Abhijnana Shakuntala was one of the greatest plays written by Mahakavi Kalidasa in Sanskrit (Kale, 1980). The narrative of the play was originally from the Adi Parva of Mahabharata. Kalidasa was incomparable in creating the immortal characters, how the play unravels, sequencing, expression of Shrungara and other Rasas, and finally, the message given to the audience.
However, the story in the Abhijnana Shakuntala was slightly distorted in the content of the story than the story of Shakuntala of Mahabharata (Ganguly, 2015). Kalidasa, as a poet had the freedom to think and write the play the way he desired and to the audience’s interest of the time, he lived. The story of Shakuntala in Mahabharata was a dry romantic and has less dramatic events and it is not significant except to know the ancestors of Kuru-Pandava “This will not be discussed in this paper). Sage Kanwa does the required rites for the boy” lineage.
However, The Shakuntala of Mahabharata was more than a victim of amnesia of Abhijnana Shakuntala. The way she handles herself, stands up for herself and her son, when Dushyanta rejects her as a lewd woman, is remarkable as she keeps her grace higher than any other woman of ancient India. Shakuntala freezes as if a wooden stick after the harsh and rejecting words of Dushyanta as his righteous wife, is probably the first documented evidence in the history of the human civilization during the traumatic shock. The resilience in Shakuntala, the maturity in thinking, emotional balance, and depth of knowledge is exemplary and not seen in any other woman of ancient India.
This paper is not a comparative work. My objective is not to negate the personality of Shakuntala of Kalidasa. I do not attempt to analyze the Shakuntala of Kalidasa. However, this paper explores the psychological dynamics of Shakuntala of Mahabharata from the perspectives of humanistic and positive psychology.
The story of Shakuntala finds its origin in Adi Parva of Mahabharata. During the snake sacrifice, king Janamejaya asked sage Vaishampayana, a son of Krishna Dwaipayana about the lineage and origin of Kuru-Pandavas. Then Vaishampayana narrates the detailed history of the Kuru-Pandava Lineage. Dushyanta was one of the prominent kings in this dynasty who had a son named Bharata through Shakuntala (M.B., Adi Parva, Sambhava Parva, Sec. 68-74).
A piece of the story from this dry narrative of lineage was picked up by Mahakavi Kalidasa who turned it into one of the finest love stories in his play ‘Abhijnana Shakuntala’ (Kale, 1980). Pure and tender love with intense feelings has been dramatically narrated with vicissitudes in the Shakuntala play. Kalidasa was incomparable in creating the immortal characters, how the play unravels, sequencing, expression of Shrungara and other Rasas, and finally, the message given to the audience. We could consider Abhijnana Shakuntala is one of the finest plays ever written in any language.
However, the story in the Abhijnana Shakuntala was slightly distorted in the content of the story than the story of Shakuntala of Mahabharata (Ganguly, 2015). Kalidasa, as a poet had the freedom to think and write the play the way he desired and to the audience’s interest of the time, he lived. The story of Shakuntala in Mahabharata was a dry romantic and has less dramatic events and it is not significant except to know the ancestors of Kuru-Pandava lineage.
Nevertheless, the Shakuntala of Mahabharata is more significant to understand the culture and tradition of post-Vedic era. The character of Shakuntala is not tender loving, soft, and submissive feminine character. She is a strong and robust and highly resilient, justice-oriented ascetic character. She stands for truth and righteousness. She is the one with relevant knowledge of Vedic scriptures. Probably, in front of Shakuntala, a mountain like character, Dushyanta is as small as a mustard seed.
This paper narrates and analyses the character of Shakuntala of Mahabharata even though the title of the paper focuses on amnesia, where Dushyanta of Kalidasa, completely forgets about Shakuntala due to the curse of Durvasa. As with any other mental health issues we observed in people, the sufferings of the kiths and kins are equally important due to the acts of a person with mental illness. Nevertheless, in Abhijnana Shakuntala, the sufferings of Shakuntala are more heart touching than the amnesia of Dushyanta. However, the paper does not focus on the sufferings of Shakuntala as in Abhijnana Shakuntala, but evolves in a positive manner; unearths positive qualities of her from humanistic (Maslow, 1970, 1971) as well as from a positive psychological perspective (Snyder &Lopez, 2002) that they are beyond the sufferings of a victim of amnesia.
