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    Glimpses of a Great Yogi — Biography of Yogi Ramsuratkumar with experiences of Sadhu Rangarajan is now available online. More chapters are being included on a regular basis.

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A FLOWER THAT BLOSSOMED IN FIRE

Editorial, TATTVA DARSANA, October-December 2010

SADHU PROF. V. RANGARAJAN

A flower that blossomed in fire will not whither in the summer heat. Attempts are being made in the recent period to scorch the only patriotic organization of the Hindus that is trying to revive and rekindle the dormant spirit of Hindu nationalism and unite the Hindus all over the world to reinstall Mother Bharat once again on the throne of Loka Guru—the preceptor of the world—as envisaged by the ancient Vedic Rishis. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not just an organization, but the life breath of millions of dedicated and patriotic Swayamsevaks all over the country and in 55 countries outside Bharat who gather every day—morning, evening or night—and pray to the Divine Mother, Bharatamba, to make them fit instruments for Her work of leading the entire humanity to the highest goal of human existence.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was founded by Dr. Keshav Baliaram Hedgewar who, at the prime of his youth, was inspired by the patriotic urge of liberating his Motherland from the thralldom of British rule, abandoned a lucrative career of a medical doctor, and plunged heart and soul into the freedom struggle. The Sannyasi Rebellion of Bengal and the First War of Indian Independence inspired the modern Rishi, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, to write the ‘Ananda Math’ novel incorporating into it the immortal national song, “Bande Mataram”, which electrified the whole nation with the mantra of Bhartiya Nationalism, “Vande Mataram”. Revolutionary movements like Yugantar in Bengal, Abhinava Bharat in Maharashtra and Bharatmata Sangham in the Madras Province sprang up from the burning embers of the freedom struggle. Dr. Hedgewar was attracted to the revolutionary movement, but he soon realized that because of the absence of awakening of patriotic urge among the common masses, all the efforts of the valiant revolutionary youth were only turning them into martyrs falling to the bullets of the British imperialists or facing the gallows and dying like moths flying into fire.

The cunning British, who wanted to extinguish the burning embers of revolutionary urge left by the earlier rebellions and wars of independence of the Indian people, devised a means by encouraging a white man, A.O. Hume, to rope in English educated and semi-westernized Indians and set up the Indian National Congress to serve as a body to negotiate with the British for some petty privileges and civil rights of the Indian people and at the same time take away the revolutionary spirit in them. Finding the futility of an armed revolution in the absence of people’s awakening, many patriots and revolutionaries also joined the Congress movement with a view to make it a true forum for national awakening. Soon, leaders like Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bepin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai emerged to convert the Congress into a true nationalist movement to fight for the freedom of the country and Tilak gave the inspiring message, “Swaraj is my birthright”, which galvanized the drooping spirit of Indians. Young revolutionaries were also attracted to these leaders who however, were dubbed by the pro-British as ‘extremists’ as against the moderates in the Congress who wanted only some rights and concessions under the British rule. It was at this juncture that Lord Ampthill contacted Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who had founded the Natal Indian Congress in South Africa and was struggling for the rights and privileges of Indians under the white Apartheid regime. Gandhi assured Ampthill in emphatic terms, “I am a loyal citizen of the British Empire” and avowed that he had nothing to do with the ‘extremists’ at home. Ampthill found the right instrument to uproot the ‘extremists’, and through Gokhale, persuaded Gandhi to return to India to take over the leadership of Congress. After the Ampthill-Gandhi-Gokhale parlour in London, the British spent money to bring Gandhi and his entourage back to India and plant him in Indian politics. Right from his arrival in India, the role of Gandhiji was to pull the legs of ‘extremist’ leaders and dub the patriotic revolutionaries as misguided youth. The peak of Gandhiji’s achievements was the throwing out of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from the Congress, forcing Netaji to leave the shores of the country and to take over the leadership of the Indian National Army founded by Rash Behari Bose in Japan. Though Netaji’s efforts to liberate India with the help of Japanese and Germans in the World War could not materialize and he himself had to disappear, the INA did give a crushing blow to the British Empire by giving rise to a mutiny in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force under the inspiration of the soldiers of the Azad Hind Fauj and made the “empire where sun never set” crumble. Even after India attained independence due to the contribution of INA, Gandhiji and the Congress clandestinely took all the credit for Indian Independence as Netaji was taken a prisoner and moved to Siberia by the Russians. The Congress leaders did know the truth about the disappearance of Netaji, but they did not want to probe into it or even wish the return of Netaji to Motherland. Gandhiji wanted a pro-British moderate leader to be the Prime Minister and installed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru instead of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel who was pro-nationalist and pro-Hindu and even enjoyed the full support of the Congress Party.

Dr. Hedgewar, had joined the Congress in Central Province under the leadership of Lokamanya Tilak in an attempt to create national awakening among the masses. He not only rose as a leader of the Congress in Central Province, but even courted imprisonment as a disciplined Congress volunteer. However, it did not take much time for him to realize that the Congress movement was drifting away from the high ideals set by leaders like Lokamanya Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh. He foresaw that, under the leadership of Gandhi, instead of realizing the dream of a United India of patriotic citizens, the Congress would only promote fanatic Islamic communalism and vivisection of the Motherland. During the Khilafat Movement, he found that the Muslims, who had received the support of the Congress and Gandhi, were interested only restoring the position of Khalif of Turkey and were least interested in the freedom and integrity of the Indian Nation. Dr. Hedgewar, therefore, decided to awaken the Hindu society, who alone could save the most ancient Hindu Nation and preserve its freedom and integrity. He founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and decided to work at the grass-root level to spread the ideals of patriotism and nationalism among the common masses, not through public platforms, party politics and propaganda, but by making the Hindu youth meet every day under the shade of the Paramapavitra Bhagava Dwaja or the Ochre flag which has been the symbol of Hindu Nationalism since times immemorial, building up strong unity and brotherhood among the Hindus and creating a cadre of dedicated youth who sacrificed themselves at the altar of Mother Bharat as Her true volunteers,

 The RSS as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been popularly known, grew in leaps and bounds. Started as a small group of dedicated youngsters in Nagpur, it grew into an organization spreading its wings outside Maharashtra even during the lifetime of Doctor Hedgewar. When a winter camp of the RSS was taking place in Wardha, Mahatma Gandhi, accompanied by Mahadev Desai, made a visit to the Sangh camp on December 25, 1934, and admired the work of RSS in eradicating caste differences and uniting the Hindus under one banner.  Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose called on Dr. Hedgewar to discuss his plans before leaving the shores of the country, but Doctorji was at that time in his death bed and Netaji could not have any conversation with him. Under the leadership of Sri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, a saintly successor of Dr. Hedgewar, the organization spread not only throughout the length and breadth of the country, but also among the Hindu Diaspora in the distant lands. The growth of the organization under the stewardship of Sri Guruji Golwalkar and its staunch opposition to the vivisection of the Motherland annoyed the Congress leaders who wanted to become rulers of the land even at the cost of partition. The partition of the country came with heavy bloodshed, butchering of lakhs of innocent Hindus including women and children in the part of the land that came to be known as Pakistan and mass exodus of Hindu refugees into Hindusthan. It was at this juncture that the assassination of Gandhi took place. The Congress leaders who were waiting for an opportunity to crush the pro-Hindu forces and leaders of the Hindu community who were dead against the partition of the land and the Muslim appeasement policy of the Congress found it an opportune moment to take on the Hindu leaders. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Maha Sabha were implicated in the Gandhi assassination and banned. Sri Guruji Golwalkar and even Swatantry Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the veteran freedom fighter who was sentenced to two life imprisonments by the British, were incarcerated.

 “Satyameva jayate”—‘Truth alone triumphs’—is the message of the great Rishis of this holy land of Bharatavarsha. Sri Guruji and Veer Savarkar were honourably acquitted by the courts of law and the ban on the organizations was lifted. After the lifting of the ban, when Sri Guruji went round the country, wherever he went, an ocean of humanity gave him a rousing welcome. The RSS organization grew like Hanuman before leaping across the ocean. The services of the brave Swayamsevaks of the Sangh in helping the valiant Indian soldiers on the battle front during the period of Pakistani and Chinese aggressions drew the admiration of the whole nation. Congress leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was the Deputy Prime Minister, could not but praise the courage and spirit of sacrifice of the Swayamsevaks. Even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had to acknowledge the spirit of patriotism and discipline of the Swayamsevaks and invite them to join the army, police and para-military forces in a grand Republic Day Parade in the Nation’s capital. The services rendered by the self-less Swayamsevaks during the natural calamities and their yeoman service to the affected people irrespective of caste, creed and community distinctions drew the admiration of the whole nation. When Sri Guruji Golwalkar passed away, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi did not fail to hail him as a great leader of the nation.

 However, during the period of Emergency declared in 1975 when dictatorship of Indira Gandhi was clamped on the nation, the patriotic organization of RSS once again came under dark cloud for its support to a great national leader like Jaya Prakash Narayan fighting against the corrupt regime of Indira and her coterie. The then Sarsanghchalak of RSS, Paramapoojaneeya Sri Balasaheb Deoras was incarcerated along with many national leaders like Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The RSS was also banned, but the dictatorial regime of Indira could not curtail the gigantic strength of the RSS. Responding to the call of Lok Sangharsh Samity set up by Jaya Prakash Narayan to oust the dictator from power, more than a lakh of Swayamsevaks and their family members including aged mothers and young daughters and sisters offered Satyagraha at all places from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and filled the jails. Even the police officers who had to arrest the volunteers and the jailors who had to keep them in the prisons could not but admire the discipline, dedication and devotion to Motherland on the part of the Swayamsevaks and families. Truth once again triumphed, the dictatorial regime of Indira was thrown out and the RSS once again emerged as a Phoenix.

 Attempts to crush the Hindu nationalist force once again after the pulling down of the dome built by the Muslim marauder Babur on the top of the Ram Temple at Rama Janma Bhoomi did not succeed and the anti-Hindu forces claiming themselves to be ‘Secularists’ to appease the minorities for their vote bank are incessantly baying for the blood of RSS and other allied Hindu organizations. The RSS today stands like the Himalayan Mountain with 35,000 branches spread all over the country and its branches in 55 countries, with lakhs of dedicated and highly qualified full time workers engaged in more than 1,50,000 service projects. For this dedicated band of workers, the Motherland is the Supreme Goddess and Her service alone is the greatest worship. Thousands of sadhus, sannyasins and spiritual leaders all over the world rally behind the RSS today and shower their blessings on the Swayamsevaks for whom the mantras for daily chanting are Bharat Mata ki jai and Vande Mataram.

 Today, the UPA Government of India, led by the Congress Party with a President of Italian origin, Sonia Gandhi, and a puppet Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, with a coterie of thugs turned into politicians and holding cabinet berths and looting the nation to the tune of several lakhs of crores of rupees when the people of the country are suffering in utter poverty, famine and natural calamities all over the land, is trapped in internationally notorious scams like the 1.76 lakh Spectrum Scam, the CWG Scam and the Adarsh Housing Scam. International investigators have come out with revelation of 280 lakh crore of rupees of Indian black money hoarded in Swiss Banks out of which 20 lakh crores belong to politicians. In order to divert the attention of the people from these stark realities and also to gain the support of the so called minorities to keep themselves in power, the so called secular leaders in power have created a myth of Saffron Terrorism to terrify the minorities and turn them against the patriotic Hindus who are raising their voice against the corrupt regime. Even the dreaded terrorists and militants who attacked Indian Parliament, wrought havoc in Mumbai and other parts of the country and killed Indian soldiers and members of Para Military Forces in Jammu & Kashmir are given protection by the UPA Government and the order of the Supreme Court to execute a heinous criminal who was responsible for the death of innocent people is kept in abeyance, giving the criminal a royal treatment in the jail at the expense of the poor citizens of this nation, just because those in power do  not want to displease the minorities whose vote bank is sine qua non for their political survival. At the same time, in the name of Saffron terrorism, they do not hesitate to arrest Hindu spiritual leaders and torture them and force them to make confessions of attack on a mosque. Recently Rahul Gandhi, the self-appointed prince of the nation and heir apparent to the throne after Sonia Gandhi, compared RSS with a notorious Muslim terrorist outfit, SIMI, which is under ban.  Sri K.S. Sudharshan, former Sarsanghchalak of RSS, while condemning the attack on RSS, pointed out to the serious allegations against Sonia Gandhi about her real name, age, educational qualification, her connections with KGB and CIA and the mystery behind the death of former Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi which have been widely publicized in the internet and other media and evidences about which have been collected by responsible leaders like Dr. Subramaniam Swamy. Thanks to the internet, the whole literate world is today aware of these matters. Instead of instituting an enquiry into the allegations and clearing the name of Sonia if she is really innocent, the Congress goons have taken law into their hand and have indulged in attacks on RSS offices. The RSS had to organize a nationwide protest in which millions of Swayamsevaks participated to show to the goondas of the ruling party what will happen if the Swayamsevaks all over the country retaliate. Being disciplined and law abiding citizens not interested in creating any circumstance in which violence will erupt and innocent people will suffer, the RSS volunteers will not definitely answer in the language in which the goondas speak, but they know how a lion could defend itself when attacked by jackals. They will certainly not take everything lying down and will know how to confront the anti-social and anti-national forces.

 Now the task before the RSS organization is to go to the people and enlighten them about what is happening in the country, how the nation’s wealth is looted by a handful of political thugs and how the nation’s independence and sovereignty are put in peril by the compromise of the people in power with terrorist forces within the country and from outside. A national awakening is to be created throughout the country so that the anti-national and selfish forces are wiped out through a democratic process. If this task is not accomplished soon by peace-loving and patriotic volunteers of the Sangh on a war footing, the poor and downtrodden masses who are today on the verge of frustration and extinction will rise in a violent revolt like the French or Russian Revolution tomorrow and people in power will be wiped out in the way Queen Mary Antoinette, Louis XIV and the Czar of Russia were done away with. Mother India is a land of peace and bliss and it should not be turned into a land of war between the Divine and the Asuric forces endangering the lives of millions of innocent people. The spiritual leaders of the country should openly come out and speak boldly to the people about their task in purifying the nation of all the devilish forces. Great mahatmas like Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo and Yogi Ramsuratkumar have already predicted that during the decade beginning with 2010, Bharatavarsha will see a revolutionary change, Akhand Bharat will once again emerge and Bharat will once again become a powerful Hindu Rashtra. It is for the present day spiritual leaders of the land to see that this transformation takes place in their life time. Vande Mataram!

 

SADHU PROF. V. RANGARAJAN

Founder and Trustee, Sri Bharatamata Gurukula Ashram &

Yogi Ramsuratkumar Indological Research Institute

Sri Guruji Golwalkar Hindu Resource Centre

Sister Nivedita Academy, Sri Bharatamata Mandir, Srinivasanagar, Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore 560 036

(Phone 080-25610935; Cell: 9448275935, e-mail: sadhu.rangarajan@gmail.com

Website: sribharatamatamandir.org )

 

RAJARAJAN – –The Emperor of the Three Worlds

RAJARAJAN

–The Emperor of the Three Worlds

SADHU PROF. V. RANGARAJAN

 

 

