Sunday, September 9, 2018
Ramanuja is a history – 5 (Persecution of Ramanuja and others)
Two issues in the life of Ramanujacharya were highlighted in Part 1 of this series. The first one on the issues around his visit to Delhi to retrieve the utsava murthy (Ramapriyan) was analysed in the previous sections of this series by bringing out the factual information on those issues. The second one pertains to the issue of persecution of Ramanuja by the Chola king. This issue is being taken up here along with the allied issues.
It is no exaggeration to say that the history of Ramanuja has been receiving an unfair treatment in the hands of the so-called modern historians. One of the earliest mentions of the rejection of Ramanuja’s history can be found in the Mysore Gazetteer published in 1936. It raised “three insuperable objections to the acceptance” of the story of Ramanuja’s life events particularly those pertaining to the circumstances leading him to leave Srirangam. They are[i]
1. “There is nothing on record in any inscription of the whole period ranging from Kulottunga-Chola I to Kulottunga Chola II, a period of seventy five years to substantiate this story”.
2. “There is no hint in any of the thousands of inscriptions known of the Imperial Chola kings that they were intolerant of religious faith.”
3. “.. apart from the inherent improbability of the story, there is nothing to show that persecution was called for at the time to which it has been assigned.”
These three have been accepted as somewhat settled-conclusions by later day historians without even attempting to analyse Ramanuja’s life-events from corroboratory evidences. Conversely Ramanuja’s life events have been cited by the same historians where they could not find a convincing explanation.
For example no one knows the identity of the Chola king who persecuted Ramanuja. The Vaishnavite texts preferred not even to mention his name and just called him as “avyapadesyan” –‘one who can’t be defined’ or ‘whose name is not fit to be uttered’. He was also recognised as Krimikanṭha Chola due to an affliction that caused his death, - an affliction of worms to his throat or neck which could refer to throat cancer. This affliction is a long standing one and doesn’t kill one in a day or two.
No inscription refers to the death of a Chola king by this affliction. But a reference to the death of a Chola king in a riot found in another literary text (Vikramanka Deva Charita) was co-read along with the literary evidence on Ramanuja’s life and a deduction was made that this king was killed in a religious riot linked with the persecution of Ramanuja. This king was Adhirajendra, son of Virarajendra who died in 1070. Not many inscriptions are found on Adhirajendra, but the base year for Kulottunga I as deduced from his inscriptions happen to be 1070. Therefore the death of Adhirajendra was fixed at 1070 to fit in Kulottunga I’s base year!
This just blows out whatever rationale preached for history-research. When none of the texts on Ramanuja’s life talk about a retaliatory action in the country after his departure leading to the death of a king – that too, a crown king, why this speculated- justification for the death of the king was made out from literary sources has no answers. Writing on this Nilakanta Sastri says, [ii]
The input was taken from Vaishnavite texts but without even a preliminary investigation in totality. Sastri does concur with the notion of the Vaishnavite texts that the Cholan lineage got ended with Krimikanṭha chola (or Virarajendra according to him) because Kulottuga I was not of pure Cholan race, but came from the lineage of Eastern Chalukyas. He didn’t even think it necessary to check the inscriptions on Ramanuja to deduce the period of his sojourn in Karnataka regions.
From one of the inscriptions found at Pandava Kallu in Nagamangala in Mysore region[iii] we proved that Ramanuja was in Mysore region in the year 1078. The panchanga features mentioned in that inscription matched with 19th July, 1078, in the year Kalayukti [iv] - the year that Ramanuja left Srirangam according to Vaishnavite texts. If we accept the contention of Sastri and others, it means that Ramanuja was persecuted in the year 1078, seven years after his persecutor was supposed to have died!!
Selective use of literary sources.
Two crucial pieces of information have been projected all these years -for nearly a century – without any inscriptional back-up and mainly on the basis of unchecked literary sources. One is the identity of the king who died just before (or around) the time of Kulottunga I’s accession and another is Gangaikonda Cholapuram as the capital city of Kulottunga I. There is inscriptional evidence that it was Virarajendra’s capital[v] but no evidence that Kulottunga I occupied it right from the beginning of his tenure.
The two historians, Nilakanta sastri and Nagaswamy had never quoted a single inscription to show that Kulottunga I had ruled from Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Sastri quoted an inscription that Kulottunga I issued many grants from the Abhisheka Mandapa at Kanchi but none to claim that he issued from Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the capital city of the Cholas.
But Sastri had recorded that “Kulottunga’s capital was Gangapuri or Gangaikonda- Cholapuram”. [vi] The evidence for this quoted by him are not any inscriptions but the literary works, namely “Vikramanka Deva Charita” and “Kalingathu Bharani” (Bharani is the correct pronunciation as it refers to the star Bharani in the text. But almost all historians write it as Parani – as Kalingathu parani!)
Nagaswamy repeats the same in his book ‘Gangaikonda Cholapuram’ that “The Kalingathuparani the contemporary poem on Kulottunga refers to Gangaikonda Cholapuram as Gangapuri. Gangaikonda Cholapuram continued to be the capital of the successors of Kulottunga”.[vii] He avoided saying that Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital of Kulottunga I, but implied by the above statement that Kalingathu Bharani referred to Gangaikonda Chola puram as Kulottunga I’s capital. The fact is NO such information is found in Kalingathu Bharani!
Kanchi as capital of Cholas.
Kalingathu Bharani does not say that Gangapuri was the capital of Kulothunga I. Even Vikramanka Deva Charita does not say so. Infact the Charita talks about a ‘Dravida’ country and a ‘chola’ country in different contexts but historians and the translator of the text tend to treat the two as synonyms.[viii]
The name ‘chola’ appears in the context of the war with Vīrarajendra. Finally truce was signed by Vīrarajendra with Vikramaditya VI leading to the marriage of the daughter of Vīrarajendra with Vikramaditya VI. So Gangaikonda Cholapuram was Vikramaditya’s wife’s native place. It is improper to assume that Vikramaditya VI launched a war on his wife’s country.
But the word “Dravida” appears in the context of “Kanchi” in a scuffle with an unnamed Cholan king that points out to Kulottunga I . The Charita says that Vikramaditya VI personally vanquished the king of Dravida ‘who had run to encounter him’ and stormed Kanchi, the capital of Cholas driving its ruler into the jungles. [ix] There is a contradiction here to the popular notion of Gangaikonda Cholapuram as the capital of the Cholas.
It must be mentioned here that Kanchi was regarded as the capital of the Dravida country until the 19th century. In the record of different countries of India as they existed at the time of the colonial period of the British, Sir Alexander Cunningham has mentioned Dravida as a country with its capital at Kanchi (Kanchipuram) in his book “Ancient Geography of India” published in 1871. Adding strength to the supposition that Dravida was different from Chola country, there is reference to Dravida and Chola separately and not as one unit in the copper plate engravings found with the Kudli Sringeri Matt dated at 1154.[x]
We will be re-visiting this topic – of Dravida and Kanchi – in the subsequent part.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram appears late in Kulottunga’s inscriptions.
Coming back to Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the earliest inscription of Kulottunga I at Gangaikonda Cholapuram appears in his 41st regnal year but the grant was issued to a temple at some other place.[xi] The next time his name appears was in his 49th regnal year at Gangaikonda Chola Maligai raising a doubt whether this was part of the palace at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Nagaswamy supposes that there could have been many royal buildings in his times.[xii]
Writing on this inscription, the Mysore Gazetteer says that this inscription of 49th regnal year of Kulottunga I was issued from the palace at Vikrama cholapuram, wherein Vikrama refers to his son!![xiii]
· Does this convey that Gangaikonda Cholapuram was different from Vikrama Cholapuram?
· Or was it renamed as Vikrama Cholapuram –which could have happened only after Vikrama chola had taken charge?
· Does this mean that Vikrama chola was in throne when Kulottunga I issued this grant?
· Most importantly why there were no grants issued by Kulottunga I from the royal court of Gangaikonda Cholapuram until his 41st regnal year?
In stark contrast many of his grants were issued from Kanchi. Even the war on Kalinga was launched from Kanchi as per Kalingatthu Bharani.
These questions cannot be answered from the available inscriptions. It must be accepted that many inscriptions might have been lost or just waiting to be discovered. And there may even be the case of wanton destruction of inscriptions if they contain something uncomfortable to be passed on to posterity or deliberate omission of such facts in the inscriptions. The last one is highly probable in the case of those kings who persecuted Ramanuja and threw out the murthy of Govindaraja from Chidambaram.