Dushyanta meeting Shakuntala
Dushyanta visits the hermitage of the sage Kanwa on the bank of Malini River after he got tired of a hunting expedition. He visits alone without having his paraphernalia. He meets Shakuntala there, who took care of his hospitality like any other ascetics. Dushyanta was curious to know her background and probably had feelings of love towards her. She was calm in narrating her origin as a matter of fact without revealing any inner feelings. She was clear in her daughterhood. Shakuntala’s adopted father sage Kanwa did not directly tell her about her birth and parental origin. She heard it when Kanwa was telling her origin of birth to divine elements (a Brahmana?) having underlying divine causes.
The context of appropriateness in Shakuntala’s marriage with Dushyanta
When Dushyanta came to know that Shakuntala is an eligible bride to be married, he asks her directly about his intention to marry her and providing her all physical comforts. He even promises her his entire kingdom to be hers. Dushyanta asks her to marry him then and there through Gandharva way, which is prescribed for Kshatriya clans (Manusmriti). Shakuntala responded to Dushyanta in her usual calm tone, ‘my father Kanwa will come in a moment’s time and bestow upon me to you’ (M.B., Adi Parva, Sambhava Parva, Sec.73, and Pp.156).
For the readers of the 21st century, it might appear shocking and not an easily digestible fact that how on earth a girl accepts the proposal of a man to get married in the first meeting, that too when the bride’s parents were not even present! In addition, the bride tells the man to wait for a moment for her father to come back! It all looks like dominance of patriarchy, exploitation or people can even call it a marketing strategy for a new commodity!
There, we need to understand the background and the context. The proposer is a king, not merely king, who got kingship through ancestral connection or heir for a dynasty. Again, a king cannot marry anyone just like that. Manusmriti suggests savarna marriage as in the first marriage and other familial and personal qualities (Ch.7, Shloka, 77). Is Shakuntala, an ordinary bride? Is she the one who accepts a proposal from any male who is interested in her, who has a crush on her in that ascetic grove? Sage Kanwa was a Kulapati, a Chancellor, or a Head of the higher education center. Hundreds of students come there to study. If anyone could propose anyone, she would have got hundreds of proposals and might have difficulty in choosing one!
However, we need to understand that Shakuntala was not an ordinary woman to get married off! If that is the case, Kanwa would have got her married off. She was the daughter of Vishwamitra and Menaka. One was great sage as on that day and striving for Brahmanhood from a position of the greatest warrior, who got all types of divine missiles from lord Shiva. Menaka was the finest Apsara, where an ordinary person could not even see her for a second.
Shreds of evidence of the appropriateness of Gandharva Vivaha: Gandharva Vivaha or marriage after love, at first sight, has been accepted as one of the eight types of marriage, especially for the Kshatriya clan in the Manu Smrithi (Ch.3, Shloka 21-26 &32). However, Mahabharata has mentioned that many such marriages happened earlier than the marriage of Dushyanta-Shakuntala. The earliest incidents were with Pururava and Urvasi, Yayati-Sharmisthe (Adi Parva, Sambhava Parva, Ch.83), Yayati-Ashrubindumathi and Vishwamitra-Menaka. Later, Shantanu-Ganga marriage also happened in the Gandharva type (Adi Parva, Ch.98). When we look into these cases, we see a pattern that in most of these Gandharva marriages, the man proposes and the woman generally puts some condition, before their physical and emotional union, which happens in conjugal summation. This is very significant from critical thinking as well as evolutionary psychological perspectives. Apart from the emotional need, the woman thinks about the safety and security of their future offspring (Barber, 1995). On the other hand, the man wants fulfillment of his emotional need from a healthy woman, whom he could trust that the person born out of their conjugal relation will be his seed (Horne, 2004), who will continue his genes further rather than believing that he is a father of an offspring, in reality, the offspring is his seed. The only person who knows this reality is the trustworthy woman, he consummated. The marriage is a structured boundary, where both the partners’ mutual needs are met.
Shakuntala: As an assertive person with a vision
Shakuntala agreed to marry Dushyanta through Gandharva Vivah and put her terms:
O thou foremost one of Puru’s race, what my terms are. Promise truly to give me what I ask thee. The son that shall be begotten on me shall become thy heir-apparent. This, O king, is my fixed resolve. O Dushmanta, if thou grant this, then let our union take place (Pp.156).
