
- this represents the ontological basis
- flowers are the limit of ontology.
She is swooning from a negative state of consciousness.
She has faded very much - the absolute quality of Shakuntala.
The ointment on her breasts - the breasts are the horizontalization of a woman's body.
Lotus-stalk fatigued in summer – this shows the extent of her fatigue by analogy.
Breast = feeling.
Hands = energy.
Both are fatigued.
She is in a state of Absolute negativity, like lotus stalks.
Upper half.
There is a paradox - she is charming and deplorable at the same time.
She states her love straightforwardly.
Double negation - the heat of the afternoon causes clouds which rain and negate the heat - thus her love.
No immorality is involved in their love - Kalidasa wishes to establish this.
This is Gandharva marriage - contemplative human conventions do not apply.
This historic marriage tradition from the Indian subcontinent was based on mutual attraction between a man and a woman, with no rituals, witnesses or family participation
A very strong mango tree supports the creeper.
A girl must have horizontal strength to raise a family.
"Type" in literature disappears in Europe after the 17th century.
Anasuya and Priyamvada represent types
- they fulfil both requirements at the same time
- they are neither too abstracted nor too concretised.

Everybody knows of the love affair - there is no need for action - the thing will take care of itself.
The tears of the King flow on his bejewelled and bow-scarred wrist.

The diamonds are wetted by the tears.
The bracelet never touches the bow-scar
That means that his arm has grown thin.

Shakuntala is advised to send a love letter.
She begins the letter with reference to herself
- begin at the ontological side.
Here we have the trick of hiding the letter amongst the flowers and conventional tricks of poetic composition.

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The bracelet does not touch the scar - it would if he were a mere hunter.
The King is a horizontal and a vertical hunter
He is a hunter, but he is a hunter of Shakuntala's eyes.
Shakuntala is too far gone in love with the king.
He is worthy of her.
The two lovers are compared to:
A drop of water and the ocean.
A mango and a creeper.
Two stars and the moon.

There is a sudden change in Shakuntala from depression to smiles at the idea of writing a letter.
The horripilation or thrilling of the cheeks - the cheeks are the most superficial part - but they are positive.
She raises only one eyebrow - making a sinus curve or figure-eight.
This is horizontal, but very slightly tilted towards the vertical.
On the numerator side there must be a sex act.
She is writing poetry and raising her eyes in the concentration of composition.
She engraves the poem on a lotus leaf.
Nothing artificial must intervene between the conceptual and the vertical.
The day does not make the lotus fade as much as the moon.
Flowers and crushed lotus stick to her body.
The lack of co-ordination of her limbs means that the creeper has fallen to the ground.
Shakuntala does not think herself worthy of the King.
She sits up in interest to compose a love poem
- the King stops her from trying to rise.
"O cloud wanderer, do not be separated from your wife."
See Kalidasa’s poem, Meghaduta. It recounts how a yakṣa, a subject of King Kubera (the god of wealth), after being exiled for a year to Central India for neglecting his duties, convinces a passing cloud to take a message to his wife at Alaka on Mount Kailāsa in the Himālaya mountains. The yakṣa accomplishes this by describing the many beautiful sights the cloud will see on its northward course to the city of Alakā, where his wife awaits his return.


The King affirms that his other wives are of no importance to him.
"The sea-clad earth" is horizontal.
"This friend" is vertical.
The girdle of the seven seas delimits the absolute domain of any King
- the seven colours of the spectrum.

The antelope seeking its mother - love seeking its object.
Priyamvada and Anasuya are in the same denominator context in going after the antelopes - delicacy of device.
One is called back for horizontal support.
There are two consolations.

She offers to leave, thinking of Kanva - he restrains her - a certain use of force is justified.
Gandharva marriage is not in the human context.
Both the King and Shakuntala are of divine origin - he a descendant of Puru, she the daughter of an Apsara. Neither are mere mortals; therefore, Gandharva marriage is normal for them.
"The goodbye to the bower": hesitation at the beginning, then willingness, then regret at the end.

Kalidasa wants to say that the wedding in heaven is over.


The reeds in a circle are the arrowheads protecting the King.
The King lingers there - the reeds are verticalized.
The mud is fecund ground for the reed.



The reed enclosure

To the flesh eating-demons - the flesh is like a precious ruby - like a sunset or sunrise.
The voice from heaven is the introduction of the numinous element.

