Jul 2, 2008

Important Jain Rulers and Their Contribution

Dr. P.N. Narasimha Murthy



Jinadharma Vasa Vadatt-amala vinayadagara-vadattu......... nanamahimeyolesegum charukarnata desam(1). So says an inscription dated AD 1408 from the famous centre Kuppatur in sorba Taluk of Shimoga District. Karnataka became a centre of various religions and cultures. The fertile land, fine climatic conditions and the wealth fully endowed by nature made people of this region to gracefully nurse every thing whether it be a religion, culture or anything of the like that entered Karnataka from time immemorial. In fact, no religion exception a few cults was born here; yet, Karnataka became a home of all the Religions of India which, in their own way, have contributed for the growth of a unique culture here. Jainism was one such religion as this, to enter Karnataka in the pre-Christian era and make it a second home for nurturing a culture. This is being echoed in the Kuppatur inscription.

An attempt is made here to describe the ethos of Jainism through the spectrum of political vicissitudes, the strong and colourful canvas of which spreads over a score of century.

A few scholars have worked on Jainism in Karnataka(2). A few others have written on Jalnism in South India(3). However, they inveriably deal with Karnataka in major part of their discussion. This indicates the importance that this religion had gained in Karnataka. Further, a number of books that have come out after independence dealing with the history and culture of Karnataka also deal with the ebb and flow of Jainism(4). The summum bonum of all these is narrowing down the differences and doubts as far as possible.

ENTRY OF JAINISM INTO KARNATAKAWhen Jairlism entered Karnataka, had been the matter of discussion for a long time. The generally believed account is that Jainism entered Karnataka as a result of the coming of Bhadrabahumuni with a sea of disciples alongwith the most celebrated disciple Chandragupta the great Mauryan emperor(S).

However, some scholars hold the opinion that the King was Samprati Chandragupta the grand son of Ashoka and not the grandfather of Ashoka(6).

While dealing with the problem of entry of Jainism into Tamil Nad scholars have suggested two possibilities-(l) from the Andhra region and (2) from Karnataka region(7). While referring to its antecedence it is stated that at least by 3rd century B.C. Jainism must have entered the Tamil country. Further according to Mahavamsa a Buddhist work of Ceylon, Prince Pandukabhaya built a house for the Nigantha Jotiya in the new capital city of Anuradhapura. it also mentions Nigantha Giri A chapel was built by the king in the same city for Nigantha Kumbhanda which was named after him(8).

Another Buddhist work Deepavamsa of Ceylon also mentions Nigantha Giri and his place of residence. (9)

According to P.B. Desai "The expression Nigantha occuring in the above account is a prakrit form of the Sanskrit term Nirgrantha which means a follower of the Jaina faith. The reign of king Pandukabhaya has been placed in the 4th century B.C. (from B.C. 377 to 307) and so the above events concerning the construction of a dwelling and a temple for the Nirgranthas in the capital should be referred to the early period of the Ceylon history".(10)

Scholars have accepted the Ceylonese Buddhist works as authentic. They are in no way 'pro-Jaina'. Hence the information provided in them is suggestive of the existence of Jainism in a well establishment manner in Ceylon long before the advent of Buddhism in Ceylon. This point is very significant not only with regard to Tamil country but also Karnataka. Rock Edict XIII of Ashoka tells us that there was no country where these (two) classes- Brahmanas and Sramana did not exist.(11) S.R. Sharma has correctly identified 'Sramanas' as Jainas.(12) Ram Bhushan Prasad Sing (R.B.P. Sing) terms this as 'misinterpretation' and says that it might refer only to the' Buddhist monk'. (13) Dr. Sing has only made a hasty conclusion forgetting the fact that Ashoka in his Edicts has used the term 'Sangha' to denote 'Buddhists'. In Karnataka Samana is Sravana i.e., Jaina. The example of holy town of 'Sravanabelagola' may be given here.

The coming of Buddhist missions under the leadership of Mahadeva and Rakkhita to Vanavasi (Banavasi) and Mahishamandala (Mysore) indicate the late entry of Buddhism to Karnataka. And by this time Jainism had made its mark in the Southern provinces as well as Ceylon.(14)
If Jainism has reached the Tamil land prior to 4th century B.C. as suggested by P. B. Desai(15) certainly Karnataka must have been the first ground for the nestling activities of the Jainas. Probably this factor must have prompted the Jaina Muni Bhadrbahu and his Royal disciple to choose the Southern most province of Mysore for their final sojourn.

Unlike Tamil Nad, Karnataka is bereft of Jaina epigraphical sources of pre­Christian era. Yet, the people of Karnataka had the knowledge of reading and writing which is vouchsafed by the availability of a good number Minor rock edicts of Ashoka spread over a vast territory from Gulbarga in the north to Chitradurga in the South. The paucity of Jaina epigraphs of this period may not be due to laxity of Jainas but possibly because of two reasons­

(1) The advent of Buddhism with strong proselytising zeal must have caused some sort of set' back to the slow penetration of Jainism. Samprathi must have come only to revitalise the already existing religion. Finally Jainism must have succeeded in pushing Buddhism towards east to the Andhra country and make safe Karnataka for itself.

