Bharavi, (flourished 6th century ad), Sanskrit poet who was the author of Kiratarjuniya (“Arjuna and the Mountain Man”), one of the classical Sanskrit epics classified as a mahakavya (“great poem”). His poetry, characterized by its lofty expression and intricate style, may have influenced the 8th-century poet Magha.
Bharavi probably hailed from southern India and flourished during the reigns of King Durvinita of the Western Ganga dynasty and King Simhavishnu of the Pallava dynasty. His Kiratarjuniya was based on an episode from the third parvan, or section, of the long Sanskrit poem Mahabharata (“Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty”). In 18 cantos, Bharavi described the Pandava prince Arjuna’s encounter and ensuing combat with a kirata, or wild mountaineer, who in the end proves to be the god Shiva. For his valour and penance, Shiva awards the ascetic hero with a coveted weapon of the Pashupata Hindu sect. The 15th chitrakavya, or canto, is known for its verbal complexity; the 14th stanza contains elaborate rhythmic consonance and the 25th features anagrammatic internal rhyme.