Halayudha Stotra in Inscriptions (Post No.11,177)


Post No. 11,177

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Halayudha Stotra in Inscriptions

We have seen a lot of books on Indian literature, but there are very few books that give the literary wonders in Indian inscriptions, stone epigraphs and copper plates. Most of them are in praise of the kings who donated lands or money given to Brahmin scholars. But there are some inscriptions which are inscribed with hymns just dedicated to gods.

There is a beautiful Swastika shaped water well in Tiruvellarai, a town near Trichy, in Tamil Nadu. There we find a four line verse in praise of Vishnu. It is behind the Pundarikakshan temple in the town. It is written during the time of Pallava king Danti varma around 800 CE. The temple is older than Dantivarman period, because Periyazvar and other Vaishnavite Saints have sung in praise of the god residing there.

Though it is a 4 line verse, the message it gives is very important; it says life is short and worship god without delay.

(Stotra, Stuti- hymn on gods)

Nowadays it has become a fashion to inscribe the verses of local saints on the walls of the temples. We can see big marble slabs with those holy verses in several Tamil Nadu temples.  Probably all of them copied what one great poet by name Halayudha did in Gujarat. He was from the village Navagrama in Hugly district in Bengal. He composed the well known Halayudha stotra, a hymn on Shiva. He composed this 63 verses long hymn on the god during the rule of Paramar king Vakpati Munja who ruled from 974 to 993 CE.

They are inscribed on four stone slabs fixed on the southern wall of Amareswara temple at Mandhata on the banks of the river Narmada. It is in Madhya Pradesh.

The date of the inscription is 1063 CE. That shows the inscription was made some time after the poet.

Under the hymn is a colophon verse which gives an account of the author. At the end of the stotra is another hymn called Siva dwadasa stotra describing  Jyotir Lingas and some Saivaite teachers.

Halayudha served in the court of two kings-

Rashtrakuta king Krishna III, 934-967

Paramara king Vakpati Munja, 974-993

Besides the well known Siva hymn, the poet is known to be the author of the following literary works:

Kavirahasya, a pedantic work of Sanskrit grammar;

Abhidana ratnamala;

Mritasanjivini, a commentary on Pingala s Chandasutra.

There were three more poets or scholars with the same name Halayudha.

One Halayudha, belonging to Vatsa gotra, was the son of Dhananjaiya . He was a great scholar in the court of 12th century ruler of Bengal Lakshmana sena. He wrote

Brahmana sarvasva

Pandita sarvasva

Mimamsa sarvasva

Two more Halayudhas served two more Sena kings of Bengal.

Halayudha means a man with a plough, the name of Balarama, brother of Krishna.

Source book:– Sanskrit and Prakrit Poets known from Inscriptions, Prof. DB Diskalkar,Pune, 1993, with my inputs

Xxx Subham xxx

Tags- Halayudha, stotra, hymn on Shiva, Tiruvellarai, Swastika well, Inscription

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