(Last Updated on : 11-05-2011)
Bilhana is known for the eulogy Vikramanadevacharita. His love poem was orally transmitted throughout India. According to a legend Bilhana fell in love with the daughter of King Madanabhirama, Princess Yaminipurnatilaka and had a mysterious love affair. This was revealed and Bilhana was imprisoned. He wrote Chaura-panchasika while the judgement was pending. It is a fifty stanza poem on love. There are several versions to it but the Kashmiri version does not specify about the ultimate result.
He had served as a Vidyapati or the master of the sciences in the court of Vikramaditya VI, Chalukya king of Kalyana (1076-1127). His immediate ancestors were Muktikala‡a, Rajakala‡a and Jyesthakala‡a, his father. They were Brahmins and the students of Veda, who performed the Vedic Agnihotra sacrifice. His mother was Nagadevi; his brothers were Istarama and Ananda.
Bilhana penned a eulogy of the Western Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI
titled Vikramankadevacharita. The Vikramanadevacharita is an application of the normal method for making an epic to a historical theme. It begins with the usual application to create a hero for the world's safety. This imaginary origin for the family is followed by a long break in the tradition that is passed to Tailapa whose victory over the Rashtrakutas is recorded. The last canto is interesting as it gives an account of Bilhana's own family and his life as a nomadic Pandit.
Bilhana writes in the Vidarbha style and avoids long compounds. He uses a simple and clear language and avoids overdo alliterations or pun. The manner in which he has described the death of Ahavamalla in Canto iv shows his masterpiece. It is a fine example of simple pathos and the decorum and bravery of the dying king are effectively portrayed.
Bilhana's diction is accurate though there are occasional lapses. He is metrically simple. The six cantos are of Indra Vajra type, three of Van‡astha, two of €loka and Rathoddhata; one in Mandakranta, one in Puspitagra, and one in Svagata. The svagata is used freely by him. €ardulavikrldita and Vasantatilaka; Malini is occasional, and Aupacchandasika, Prithvi, €ikharini, Sragdhara and Harini are used, while Vaitaliya dominates the fifteenth canto.