Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kaushika question

While reading earlier posts, I came across a comment of Colista's that answers my question about Kaushika and whether or not he may have become more compassionate after succumbing to the temptation of the nymph Menaka. The answer is clearly, no, he abandoned his very own daughter.

This is also an interesting theme for parents and teachers, and all of us who in a sense are parents to the new generations of young people who come after us. How do "we" as parents, elders, shame, judge or abandon people? What makes us turn our heads and walk away from things or issues we don't want to see about ourselves or others?

We don't hear about Kaushika again, so we don't know if he ever experiences regret or a change of heart that would make him a more compassionate human being. But we can look to see how we abandon and what we abandon and we could ask ourselves why do we abandon.


George said...

Good challenges... yes we don't hear about him any more in the play. Sounds like we need to find out more outside the play. What is even more puzzling is that the stories say that Kanva finds Shakuntala after she is abandoned... by Menaka! Poor Shakuntala seems to have rejection as part of her history on many accounts. No wonder why she attributes her rejection by Dushyanta to something she may have done in a previous life. Of course we know as the audience that she is blameless, and in fact her fidelity and faith transforms those around her... but in a social system that places so much importance on karma, we can understand her doubts... Now it seems if we look for more information, we have to look past the “name confusion” that Arthur Ryder comes up with again and again in his translation, and we might have better luck finding out more if we look for information about Shakuntala's father under the name of "Vishvamitra" which is the standard name given to the king/ sage/force who Ryder refers to as Kaushika (which really means son of Kusha.)

George said...

Whew... just looked this up in the Ramayana. Too complicated to summarize here. There's some serious stuff going on with this one, but I'll leave you the "surprise ending" for when you look it up for yourselves... :)