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Revival of Hinduism in Kalidasa’s Shakuntala

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Religion
Wordcount: 3383 words Published: 18th May 2020

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 Kalidasa was a well-known figure in the Classical Indian History and intellectual being in the period of 15th AD century. He was the best jewel among the nine jewels of Gupta Empire. He has composed the play for the Gupta court that sets up new standard of the society. Goethe celebrated Shakuntala put on his head and dancing with overflow of joy and ecstasy. Shakuntala is unquestionably a sentimental romantic play.  Apart from that, there are a couple of other huge subjects like heroism, nature, the idea of a perfect ruler. It is additionally certain that dharma and karma plays significantly. Another remarkable subject is that of extension of religious philosophy, so, it is hard to escape from the principle of Hinduism. The present research paper tries to focus on the revival of Hinduism and how, it was executed in the extraordinary play like Shakuntala. How the philosophy of Hinduism propagated via the Sanskrit drama and how it becomes the philosophy of all India for interminable time. These are the issues under the investigation that endeavor to remarkably inspect in the present paper.

Keywords: Hinduism, Revival, Philosophy, Interminable, Ecstasy


Today, in the twenty-first century indeed there is the ascent of Hinduism after the decimation of Babri Mosque. The Nationalism and Hinduism goes connected at the hip together that serves the new standards of the cutting edge Indian. Indians, presently lean toward patriotism as a noteworthy issue instead of the general issues of neediness, debasement and ranchers suicide. They praise outrageous conservative patriotism like Hitler rather than gentle patriotism. The security of the country winds up prime significance and concern. Hinduism is the way of thinking of life it shapes sharp edge and become forceful in this period. So what are the prime causes behind the retrieval of Hinduism? Is the noteworthy inquiry that excited in my brain, so I will attempt to unfurl the idea of restoration through the drama Shakuntala? It will positively add to comprehend the present time frame and its outcomes.

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India is land of ancient civilization and therefore it is a nation of rich cultural diversity. India boasts of multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-religious cultural landscape which is unique in this world.  The present Hinduism forms the new super power structure. It indulges inside the style, meals and even cloths. The types of meditation like yoga have been popularized among the people. Even, the choice of colors and training curriculum no longer left from such regulations. Print and visible media have been under the surveillances. No inclusiveness however exclusion, not classless but magnificence hierarchies have been promoted in the present time. Even, thought processes have been also disturbed, molded and fractured. It was reconstructed according to the main agenda. Rather than deep pondering based on rationality rejected. However shallow thinking, and has been fallowed blindly on the name of bhkta’s. Cooperative sectors and institutes are replaced with conservative outrageous ideological provisions.

Gupta Empire

The Gupta rulers had been great supporters of Hinduism. The term Hinduism as a religious label refers to the indigenous religious philosophy of the peoples living in modern day India and the rest of the Indian subcontinent.1 They cherished Lord Vishnu and different Hindu divine beings. They fabricated countless asylums in their respect and encouraged to Vedic scholars. Phenomenal achievements had been made inside the fields of workmanship, engineering, technology and writing. The Gupta period is the most awesome phase in Indian history. This period has been called revival of Hinduism in India. During this period, India had tranquility, peace and prosperity. This changed an internal and external enhancement in all the walks of life.  After the king Ashoka’s power of Buddhist extension had distorted, the Hinduism reestablished within the Gupta period. During the Gupta rule, the old Brahmanical faith of the Vedas was located into the new shape of Hinduism. The Gupta rulers had been Brahmanical Hindus. During this recuperation of Hinduism, the vintage Godly forces of the Vedic time like Surya, Varuna and Indra retreated withdrew with extra new awesome divine beings like Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