Sri Brihadeeswara Temple, A Thousand Year Old Temple popularly known as Tanjavur Peria Kovil or the Big Temple of Tanjore in Tamilnadu built by the great Chozha Emperor, Rajaraja, will be holding its Millennium Celebrations from September 22 to 26, 2010.  The Government will organize a five-day cultural festival involving thousands of artists to mark the millennium celebrations. A confluence of thousand folk artists from 75 troupes in Thanjavur will participate in cultural events to be held in the evenings from September 22 to 24 in venues on Big Temple premises, Rajarajan Manimandapam, Tholkappiar Sathukkam, Old TNHB quarters and Karandhai. The Tamil University of Tanjore will also hold a seminar on Rajaraja and the construction of the temple on the occasion of the Millennium Celebrations.

 

The construction of the temple was begun in 1003 A.D., and completed in 1009 A.D., during the reign of the renowned emperor Rajaraja. The unique archaeological marvel of the temple is that the Vimana of Brihadeeswara is 216 feet tall and the structure is in single stone dragged to the top through a temporary slope path from a long distance.

 

The Great Chozhas

“Rama built, with the aid of the monkeys, a causeway across the sea and then slew with great difficulty the king of Lanka by means of sharp-edged arrows. But Rama was excelled by this (King) whose powerful army crossed the ocean by ships and burnt up the King of Lanka”, proclaims the Tiruvalangadu plates, presenting a picturesque account of the invasion of Ceylon by Rajarajan, the greatest monarch of Southern India. At a time when Northern India was divided into weak and warring states, some of which were subjected to the ravages of Islamic invasions, there arose in the South, a mighty and powerful empire which brought the whole of Southern India, from Tungabhadra to Ceylon, under the ‘Tiger banner’ of the Chozha dynasty, and the great emperor who achieved this feat was Rajarajan, whose men-of-war, carrying the ‘Tiger-flag’ on their masts, sailed on the three waters. It is the good fortune of historians that this glorious emperor conceived the idea of prefixing to his inscriptions, a set historical introduction or prashasti, recounting in an ornate and poetic style of Tamil, the main achievements of his reign, and this practice was kept up by his successors.

The origin of the Chozhas is unknown. Parimelazhagar, the learned commentator of Tirukkural, considers the name as one of immemorial antiquity and renown. The earliest Chozha Kings of whom we have tangible evidence are those mentioned in Sangam literature. Karikalan and Kochengannan are the two outstanding rulers among them. Uraiyur was the capital of Chozhas during the Sangam age and Kaveripoompattinam or Puhar was a renowned sea-port and one of the few great cities of the time. The history of the Chozhas from the Sangam age to the accession of Vijayalaya in the second quarter of the ninth century is shrouded in darkness.

Glorious Accession

Vijayalaya, whose reign begins shortly before 850 A.D., is the founder of the dynasty in which Rajarajan was born. Vijayalaya, who was probably a vassal of the Pallavas, captured Thanjavur from Muttaraiyar chiefs, who were partisans of the Pandyas. Vijayalaya’s son Aditya I over threw the Pallava Aparajitavarman and brought Tondaimandalam under his sway in 890 A.D. Aditya was succeeded by Parantaka I, who was in turn followed by his two sons, Gandaraditya and Arinjaya. Sundara Chozha, son of Arinjaya, who succeeded to the throne, chose his known son Aditya II as the heir apparent. But Aditya fell as a victim to a conspiracy hatched by Uttama Chozha, son of Gandaraditya, who now forced Sundara Chozha to choose him as heir apparent. Though the people wanted Sundara Chozha’s younger son, Arumoli, the future Rajarajan, to succeed to the throne, Rajarajan was too good to accept the throne while his uncle wanted it. He chose to remain a yuvaraja till the end of Uttama Chozha’s reign which lasted for sixteen years.