Shakuntala does not ask the queenship for herself. She asks for her offspring. Anyone who looks into these statements does not think that the maiden is innocent or not assertive! She is very clear in her decision and asking, Also, note that she is not requesting, but demanding! If agreeing with him without terms would have made her be a submissive and scared person. She wanted the approval first. After the grant only, she will be uniting with Dushyanta! The statements also show her critical thinking skills and emotional maturity. Another observation is the healthy aspect of the occurred transaction is, between two adults; there is no dominance or hierarchy. Dushyanta gives more than what she asked. He even promised to take her to his capital with an escort.
When Kanwa comes back home, Shakuntala did not go to receive him as felt ashamed which is a normal phenomenon. Even though Gandharva type marriage is normal, here, she has to make her father know about the incident, which is generally an awkward act for a maiden. However, Kanwa knew everything through his spiritual power and he accepted their union. Adding to that, sage Kanwa adds: the consequence of the act, she will deliver a boy, who is going to rule the entire world and no one could resist him. This generous demeanor of Kanwa makes her at ease. She comes out and does the required hospitality for sage Kanwa. Now, Shakuntala sits near sage Kanwa and requests him to grace the king as well as his ministers as she already married king Dushyanta. Sage Kanwa agrees to it and he says that she deserves to get a boon from him. Shakuntala asked the boon, which benefits the king Dushyanta and future Pururavas as the kings of Hastinapura throne.
Here, Shakuntala shows one of the greatest virtue of self-sacrificing. She thinks and cares for her husband and his kingdom. Her self-sacrificing is unconditional, not demanded by anyone or a need for such support (as in the case of story of Shibi). She is spontaneous in her selfless request that shows maturity in her thinking from the larger future perspective (Kirkpatrick, 1999).
Time goes on, it did not wait for anyone to change their mind or decision. In due course, Shakuntala delivers a boy baby (in one context, she says she was pregnant for three years (we may have a different perspective on this here. This will not be discussed in this paper). Sage Kanwa does the require rites for the boy. The boy was very brave and able to tie the wild animals to poles. For this, the sages called him Sarvadamana. Dushyanta did not turn up even after six years. Kanwa wanted Shakuntala to go to her husband Dushyanta’s place. Disciples of Kanwa along with Shakuntala and Sarvadamana reach the city Hastinapura. They go to his assembly and introduce her to the king and returns. Then:
And Sakuntala having worshipped the king according to proper form, told him, ‘This is thy son, O king! Let him be installed as thy heir-apparent. O king, this child, like unto a celestial, hath been begotten by thee upon me. Therefore, O best of men, fulfil now the promise thou gavest me. Call to mind, O thou of great good fortune, the agreement thou hadst made on the occasion of thy union with me in the asylum of Kanwa.’ (Pp.157).
Shakuntala does not ask for herself to be part of his family. It is already done and over. King Dushyanta must accept her. However, this time there is a new person, the result of their union, a son, who has celestial qualities. She directly tells Dushyanta to make the son his heir-apparent. She did not shy away to say in front of the assembly. If we visualize the scene and her dialogue, it requires an act of courage and an emotionally poised personality to say it. We could also see the clarity of thought in her next sentences. No word is less or excess that shows her ‘self-awareness’ as well as social awareness during the transaction.
Frozen feeling: A normal reaction to an apparent shock
King Dushyanta rejects her suggestion and says that he does not know her and doesn’t have any connection with her. Then, ‘the fair coloured innocent one became abashed. Grief deprived her of consciousness and she stood for a time like a wooden post’ (Pp.159). Shakuntala never expected this from a righteous king Dushyanta. She became embarrassed. It was a sudden shock and she became frozen. For a moment, she did not know what to say. For a 21st century behavioral scientist, the concept of ‘frozen in feeling’ is evident and many documented the observations from anecdotal incidents (Gallup & Razor, 1996; Volchan, et.al, 2011; Edelaar et.al, 2012). However, probably 5000 years back, the author of Mahabharata mentions this exact feeling as if he had experienced it, through a character, he had heard from someone else (Krishna-Dwaipayana was born many centuries later than Dushyanta-Shakuntala). This is very significant anecdotal evidence, probably first in the history of human civilization.
