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In Hindu scriptures, Bharata (Sanskrit: भरत, romanized: bharata, lit. 'The Cherished') is an ancestor of the Pandavas and the Kauravas in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. Though the Bhāratas are a prominent community in the Rigveda, the story of Bharata is first told in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata, wherein he is the son of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. The story of his parents and his birth is also related in Kalidasa's famous play Abhijñānashākuntala.
Bharat plays with lion cubs
Painting by Raja Ravi Varma
|Born||Sage Kanva hermitage|
|Spouse||Sunanda, 2 others|
|Father||Dushyanta of Hastinapura|
In the epic Mahābhārata, the ancestor of Kurus becomes Emperor Bharata, and his ruler and kingdom is called Bhārata. The Bharata clan mentioned in Mahabharata is a Kuru clan which is a sub clan of the Puru clan.
Bharata in LiteratureEdit
According to the Mahābhārata (Adi Parva), Bharata was the son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala and thus a descendant of the Lunar dynasty of the Kshatriya Varna. He was originally named Sarvadamana ("the subduer of all"); the Mahābhārata traces the events in his life by which he came to be known as Bharata ("the cherished"). Bharata's exploits as a child prince are dramatised in Kalidasa's poetic play Abhijñānaśākuntalam.
Story of BharatEdit
According to a dramatized version of the events by the poet Kalidasa, the king Dushyanta married Shakuntala on his hunting expeditions in forests. He was captivated by Shakuntala's beauty, courted her in royal style and married her. He then had to leave to take care of affairs in the capital. She was given a ring by the king, to be presented to him when she was ready to appear in his court. She could then claim her place as queen. Shakuntala gave birth to her child who was named Sarvadamana by the sage Kanwa. Surrounded only by wild animals, Sarvadamana grew to be a strong child and made a sport of opening the mouths of tigers and lions and counting their teeth.
In the Mahabharata, the core story remains the same. However, in the story, Shakuntala's son Bharata is already 6 years old, and when they both appear in Dushyanta's court, the latter rejects both of them by saying that he had no relation with both of them and women are often experts at speaking lies, so he pretends to forget them in order to avoid embarrassment in front of his ministers and public. Shakuntala leaves angrily and frustrated. Days pass, and Dushyanta feels guilty of his act, and decides to go back, and bring Shakuntala and Bharata back.
Bharat had a son named Bhúmanyu. The Adi Parva of Mahabharata tells two different stories about Bhúmanyu's birth. The first story says that Bharat married Sunanda, the daughter of Sarvasena, the King of Kasi Kingdom and begot upon her the son named Bhumanyu. According to the second story, Bhúmanyu was born out of a great sacrifice that Bharata performed for the sage Bharadwaja.
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