Apr 12, 2008

The Rashtrakuta Kings

By Prof. Yashwant Malaiya, Colorado

Among the Rashtrakuta kings, Amoghavarsh was the first follower of Jainism.He ascended the throne in 821 AD He was a learned person. Acharya Jinasen,author of Adipuran, was his learned preceptor. Amoghavarsh was considered one of the four mightiest emperors of the world, His capital was Manyakhet.

'Ganit Sar Sangrah' states that Amoghavarsh was follower of the religion of non-absolutism. He left the throne and practised the religion of non-possession for several years. Amoghavarsh requested Acharya Gunabhadra,the main disciple of Acharya Jinasen, to teach his son Krishna II.Gunabhadra has been the writer of the last five chapters of Adipuran, Uttarpuran and Atmanushashan. Krishnaraj was follower of Jainism. He offered gifts for the temple of Mulagund. Krishnarai III also patronised Jainism and Jain scholars. The inscription of Danavulapatu states that king Nityavarsh (Indra IIIrd) constructed a dais for the anointment of Arhant-deva for gaining bliss. The last Rashtrakuta king Indra IV was a devoted Jain. He adopted Sallekhana vow for a peaceful death.

Many warrior ministers and commanders of Rashtrakuta were followers of Jainism. The first representative administratorof Amoghavarsha, whose name was Vankeya, was Jain. He was the ruler of Varanasi. He ordered to give a village to the Jain temples of his capital as a gift. Lokaditya, the son of Vankcya was also supporter of Jainism. Sriivijaya, the commander of Indra IIIrd, was Jain and he patronised Jain literature. About 250 years period of Rashtrakuta rulers was the golden period for creation of Jain literature. At that time about two third population was Jain. Several Jain institutions were establibsed.About 100 Digamber Jain authors wrote 200 books, Commentaries on Digamber canonical texts, Dhavala and Jaya Dhavala, were written during this period .

The great mathematician Mahaviracharya composed his Ganit SAR sangrah. Amogbvarsh himself wrote Prashnottar Ratnamala in Sanskrit and Kaviraj Marg in Kannad. Amoghavarsh had become a Jain ascetic. During the period of Akalavarsh, the son of Amoghavarsh, Gunbhadra completed his Uttarpuran.

Krishnadevaraj (IIIrd Krishna) was a powerful Rashtrakut king. He was the son of Akalavarsh III. The period of his rule has been decided as Shaka era 867-894. Bravely, he ruled in the south.

The eulogy "Yashastilak Champu" describes that Krishnaraj defeated the kings of Singhal, Chola, Pandya and Cher. During his period Ponn, the great Kannad poet, composed Shantinath Puran. Krishnadevaraj honoured him by giving him the title of "Ubhayabhasha Kavichakravartin" (The poet emperor of both the languages viz.-Sanskrit and Kannada)

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