Raja Kesari Arumolivarman, as he was known in the early years of his reign, came to the throne on some day in the month following 25th June, 985 A.D. He was the son of Sundara Chozha by Vanavan Mahadevi, and his star was Satabhishaj. With his accession to the throne began the glorious epoch of the Chozhas, and the thirty years of his reign constituted the formative period of a powerful and prosperous empire. The affection he lavished on his sister Kundavai, after whom he named one of his daughters, and the privileged position accorded to his grand-aunt, Sembian Mahadevi, the mother of Uttama Chozha, indicate that he was great and good man as well as a far-sighted ruler. His nobility and magnanimity stands out in remarkable contrast to the selfishness and mean-mindedness of his uncle, Uttama Chozha.

Career of Conquests

Soon after his accession to the throne, Rajarajan started a brilliant career of conquests and expansion of his kingdom. His immediate rivals in the south were the Cheras, Pandyas and Sinhalas, who were allied against the Chozhas. In the first lap of his southern expedition, Rajarajan overran the Chera Kingdom by defeating the Chera King, Bhaskara Ravi Varman Tiruvadi, in a war fought at Kandalur Salai, a coastal town of the Chera country. He then defeated his Pandya rival, Amarabhujangan, who was an ally of the Chera and annexed the Pandya territories. Mention about Rajarajan’s conquest of Madurai, Vizhinjam, Kollam, Kolla-desam and Kodungolur in different prashastis make it clear that he had sent more than one expedition against his adversaries, the Pandya and the Chera. Rajarajan also led an expedition against Udagai, a fortress in the Western Ghats in the region of Malai-nadu or Kuda-malai-nadu. He also established the Chatayam festival in the Chera country.

Rajarajan now turned his attention to Ceylon. The naval expedition against ‘Eezham’ (Ceylon) must have taken place during the reign of Mahinda V who came to the throne in 981 A.D. and was still ruling Ceylon at the time when Rajarajan’s son and successor, Rajendran invaded the island. On account of a military revolution which led to the ascendancy of Kerala and Kannata mercenaries in a large part of his kingdom, Mahinda has to take refuge in the inaccessible hill country in the south-east of Ceylon, called Rohana. Rajarajan, finding this as a right opportunity, invaded Ceylon and made himself the master of Northern Ceylon, which became a province (mandalam) under the name Mummudi-chozha-mandalam. One permanent result of the Chozha invasion was that Anuradhapura, the capital of Ceylon for over 1000 years, was finally destroyed by the armies of Rajarajan.

Chozha Capital of Ceylon

Polonnaruva , formerly a military out-post of the ancient capital, now became the capital under the Chozhas. It was renamed Jagannatha-Mangalam, after another title assumed by Rajarajan about the middle of his reign. Rajarajan signalized the Chozha occupation of Ceylon by the construction of a stone temple to Siva in Polonnaruva. This beautiful little Siva temple, constructed of granite and limestone which stands within the walled confines of the old city of Polonnaruva. Is among the few Hindu monuments of Ceylon, which are still in a good state of preservation; and “its architectural form seems at once to class it with the Hindu fanes of South India erected from the tenth to the twelfth centuries, of which the great temple of Tanjore is the finest and most elaborate exponent.” Rajarajan’s inscriptions have been found in Ceylon. An officer form the Chozha country by name Tali Kumaran built another temple called Rajarajeswara at Mahatitha (Mantota) which was also named Rajarajapura, and richly endowed the new temple.

After subjugating the southern kingdoms, Rajarajan turned his attention to the North-West. He conquered Gangapadi, Nolumbapadi and Tadigaipadi all of them in the Mysore country. But he could not advance far immediately, as the Western Chalukyas disputed this Chozha advance and Tailapa II gained a victory over the advancing Chozhas by defeating them. Within a few years after 992 A.D., Tailapa II died and was succeeded by Satyashraya on the Chalukya throne.