Revival of Hinduism

In this spiritual age, Vishnu becomes adorable by numerous names, such as Vasudeva, Janardhan and Gobind. Legends on Vishnu were assembled in Vishnu Purana. The group of Vishnu turned into called Vaishnavism. A code of law called Vishnu Smriti became additionally unified, at some stage in this period. Ryder has exactly observed that “almost instinctive belief in reincarnation” makes it easier for a Hindu “to feel that all life, from plant to God, is truly one”.2 (P.79)The later Gupta rulers loved Shiva that became representation of multitudinous names, for instance, Pashupati, Rudra, Mahadeva and Shambhu. Legends on Shiva have been accumulated in Shiva Purana. The division of Shiva turned into known as Shaivism. The admirers of Shiva have been located in amazing numbers in southern part of India whilst the admirers of Vishnu were habitually located within the north.  Brahma was the paternal figure, cherished further by the both of Vaishnavas and the Shaivas. This cult of religious atmosphere unquestionably reflected in the literature of that period extensively. Shakuntala was not exceptional text to escape from such impression.

In this period Bhagwad Gita was the wellspring of motivation. The Bhakti movement was close to God with adoration and surrender. The Bhakti segment offered importance to willpower instead of reasoning, rather than knowledge, emotions are at the centre. The mob grew astonishingly in these years. The Gupta rulers were devotees of Hinduism yet they don’t reject the folks that pursued Buddhism and Jainism. They never exasperate Buddhism and Jainism but those are sic of the old practices turned in the revival. As a play Shakuntala is couched within the traditions of Hinduism—its mythology, as well as its philosophical bases. Almost at every stage of the development of its action are encountered invisible beings as characters or as forces, such as the gods, that play other roles in the overall direction that the events take.3 (P.9). Kalidasa in Shakuntala ventures a specific lifestyle which empowers man to accomplish maximally an amicable association with his living space. Possibly such was the Hindu lifestyle in the fifth century and Kalidasa essentially stays his vision in his milieu or transplants a usually shared world view. The play opens with the following benediction upon the audience:

Eight forms has Shiva, Lord of ail and king;

And these are water, first created thing;

And fire, which speeds the sacrifice begun;

The priest; and time’s dividers, moon and sun;

The all-embracing ether, path of sound;

The earth, wherein all seeds of life are found;

And air, the breath of life: may be draw near,

Revealed in these, and bless those gathered here. (P. 3)

Another remarkable component of the period is Sanskrit language was marginalized under the Buddhist and Jain impact, utilized in the Gupta time. It was perceived as the court language. It transformed into the most comprehensively utilized language of India. Indeed, even Buddhist researchers, explicitly the supporters of the Mahayana religion, began composing their sacred writings in Sanskrit. The Jain authors as well, who were writing in Pali and Prakrit, shifted over to Sanskrit, which converted into the insightful language of India.

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  The roots of play are in Indian classical epic Mahabharata. Kalidasa borrowed one piece from this epic and introduced his ideas and imagination. This was the period that gives rise to revival of Hinduism. Earlier Moryan Empire followed Buddhism philosophy and egalitarian social structure. But after the killing of Buddhist Monk, the preaching of ady Shankrachariya revived Hinduism. He debated with the scholars and removed old practices. He established Peethas and Mathas to teach and preach Hinduism. The new ideological superstructure was groomed and a lot of space was given to God that was rejected in Moryan period. Gupta dynasty gives ideological shock and people accepted that as new way of life.

The play was established in Indian old style human progress. The human advancement was culture as well as every one of the adjustments in the circle of life. It was improvement in information and humankind. The underlying foundations of play are in Indian traditional epic Mahabharata. Kalidasa acquired one piece from this epic and presented his thoughts and creative mind. This was the period that offers ascend to recovery of Hinduism. Prior Moryan Empire pursued Buddhism theory and libertarian social structure. In any case, after the executing of Buddhist Monk, the proclaiming of ady Shankrachariya restored Hinduism. He bantered with the researchers and expelled old practices. He set up Peethas and Mathas to educate and lecture Hinduism. The new ideological superstructure was prepped and a ton of room was given to God that was rejected in Moryan period. Gupta line gives ideological stun and individuals acknowledged that as better approach forever.

