keesh' marvelous hunting was finally revealed when the council put spies on his tracks as he went forth to hunt. the two spies recited what they saw. when keesh arrived from hunting, he was accused by one of the councils of witchcraft. he denied the accusation and demonstrated the mystery of his great hunting. he pronounced: " it is not witchcraft, its headcraft".
in the mahabharata her story is told by vaishampayana in response to a question by king janamejaya about his remote ancestors. the women who people our epics are shaktis: each one of them is endowed with power, sure of herself, sure of the choices she makes, sure in her speech, protective, passionate, loving, giving, hungry for life, filled with adventurousness, a fearless wanderer in life’s vast fields.
she inherits her soul from our vedic women: independent, assertive, strong winners, who took responsibility for themselves. authentic women who participated in all fields of life as men’s equals. they debated on the meaning of life with the best of philosophers. they explored the mysteries of existence just as the men of their times did. they composed poems, sacred and mundane, poems of the soul and of the flesh, singing of spiritual ecstasy and sexual longing, that survive to this day.
the changes kalidasa makes in shakuntala tells us much about the changes that took place in women’s status, her role in a man’s life and societal and familial expectations from her by the time we leave behind epic times and reach what modern historians call the golden period of indian history. vyasa’s shakuntala is strong. she is shakti, bold and fearless. in the case of kalidasa’s shakuntala, her strength lies in her weakness, in her helplessness. she is an abala: an infantilized woman whose strength is her capacity to invoke protectiveness in us.