The Pallavas

THE PALLAVAS

SOME FACTS

  • Their origin is obscure
  • They were given high caste status by fabricated genelogy
  • Performed vedic sacrifices including Ashvamdha
  • This merely symbolized accepting of certain aspects of Aryan culture.
  • They issued their inscription first in Prakrit and later in Sanskrit and Tamil both.
  • Capital was Kanchipuram
  • Early Pallava rulers encouraged dearing of jungle lands and redamation of wasteland for agricultural purposes.
  • Dynasty founded by Vishnugopa who was captured and then liberated by

Samudragupta

    However, definite history of the dynasty begins with the accession of Simha Vishnu in second half of 6th century.

 

IMPORTANT KINGS SIMHAVISHNU

  • Was a Vaishnavite
  • Built magnificent reliefs representing kings and his two consorts in Varha cave at Mamallapuram.
  • Title - Avani Simha.

 

MAHENDRAVARMAN 

  • Contemporary of Harsha of Thaneswar
  • Himself a dramatist and poet, wrote a play Mattavilasa Prahasan (the Delight of the drunkard). 
  • Adopted title Vichitrachitta (Curious Minded)
  • Finest rock cut temples were built during his reign (e.g temples at Mahablipuram).
  • In the beginning he was a Jaina but was converted to ‘Shaivism’ by a nayanar saint Appar.
  • Defeated by Pulkeshin II (Chalukya of Vatapi) who occupied some of the northern Pallava provinces.
  • Also known as Mahendravikram.
  • During his reign, a long drawn out conflict for mastery over South India began between the Pallavas and the Chalukays of Badami.
  • Began construction of monolithic temples.
  • Known as Cailty-Kari (Builder of Caltyas & temples).
  • Cubical Pillars were special feature of his temples.
  • Associated with the musical inscription of Kuddumiamalal.
  • Adopted the title Mattaullas.
  • Wrote Bhagvatijulkiyam.

 

NARSIMHAVERMAN

  • In 642 AD defeated Pulkeshin II with the help of the king of Ceylon and sacked

Vatapi, took back the territories which were under Mahendraverman

  • Adopted the little ‘Vatapikonda
  • Fought the Battle of Manimangalam with Pulkaesin II in which the latter was killed Known as Mahamalla
  • Founded the city of Mamallapuram/Mahabalipuram
  • Constructed seven rathas at Mahabalipuram 
  • Hieun Tsang visited Kanchipuram. 
  • In order to support Manavabam the claimant of the throne of Srilanka sent to never expedition

 

NANDIVARMAN

  • He was defeated by the Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga.
  • Adopted the title Pallavamalla
  • Elected king (Reference from Kalhan’s Rajtarangini)
  • Recovered the necklace studded with the precious stone ugrodaya from the Ganga ruler
  • Built Mukteshwar Temple and Vaikunthaperumal Temple at Kanchi.

 

NARSIMHAVARMAN II

  • Had peaceful reign of about 40 years compared to his predecessors.
  • Adopted title Rajasimha.
  • Built Kailashnath temple at Kanchi, Shore Temple at Mahabalipurm, and Airavaneshwar Temple at Kanchi.
  • Famous scholar Danhin was in his court.
  • Sent delegation to China.

 

AFTER NARSHIMAVARMAN II

  • The power of the Pallavas was seriously weakened
  • Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya II invaded the Pallava territory during Pallava king Nandivarman Pallavamalla and took possession of Kanchi.
  • Pandayas put up a challenge from the south.
  • Aditya Chola who defeated its last ruler Aparajit Pallava and annexed the territories in later 9th century gave final blow to the Pallava.

 

IMPORTANT FEATURES

  • Built first big empire south of Pennar and Tungabhadra River.
  • Kanchi emerged as centre of Brahmanical and Buddhist learning  
  • Cave style architecture was introduced during the reign of Mahendravaman.
  • Temple cut of rock were known as ‘Rathas
  • Royal symbol Linga and Vrishav
  • Kingship claimed divinity
  • Royal titles - Maharajadhiraja, Dharma-Maharajadhiraja.
  • Some ministers of court adopted semi royal titles.

 

Contribution of the Pallavas Art and Architecture

 

Temples: 

The development of temple architecture, particularly Dravida style, under the Pallavas can be seen in four stages.

  • Mahendra Group: The influence of the cave style of architecture is to be seen in this group, eg: rock-cut temples at Bhairavakonda (North Arcot) and Anantesvara temple at Undavalli (Guntur).
  • Narasimha Group: The ‘rathas’ or monolithie temples are small temples, each of which is hewn out of a single rock-boulder. These monolithic temples are found at Mamallapluram.
  • Rajasimha Group: There are six examples of this group – three at Mahabalipuram (Shore, Isvara and Mukunda temples), one at Panamalai in South Arcot, and the temple of Kailasanatha at Kanchi.
  • Nandivarman Group: This group mostly consists of small temples and in no way forms an advance on the achievements of the previous age. The best examples are the temples of Muktesvara and Matangesvara at Kanchi.

 

Sculpture:  

  • The Pallavas also contributed to the development of sculpture in south India.               The Pallava sculpture is indebted to the Buddhist tradition than to any other. 

It is more monumental and linear in form, thus avoiding the typical ornamentation of the ‘Descent of the Ganga’ or ‘Arjuna’s Penance’ at Mahabalipuram.

 

Education and Learning

  • Education in the early days was controlled by the Jainas and Buddhists. The Jaina institutions were located at Madurai and Kanchi.
  • But soon Brahmanical institutions superseded them. The ‘ghatikas’ or Brahmanical institutions were attached to the temples and mostly confined to advance study. 
  • In the 8th century AD the ‘maths’ also became popular.
  • In all these institutions, Sanskrit was the medium of instruction, because it was also the official language.

 

Literature

  • Kanchi was a great centre of Sanskrit learning.
  • Both Bharavi and Dandin the authors of Kiratarjuniya and Dasakumaracharits respectively, lived in the Pallava court.
  • Most of the kings were accomplished scholars and Mahendravarman I himself wrote the famous burlesque.

 

 

THE CHALUKYAS OF BADAMI SOME FACTS

  • Earlier feudatory of Kadambas
  • Built their kingdom on the ruins of the Vakataka.
  • Began with the base in northern Mysore at Vatapi (Badami) and the adjacent Aihole
  • Soon conquered the tottering Vakataka territories           Belonged to Manavya gotra.
  • Claimed descent from lunar race.
  • Capital at Vatapi (Modern Badami)

 

IMPORTANT KINGS PULKESHIN I

  • Founder of the dynasty
  • Consolidated his hold over the surrounding territories Performed Ashvamedha sacrifice.

 

KIRTIVARMAN

   Extended the kingdom by annexing territories of neighbouring rulers : Maurya of Konkan, Kadambas of Vaijayanti, Kalachuris of Malwa.

 

PULKESHIN II

  • Finally subjugated the Kadambas of Vaijayanti  
  • Effectively checked the Southern march of Harsh of Kannauj (Ref. from Aihole

Inscription)

  • Consolidated his authority over whole of Deccan.
  • Defeated the Pallava ruler Mahadraverman
  • Hieun Tsang, the famous Chinese traveler visited the king in 641
  • By the close of his reign, defeated by the Pallava ruler Narasimha Verman.
  • Sent an embassy to the Persian king Khusro II
  • Ravikirti, wrote Aihole Inscription in which he claims himself to be parallel to Kalidasa in literary style.

 

VIDRAMADITYA II

  • Effectively checked the invasion of Arabs to south, Sindh was occupied by them.
  • Rashtrakuta chief Dantidurga rose to prominence under him

Gave a crushing defeat to the Pallava ruler Nandivarman II and captured Kanani

 

KIRITIVERMAN II

  • Last ruler of the dynasty of Chalukya of Badami or Vatapi
  • His feudatory Dantidurga overthrew him and founded Rashtrakuta dynasty.

 

THE CHALUKYAS OF KALYANI IMPORTANT KINGS TAILAPA

  • Defeating Rashtrakutas founded the dynasty.

 

SOMESHWAR I

 Rajendra II of Cholas defeated him in the Battle of Koppam. Being ashamed of the defeat drowned himself in Tungabhadra.

 

VIKRAMADITYA VI

  • Started Vikram era.
  • Bilhana wrote his biography Vikramankdevacharita.
  • Vijnaneshwar author of Mitakshara a commentary on Yajnavalkyas sutras was in his court.
  • Established diplomatic relations with Srilanka King Vijayabahu.

 

CONTRIBUTION OF THE CHALUKYAS

1. Art and Architecture General Features

 

  • They developed the Deccan or Vasara style in the building of structural temples.
  • They perfected the art of stone building, i.e. stones finely joined without mortar.
  • The Buddhists, Jainas and Brahmins competed with each other in building cave temples.
  • Though the cave frescoes began earlier, some of the finest specimens belonged to the Chalukya era. At Ajanta, we notice a painting depicting the reception given to a Persian embassy by Pulakesin II.

 

Temples:

  • The first stage is represented by the temples at Aihole and Badami. 
  • Aihole is a town of temples and contains no. fewer than 70 structures, of which four are note worthy. 
  • They are Ladh Khan temple, Durga temple, Hucimalligudi and the Jaina temple of Meguti. 
  • Of the temples at Badami, the Melagitti Sivalaya is a small but magnificently located temple and a group of four rock-cut halls at Badami (three of them Hindu and one Jaina) are all of the same type.
  • The second stage is represented by the temples at Pattadakal. 
  • There are about ten temples here, four in the northern style and six in the southern style. 
  • There was even a tendency to combine the features of the two styles. The important ones are the Papanatha, Virupaksha and Sangamesvara temples.

 

Administration

  • The central government under the Chalukyas of Badami exercised a paternalistic control over the village administration, which is unlike the administrative practice of south India.
  • The army of the Chalukyas consisted of a small standing army, but helped by the feudal levies. The army officers seem to have been used in civil administration whenever the need arose.

 The Mahajanpadas

  • Around 6th century BC, the use of iron, implements began widely.
  • As iron implements helped, clear the dense forests of the Gangetic plains Civilization.
  • This helped in the production of surplus food grains, which could be collected by the kings to meet their military and administrative needs.
  • Establishments of an agrarian economy enabled the people to lead a settled life, to strick to their land, and to expand at the cost of the neighboring areas.
  • Around this time, sixteen Mahajanpadas or kingdoms rose to pre-imminence in India.
  • According to Anguttra Niikaya, they were-kashi, kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, Vasta, Kuru, Panchala, Mastya, Shurasena, Ashmaka, Avanit, Gandhara and kamboja.

 

S.N.

Mahajanpadas

Capitals

1

Gandhara

Taxila

2

Kamboja

Rajput

3

Ashmaka

Patan

4

Vastsa

Kaushambi

5

Avanti

Ujjain

6

Shurasena

Mathura

7

Chedi

Shkrimati

8

Malla

Kushinara

9

Kuru

Hastinapur

10

Matsya

Virat Nagri

11

Vajji

Vaishli

12

Anga

Champa

13

Kashi

Banaras

14

Kosala

Sravasti

15

Magadha

Girivraja

16

Panchala

Achichhatra (North) Kamplya (South)

 

RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS

    The period between 7th and 5th century BC was a turning point in the intellectual and spiritual development of the world, for it witnessed the emergence of Greek philosophers, the great Hebrew poets, Confucius in China and Zoroaster in Persis.

 

BUDDHISM

Siddhartha Gautama

  • Siddhartha Gautama was the historical founder of Buddhism. 
  • He was born as a Kshatriya prince in Lumbini (in what is now Nepal) in 623 BC.          His particular family of Sakya Kshatriyas were of Brahmin 'lineage'
  • In many Buddhist texts, Buddha is said to be a descendant of the Brahmin Sage Angirasa. 
  • Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. 
  • Gautama, from then on, was known as "The Perfectly Self-Awakened One," the Samyaksambuddha.
  • Buddha found patronage in the ruler of Magadha, emperor Bimbisara. 
  • The emperor accepted Buddhism as his personal faith and allowed the establishment of many Buddhist viharas. This eventually led to the renaming of the entire region as Bihār.
  • At the Deer Park near Varanasi in northern India, Buddha set in motion the Wheel of Dharma by delivering his first sermon to a group of five companions with whom he had previously sought enlightenment. 
  • Together with the Buddha, they formed the first Sangha, the company of Buddhist monks, and hence, the first formation of the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sagha) was completed.
  • For the remaining years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain of Northeastern India and other regions.
  • Buddha attained parinirvana in the abandoned jungles of Kusinara.
  • Just before Buddha died, he reportedly told his followers that thereafter the Dharma (doctrine, teaching) would be their leader. 
  • The early arhants considered Gautama's words the primary source of Dharma and Vinaya (rules of discipline and community living), and took great pains to formulate and transmit his teachings accurately. 
  • The versions of the canon (accepted scripture) preserved in Pāli, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan are sectarian variants of a corpus that grew and crystallized during three centuries of oral transmission.  
  • Gautama, the Buddha also known as Siddhartha, Sakyamuni and Tathagata.
  • Left home at the age of 29 and attained Nirvana at the age of 35 at Bodh Gaya.

 

 

BUDDHIST COUNCIL

1st Buddhist council (5th c. BC)

  • The first Buddhist council was held just after Buddha's Parinirvana, presided over by Mahakasyapa at Rajagriha (today's Rajgir) during the 5th century under the noble support of king Ajathasatru. 
  • The objective was to record all of Buddha's teachings into the doctrinal teachings (sutra) and Abhidhamma and to codify the monastic rules (vinaya). 
  • Ananda, one of the Buddha's main disciples and his cousin, was called upon to recite the discourses and Abhidhamma of the Buddha and Upali, another disciple, recited the rules of the vinaya. These became the basis of the Tripitaka (Three Baskets), which is preserved only in Pali.

 

2nd Buddhist council (4th c. BC)

  • The second Buddhist council was held at Vaisali under the patronage of Kalasoka and chairmanship of Mahakasappa in 483 BC; 
  • Result- division of the Buddhist Sangha into the orthodox ‘Sthaviravadins’ or ‘Theravadins’ and the unorthodox ‘Mahasanghikas’.

 

3rd Buddhist council (c.250 BC)

  • King Asoka convened the third Buddhist council around 250 BCE at Pataliputra (today's Patna). 
  • It was held by the monk Moggaliputtatissa. 
  • The objective of the council was to purify the Sangha, particularly from non-Buddhist ascetics who had been attracted by the royal patronage. 
  • Result - Establishment of the Sthaviravadins as the true followers, final compilation of the Tripitakas (a third one Abhidhamama Pitaka, was added to the earlier two).
  • Following the council, Buddhist missionaries were dispatched throughout the known world.  

 

4th Buddhist council (1st century AD)

  • The fourth council was held during the reign of Kanishka in Kashmir under the presidentship of Vasumitra and Asvaghosha (author of Buddhacharita).  
  • Resulted in the division of Buddhists into Mahayanists and Hinayanists.
  • Deliberation of the council in Sanskrit instead of Pali.
  • Spread of Buddhism to other Asian countries – Mahayanism in Central Asia, China and Japan and Hinayanism in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and parts of South East Asia.

  

 

BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES

The vinaya Pitaka: 

  1. Mainly deals with rules and regulations which the Buddha promulgated. 
  2. It describes in detail the gradual development of the Sangha. 
  3. An account of the life and teaching of Buddha is also given.

 

The Sutta Pitaka: 

  1. Consist chiefly of discourses, delivered by Buddha himself on different occasions.  
  2. Few discourses delivered by Sariputta, Anannda, Moggalana and others are included in it. 
  3. It lays down the principal of Buddhism.

 

The Abhidamma Pitaka:  

    1. Contain the profound philosophy of the Buddha’s teachings. 
    2. It investigates mind and matter, to help the understanding of things as they truly are.

    Among the non-canonical literature Milindapanho, Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa are important. The latter two are the great chronicles of Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

 

FIVE GREAT EVENTS OF BUDDHA’S LIFE AND THEIR SYMBOLS

      • Birth : Lotus and Bull
      • Great Renunciation : Horse
      • First Sermon : Dharmachakra or wheel  
      • Parinirvana (of death) : Stupa

 

FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

      • The world is full of sorrows  
      • Desire is root cause of sorrow  
      • If desire is conquered, all sorrows can be remove
      • Desire can be removed by following the eight fold path.

 

EIGHT FOLD PATH

    • Right understanding
    • Right speech
    • Right livelihood
    • Right effort

 

Right mindfulness

  • Right thought
  • Right action
  • Right concentration

 

JAINNISM  

  • Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings.  
  • Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation.  
  • Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called Jina (Conqueror or Victor).  
  • Jainism is also referred to as Shraman (self-reliant) Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha (who does not have attachments and aversions) by ancient texts.  
  • Jainism is commonly referred to as Jain Dharma in Hindi and Samanam in Tamil.

 

LIFE OF MAHAVIRA

  • Born in 540 BC at Kundalgrama near Vaishali.
  • Siddhartha was his father, Trishala his mother, Yashoda his wife and Jameli was the daughter.
  • Attained Kaivalya at Jrimbjikagrama Village at the bank of Rizubalika River in Eastern India at the age of 42.
  • Died at the age of 72 in 468 BC at Pavapuri hear Rajagriha.
  • He was called Jina or Jitendriya, Nigrantha and Mahavira.
  • The principal of Jainnism is preached by Mahavira.
  • Rejected the authority of the vedas and the Vedic ritulas.
  • Did not belive in the existence of God.
  • Believed in Karma and the transmigration of soul             Laid great emphasis on equality.

 

Core Beliefs

  • Every living being has a soul. Every soul is potentially divine, with innate qualities of infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss (masked by its karmas).
  • Regard every living being as you do yourself, harming no one and being kind to all living beings.
  • Every soul is born as a heavenly being, human, sub-human or hellish being according to its own karma.

When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attains divine consciousness, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss. 

  • Right Faith (right vision), Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (triple gems of Jainism) provide the way to this realisation. 
  • There is no supreme divine creator, owner, preserver or destroyer. 
  • The universe is self-regulated and every soul has the potential to achieve divine consciousness (siddha) through its own efforts.
  • Navakar Mantra is the fundamental prayer in Jainism and can be recited at any time of the day. Praying by reciting this mantra, the devotee bows in respect to liberated souls still in human form (Arihantas), fully liberated souls (Siddhas), spiritual leaders (Acharyas), teachers (Upadyayas) and all the monks (sarva sadhus). The mantra also reminds followers of the ultimate goal of reaching nirvana or moksha. 
  • Non-violence (to be in soul consciousness rather than body consciousness) is the foundation of right view, the condition of right knowledge and the kernel of right conduct. 
  • Four things are difficult for a soul to attain: 
  1. Human birth, 
  2. Knowledge of the laws governing the souls, 
  3. Absolute conviction in the philosophy of non-violence and 
  4. Practicing it in everyday life activities.
  • It is therefore important not to waste human life in evil ways. Rather, strive to rise on the ladder of spiritual evolution.
  • The goal of Jainism is liberation of the soul from the negative effects of unenlightened thoughts, speech and action. This goal is achieved through clearance of karmic obstructions by following the triple gems of Jainism.
  • Jains worship the icons of Jinas, Arihants and Tirthankars, who have conquered the inner passions and attained divine consciousness, and study the scriptures of these liberated beings.
  • 'Moksha' or Nirvana is the core of the religion.

 

JAINA COUNCILS

  • By the end of 4th century BC, there was a serious famine in the Ganges valley leading to a great exodus of many Jain monks to the Deccan and South India (Sravan-belgola) along with Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta Maurya.
  • They returned to the Gangetic Valley after 12 years.
  • The leader of the group, which stayed back at Magadha, was Sthullbahu.
  • The changes that took place in the code of conduct of the followers of  Sthullbahu led to the division of the Jains into Digambaras (sky clad or naked) and Svetambaras (white clad)
  • Sthullbahu held first council at Patliputra in the beginning of the 3rd century BC and it resulted in the compilation of 12 Angas to replace the lost 14 Puras.

Second council was held at Valabhi in the 5th century AD. under the leadership of Deveradhi Kshamasramana and resulted in final compilation of 12 Angas and 12 Upangas.

 

WAY TO NIRVANA (THREE RATNAS) Right Faith (Samyak Vishwas)

  • Right knowledge (Samyak Jnan)
  • Right conduct (Samyak Karma)
  • Magadha embraced the former districts of Patna, Gaya and parts of Shahabad, and grew to be the leading state of the time.

 

Right conduct for Jains lie the five great vows:

  • Nonviolence (Ahimsa) - to cause no harm to any living being;
  • Truthfulness (Satya) - to speak the harmless truth only;
  • Non-stealing (Asteya) - to take nothing not properly given;
  • Chastity (Brahmacharya) - to indulge in no sensual pleasure;
  • Non-possession/Non-attachment (Aparigraha) - to detach completely from people, places, and material things.