Sometimes absence of inscriptions in the presence of literary evidence could help us dig out hidden parts of history providing answers to these questions. The biographical nature of Yatiraja Vaibhavam written by a contemporary of Ramanuja provides a background for interpreting epigraphic messages or absence of them.
Keeping this in mind let us begin our research on the identity of these kings by first highlighting the excerpts of the events given in Yatiraja Vaibhavam relevant to the current research.
List of events from Yatiraja Vaibhavam
1. Ramanuja returned to Srirangam after establishing the deity of Tirumala hills as Vishnu. He became a leading exponent of Vedanta and the followers of other systems (Saivite etc) became jealous of him. (YV: 92, 93)
2. Then wrongly advised (durbodhana) the Chola king compelled all ‘sadhu’s to write on a leaf that nothing is greater than Siva. The king summoned Ramanuja. (YV: 94)
3. Kurattazhwar adorned the saffron robes of Ramanuja and went to the royal court of the King along with Periya Nambhi. Ramanuja went towards the west in white robes (of the householder) (YV: 95)
4. Somewhere there (tatra) Ramanuja took back his ascetic robes and started his regular worship. (YV: 96)
5. A certain king and eminent Brahmins became his disciples. Jains were defeated by Ramanuja and his fame started spreading. (YV: 97)
6. Ramanuja discovered the Murthy of Narayana at Melkote and installed Him (YV: 98, 99)
7. Ramanuja went to Dilli and got back the murthy of Ramapriyan. (YV:100)
8. The daughter of Dilleeshwara followed Him and departed from the world. (YV:101)
9. Death of the Chola king conveyed to Ramanuja along with the news of the loss of vision to Kurattazhwar and Periya Nambhi. (YV:102)
10. Ramanuja prepared to leave Melkote. He gave his image to his disciples for worship. Yadavagiri came to be called as Yatigiri (YV:103)
11. He left for Srirangam with a few disciples. (YV:104)
12. He went around many places and established temple rules. This includes his trip to Azhagar Koyil. (YV: 105, 106)
13. Ramanuja went to Tirupati. He installed on the slopes of Venkatadri (Tirupati) the idol of Govindaraja which was taken there secretly form its place (in Chitrakutam /Chidambaram). Then he went back to Srirangam and accepted many from other creeds as his disciples. (YV:107)
14. Ramanuja established 74 chief persons to carry forward Vaishnavism. With this his life in earth came to an end.
The sequence of events gives information on two kings that are until now mis-interpreted.
The king who became Ramanuja’s disciple.
Yatiraja Vaibhavam notes that a “certain king” became his disciple early in his stay in the western (Karnataka) regions. This king was Vishnuvardhana, also known as Bitti Deva of Hoysala dynasty. Most historians are of the opinion that he was “converted” into Vaishnavism by Ramanuja. ‘Conversion’ is a misnomer as Hoysalas were Vaishnavites tracing their roots to Yadavas of Dwaravati and of Krishna, one of whom was ‘Sala’ who came to be known as Poysala. In course of time the “Yadava vamsa was caused to be forgotten and was known as the Poysala Vamsa” [xiv] Poysala corrupted into Posala and Hoysala. They patronised all creeds. Though Jainsim was at its peak in Karnataka in their times, there is no evidence to say that they gave up their native creed (Vaishnavism).
The Sthala Purana at Sravana Belagola gives an account of Vishnuvardhana as being converted by Ramanuja into Vaishnavism under the influence of his concubine, but the year name it has given raises doubts on its authenticity. It says Ramanuja converted him in Durmukhi year which coincides with the year 1116- 1117. That comes to nearly 38 years for Ramanuja’s stay in Karnataka when he was at his 100th year! From the forth coming analysis we will know about the dependability of this claim.
The other king in the narration of Yatiraja Vaibhavam pertains to the Chola king who persecuted Ramanuja and others. The clear message from this text is that Ramanuja returned to Srirangam after the death of this king. And this king had died some time after Ramanuja had installed the deities at Melkote and not in 1070 as presumed by the historians. Let us trace the events and establish the identity of this Chola king.
