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As portrayed in the Ādiparvan of the Mahābhārata, the daughter of the apsaras Menakā (Menā) and the sage Viśvāmitra, who, when living in her fosterfather Kaṇva's āśram, is seduced by King Duṣyanta. She gives birth to Bharata, whom the king initially refuses to acknowledge as his son, but Śakuntalā's rhetoric and a divine intervention change his mind. This is the story that Kālidasa retells, with significant variations, in his Abhijñānaśākuntalam (‘Recognition of Śakuntalā’).

Subjects: Hinduism.

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