(2) Those who worked for the wellbeing of the religion against any odds might have recorded it properly at least in Sravanabelagola if not else where. Sravanabelagola being the safest place (for we do not find any Buddhist influence there) for Jainism provides us epigraphs only from about the 6th Century A.D. onwards. May be that due to the callous nature of the people soaked with the zeal of building activities, wreckless quarrying of rocks in and around Sravanabelagola must have caused for permanent loss of an invaluable epigraphical wealth of pre and early Christian Era" As a reminiscent of the past, quarrying is taking place even now with scant respect for heritage.

After the Mauryas, Karnataka came under the sway of the Shatavahanas who ruled for over four centuries. The rule was no doubt eventful in many respects. Yet, Jainism has a few and far information of this period which otherwise a, dark age, was saved by the greatest of the luminaries-Kundakundacharya.

It is said that Pratishthanapura the capital city of the Shatevahanas was a strong hold of Jainism. The founder of this dynasty-Simuka became' of convert to Jainism and built many Jinalayas in the capital.(6) Excavations conducted by Dr. T.V.G. Sastry a few years ago at a place called Vaddhamano in the Guntur district of. Andhra Pradesh have brought to light what may probably be called a Jaina Stupa for the first time in the South. It belongs to the Shatavahana period. However, much of this period is yet to come to light.

THE KADAMBAS OF BANAVASI:The Shatavahana rule gave place for two important dynastics of Karnataka viz., the Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas of Talakad. The first one began to rule over the western and northern parts and the other southern and eastern parts of Karnataka, Under their rule Jainism gets a clear picture with an expanding theatre of activities.
The Talagunda and Gudnapur inscriptions(l7) have totally set to rest the problem of the origin of the Kadamba royal house. Though Brahmanical in their origin the Kadambas paved the way for rejuvination of not only the Vedic religion but also of that of the Sramanas. Their inscriptions provide us a vivid picture of the various sects of Jainism, Many a times we get a doubt whether some of the Kadamba were jains.

In the very first year of his rule Kadamba Kakusthavarma makes a land grant to Senapti ( a Jaina) Srutakirti as a reward for saving himself. (18 ) The copper plate which informs us of this begins with Salutations to Bhagavan Jinendra and ends with Salutations to Rishabha, The gifted field was called 'ba(lo) Vara-kshetra'. The village of Kheta where the field existed' belonged to the holy Arhats who are stated to be 'the Saviours of the three world', The king made this grant while camping at Palasika (mod, Halasige in Belgaum Dt). On the basis of the dates assigned to each Kadamba King by B.R. Gopal (19) this copper plate may be placed in the year C. 405 A,D.
The Halmidi inscription(20) forms an important landmark in the history of Kannada language. However, from the point of view of our study it is still more important. All those who have read the inscription so far(21) have committed a mistake of reading wrongly line number 9 of the epigraph as- "namadheyan=asarakk=Ellabhatarya Premalaya". But the correct reading should be "namadheyan=asarak-Kella-bhatariya premahiya".(22) What had been read as Ella-bhatari is now corrected as Kella-bhatari. 'Kella' happened to be a very important subordinate ruling family under Alupas of Alvakheda, Kellas were Jains. The earliest Kannada inscription provides us information about one of the earliest Jaina ruling families of Karnataka. There are a number of families among the Jainas in South Kanara who even today possess the surname 'kella'. There is a village by name Kella Puttige in Karkala taluk of the South Kanara District which was once a strong hold of the Kellas. (23)

Halmidi inscription has been assigned to C. 450 A.D. and belongs to Kadamba Kakusthavarma. It we are to accept the date assigned C 405-430 AD(24) to Kakusthavarma by Dr. B.R. Gopal then the date of Halmidi epigraph also has to be re-adjusted, Tentatively its date may be fixed at C.425 AD instead of the present C 450 AD. It is thus clear that a small Jaina ruling family existed in the Kanara coast in the early part of the 5th century or at least by the second half of the 4th century A.D.

Mrigesavarma (C455-80AD) grandson of Kadamba Kakusthavarma was a very great patron of the Jaina religion. In his 3rd regnal year he made a grant of land for the worship of Arhats and the upkeep of the basadi at Brihat Paralur(25) (C 458 AD). His second Devagiri plates(26) issued during his 4th regnal year (C 459 AD) from Vaijayanti (Banavasi provides us a very important information regarding the state of Jainism in Karnataka. There existed the two important sects of Jainism viz. Svetapata-Mahasramana Sangha and Nirgrantha Mahasramana Sangha. The King made a grant of the village Kalavanga while dividing it into three parts and gave one each to holy Arhat God Jinendra, Svetapata maha Sangha and Nirgrantha maha Sangha.

In his 8th regnal year (C463AD) Mrigeshavarma built a Jinalaya at Palasika, as an act of merit for his father and granted 33 nivartanas of land for the Jaina ascetics of Yapaniya, Nirgrantha and kurchaka sects. The recipients of this grant were the Bhojaka Damakirti and the ayukta Jiyanta.(27)

This inscription informs in very clear terms that the king constructed the Jinalaya for the merit of his deceased father-Shantivarma. Though there is no source for' us to conclude that Shantivarma was a Jaina, the pious act of his son Mrigeshavarma indicates the leanings of his father towards Jainism.

Basadis existed at Palasika either before or right from the beginning of the Kadamba rule. And, the Kadamba kings, though of Brahmanical order, providing them with gifts and grants had been an usual affair. But constructing a basadi, that too in the name of their deceased one, is a matter of importance and for consideration.

The added importance of this Halsi copper plates is that it informs us of the existance of two other Jaina sects besides Nirgranthas such as Yapaniya and Kurchaka. The earlier record has mentioned about the Svetapata (Svetambara) sect. It is not correct here to sit in judgement on dividing a religion into several sects. However, nothing prevents us to know about the complete freedom that existed in Karnataka even in respect of religious thinking and following. It seems not only the Kadamba kings but also the royal family had intimate contact with the jaina society. Jaina munis and their Chaityalayas. Bhanuvarma younger brother of King Ravivarma (C485-519AD) made a gift of land of 15 Nivartanas at Palasika for the anointment of God Jina on the full moon days without fail. The gifted field was caIJed 'Kardamapati'. It was made during the 11th regnal year (C. 495-496 AD) of King Ravivarma. (28)

It seems that due to over enthusiasm, Dr. B.R. Gopal has tried to put things wrongly of Davanagere plates of Ravivarma of his regnal year 34. (29) Dr. Gopal has idendified Sarvajna and Sarvalokanath found in the invocatory, part with Buddha. Hence says: "the grant of land made by the King, at the instance of Haridatta, for the worship in' the Siddhayatana and for the increase of the Sangha both of which are Buddhist (and not Jaina as suggested by M.H. Krishna) institutions, according to Sircar". (30)

The relevant portion in line 16 of the Davanagere Copper plates reads "Asandyam=Aparajitah Siddhayatana-Pujartham Sanghasya Parivriddhaye". Here both Aparajita and Siddhayatana are Jaina. In the Jaina religion we come across sixteen 'Svargas' also called 'Kalpas'. Above these exist nine 'Graiveyakas'. And above this exist five 'Kalpatita deva Vimanas' i.e., the heavenly stages. The fourth one of this is the stage of Aparajita. Above this exists the stage of "Sarvaitha Siddhi". (31) This is the abode of the pure and liberated soul.

Similarly 'Siddhayatana', which is nothing but the abode of Siddhas.(32) 'Siddhayantana puja' happens to be an important item of worship in the basadis. Many Jaina inscriptions from South Kanara District speak of grants made for 'Siddha-Chakra aradhane' in the basadis.(33) Also we come across the term Siddha-Chakrada nompi.(34) 'Namo Siddhanam' is an important step of the famous 'Panchaparamesthi stotra mantra'. Further line 2 of this record reads­
"devanam = makuta-mani prabha = abhishiktam
Sarvajnassa - Jayati Sarva loka-nathah"

This may only mean victory (Salutations) to that pure and liberated soul which has attained the stage of 'Sarvarth Siddhi', the final of Kalpatita stage.

On this basis we conclude that the Devanagere plates of Ravivarma of the year 34 is a Jaina record, very unique in its way of expression.

This inscription refers to Asandya. It is same as Asandyaluru which has been mentioned as a centre of Jainism in the two Kadamba Copper plates of 5th century A.D. from Mudigere.(35) Asandyaluru was situated in Sendrakavishaya.

There are a few more records mentioning about the munificent grants to the basadies of Halasi and elsewhere and also to lay Jainas by the kadamba Kings (36). However, the Gudnapur inscription of Ravivarma(37) becomes very important in respect of our studies. (38) The inscription mentions that king Ravivarma built a Kama Jinalaya. The king's palace existed to the right side of this temple and on its left existed two nrityasalas (Dancing Halls) facing the Queens palace (antahpura). It also refers to a Kamadevalaya (Jinalaya) at Hakinipalli and to a temple of Padmavati at Kallili. This indicates that if not the king, at least the member of royal family, as we have seen above, were followers of Jainism. (39)

THE GANGAS:The long believed tradition is that the Gangas were Jains. But Dr. B. Sheik Ali disapproves of this.(4O) The two brother founders of this royal family (Madhava and Dadiga) were blessed by the Jaina muni Simhanandacharya. But Sheik Ali doubts whether there was any Jaina hand in the establishment of the Ganga dynasty (41)

He says that Konganivarma I (i.e., Madhava I) the first king of the dynasty led another expedition towards the Konkan coast about which it was not possible to throw much light due to paucity of sources. In this he quotes Lewis Rice who says that this expedition was a success and that a Chaityalaya was built near Mandali in Shimoga District. Dr. Sheik Ali writes: "We are in agreement with Rice that it was Konganivarma I who led the expedition to the Konkan Coast". However he is silent about the Chaityalaya i.e., a basadi built by the King (42) However, it is known to us from an inscription from Shimoga district(43) that Dadiga-Madhava, the founders of the Ganga family built a basadi near Mandali (in Shikaripur taluk). It was later on rebuilt in wood and called 'Pattada Basadi'. Sometime later it was again reconstructed now is stone (Kaluvesa). 44

It is not clear why Dr. Sheik Ali has ignored the second part while accepting the first part of the same inscription. Yet, he has questioned as to whether there was any Jaina hand in the establishment of the Ganga Royal family.

According to this learned author who has reset the geneology with dates, Konganivarma Madhava I, the first Ganga King ruled from AD. 350-370.(45) Hence, the basadi near Mandali in Shikaripur Taluk of Shimoga district must have been built during this period (say C. 360-365 AD).

It is said that Harivarma and Vishnugopa, delineated themselves from Jaina influence. But no harm had been done to Jainism. In fact, Jainism found under the Gangas of Talakad an ever increasing period of grace and grandeur which has left behind a testimony of everlasting nature in the forms of literature, art and architecture.

Though doubted earlier, Dr. Sheik Ali, while referring to the period of king Avinita, asserts that the hold of Jaina teachers on the Ganga rulers was quite strong. (46) The Jainamuni Vijayakirthi was the royal preceptor of Ganga Avinita. The king made gift of land to a Jaina temple (probably in Korikundavishaya) on the advice of this teacher. (47)

A very much interesting account comes from the Hoskote plates of Avinita. (48) It states that the mother of Pallava King Simhavishnu built a Jaina temple (probably at Korikundabogha) to which Avinita made a grant of land. The point here is why the pallava queen built a Jinalaya in the Ganga Kingdom when there seems to be no relationship between the Ganga king and the Pallava Queen mother. The basadi was built by this lady in memory of her husband and also to earn merit for herself. It is suggested that the most catholic and generous rule of the Gangas must have prompted for this act and the queen mother too might have hailed from a place in Gangavadi and a follower of Jainism. (49)

Here mention must be made of Avinitas Mercara grant. (50) It has been treated as spurious on the ground that it belongs to very late period (on the basis of the script) than it intends to be and mentions Akalavarsha Prithvivallabha and his minister.

The plates as such provide very correctly the genealogy of the Ganga dynasty upto Avinita and then mentions the date as 388 (may be Saka Era) corresponding to AD 466. It records a grant of Village Badaneguppe to Sri Vijaya Jinalaya at Talavananagar (Talakad). It is out of place to discuss the veracity of this record here. However, recent excavations at Talakad have proved the existence of a basadi of considerably an earlier date. Further excavations may prove the authenticity of the grant mentioned in the Mercara plates while providing important information about Jainism in the capital city of Talakad.

A copper plate inscription dated AD 808 Nov. 7 (E.C.III Ng. 278 Devanur) states that Kambhayya (s/o Rashtrakuta Dhruva) while ruling from Talavana nagara made a gift of the village Vadaneguppe to vardhamana guru of Konda Kundanavaya and Sirmalagegurugana Kambha made this grant at the request of his own son Shankaraganna for the service of the Sri.Vijaya Vasati at Talavananagara. Here the gifted village Vadaneguppe and Sri Vijaya Vasati are the same as Badanaguppe and Sri-Vijaya-Jinalaya mentioned in the Mercara plates.
On this basis a hypothetical conjucture can be made that Sri Vijaya Jinalaya existed even before Ganga Avinita who granted the village Badanaguppe to it (in AD 466). When Rashtrakuta Krishna I acquired some portions of Gangavadi by defeating the Ganga King Sripurush, the village Badanaguppe was again gifted to Sri-Vijaya­Jinalaya. The same village was again re-confirmed to the Basadi by Kambha.

Avinita's son and successor was Durvinita. Jaina muni Pujyapada was the royal preceptor. He is said to have built a basadi at Kogali in Bellary district. (51) Hereafter the Ganga kings building basadis and providing them with municificent grants become very common. Apart from the Kings patronising Jainism we find from Shivamara II onwards the Ganga kings distinguishing themselves as the real followers of Jainism. The entire Gangavadi refashioned itself to look like Kopana. The place Kopana had been the earliest 'teertha' of Jainism in Karnataka. (52) Sravanabelagola followed the suit. Today only Sravanbelagola has remained as the pride monument of Gangavadi.

The independent political power of the Kadambas ceased to exist with the rise of (their own subordinates) the Chalukyas of Badami whereas the Gangas provided a protective umbrella to the emerging imperial power. Durvinita took the initiative. Intimate relationship was forged by him. In course of time the Gangas had to lead themselves under dignified subordination. They has to share the political and military vicissitudes of the Chalukyas.

