Interesting Life Story of Bhartruhari and Bhadragiriyar! (Post No.5210)

Bhartruhari meeting his former wife; Mogul painting


Written by London swaminathan


Date: 12 JULY 2018


Time uploaded in London – 7-46 am  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5210


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

Bhartruhari    is a popular name in Hindu literature. But there were many poets and kings with the same name . One Bhartruhari  was a grammarian. Another Bhartruhari  was a poet and author of 300 verses Niti Catakam, Srngara Catakam and Vairagya Catakam. He lived in fifth century CE

The latest one lived around tenth century who was the contemporary of famous Tamil devotional poet Pattinathar. This Bhartruhari  composed Bhartruhari or BHADRAGIRI pulampal in Tamil, that is lament of Bhartruhari.

Whoever it was there is an interesting story who became the subject of folklore in Chattisgarh and Rajasthan. He was the disciple of Saint Goraknath.

The hero of our story is linked with king Vikramaditya. That name is also confusing. There were many Vikramadityas in India and the most famous one lived 2200 years ago
His wife name was Pingala and she repented for her mistake. Later he came to her on his travel to holy places with his followers. That meeting became the subject of Moghul paintings and folklore. The story changes from place to place.


Throughout India the beggar minstrels sing the wistful melodies of with the ever recurring refrain about the impermanence of life. They say neither the body nor the wealth last for long. They very often refer to Bhartruhari. Whether it is the name of the saint or grammarian or the poet who wrote 300 verses on Love, Peace and Renunciation is of historical interest.


Tradition says that the happy king or poet was metamorphosed by the inconstancy of his wife Pingala. Two pictures here show that Bhartruhari coming to beg alms from his erstwhile wife. He left her after an incident which showed that she loved someone else who loved someone else. We see a love triangle in the story. After becoming an ascetic, he got the name Gopichand and he met his penitent wife. In the picture, we see Bhartruhari accompanied by some wandering friars and his former wife with half a dozen attendants. They are on the banks of a stream with beautiful natural scenery.

A fruit that which gives long life was presented to Bhartruhari by a Brahmin.

He gave to his youngest wife Pingala

Pingala gave to her secret lover- a police officer- Mahipala

Mahipala passed it to his beloved Lakha

Lakha who fell in love with the king passed it to Bhartruhari, the king.


This awakened Bhartruhari and he abdicated the throne to his brother Vikramaditya of Ujjaini.


The confusion here is no one knew which Vikramaditya and which Bhartruhari.


Any way the message is clear—Impermanence of Life which is a popular theme in all ancient Sanskrit and Tamil hymns.

Here is the Tamil version
His name is Bhadragiri. He met Pattinathar, a merchant turned ascetic. Tamil history says he was a king and became an ascetic. His verses are called Bhadragiriyar lament (pulampal in Tamil). In some places, he imitates Tamil poets Tirumular and Pattinathar. It is a philosophic poem. He was against caste. He quoted Kapilar Ahaval. Bhadragiri was praised by a later poet Ramalinga Swamikal.