Shakuntala confronting Dushyanta: The power of asceticism and self-control
Shakuntala might have taken a few seconds to recover from this shock and now she has to defend herself through the fight or flight method. She resorts to fighting it out, which is evident through:
…her eyes became red like copper and her lips began to quiver. And the glances she now and then cast upon the king seemed to burn the latter. Her rising wrath however, and the fire of her asceticism, she extinguished within herself by an extraordinary effort. Collecting her thoughts in a moment, her heart possessed with sorrow and rage, she thus addressed her lord in anger (P.159).
Shakuntala was in a real conflict. She is angry with Dushyanta for his inappropriate behaviour and remarks. She had to handle it differently because he is not someone else, Dushyanta is part of her (wife is called ardhangini). Both of them have one more responsibility, which is to nurture Sarvadamana. Nevertheless, she knew that Dushyanta is a king, a Prathyaksha Devatah. A king is like God. The king’s trivial mistakes should not be escalated and should be forgiven (Adi Parva, Astika Parva, Sec.41). Shakuntala would have burnt the person down through asceticism if someone else had said it!
She calms down, suppresses her anger, controls her expression, and shows her self-control with the power of asceticism. Through her ascetic practices, she would have learned to become Sthitaprajna or in modern terms, a self-realized person, where she transcends beyond materialistic trivial hurdles without resorting to emotional outbursts.
Shakuntala: An icon of positivity
Shakuntala addresses the king in anger; she questions him on his truthfulness. She questions him spiritually, philosophically, and guides him to be truthful. It is not easy for anyone to control their emotions and talk about philosophy spontaneously during intense distress.
Shakuntala continues her talk; she speaks on how she is a devoted wife and deserves respect. She even cuts down his ego related to his earlier promise that he will send the four-class army to receive her. Nothing works for her. Then, subtly she threatens him as his head will burst into pieces if he does not keep his promise. Shakuntala resorts another point, how the son, Sarvadamana can prevent king Dushyanta’s ancestors from falling into the hell called ‘putt’ as putra. When that also did not work she resorts to the duties of a wife, how she can protect him through her qualities and actions. How a wife, is a root of four Purusharthas.
These non-erring, clear and fluent talk of Shakuntala shows her knowledge and expertise in the Vedic scriptures, practices as well as skills in presenting them to other people, even during emotionally ruptured context by a lone person is not only a remarkable demeanor but unparalleled in human history. This makes Shakuntala a highly resilient and self-reliant woman, who keeps her self-respect par with Draupadi of Mahabharata.
Shakuntala questions Dushyanta, gets angry with him due to the pain she got from him but does not abuse him with lewd remarks like how he did it. This caring and non-judgmental character of Shakuntala has been observed in her speech on good wife, shows that she is not just a preacher, but inculcated those qualities in her.
It hath been said by learned persons that one is himself born as one’s son. Therefore, a man whose wife hath borne a son should look upon her as his mother. Beholding the face of the son one hath begotten upon his wife, like his own face in a mirror, one feeleth as happy as a virtuous man, on attaining to heaven. Men scorched by mental grief, or suffering under bodily pain, feel as much refreshed in the companionship of their wives as a perspiring person in a cool bath. No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife, seeing that happiness, joy, and virtue,–everything dependeth on the wife. A wife is the sacred field in which the husband is born himself. Even Rishis cannot create creatures without women (sec. 74, Pp.160).
Here again, Shakuntala focuses on women from a larger perspective. She explains how a woman’s companionship is significant for a man to find meaning in his life. Shakuntala is proud of herself for being a woman. She does not see women as inferior to men and helpless, believes that women are equal and part of men’s life. We could see her optimism, who is aware of herself, and her personal as well as socio-cultural identity.
Shakuntala is not philosophical without substance. She questions the present behaviour of Dushyanta with his son, when the boy goes climbing on his laps, she questions his experiences and feelings. The diverse perspective of Shakuntala is based on her in-depth knowledge in the scriptures and her awareness of self and others; probably she got it in her ascetic practices.
Descending from heaven on Earth, after intercourse with Viswamitra, she gave birth to me. That celebrated Apsara, Menaka, brought me forth in a valley of Himavat. Bereft of all affection, she went away, cast me there as if I were the child of somebody else. What sinful act did I do, of old, in some other life that I was in infancy cast away by my parents and at present am cast away by thee! Put away by thee, I am ready to return to the refuge of my father. But it behoveth thee not to cast off this child who is thy own.’ (Pp.160).
At this juncture, she brings her past life, she was cast away by her parents. She does not want that to happen to her son. Here, we observe that Shakuntala was talking from the victim’s perspective. She was the victim of not been cared for in childhood and she does not want that to happen to her son. She does not mind getting abandoned by him, she was aware of her infantile trauma and probably she could not do anything at that time. However, she does not want her son to get abandoned and traumatized.
We need to notice that Krishna preached Arjuna during the latter’s difficult times; Vashista preached Rama during those times when Rama was in confusion. There are many sages who preached Yudhishthira during his depressed days in the forest as well as in the post-war shock period. However, No one preached a king or others, when the speaker is in distressed condition; Shakuntala stands tall apart here because of this particular act of hers. With so much distress and agony in front of a huge assembly, she stood for herself and her son, showing how king Dushyanta is not following the dharma, which is something unimaginable and remarkable. This shows how much Shakuntala is empowered in her values, optimistic and hopeful, is not seen in any other human being in the entire epic/Puranic literature.
King Dushyanta still does not accept her. He calls Shakuntala’s mother Menaka a prostitute and Vishwamitra as lustful and questions the chastity of Shakuntala.
We need to imagine the context. A lone woman is standing in front of a huge assembly, being rejected by her husband, where she met him only once and united with him. She tried her best to reach him with dharma which made no impact on him, then preaches him how he, as a duty-bound king, should not abandon his wife, that also goes in vain. Then she brings the heart-touching issue of father-son attachment, again making no impact. Still, Dushyanta does not believe her, and questions her birth as low and defames her. He also asks her to go wherever she wants.
For most of us, our imagination goes in a profoundly negative way. We are not able to take this amount of rejection, we collapse emotionally, and our ‘self’ would have been completely shattered. We would get no ‘space’ to stand, defend, and energy to move ahead. For us, it is over; probably we would have abandoned the situation and gone back.
However, Shakuntala does not get into this script. She is still Sthitaprajna, does not get angry or sad, she is not even scared to utter further. The childhood trauma did not make her cruel or negative; the ascetic practices might have burned her trauma and transformed her into a gem of positivity.
“Sakuntala replied, ‘Thou seest, O king, the fault of others, even though they be as small as a mustard seed. But seeing, thou noticest not thy own faults even though they be as large as the Vilwa fruit. Menaka is one of the celestials. Indeed, Menaka is reckoned as the first of celestials. My birth, therefore, O Dushmanta, is far higher than thine. Thou walkest upon the Earth, O king, but I roam in the skies! Behold, the difference between ourselves is as that between (the mountain) Meru and a mustard seed! Behold my power, O king! I can repair to the abodes of Indra, Kuvera, Yama, and Varuna! The saying is true which I shall refer to before thee, O sinless one! I refer to it for example’s sake and not from evil motives (Pp.161).
Here, Shakuntala is showing an unusual amount of optimism, self-control and keeps her self-esteem higher than the king Dushyanta. It could happen only with a person, who has realized herself, accepts herself with all her past life and unparalleled emotional poise is beyond the descriptive qualities or factors. Even, when she is expressing that she is more capable than him in tangible terms, we do not observe any indecisiveness or arrogance. Adding to that she calls him sinless, and whatever she has compared before is for explaining the purpose and there is no malafide intention! It requires extreme humility and compassion to say that. We need to understand that she does not want to denigrate him because he is part of her, belittling him is belittling herself, is not her nature, as we have already seen. In the further section, Shakuntala epitomizes the philosophy of positive behaviour in her words, which most of us agree even today.
We observe, in some of these speeches by Shakuntala is the maturity of the person as an experienced guide or a counselor. She provides examples after examples, which comes out of her empathetic understanding and the context. She provides a choice for him; either be truthful and accept his son or continue to be in his denial mode and falling in his virtues.
If thou placest no credit in my words, I shall of my own accord go hence. Indeed, thy companionship should be avoided. But thou, O Dushmanta, that when thou art gone, this son of mine shall rule the whole Earth surrounded by the four seas and adorned with the king of the mountains (Pp.162).
Shakuntala is very pragmatic in her understanding of human behaviour. She did her best to make Dushyanta understand the truth and righteous behaviour. Probably, she tried her best in convincing him of the truth. Finally, when nothing worked, she wanted to retract, wanted to avoid such a companionship, wanted to be herself without losing her sense of self. Shakuntala says final words that even, if Dushyanta does not accept his son as his heir-apparent, after his death, Sarvadamana will rule the entire Earth as a king.
Shakuntala: An epitome of human effort and destiny?
Shakuntala knew it before that her son, Sarvadamana will become the king of the Pururavas kingdom. It was told by a divine voice during her laboring. Then, why did she try with so much energy to convince king Dushyanta?
Shakuntala, a dharmik woman believed in the divine voice as the destiny for her son. When the context warranted her to make king Dushyanta aware of the truth and the dharma, she pitched in, preached him with utmost compassion and humility. She tried her best to convince him to follow the righteous path. She persuaded him, with so much scriptural knowledge and varied examples. When he did not follow any of her suggestions and denied it entirely, she had to stop her effort. She provides a choice and says the finality of human destiny. Shakuntala believed in destiny as well as human exertion; she did not consider destiny and human exertion are dichotomous. They are not against each other. Shakuntala believed that destiny and human exertion are complimentary, interwoven, one and the same.
How did Shakuntala, be so perfect in her personality? Some of her demeanor is very difficult to be practiced. There was no evidence in Mahabharata or in Puranic literature about similar personalities. Probably, that comes from her ascetic practices and experiences. She is perfect in her qualities and approaches that she is complete and full; no other word could describe or explain her state, there is no other person in the history of human civilization, who could surpass Shakuntala in displaying those qualities. Shakuntala is the epitome of a complete human being with all the ideal qualities and values, one could aspire to.
The divine voice and the public evidence
When Shakuntala was about to leave the assembly, the divine voice says to Dushyanta, which is also audible to all the gathered people in the assembly about the truth in Shakuntala’s words and not to insult her. The voice is invisible and from the space.
The direction of the divine voice is the finality and Dushyanta accepts its directions in front of the assembly.
When Dushyanta married Shakuntala through Gandharva type, No one witnessed it. So it is not observed by the public. As we already knew through Manusmrithi that people would follow their leader or the king. What king does, the citizens follow. Here, the citizens see Dushyanta as a righteous king, who would not indulge in unrighteous acts. So Dushyanta’s marriage must be proved beyond the doubt, the divine voice does it.
One could think why the voice comes in the end? Why not the divine voice does say the truth in the beginning, so that the energy and time could have been saved? The answer could be that before the divine judgment, the audience must be provided with a good enough trial of human exertion, where Shakuntala’s inner qualities must be displayed for others to inculcate that a human being can go through extreme distress, show self-control, resilience, compassion, and assertive behavior.
The union was between Dushyanta and Shakuntala. When Dushyanta was not taking the responsibility for his actions, it is the duty of Shakuntala to remind him to be righteous. She does it to the extent, when king Dushyanta does not change his mind, due to the fear of public censure, Shakuntala has few choices. The first choice is taking an oath and proving herself. The second choice is cursing the king Dushyanta and the last one is leaving the context and be on her own.
The first choice works well, if Dushyanta was just questioning her chastity and purity. However, Dushyanta not only questions her chastity, but also denies any knowledge of interaction with her.
Therefore, the choice of proving herself does not arise. The second choice was not opted and it was discussed, which has serious repercussions and as an ascetic with self-control, she is more likely to be called Kshamaya Dharithri, would not go for this. In the third choice, she is deciding to leave the space of unrighteousness and be on herself. Here, she has taken responsibility to guide king Dushyanta from his ignorance and unrighteousness. Then, it is the responsibility of the other person to move from ignorance and embrace the light and knowledge. If the other person does not want that, as a self-realized responsible person, she moves out of the space of unrighteousness, which is probably the righteous act.
Shakuntala of Mahabharata, in the Krishna-Dwaipayana version, is not a passive-lovable person, who has gone through heart-wrenching periods of sufferings due to the amnesia of her husband Dushyanta. She is not a victim; but a self-controlled, mature and optimistic person; she is loving, caring, and assertive about herself and her identity. She confronted Dushyanta in her distress in such a way that she stands tall with positivity like a Meru mountain. The demeanor of Shakuntala is unparalleled and proves that she is one of the finest human characters of ancient India, probably in our civilization.
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