KARTAVIRYA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] Son of Kritavirya, king of the Haihayas. This is his patronymic, by which he is best know; his real name was Arjuna.
"Having worshipped a portion of the divine being called Dattatreya, sprung from the race of Atri, he sought and obtained these boons, viz., a thousand arms and a golden chariot that went wheresoever he willed it to go; the power of restraining wrong by justice; the conquest of the earth and the disposition to rule it righteously; invincibility by enemies, and death at the hands of a man renowned over the whole world. By him this earth was perfectly governed," and of him it is said:-"No other king shall ever equal Kartavirya in regard to sacrifices, liberality, austerities, courtesy, and self-restraint." "Thus he ruled for 85,000 years with unbroken health, prosperity, strength, and valour."-V.P.
He visited the hermitage of Jamadagni, and was received by that sage's wife with all respect; but he made an ill return for her hospitality, and carried off by violence "the calf of the milch-cow of the sacred oblation." For this outrage Parasurama cut off his thousand arms and killed him.
In another place a different character is given to him, and more in accordance with his behavior at Jamadagni's hut. "He oppressed both men and gods," so that the latter appealed to Vishnu for succor. That god then came down to the earth as Parasurama for the especial purpose of killing him.
Kartavirya was the contemporary of Ravana, and when that demon monarch came "in the course of his campaign of conquest to Mahishmati (the capital of Kartavirya), he was captured without difficulty, and was confined like a wild beast in a corner of his city."
The statement of the Vayu Purana is that Kartavirya invaded Lanka, and there took Ravana prisoner.
Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM