The history of south India is divided into two well-marked regions – to the north of Krishna-Tungabhadra and to the south of it.
The former is traditionally known as Deccan Plateau.
In the Deccan, the Rastrakutas ruled from about the middle of the 8th century to the close of the 10th century, when they were over-thrown by the Chalukyas, who founded an independent kingdom with their capital at Kalyani.
The contemparories of the Rastrakutas were the Pallavas of Kanchi, who ruled from the middle of the 6th century to the close of the 9th century, with their palce was taken by the Cholas.
Many smaller dynasties like the Cheras of Kerela, the Pandyas of Madurai, the Chalukyas of Vengi or Eastern Chalukyas, the Kadambas of Banavasi, the Ganges of Mysore etc.
‘rastrakuta’ means designated officers incharge of territorial divison called Rastra.
They are the fudetories under the Chalukyas of Badami.
Founder: Dandtivarman or Dantidurga, who after defeating the Chalukya king Kirtivarman in the early 8th century wrested from him the greater portion of the Deccan.
Dantivarman was succeeded in AD 750 by his uncle Krishna I, who gave the final blow to the power of the Chalukyas of Badami, attacked the Gangas of Mysore and forced the Chalukyas of Vengi to acknowledge his supremacy.
Dantivarman’s son Govinda II was dethroned by his younger brother Druva in AD 779.
He was the first rastrakuta ruler to decisively intervene in the tripartite struggle being waged for the supremacy of north India and defeated both the Prathihara king Vatsaraja and the Pala king Dharmapala.
After his successful campaigns in the north, he “added the emblem of Ganga and Yamuna to his imperial insignia”.
Druva was succeded by Govinda III (AD 793 - 814).
He fought successfully against the pala king darmapala and his protégé Chakrayuda, the ruler of Kannauj.
He wrested Malwa from the Prathihara nagabhatta II and assigned its rule to one of its officals, Upendra of Parampara dynasty.
When Govinda III was away in north India, the Ganga, Chera, Pandya and Pallava rulers formed a confederacy to fight against govinda III, who completely shattered the confederacy.
Govinda III was succeeded by his son Amogavarsha I or Sarva (AD 814-78).
He fought with the eastern Chalukyas and the Gangas.
Amogavarsha lacked the martial spirit of the predecessors, partly due to his learnings towards religion and
He was a patron Jinasena, the author of Adipurana, Mahaviracharya, the author of Ganithasarasamgraha; Saktyana, the author of Amogavritti.
Amogavarsha himself wrote Kavirajamarga which is the earliest kannada work on poetics.
Amogavarsha’s successors, the two greatest rastrakuta ruler were indra III (AD 915 -927) and Krishna III (939-65).
Indra III defeated the Prathihara king Mahipala I. Plundered his capital Kannauj, and challenged the eastern Chalukyas.
The arab traveller Al-Masudi calls the rastrakuta king “the greatest king of India”.
Krishna III, fourth in succession from Indra III, invaded the Chola kingdom and his armies reached Rameshwaram, where he built a pillar of victory and a temple.
The Paramara king Munja invaded the Rastrakuta kingdom and plundered the rastrakuta capital Manyaketa in AD 972-73.
In AD 974-75 the Chalukya Taila II overthrown one of the last Rastrakuta rulers Karka II, and founded the Chalukya kingdom of Kalyani.
Rastrakutas cultural contribution:
Tolerant in religious matters and patronized sivism and vasihanavism.
The rastrakuta rulers were even tolerant of even islam.
Their tolerant policies gave great impetus to trade and commerce.
They patronized Sanskrit, prakrit, Apabhramsha and Kannada.
The rock cut cave temples at Ellora Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jain – are the symbols of their religious toleration.
The kailash temple, built by the rastrakuta king Krishna I.
Rock cut cave architecture reached its zenith under the rastrakutas.
The Chalukyas of Kalyani:
Rastrakutas were overthrown in AD 974-75 by Tailapa or Taila II, who belonged to theChalukya dynasty.
Capital: Kalyani (KNK) known as Later Chalukyas or Chalukyas of Kalyani.
The early chalukyas being the Chalukyas of Badami.
There were many Chalukya dyasties of them, the four most important were:
The Chalukyas of Badami or Vatapi (also known as Early Western Chalukyas)
The Chalukyas of Vengi (also known as Eastern Chalukyas)
The Chalukyas of Kalyani (also known as Western Chalukyas)
The Chalukyas of Gujarat
Tailapa ruled for 23 years from 974-997.
He made extensive conquests. By defeating the Gangas he conquered North Mysore. After defeating the Paramara Munja, took him prisoner and executed him in his capital Kalyani. He fought with Cholas of Tanjavore, king Uttama Chola.
Tailapa’s son and successor Satyasraya, also known as Sollina or Solliga, had to face to two Chola invastions led by Rajendra Chola.
Satyasraya was succeded in 1008 by his nephew Vikramaditya V who after a short and unevenful regin was followed by his brother Jayasimha II in AD 1015.
The paramara Bhoja of Malwa, wanting to avenge the fate of Munja, invaded the Chalukya kingdom.
Chola Rajendra was his most formidable enemy.
Tungabadra was tacitly recognized as the boundary between the two kingdoms.
The last great chalukya was vikramaditya VI (AD 1076-1126), who on his coronation, withdrew the Saka Era and introduced the Chalukya-Vikrama Era.
In 1085, he invaded Kanchi and snatched some Chola territories in Andhra.
He fought numerous wars against the Hoyasalas of Dwarasamudra, the kakatiyas of warangal, the yadavas of devagiri, kadambas of Goa.
Vikramaditya VI was a great patron of men of letters.
Bilhana, the author of the Vikramankadevacharita and Vijnaneshwara, the commentator of the Mitakshara commentary on the smritis, adorned his court.
After the death of vikramaditya VI the Chalukyan kingdom of kalyani became almost extinct and their place was taken by the kakatiyas of warangal and the hoyasalas of dwarasamudra.
A2 II and XIII rock edicts of Asoka, the earliest historical documents to refer to the cholas.
The greatness of cholas was revived by the dynasty founded by vijayalaya whose exact relationship with the earlier cholas is unfortunately unknown.
He began his rule shortly before 850 in the neighbourhood of Uraiyur, probably as vassal of the pallavan king.
Vijayalaya captured tanjaore from the Muttaraiyar chiefs.
Vijayalaya was succeded by his able son, Aditya I, AD 875.
Aditya I’s son, Parantaka I ascended the throne the chola realm comprised almost the entire eastern country from kalashasti and madras in the north to the kaveri in the south.
Death of parantaka I, in 953 AD.
After him, ruled his two sons, Gandaraditya and Arinjaya, and the later was followed by his son, sundara chola succeeded by Aditya II karikala and Uttama chola.
Raja Raja I (985-1014):
Sundara cholas’s son was Raja Raja I.
Titles: Mummadi chola deva
With him began the most glorious epoch of the cholas.
One of the earliest exploits of Raja Raja I was the subjucation of the Cheras, who fleet he destroyed at Kandalur.
He then took mathura and captured the pandya king, Amarabhujanga.
He invaded the island of sri lanka and annexed its north part which became a chola province under the name of mummadicholamandalam.
RR I then overran the eastern chalukyan country of vengi.
Shaktivarman (999-1011) tried to stem the rising tide of chola aggression, but his younger brother and successor Vimaladitya (1011-1018), recognized the overlordship of RR I, who as a mark of friendship gave him the hand of his daughter, Kundavvai (Kundava).
The conquest of Raja Raja I included Kalinga and “the old islands of the sea numbering 12000”, which have been generally identified with the Laccadives and Maldives.
Raja Raja I constructed a beautiful saiva temple at Tanjavur, it is called Rajarajeswara temple also. On the walls of the temple is engraved an account of Raja Raja’s exploits.
Rajendra I gangaikonda (AD 1014-44):
He annexed the whole of sri lanka, its northern part having been previously conquered by Raja Raja I.
