The Religion and Philosophy of Tevaram (Thevaram)

by M. A. Dorai Rangaswamy | 1958 | 410,072 words

This page describes “age of nampi (sundarar)—examined” from the part dealing with the life and age of Nampi Arurar (Sundarar): one of the three Tevaram (Thevaram) Saints. The 7th-century Thevaram (or Tevaram) contains devotional poems sung in praise of Shiva. These hymns form an important part of the Tamil tradition of Shaivism

Chapter 7 - Age of Nampi (Sundarar)—Examined

Part I: Various theories put forward:


The life of Cuntarar (Arurar)—the various events relating to his associations with the rulers and chiefs of his age cannot be appreciated without our understanding the historical background. The age of Arurar should therefore be fixed at least provisionally. Some of the points to be taken into consideration in fixing his age are the following:

I. (a) The following saints are said to be the contemporaries of Arurar:

1. Cataiyanar, the father of Arurar.

2. Icai naniyar, the mother of Arurar.

3. Eyarkon Kalikkamar, a chief who was opposed to Arurar to start with and who became his friend later on. Cekkilar calls the family of Eyar as the family of the commanders-in-chief of the Cola army.

4. Mannkkancarar is the father-in-law of this Eyarkon Kalikkamar.

5. Viramnintar is spoken of as belonging to the cultivators’ or Velalars’ community by Cekkilar. The first word of this phrase ‘Viral’ suggests that he was a victorious commander or a chief. According to Cekkilar, he was opposed to our saint.

6. Katavarkon Kalarcinkan was the emperor ruling during the life of Arurar, who mentions him in the present tense: “Kalal culnta ulakelam kakkinra peruman katavarkon Kalarcinkan.”

7. Pucalar was a contemporary of Katavarkon .

8. Ceruttunaiyar is the king of Tancai according to Anirar and a contemporary of Katavarkon Kalarcinkan according to Cekkilar.

9. Ceraman Perumali the Cera king, was the patron of Panapattirar and a friend of Arurar, He is otherwise known as Kalatirrarivar Nayanar.

10. Kotpuli, who won a victory over a group of kings according to Arurar, a commander of the Cola army and a friend of Arurar who is said to have adopted the daughters of Kotpuli according to Cekkilar.

11. Perumilalaikkurumpar: Cekkilar describes him as the chief of Perumilalai and the name Kurumpar suggests that he was a Kurumpa chief. According to Periyapuranam, he was worshipping Arurar in his mind and died on the day previous to the departure of Arurar to Kailas.

12. Naracinkamunaiyaraiyar is the chief of Navalur who brought up Arurar.

13. Somacimarar: Somaci is a Tamil form of Somayajin—“One who had performed the Somayajna.” According to Periya-puranam, he went and lived at Thiruvarur as a great friend of Arurar.

(b) The age of these Saints will be the age of Arurar in which Ceraman and Kalarcinkan as kings and Eyarkon and Kotpuli as chieftains must have played an important part.

II. (a) Campantar and Appar lived anterior to Arurar and the following are said to be their contemporaries:

  1. Ciruttontar.
  2. Kunkiliyakkalayar.
  3. Muruka Nayanar.
  4. Tirunilakanta Yalppanar.
  5. Nilanakkar.
  6. Valuti (Netumaran).
  7. Mankaiyarkkaraci.
  8. Kulacciraiyar.
  9. Apputi.
  10. Appar refers to Campantar.

(b) Among these, Ciruttontar is considered to be the Pallava commander, who captured Vatapi about 642 A.D. during the reign of Narasimha Varma Mamalla, or about 672 A.D. during the reign of Paramesvara Varma I. Netumaran, identified with Arike-sari-Netumaran according to Prof. Nilakanta Sastri may be assigned the period 670-710 A.D. and according to others 640-680 A.D.

III. (a) Campantar, in addition, refers to Pukalitunaiyar and Appar refers to Kunampullar, Amarnitiyar. Campantar refers to Amarnitiyar. Appar refers to Cakkiya Nayanar. Both of them refer to Candeccurar Naminanti Kannappar Koccenkat Colar is mentioned by Appar. Appar mentions Tillaival Antunar and Campantar mentions Tillaival Antunar . It is doubtful whether the reference in Appar’s is to Karaikkal Ammaiyar.

These must be considered to be anterior to Appar and Campantar.

(b) The following are not found mentioned in the Tevaram hymns of Appar or Campantar but as all the hymns sung by these saints have not reached us, one cannot conclude that all of them came only after these two saints. Some of them must be anterior to Appar and Campantar. They are as follows: Pukalacolar, Karaikkalammaiyar, Tirumular, Murtti Nayanar, Kurruva Nayanar, Aiyatikal, Arivattayanar, Eripattar, Kari, Atipattar, Kalikkampar, Kaliya Nayanar, Cakti, Vayilar, Munniyatuvar, Itankali, lyarpakai, Neca Nayanar, Ilaiyankutimarar, Meypporul, Tirunalaippovar, Epatinata Nayanar, Apayar, Uruttirapacupati, Tirukkuripputtontar, Murkkar, Cirappuli, KunanTtar, Tirunilakantar and Tanti-

Pukalacolar and Eripattar are contemporaries and the fact that this Cola ruled from Karuvur suggests that he must belong to the period when the Cola kingdom was in the hands of Kalabhras and others. Kurruva Nayanar and Murtti Nayanar probably belong to the period of Kalabhra interregnum. Tirumular should also be taken to have preceded these two saints. Karaikkal Ammaiyar is referred to as Peyar by Arurar. According to Cekkilar, Karaikkal Ammaiyar lived long long before Nanacampantar who is therefore not said to have set foot on the sacred precincts of Alankani, made sacred by the foot dust of Karaikkal Ammaiyar Yapparunkala virutti quotes a verse beginning with ‘Karaippal perumottu’ in its commentary on Cutram 93 as an arsa or a verse sung by a rsi or saint and it mentions that it was sung by both Putattar and Karaikkarpey. This will make her a contemporary of the first three alvars.

In our study of Tiruttontattokali it was suggested that the people who bear the epithet ‘Kali’ may have some relationship with the Kaliyaracar or Kalabhras. The number of free lanceslike Munaiyatuvar, Ifankali, Cakti etc., seems to suggest that they lived in an age of confusion which preceded the restoration of order by Katunkon, the Pandya and Simhavisnu, the Pallava. Meypporul, the chief of the Ceti country and Epatinata, the chieftain who obtained the title of Enati, were living perhaps in these trouble times. Cakkiyar must have lived in an age of Buddhistic domination, described by Fahien, i.e., before their deterioration described by Hieun Tsang.

(c) But all of them could not be said to have preceded Appar and Campan tar. AiyankaJ, if our identification of this king with Mahendravarman II is correct, must have come between Campantar and Arurar. Again Kannnata who worshipped Campantar must have come necessarily after Campantar and before Arurar.

In any case, for our purpose, it is enough if we take them as anterior to Arurar for fixing the upper limit of his age.


Apart from these names, certain traditions and suggestions may be now considered:

1. The names Aiyankal Katavarkon and Katavarkfin Kalarcinkan seem to suggest a relationship between them. The stories of these saints given in Kannada and Sanskrit works make them father and son

2. Kalarcinkan is said to be ruling the world surrounded by the seas, thereby suggesting his naval power. Kalal is the heoric anklet worn as a sign of victory. According to Periyapuranam, (i) Kalarcinkan came of the old Pallava line; (ii) his mind never knew anything but the feet of Shiva and his worship; (iii) the frontiers of his enemies fell before him and he captured the northern land; (iv) when Ceruttunni Nayanar cut away the nose of the queen for smelling the flower set apart for God at Thiruvarur, Kalarcinkan cut away her hands which took up the flowers. Of these four points the last alone is found in Nampiyantar Nampi’s Tiruvantati (verse 64).

3. Katavarkon, the contemporary of Pucalar is said to have built the Karrali at Kanci. The Pallava king Rajasunha according to the inscriptions heard a divine voice. This is taken to refer to the message which he received for fixing a date for the consecration of the temple different from that fixed by Pucalar for consecrating his mental temple Periyapuranam, however, speaks of a dream.

4. The Periyapuranam gives the following details about Aiyatikal: (i) He came of the Pallava family; (ii) he subjugated other lands; (iii) he established the dharmic path of Shaivism and the Vedas; (iv) he abdicated and crowned his son as king; (v) he went on a pilgrimage to Shaivite temples singing a ‘venpa’ at each temple. Nampiyantar Nampi refers only to the first and fifth points which are proved by the existence of Ksettira venpa and the very name of the king Aiyatikal

5. Kotpuli according to Arurar conquered a crowd of kings and he belonged to the Cola country. But, according to Periyapuranam he was a commander of the Colas. He is said to have killed his relatives including his baby child for having tasted the rice reserved for bhaktas.

6. (a) Ceraman was the patron of Panapattirar, a musician in the court of Varaguna, the Pandya. (b) Since Varagunn II, a Shaivite saint praised by Pattinattar and others is not mentioned by Arurar, Varaguna I, the contemporary of Ceraman' must be anterior to this Varaguna II. (c) Ceraman and Arurar met the Panilya and his son-in-law, the Cola, at the royal Court of Madura. Therefore, all of them must have been friends. This requires that we must find a period for Arurar when the Pandya, the Cola and the Cera could have been on friendly terms, (d) The word Netumaran occurs in Arurar’s hymns suggesting that he was his contemporary.

7. (a) There is a tradition that Ceraman went away to Mecca and became a Muslim, (b) The Kollam era is said to have been started with his disappearance.

8. (a) The Tunilantottam plates of Nandivarma Pallavamalla speaks of an important elephant name Pattavarttanam, (Pattavardhana) which he conquered from the Gangas.

Arurar speaks of an elephant of a Tontaimam:

“Collarum pukalan Tontaiman kalirrai-c
culkoti mullaiyarkatti-t
Tellaiyil inpam avunpera velippat
taruliya iraivane.”

“You bound the elephant of Tontaiman of fame beyond words and you came to bless him with infinite happiness.” This is suggested as a reference to the Pattavardhanam.

(b) In addition, it is suggested that terms like Kalavarkon etc., used by Arurar are not found used by the Paliavas themselves as their family names before the reign of Nandivarma Pallavamalla.

Part II: The theories discussed:


The various theories put forward on the basis of these various points may be discussed to offer us the starting point and show us our way.

The Mysore Archaeological Report 1925 tries to fix the age of Arurar, after fixing the age of Nanacampantar. The Karnataka Kaviccakravartti, in his Trisastipuratana caritre, mentions according to the Report that the Jain ascetics Jinasena, Nayasena, Srtakirti, Visalakirti, Buddhacanara and Suvrtakirti attempted to cure the Kun Pandyan by making use of Jaina charms and spells, but failed in their attempts whilst Campantar tried next and cured him. The Jinasena mentioned herein is the author of Brhad Harivamsa Purana and at the end of that Purana, Jinasena himself writes as follows: “When 700 years in the era of Saka increased by five have elapsed, when Indrayudha, son of Krishna was ruling over the north, and Srivallabha, the south, when Vatsa-raja, the king of the Avanti country was ruling over the east and when the brave Jayavaraha was ruling over the Surasenamundala in the west, this Harivamsa was composed”: This gives the year—Saka 705 or 783 A.D.

It is also stated by Karnataka Kaviccakravartti that Campantar was assisted by Haradatta and Vagisa. The report writes: “This epoch is in harmony assigned to Haradattacharya in Haradatta-mahatmya”, and translated, the verse giving this detail as follows: “When 4,000 years greater by 21 years from the beginning of Kali had elapsed, in the year Vilamba, on Friday, the 5th lunar day of the white half of the month of Pusya, Haradatta, of Maudgala-Gotra and father of eight chilaren ascended the heaven. His passage on a brilliant vim5na was a pleasing sight, as witnessed by the inhabitants of the village Kamsa on the northern bank of the Kaveri (Kancanur?)”. But the report itself admits that 4,021 Kali that is 920 A.D. was not Vilamba year and therefore concludes: “Perhaps the verse was composed long after the event happened.” The report however continues: “The Rajavalikathe, a Canarese historical work of the Jains furnishes some additional evidence confirming the epoch of Kunpandya fell partly in the 8th and partly in the 9th century. It is stated in the work that Bhat-takalanka whose name is mentioned by Jinasena in his Mahapu-rann taught Hoysala, the legendary founder of thfe Hoysala dynasty some charms to enable him to conquer Kuna Pandya of Madura.” This is the translation of the portion in Rajavali Kathe: “The Saka year 800 in the Vilambi year on Thursday the 10th lunar day of the white half of the month of Caitra with the constellation Pusya, Dhriti yoga, and girijakarann, Akalanka taught Hoysala, the necessary charm and spell for his victory.” The Report itself condemns these dates: “The error is that the 10th lunar day of Caitra of the year Vilambi, 878 A.D., is Monday and not Thursday. Nor, can it be believed that Bhattakalanka, who must have been old enough to be referred to by Jinasena about A.D. 783 could have lived as long as 878.”

The whole argument turns on the mention of the name of Jinasena, in the list of Jain ascetics who tried to cure Kun Pandya. The author of “Trlaasti Puratana Caritre” in his attempt to glorify the success of Campantar has brought in the names of all famous Jains of all ages in his list of Jain ascetics and pitted them against Campantar. If this assumption is correct, no reliance can be placed on this verse for fixing the date of Campantar whose date has been conclusively proved by late Prof. Sundaram Pillai, in his classic essay on “Some milestones in the History of Tamil Literature.” Appar was the contemporary of Gunabhara Mahenar a Varma and Campantar referred to Ciruttontar of the great Vatapi fame, the great commander of Narasimhavarma when Vatapi was conquered in 642 A.D. The Kun Pandya was Arikesari-varman I of the 7th century.

This report itself fixes the date of Dabhrabhakta, i.e., Ciruttontar correctly. The report writes: “The exploit of Dabhrabhakta, a general of the Chola king (Pallava king?) in destroying the fortification of Vatapi is another historical event which throws a flood of light on the chronology of the Shaivite Saints in general. According to the history of the Pallavas, it was Narasimhavarman I, that destroyed the fort of Vatapi (Badami) and captured alive Pulakesi II, one of the Chalukya kings about A.D. 634 (643?). This decides the date of Dabrabhakta,......and also the dates of other Shaivites who are mentioned along with him.”

Unfortunately, the Report has failed to take note of the fact that the other Shaivites mentioned along with Dabhrabhakta or Ciruttontar, are Campantar and Appar.

Proceeding next to fix the date of Arurar, naturally in a period subsequent to the period fixed for Campantar and it was for this reason that we had to criticise the views on the age of Campantar, the report writes as follows: “Lastly, regarding the date of Sundaranampi Nayanar, reliable information is furnished by Somadevasuri in his Yasas Tilaka Campu. In the colophon he writes, “When 881 years in the Saka year have elapsed on the 13th lunar day of the month of Caitra, in the year Siddhartha and when Krishna Raja was reigning in Melyati, after conquering Panilava Simhalochana, Cherama and other kings in the Ganga country under the rule of king Vaga, the eldest son of Arikesari, a descendant of the Chalukyas and the crest-jewel of the feudal chiefs under king Krishna, his feudal Lord, this work was caused to be composed.” The Report assumes that Cherama mentioned here is Cheraman Perumal Nayanar and therefore Arurar must have lived up to 959 or 960 A.D., mentioned in the above works. It is impossible to bring Arurar to the period of Cola supremacy of Vijayalaya and his successors of the 10th century. Ceraman is a common name of Ceras and from this one cannot fix any date even as it is impossible to fix any date with the help of the single name Panilya or Cola.

There is an interesting reference to the Skanda Purana emphasised in this report, where Aiyankal Katavarkon and Katavarkon Kalarcinkan are mentioned in Sanskrit. Aiyankal Katavarkon is translated as Pancapadasimha. The report writes as follows: “In the Skandopapurann, Sivarahasya, and Shiva Bhakta Mahatmya, the Pallavas are called Aryagrhyas, worthy of social intercourse with the Aryans. This indicates, that though a nonAryan tribe, they were regarded as Aryans probably for their devotion to Shaivism. One Pancapada Simha or Simhanka is said to have built a number of Shiva temples. His father Bhima is said to have dedicated his life to the service of Shiva and retired from his kingdom early in life, installing Simhanka on the throne. According to Epigraphical records, however, Simhavarman (550-575 A.D.), was the father of Bhimavarman.” If Kalarcinkan were to be the contemporary of Arurar our saint should be taken to have lived in the closing years of the 6th century in the reign of Simhavisnu. This will he an absurd conclusion, for Appar whom Arurar praises as his leader came only in the reign, of Mahendra-varman, the son of Simhavisnn.

The report continues:

“Though with regard to genealogical order, the statement of Skandopapurana is wrong, the consanguinity of the two Pallava personages in the story is in itself a reliable index to their position in the genealogy of the Pallava kings. It follows, therefore, that Pancapadasimha or Simhanka of the Skandopapurana identical with the Tamil name Aiyatikal or Katavarkon Nayanar is none other than the Pallava Simhavarma (550-575) father of Bhima-varma. Kadava or Kailava is another name of the Pallavas.”

It is clear that the two references in the Skandopapurana narrating the story of the 63 Shaiva saints is to Aiyatikal Katavarkon and Katavarkon Kalarcinkan whom the Purann makes son and father. There is evidently a confusion much more than is noted in the report. Kalarcinkan was a contemporary of Arurar and therefore Aiyatikal must be an ancestor of Kalarcinkan, not his son. Nor does the term Aiyatikal mean Pancapada. All this confusion is due to the later day Sanskrit writers attempting to translate the Tamil stories, and the Tamil names into Sanskrit. We have already explained the difficulty, Cekkilar, a great Tamil scholar, feels in arriving at conclusions about these ancient stories, The consanguineous contiguity of the two Pallava saints must have been suggested to the Sanskrit writers by some Tamil scholar who probably interpreted Aiyatikal Katavarkon as Katavarkon, the son of Aiyatikal and the name Katavarkon Kalarcinkan as Kalarcinkan, the son of Katavarkon. This usage of interpreting the first half of a compound personal name as the name of the father and the second half as the name of the person concerned is as old as the Tolkappiyam. The names Danti Nandi and Nandi Nrpatufiga in the Pallava history show that this usage was current even in the eighth and ninth centuries. But Cekkilar has interpreted these two phrase-names Aiyatikal Katavarkon and Katavarkon Kalarcinkan as Aiyatikali the Katava king and Kalarcinkan the Katavarkon taking the term Katavarkon as the general name of the Pallava kings. But in any case the tradition about the consanguineous relationship preserved in these Sanskrit versions will have to be taken note of in fixing the date of Arurar, the contemporary of Kalarcinkan.

In this connection, one may note the story of Pucalar Nayanar who built a temple in his own imagination with all that sincerity and reverence required by the Agamas and fixed a date for the Kumbhabhisekam (consecration) of this temple on a date and hour, which synchronised with the date and hour fixed unknown to him by the Pallava king or Kalavarkon for the consecration of his own temple at Kancipuram. We are told that Shiva requested the king to change the day and time because Pucalar had already fixed upon the original day and time. Historians of the Pallava age conclude that this is referred to in Rajasirmha’s inscription in the Kailasanatha Temple in the following terms: “If in the Kpta (age) kings like Dushyanta, who saw the gods and were engaged by saints like Knnva, would hear a heavenly voice without body, that is not a matter of wonder, but ah! this is extremely astonishing, that Srlbhara has heard that voice in the Kali age from which good qualities keep aloof.

Therefore, one has to conclude with Mr. C. V. Narayann Aiyar, “Since Pucalar Nayanar was one of the 63 devotees honoured by Sundaramurti (Arurar) in the Thiruthondathogai, Sundarar (Arurar) must have been a contemporary of Narasimhavarman II or any one of his successors.”


Mr. T. A. Gopinatha Rao, however, concludes that Arurar lived in the midale of the 9th century A.D., on the basis of an inscription where one Narasimhavarma is referred to by another Narasimhavarma of Thirunavalur, Milatntaiya Nattan. This belongs to the 17th year of Kannara Deva’s reign, i.e., 957 A.D. This inscription refers to another Narasimhavarma whom according to the Tamil usage Mr. Rao assumes to be the grand-father living a 100 years previous to him as a contemporary of Arurar. The other argument of Mr. Rao is based on the assumption that Ceraman, the friend of Nampiy arurar and the patron of Panapattiran, a musician, was the contemporary of Varaguna Papaya who was according to Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam, the Pandya patron of the same Pannpattirar. From Arurar’s verse that Shiva creates confusion amongst those kings who do not pay tributes to the Pallava king , Mr. Gopinatha Rao concludes Arurar must Jiave lived in an age when Pallava supremacy was being questioned by its subordinates. Mr. Rao refers to the Udayendram Plates and to the Trichy. Inscription of Varaguna to conclude that these refer to this period of Paliavas’ fall. He assigns these documents to the 9th century A.D. This essay of Gopinatha Rao was written in 1905, but subsequent research has shown that the Udayendram Plates belong to the age of Nandivarma Pallavamalla who ruled between 733 and 795 A.D. In view of this conclusion, the argument based on the inscription of Kannaradeva also falls to the ground.


The late Mr. K. Srinivasa Pillai, in his Tamil Varalaru, Part II, concludes that Arurar must have lived in the reign of Dantivarmam He proceeds to fix the lower limit and the upper limit of the age of Arurar. Having come after Appar and Campantar, Arurar should be later than the first half of the seventh century. As according to Mr. Pillai, Manikkavacakar lived in the age of Varaguna II and since Arurar does not refer to this saint, Arurar must be anterior to 862 A.D., when, according to Mr. Pillai, Varaguna ascended the throne. Arurar meets the Cola living under the shelter of his father-in-law, the Pandya and this Cola, therefore, should be one of those who preceded the powerful Vijayalaya, who required no such protection and who ascended the throne in 849 A.D. As Panapattirar, who came to Ceraman Perumal is said to be a musician in the court of Varaguna, this Varagunn must be Varaguna I, the grand-father of Varaguna II. Mr. Srinivasa Pillai within these upper and lower limits fixes definitely the year 825 as the date of Ceraman and Arurar leaving this world on the basis of the tradition that Kollam Era began, on the date Ceraman Perumal left Malayalam for Mecca for becoming a Muslim. Mr. Pillai refers to the mention of the name of Kalarcmkan by Arurar. But this name according to him is an honorific title rather than a proper name. He feels it cannot refer to Rajasimha because in his age of peace and no war, none would have refused to pay tribute to him whereas Arurar in the Citamparam hymn mentions such refusal. He is forced to conclude that Arurar was a contemporary of Dantivarman who was conquered by the Rastrakula king Govinda III and who, therefore, must have found it difficult to collect tribute from his subordinates. Because he has built temples like KailasanTthar temple in Alampakkam of the Trichy. Dist., wherein he enshrined the Dantilingam named after him, Mr. Srinivasa Pillai feels that he was such a great patron of Shaivism as to be referred to in the Thiruthondathogai. But Dantivarman, though he had built the Kailasanathar temple is considered to be a Vaishnavite who had built and renovated Vaishnavite temples; and some told that Tirumankaimannan was a contemporary of Danti as well as Nandivarma Pallavamalla.


Dr. Mmaksi on other grounds confirms the period of Arurar as the first half of the 9th century, making Arurar a contemporary of Nandivarman III, the Tellarerinda Nandivarman and not Dantivarman.

She writes: “The first half of the 9th century, which is the date generally assigned to Sundarar (Arurar) seems to receive confirmation from his own padigam ‘Tiruttonclattogai’ where he describes among other Shiva bhaktas ‘Kailal sulnda ulakelam kakkinra perumap kailavarkon kalarcingani —that is, the Kailava king, Sifigan, with the kalal (anklet), who is guarding the entire world surrounded by the sea. The mention of him as Kailavarkon leads us to believe that he was a Pallava king probably a contemporary of the Saint”.

Very carefully she lays down the requirements: “The following points must be satisfied by an attempt to identify this monarch. Firstly, the Pallava king must be a sufficiently prominent ruler; it would be well if it could be shown that his activities extended beyond the seas to justify the description ‘Racial sulnda ulagelam kakkinra peruman’. Secondly, ‘Kalal Singan’ undoubtedly implies that he was a warrior king. Thirdly, this Kailavarkon must have also been a great devotee of Shiva in order to receive such an encomium from Sundarar (Arurar)”.

Applying these tests, she Concludes that Nandivarman III satisfies these requirements:,

“Now the king who best satisfies all these points seems to be Nandivarman III, who may be said to have ruled the Pallava kingdom between the years 840-865 A.D. Let us proceed to consider the points raised above. We have no direct evidence to assert that Nandivarman III extended his sway beyond the seas by conquest. However, we find that the economic relations of South India with the outside world were well established in the 9th century A.D. From the Nandikkalambagam, we learn that Nandi was a master of a navy and from the inscriptions of his period it is clear that he encouraged external trade. The maritime relations of the period are further corroborated by an inscription in Siam which mentions a tank called Avani Narnnam evidently named after Nandivarman III (whose title was Avani Narunan)

She refers to Prof. Nilakunla Sastri for her arguments. Prof. NUakanta Sastri has also suggested in editing the Takuapa inscription from Siam that the builder of the tank was probably a prominent noble from Nangur in South India, who “went over to Takua-Pa and became the author of some charitable works in that locality. The name he gave to the tank was reminiscent of the political allegiance he owed to Nandivarman III.”

“These observations are sufficient indications to explain the description ‘kadal sulnda ulagellm kakkinra perumani’ says she, and she continues: “Regarding ‘Kalal Singani a better description than this, of the Victor of Tellaru, cannot be sought. The Velurpalaiyam grant and the Bahur Plates glorify Nandivarman as a great warrior. Further, his own inscriptions which attribute to him the epithet “‘Tellarerinda Nandivarman’ the very object of the Kalambakam and the introductory verse in the ‘Bharata Venba’, establish his fame as a victor. Besides, in the Kalambakam we read: “Araikalal muditta Avani Narunan” —Avani Narunan who wears the victorious ‘anklets’. Again we have “Kurai kalal Vira Nandi,” i.e., the heroic Nandi (who wears a) jingling kalal—and in another place we find him described as the lion among the Pallava kings—“Pallava kolari”. Thus the name ‘Kalal Singani noticed in Sundarar’s (Arurar’s) poem is supported by these phrases in the Kalambakam.”

“That Nandivarman was a great Shaiva devotee is evident not only from the epigraphy of the period but also from the Kalambakam where he is spoken of as one whose mind is always concentrated on Shiva: ‘Sivanai muludum maravada cintaiyani

“Other facts may be adduced in support of the view that ‘Kalal Sihgan’ of Sundarar (Arurar) was Nandivarman III. The Periyapuranam relates that ‘Kalal Sihgan’ was a Pallava king who distinguished himself by invading the northern regions and defeating the kings of the North” . She proceeds to quote from the Kalambakam: “Cera Colarum Tennnrum Vailapulattarasarum tinai tunila”—“besides the Cera, Cola and the Pandya kings, the kings of the North also paid tribute to the Pallava king Nandivarman” and from Velurpalayam Plates to prove that the northern enemy was the Rastaa Kuta king who had in the reign of Dantivarman claimed tribute from the Pallavas. She has quoted a verse She writes: “It thus becomes evident that the chief northern enemy of Nandivarman III was the Rastrakuta against whom the Pallava king led an invasion soon after he ascended the throne of Kahci to liberate his kingdom from the payment of the tribute. This is implied in the phrase ‘rajyasriyam samavapat’.”

And, she continues:—

“The successful raid of the Pallava king against his northern foes was enough at once to rouse the jealousy of the southern kings, and give them an opportunity to join together under the Pandya leadership for a fight against the Pallava king, on his return from the north” (at Tellaru)

She sees a reference to this in Sundarar (Arurar): “In his padigam on the god at Sirrambalam he makes a reference to the Pallava king. He says: ‘(Here in Sirrambalam) resides the God who punished those kings who refused to pay the tribute due to the Pallava king’—‘Urimaiyar Pallavarkkut tirai koda mannavarai marukkanjeyyum, Perumaiyar puliyurc cirrambalattemberuma-naipperramante.’ Here is clearly a reference to the refusal of the southern kings to recognise the Pallava ruler.

Again, we have another verse of Sundarar (Arurar) where the same defeat of the southern kings is implied though under a different context.

“In his padigam on the God at Nattiyattanguni, Sundarar (Arurar) purposely pays tribute to his friend Kotpuli by referring to the latter’s military exploits. He says that Kotpuli was successful in a war against a host of enemies—“Kuila mannaraik kuttattuvenra koiliran Kotpuli.” Again, in his Tiruttonilattogai he praises Kotpuli as one famous for his victory—“Ailal sulnda vel Nambi Kotpulikkumailiyen.”

