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Kama being burnt by Shiva, taken from the cover of a book released by Balinese Education Council

Smaradahana is an old Javanese poem (Kakawin) written by Mpu Dharmaja as a eulogy for King Kameçvara of Kediri in early 12th century East Java. The story tells about the disappearance of Kamajaya (god of love) and Kamaratih (goddess of love) from Svargaloka because being burnt by the fire burst out from the third eye of Shiva.[1]:179-180 They fell upon the earth wondered and incarnated as human beings, their spirit seduces and inspires the lovers' hearts.[2]


Smaradahana is a sanskrit word from smara (love) and dahana. Dhana itself can be translated as thirst or yearning, also as dahana (fire). Smaradhana can be translated as the fire of love that burnt lovers' hearts which put them to yearn for their lover, suffering the thirst or hunger for love. The theme Smaradhana inspires many art and literature pieces such as stories, poems and love songs in Indonesia.

The story

The story begin when the goddess Parvati was feeling lonely. She missed and longed for her husband Lord Shiva, who at that time was meditating somewhere on a sacred mountain top. She decided to send Kamadeva, a lesser love god known in ancient Java as Kamajaya, to search for Shiva. His task was to inspire love in Shiva's heart, to make him yearn for his wife.

Using the bow and arrow of love tipped with a flower, Kamajaya shot the meditating Shiva. Suddenly Shiva felt the desire to see his wife. His heart was filled with memories of past love-making with Parvati, so he promptly stopped his meditation. However, when Shiva opened his eyes, he caught sight of Kamajaya hiding behind a rock. Angered by the fact that Kamajaya, the lesser god, had dared to disturb his meditation, fire burst out from his third eye and burnt Kamajaya to ashes. Kamajaya's wife, goddess Rati or known in ancient Java as Kamaratih, out of her love, devotion and loyalty, jumped into Shiva's fire to follow her husband. They both died in the flames, disappeared from svargaloka and vanished from the realm of gods.

The spirits of the couple, the divine lovers Kamajaya and Kamaratih, fell upon earth, into the realm of human beings. Frequently incarnated as two lovers, constantly searching for each other on earth, the spirit of Kamajaya and Kamaratih symbolize love, lust, desire and the yearning that inspire, seduces and is suffered by all lovers on earth.


Mpu Dharmaja wrote Smaradahana during the reign of Kameçvara, the second king of Kediri during the second quarter of 12th century. Historian believed that next to Dharmajaya's intention to transmit the Hindu mythology of Kamadeva being burnt by Shiva's fire (interpreted by the Sanskrit poet Kalidasa in as Kumarasambhava) it was also intended to explain the essence of love and desire in human beings. It is strongly suggested that the poem was also Dharmaja's eulogy for the king.

The tradition celebrated Kameçvara as a strikingly handsome man, while his queen consort; Çri Kirana is famous for her extraordinary beauty. The king was adored as the incarnation of Kamajaya, the god of love, and his capital city Dahana or Daha was admired throughout the known world. Kameçvara's wife, Çri Kirana, was celebrated as the incarnation of Kamaratih, goddess of love and passion.

The Smaradhana become the prelude of Panji cycle tales, as Raden Inu Kertapati or Panji Asmoro Bangun is taught to be the incarnation of Kamajaya, while Dewi Chandra Kirana or Sekartaji as the incarnation of Kamaratih. The Panji tales spread throughout Southeast Asia as far as Malaya, Siam and Cambodia.[1]:179-180


  1. ^ a b Coedès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824803681.
  2. ^ Soekmono, Dr R. (1973). Pengantar Sejarah Kebudayaan Indonesia 2. Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Penerbit Kanisius. p. 117. ISBN 979-413-290-X.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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