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Girija Kalyana – Kannada Epic Poem Of Harihara

Girija Kalyana is the title of a Kannada epic poem on the marriage of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Mahadev Shiva. Girija Kalyana was written by Harihara (1200 CE). Deviating from his predecessors, Harihara introduced a new poetic meter in Kannada called ragale. Later, in order to prove his ability as a versatile poet, he wrote this epic poem in a mixture of prose and poetry (called campu in Kannada).

Girija Kalyana deals with the theme of marriage of Shiva with Goddess Parvati. The poet is at his best when vividly describing the noblest virtues of Goddess Parvati, or Girija, the daughter of the mountain god Himavan. The story moves slowly and gradually culminates in the marriage of Parvati and Shiva.

Girija vowed solemnly that she would marry no one but Shiva. In order to fulfill her desire, she began to perform a severe penance. Girija could not catch the attention of Shiva as he was deeply lost in meditation.

Manmatha, the God of love in Hindu religion, made several attempts to disturb the meditation of Shiva but in vain. In this process he was burnt to ashes when Shiva opened his third eye.

Rati, wife of Manmatha, lamenting the death of her beloved, prayed to Goddess Parvati to revive her husband. Girija continued her penance in all austerity and finally succeeded in winning the heart of Shiva, who appeared in the guise of a celibate to test her true love. Girija realized that the celibate was none other than Shiva himself.

The narrative style of the poet beautiful and he uses different poetic meters for different situations and emotions. The theme of the poem reflects the influence of Puranas and Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa.