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Haradatta Sivachariyar – Tamil Saiva Religious Poet Of 11th Century CE

Haradatta Sivachariyar, also written as Haradatta Shivacharya, is a Tamil religious poet. Haradatta Shivacharyar flourished around the 11th century CE in Kanjanur in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. He is occasionally referred to as Sudarshanacharya. Though a Vaishnava by birth, he turned into an ardent Shaiva when he was very young. His Hari Hara Taratamya contains verses on the supremacy of Shiva.

The most well known of his works is, however, Sruti-Sukti-mala, also known as Caturvedatatparya samgraha, wherein he shows that Shiva is the Supreme Lord. A commentary on his work was written by a prince named Shiva-linga-bhupa of the Konda-vid Reddi dynasty 1500 CE).

There is legend that Chola king Kulottunga I (1200 CE), a staunch Saiva, challenged anyone to refute the arguments of Haradatta establishing the supremacy of Shiva contained in Haradatta’s work entitled Pancharatna maalika or be converted to Shaivism. He seems to have invited no less a person than Ramanuja, founder of Vishishtadvaita, to take up the challenge. Kuresha, a devotee of Ramanuja, appeared before the king and offered answers to Haradatta’s arguments. These details are found in a work called Kuresa Vijayam. Kuresha’s eyes were plucked out by the furious king, and Ramanuja is said to have fled the Chola kingdom for fear of the king’s wrath. This shows that Haradatta must be earlier than Ramanuja (1200 CE).

Haradatta argued that Mahanarayana Upanishad of Taittirya Aranyaka does not purport to praise Vishnu but only Shiva (Shruti Sukti Mala).