Bhoja of Kashmira

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Bhoja of Kashmira was a King of Kashmir. He was son of Salhana. Salhana was King of Kashmir for 3 months and 27 days in 1111 AD.


Rajatarangini[1] tells.... Udaya who worked hard, until he fainted, in collecting an army, heard that in the town of Shankaravarmma, Lothana had joined Alankarachakra, and he also heard that Vigraharaja, son of king Sussala, and Bhoja, son of Salhana,had come with Lothana. Then when their insurrection had gained strength, Udaya hurriedly marched in one day over the road which is traversed in many days. The Damara (Alankarachakra), unable to take possession of Kantha with his own party, was at a loss, and on being checked in his movements by Udaya's attack, he fled and took shelter in the fort of Shirahshila, situated on the banks of the Sindhu, where the Madhumati also flowed with its pearl like beauty. (p.223)

Rajatarangini[2] tells... Since Rajavadana, who deserved punishment was soothed by gifts, he became bold and again welcomed Bhoja who had arrived there. In a place called Dinnagrama inhabited by the Khashas, Bhoja gave a large bribe to Rajavadana. He then told Rajavadana : — " If either you or your retainers do not come tomorrow, then the lord of Dvara, who is accompanied with a limited number of followers will come to me".

Rajatarangini[3]tells....At this time Alankarachakra was also struck with fear, and he cried out: — ."Where art thou O! Rajaputra," and swiftly fled from Dashagrama. At night fall, the sound of trumpet bespoke an attack, and the noise of the soldiers rose from the village. Bhoja, invisible in darkness, fled ; and Alankarachakra busied himself in making preparations for the battle on the next day. (p.269)

Rajatarangini[4]tells.... In order to assuage his fears fearless Khāsakas protected the treasury. Bhoja gave expression to his fears and placed guards all around where he stayed. The Valahara who was difficult of access came to the side of Bhoja in order to gain his confidence. (p.276)

Rajatarangini[5]tells.... In order to prevent the destruction of the Damaras, Bhoja sent letters with a small detachment of foreigners under Naga, and a body of Rajputs. Neither by his own cunning followers nor by tumults could the patient Bhoja be moved from his cool determination and fixed purpose. (p.291)

Bhoja believed that when the feudatory chiefs would arrive and distrust the Valahara, he would be enraged by such distrust and do great harm ; and if the Valahara once began , the mischief, the Damaras would rise on all sides, as Brahmanas do at the sound of Onkara, He therefore pretcnded that he intended fighting against the king, and soothed the Valahara by saying that he would do some daring deed at the wane of night. When the feudatory chiefs who had come to do the work of Bhoja were in want of food, Bhoja, who was born of noble family, also abstained from food. (p.291)

Bhoja's reception by King: 1145 AD

Rajatarangini[6] tells that ....After congratulations, Bhoja, remained true to his usual practice, and acquitted, his promise, to noble Dhanya and others. Dhanya restrained the overflowing joy of his heart and thus spoke in praise of Bhoja : —

" O ! son of a king ! Patient and of magnanimous mind ! The earth is hallowed by you as by the mountain Sumeru. Your mother has humbled the pride of all mothers by her humility. You are like cream in the sea of cream. Who else, beside yourself, has come away from the company of the low and has joined his own kindred, like the kokila ? It is not strange that the path of virtue, first trodden by you, should long afterwards be walked over by us ?"

Thus the conversation went on, and the mind of Bhoja was delighted. He rode a horse which had become ungovernable as with success, and was led by those who were praising him. The Lavanyas for many a krosha reproached Bhoja, who was being led by his kindred, as the crows reproach the kokila when it is led by its tribe, and then they went away. Thus in the year 21, on the tenth day of Jyaishtha, the king drew to his side Bhoja who was aged 33 years.

The queen welcomed Bhoja who came like a beloved son and bowed to her. His servants were weary : and the queen arranged for his meal.