The new religion was established in the age of Kalidasa. They are Viashnuvism and Shaivism that become popular among the society. They worshiped God and followed Vedic culture. Better performance for second life was the belief system of the isms. The importance for value and refinement of self was at the center of life. The ideologies of this stream were widely appreciated in the India. It changed tremendously personal relationship. The human relations have great importance in Indian culture. These values are established by Indian mythology. P.P. Sharma rightly points out that “substantially draws upon the first book of the epic Mahabharata he omits the discordant detail of the slaying of thousands of wild creatures at the hands of Dushant and his mighty host of men in chariots before his entry into Kanva’s ashram.”4 (P. 81)

Kalidasa’s Shakuntala

 Dramatization was expression of soul and body. It constructs the dome of imagination. Those cannot enjoy life directly they can enjoy through the dramatization. The play was rooted in Indian classical civilization. The civilization was not only culture but all the changes in the sphere of life. It was improvement in knowledge and humanity. The king Dushant and Shakuntala’s love story is the heart of play. It was between the convincing power, between earth and heaven. It was early desires and maturity of heaven. It was interlinked to past, present and future. The Plato’s concept of three unities can be seen in the drama. The king Dushant leaves his palace for hunting that keeps him fit and energetic to fight against his enemy. Beside, Saint leaves the hut in the forest to marry his daughter. Here symbol of water is very significant, because Shiv brings water from Ganga and Shakuntala was shedding the water to plants means she preserver the earth like mother and protects her child. Water is united to marriage but when person died it was dissolved to the same earth. By storing the potter on the shoulder of dear is used here very brilliantly by Kalidasa. When, king Dushant hunting the dear, it was stopped by the ashram fellows. The deer was chased, followed and try catch it. The deer was nothing but the metaphor of Shakuntala. The king Dushant chased not deer but to Shakuntala. She was worldly wise daughter of earth. When she was invited by Dushant for love she says that, my son should be the king of your dynasty. She knows that there are many queens of Dushant so the right of queen goes to Pattrani. So she takes promise from him and they make Gandharv marriage and king gives identity proof of the ring stamped by his symbol. Now, it was the duty of Shakuntala to protect the ring and put before the king. When Kanav returned and realized the situation of Shakuntala. He accepted her love and permitted to follow him.

When she searched Dushant he rejected to perceive her because there was no proof of affection. It was the curse on star crossed lovers. Love is language itself. Kalidasa was the philosopher of love, he know very well that love is total unconditional surrender of mind and body. It was the test of excitement, entertainment and values of life. He has shaped the spirit of age and reversed magnificently into Hinduism, golden period of the Indian history. Man love to change and evolve from basic structure. He is not autonomous but part and parcel of the social cycle. He elevates to share the experience that harvests new vision of life. It gives lot of energy like cosmic energy. “No gain and no loss, and no life and no birth” was the ideology of the period. Thus the Indian drama achieved uniqueness in the period of Kalidasa before Shakespeare. Bharata Muni indicated that “the objective of Natyasastra is to strengthen dharma and to show the essence and effect of karma. These two themes, dharma and karma, have a central place in Shakuntala.”5

Although Upadhyaya stresses “the importance of integrating the four ends of human life as set out by Hinduism– sensory gratification (kama); material well-being (artha); religious behavior (dharma) which leads to heaven or higher rebirth; salvation, escape from rebirth (moksha) – the nation which lacks these clear parameters takes precedence over the individual in his system. The nationalism of modernity overrides the original Hindu model.”6 Whatever the ideology but people love change, it leads to ground-breaking ideas and imagination. Shakuntala was fine example of vigorous imagination that produced immense of the readers. These readers enjoyed the flight of imagination that developed rich reading culture. The present realistic literature cannot connect effectively to readers. However, Shakuntala was blending of Hindu philosophy and romantic imagination attached deeply with Indian mythology. Religious customs and beliefs were structured very efficiently. It was decentralization instead centralization, rather oneness multiplicity was celebrated. Mahabharata, Ramayana and Vedas are used as background or it was developed with independent imagination. It instantly connects to the roots of civilization that’s why Sanskrit becomes rich language. Nature and culture goes in hand to hand, the places with full of water accepted as holy places. Earth and heaven, sin and virtue, salvation was at the center of the life.