“That Kotpuli was a contemporary of Sundarar (Arurar) is certain; and in the Periyapuranam we read that he was a commander of the army under his contemporary king who was evidently the Pallava Nandivarman III. It is also narrated that Kotpuli was suddenly ordered by the king to fight against his enemies in a battle where he distinguished himself by defeating a host of kings. It is thus evident that Kotpuli was one of the leaders of the Pallava army which engaged itself against the southern kings at Tellaru.”

She concludes:

“The course of events described so far enables us to distinguish the Pallava king as a great hero. His devotion to Shiva and his interest in Tamil literature deserved well the unique eulogy from his contemporary Shaiva Nayanar who in the presence of Shiva at Thirumetrali extolled Kanci the capital of the Pallava as the city on earth: ‘Parur Pallavanur matirkanci manakarvay-c Cirurumpuravir rirumerrali-c civanni Arurannatiya nalit tontann ruranconna Cirur palavallar Civalokafi cervare’.”

She dismisses the theory identifying Kalarsingan with Rajasimha very summarily in a foot note. “Pandit M. Raghava Iyengar identifies ‘Kalal singan’ with Rajasimha. This is untenable as Sundarar (Arurar) cannot be assigned to an earlier date than the first half of the 9th century.”

It is very unfortunate that she has not here given us her reasons. Is she relying on the tradition about Ceramanis departure to Mecca and the beginning of the Kollam era? The tradition about the Kollam era may be conveniently examined at this place.

Though there is a tradition that Kollam era began with the disappearance of Ceraman, the inscriptions give a different story about the introduction of this new era. The inscriptions of Malabar always speak of their dates as coming so many years after the foundation of Kollam—“Kollam tonri.....antu.” The question arises what is the meaning of the phrase “Kollam tonri”? Teivaccilaiyar, a commentator on the Tolkappiyam throws some light on this problem. The Tolkappiyam describes the standard dialect—‘Centamil’ and the Provincial dialects—‘Kotuntamil’. This commentator enumerates the 12 provinces and in addition speaks of 12 countries from which foreign words or ‘ticaiccol’ came into Tamil. The following is an old sutra of Agastya he quotes: “The old Kollam, Kupakam, Sinkalam on the South of the river Kumari, Konkunam, Tuluvam, Kntakam, and Kunrakam on the west of Saiyyam, Karunalam, Vaniku, Telunku and Kalinkam on the east of Saiyyam or the mountain.” He finds that this description of Kollam as being south of Kumari does not agree with the state of affairs existing in his own times. He therefore proceeds to explain as follows: “Of these, Kupakam, and Kollam became submerged under the seas and perhaps, people were made to immigrate to a new city on the northern bank of the Kumari river which was the same name as Kollam.” This suggestion agrees with the conclusions of modern research that in 822, old Kollam disappeared because of erosion by the sea and in 825 the new Kollam was founded at its present place, Quilon Therefore, this tradition of departure to Mecca has no historical value. '

On the tradition that Ceraman going away as a Muslim to Mecca, an event celebrated by the new era of Kollam referred to as already stated in Tamil varalaru, Mr. C. V. Narayana Aiyar expresses himself very forcibly in his work on ‘Origin and Early History of Shaivism in South India’;

“It will be clear to any one who reads the above mentioned arguments that the conclusions are unworthy of acceptance, since they are based ultimately upon a baseless tradition about Ceraman Perumal becoming a Mahommedan. We know that Ceraman Perumal is a Shaiva saint glorified by Sundarar (Arurar) and cherished by all the Tamils even at the present day. Such a thing would be impossible if Ceraman Perumal had become a Mahommedan.


Mr. C. V. Narayana Aiyar like Mr. Gopinatha Rao, lays much emphasis on the fact of the meeting of the Cera and the Pandya on friendly terms, when Arurar went to Thiruparankundram. The Colas and the Pandyas were intermarrying in this period. It was therefore against the Ceras, the Pandyas were leading their expedition off and on. Therefore he proceeds to find out the Pandya in whose reign there was no such expedition and who might be taken to be the king of Madura to whom Ceraman came. Arikesari is said to have defeated the Kerala many a time. Koccataiya Ranadhira, his son fought against the chieftain, Ay Vel of the South Malabar and not against the Cera king and his son was Rajasimha Pandya. Rajasimha’s wars were all against the Pallava. Pandya’s hostility against Colas and Ceras was renewed only during the reign of the donor of the Velvikkudi grant, Pandyan Netuncataiyan and continued during the reign of Sri Vallabha. Mr. Aiyar concludes: “When we remember that friendly relations must have prevailed between the Cola, the Cera and the Pandya and that the Pandya king must have been a Shaiva devotee, we more or less lay our finger upon Ranadhira’s son Rajasimha. The inscription speaks of him as having worshipped Pasupati at Pantikkotumnti.”

He interprets the reference to ‘Kutamannaraik kuttattu venra Kotpuli’ as alluding to the battles against those who came against the Pandya Kotpuli as the commander of the Cola force, fighting pn the side of Pandya, commanding the whole army. He next points out that the enemy so fought was Nandivarma Pallavamalla—the battles were those mentioned in the Udayendram plates of the 21st year of Pallavamalla’s reign, viz., 753 or 754 A.D. In passing it may be noted that Mr. Gopinatha Rao also concluded that Arurar was a contemporary of the Udayendram plates though he assigned 9th century for them. Mr. Aiyar assumes that Ranadhira who ruled before Rajasimha must have been known as Varaguna which is the name of the Pandya patron Pannpattira and that Ceram an was a contemporary of Ranadhira and Rajasimha.

He further refers to the poem:

“Apparuk kenpat tonru aiulvata vurarukku-c
Ceppiya nalettir reyvikam—Ippuviyir
Cuntararkku muvaru tonnana
Campantarkku Antam patinaru ari.”

“Appar lived 81 years; Vatavurar (Manikkavacakar) 32 years; Arurar 18 years; and Cam pantar 16 years” and remarks:

“Arurar became a devotee of Shiva only after he was called away by the Lord on the eve of Arurar’s marriage. He must have been about 16 years old at that time. Thus as a devotee and Tevaram hymner his life consisted of only two years, that is between his 16th and 18th years. So when he knew his contemporary Kotpuli, Arurar was between 16 and 18 years old. That was about the year A.D. 731, as we have concluded just now. Therefore the Pandya king who honoured him was Rajasimha I.”

Therefore according to Mr. Aiyar, the contemporary of Arurar was Nandivarman H, the Pallavamalla. But he was a ‘parama-Vaishnava’,—a staunch Vaisnnvite—who was interested in the construction of Paramesvara Vinnagaram and Nandipura Vinnagaram and he therefore could not have been included as JCalarcinkan in the list of Shaivite saints by Arurar.

Somasundara Desikar had suggested that Kalarcinkan was Narasimhavarman, the Mamalla, the conqueror of Vatapi and that therefore Arurar was his contemporary. This would make Appar and Campantar contemporaries of Arurar (Cuntarar). Ararat gives the total number of hymns sung by Appar and this could have been done only after the death of Appar. Some time must have elapsed before Arurar could make those reverential references to them as he has done. Therefore, the age of Mamalla is too early a period for Arurar.

Mr. M. Raghava Aiyangar, Mr. T. V. Sadasiva Pandarattar and other scholars have suggested as already mentioned the age of Rajasirmha or Rajasimhavarman II as the age of Arurar and we had seen the criticism levelled against this conclusion by Srinivasa Pillai and Dr. Minaksi

It will be thus seen that one or other of the important Pallava kings who reigned between 575 and 850 A.D. from Sirmhavisnn to Nandivarman HI, has been referred to as the contemporary king of Arurar by one scholar or another. But if the force of all the arguments are scientifically weighed there may not be any great difficulty in fixing the age of Arurar.

Part III: The lower and upper limits of Arurar’s age:

We may now try to fix the lower limit of Arurar’s age. Images of Arurar came to be set up in the temples. Kulottunka II refers to these images in reverential terms. Rajaraja had set up the images of Arurar and Nankai Paravaiy5r in the Rajarajesvara Temple and these images are included in the list of images set up in the temple within the 21st year of his reign. This takes us to the beginning of the 11th century. But the wife of Uttama Cola who began to reign about 969 A.D. was called “Aruran Ponnampalattatikal.” Arurar is one of the names of Cuntarar. In an inscription belonging to the 8th year of Uttama Cola’s reign the dowager queen provides for reciting the Tiruppatiyam. Tiruppatiyam means the Tevaram hymns. Nampi Antar Nampi was thought of as the person who collected these hymns and we have suggested that he belonged to the reign of Adityan of the beginning of the 10th century. But the hymns were sung even in the 9th century during the reign of Nandivarma.

There is a copy of an old inscription preserved on the walls of the Tiruvallam temple belonging to the 17th year of Ko Vijaya Nandi Vikramapanmar which provides for the singing of the hymns:

“Innellilt tiruvamirtukku nellu arunurruk katiyum tiruvunnalikaiyul Jaratittup pacarikkum Sivabrahmanarkku nellu ainnurrukkatiyum Sri pali Kottuvarkku nellu ainnurruk-kaliyum tiruppallittamam panpparkkum Tiruppatiyam patuvarullitla palapani ceyvarkkum nellu nanurrukkati-yum.”

“Of this paddy, six hunared kadi of paddy (are allotted) for offerings; five hunared kadi of paddy to the Shaiva Brahmunas who desire to be fed, beginning with those in charge of the store-room of the temple; five hunared kadi of paddy to those who beat (drums before) oblations; four hunared kadi of paddy to those who pick (flowers for) temple garlands, and to those who perform various (other) services, including the singers of the Tiruppadiyam

If this is considered to belong to Nandivarman III, it will take us to the midale of the 9th century.

The casual way in which the reference to the reciting of Tiruppatiyam is made, suggests that it was, in the reign of Nandivarman III as usual and widespread as other services. Unfortunately, the full force of this argument had not been realized. If this is correct, Nandivarman Ill’s reign will be the lower limit of the age of Arurar.

As for the upper limit, we can take 642, the dale of the capture of Vatapi by Ciruttontar, the contemporary of Campantar and Appar, as the starting point. As already pointed out, Arurar must have lived at least a generation after Appar to make all those reverential remarks about these saints contained in his hymns. If the reference to the ‘asariri’ voice in Rajasmhha’s inscription is as claimed by Mr. Gopalan and others, to an incident in Pucalar Nayunar story, Arurar could not have lived earlier than Rajasimhan, because Arurar includes Pucalar in the list of saints in his Thiruthondathogai.

Arurar, therefore, must be either a contemporary of or one who lived after Rajasunha. The question is which of these two alternatives would be correct? If we could assume that Arurar came in the latter part of Rajasimha’s reign he would be more or less a generation removed from Appar and Campantar and also could have known the incident about Pucalar Nayanar’s story. It has already been pointed out that Nandivarman Pallava II, being a Vaishnavite could not have been referred to by Arurar as a great Shaiva saint, that Dantivarman could not have been referred to as ‘Kalal culnta ulakelam kakkinra peruman’ and that by the time of Nandivarman HI the hymns had become sacred enough to be recited in the temples. This argument leaves Rajasimha alone to be considered seriously as the contemporary of Arurar. We have already emphasised the fact that Arurar in his Thiruthondathogai is speaking of the Pallava king in the present tense. In the Pucalar Nayanar story, Cekkilar refers to the king as Katavarkoman possibly following Arurar who speaks of Kalarcinkan as Katavarkom

It has been argued that the name Kalarcihkan is not a proper name. None can argue the ‘kalal’ would have been there in the proper name. ‘Kalal’ means a heroic anklet and it comes as an epithet to any king or warrior of heroic fame. If this is omitted, we get Cinkan alone as the proper name and this is not a name unknown to the Pallava family. Kopperuncinkan coming almost to destroy the Cola Empire could not be the person referred to by Arurar who came many centuries before this Pallava chief. Simhavisnn and Narasmhha Mamalla are too early for Arurar. This leaves us Rajasmhha or Narasmhha II alone to be taken into consideration in fixing the age of Arurar. It is only in the absence of anyone having Cinkan as his proper name that one will be justified in taking that name as an honorific title. Taken as an honorific title, it could be referred to any one. Even as an honorific title, it would be under certain circumstances as good as a proper name and we have no evidence whatever to show that either Pallavamalla or Danti or Tellarerinta Nampi had such specific title. The description of Nandi in Nandikkalampakam as Kolari cannot be taken as such a specific title as Vitel vrtuku or Avani Narunan occurring in that Kalampakam.

Following Dr. Minaksi, Dr. Rajamanikkam combines two descriptions in Nandikkalampakam: “Kalal Nandi” and ‘Pallavar kolari’ and underlines the word ‘kalal’ in the first phrase and ‘ari’ in the second phrase to conclude that Nampi is Kalarcinkan. If we follow this method of literary equation, there is not any king who may not be called Kalarcinkan as will be clear to any student of Tamil literature. Reliance is often made on the Periyapuranam by Dr. Rajamanikkam for this kind of interpretation. But when Cekkilar speaks of ‘Kalavar kuricilaram kalarperufi emkanartam, it is clear that he speaks of the proper name of the king as Cinkan. He refers to him as Simha the Great, even as the admirers of Koperuncinkan in the later age, sing of the Pallava chieftain of the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.

It is argued that in the traditional story about Kalarcifikan given in Tiruttontar Tiruvantati and Periyapuranam, he is said to have cut off the hand of his own queen for smelling the flower set apart for God at Thiruvarur, whose nose was cut off by Ceruttunaiyar and that this could be true only of the queen of Nandivarman III.” We had already pointed out the discrepancy between the description of Ceruttunai found in Arurar and that given by this tradition. We had also noted the acts of cruelty sometimes described in the Purapas are more imaginary than real. We also suggested that Arurar mentions the names of kings for their great patronage and propagation of Shaivite Religion than for anything else. Therefore, the suggestion that the queen whose hand was cut off was probably Sanka the Jam queen of Nandivarman HI, the daughter of the Jain king Amoghavarsa, rather than Rangapatakai, the queen of Rajasimha who herself was a great patron of Shaiva temples, carries no weight. If such an event had occurred in the reign of Nandivarman HI so as to be celebrated in the verse of Arurar, one may expect a reference to what was considered to be a glorious act in any one of the inscriptions of Nandivarman III. On the other hand, in the Bahur Plates, Nrpatunga, the son of Nandivarman and this queen, after the death of Nandivarman, that is after this cutting off of her hand, if ever it took place, speaks of the queen-mother as the mother of the people, the incarnation of the good fortune of the king, the most beautiful queen well versed in the various arts. To suggest that these were written after her hand was cut off cannot be believed.


Mr. Srinivasa Pillai’s objection to Rajasimha being the contemporary of Arurar is that in his peaceful age, no one would have refused to pay the tribute as referred to by Arurar: ‘Urimaiyar pallavarkkut tirai kota mannavarai marukkam ceyyum perumai-yar puliyurc cirrampalattem perumanai-p per ram ante.’ Nor, according to him and others, could the reference in the Periyapuranam to the conquest of northern territories by Kalarcinkan be true of Rajasmhha.

It is true, the historians of the Pallava period once came to the conclusion expressed by Gopalan: “His reign appears to have been completely peaceful and free from foreign invasions.” As late as 1943, the epigraphist speaks of Rajasmhha’s reign as comparatively free from political disturbances.

But a study of the ‘Historical Sculptures of the Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanci’, by Dr. Minaksi, has completely upset this theory and she writes in a note on page 53 of that work: “It is believed that the reign of Rajasmhha did not witness any warfare. However, from the sculptures of the Vaikuntaperumal temple we are able to gather that his rule was marked by some disturbance probably towards the end of the reign and just before the coronation of Paramesvaravarman II. This piece of evidence is supported firstly by (Rajashhha’s) birudas which glorify him as a mighty ksatriya and a great wrestler. In the inscriptions of his temple, Rajasimhesvaragrham, he is described as Sri Aparajitani Sri Amir-tamallah, Sri Atimardhanah and Sri Ahavakesari. In his oft quoted prasasti he is known as the great wrestler—and as one who is always victorious in battle (Rannjaya). Secondly by a foreign source, namely a Chinese text, we learn that, ‘In the year 720 A.D., the king of the kingdom of South India, chelittna-lo-seng-kia (Sri Narasixhha) proposed to employ his war elephants and his cavalry to chastise the Ta-che (Arabs) as well as T’ou-po (Tibetans) and others.

Moreover, he asked that a name be given to his army; the emperor praised it greatly and named his army “the army which cherished virtue.”

“So far we have not obtained any internal evidence to support Rajasmhha led any expedition against the Arabs and the Tibetans. However, it is not unlikely that he had some northern enemy whom he defeated. In this connection we may refer to a note by Krishna Sastri who has suggested that in the period of Rajasmhha, the Pallava dominion was ambitious enough to extend to the distant islands.”

The history of Rajasmhha’s reign is described through the sculptures of the panels 14 to 19 in wall No. 5, lower row of the Vaikunta Perumal temple. Dr. Minaksi describes them as follows in her Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India No. 63—The Historical Sculptures of the Vaikuntaperuma} Temple, Kanci, pp, 31, 32 and 33:

“Panel XIV.—The son and successor of Paramesvaravarman was Narasmhhavarman II, surnamed Rajasmhha. Pallava history tells us that he was a great Shaiva devotee, who constantly wore on his head Shiva as his crest jewel. ‘Sivachudamani’ was a surname of Rajasmhha. He is best remembered as the builder of the great Kailasanatha temple at Kanci. Though his surnames pronounce him to be an excellent warrior, his rule is generally believed to have been free from foreign invasions.

“The present panel first represents his coronation. He looks a very handsome king, and it is no surprise that he is described in the Kailasanatha inscriptions as “he who possesses the grace of Cupid” and as “one whose beauty is unrivalled.” It appears as if Rajasiffiha was married immediately after his coronation, for soon after this scene we see him standing with his mahishi, perhaps the famous Rangapathaka. The king holds the right hand of his queen and is leading her. Their facial expressions, their dress and their poses bear striking resemblance to the royal portraits of a king and queen depicted on the monolith, the so-called Arjuna’s Ratha at Mamallapuram. Therefore, we may tentatively conclude that the king and queen depicted here in this panel are the same as on the monolith at the Pallava sea-port. The military commanders and chief officials of the realm are paying their respects to the newly crowned sovereign.

“Panel XV.—The sketch of Rea of this panel is far from being a faithful copy. This picture shows in fact a continued attack of horsemen and elephants from the left and foot-soldiers from the right on a fortress standing at a height. The fight as seen in the picture is very severe. To the right of this, the king sits on an ‘asana’ and under a chatra. To his left are sitting two men; one on an ‘asana’ and the other on the floor. We cannot fail to notice in this panel the armed soldiers and horsemen vigorously engaged in a conflict on one side, of the panel, and the king sitting with an anxious and grave look on the other half. We have said that Rajasimha’s rule is generally accepted as one free from warfare, but it is possible that he met with troubles towards the end of his rule, either from the side of the Chalukyas or from some other enemy.

“Panel XVI.—In this the king is seated on his throne. An individual with a kirita on his head stands on his left and is touching the king’s shoulder in the act of consoling the king who looks very worried. Another man stands to the right of the king with his hands in anjali. Two more men are seen to the right of the throne; the one on the top has his hands in anjali and the one below is standing. Next comes a building constructed on high plinths and covered with a roof bearing close resemblance to the Kailasanatha temple at Kanci. Below this temple are depicted two men seated on the floor.

“Panel XVII,—This represents the same king seated on his throne. This portion of the panel is slightly damaged. A small man stands to the left of the king in the act of reporting some important news. To the left of this man, we seem to find the picture of a soldier (dressed), his head being damaged as well as his hands. He is depicted as if he is about to fall down. Perhaps he is a wounded soldier who was one of the men defending the fortress represented in panel XV. Two tiny attendants are standing by the side of the throne. The two men whom we saw by the side of the king in panel XV are again standing here, the one with his arms folded and the other anxiously watching something. Before them stand two men wearing turban-like head-dresses, the foremost reporting something. Behind these are two elephants with riders on them.

“Panel XVIII.—The king and queen are seated on the throne. The queen’s figure is very much damaged and so also the bust of the king, whose head is also missing in the actual panel, though Rea’s sketch includes it. Two Brahmins are seated on the floor below the king’s seat, as if they are praying for the welfare of the king. In the top right corner to the left of the king are two men, one facing the other, in the act of carrying a man in a cloth hammock to the presence of the king. This also seems to be a wounded chief. The carriers are feeling the weight of the man who is being carried. We have also a number of men who are distinctly shown as if excited over something, very likely over the presence of the wounded chief.

“Panel XIX.—This depicts the coronation of Paramesvara-varma II, the predecessor of Nandivarman Pallavamalla.”

Therefore Cekkilar’s reference to war in the northern countries seems to be borne out by these sculptures. The Kuram Plates describe the successful war which Paramesvara I, the father of Narasimha carried against the Chajukyan king Vikramaditya. Panel XI in the Vaikunt Perumal Temple and xil describe his capture and destruction of the Chajukyan capital into which the Pallava king and queen enter. Panel XIII which precedes Panel XIV representing the coronation of Rajasmhha shows that the war was not over when Paramesvara died and when Narasimha ascended the throne as may be seen from Panel XIII described by Dr. Minaksi. Panel XI already described thus seems to be a continuation of the present warlike activities of the Pallavas represented in Panel XIII. Thus Rajasmhha’s contribution to Shaivism as stated by Cekkilar, begins after his conquest of the northern country.


Whilst referring to these sculptures of Vaikunta Perumal Temple one may refer to a few other facts mentioned by Cekkilar which are also confirmed by the description of these panels by Dr. Minaksi. As these are connected with the story till now narrated, they may be discussed conveniently here. We had already mentioned the reference in Skandapuranam to Aiyankal Katavarkon and Kalarcinkan. As already stated there is a confusion of names: for we find Aiyankal himself being called Simha or Kalarcinkan. But what is important is that this Purana perpetuates some lingering tradition of the close proximity of the reign of Aiyankal and Kalarcinkan. According to this tradition, we find Aiyalikal abdicating his throne in favour of his son. The same tradition is preserved in Periyapuranam. Cekkilar speaks, in the second verse of Aiyankal Katavarkon Puranam, of this king subjugating first his enemies. The poet next refers to Aiyankal’s rule being according to Dharma, Shaivism, and Vedic faith. In the third verse he is said to be desirous of serving the Lord through literature. He is described as feeling the yoke of political sovereignty as a source of grief; therefore he crowned his son as king in his place and took to a life of service composing a song on every one of the temples of Shiva he visited.

The question arises who was the king who had thus abdicated in favour of his son? Tradition preserved in the Skanda Purana suggests that we should look to this king very near the age of Rajasmhha, if our assumption that Kalarcinka is Rajasmhha is correct. True to our expectations, we find the scene of abdication depicted in one of the panels preceding the description of the lives of Rajasimha and his father Paramesvara. Panels XVil, XVIII and XIX (on wall No. 5, upper row) describe the incidents in the life of Mahendravarma II, who has abdicated in favour of his Son Paramesvara varma.

Dr. Minaksi describes and comments on the panel as follows:

“Panel XVII.—After the death of Narasimhavarman I Maha-malla, his son Mahendravarman II succeeded to the throne. We have neither copper-plates nor stone inscriptions of this Mahen-dravarman except a few references to him found in the grants of his successors.

“The Kuram grant of his successor Paramesvaravarman I, says that Mahendravarman ‘thoroughly enforced the sacred law of the castes and orders’ and the Kasakudi plates glorify his benevolent charities towards temples and his devotion to Brahmins. This pious-minded patron of Brahmins seems to have ruled only for a short time. This may be due to more than one cause. We must know that Narashmhavarman I ruled for a long time and when the Pallava throne came to his successor, the latter, i.e., Mahendravarman H, must have been a fairly old man. Secondly, being pious-minded himself, he did not perhaps care to continue as king very long, and might have renounced the throne in favour of his young and enterprising son Paramesvara. That Mahendravarman II ruled only for a short time is not only corroborated by the complete absence of any inscriptions dated in his reign but also by the next panel where we have the old king witnessing the coronation of his young son.

“In this panel we witness the coronation of Mahendravarman II. Two royal elephants are depicted on the right upper corner. The corresponding lower half of the sculpture is effaced.

“Panel XVIII.—The king sits on his throne with three attendants standing behind and one sitting below. In front of the king stands a man with a conical head-dress and another'individual is standing behind him.

“Panel XIX.—This panel is divided into two halves. In the upper register we have the old king who sits on his throne. The crown on his head is missing, perhaps indicating that he had renounced his kingship. Four attendants are standing behind him, the foremost having his hands in anjali. In the lower register is represented the coronation of the young son, to whose right we see two officers, seated, the one in front folding his hands in anjali.”

There is no other abdication of this kind found in the whole history of the Pallavas depicted in these historical sculptures. If we assume that the phrases Aiyatikal Katavarkon and Katavarkon Kalarcinkan have been interpreted by the Purann writers as Katavarkon the son of Aiyatikal or Kalarcinkan the son of Aiyatikal, then we get three kings, Aiyatikal, Katavarkon and Kalarcinkan corresponding to Mahendravarman, Paramesvaravarman and Rajasmhha. It is not found that Paramesvara had ever the specific title of Katavarkon unless we assume that the legend Kathacitra on an ancient gold coin refers to this king. But the Kuram plates justify his being called the great Pallava by the people of his age. However, except for the purpose of showing that this tradition to a certain extent is based on historical fact as shown above, much reliance could not be placed on this, when we conclude that the Puranic writers have been confused over this interpretation.

Cekkilar who knew better makes Aiyankali the king that abdicated. The name Aiyatikal itself proves this story. Cekkilar’s reference to Aiyankalis propagation of Dharma, Shaivism and Vedic path is amply borne out by the references in the Kuram plates and Kasakuili plates. All these still further strengthen our interpretation that Kalarcinkan is Rajasimha.


The story of Rajasunha’s conquest is well established by the sculptures of Vaikunta Perumal Temple. What we have stated so far satisfies the second test laid down by Dr. Minaksi that Kalarcinkan should be a warrior king. So far, it has been pointed out that Rajasimha led his expedition successfully against the northern king. This may not answer the objection raised by Mr. Srinivasa Pillai on the basis of Arurar’s reference to subordinate king of Pallava refusing to pay tribute to Kalarcinkan. Dr. Minaksi, we had already pointed out, suggests that there were disturbances probably towards the end of the reign of Rajasmhha.

We may now turn to find out if more particulars could be obtained. Prof. Nilakant Sastri assigns to Arikesari Maravarman of the Vejvikkudi grant and Smaller Sinnamanur plates, whom he identifies with the Arikesari Parankusa of Larger Sinnamanur plates, a period between 670 and 710 A.D., and to his son Koccataiyan of Velvikkudi grant whom he identifies as Jaila of the Larger Sinnamanur plates the period between 710 and 740 A.D. The Pandya records of Arikesari do refer to his wars with Pallava. The Larger Sinnamanur plates speak of the “Villavarum nelveliyum viri polil Cankaramankai-p Pallavarum pinkanta Paranku-can.

Prof. Nilakanta Sastri writes as follows:—“But amidst all this uncertainty, one large fact stands out clearly. It is evidently under this king that the Pandyan power comes into collision, apparently for the first time in this period, with its neighbours the Paliavas on the north and the Keralas on the west; and as important successes seem to have been won, we may take it that the Pandyan kingdom extended its territorial limits in both these directions beyond its traditional boundaries. And this expansion of Pandyan rule into foreign territory, that is, into territory lying outside the traditional limits of the Pandyan country, remains a permanent factor in the history of the rest of the period, and leads us to describe it as the Age of the First Empire.”

Arurar refers to Netumapan in two places. One is in the list of Shaivite Saints given by him in Thiruthondathogai. The other is in his Thiruvathigai hymn. In the latter hymn he describes Shiva, ‘Poliyatu Tirumeni Netumaran mntimel Tenninimk kntapalin vatapalin kunapal cerata cintaiyam” The word Netumaran here is split by some editors into ‘Netumai’ plus ‘tan’ so as to make it refer to Visnu. The description of this person is given as “Poliyatu tirumeni”—one whose form is besmeared with the sacred ash and the word which follows is Tennan which brings to our mind the name of the Pandya—Tennavan. Netumaran or the Kun Pandiyan came to be besmeared with the sacred ash by Campantar who is reputed to have sung the famous Tirunirruppatikam or the hymn on the sacred ash, in which Campantar himself states that it was sung to cure the Tennani Bearing all this in mind one cannot help taking the phrase Netumaran in the present context to refer to the Pandya king Netumaran on whose head or crown, Shiva as the real Pandya of Pandyas is said to rest as the ruler of the south without ever thinking in his mind of the east, the north or the west. This phrase suggests the same idea as Shiva Cudamani explained later as a title of Rajasimha Pallava.

