Shakuntala, aka: Śakuntalā, Śākuntala; 8 Definition(s)


Shakuntala means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Śakuntalā and Śākuntala can be transliterated into English as Sakuntala or Shakuntala, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Kāvya (poetry)

Śakuntalā (शकुन्तला).—The story of Śakuntalā in the dramaby Kālidāsa is as follows. Śakuntalā, a foster daughter of sage Kaṇva is brought up in an āśrama, monastery. Śakuntalā sees King Duṣyanta for the first time, while she is watering the plants and it is love at first sight for her. But the austere rules of the āśrama are not in favour of her meeting with her dearly loved king all the time. As a result, she is afflicted by pangs of love.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (kāvya)
context information

Kāvya (काव्य) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahākāvya, or ‘epic poetry’ and nāṭya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.


Śakuntalā (शकुन्तला):—Daughter of Viśvāmitra and Menakā. King Duṣmanta married her and they had a son called Bharata.. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.20.13)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana

Śakuntalā (शकुन्तला).—The daughter of Viśvāmitra and Menakā; was brought up in Kaṇva's āśrama with nīvāra food; Duṣyanta who came there was entertained and was accepted as her Lord by Gāndharva vidhi. Gave birth to the future Bharata and came to the king's palace with the child; was refused admission by the king who had forgotten her. A voice in the air urged the king to accept her and he did so;1 a queen of Duṣyanta and mother of Bharata.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 20. 8-22 [1-2]; Matsya-purāṇa 49. 11; Cā. 99. 134.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 19. 12-13.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Śakuntalā (शकुन्तला) is the name of an Apsaras who bore Bharata, according to the Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa (xiii, 5, 4, 13), at Nāḍapit.

(Source): Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Shakuntala was the daughter of Menaka, the Apsara. Her father was the great sage Vishwamitra. When her immortal mother returned to her heavenly abode, she was entrusted to the sage Kanva, who adopted her as his daughter.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Shakuntalā (शकुन्‍तला): Shakuntala was mother of Emperor Bharata and the wife of Dushyanta. Shakuntala was born of Vishvamitra and Menaka.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

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