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Haravijaya – Epic Poem In Sanskrit Based On Shiva Defeating Andhaka

Haravijaya is an epic poem in Sanskrit and is based on the famous puranic episode of Lord Shiva defeating demon Andhaka. Haravijaya was written by Rajanaka Ratnakara (850 AD). It contains fifty sargas or cantos. The congenitally blind Andhaka practices severe penance in order to gain supernatural strength. After regaining his sight, he harasses the three worlds like his predecessors Taraka and Ravana till Shiva slays him and saves the world.

This unusually long poem gives the author enough scope to exhibit his poetic skill. Besides devoting himself to the main theme, he delights in descriptions of gods and nature in all its variety, for example, the cosmic dance of Shiva in heaven, the seasons, Meru and Mandara mountains, water sports, the rising of the moon, the hermaphrodite form of Shiva, drinking bout of asuras, and Chandi etc. The preparation for the battle and the actual battle are described vividly in about ten sargas.

Rajanaka Ratnakara was the son of Amritabhanu. His poetic career began in the reign of Chipata Jayaditya of Kashmir and he became famous during the reign of King Avantivarman. Under Avantivarman’s patronage he composed Haravijaya.

Haravijaya has two commentaries, one by Vallabhadeva and the other by Alaka, son of Rajanaka Jayanaka and a contemporary pupil of Ratnakara.

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