The question then arises whether this Netumaran or Arikesari was a contemporary of Arurar. To justify the period, Prof. Nilakanta Sastri had assigned to Arikesari whom he admits ought to be identified with Kun Pantiyan the contemporary of Tirunanacam-pantar who in his turn was a contemporary of Ciruttontar, the destroyer of Vatapi in 642 A.D.; he states that “Ciruttontar was older and Maravarman (Netumaran) was perhaps younger than Jnanasambandar.” If according to Prof. Nilakanta Sastri, Arikesari ruled up to 710,.Arurar could have been a younger contemporary of this Pantiyan king.

Other scholars make Koccataiyan Ranadhiran and Rajasimha I, the contemporaries of Rajasimha suggesting for them the period between 680-765 A.D. The Pandya Rajasimha is according to Dubreuil, a grandson of the Pallava Rajasimha through his daughter married to Koccataiyan Ranadhiran. If this were true, ordinarily there might not have been conflict between the Pandyas and the Pallavas after the said marriage unless the marriage alliance failed to bring about a political alliance. If there was any conflict, it must have been before the marriage. But there is room for suggesting that Rajasimha claimed some kind of suzerainty as suggested over the Pandyas.

Further evidence is furnished by his coins which bear the legend Sribhara or Srinidhi which are the specific birudas of Rajasimha. Some of these coins bearing this legend on the obverse have a fish or double-fish on the reverse which is usually consic to be the Pandyan emblem. As Dr. Minakshi points out, as the coins of Rajaraja the great, contain fish and the bov undoubted Panilyan and Cera emblems, suggesting thereby supremacy claimed by the Colas over the Ceras and Pandyas coins of Rajasimha contain in addition the Panilyan emblem as suggesting the recognition of the Pallava’s supremacy by Pandyas. This suggestion is still further strengthened by a refe: in the Chinese Annals where it is said that the ambassador co from Rajasimha was presented by the Chinese Emperor am other things with a purse bearing an emblem in the form of a fi

The Pandyas must have consolidated their kingdom durin troubled days of Pulikesin’s and Vikramaditya’s invasions. If had taken part in stemming the tide of his foreign invasion prol at the battle of Nelveli praised by Arurar and if there ensi matrimonial alliance between the Pallavas and the Pandyas, might have been no conflict between these two royal families with reference to the territories recently consolidated by Pandyas. To start with in the beginning part of Arurar’s Netumarun’s fame must have become widespread all througl Tamil Kingdom and his name must have become a legend celebrated in the Pantikkovai of Iraiyanar Akapporul commer Later on Rajasimha overcoming the enemies must have becom Emperor and the ruler of the seas at the time of Arurar singir T iruttontat tokai.

Apart from the Pandya, there must have been other sul nates. The Gangas who might have been the subordinates of lavas, might have tried to escape from the supremacy of the Pal when Rajasimha came to the throne even as, they did ir reign of the previous Pallava kings. Sivamara I ruled bet 679-726 A.D. This makes him a contemporary of Rajasimha.

“Sivamara’s reign witnessed a Pallava invasion carried w view to redeem the defeat sustained at the hands of Bhu Vik (Sivamara’s brother and previous ruler). Sivamara is said not only to have confirmed his elder-brother’s conquest but also energetically maintained his control over the Pallavas and received hostages from them. While he was extending his sway in the South and East, his country was invaded by the great Chajukya sovereign Vinayaditya, who ruled between 680-696 A.D. Chajukya records describe Vinayaditya as arresting at the command of his father, the excessively exalted powers of the Chela, Pandya, Kerala, and Pallava kings and gratifying his father’s mind by bringing all these provinces into a state of peace and quiet, and reducing Kalabhras, the Haihayas and the Malavas into a similar state of servitude and his hereditary servants, the Alupas and the Gangas. But all this is however an empty boast. The Gangas were often considered to be feudatories by the Pallavas and the Chajukyas and the Chajukya Vinayaditya must have been defeated by Rajasmhha as soon as the latter came to power, and all this vain boast, probably refers to their first success obtained before Rajasmhha put them down. The other people who might have been subordinates paying tributes might be the petty chieftains like Kalabhras, Malavas and Haihayas enumerated above.

After all, all the subordinates could have been defeated by the Pallava at the time of his succession itself, if they had attempted to make common cause with the northern enemy the Chajukya. If that was so, one can easily understand the reference to Kotpuli by Arurar, ‘Kula mannnrai-k kuttattu venra Kotpuli.’ Kotpuli Nayanar is described by Arurar as living in the Cola country. From this Cekkilar assumes that he (Kotpuli) was a commander of the Colas. But even then, it may be assumed that the Cola might have sent the commander to help the Pallava king. Cekkilar refers to Kotpuli going to the cruel frontier which may probably refer to the northern frontier of the Tamil land. But in the absence of specific references, all these have to remain as guesses. The question was also discussed whether Kotpuli of Thiruthondathogai and Periyapuranam could have been the contemporary of Arurar as the father of Vannppakai and Cinkali.

Arurar had further known personally some feudatory kings who might have been the subordinates of Rajasmhha. Eyarkon was probably the Haihaya referred to in the inscription of Chalukya. It is said that he was hostile to Arurar to start with, though he came to be reconciled ultimately with our Saint. Though the reason given is that Eyarkon hated Arurar for making God run on his errands, one may suspect that there might have been something more than this—perhaps political hostility against Arurar, the supporter of the Pallava cause. Perumilalaikkurumpar as the name itself suggests should be a chief of the Kurumpar clan; he was a follower of Arurar. Naracifikamunaiyaraiyar, another feudatory chief was bringing up Arurar when the latter was young; Mupai Nani or Munaippali Nani is as pointed out by Gopinatha Rao, the Ceti country and Mupaiyaraiyar was therefore the king of the Ceti and his name Naracinka itself proves that it was probably assumed by him as a recognition of the suzerainty of Narasirmha II another name of Rajasmhha.


We have to point out that Arurar does not speak of any rebellion by the subordinates of Pallava paying the tribute. He seems to be referring to God Himself creating confusion possibly in the countries of those subordinates who think of not paying the tribute thus seeing something divine in the Pallava rule. Naturally this shows the public opinion of the age looking upon the troubles falling on the heads of those who failed to pay the tribute as so many divine punishments. This feeling must have been created in the minds of the people and more so in the minds of subordinates themselves. If this is all that is intended by Arurar, one need not be looking for a rebellion in the south.

The full significance of Arurar’s reference to Pallavas in the Tillai hymn may be brought out in this connection. The Pallava is referred to as possessing the right to rule or protect this country, “Mannulakam kaval punta urimaiyar Pallavar. The poet speaks of the Lord confusing the kings who do not pay tribute to Pallavas and this the poet speaks of as the greatness of the Lord of Citamparam. He speaks of the joy of our good fortune in having Shiva as our Lord—Shiva who helps to escape from the fetters of Yama or Death—Shiva who blesses us with His Heavens. The Lord has become thus our possession, thanks to this greatness, the greatness of confusing the kings—that is the import of this verse. There is clear reference to the Pallava, as an Emperor. This imperial title seems to have some connection with Citamparam, if we may believe the story given in Periyapuranam that Kurruva Nayanar was very anxious to be crowned at Citamparam. The poet seems to feel that the peace and prosperity which the Pallava king Raja-smhha brought were a divine gift. If however this Tillai hymn is taken as referring to revolts against the Pallava, it need not be wrong. Our study suggests that this hymn belongs to the last part of Arurar’s life, probably after the death of Rajasimha.


Mr. Narayapa Aiyar was in search of a period when the Cera and the Pandya could have met as friends and he had pointed out that there was no hostile relation between the Panilya and the Cera in the reign of Runadhira and his son Rajasimha. We had also suggested that Ranadhira who was the grand-father of Varaguna might have been himself known as Varaguna—the Varaguna who was the patron of Panapattira, a musician, who went to Ceraman Perumal. One may assume that Arurar went to the Pandya court when one of these Pandyas entertained the Cola, the Cera and our saint. As it was suggested, that at least a generation should have elapsed after Campantar and before the age of Arurar, that we may assume Arurar began to compose his hymns during the last part of Rajasmhha’s reign. In that case he might have survived Rajasimha to witness the troubles in the country which arose after Rajasimha as well as the dynastic revolutions. He might have sided Citramaya as against Nandi and this may explain why he restricted himself to the worship of the temples in the Panilya, Cera and Konku countries in the latter part of his life. Rajasimha Panilya’s inscription speaks of his worshipping at Pantikkotumuli, a place worshipped by Arurar where he sang the famous Pancaksara hymn beginning with ‘Marrup parrenakku.’

If we tnke this view of the life of Arurar, it must be admitted that it goes against the verse which gives 18 years as the life period of Arurar. No such statement is made by Cekkilar and it is not possible that our saint could have performed such pilgrimages as described by Cekkilar within the short space of one or two years. Though Arurar might not have become as old as Appar, his poems show he must have lived sufficiently long to undergo all the experiences referred to by him; in any case, he could not have been below 30 at the time of his demise.

In seven places Arurar describes himself as ‘Ciruvan’. In three places, this word ciruvan comes after the word Cataiyant in one place it comes after the name of his mother Icaifiani; in another place, after the names of both Cafaiyan and Icainani. In these five places, it means no more than a son. In these references themselves, he refers to himself in addition, as the father of Vapappakai in one instance and as the father of Cifikati in another. The father of a daughter could not have been a mere boy. In two other places he uses the word ciruvan to describe himself without reference to his father or mother; both the hymns are those sung after he deserted Cankili. Perhaps it shows his modesty though there may also be a reference to his repentance for the sinful act of desertion. In these two references this word is compounded with his greatness; that he was famous for capturing the minds of Siddhas; that he was great as a hero of good conduct where this word ciruvan seems to suggest a pathetic fall in his own eyes. The usage of the word ‘Bala’ in Sanskrit may be compared with this usage of ciruvan. In any case, if he was as old as Appar, he would not have used this term to describe him, though this word ciruvan cannot mean ‘a boy’ in any of the places wherein Arurar uses it. One who describes himself as the father of the grown up girls of Vanappakai and Cinkali could not have been less than 30 years of age.

If Rajasimha ruled till 720 A.D., we may fix the period of Arurar’s life between 700-730 A.D.; if Rajasimha’s rule is pushed back, this period of Arurar’s life also will have to be pushed back. In general, one may conclude that he was born during the closing years of the 7th century to live through the first quarter of the 8th century.


Dr, Rajamanikkam assumes that the interval between the demise of Appar and Campantar and the birth of Arurar should be more than 30 years for he feels that a revolution had been effected by Appar and Campantar in the religious world so that the world has passed from an age of religious controversy to a world of Shaivite peace. He takes Appar to have been a contemporary of Mahendravarman (615 to 630 was accepted by the Dr.), the Gunabhara, whom he had converted and of Ciruttontar, the conqueror of Vatapi in 642 A.D., and of Netumaran (640 to 680—this period is accepted by Dr. Rajamanikkam) whose fever, Campantar cured. As Appar spent the early part of his life as a Jain before converting Mahendravarman, Dr. Rajamanikkam takes Appar to have lived from 580 to 660 A.D., on the basis of the verse which assigns 81 years of life to Appar. If Rajasimha is assumed to have ruled between 685-720 A.D., there are only 25 years between the demise of Appar and the age of Arurar according to Dr. Raja-manikkam.

If we assume that the poet lived during the latter part of the period of Rajasmhha, there may be an interval of half a century enough to justify any change in the state of affairs in the country. The description of the country by Hiuen Tsiang shows that Buddhism was already on the decline. During the life of Appar himself, if we were to believe the story as given in Periyapuranam, the Jains had lost their importance. Therefore, by the time of the demise of Appar, Shaivism would have assumed the first place among the religions requiring no further period to elapse for the peaceful religious atmosphere said to be portrayed by Arurar’s verses.

But it may be stated that Arurar’s verses do not portray any such absence of religious controversy. The following verses refer to the Jains and the Buddhists:

Kunta nccaman cakkiyap peykal konta rakilum kolla-k
Kanta lumkaru ten.”

“Verrarai-k karramunum viraiyatuvin talamunnum Turtarai-t turraruppan tumi atai-t tolilutaiyir.”

“Kuntatum camunarum cakkiyarum purankurum.”

“Namunanantiyum karumaviranam tarumacenanum eunivar
Kumanamamalai-k kunrupolnintu tankalkuraiyon rmhiye
Namanananana nananonamen rotiyaraiyum nanila

“Kariya manaccamun kali yani kalukkalal.
Eriya vacavunum tanmaiyo.....empiranukke.”

“Poyaccamun porulaki intu nampi.”

“Nanniai oprila-t terarpun camanam
Camaya makiya tavattinar avattattunmai vilioli nanmaiyai ventil-”

“Kuntaliyum camunatiyum kurrntukkaiyar tamum
Kantarkanta karunammavai karutatukai tolumin.”

“Mintarkku mintalar pecen.”

“Kuntaliya camanatarkal kntaiccakkiya rariya

“Mintaliya vatuceytatu vanalvaru vitiye.”

“Molintaiya camunarkku mntaiyntaiya cakkiyarkku inulam vaitta
Pitutaiya puliyurccir rampalattem perumanaip perra marne.”

“Kuntar ai-k kuraiyinri-t tiriyuncamun cakkiyappey
Mintarai-k kantatamnai viravakiya tennaikolo.”

We have already assumed that the stories of religious persecutions are not warranted by history. Even during the life of Mahendra and Narasimha and Rajasimha, Jains and Buddhists must have been living in the country peacefully. The Cittannavasal paintings and the Jain Chandraprabha temple of Tirupparuttikkunram known as Jina Kanci and the Jain remains at Teni malai, Nartta malai, Veilal etc., show the continued existence of the Jain greatness. Rajasimha built a Buddhist temple at Nakappattulam as revealed by the Chinese sources. Nor could we assume that there were not religious controversy in the age of Rajasimha. Sankaracharya is claimed to have visited Kanci during the reign of one Rajasena mentioned in the life of Sankara called ‘Sankara Vijaya Vilasa’ by Cidvilasa, and this Rajasena is identified by Dr. Chintamani with Rajasimha Pallava, and Sankara in his Soundarya Lahari refers to Jnanasambandar as the ‘Dravida sisu’. If this age for Sankara, the founder of the Kanci Kamakotipita Mutt of Kancipuram is correct, we must conclude the religious and philosophical controversies which he carried on with the Buddhists and other philosophical schools would naturally belong to the age of Arurar. These considerations minimise the importance of Dr. Rajamanikkam’s arguments.


Rajasimha I or Narasimha II further satisfies the tests laid by Dr. Minaksi that any king to be identified with Kalarcmka should be a conqueror. Rajasimha’s inscriptions describe him as a warlike king comparing him to the war God Subrahmunya. He is spoken of as the illustrious Atyantakamah, the chief of the Paliavas who crushed the multitude of his foes by his power or spear. He is described as Runajayah, the conqueror in battle; Chitrakarmukhah, the wonderful archer; Ekavirah, the unrivalled hero. He is spoken of as having humbled those princes, who were puffed up with pride of abundant prosperity which they had acquired, by polity and prowess, depriving them of their intelligence in the mere space of knitting his brows; as having enjoyed the whole world which he had conquered by valour combined with polity and in which he had killed rebels and humbled kings; as having made all quarters obedient to his orders and proved himself a royal lion (Rajasimha) to the dunce troops of the elephants of his daring foes.

Here the composer of the prasasti is punning on the name Rajasmhha, and this brings to our mind an old poem quoted in ‘Yapparunkala virutti’ which makes use of the same punning:

“Nilamiku kelvanum nerkalali nanum
Nalamiku kacciyar kovenpave
Nalamiku kacciyar kovayi nanum
Cilaimiku tolcinkan avapenpave
Ceruvitai yanni avanenpave”.

“It is said that the Royal consort of this damsel of our earth and the Lord of the heroic and upright anklet is the Lord of Kacci (Conjeevaram) of growing beauty. It is said that he who had become the Lord of Kanci of growing beauty is he, the Cinkan (the lion) (the Rajasmhha) of the shoulders of the bow. It is said in the battle, he is an elephant”. This punning on the word Simha and the emphasis of the fact that he is an elephant are found in some of his birudas Purusa Simhah, Parthiva Simhah, Vikramakesari and Rajakunjarah.

The birudas or titles he assumed clearly prove that he is entitled to be called Kalarcinkan, a first rate warrior and a hero of many battles:

“Ranajaya (Conqueror in battle);
Aparajita (the unconquered);
Amitramalla (the wrestler with his foes);
Akutobhaya (the fearless);
Urjita (the mighty);
Jayapara (one who is eager for conquest);
Atirunacanda (the excessively fierce in battle);
Arimarddana (the destroyer of his enemies);
Ugravirya (he who possesses terrible prowess);
Ugrapratapa (he who is endowed with terrible bravery);
Ahavakesari (the lion in battle);
Kharavikrama (he who possesses harsh valour);
Cakravartti (Emperor);
Capadvitiya (he whose companion is the bow);
Amitrasani (thunderbolt to the foes);
Apratimalla (the unrivalled wrestler);
Ibhavidyadhara (he who possesses the knowledge of elephants);
Paracakramardana (the destroyer of hostile armies);
Narendraculamani (the crest jewel of princes);
Rajaraja (king of kings);
Virakesari (the lion among heroes);
Ksatraculamani (crest jewel of warriors);
Yuddharjuna (Arjuna in battle);
Sangramarama (Rama in wars);
Sarvabhauma (the ruler of the whole earth: Compare this with Arurar’s description ‘Ulakelam kakkinra peruman’.
Ksatravidravana (the dispeller of warriors);
Ahavabhima (he who is fearful in battle);
Trailokyanatha (the lord of three worlds);
Diptapaurusha (he who is endowed with brilliant courage);
Danasura (he who goes to war only in order to procure the means for gifts—this expresses the idea popular in the Tamil country as ‘Kollar teem kuritta korram;
Samaradhananjaya (the conqueror of wealth in battle);
Bhishunachapa (he whose bow excites terror);
Ajaya (the invincible);
Ahavadhira (he who is firm in battle);
Dustadamana (the subduer of the wicked);
Kalakopa (this is translated as ‘he who resembles death in anger’ but Arurar has used a corresponding term Kamakopan in the sense of the enemy of Kama; interpreted in that way, this phrase will mean enemy of death);
Purushasimha (the lion among men);
Parthavikrama (he who resembles Arjuna in valour);
Bhimakanta (the terrible and lovely);
Bhayarahita (the fearless);
Mahamalla (great wrestler);
Bhuvanabhajana (the possessor of the world);
Mahendraparakrama (he who resembles Mahendra in heroism);
Mahaprabhava (the powerful);
Runavira (the hero in battle);
Yugantaditya (the sun at the end of the world);
Runadhira (he who is firm in battle);
Rnnacanila (the fierce in battle);
Runavikrama (he who shows valour in battle);
Atulabalah (he whose strength is unequalled);
Ahitantaka (the destroyer of the enemies);
Aparavikrama (he whose valour is unbounded);
Asvapriya (he who is fond of horses);
Akhnnilasasana (he whose commands are unbroken);
Akandasani (the sudden thunderbolt);
Amoghavikrama (he whose valour never fails);
Anatamanilala (he to whom the provinces bow);
Adbhutasakttih (he whose power is wonderful);
Ascharyyaviryya (the wonderfully brave);
Apatadurddhara (the irresistible in attacking);
Asavijayi (the conqueror of all quarters);
Ahavoddhura (he who is unrestrained in battle);
Ibhavatsaraja (he who resembles the king of Vatsa in the knowledge of elephants);
Iddhasasana (he whose commands are blazing);
Ilaparamesvara (the supreme Lord of the earth), Ugradanda (he whose punishments are terrible);
Ucchritavirya (the highly brave);
Ugrasasana (he whose commands are terrible);
Upendravikrama (he who resembles Vinnu in valour);
Utkhatakanthaka (the destroyer of rebels);
Ekadhanurdhara (the unrivalled archer);
Atisahasa (the daring);
Anavagraha (the unimpeded);
Udvrttadamana (the subduer of rebels);
Ekaraja (the Unrivalled king);
Kalavikrama (he who resembles Death in valour);
Jayanidhi (the receptacle of victory);
Kalavasana (the black robed);
Garvvitadamana (the subduer of the haughty);
Damitavyala (the subduer of villains);
Durvaravega (he whose speed is unrestrainable);
Tungavikrama (the highly brave);
Tivrakopa (he whose anger is herce);
Dharmmavijayi (he who is making conquest only lor the sake of justice);
Davagni (the wood-fire);
Drptasasana (he whose commands are proud);
Atanupratapa (he who possesses no small prowess);
Arinasa (the destroyer of the enemies);
Avanibhajana (the possessor of the earth);
Aprativaryya (the irresistible);
Avandhyakopa (he whose anger is not fruitless);
Amitrantaka (the destroyer of his foes);
Avihatasakti (he whose power is unresisted);
Aratikalali (Death of the enemies);
Anavagraha (the unimpeded);
Atisahasa (the daring);
Gandhahasti (the scent elephant);
Karannkopa (he who goes to anger with good reason);
Candradanda (he whose punishments are fierce);
Asahyakopa (he whose anger is unbearable);
Varunapasa (the noose of Varuna);
Dhairyasagara (the ocean of firmness);
Pravrttacakra (the emperor);
Nagapriya (he who is fond of elephants);
Niramitra (he who has no enemies left);
Nirargala (the unbarred);
Parantapa (he who distresses his enemies);
Lokasikhamani (the crest jewel of the world);
Parthivasimha (the lion among princes);
Balapramathana (the destroyer of armies);
Pratibhaya (the formidable);
Bhimavikrama (he whose valour is terrible);
Rajakunjara (the elephant among kings);
Varanabhagadatta (he who resembles Bhagadatta in the knowledge of elephants);
Vikramakesari (the lion in valour);
Suragraganya (the foremost among heroes).

Amoghabana (he whose arrows never fail);
Asahyamargana (he whose arrows are unbearable);
Bhimakarmuka (he whose bow is terrible);
Uddhatavisikha (he whose arrows are ever raised);
Avismita (the never perplexed);
Amitramardana (the destroyer of his enemies);
Ajimardana (the destroyer in battle);
Durutsaha (the irresistible).

The Tirupporur pillars containing his inscriptions describe him in terms of the birudas already mentioned and add a few more like Arikari kesari (the lion against the elephant enemies).

An inscription found in the shrine of Mahendravarmesvara built by the son of Rajasimha describes him as Urjitah, whose bravery frightened the elephants of rival kings. He is described again as Lokaditya, the sun of the world, whose valour dried up the army of Rannrasikah just as the heat of the sun does the mud. The description, is, as we have seen, confirmed by the Historical sculptures of Vaikuntaperumal temple. In another inscription of Rangapataka, the wife of Rajasimha, Rajasimha is described as Kalakala, whose bow had become manifest at the destruction of cities, who has split the parts of his foes.

It is very doubtful whether any other king bore as many hirudas as Rajasimha so much suggesting his greatness in war.

Part IV: Age of Arurar—Conclusions

The argument that terms like Katavarkon Tontaiman are used as titles of greatness only from the reign of Nandivarma Pallavamalla and that therefore Katavarkon Kalarcinkan cannot be earlier than the age of Pallavamalla may be next considered.

The usage of the word ‘Katavarkon’ is considered by some historians to be comparatively of later date. Dr. Minaksi has brought together all the references to this word and its equivalent forms: Katavarkon is used in Arurar’s hymn and Periyapuranam. Katuvettipperaraiyan is the title assumed by feudatories of Nandivarman III and Nrpatunga. Kadava Madeviyar is the title of Nrpatunga’s queen and Kaduvetti is the name by which the Ganga king Sri Purusha refers to the Pallava king. The earliest reference in the inscriptions shown by her, belongs to the ase of Nandivarma Pallavamalla of the 8th century. Pallavamalla’s father Hiranvavarma is referred to as Katavesakula Hiranvavarma Maharaiah and Pallavamalla himself is called in his own inscription as ‘Katava kulam cirakkattonriya sat.vanvita suputran. Taking these facts along with the absence of these names in the inscriptions of the early Pallava kings of the Simhavisnu line Dr. Minakshi concluded that these titles were not assumed by the Pallava as the titles of greatness but were bestowed on them by the Tamil feudatories and their Tamil subjects.

But the description Katavarkon, the ruler of the forest territories, is appropriate to the early rulers as is clearly proved by the ‘Talagunda pillar inscription of Kakutstavarman which refers to Mayurasarman defeating the frontier guards of the, Pallavas and occupying the inaccessible forests stretching to the gates of Sri Parvata.

There is a poem quoted by the commentators on Tolkappiyam which speaks of an invasion against the Vaduga frontier tribes by the soldiers of Tontaippallavan:

“Mulaipoli timpal munceru panippa
Malartalai ulakam ompum eppa
Paricilait tontaip pallavan anaiyin
Vetcit tayattu viller ulavar
Porunta vatukar munaiccuram
Kalantu konta palla niraiye.”

Tontaiman, Tiraiyan etc., are all names assumed by rulers of the northern part of Tamil land now represented by Chingleput, Madras, Chittoor, North Arcot and South Arcot.

Next we may refer to the reference to terms like Kadava in the earlier inscriptions. The earliest reference to Katuvetti is to be found in the ‘Sirakunilas’ stone record of about 480 A.D. One wonders whether there may not be an implied suggestion to the title ‘Katuvetti’ in the birudas of Rajasimha’ ‘Davagni’ (the woodfire).

The Dalavanur cave inscription of Mahendravarma I calls him Tontaiyantarventam

“Tontaiyantar ventan curentirap pottaraiyan
Venkottin tenpal mikamakilntu-Kantan
Caramikka Vencilaiyan cattumalle cammen taranuk kilamaka vanru.”

The Vakkaleri plates refer probably to Rajasimha or his father as ‘Tiraiyaraja Pallavan.’ Dr. Minaksi herself in a note refers to the gold coins in the Madras Museum where the legend ‘Katachitra’ is found in archaic characters. She writes: “If, ‘Kania’ is an abridged form of ‘Kalaka’, synonymous with Kadava and if ‘Citra’ again is a shortened form of the names Citrakarapuli and Citramegha—surnames of Mahendravarman I,—then we may suggest that these six gold coins belong to the Pallava king Mahendravarman. But we may suggest the meaning of tiger for the word ‘citra’ in which sense it is used in Tamil literature possibly as a corrupt form of the word ‘citraka’. Some of the birudas of Mahendravarman praise him as ‘puli’ in such titles as ‘Citrakarappuli.’ Whatever that may be, the important point is that on Palaeographical ground the archaic characters of this legend could be placed in the age of Mahendravarman and this shows the term Katava was claimed as a title of greatness by the early Pallava kings themselves. These monarchs have become the rulers of the Tamil land and even if they were not the descendents of the old ‘Tiraiyas’ and ‘Tontaiyar’, the ancient Tamil chieftains of this part of the country known to the Cankam poets, they would have tried to show themselves as Tamilians to please the Tamil subjects. That is how we find the ancient titles of Tiraiyan, and Tontaiman being assumed by the Pallava kings even of the Simhavisnu line.

The velirs of Cankam age claimed to have descended from a great man who was born out of a pot reminding one of the birth of Drcpa claimed as one of the ancestors of the Paliavas in their grants and inscriptions. The story of the Paliavas having been born to a Nagi and connected with the sprouts is often referred to in their inscriptions and a connected story is referred to in Manimekalai. There is a story suggested by the very name Pulikatimal referred to in Purananuru. The story is told that whilst he was going on a hunting expedition he was asked by a tsi to kill a tiger which was coming unawares.

Dr. Minaksi describes panel III on the wall No. 2 upper row of the Vaikunta Perumal Temple thus:—

“This is a picture of a hunt. A man is represented in the act of blowing a trumpet as he is running. He is chasing two deer while a ferocious tiger is hiding himself in his den. To the extreme right are seen two men standing, while three others are also depicted witnessing the scene from their perches' on a branch of a tree.”

The Pulikatimal’s story seems to explain this panel better than any other explanation offered till now.

All these go to prove that attempts were being made to connect the ancient chieftains of Tamil country with the ancestors of the Pallava kings even if they were not really so related. As we had already found reference to the titles like Katavarkon, Tontaiman even in the age of Mahendravarman, one cannot say that they could not have been so assumed by Rajasimha or by his father or grand-father as titles of greatness. Arurar uses the words Katavarkon, Pallavar, Tontaiman.

It has been assumed that reference to the Pallava and Katavarkon should be a reference to a contemporary king of Arurar. But the reference to Tontaiman could not be definitely said to be a contemporary king of Arurar because the poet uses the past tense ‘velippattaruliya’. The name Mullaivoyal like Kunavayil and Kutavayil suggests that the place was in the outskirts of a city or fort. In the period of Arurar, it was on the northern banks of Palaru, which unfortunately had moved far south since then. Probably there was an old city there, which disappeared for some reason or other, to become overgrown with jungle. The tradition says that when the king passed that side on an elephant, the jasmine creepers into which the king’s elephant was caught, would not allow the animal to take even a single step ©ut, that therefore the creepers had to be removed and when they were so removed an ancient lihga became visible and that the king was overcome by a feeling of reverence and he is said to have built a temple there. It is not clear who this Pallava king was. He might be Paramesvaran the father of Rajasimha who might have on his march to Vatapi passed through this Thirumullaivoyal. Or, it may be even Rajasimha who is himself praised for his love of elephants and for his control of elephants: Ibhavidyadhara (He who possesses the knowledge of elephants); Ibhavatsaraja (He who resembles the king of Vatsa in the knowledge of elephants); Nagapriya (He who is fond of elephants). The panels which according to Dr. Minaksi describe the history of Rajasimha, do show elephants.

Therefore, one need not assume that the elephants referred to by Arurar is the Pattavardhana of Nandivarma Pallavanialla. There is nothing in that epigraphic reference to Pattavardhana to justify any reference to ‘Vatatirumullaivayil’ and one cannot jump to the conclusion that wherever in literature an elephant is referred to it ought to be the pattavardhana of Pallavamalla.

One may next turn to the first test proposed by Dr. Minaksi for identifying any king with Kalarcinkan. She thought Nandivarman III satisfied this test because traders of his land had gone to distant Siam to dig a tank in his name. This can prove only an economic relationship; even though to safeguard the economic trade there might have been a navy of Nandivarman III, whose existence is proved by Nandikkalampakam. It may be worth while to point out that all are not agreed that Nandivarman III was a star of the first magnitude in the Pallava heavens. Professor Nilakanta Sastry writes:

“Dubreuil seems to exaggerate the significance of Tellaru when he writes that ‘this glorious campaign enabled him to reign peacefully not only at Kanci but also on the banks of the Kaveri’. ‘The poetry of the Nandikkalampakam should not be mistaken for history’.” “We may conclude”, he writes on p. 75, “that if Nandi of Tellaru began his reign with a victory against Srimata, he lived long enough to sustain a defeat in his turn at Kuilamukku inspite of the fact that on this occasion he seems to have been supported by several of his allies”.

It may be replied that Arurar lived to see the victory at Tellaru and not the defeat at Kudamukku, and that it is not fair to judge a description of the victory like that of Tellaru which must have appeared as a great feat to the contemporaries in the light of other events of history like the glories of Rajasimha and others, One must accept the force of this reply but still it is open to point out that Rajasimha better fulfils the test than Narulivarman III especially when the argument proceeds on finding out a Pallava, fulfilling their own tests.


The naval power of Rajasimha is now proved to be of such great importance as to be recognised even by distant China of those days. Professor Nilakanta Sastry has given a translation of the extracts from Ts’o Fou Yuan Kouei, a great Chinese Cyclopaedia compiled about 1013 A.D. under the heading “692-720 A.D. Embassies from South India to China”:

“I. In the eighth year of K’ai-yuen (720), the king of the kingdom of South India, Che-li Na-lo-seng-kia (Sri Narasirmha) proposed to employ his war elephants and his cavalry to chastise the Ta-che (Arabs) as well as the T’ou-po (Tibetans) and others. Moreover, he asked that a name be given to his army; the emperor praised it greatly and named his army; ‘the army which cherished virtue’.

“II. In the 8th year K’ai-yuen (720), the 8th month, the day ting-tch’eou, a decree was addressed to tchong-chow-men-hia to inform him that the king of South India having sent from afar (an ambassador) to render homage and pay tribute, and this ambassador being due to return, he must look after him with the greatest care till his departure and act in such a way that his desires might be fulfilled. The ambassador was therefore given a robe of flowered silk, a golden girdle, a purse with an emblem in the form of a fish and the seven objects; then he was sent away.

“III. In the 11th month, an ambassador was sent to confer by brevet the title of king of the kingdom of South India on Che-li-Na-lo-seng-k’ia pai-to-pa-mo (Sri Narasirmha Potavarman).

“The texts marked I and II under year 720 are found again in Kieou T’ang Chou which adds the following: “the 9th month, the king of South India Che-li-Na-lo-seng-k’ia-to-pa (Sri Narasirmha Potavarman) constructed a temple on account of the empire (i.e., of China); he addressed to the emperor a request asking from him an inscription giving a name to this temple; by decree, it was decided that the name should be ‘which causes return to virtue (Koei-hoa) and it was presented to him (i.e., the emperor sent Narasirmha a tablet with the inscription Koei-hoa se, so that it may be placed on the front of the temple erected in India by Nara-sirmha for the benefit of China).

“This Narasimha, king of Kanci, is known to us from the Mahavamsa and from the inscriptions of India; and relying on these last pieces of evidence, inscriptions Sylvain-Levi has proposed to tarry back the reign of this prince to about 700 A.D. (J. A. 1900 May-June); we see that his conclusion is borne out by the Chinese texts which speak at such length of Sri Narasmhha Potavarman in 720” (Chavannes, p. 44n.).

“The data given in these extracts from Ts’o fou yuan Kouei; a great Chinese cyclopaedia compiled about 1013 A.D., are com firmed by the following extract from Ma Twan-lin:

“In the third of the years keen-fung (A.D. 667), the Five Indias (or five kingdoms of India) sent ambassadors to the court of the emperor. In the years kae-yuen (A.D. 713 to 742), an ambassador from Central India proceeded three times as far as the extremity of southern India, and came only once to offer birds of five colours that could talk. He applied for aid against the Ta-she (or Arabs) and the Too-fan (or Tibetans), offering to take command of the auxiliary troons. The Emperor Heuen-tsung (who reigned from A.D. 713 to 756) conferred upon him the rank of general-in-chief. The Indian ambassadors said to him: ‘the Fan (or Tibetan) barbarians are captivated only by clothes and equipments. Emperor! I must have a long, silk embroidered robe and a leathern belt decorated with gold, and a bag in the shape of a fish.’ All these articles were ordered by the emperor” “—Chavannes: Notes additionnelles sur les Tou-kiue (Tures.) Occidentaux. Toung Pa II 5: pp. 1-110; and JASB vi, p. 71, for Ma-Twan-lin.”

This extract establishes the greatness of Rajasimha’s navy and extends his reign to 720 A.D.

Professor Sastri comments on these in his learned introduction:

“These embassies have not received the attention they deservfc at the hands of Indian historians....But the most surprising fact we learn from these records is that in 720 A.D. Narasimhavarman II. the Pallava ruler of Kanci, well-known under his surname Rajasimha, sent an embassy to China to inform the Chinese Emperor of his intention to go to war with the Arabs and Tibetans and asked the Emperor to give a name to his army; he also sent word that he had constructed a temple on account of the Emperor and wanted him to give it too a name. The ambassador that brought these requests was highly honoured and a Chinese embassy was sent in return to visit South India and gratify the wishes of Narasimhavarman. These precise references to Narasimhavarman go to show that the usual chronology of the reigns of the Pallava monarchs at the close of the seventh century and the beginning of the eighth is not as well founded as it is generally taken to be; it is possible that the reign of Narasimhavarman lasted longer and that of Nandivarman II Pallavamalla began later than is generally believed.”

The reference in their extracts to Tibet and the Arabs is difficult to understand. Professor Sastri next explains this ridale: “The mention of Arabs and Tibetans as the enemies of the Pallava kingdom in this period should also be noted. Separately or allied together, the Arabs and the Tibetans were more the enemies of China in this period than of any Indian state, and one may reasonably surmise that it was the Chinese court which, being impressed by the political power of Narasimhavarman in India, was anxious to enlist his support in its plans against the Tibetans.” It is this we spoke of as a recognition of the supremacy of the navy of Rajasimha.

Professor Sastri next quotes:

“It is certain, according to the evidence of certain Chinese authors”, says Reinaud, “that the Tibetans, called Thufan by those writers, played in the seventh and eigth centuries A.D. a great part in Central Asia. Masters for a time of regions situated in the north-east and south-east, they made the emperors of China tremble even in their capital. A Chinese author says that, at an epoch which corresponds to the year 787, the emperor of China found himself constrained for his own security, to make an alliance with the king of Yunnan, the Khalif of Bagdad, and certain Indian princes. The Tibetan arms seemed to extend to the remotest parts of the Bay of Bengal; it is only in some such way that we can explain the name Tibetan Sea applied to the Bay by Ishtakri and Ibn Hawkal.

If the Bay of Bengal was known as Tibetan sea and if Rajasimha was the Lord of the Bay as well as the Arabian sea there is no wonder in the Chinese assuming that he was the best person to help China to conquer the Tibetans and the Arabians, on the mistaken notion that the Tibetans could be attacked from the Bay of Bengal.

Nor is this all. The Pallavas came to inherit the naval powers and trade of the Tamils in the eastern and western seas. The Andhra navy was inherited by the Pallavas who were, to start with, the governors of the Andhra kingdom as may be seen by their coins. The Andhras issued lead coins with a two masted ship. In the collection of Eliot’s coins, there are coins which bear the Pallava emblem of a bull along with the two masted ship and these have to be assigned to the Pallavas. During the times of Narasimhavarma Mamalla, Manavamma of Ceylon was helped by the Pallava navy, first unsuccessfully but at the second attempt successfully to become the king of Ceylon.

Gopalan writes about this Ceylon invasion as follows:

“The circumstances that led to the intervention of Narasimha-varman I in the affairs of Ceylon are gathered chiefly from the Mahavamsa, (The Mahavamsa, ch. 47—Tumour’s translation). It appears from this account that Manavamma, a Ceylon prince, having become an exile, fled to India, and, arriving at the city of Kancipuram, managed to enter service under Narasimhavarman I with a view to secure his aid and ultimately to gain the Ceylon throne. Here he is described as having constantly engaged himself in the service of the king and proved his trustworthiness by many an act of bravery and loyalty. The Mahavamsa mentions in great detail the various acts of Manavamma, particularly his services to Narasimhavarman I in his wars against the Vallabha, the Chalukya king: how once king Vallabha came to make war against Narasimha and how the Pallava king with a view to test Manavamma Heft him at his capital city and proceeded to the battle-field alone, and how Manavamma’s affection caused him to leave the safety of the fortified capital and join his king in the field of battle in victory, defeat, or death. Such action was bound to increase Narasimha’s esteem for him, and it is therefore not surprising that when the Ceylon prince prepared to go back to his country, Narasimhavarman I ghve him a strong escort and an army with which he was able to secure the Ceylon throne. But this success did not last long. Soon after, his army deserted him and the Prince of Ceylon came back once more to seek the help of Narasimhavarman I. Again Narasimhavarman I gave him an army much bigger than before and this time the Pallava king himself accompanied his troops as far as the harbour where his men went on board on their voyage to the shores of Ceylon. It is noteworthy that this naval expedition of Narasimhavarman I set sail from the ancient Pallava port, Mahabalipuram, which, according to contemporary account was a harbour at this time. It is worthy of note that Hieun Tsang (Beal, Records, Vol. II, p. 228) who stayed in the city for a considerable time (circa 642) recorded the fact that ships go to Ceylon from Kanchi, and that it extended by twenty miles to the coast. Tirumangai Alvar also records that Mahabalipuram was a busy port in his hymns on this place and particularly notes that in its harbour ride at anchor ‘vessels bent to the point of breaking laden as they are with wealth, big trunked elephants and nine gems in heaps”:

“Pulankolnitik kuvaiyotu pulaikkaimma kalitrmhnium
Nalankolnava manikkuvaiyum cumantenkum nanrocintu
Kalankaliyan kummallaik katanmallait talacayanam
Valankolinanat taravarai valankolan matanence.”
     (Peria Tirumoli, Katanniallai Hymn, V. 6).

“This second naval expedition was a complete success and must have made a profound impression on the contemporary powers of south India. The Kasakkudi plates which confirm the conquest of Ceylon justly compare this achievement of Narasimhavarman I with that of Rama’s conquest of Lanka. Prince Manavamma was firmly placed on the throne, and not until Narasimhavarman I’s death did trouble overtake him again.”

This is quoted in full to give us a graphic picture of the naval power of the Pallavas which Rajasmhha inherited.

Dr. E. Hultsch (in his article on Contributions to Singhalese Chronology, J. R. A. S., 1913—p. 517) whilst pointing out that Narasimha is spoken of as a Kailuvetti (Kaniluvetti being a mistake for this word) uses the word Rajasiha twice to refer to this king probably because the original uses that name as well. The name of the enemy of the Kailuvetli is given in the Mahavamsa, as Vallabha and Vallabharala. Vikramaditya, the son of Pulikesin II speaks of himself as Sri Vallabha in his Gadval Plates. This combination of Raj as ilia, which is the Pali form of Rajasimha, and Vallabha would suggest that the war was between Rajasmhha and Vikramaditya. As Rajasimha was also called Narasimha, the Mahavamsa perhaps uses both the names. Probably it is the use of these two names that misled Wijasinha into translating the verse 7 of Ch. 47 of Mahavamsa so as to suggest that Kailuvetti was a different person from the Pallava king first mentioned in that chapter. To support this reference to Rajasimha’s attack on Vatapi, we can refer to Rangapataka, Rajasimha’s wife whose inscription compares her husband’s valour before a city to Shiva standing before the Tripura. Manavamma is given the year 720 for his accession by Tumour but of course certain deductions have to be made in these years. These considerations, however, require further elucidation and examination.


We had already referred to the coins of Rajasimha and these also are signs of his naval power. The Vayalur pillar inscriptions of Rajasirmha throws further light on the naval power of this king: The word ‘Dvipalaksam’ occurs in this inscription. “May he exercise the royal prerogative and take up the vow of administering (his) subjects up to the extremities of his kingdom, as even to include the thousand islands, he, who is known by the name ‘the great wrestler’ (Mahamalla) on account of his (skill in) hand-to-hand fight, who is excessively devoted (Atyantakama) ever to serve at the pair of the lotus feet of Sambhu (Shiva), who is the blessed cloud (Sri Megha) that makes the mass of crops, the Brahmins prosperous, who is the Moon to the ocean of (his) race, “the victorious in battle” (Runajaya) and “the storehouse of Prosperity” (Srinidhi).

“Jiyatmahesvarasikhamani diptamauliryyodharjjani sakala lo-kanarendrasmhha (1) Sambhoh padaravindaddvaya paricarane-nityamatyantakamah srimedho viprasasyakravibhakare vyomarat-noghachandrah/Rajyantaravagahavidotamahamalla sabdah/pra-janai raksadikshadhikaram vahatu ranajayah/ srinidhidvipalak-sham (2) (Text—Ep. Indi., XVIII, P. 145).”

Mr. Krishna Sastri whose translation we had given brings out the significance of this term in the following note:

“This is a doubtful translation of the word ‘Dvipalaksam’ (the translation given in the text ‘thousand islands’). I propose to take it as an avyayibhava deriving it ‘dvipa laksyante yasmin karmani iti’. (Dvipah laksam yasmin’ etc., is another suggestion—H. 8).” If this interpretation is correct, it shows that the Pallava rule must have extended in the time of Rajasimha even to the distant island in the ocean. The word ‘dvipa laksat’ and with ‘a’ repeated we may translate nip to the thousand islands’.

Could there be a reference by dhvani in the word dvipalaksam to the Laccadive Islands called laksadvipa in Sanskrit? The exact relation that might have then existed between the Pallava king Rajasimha and the Laccadive islands has nowhere been found. In this connection it may not be out of place to point out that Dr. Vogel in his learned contribution on the Yupa inscriptions of the king Mulavarman from Koetei (East Borneo) (Neder-landsch Indie, 1918, p. 192) asks: “Suppose the powerful Pallava princes of Kancipura had equipped armadas and carried their arms to the remote shores of Champa and Java, may we not assume that their conquest on the far side of the ocean would have been extolled in their prasastis with no less effusion than we find lavished on their victories over the Chalukyas?” Here we have though not a prasasti, at least a significant hint that the Pallava dominion was ambitious enough to extend to the distant islands.

This suggestion receives further support from the references to Rajasimha in the Chinese annals already mentioned.


One more suggestion may be made. The subordinates in the Tamil land are found to assume the titles of their paramount king. Perhaps in the Eastern Archipelago also such a practice obtained. The Java king Jayanagara of the 14th century when Sundara Pandya ruled in South India assumed the Pandyan title Sundarapandya and the Pandyan emblem of double fish. One king assumed the name of his suzerain overlord, Sundara Pandya. With these facts in mind where one reads an inscription of the king Jayavarman II of Cambodia, who ruled at about the time Rajasimha was ruling in South India, describing Jayavarman as Rajasimha, one wonders whether it implies any acceptance of the suzerainty of this Pallava king. The Pallava kingdom was not unknown to them; for, we find an inscription of Jayavarma referring to Kanci, the capital city of the Pallavas (P. N. Bose).

The following remarks of Prof. Nilakanta Sastri help us to make the above suggestion:

“There are some inscriptions of Citrasena, all bearing very close resemblance to the South Indian Pallava inscriptions of the early seventh century. One of them from Thma-kre, meaning stone-bed, from a large level rock in the bed of the Mekong between Sambok and Kratie, is a single anustubh verse recording the erection of a linga by Citrasena after obtaining the permission of his parents (BEFEO, iii, pp. 212-213). The other record is found in two places, Phou Lakhon in Laos (ibid., pp. 442-6) and Khan Thevada in the province of Ubon (BEFEO, xxii, p. 58). It comprises three verses in the same anustubh metre. It opens with the statement that the grandson of Sarvabhauma, the younger son of Viravarman, was not inferior in prowess to his elder brother, Bhavavarman; then it says that this younger son was Citrasena who took the name Mahendravarman at his consecration, and after having conquered the entire country set up a lihga of Girisa (Shiva) on the mountain as a symbol of his victory.

“Jitvemam-desam akhilan Girisasyeha bhubrti
Liugannivesayamasa Jayacihnamivatamanali”.

“These events, the liberation of Kambhuja and the erection of the linga, must have taken place a little before A.D., 616; in fact, the nearly contemporary Souei annals cited above place them between A.D., 589 and 618, and this is in perfect accord with the date unmistakably revealed by the palaeography of the inscriptions of Citrasena. It is clear that at the time of the first record he had not yet become king.”

“It will be recalled that about the same time another Mahenar avarman, the first of that name and the most talented among the Pallava rulers of South India, erected a shrine to a linga on the rock of Tiruchirapalli overlooking the Kaveri river. Considering the very close resemblance in the lettering of the inscriptions of the two Mahendravarmans, one is tempted to ask whether this is not more than a mere coincidence. Separated by several hunar eds of miles of land and sea, the records of these rulers are evidence of exactly the same type of culture, same in almost every detail that can be thought of.”


We have not so far considered the reference in the Chinese annals to the building of a Buddhist temple by Rajasimha. It is taken to be a reference to the Buddhist Vihara at Nakappattinam known as the China vihara for which Rajaraja the great made an endowment. Tirumangai Alaar who is said to have enriched the Ranganatha temple at Sri Rangam with the booty obtained by looting this Buddhist sanctuary is assigned the age of Pallavamalla and therefore the vihara must have been in existence before his time, i.e., in the reign of Rajasimha itself. This proves his international outlook for encouraging the trade of his country.

The cumulative value of all these considerations can suggest only one conclusion that Rajasimha is entitled to be called ‘Kalal culnta ulakelam kakkinra perumani rather than any other Pallava king.


The third test laid down by Dr. Minaksi is that any king to be identified with Kalarcinkan must be a great devotee of Shiva in order to receive such an encomium from Arurar. Rajasimha is famous for introducing a new type of temple architecture, different from the cave temples of Mahendra and the Rathas of Narasmhha Mamalla. “Narasimha II (Rajasimha) builds craft constructed temples of hewn and hand placed stones”, though these look like the Dharmaraja ratha of Mamalla in the back wall of the garbagrha behind Rajasimha’s peculiar prismatic lingas, a form of Somaskanda is invariably found in all the temples of Rajasimha. Nor can any one mistake the rearing lions supporting the pilasters in Rajasimha’s temples. And he has started building prakaras consisting of a series of Sivalihgas. Therefore, he and his Kailasanatha temple occupy an important place, perhaps the most important place in the History of Shaivism of the Pallava period. Vikramaditya II, the Chalukya, even though he came and captured Kanci as the inveterate enemy of Nandivarma Pallava and the Tamils, was so very much impressed with the architecture of the Kailasanatha Temple that he not only enriched and beautified it but also took the Tamilian architects, the Sutradhari Chittra Revadi Ovajji of the Sarvasiddhi Acarya knowing the secrets of Sri silamudras thus introducing this style of Kailas temple in his Chalukyan country. The reference to the temple built by Katavarkon in the Pukalacola Nayanar puranam of Cekkilar, is therefore considered to be a reference to the Kailasanatha temple of Rajasimha. He is considered to be the builder of the shore temple at Mahabalipuram, the temple at Panamalali the Airavatesvara temple at Kancipuram in addition to the Kailasanathar temple. The story of Rajasimha hearing a disembodied voice shows how important he and his temple were considered by the Shaivite inscription writers of his reign.

His birudas only go to emphasise his greatness as a Shaivite:

“He whose refuge is Isana or Shiva (Isana sarana); the religious (Acarapara); he whose authority is the Shaiva doctrine (Agamapramana); one who is fond of the itihasas (Itihasapriya); the follower of the Shaiva doctrine (Agamanusari); he whose goad is knowledge (Jnanankusa); devotee of Shiva (Devadevabhakta); the sinless (Duradurita); devotee of Sankara (Sankarabhakta); he who knows the truth (Tatvavedi); devotee of Shiva, i.e., Isvara (Isvarabhakta); the ocean of wisdom (Jnanasagara); one who takes refuge in Tsana or Shiva (Isana sarana) Atirann canilesvara Temple at Saluvankuppam describes him as follows: “One who assiduously worships Shiva (Hara aradhana sangina); one who bears Bhava in his mind which is filled with devotion; one who bears deep devotion to ‘Isana.”


The following version, but in verse form, is often repeated in his inscriptions: “Just as in a large lake filled with water which is fit for bathing and covered with various lotus flowers, handsome Sankara (Shiva) abides on the large head—sprinkled with the water of coronation and covered With bright jewels—of the illustrious Atyantakamah.” As this verse form is found in the inscription at the Ganesa temple and Dharmaraja mantapa at Mahabalipuram, they may be taken to refer to Rajasimha. The former inscription describes the king in these terms: “SrInidhih bears on his head the unborn (Shiva) by the weight of whose great toe, Kailasa together with the ten faced (Ravuna) sank down into Patala”. The Kailasanatha temple inscription describes Rajasimha as, “one who had got rid of all impurities by walking on the path of Shaiva doctrine (Shaiva Siddhanta marga)”. He is called “Saivachudamanih” (he who has Shiva for his crest jewel).

The Kasakudi plates describe him in the following terms: “From Paramesvara Potavarman was born, a complete incarnation of the blessed Paramesvara who equalled Narasirmha both by the strength of his body and by his name (Narasimhavarma) that spread over the world.

The Vayalur Pillar Inscription describes him as one whose diadem shines with the head-jewel namely Mahesvara (Mahesvarasikha manidiptamauli) and Mr. Krishna Sastry writes in his introduction thereto as follows: “The adjunct ‘Mahesvarasikha manidvipamaulih’ which occurs in these verses (i.e. the two verses recorded in lines 9 to 14 of the inscription) and which, literally rendered means ‘one whose diadem shines with the head jewel, viz., Mahesvara (Shiva)’ is rather perplexing. Comparing this with titles like Sivachudamani, etc., and the verse ‘yasyangustabharakrantali’, etc., which occurs in the South Indian Inscriptions, Volume I, Nos. 18 and 19 and ‘Abhisekajalapuma’, etc., in ibid., Nos. 21 and 22 —all with reference to king Rajasmhha—it looks as if the king did actually wear a figure of Shiva or rather his symbol, the linga, on his head. This fact is evidently also hinted in the verse ‘Gunnbhara namani rajanyanena lingenalingini jnanam’, etc., which refers to the conversion of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I Gunabhara from Jainism to Shaivism. Again V. 4 of No. 34 in the same volume speaks of ‘Shiva fixed in the mind, being worn on the head.’ All these references clearly point to the existence of a linga cult long before the revival of the Vira-Shaiva faith under the auspices of the famous Kalachuri minister Basava (Chenna Basava) in which the wearing of the Linga plays a prominent part. Again, the sense of the two verses, particularly that of the second, is such that it suggests the occasion for the engraving of this record to be the accession of king Rajasmhha to the throne. This, if it were so meant, would indeed have been a fitting opportunity to eulogise his many acts of heroism, charity and piety, and to proclaim to all subjects his assumption of power over his hereditary dominions”.

The description given above in Atiranachandesvara Temple, Saluvankuppam referring to the coronation water—a verse repeated very often assumes a similar significance;


This king is proud of his musical talents and his inscriptions call him, Atodyatumburuh, Vadyavidyadhara and Vinanarada. The Atiranachandesvara Temple inscription poetically raises the question, “Who will be able to understand the music of Kalakala (Rajasimha) if it were not Brahma, Bharata, Hari, Narada or Skanda? This will suggest that the music had a religious significance. Arurar’s hymns have many references to this kind of religious music. Rajasimha is also called Kalasamudrah; Kavyaprabodha (the reviver of poetry). He is considered to be a disciple of Dandin. All these admirable qualifications must have made him endearing to the heart of Arurar that great art connoisseur and poet and musician. The Kailasanatha Temple justifies his biruda Itihasapriyah and our study of Arurar’s poems has proved that our saint was equally an Itihasapriyah and a lover of music, and dance, apart from himself being a poet and a composer of music. These descriptions of Rajasimha have greater force than the descriptions of Tellarerinta Nampi in Nandikkalampakam as ‘Sivanai mulutum maravata cintaiyan; ‘Paintamilai aykinra kon Nandi; ‘Nul narampu mulutum kantank ‘Nurpulavan’ and the description in the Velurpalayam grant ‘he who bears the symbol of Shiva in his forehead’. Nandivarman III is known to have built no temples though he had endowed many temples.


Dr. Rajamanikkam refers to Periyapuranam where Cekkilar speaks of Kalarcinkam as going to temples and performing ‘tontu’ or service and concludes that this could not be true of Rajasimha. He admits that Rajasimha had built temples. One wonders why this is not considered as ‘tontu’ or Shaivite service to God, for Pucalar is included in the list of Tontars on the basis of the building of a mental temple and Koccenkunan is also found included in that list because of the temples he built. There could not be a higher service than this according to the Agamas. Probably the learned Dr. feels that making endowments alone could count as such service or ‘tontu’ for he makes the following references to Nandi’s tontu: “According to the Velurpalayam grant, Nandi had endowed a village as ‘devadanam’ to the temple at Tirukkattuppalli near Ponneri. Nandi made a gift of 100 kalancu of gold for the lamp to be lighted at Thiruvathigai. He presented a lamp to be called after him as Kumaramarttanta for being lighted in the temple at Thiruvidaimarudur. He gave away gold for a similar purpose to the temple at Thiruvottiyur and Tiruttavatturai or Lalgudi. He provided for the recitation of Tiruppatiyam at Tiruvallam. He gave away lands to the Lord Tirukkataimnti.” These are considered by our Dr. to be of greater importance than the building of temples by Rajasimha, temples representing a new school of architecture, considered by the Chalukyas to be worthy of being copied by them.

Nor could it be said that Rajasimha had not made any endowments to the temples. Vikramaditya II speaks of the great wealth of Rajasimhesvaram of Kailasanatha temple: “Vikramaditya, who led an excursion into the Tundaka country defeated his natural foe, the Pallava king Nandipotavarman and entered the Pallava capital Kanci but did not destroy it. He restored to the Raj asimhesvara and other temples, which had been caused to be built there by Narasimhapotavarman, heaps of gold and rubies, which had been taken away from them.” His successor Kirtivarman II in his Vakkaleri grant praises the Vikramaditya II for having left alone the great wealth of Kailasanatha temple without confiscating it when he captured Kancipuram. Cekkilar himself refers to this endowment of this great wealth by Katavarkon, the contemporary of Pucalar Nayanar, almost in terms of Calukya inscriptions, “Katavarkoman Kaccikkarrali etuttu murra matelam Sivapukkakap peruncelvam vakuttal ceyvan”. If Rajasimha had endowed like this on a scale much grander than the endowments of Nandivarman cannot understand the conclusions of the learned Dr. that the description of Kalarcinkan by Cekkilar as the one who performed ‘tontu’ at temples could not be true of Rajasimha as it is of Nandivarman III. An examination of the references in the inscriptions should have convinced any impartial student that the description can be true only of Rajasimha.

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