The change of imperial power from Chalukyas to Rashtrakutas was not taken seriously by the Gangas, because they saw no danger. However they began to receive shocks to the extent of being uprooted. The age-long dignity and royal prestige developed and enjoyed by them made them to resist very strongly the Rashtrakutas. Finally they succeeded in not only restoring their political status over Gangavadi but also protecting the Rashtrakutas against the Chola invasions. Many of the great military achievements of the Rashtrakutas against the Cholas were practically the achievements of the Gangas. Their religion Jainism in no way became an obstacle in carrying out successfully their political and military activities.

The coming of Chalukyas of Kalyana to power really had a very bad effect on the independence of the Gangas. The Cholas invaded twice Gangavadi in 1004 AD and in 1006 AD. They reduced the Gangas to their subordination. The Chalukyas regained it but for a temporary period. Gangaraja routed the Cholas and re-conquered Gangavadi but only in 1114 AD as Commander of the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. He did not sit on the throne of Gangavadi. However, what a king could do was done by him to rejuvenate Jainism in Gangavadi. Inscriptions describe him in glowing terms as the one who transformed the entire Gangavadi into Kapana(53) by repairing all the ancient basad is of Gangavadi 96,000 and providing them with gifts of land and wealth for their sustenance. Punisamayya, another commander of Vishnuvardhana, also got renovated basadis in Gangavadi 96,000. (54)

Though it seems as if the Ganga contributions got mixed with those of the Chalukyas and Rastrakutas, distinctive features of the Gangas have been maintained in some important centres of Jainism such as Kambadahalli and Sravanabelagola.

Kambadahalli reknowned as a Jaina 'teerath' played a significant role in the socio-religious activities of the people of that region. (55) The influence and attraction of which was so great as to invite the attention of Saivas of Lakulisa-Siddhanta. The Saivas, having assembled in the basadi, called it 'Ekkoti Jinalaya' and presented to it five great musical instruments (Pancha-maha Sabda) including the drum (bheri). (56) The inscription which records this says at the end that those who (the saivas) do not accept this are sinners to Shiva. Elsewhere it is stated that it only denotes the influence of Saivas over Jainism. But it may not be so as the inscription doesn't record any change in the administrative set up of the Basadi. (57) 12th Century A.D. to which the record belongs was no doubt not safe for Jainism as it received stiff opposition from Savism. But Kambadahalli became an exception to it.

Sravanabelagola had been a maha teertha like Kopana eversince the dawn of Jainism in Karnataka.(58) The Gangas laid a solid foundation for its growth, so much so, that in their own life time they were able to carve and consecrate such wonderful images as that of Bahubali (Gommata Swamy). They earned religious merit by doing so while getting to the country international fame.

Perhaps no stone was left unturned and place without a temple being constructed. Almost every village in the Gangavadi 96000 got a temple and a Jinalaya. There was a popular participation of all groups of people including the royal family and their officers. So far no incident of religions discrimination or disturbance has been reported in the long and highly distinguished period of rule of the Gangas of Talakad. Language and literature both in Sanskrit and Kannada were enriched by the distinguished writings of the Ganga kings and their scholars. According to 'Kaviraja marga', the earliest available Kannada literary work of Srivijaya, some of the earliest writers in Kannada lived in Gangavadi and king Durvinita was one among them.

Jainism made a deep penetration into the Ganga Society. It was possible mainly because of the Catholic Policy and participation of the kings in the social and religious activities of the State irrespective of they being Jains; their good minded and intelligent subordinates and officers and above all the patience and perseverence of Jaina munis, the Sanghas and the like, who worked like bees for the efflorescence of Jainism.

The Jaina rite of Sallekhana was performed by numerous people and Sravanbelagola is replete with examples. Parsvanatha basadi in the Chikkabetta here has the earliest of the inscriptions and numerous inscriptions here are nishidhiges mentioing rites of Salle khan a and Sanyasana performed by laymen and women and saints. (59) Many of the members of royal family did not lag behind. Royal ladies like Pullavva and Pommabbe and Kings Nitimarga II and Narsimha III performed Sallekhana. Inscriptions give us the names of numerous Jaina munis and acharyas who had their influence on both the royal family and the people in general. Simhanandi, Vakragriva, Vajranandi, Viradeva, Vijayakirti, Pujyapada, Devanandi Vimalachandra, Toranacharya are but a few important names of the Jaina acharyas of Gangavadi.

There are instances of Jaina women becoming 'nuns' (Kanthis) in order to wardoff their 'karma' and hoping for 'moksha' in the next birth. Instances of they also performing Sanyasana and Samadhividhi are there. (60)

Influenced by the pious work of these people Prithvi Nirgunadhiraja, the Bana king constructed a Jinalaya called Loka tilaka Jinalaya at Sri Pura in Saka 698 (AD 776-77), the 50th regnal year of the Ganga king Sripurusha. The Ganga king gifted the village Ponnalli in Nirgunda vishaya free of imposts to this basadi. (61) Of hundreds of such instances, this is one only.

In fact Jainism was so much interwoven in society that it had become difficult to distinguish a Jaina from non-Jaina and vis-a-vis, Jainism had its first 'Golden Age' in Gangavadi under the tender care of ever memorable Ganga royal family.

