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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. They fell upon the earth wondered and incarnated as human beings, their spirit seduces and inspires the lovers' hearts.[1]


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[edit]

The story begin when the goddess Parvati was feeling lonely. She is missing and longing for her husband Lord Shiva, which at that time was meditating somewhere on a sacred mountain top. Then she send Kamadeva, a lesser love god known in ancient Java as Kamajaya to search for Shiva. His task is to inspired love in Shiva's heart, to make him yearning for his wife. Using the bow and arrow of love tipped with flower, Kamajaya shot the meditating Shiva. Suddenly Shiva felt the desire to see his wife. His heart is felt with memory of the past love-making with Parvati, so he promptly stop his meditation. However when Shiva opened his eyes, he catch the glances of Kamajaya hiding behind the 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 down to ashes. Kamajaya's wife, goddess Rati or known in ancient Java as Kamaratih, out of her love, devotion and loyalty, jumped into the Shiva's fire to follow her husband. They both burn out and disappeared from svargaloka, vanished from the realm of gods.

The spirits of the couple, the divine lovers Kamajaya and Kamaratih, fell upon the earth in 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 inspired, seduced and 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. ^ Soekmono, Dr R. (1973). Pengantar Sejarah Kebudayaan Indonesia 2. Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Penerbit Kanisius. p. 117. ISBN 979-413-290-X. 

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