[p.294]: He was possessed of qualifications not unworthy of the family of Indra, and the queen thought that the eyes which did not see him were useless. Bhoja too, on account of her unassumed virtues of honesty, compassion and mildness, thought the king to be of pure character. The color of the face is the door to the working of the mind, a bright door indicates prosperity within, and the behaviour of women is indicative of the character of the husband.

When the day declined, he felt the weariness of travelling, and he was anxious to go to the king ; but none asked him, out of kindness, to enter the room. The ministers overcame their coldness and ill feeling with difficulty and said that " the king orders the turbulent to behave well." These words spoken as a sort of a preface, entered Bhoja's ears as he was entering the presence of the king, and hurt them as with a stick. He was wounded, as it were, at a vital point, but he consoled himself, and thought with a feeling of contempt that the bravery of these low men was only lip deep. The ruffled state of the mind of Bhoja who did not care for his life was soothed by those rude speakers when they bowed their heads in humility. The conduct of the just and fluent Bhoja could not be influenced by such things, though his mind might be ruffled. Dhanya, who was ever obedient to his master, the king, thus spoke courteously to Bhoja, while the rays of his teeth issued like a fountain, " You know the rules of kingly decorum, and have always behaved in a proper manner

[p.295]: do not then get impatient if things happen in their due course. That treaty is imperfect, in which one goes away without seeing the party with whom the treaty is made. Why did you not calculate this before? The king knows you to be radiant with goodness, and attentive to the duty towards your kindred. It is not often that kings obtain such adherents as yourself, in modern times. The king will not behave towards you with vanity or pride, indifference or coldness through the advice of cunning men. The breath of men cannot soil the mirror like purity of his courtesy. The grace of his life is not equaled by the grace which appears in his kingdom.

The light which is reflected from the sun does not issue from a burning lamp. There is a holiness in pious conversation which exists only in the cottages of Rishi ; and a Similar holiness exists in this Rishi-king and draws to his side those who oppose him. What more can a wealthy king do for you whose house will soon be graced by prosperity ? The man who forsakes the water in the tank in the summer time is considered a greater fool than the serpent which coils round the cool sandal tree in summer, and in the month of Magha enters its old warm hole. The queen and the princes are a portion of the king, and even if they commit something wrong, it is right in their estimation, provided it be done for the king's good. Your work is now like water cooled after being once boiled; if you heat it again, it will be, like water, tasteless."

[p.296]: Unable to put any construction to these words and unwilling to disregard them, Bhoja behaved in a more open manner, and delayed his departure. On his way he saw on all sides, the inhabitants who had composed pieces in his praise, and this confirmed him in his determination to persevere in his good work. The dust raised by the feet of the infantry seemed like a delusion, as if the earth had established peace with the sky. The wise Bhoja meditated whether he should go to the king, or if his visit to the king would be prevented by the deceitful courtiers. Who can, thought Bhoja, by simply remaining at home and there serving his master, make his worth known to him? Deceitful men oppose him in the way. The current of water descending from the Himalaya flows to the sea with a view to cool the ocean which is heated by the submarine fire, and thus to find favour with the sea. But as soon as it falls into the sea, ft is Swallowed up by whales and is destroyed. He remained still with these and other thoughts, and consequently did not notice the noise of the city. But when the horses of the soldiers were stopped, he knew that the palace was nigh.

The king saw him at last. He was of middle stature and not very thin, his face was darkened by the rays of the sun and was fair like the pericarp of the lotus, his body was languid and relaxed with toil, his shoulders were high like the hump of an ox, his breast was expanded, and his beard which was not long disclosed his

[p.297]: high cheeks and ample neck. His nose was high and his lips were like the ripe bimba. His limbs were ample but not disproportionately so, and his head was bent. He was calm and moved slowly ; the turban on his head was made of clothes collected together, and kissed the parting of the hairs, and the lines on his forehead were fair as the moon, and seemed to extend the marks of the sandal past. The king saw him descend from the horse and approach him like the god of love, with the royal ministers around him.

