While out on a hunting trip, a king encounters a lovely maiden, and the course of their secret romance sweeps the audience from a forest hermitage to a dazzling palace to ethereal celestial realms. The tale of King Dusyanta and Śakuntala, who meet by chance and are separated by a curse, was derived from an episode in the Mahabharata, India's grand religious epic. The Recognition of Śakuntala, written in the 5th century by the greatest of the ancient Indian playwrights, offers a classic introduction to Indian theater and aesthetics.
In addition to its enchanting love story, this play presents a religious drama. It promotes the doctrine of karma, in which all experiences are influenced by actions from earlier in life, and it represents an allegory of the relationship between the worshiper and the sacred. Students of drama, religious studies, and world literature will appreciate this affordable and accessible edition of a timeless play.