The girls offer flowers - why this idol worship?
Will the King remember?
He forgets Shakuntala as the result of a device.
Anyway, there is Maya - the principle of indeterminism.
On the whole, the King is an honest man.
Will Kanva approve of Shakuntala's action?
Priyamvada is conventional.
Anasuya is unconventional.
Anasuya thinks Kanva will approve because she has an open morality and knows he is a spiritual man.
The offering of flowers - Kalidasa does not necessarily approve of this ritualistic, and thus relativistic, worship.
Shakuntala is in love and does not fulfil her duties of hospitality to her Muni (sage) guest.
The Muni threatens that he will respond to her neglect on the horizontal axis by giving her no blessing.
This is a bad omen.
The flower basket falls - also a bad omen.
The sage forgives but cannot take back the curse.


The ring is mentioned - the ring was not mentioned.
Before it was in the vertical world, now indeterminism enters the scene.

This scene introduces the horizontal axis - now the negative side will come.



Durvasas wears sad clothes - he is a harsh horizontal saint.
He walks away with a heavy step.
Like a fully blown lotus he tramps quickly.
He is a Tapasvi (renouncer), maybe a Siddha (possessor of psychic powers or siddhis).
With expanded fingers.
He is in the middle and horizontal.
She is in the middle and vertical.
The last scene was demons around a fire at sunset.
Now it is the dawn time.
The sun and moon influence the bodily metabolism.
On the one side the lord of medicinal herbs, (as in the Middle Ages) the moon.


In Act 4 complication becomes complete.
Everyone becomes negative but Shakuntala is sleepy and incapable of action.
No-one blames Shakuntala but her misfortune is caused only by love or by the curse of Durvasas.
Shakuntala is blameless.
Kanva also is not involved in the horizontal.
There is a contrast between the boy and the girl in the morning.
The girl is tired.
("Women should not wake up early in the morning", Nataraja Guru.)
The Rishi weeps for his daughter - this is a most important verse.
The prophecy comes in four lines of Vedic metered verse - a quaternion.
Priyamvada speaks in Sanskrit, not in Prakrit.
(Prakrit means "natural"; viz. "Prakriti").
Shakuntala bears seed as a sami tree bears fire.
This is the essence of Advaita: any log of wood contains fire (by friction).
The garland is kept fresh in a casket to keep her happy.
The mango tree represents the principle of fecundation.
The Kesara tree contains fire between the stamen and the pistil = the fire in the womb.
Kanva's speech about the pain he feels - how much more pain would the father of a family feel.
Sacrifice - the speech of Kanva.


"Vedi" is the area of sacrifice.
Perfumed smoke rises to purify.
The structure is the five-fold plan of the body.
108 is a complete structure.


There are five senses and five satisfactions.
The speech by Kanva to the plants.
At the Omega Point is the voice of the quail.
Kanva is creating a magical world of nature.
Three equations.
Shakuntala will not water the plants.
" " " " crop the leaves of the plants.
Her chief delight is the first blooms.
There is a parallel with Persephone.
The supernatural grows out of the natural.
The quail's song = the voice of the trees = possibilities.
Probabilities end, possibilities begin.
Shakuntala embraces the creeper.
The creeper concretely embraces the tree.
The creeper virtually embraces Shakuntala.
Kanva knew that a girl of Shakuntala's absolutist quality could only marry the king - as with a creeper and a mango-tree.
There are five fires with grass and sesame strewn around and five boys.
In the middle is a tree - the vertical part of their function is to give vertical life to a flower, as with a baby in the womb.
A man comes from the other side, bathing.
The deer graze on the negative side of the structure.
Parrots pick at the grains, there is another circle - this is like a magic circle, as in the chakras.
There are five petals in the Muladhara Chakra, six in another.
Where is the origin of this?
It is an unauthorised product of the speculation of the Indian mind.

There are deer grazing on the negative side.
Shakuntala is the malika creeper growing around the tree.
The King is the archetypal king of any city. “Pura”means “city” - he is of the Puru line.

All together = chakras.
All become a lotus or a star or crescent.






All together = all the Chakras become lotuses or stars or crescents.
Yoga is a lightning streak inside you.
Shakuntala's refusal of the ring = tragic grandeur
She refuses the ring. Also she does not sleep in the palace.
This is Tyaga (renunciation).