The sequence of events show that Ramanuja’s growing popularity after establishing Tirumala as a Vishnu shrine seemed to have unsettled the Saivites. Instigated by some people, the Chola king had summoned the ‘Sadhu-s’ (good people / sages / saintly people) to give an undertaking that there is nothing greater than Siva.
The text 6000 padi Guruparampa prabhavam written within 100 years of Ramanuja’s exit gives the name of a specific person as Naaluran as one who instigated the king to get this undertaking signed by Ramanujacharya. Looking at the primary sources without any bias we could say that the signature campaign could have been aimed at something like a subscription drive to get many followers for Saivism. For, we continue to see the evidence for the normal functioning of Vishnu temples like Ranganatha temple at Srirangam throughout Ramanuja’s absence in the Chola country. Inscriptional evidences of donations to Srirangam temple give an image that all was well with the temple and the people, particularly the Vaishnavites. But literary records indicate a different picture.
The specific reference to Ramanuja by Naaluran makes it appear that the whole drive was aimed at targeting Ramanuja as he was attracting followers of other creeds too to his fold – something mentioned in verse 93 of Yatiraja Vaibhavam. But once Ramanuja had left the country, this drive seemed to have slowed down as the flight of followers to Vaishnavism could have stopped in his absence. And that explains why no specific sign of persecution of Vaishnavites in general was noticed in the period following this incident. But this feature cannot be taken as an evidence of no persecution of Ramanuja.
This can be proved by the record of Koyil Ozhughu that says that Kurattazhwar was prohibited from entering Srirangam temple. From Koyil Ozhughu it is known that one could enter the temple after giving an undertaking that one had severed any allegiance to Ramanuja. Ordinary people including the temple priests could have had no other way than falling in line mainly in order to continue the temple chores. So only an outward appearance of peace is detected from the inscriptions.
What happened to Kurattazhwar and Periya Nambhi?
The invite from the king was for Ramanuja. The commentary of Tiruvaimozhi 7.10.5 reveals that Ramanuja and his disciples had expected this call based on the behaviour of the king of the East.[xv] (Gangaikonda Cholapuram is to the east of Srirangam). Ramanuja was taking bath when the emissary of the king reached the matt. Kurattazhwar disguised himself as Ramanuja by donning his robes and went after the emissaries accompanied by Periya Nambhi. From 6000 padi text we come to know that the king was at a military camp (padai veedu /படை வீடு) at Gangaikonda Cholapuram when Kurattazhwar and Periya Nambhi went to meet him. Agitated by the retort given by Kurattazhwar and the non-compliance of the two to sign the undertaking, the king ordered his men to pluck their eyes. Kurattazhwar did it himself while it was forced on Periya Nambhi by a royal servant. Undergoing this ordeal at a ripe age of 105, Periya Nambhi left his mortal coils.
A discrepant feature here is that Periya Nambhi’s Tiruvarasu (death place) is at Kallar pasupathi Koil near Pazhaiyarai, an olden capital of the Cholas. In the absence of accounts in olden texts on their movement to Pazhaiyarai, it is being held that they met the king at Pazhaiyarai and not at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.[xvi]
This discrepancy is explainable if we look at the route between Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Srirangam. Pazhayarai is midway between the two places.
The two had apparently moved along the banks of the Cauvery on both the to and fro trips. . The two along with Periya Nambhi’s daughter had quickly moved out from Gangaikonda Cholapuram. On the return journey Periya Nambhi had completely collapsed near Pazhayarai. It is also possible to assume that they could have sought medical help at Pazhayarai as that was a well established town at that time. But Periya nimbi lost his vigour completely after the incident. He could not pull on and met his end at Pazhayarai on the way. This explains the presence of his Tiruvarasu at Pazhayarai.
Plucking the eyes – a punishment to enemies in Cholan history.
The king’s decree to pluck the eyes of the two saintly persons perhaps has no parallel in the history of any Tamil king. The only time such a horrible punishment was meted was to the enemies of the Kings. Such an incident is quoted in Kalingathu Bharani in praise of the Chola king Karikala for having plucked the eyes of his enemy Prataparudra![xvii] So what was done on the enemies or opponents in the war front was done on his very own subjects by the Chola king! One can imagine the shock waves this incident could have sent across the Chola country.
What was hailed as victory for the king when done to an outsider and an enemy could not have been accepted in the same way when done on harmless and pious persons who happened to be the subjects of the country. A deadly silence would have descended on the country and no one would have dared to raise a revolt or riot against the king. The affected persons and the likely to be affected persons were all non-violent religious people. Therefore to say that riots erupted in the wake of this incident that simultaneously saw the exit of Ramanuja from the country is a bad judgement on the part of the seasoned historians.
That people had been terrified could be known from further accounts in 6000 padi and Koyil Ozhughu. These texts say that Kurattazhwar was stopped from entering the temple at Srirangam. The royal decree was that anyone having allegiance to Ramanuja should not be allowed inside the temple. Many of the disciples of Ramanuja could have stayed back in Srirangam to take care of the temple by giving the oath on non-allegiance to Ramanuja much against their wishes.
Kurattazhwar who was the direct recipient of the wrath of the king did not want to do that and he was said to have left the country for Tirumaliruncholai (Azhagar Koil) in Pandyan lands.[xviii] The inscriptions at Azhagar koil show that Cholas didn’t have control over this region for most part. Only 2 out of 84 deciphered inscriptions at Azhagar Koil belonged to the Cholas. One of them mentions the name Chola Pandya Deva, a title purported to be of Vīrarajendra Chola, father of Adhirajendra.[xix] At the time Kurattazhwar went over there, the temple- region must have been out of control of the Cholas.
This persecution had happened in the year Kalayukti , the year that Ramanuja had left Srirangam.
We derived the date of Ramanuja’s meditation at Pandava Kallu in Nagamangala at 19th July 1078!
In the year 1078, the Chola king who persecuted Ramanuja, Kurattazhwar and Periya Nambhi was very much around and not dead as presumed by almost all the historians till date.
In an amazing connection, another date that we derived earlier in Ramanuja’s life finds mention in Srirangam!! This year is 1099, the year Ramanuja discovered the Moolavar Murthy at Melkote.
The year 1099 resonating at Melkote and Srirangam.
Ramanuja had immediately installed the deity at the very place where it was discovered though the temple-construction activities must have taken some time. The absence of any foundation inscription at Melkote suggests that the murthy was installed without any elaborate or planned arrangements. Apparently Ramanuja didn’t want to delay the installation for any reason. But he didn’t do the daily worship by himself. He summoned a priest from Srirangam for that purpose.
The text called Yadavagiri Māhātmiyam says that a priest by name Rangaraja Bhattar was brought from Srirangam to conduct the daily puja.[xx] The earliest reference to this person comes in 6000 Padi wherein it is simply stated that Rangaraja Bhattar started doing the daily puja.
This raises questions like how Ramanuja managed to send word to Srirangam and get him from there. As per Yatiraja Vaibhavam, he did not even know what happened to Kurattazhwar and Periya Nambhi until an emissary from Srirangam came to convey the news of the death of the Cholan king. There was absolutely no exchange of information between Ramanuja and those in Srirangam. So by what means he conveyed to Rangaraja Bhattar to come over to Melkote?
It is here an amazing correlation can be noticed in the year and the text of an inscription found in Srirangam which has not been explained by anyone until now.
This inscription is in Kannada starting with the prasati of none other than Vikramaditya VI, the arch rival of Kulottunga I. A “Sandhivigrahi” who also happened to be the Dandanāyaka of the king Tribhuvanamalladeva (titular name of Vikramaditya VI) whose name is unfortunately damaged in the inscription had visited the temple and made provision for burning two lamps. The record also seems to convey that plastering by lime mortar was arranged for the shrine of Senāpati (Vishvaksena) by the same person.[xxi]
The important part of the inscription is that it was made in the 29th regnal year of Kulottuga I which corresponds to the year 1099 when Ramanuja discovered the Moolavar Murthy at Melkote!!
Vikramaditya VI was supposed to be not in good terms with Kulottunga I. But he had sent his “Sandhivigrahi” to Srirangam, in the core region of the Chola country and had the audacity to get engraved his greatness. But he had acknowledged Kulottunga I by mentioning his regnal year.
To know what the historians think about this, the introduction by the editor Mr P.R. Srinivasan to the book of South Indian Inscriptions, XXIV is given below: [xxii]
Many historians are perplexed at this inscription and attribute an unexplained sudden friendship between Kulottunga I and Vikramaditya VI.