In the ancient land of Ashoka, Akbar and Ambedkar, there are many ideologies applied for the vision of India. There are many philosophies on which modern India has been constructed and reconstructed. From Jainism to Buddhism and Christianity to Hinduism are such religious isms used. Every political power of the period promoted their hidden agenda’s to fertile favorable land. They use every means of reaching to the public and communicate with them. After, the churning of different philosophies, the world comes united on the democratical processes so opinions are at the midpoint. In democracy opinions are formed with different way, though it was politically correct, political power should follow the fair path of democracy. Constitution become two side sword, the power decides how to use the sword for welfare of the public without discrimination or to differentiate the people. The history of human thought inclines towards the balanced thought as welfare means.

In India, there is always struggle between two ideologies. Every ideology try to dominate other ideologies but present Hinduism try to wash out other ideology and that is more dangers. Actually ideology never dies but changes or reconstructs itself. In democracy, opposition must be sustainable to fight, moreover it should be respected.  The contemporary Hinduism dominates all these process. The war between ‘Hind Swaraj’ and ‘Hindu Rashtra’ goes on after the independent struggle. It was simultaneously running between communal and secular visions of Indian history, culture and nationality. It was still unresolved the deadly conflict between communal and secular ideas of India. In the partition, we have paid the debt of harsh Hinduism so there is no need to taste same history again. The damage cannot be controlled after losing human values.

Hinduism was attempted by main stream nationalist like Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Madon Mohan Malviya against Gandhi, Tagore and Nehru. But it was never too much hard that disturbs democracy and challenges constitution. It was fantasized to India regarding Hindu Dharma, Hindi language, culture and religion, from Himalaya peninsula of the south. After, the assassination of Gandhi by Nathuram Godse, it was Nehru and Ambedkar who reduced the influence of Hinduism. But never try to washout like Gupta dynasty. They write about egalitarian and secular constitution of India. The constitution has stood against continuous attempts to hijack the Tagore’s an ‘Idea of India’ and recast it as Hinduism, Gandhi’s Swaraj, Tagore’s ‘unity in diversity’ Nehru’s secularism and Ambedkar’s constitution are under the menace from Hinduism. The ideology that threats unity of the nation should be scrutinized.

 Hinduism always pushed the literature and culture, which leads Hindu primacy and purity in the past and future of India. It has sought to pervert Hindu identity so as to dismiss the inherently multi-faceted and decentralized character of Hinduism and to supplant it with an exclusive and fundamentalist new ideology. It leads to cultural organization to build Hinduism though it was faulty and misleading, that don’t involve fairly marginalizing. There was confusion between nationalism and cultural majoritarianism, soft saffron Hinduism and fascist, authoritarian Hinduism. So the distortions introduced into the democratic process by populism and authoritarianism should be altered into love, truth and non-violence. The way of progress should go not with caste, class and religion but on the basis of secularity promoting inclusiveness.

Works Cited

  1. Das, Subhamoy. “The Origins of Hinduism.” Learn Religions, Apr. 17, 2019, learnreligions.com/theories-about-the-origin-of-hinduism-1770375
  2. P.P. Sharma. “Kalidasa’s Shakuntala: Some Side lights,” Source: Indian Literature, spects of Modern Poetry Published by: Sahitya Akademi Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 75-85 (May-June 1979)
  3. Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof. “Religious And Spiritual Values in Kalidasa’s Shakuntala,” Cultural Centre, University of Malaya.
  4. P.P. Sharma. “Kalidasa’s Shakuntala: Some Side lights,” Source: Indian Literature, spects of Modern Poetry Published by: Sahitya Akademi Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 75-85 (May-June 1979),
  5. Bharata Muni. “The Natyasastra. Trans. Manmohan Ghosh,” Calcutta: Manisha Granthalaya, 1967.
  6. David Smith. “Hinduism and Modernity,” John Wiley & Sons, 15-Apr-2008 – P-189
  7. Dr. Madhukar Ashtikar. “Shakuntal and other Sanskrit Natyakatha,” Suresh Agency Shukravar Peth Pune, 1996
  8. A.W. Ryder. “Kalidasa Shakuntala,” trans. In Parentheses Publications Sanskrit Series Combridge, Ontario, 1999


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