Rajendra I also came into conflict with the western Chalukya monarch Jayasimha II Jagadhekamalla (AD 1016-42).
His armies marched triumphantly as par as the ganga and the dominons of the pala king Mahipala. Took the title gangaikonda.
He possessed a powerful fleet which gained successes across the bay of benal. It is said that he vanquished Sangramavijayottunga varaman and conquered Kataha or Kadaram (Sumatra).
Rajendra I founded a new capital called after him – Gangaikondacholapuram, identified with modern Gangakundapuram in Tiruchurapally dist of TN.
He excavated an immense artificial tank which was filled with water by channels from the kolerun and the vellar rivers.
Rajadhiraja I (AD 1044-52):
He performed the Ashwamedha sacrifice.
He also fought with the western chalukya monarch someshwara I ahvamalla (AD 1042-68).
In the famous battle of koppam, he lost his life in May 1052.
Rajendra (deva) II (AD 1052-63):
His younger brother, Rajendra II Prakesari, was proclaimed king on the battle field itself.
Veera Rajendra (AD 1063-70):
Followed by his younger brother, veera rajendra rajakesari.
He infliceted a crushing defeat on Someshwara I Ahvamalla in the battle of Kadalsangaman (Kurnool dist, near the confluence of the Krishna and the tungabadra rivers).
Veera rajendra curbed the pandyan and kerala princes.
He foiled all efforts of vijayabahu of sri lanka to extend his authority.
Veera rajendra is alleged to have sent an expedition against kadaram of srivijaya too.
Adhi rajendra (AD 1070):
After the death of veera rajendra, his son adhi rajendra occupied the throne.
Kuluttonga I (AD 1070-1122):
For vimaladitya of Vengi (AD 1011-18) had married the daughter of Raja Raja I chola named Kundava, and their son raja raja vishnuvaradana had own rajendra I chola’s daughter Ammangadevi as his spouse.
By this union was born Rajendra II Chalukya called afterwards Kuluttonga I, who had himself obtained the hand of Madhurantaki, daughter of Rajendra II Chola.
Kuluttonga I united the two kingdoms of the eastern Chalukyas of vengi and the cholas of Tanjaore.
He got the land resurveyed for taxation and revenue purposes.
He made grants to the Buddhist shrines at Nagapattanam.
He was succeed by his son Vikrama chola, surnamed Tyagasamudra, who had held the viceroyalty of vengi.
Vikrama cholas immediate successors Kullutonga II (1133-47), Raja Raja II (1147-62) and rajadhiraja II (1162-78), were all weaklings under whom the power of cholas rapidly declined and their palce was taken by the hoyasalas of dwarasamudra and pandyas of madurai.
The Colas as builders and patrons of art:
Irrigation work: Rajendra I dug near his new capital, Gangaikonda cholapuram, an artificial lake which was filled with water from the Kollerun and Vellar rivers. Its embankments were 16 miles in length and it was provided with stone sluices and channels.
Religion: the chola emperors were worshippers of saiva.
Raja raja I, an ardent saiva himself, built and endowed temples of Vishnu and made gift to the Buddhist vihara at nagapattanam.
Saiva kuluttonga I is recorded to have granted a village to a Buddhist vihara.
The chola art:
Continued and developed the art tradition of pallavas and pandyas.
The chief features of chola temples are their massive vimanas or towers and spacious courtyards.
In the Brihadishwara or rajarajeshwara temple, dedicated to saiva, the vimana or tower is about 57 mts high upon a square, comprising 13 successive stories. It is crowned by a single block of granite, 7.5 mts high and about 80 tonnes in weight.
Similarly rajendra I erected a splendid temple at his new capital, gangaikondacholapuram.
Some chola temples at tanjavur and kalahasti contain beautiful portrait images of royal personages, like those of raja raja I and his queen lokamahadevi and of rajendra I and his queen cholamahadevi.
The cholas also encouraged the plastic art; the metal and stone images cast during the period are exquisitely exeuted and display a wonderful vigour, dignity and grace.
The masterpiece of chola sculpture is the famous nataraja or the dancing saiva image at the great temple of Chidambaram. This nataraja has been described as the “cultural epitome” of the chola period.
Of the chola paintings the most important are those in the pradikshina passage of the rajarajeshwara temple.
The Chola Administration:
The king and his officers:
King or emperor verbal orders (tiruvakya-kelvi) were drafted by the royal or private secretaries.
In the days of raja raja I and his son, the chief secretary (olainayamak) and another functionary (perundarma) had to confirm the royal orders before they were communicated to the parties concerned by the dispatch-clerks (vidaiyadhikari).
The higher officials enjoyed the status of perundaram, and the lower ones sirutaram.
Administrative activities as well as military and trade mmnts were facilitated by peruvalis or trunk roads.
Public revenue was derived mainly from land and collected in kind, or in cash, or in both, by village assemblies.
There were peasant proprietorship and other forms of land tenure.
The state’s demand of land revenue seems to have been one-third of the gross produced in the time of Rajaraja I.
Kullutonga I earned fame by abolishing the toll.
The army consisted of elephants, cavalry and infantry– num-rukai-mahasenai or the great army with three limbs.
Contonments (kadagam or padaividu) existed.
The strength of elephant crops was 60,000 and that of the whole army about 150,000.
It was composed sengundar chiefly of kaikkolas (literary, men with strong army) are sengundar (lit.spear-wielders).
Velaikkaras were the bodyguard of the monarch.
Rajaditya and rajadhiraja I died on the battle fields of Takkolam and Koppam respectively.
Commanders enjoyed the rank of nayaka, senapathi or mahadandanayaka.
Titles like kshtriyasikamani were conferred upon men with a distinguished record.
The village assemblies:
3 types of assemblies 1. the ur 2. the sabha or mahasabha 3. the nagaram.
The ur was the evidently the commoner type of assembly of the normal or common villages.
Sabha was apparently an exclusively Brahmin assembly of the brahmadeya villages.
The nagaram was an assembly of an merchants and belonged to localities where traders and merchants were in a dominant position.
An inscription from Uttaramerur dated AD 993-94 illustrates this clearly. It records the decision of the sabha that the responsibility for the payment of fines levied by either the king’s court (rajadvaram), the court of justice (dharmasanam), the revenue dept (vari), or others, must rest on the particular community or class to which the person fined belonged; and the groups specially named are Brahmins, shiva Brahmins, accountants, merchants, vellalar, and any other castes (jatigal). The inscription also shows that the sabha, generally comprising the elite of learning and character in the community, commanded the respect of all other assemblies.
The ur had often an executive committee of its own which was called alunganattar, the ruling group.
The two oft-quoted uttaramerur inscriptions of the twelth and fourteenth years (AD 919 and AD 921) of the chola monarch Parantaka I may be said to constitute a great landmark in the history of the chola village assemblies.
In these inscriptions we see the completion of the transition from the appointment of individual executive officers (the variyar) by the sabha to the establishment of a fairly elaborate committee system, by means of which important sections of local admn were entrusted to committees (variyam) of six or twelve members according to the importance of their functions. The first inscription laid down rules for the election of the various committees, and the second inscription, dated two years later, amended these rules with a view to removing some practical difficulties that had been experienced in their working.
A2 the regulations of AD 921, each of the thirty wards of the village was to nominate for selection persons possessing the following qualifications:
Ownership of more than one-fourth veli (about an acre and a half) of land
Residence in a house built on one’s site
Age between thirty-five and seventy
The knowledge of vedic literature
In the alternative one-eighth veli of land and knowledge of one veda and a bhashya.
The following, among others who were excluded:
Those who had been on any of the committees for the past three years
Those who had been on the committee but had failed to submit the accounts.
Of the thirty so selected twelve, who were advanced in age and learning and had served on the garden and tank committees, were assigned to the samvatsaravariyam or garden committee;
Twelve to the tottavariyam or the garden committee,
Six to the eri-variyam or tank committee.
Two other committees were similarly selected – the panchavara-variyam (a standing committee) and the pon-variyam (gold committee).
Inscriptions in places other than Uttaramerur mention additional committees for justice, wards, and fields, the udasina committee.
The members of the committee were called variyapperumakkal; the mahasabha was called perunguri and its members, perumakkal.
Uttaramerur avoided the pitfalls of the kudavolai system and it was the model for others kudavolai system and it was the model for other sabhas in the chola empire.
Judicial committee – nyayattar.
The Uttaramerur inscriptions hint that “riding on an ass” was a punishment for some serious crimes.
In AD 923 the sabha of Brahmadesam, North Arcot district, resolved that their madhyasthas, employed in writing up the accounts connected with the tank, were to be renumerated at the rate of four measures of paddy per diem, and were to receive in addition six kalanjus of ‘red gold’ per annum with a pair of clothes each.
The lands donated to the temples were known as the devadaya or devadana.
The existence of a large number of hagiographies (not less than 34) and still larger number of traditions and myths.
The most important hagiographies are the shankaradigvijaya or sankshepashankara-jaya ascribed to Madhava alias Vidyaranya, the shankaravijaya of Anandagiri alias Anantanandagiri and the shankaravijaya of vyasachala.
Out of thers Madhava’s text is without doubt the most important of the hagiographies and is considered authoritative by most of shankara’s present day followers.
Another tradition ascribed padmapada the direct disciple of shankara the biography known as vijayadindima.
A2 shankara-digvijaya by Madhava, following the tradition of Shringeri Math, shankar took his birth on the bank of the Purna hill named Vrisha in kerela.
One king named rajashekara built a shiva temple and granted a village named kalati as an agrahara to the brahmana vidyadhiraja.
His son named shivaguru married sati who bore a son later known as Shankara.
Shivaguru was a yajurvedin Brahmin of the taittiriya branch.
Shivaguru died when the child was only three years.
At the age of eight he took to the life of an ascetic after being initiated by the sage Govinda living in the forest on the Narmada.
Govinda addressed him as a Paramahamsa.
He bade shankara to go to varanasi and try to make the best commentary for the good of the world.
Shankara came to kashi and set himself up near Manikarnikaghat.
A brahmana named sanandana (later padmapada), who had come from the chola country, was made his first disciple.
Shankara then went to vyasa-guha near Badarikashrama and composed a commentary on the Brahmasutra and on the Upanishads at the age of 12.
He commented on the gita, sanatasujata and Nrisimha-tapaniya and wrote many other works.
He placed the image of badri narayana in the temple and employed some Nambudri brahmanas for its worships.
Shankara founded the Jyothimatha (Jyoshimatha) with Totakacharya as its head.
He later turned to dig-vijaya and went to southward.
He wanted first to meet kumarila who had tried to re-establish vedism against Buddhism and so he went to Prayaga.
But he saw kumarila on a heap of husk, prepared for death. At the instance of kumarila, shankara next went to meet with Mandana mishra (a reputed scholar) at Mahishmati.
After defeating mandana mishra in argument, shankara went to pandharapur in MH which was the chief centre of vaishnavism.
Then he came to shri-shaila, a centre of kapalikas and Buddhists.
Ugrabhairava, leader of the kapalikas, was defeated in argument by shankara.
Next, he went to ghokarna, the centre of shaivism.
He then came to shringeri on the bank of tungabhadra. Here he established a place for the worship of sharada.
This was the first monastry of shankara, who founded the bharati school there headed by sureshvara. It was the birthplace of Giri, another disciple of shankara known as Totakacharya.
Shankara thereby gained four chief disciples, padmagupta, hastamalaka, sureshvara and totaka, destined to be the leaders after him.
He went to rameshvaram, kanchi, venkata hill, vidarbha, ujjaini and reached gokarna. Then he went to saurashtra (city called dvaravati) where he founded the sharadamatha.
Shankara next went to Kashmir to open the gate of saradapitha which was admissible only to the omniscient.
Then shankara went to badari.
Scholars differ on the fact how and where shankara’s life came to an end. Three theories are prominent.
The keralite tradition hold that shankara died in the temple of trichura.
A2 the kamakotipitha of kanchi tradition, shankara died at kanchinagara.
The tradition of shringerimath says that shankara died at badarinatha at the age of 32.
The greatest achievement of shankara is that he organized the ten branches of the Adviata school of shaivism, known as the dashanamis.
Shankara divided India into four zones for better administration and established a matha in each zone viz.,
Jyotimatha at badri in the north
Sharadapitha at dvaravati (dwaraka) in the west
Govardhanamatha at puri in the east
Shringeri in the south.
He is also said to have established sumerumatha at kashi and kamakotipitha at kanchi.
The ten orders into which shankara organized the ascetics were known as dashanamis because of the ten names, vig., giri (hill), puri (city), bharati (learning), vana (wood), aranya (forest), parvata (mountain), sagara (ocean), tirtha (temple), ashrama (hermitage) and sarasvati (true knowledge) forming the suffixes to the name taken by monks of these orders after their initiation.
Scholars agree on the point that shankara sent his four disciples to the mathas in four quarters,
Padmapada was the head of Govardana,
Hastamalaka of Shringeri,
Sureshvara (or vishvapura) of dvaravati
Totka at badarinatha.
Each matha is said to have a gotra.
The govardanamatha is said to have belonged to the kashyapagotra.
Each matha has its own presiding dieites both male and female,
Govardhana, a form of Vishnu as purushottama, was and is still the tutelary diety of the matha. Vimala is the female diety presiding here.
Each matha was given a special formula as the symbol of philosophical quintessence of pure monism.
Govardana was given the sacred formula (mahavakya) of prajnanam brahma i.e., “true knowledge is Brahman”.
The shringeri matha belongs to the bhur-buvah gothra with adi varaha and kamakshi as the male and female deities. The formula “Aham Brahmasmi” was assigned to this centre.
Dvaraka (dvaravati) matha belongs to the Avigata gotra with Siddheshvara and Bhadrakali as the presiding deities. The mahavakya of this matha was Tat-tvam-asi.
The jyotirmatha at Bedarinatha had the formula ayamatmma brahma and presided over by narayana and purnagiri.
Swami prajnanand sarasvati places his birth in 44 BC.
R.N.Ghosh suggests AD 686.
Fleet and K.T.Telanga attempted to place him between sixth and seventh centuries.
Keith says that shankara “may have been born in 788 and may have died or become a sanyasin in 820 and at any rate, worked in 800 AD”.
Krishna Chaitanya and S.N.Dasgupta also mention Shankara as living from 788 to 820 AD.
A2 kanchi-kamakoti and Dvaraka traditions he is believed to have appeared in the 5th century BC.
The keralotpatti places him in the fourth century AB.
Haripada Chakroborthy places shankara anytime between two extreme points AD 684 and 841.
However, the most expected date is between AD 788-820 as suggested by Keith.
Works and Philosophy:
Paul Hacker, Mayeda Sengaku and others have established criteria that have largely resolved this problem.
They conclude that the works that may be reliably attributed to Shankara are:
The commentaries on the brihadaranyaka, taittiriya, chhandogya, aitareya, isha, katha, kena, mundaka, and prashna Upanishads
The commentary on the mandukya Upanishad with the gaudapadiyakarika
In these works shankara generally subordinates philosophizing to the goal of liberation (moksha) from the bonds of transmigratory existence (samsara), which arise from the consequences of our action (karman).
The sole means to achieve this liberation is right knowledge (jnana).
past deeds – prarabdhakarman
the philosophy of shankar is often known as advaita or kevaladvaita.
Advaita Vedanta asserts that absolute (paramarthika) reality, called Brahman, is non-dual.
A central doctrine of shnakara’s thought claims that from the point of view of the supreme truth (paramarthatah) our inner self or soul (atman), the essence of consciousness (chit), is identical with he essence of being (sat), Brahman itself.
The Upanishads, the brahma sutra and the bhagvadgita constitute the three fold scriptural foundation of all schools of Vedanta.