Probing the background of this sudden conciliation, we first probe what a Sandhivigrahi stands for. He is a foreign affairs minister who presides over peace and war. The inscription conveys that he was also the Dandanayaka of the Chalukyan king. He had been sent to Srirangam in the year Ramanuja had installed Moolavar Murthy following a divine and miraculous discovery.
Suppose Ramanuja had requested for help from the king of the land, what could have been the developments thereafter?
Vishnuvardhana was in charge of Yadavapuri (Thondanur ) as is known from many inscriptions. He had become the disciple of Ramanuja soon after his entry into Karnataka. But at the time of 1099, his father Ereynga must have been the ruling monarch of Gangavadi as his latest inscriptions appear till 1100. Vishnuvardhana like his other two brothers was a co-regent and he was given control of Thondanur.
His father Ereyanga was a long time associate of Vikramaditya VI. An inscription at Arsikere says that Ereyanga drove away Someswara, the brother and rival of Vikramaditya for the sake of the latter.[xxiii] He was able to score victory over the Paramaras of Malwa at the bidding of Vikramaditya VI only.[xxiv] Like this there are instances known from the inscriptions on mutual help and understanding between them. (Below) [xxv]
It is very likely that Ereyanga, prompted by his son Vishnuvardhana (Bitte Deva) to help Ramanuja to get Rangaraja Bhattar from Srirangam, had sought the help of Vikramaditya VI. His Dandanayaka had worked out the ways to reach Srirangam and that was how he played the role of a Sandhivigrahi and liaised with Kulottunga I. Kulottunga’s respect for Vaishnavism is well known from epigraphy.
Kalingathu Bharani goes a step further and declares that Kulottunga was an incarnation of Vishnu Himself – ‘amalanē abhayanāga aṛiga’ (அமலனே அபயனாக அறிக).[xxvi] This expression finding place in the literary text composed in his times in praise of him could not have been wrong.
On coming to know of Ramanuja’s discovery of the murthy at Melkote, Kulottunga I must have been very much ready to help in whatever way possible. He must have arranged for the trip to Srirangam and for taking back Rangaraja Bhattar to Melkote hassle-free.
This possibility highlights an important feature namely, that Adhirajendra (Krimikanṭha chola) was ruling from Gangaikonda Cholapuram – in his capacity as the king of Chola country, and continued to be intolerant of anything to do with Ramanuja!
Only under such circumstances, a sandhivigrahi was pressed into service and got his way through the good offices of Kulottunga I.
If, on the contrary, as told by all the historians, Kulottunga I was the supreme king of the Chola country at the time of 1099, the justification still holds good for a sandhivigrahi to visit Srirangam on behalf of Vikramaditya VI to make a grant, owing to the enmity between the two kings. But what prevented Ramanuja to come back soon after Kulottunga I had taken reigns? There lies the biggest issue as Ramanuja left in the year 1078 and Kulottunga I ascended the throne in 1070!!
But persecution had happened as Ramanuja was not able to come back to Srirangam. Otherwise there is no justification for his long stay in Thondanur between 1078 and 1099. The primary reason for his movement to Melkote (Yadavagiri) was in search of sacred mud (Thiruman). Would he have ever liked to be wandering outside Srirangam or Kanchipuram where he could not even get the sacred mud?
Assuming that he went to Thondanur for some other reason and then moved to Melkote, what prevented him from getting a big group of priests and disciples from Srirangam to take care of Melkote temple? Names of Srirangam based disciples appear in Melkote very late that is, well after the beginning of the 12th century.
Looking at another angle, assuming that Adhirajendra was very much alive and was ruling from Gangaikonda Cholapuram, it would not have been difficult for Vikramaditya VI to make a visit to Srirangam by himself but not without upsetting Adhirajendra. The same applies to his wife, the sister of Adhirajendra.
Thus there seems to run a common thread between the time (year 1099) of the inscription by the sandhigrahi of Vikramaditya I and the migration of just only one person from Srirangam to Melkote. Even this person didn’t seem to be in the know of what happened to Kurattazhwar and Periya Nambhi. The atmosphere of fear and lack of communication channels could have caused this. As a result Ramanuja was also not aware of the sufferings undergone by Kurattazhwar when he was in Melkote.
As we keep analysing the background of this inscription, another feature of the inscription unfolds a new chapter in the history of that period of the Cholas. This inscription by the Sandhivigrahi of the Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI is found in the right side of the entrance into the Nāɻiketan vāsal. This entrance leads to the 2nd Prākāra where the street is known as “Rajamahendran Thiruveedhi” (Rajamahendran street) – named after a Cholan king whose time, the historians are struggling to fix but who is identified as the predecessor of Kulottunga I in Kalingathu Bharani!
Rajamahendran Thiruveedhi (inner)
Contrary to what historians think, Kulottunga I did not identify himself as the successor of Vīrarajendra or even Adhirajendra. He identified himself as successor of Rajamahendra Chola, which has been completely ignored by the historians mainly because this information comes from a literary work done at the king’s behest. History is written by victors – is the popular retort of the historians. It is true that Kalingathu Bharani was a composed to eulogise Kulottunga I. But that is no justification to reject the genealogy, particularly of his immediate predecessor.
The inscription appearing at the entrance of the Rajamahendran Street is yet another striking similarity with the other features such as the year (1099) we indicated above. Did Kulottunga I enjoy any special privilege at that street in his capacity as the successor of Rajamahendra that Adhirajendra could have no control on his activities in that Prākāra?
An inscription of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I indicates that Rajamehendran Street was where people used to congregate and make important decisions.[xxvii] Did the Sandhivigrahi meet the temple priests there to convey the message of Ramanuja? Was Kulottunga I deliberately brought into the loop by the clever sandhigrahi to fulfil the task given by his master in favour of Ramanuja?
These are minor details but what is more important is Kulottunga I was not what he is made out to be. And Adhirajendra was not a weakling as made out by the historians but was one who lived long and powerful. We will discuss that in the next part.
[i] Mysore Gazetteer,vol.2,pt.2, page 1142
[ii] KA Nilakanta Sastri, 1955, “The Colas”, University of Madras, 2nd edition, page 295.
[iii] Narayanacharya K.S, “Ramanuja Melkote & Srivaishnavism” Page 74
[iv] Part 2 of the current series, http://jayasreesaranathan.blogspot.com/2018/07/ramanuja-is-history-2-establishing.html
[v] Dr R.Nagasamy, (1970), “Gangaikonda Cholapuram”, page 9.
[vi] KA Nilakanta Sastri, 1955, “The Colas”, University of Madras, 2nd edition, page 332.
[vii] Dr R.Nagasamy, (1970), “Gangaikonda Cholapuram”, page 10.
[viii] “Vikramankadeva Charita”, translated by Georg Buhler, 1875, Bombay, Page 27
[ix] Vikramankadeva Charita, Verses I.114-117
[x] Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 7, No 80.
[xi] Dr R.Nagasamy, (1970), “Gangaikonda Cholapuram”, page 9.
[xii] Dr R.Nagasamy, (1970), “Gangaikonda Cholapuram”, page 14
[xiii] Mysore Gazetteer,vol.2,pt.2, page 1113.
[xiv] Coelho, William (1949) “Hoysala Vamsa”, page 9.
[xv] Garudaswamy aka A.Krishnamachari (2009) “Ramanuja A Reality Not a Myth”, Sri Vaishnava Sri Publications, Chennai, page 95.
[xvi] Garudaswamy aka A.Krishnamachari (2009) “Ramanuja A Reality Not a Myth”, Sri Vaishnava Sri Publications, Chennai, page 111.
[xvii] Kalingathu Bharani, verse 197.
[xviii] Koyil Ozhughu, (1909) Anantha Muthrakshara Salai Publication, page 104.
[xix] Muthu Pichai, (2005), “Azhagar Koyil”, ASI publication, pages 128 – 131.
[xx] ‘Yadavagiri Māhātmiyam’ by Sri Ilayavalli Jaggu Venkatacharya Swami, Page 14.
[xxi] SII Volume XXIV, (1982) No 75
[xxii] SII Volume XXIV, (1982) page ix
[xxiii] Coelho, William (1949) “Hoysala Vamsa”. page 50
[xxiv] Ibid., page 52
[xxv] Coelho, William (1949) “Hoysala Vamsa”. page 50
[xxvi] Kalingathu Bharani, verse 184.
[xxvii] P.V. Jagadisa Ayyar (1982), “South Indian shrines”, Asian Educational services. Page 468.