Intervention in Vengi

Satyashraya continued the aggressive policy of his father, his chief enemy being the rising Chozha power under Rajarajan who was establishing a stronghold on the eastern Deccan by active intervention in the affairs of the Vengi Kingdom. In Vengi, the King Danarnava was slain in a battle by the Telugu-Chozha chief, Jata-Chozha Bhima, probably a grandson of Chalukya Bhima II. Danarnava’s sons, Shaktivarman and Vimaladityan, sought refuge under Rajarajan. Bhima invaded Tondaimandalam and started a war against Rajarajan. But he was defeated in the war and taken prisoner. Rajarajan restored the Vengi Kingdom to Shaktivarman. He also gave his daughter, Kundavai, in marriage to Vimaladitya, brother of Shaktivarman. By the part he played in restoring order and putting an end to the long-drawn civil strife in that kingdom, Rajarajan was well justified in claiming to have conquered Vengi. However the political relation in which Vengi stood to the Chozha Empire under Rajarajan is best described as that of a protectorate.

 Subjugation of Western Chalukyas

 Unable to brook this extension of Chozha power into the Eastern Deccan, Shaktivarman invaded Vengi in 1006 A.D., his general Bayalanambi reducing the forts of Dhanyakataka and Yanamadala to ashes, and established himself in Chebrolu in the Guntur District. Acting on the; principle that attack is the best form of defence, Rajarajan ordered his son Rajendran to invade Western Chalukya Kingdom at the head of a strong army. Rajendran marched up to Donur in Bijapur district, captured Banavasi and a good part of the Raichur doab, and sacked Manyakheta, the Chalukya capital. At the same time another section of the army operating from Vengi, advanced on Kollipakkai (Kulpak) and captured its fortress. Shaktivarman was thus compelled to withdraw his forces from Vengi and only with difficulty he succeeded in freeing his country of the Chozha army, which retired behind the Tungabhadra with much booty, part of which went to the enrichment of the Tanjore temple.

Rajarajan later included in his conquests, Kalinga, whose King was enemy of the Eastern Chalukya Vimaladitya, who was Rajarajan’s son-in-law and successor of Shaktivarman. The last of the conquests, mentioned only in the latest inscriptions of Rajarajan, is that of the ’old islands of the sea numbering 12,000’—the Maldives. This naval conquest is sufficient indication that the navy which Rajendran used so effectively some years later, had been organized under his great father who stands in many ways in the same relation to  Rajendran as Philip of Macedon to Alexander the Great.

 In the closing years of his reign Rajarajan associated his son Rajendran with himself in the official administration. The formal recognition of Rajendran as heir apparent took place some time between the 27th March and 7th July 1012 A.D. Rajendran must have been twenty five years of age at that time.

Construction of Rajarajeswaram

The magnificent Shiva temple, Rajarajeswara at Tanjore, Completed in 1010 A.D., fittingly commemorates the glory of Rajarajan’s reign which came to an end with his death in 1014 A.D. It is the finest monument of a splendid period of South Indian history and the most beautiful specimen of Tamil architecture at its best. The temple is remarkable alike for its stupendous proportions and for the simplicity of its design.

The Vimana of this temple, which rises over the sanctum of a height of nearly 200 feet on a square base of about a hundred feet, dominates the whole structure. The boldly moulded Nandi, the simple and tasteful bas-reliefs and decorative motifs on the Vimana and the balustrades, the graceful sculptures in the niches on the sides of the Vimana and the fine chiselling which marks the entire work, including the lettering of the numerous inscriptions, are not equalled by anything known in South Indian architecture. Considerable engineering and architectural skill can be discerned in the construction of the temple, particularly in the work of transporting the huge blocks of granite over distances and in raising them to position. On the walls of the temple is engraved an account of Rajarajan’s exploits.

