In Shakuntala, the consummation of the love of Dushyanta and Shakuntala is put off several times before they finally get together. This shows the place of "longing" in this tradition.
Spiritually this is a metaphor for separation from the divine.
Longing for us today seems as if it is merely a nuisance, or worse a privation, but in the Hindu tradition, the idea of longing is presented as beautiful and potent.
The following reflections come from an article by Anantanand Rambachan
The Svetasvatara Upanishad (4:6-7) uses an interesting analogy to describe the human separation from and discovery of God. It describes two beautiful birds who are inseparable friends residing on the same tree. One eats the fruits of the tree with relish while the other looks on without eating. Sitting on the same tree, one bird becomes sad, entangled and deluded. But, when he turns and sees the other, the contented Lord and the Lord's majesty, his grief disappears. The two birds are the human being, and God and the tree is the life itself. God's attention is always on the human being, but the human being, absorbed in the world, ignores God. He is unaware of the divine who is close by and patiently waiting. Human ignorance and inattentiveness to God, however, is the fundamental cause of misery which ends only when one turns round and recognizes God at one's side.
Ignorance of God is the source of our suffering and from this we must be awake. Awakening to God is consistently associated in the Hindu tradition and texts with freedom from sorrow and the attainment of joy. "Only when people shall roll up the sky like a piece of leather," says the Svetasvatara Upanishad, "will there be an end of misery for them," often used to describe the absolute. "The Infinite Itself is joy. There is no joy in the finite. The Infinite alone is joy," says Sanatkumara to Narada in the Chandogya Upanishad (7.23.1). On a particle of the bliss of God, teaches Yajnavalkya in the Brhadaranyana Upanishad (4.3.32), other beings live.
Knowing God and the bliss which is God ought not, in the Hindu tradition, to lead to selfish absorption in oneself. This is where the Assembly theme challenges us as Hindus. One cannot and ought not to turn to God without, at the same time, turning to creation and to all human beings with love and reverence. To turn to God is not to turn away from the world, but to see the world as infused by God.