The eyes of the king expanded with delight, and Bhoja at the king's request ascended the assembly. The way was obstructed by men who stretched out their necks out of curiosity. Bhoja touched the feet of the king with his hand, and sat before him, and placed before the king's seat, the dagger which he held in his hand. The king placed his hand, like the hood of a serpent, with two fingers projecting, on Bhoja's chin,' and said : — " You are not captured in battle, and will not be imprisoned now, why shall I then accept this weapon placed by you?" Bhoja replied to the king. "O king ! To take up arm for the defence of one's master is the means of securing his own salvation. You protect the seven seas by your own valour, and we rarely find on opportunity for doing you service by our weapon. The shelter of my lord's feet will be my promotion in the next world ; what is the use then of any other means of salvation in this world ?"

[p.298]: The king then spoke like a wise man. " By your good qualities my present work has been accomplished, we have now other work to do." Bhoja said: — "All that I am stating now is only feigned in order to beget my master's confidence. What is the use then in repeating such statements ? What unfriendly deeds were, not thought of or tried or what not done? Know that those which were not successful were not known to the public. We who have eyes of skin, [ not of reason, ] believed you before to be our enemy. But were you not born of the family of Malla for some great purpose ? O! king ! Whenever we wished to do some unfriendly act towards you, then always occurred great earthquakes. When, O! king ! we heard of your great prowess described by the bright genius of poets, I felt a feverish impulse, on hearing of your valour, which never forsook rue, neither in the crest of mountains nor in clefts, nor in the caverns, nor in the Snows, nor in the groves of mountains. Since that time I felt a desire O! king ! to take your shelter, and, though owing to the distance between us, the establishment of peace was not possible, yet I wished to humble myself before you. After I had wished for reconciliation, all my deeds undertaken through an impious zeal for war were insignificant and obscure. It is for our kinship with you that chiefs respect us and wait upon us. In this world, a glass vessel is respected when filled with the water of the Ganges. Even to this day, there are innumerable Kshatriyas on all sides of us;

[p.299]: connected with you by blood and called Shāheva."

With adulations like these, Bhoja called his master, the arbiter of his fate, and again touched the king's feet with his head. He then rose, and in his hurry to bow down, his turban fell down, but the king covered Bhoja's head with the cloth from his own head. The king, with unabated gravity, took the dagger which was kept by Bhoja, and which was lying untouched, soothed him and placed it on his lap ; and when Bhoja declined to take it, the king spoke thus : —

" I give you this, and you should accept it and revere it ; I desire that you should not decline to accept it."

Bhoja knew the proper time and import of every act and he understood that the order of the proud king should not be disobeyed. He obeyed, bowed and took that weapon. Then, as if he had boon an old servant of the king, he behaved freely with the king ; he was reconciled with him, and became a boon companion. This fortunate man bowed to the king, praised him highly, and said : — " O! king ! He is not fortunate who engages himself in any work other than that of listenings to the account of your virtues. Neither life nor wealth is worth reckoning to day. Know therefore O ! king ! that the homage which is paid to you is without dissimulation." He again said : — " We think we can adequately express our loyalty to the king, but when we attempt to do so in words, we fail." ,

The king then for a short time made enquiries on

[p.300]: subjects both of great and little importance, and then went to the inner apartments of queen Raḍḍā, with Bhoja. Bhoja saw her beaming with courtesy, and he bowed to her and acknowledged that the king was the Pārijāta tree attended by Kalpalatā. Then the king said to the queen : — " O ! Queen ! This courteous kinsman has come to you." The queen replied: — "He should be honoured and treated with respects among our sons." The king who was full of courtesy took Bhoja with him and went to the house of the queen who had accomplished the work of reconciliation, in order to do her honor. The clever queen smiled and spoke thus to Bhoja who had come with the king : — " Have you become a confidant of the sovereign within so short a time ? " She smiled out of bashfulness as she bowed to her husband, the king, and welcomed his kinsman Bhoja, and spoke thus to the king about Bhoja. " ! Son of Arya, he (Bhoja) neglected the council of his own men and followed honor. His endeavour to satisfy his kindred should not be forgotten. Lotuses grow in the water, but when grown, they rise above the water and are taken in company by other lotuses. Do thou also, lotus of the family ! now accept Bhoja. We were tired with our task, and could not, without his help, have accomplished the work of supporting out dignity or even returning to our capital. When the tree which protects the sea shore falls, the creeper which clings to it falls also. The life of a woman is said to follow the course of her husband's