Service to the Sculptor

There is an interesting and popular story about the deep personal interest that the king evinced in the construction of the temple. It is said that one day, when the chief sthapati or the sculptor was deeply absorbed in chiselling the huge Nandi, Rajarajan went and stood by his side. The sthapati, thinking that it was his boy attendant standing by his side ordered him to prepare a pan (betel leaf with areca nut and lime). The King coolly accepted the order, folded a couple of betel leaves and handed it over to the sthapati who received it without seeing the hands that supplied them. Chewing the pan in his mouth, the sthapati started uttering words of praise, eulogizing the King who planned this unique monument. Later he asked his attendant to bring the spittoon near him. The King silently obeyed. When the sthapati raised his head after spitting the chewed betel leaves, he found to his utter surprises and shock, the Great emperor standing in front of him. He fell prostrate at the feet of the King with tears rolling down his cheeks and apologizing to the emperor, in a voice choked with emotion. The King, with a smiling face, lifted him up and consoled him by telling that it was a rare privilege for him to serve the great sthapati whose hands chiseled the sculptures of the magnificent temple.

 

A Generous Monarch

Rajarajan was not merely a great conqueror, but also a very able administrator. During his reign village assemblies and quasi-public corporations enjoyed complete autonomy, though their functioning was effectively supervised by the government. His powerful army and navy marked out Rajarajan as the greatest among the empire-builders of Southern India. Though he was a worshipper of Siva, he was tolerant of other religions. He made it a point to give clear expression to his general attitude to religion by including in the decorative motifs of the great Siva temple of Tanjore, themes form Vaishnavism and even Buddhism. He endowed and built some temples of Vishnu too. Besides, it is said that he granted a village to the Buddhist Vihara at Negapatam, constructed by Sri Mara Vijayottungavarman, the Sailendra King of Sri Vijaya and Kataha beyond the sea in the Malay Peninsula. Rajarajan had a number of wives, but only a few children. Though Loka-Mahadevi appears to have occupied the most important position among his queens, the mother of Rajendran, the heir apparent to the throne, was Tribhuvana Mahadevi. A happy and peaceful family life, free from political intrigues and conspiracies, contributed to the successful career of Rajarajan as a great conqueror and emperor.

Patron of Letters

Rajarajan was not merely a patron of art and architecture, but also of literature. Nambi Andar Nambi, the author who arranged the Shaiva Canon substantially in the form in which we now find it, was a contemporary of Rajarajan. He compiled in an abbreviated form, the stories of 63 Nayanmars, under the name Tiruttondattogai. Rajarajan himself was the subject of two works, a drama entitled Rajarajesvara-natakam which was to be enacted in the Tanjore temple during festivals, and a Kavya entitled Rajarajavijayam to be read in the temple of Tiruppundurutti. While the former was a dramatic representation of the construction of the great temple at Tanjore, the latter was a quasi-historical poem treating of Rajarajan’s reign.

Mission to China

During the close of his reign, Rajarajan sent a mission to China to take advantage to the opportunities extended by the Sung Government to foreign traders. The annuals of the Sung Dynasty record that the first mission to China from  Chu-lieu (Chozha) reached the country in A.D.1015 and state that the king of their country was Lo-ts’a-lo-ts’a (Rajaraja). The second mission was sent by his son Shi-lo-lo-cha yin-to-lo-chu-lo (Sri Raja Indra Chozha) in 1033 A.D. and a third by Kulottunga in 1077 A.D.

Immortal Fame

If names are the music of history, Rajarajan greatly indulged his taste for this music. He also sought to make these names current coin by attaching them to new foundations or substituting them for old ones. Among his many titles, one is the “Emperor of the Three Worlds” which indicates the vast sway of the Chozha Empire. Like Samudragupta he handed over to his illustrious successor, Rajendran, a great and grand empire which the later expanded further into the greatest Hindu Empire of his time. As long as the sky-scraping tower of the Brihadeeswara temple of Tanjore links heaven and earth, and the holy Kaveri, “the river which brings to the earth, in the guise of water, the nectar obtained by the gods after churning the ocean of milk” flows through the land of the Tamils, the name and fame of Rajarajan will remain engraved in golden letters in the annuals of Indian History.

{From Saga of Adventure—Kings and Emperors of Bharatavarsha by Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan}