Shakuntala’s Abiding Beauty – From Kalidasa’s Immortal Play

A lotus is beautiful even if it is in the midst of muck; the blemish on the moon, despite its darkness,  only highlights the moon’s lustre; her simple bark attire only enhances the loveliness of this maiden.  Indeed, what will not serve as a decoration for something that is intrinsically beautiful?

[This verse is in Act I (of VII Acts) of Kalidasa’s play, Abhignyanashakunthalam (अभिज्ञाशाकुन्तलम्).  King Dushyanta recites this verse to himself when he sees Shakuntala for the first time from his vantage point, behind the trees]

[sarasijamanuvidhDHam shaivalEnApi ramyam malinamapi himAmshOrlakshma lakshmIm thanOthi / iyamaDHikamanOgnyA valkaEnApi thanvI kimiva hi maDHurANAm maNdanam nAkrthInAm//

सरसिजमनुविद्धं शैवलॆनपि रम्यं मलिनमपि हिमांशॊर्लक्ष्म लक्ष्मीं तनॊति /इयमधिकमनॊज्ञा वल्कलॆनापि तन्वी किमिव हि मधुराणां मण्डनं नाकृतीनाम् //]


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