[p.301]: life. Means should be adopted for the protection of your life, so that there may not be any mishap to it." The king said to her : — " O Queen ! You are a witness to all my deeds; do you not think that Bhoja's purpose honest? I have suppressed the wicked Sujji and Mallarjuna, but my heart which labored under sorrow has not even to this day been relieved of grief." Rajatarangini

Bhoja's residence with the king

Rajatarangini[7] tells that ....The king then asked Bhoja to stay in the most magnificent house, and Bhoja and his followers did not think it safe to stay any whero else in the capital. He thought that those who remained at a distance became helpless, and were not able to see the king frequently, and consequently, could not serve the king. The king understood his purpose and was glad, and Bhoja lived in the house given to him by the king, within the capital, and furnished with all necessary furniture. The king also was served by his kindred and others, whose pleasure was heightened through affection , and his affection was drawn towards Bhoja, as to an old dependent. At the time of enjoyment, when there wore many strange sights to see, the king used to remember him, like a beloved son, and used to call him, by messengers, to his side. As he was a kindred, the king, when at meal, used to place him on his right side and give him delicious food before he parted with him. The king bore towards him an unfeigned affection, like a father, and along with the sons of his own blood, he favored his relative. Though attended by many attendants, the king reposed his full

[p.302]: confidence on him. He too behaved befittingly. He pointed out to the king those who were intimate with him during the civil war, and thereby removed his displeasure and reduced the number of his enemies. He did not appear in the court as a meaningless show or like an impudent man or with the assumed virtue of a heron. When through carelessness, the king proceeded too far or too short in any act, he passed them unheeded, as the minor poems of a great poet are passed unnoticed. He did not narrate with pride the deeds of his valor or his gifts given in religious ceremonies ; and when questioned, he did not speak of past events with exaggeration. With a bold look the wise Bhoja silenced those who flattered him, as equal to the king, or as born of the same family, and thus compared him with the king. Even when asked about his intentions, he would so lower his ambition, that the wicked, the cunning, and those who could see through a joke, could not fathom him. At times when the lights were extinguished, and all had retired on account of the darkness, he would go to the house of the king without betraying any fear. Even when the king slackened his vigilance, owing to his confidence in Bhoja, Bhoja acted like a tame horse, and did not run away. Always forward in other places, Bhoja felt himself embarrassed in going to the inner apartments or to the council room, although not forbidden. The king sent away even the lord of Darat who had petitioned for some concessions, for the

[p.303]: king felt his expectations could not be realized by depending on any one other than Bhoja. Guards were not set on Bhoja's way even in times of distrust, and Bhoja did not fail to disclose to the king even what he saw in dreams. He gave no account to the king of the mutual censure which the ministers and the ladies of the inner appartments indulged in, but forgot them like evil dreams. In assemblies where ill-natured jokes were indulged in, the intelligent Bhoja simply echoed the words of the bad men whose lightness was apparent in their words ; but he spoke otherwise in his own mind. Thus endued with purity of intention, he became, by his deeds, the beloved of the king who understood business and who entertained a greater affection for him than for his own sons. King Simharaja attained what can with difficulty be attained by the kings of the Kali age ; he constructed a new bridge, as it were, for saving his kindred.

Character of Bhoja


  1. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii),p.223
  2. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii), p.266-267
  3. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii),p.269
  4. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii),p.276
  5. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii),p.291
  6. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii),p.292-301
  7. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (ii),p.301-303

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