THE CHALUKY AS inherited very much from the Kadambas and the Gangas. Jayasimha was the grandson of Ganga Durvinita and as officers under Kadambas the Chalukyas commenced their career.

The Chalukyas called themselves 'Paramabhagavatas'. But this did not disturb in any way the administration and very catholic religious policy. Religious freedom was so much that sometimes members of the royal family followed different religions. Chalukya Vinayaditya's daughter Kumkumadevi was a worshipper of Jina. She was married to the Alupa King Chitravahana who worshipped Shiva and has been hailed in inscriptions as the king of the Pasupatas.

Kumkumadevi built the famous Anesajje-basadi at Purigere, Alupa Chitravahana alongwith his queen participated in the consecration ceramony and requested his brother-in-law, emperor Chalukya Viajayaditya to provide the Chaityalaya with munificent grants, which was accepted and duly carried out by the emperor (62) (in the year AD 707), Munificent grants were made to Jinalayas and Jaina munis by the Chalukyas. Ravikeerti, the famous Sandhivigrahi of Pulakesin II built a Jinalaya on top of a hill at Aihole (the Meguti temple) to which the emperor gave generous grants, The famous Prasarti of Pulakesin II comes from this Jinalaya, Composed by the poet laureate Ravikeerti himself and is dated AD 634. (63)

The Chalukya catholicity is further exhibited in permitting the Jainas to excavate a cave temple alongwith the three brahmanical caves at Badami. This cave may be the earliest of the caves here. Similarly there is a cave Jinalaya at Aihole very close to the famous Ravanapahadi cave. The Chalukyas bequeathed this heritage to the Rashtrakutas.

THE RASHTRAKUT AS took a step forward in not only patronising Jainism but also following it. Their capital Mulkhed (Manyakheta) seems to be a very ancient centre of jainism. According to Haribhadrasuri, the author of 'Samyaktva Saptati', Mulkhed and its neighbourhood was inherited by a fairly good number of Svetambara Jains as early as first century AD. (64) Govinda III made a grant to the Jaina teacher Arikirti disciple of Vijayakirti. His brother Kambha as governor of Gangavadi made grants to Jinalaya and Jaina teachers. Amoghavarsha I was a great patron of Jainism. He became a follower of Jainism during the latter part of his rule and patronised the great Jaina acharyas such as Jinasena and Gunabhadra. These Acharyas wrote Adipurana and Uttara purana respectively.

King Krishna III married a Ganga princess named Chandiyabbe. She constructed a Chaityalaya at Nandavara (in Adoni taluk) and made munificent grants to it in AD 932. (65) Their son Indra IV performed Sallekhana. (66) Pushpadanta the author of Mahapurana and Indranandi author of Jvalamalini-Stotra were patronised by Krishna III. Besides Malkhed, Bankapura was an important centre of Jainism. However, it is Ellora which is still maintaining the grandeur of J ainism of the Rashtrakuta time with its very beautiful cave Chaityalayas. Of these mention must be made of Chota Kailas, Indra Sabha and Jagannatha Sabha.

The Chalukyas of Kalyana followed Saivism. However, patronage to Jainism continued. But during 11th and 12th centuries Jainism had to face a severe opposition from Saiva Saints like Ekantada Ramaiah and others. The Jaina Munis and Scholars failed to conduct successfully disputations against the Saiva saints. The religion lost its moorings in the northern parts of Karnataka. Most of the Chaityalayas were converted into Shivalayas. The religion paid very dearly because of the laxity of its elite.

Waves of Shock reached the Hoysala Kingdon in the South. However, here the shock was very well absorbed with a little damage to the religion Jainism.

The Jaina origin of the Hoysala dynasty is very well known. Sala, Nripakama, Vinayaditya, Ereyanga and Ballala I were devout Jains. Most of their subordinate rulers were Jains. The damage done to Jainism due to Chola invasion was properly repaired by all these people.
Bittideva's conversion certainly had some effect on the smooth going of Jainism in the long run. It is not correct to say that Vishnuvardhana himself persecuted the Jains.(67) His famous queen Shantala and the victor of the Talakad battle Gangaraja were Jains. It is said above that it was Gangaraja who converted the whole of Gangavadi into a kopana by repairing numerous basadis of the region.

He founded the village Jinanathapura, built a Chaityalaya at Sravanabelgola in the name of his mother and constructed the huge enclosure wall around the statue of Gammata over doddabetta. (68) The sons of Gangaraja gave munificent grants and even constructed basadis the important of which was Parsvanatha Basadi at Dorasumudra. it was renamed
'Vijayaparsvanatha' by Vishnuvardhana. (68A) The two brother Mariyane and Bharatimayya who were ministers and commanders of Vishnuvardhana followed the policy of Gangaraja in rejuvinating Jainism. (69)

Queen Shan tala constructed basad is and performed Sallekhana. (70) Punisaraja dandadhipa (Punisamayya II) another Commander of Vishnuvardhana built a Trikuta­Jinalaya named Punisa-Jinalaya in Arikottara (modern Chamarajanagara). He also got renovated the basadis in Gangavadi 96000. (71) Chattaraja, another commander of Vishnuvardhana, alongwith his brother Chavana created two basad is as 'Parokshavinaya' to their mother-Kamavve at Herjjadi. (72) Vishnuvardhana himself made grants to Poysala-Jinalaya constructed by the dandanayaka Vinayaditya. Prabhachandra Siddhantadeva received the grant. (73)

The tradtion of tolerance was continued by the successors of Vishnuvardhana. Besided giving grants and repairing the old basad is, new ones were created and tanks excavated and attached to them. (74)

However, in later times we find some basadis being converted as temples of either shiva or Vishnu. (75) and villages renamed and converted as agraharas. (76) It seems that the royal partronage accorded to Srivishnavism was misused to a cetain extent. The dispute between them and Jains of the empire attracted the attention of the Vijayanagara emperor Bukka I who decreed that there was no difference between the Vaishnava and Jaina creeds and that the Vaishnavas should continue to protect the Jaina creed. (77) Imperial protection to the Jains continued in later years also (78). But Jainism had suffered very much. It had lost its strength on its own to stand strong and independently.

From Ganga Kadamba period to that of the Hoysalas Jainism had an upper hand becasue of its strong influence over the ruling families including their officers and Samantas and faced little competition from the Brahmanical section of the society. Quite a good number of minor ruling families such as Rattas of Saundatti, the Sendrakas, the Silaharas, the Guttas of Guttal, the Nolamba pallavas, the Mannera Masalevade chiefs, the Nidugallu chiefs, the Banas the Banas of Khanda­vamandala (Kopana), the Kongalvas the Santaras and the Changalvas were followers 0 Jainism (79). Even the merchant guild of Aihole-Vira Bananjus were followeres of Jainism according to Dr. P.B. Desai. The territory of these rulers has spread over a wide area comprising of territories 0 Maharastra, Andhra and Tamilnadu bordering the present state of karnataka. Fall of these dynasties, the rise of a strong veerashaiva movement in the north and the entry of Sri-Vaishnavism from the Tamil country brought in the decline of Jainism.

Having lost its moorings in the plains Jainism fled fast down below the Ghats and into the Coast of Karnataka. The green clad hills and valleys of the coast provided a safe anchorage to the disturbed ship. Jainism witnessed another golden Age here.

Jainism entered the North and South Kanara districts of the coast during the rule of the Kadambas of Banavasi. Referece to the minor ruling Jaina family of Kellas has been made already. The statement of Dr. R.B.P. Singh that South Kanara contains no important Jaina vestiges of the 5th-12th centuries A.D.(80) is totally wrong. For, we find sufficient materials to prove its existence here during this period. (81)

After the rule of the Alupas a number of dynastics began to rule independently the coastal districts of Karnataka. They were besides the Kellas, the Kadambas of Chandavara, the chiefs of Bilgi, Nagire and Haduvalli in North Kanara and the Bangas, the Chautas, the Ajilas, the Tolahas, the Honneya Kambalis, the Santaras and the Kalasa-Karkala rulers and a host of their Ballalas and Heggades. These were all Jains. Excepting a few, the rest had their hay days during the Vijayanagara period. The entire region had come under the perview of the Vijayanagara governors with headquarters at Mangalore, Barakur and Honnavar.

The Jaina ruling families of the coast enjoyed political autonomy. Excepting the Bangas, the Bhairarasus of Karkala and thaNagire chiefs the others ruled over smaller areas. Hence, lacked the much needed economic strength. Yet, they loved independence too much, This condition can best be campared with the ancient city­states of Greece. Wars arising out of Jealousy and mutual hatred, had been the common scene. They bacame an easy prey to the more enterprising and disciplined forces of the rulers of Keladi who began to occupy the coast after the fall of the Vijayanagara empire. Jaina activities ceased to exist by the middle of the 17th century and a few ruling families exist even today.

The Alupas, the earliest ruling family of South Kanara were followers of Saivism. Their close associates were the Kellas and the Santaras both being Jains. During the closing years of their rule we find the Alupas associating themselves with the Jaina Pontiffs of Mudabidere. (82)
Performance of Samadhi-vidhi by a certain uttamasetti during the 15th regnal year of Bammadeva Alupendra is recorded in an inscription of AD 1285.(83) Earlier to this, we get a lot of information regarding the matrimonial contacts of Alupas with the Chalukyas of Badami and. the Santaras, Alupa king Chitravahana's queen Kumkumadevis pious acts have been referred to already. Barakur has got a very beautifully carved piece of nishadhige stone belonging to this period. (84) This shows that Jainism existed here during the Chalukyan period to the extent of influencing people to take up the famous Jaina rite.

The Santaras who bagan to rule from Humcha (Shimoga District) have been described as "Patti-Pombuchcha Puravaradhesvara" in their inscription. For long time it was believed that Patti-Pombuchcha represents only the capital city of Pombuchcha (Humcha). Recent researches have proved that two cities are named here and Patti refers to Hattiyangadi in Kundapur Taluk of South Kanara and Pombuchcha is the same as Humcha. (85) This place Hattiyangadi had good contact with Purigere, And Hattiyangadi was and ancient place of Jainism in South Kanara.(86) The earliest of the Santara epigraphs obtained from Udiyavara belongs to this period. (87) Apart from political and military achievements, the Santaras have contributed in a very memorable way to Jainism in South Kanara, King Kundana renovated the famous Nemisvara Chaityalaya at Varanga. Jakala Mahadevi, the queen of Alupa Kulashekhara excavated a tank and made some grants to this Jinalaya. Varanga, then was equal to Mahateertha (Kopana). There were two more such teerthas such as Kurulikunda and Alevuru in South Kanara at that time. Varanga was a great seat of Jaina monks belonging to Meshapashana-gachchha. This pontifical seat existed here probably from the 8th century onwards. (88) What was once a Jaina maha-teertha with a Pontificate of upmost sacredity, is today a totally unknown and uncared place.

The Jaina rulers though fighting among themselves, gave very much attention to Jainism and made it to flourish. They kept their people in good humor by giving equal importance to their social and religious activities, They carried on with equal zeal, the building work of both basad is and temples. A new tradition developed as a result that no temple celebration was to take place without the presence of rulers. This continues even today. it is strange but a fact to know that each Jaina ruler had Shiva as their family god besides a Jina-teerthankara.(89)

The Saluva chiefs of Nagire and Haduvalli were devout followers of Jainism. Many members of the royal family performed Samadhividhi. They constructed Jinalayas and granted them munificently with land and wealth. (90) Bhatkala, Sangitapura and Gerusoppa have a number of monuments recalling to our mind the grand days of Jainism. The pontofical seat of Gerusoppa had to be shifted to Simhanagadde due to political calamities, The saluvas had given a lot of encouragement to literature, learning and education. The important Jaina poets of this place were Kotisvara, Adiyappa, Salva, Abhinava vadi-vidyananda Padmarasa, Bhattakalanka, Payanna and Samtiyya. (91)

Most of the places in South Kanara contain basadies. But the best of them are to be seen at Karkala, Venur and Mudabidire. Each one of them contain as many as eighteen basadis. The best among these are the Hosabasadi (Thousand Pille red Basadi) at Mudabidire and. the Chaturmukha basadi at Karkala. What can be achieved by the people under good guidance is better seen in the grandeur of construction of Hosabasadi (AD 1430-1461). Nagire King Bhairava, his queen and members of his family made munificent grants to it. The famous Bhairadevi-mantapa and the most beautiful Manasthambha here., stand as a testimony to their pious acts. The Karkala Chaturmukha basadi was a creation of king Immadi Bhairava in AD 1586. One another feather in the cap of achievement of Karkala rulers is erection and consecration of the famous image of Bahubali in AD 1432 by King Vira-Pandyadeva-Vodeya on a small rocky hill over looking a picturesque sight of a lake and the westen ghats.

The Ajilas, though a small ruling family have contributed a lot to heritage of Jaina art. Ajila Timmaraja has immortalised himself by setting up an image of Bahubali at Venur in AD 1604.
The Chaityalayas, the free standing images of Bahubali, the most beautiful and lofty manastambhas and the large and tall pillars in the basadies - all have attracted the attention of the international art critics. Creating things of beauty in hard granite is not possible. But the artists patronised by the Jaina Kings, have made it possibie here. The Jaina families who caused for the creation of these and of the like else where have immortalised themselves by their pious acts. (92)

When opposition to Jainism became strong elsewhere the two pontifical seats of Lalitakeertimuni and Charukeerti muni were shifted below the Ghats. Karkala became the seat of Lalitakeerthi Bhattarakas and Mudabidire became the seat of Charukeerthi Bhattarakas. The jwo Jaina mathas with their munis played an important role in the socio-religious activities of their region. They survive even today sans-grandeur. (93)

As a result of the encouragement and guidance of the Jaina acharyas and patronage of the kings this region was able to produce a number of Jaina Scholars and poets. Vrittavilasa, Kalyanakeerti, Yashaskeerti, Bahubali, Vardhamana, Rathnakaravarni, Chandrama etc., were some of the great poets of the time. (94)

Jainism has made an indelible mark on the culture of Karnataka. Idea of peaceful co-esistence, simplicity of life and food are Jaina contributions. Kannada literature developed only because of the efforts of the Jaina Saints and Scholars. In fact scholars have very clearly distinguished the early period as Jaina period in the history of Kannada literature. The numerous Chaityalayas that have spread round the State stand as a testimony of a religious discipline as well as the best of the examples of Jaina art. Sravanabelagola and its complex has now formed a part of national heritage. The spirit of Jainism reverberates in the hills of this ancient sacred mahateertha. The people, the Saints, the kings, officers, the laity and the like- who were behind these acts deserve our attention and remembrance. I humbly express my salutations to all these who caused for the grandeur of Jainism in Karnataka:

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