Bhāravi Analysis

Life

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Bhāravi (BAW-rah-vee) is the author of Kirātārjunīya (seventh century c.e.; Bharavi’s Poem Kiratarjuniya, 1912), one of six of the most famous Sanskrit mahākāvyas (short epics) ever written. Bhāravi’s mahākāvya is based on an episode in the Mahābhārata (400 b.c.e.-400 c.e., present form by c. 400 c.e.; The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, 1887-1896) in which the hero Arjuna, while worshiping Lord Śiva, is provoked into a fight by a kirāta, or mountaineer, who is out hunting. In actuality, the hunter is a disguised Lord Śiva, who is testing the valor of his devotee. When Arjuna discovers the true identity of his invincible adversary, he falls down and worships him. Lord Śiva is satisfied with Arjuna’s bravery, skill, and piety and presents him with a pāśupata, a magical weapon for use against his enemies.