Impact of Vedic Culture on Society

by Kaushik Acharya | 2020 | 120,081 words

This page relates ‘Mingling of Cultures (N): The Calukyas’ of the study on the Impact of Vedic Culture on Society as Reflected in Select Sanskrit Inscriptions found in Northern India (4th Century CE to 12th Century CE). These pages discuss the ancient Indian tradition of Dana (making gifts, donation). They further study the migration, rituals and religious activities of Brahmanas and reveal how kings of northern India granted lands for the purpose of austerities and Vedic education.

Mingling of Cultures (N): The Cālukyas

The Cālukyas were the followers of the Brahmanical religion, in early period of this dynasty Buddhism flourished several parts of their kingdom. However, they also followed a policy of religious tolerance as reflected through their inscriptions. Kairā plates (c. 633-644 CE)[1] issued by the King Vijayarāja of the Cālukya dynasty records a grant of a village Pariyaya for the increase in the merit and fame of his parents and self and outstanding performance of the prescribed daily routine rituals (bali, caru, vaiśvadeva, Agnihotra, etc.). King Vijayarāja handed over the village to the group of sixty-two Adhvaryus (priests engaged for specific duties in sacrifice and associated with Yajurveda) belonging to the Kāṇva branch of the Vājasaneya śākhā of white Yajurveda (usually resident in Jambūsara. However, according to some scholars, this inscription is a spurious one found in the Kaira district in northern Gujarat.[2]

Mudgapadra grant of Yuvarājā Śryāśraya Śilāditya (c. 668-669)[3] issued by the King Vikramāditya I;Śryāśraya Śilāditya-yuvarāja of Cālukyas of Bādāmi dynasty records a grant of a village to two vedic brāhmaṇa. In the description part of the inscription, it records about the family history and about the former King Śrī-Pulakesivallabha, whose body had been purified by the ceremonial bath (avabhṛta-snāna) culminating in the sacrifices like Bahusuvarṇaka, Aśvamedha, Pauṇḍarīka, Vājapeya and among others. For the augmentation of the merit and glory of his parents as well as of self, Śryāśraya Śrī-Śīlāadiya-yuvarāja, granted the village Mudgapadra to Revāditya (emigrated from Girinagara), and also to Varasyaka of Āśvalāyana-sago tra (gveda), For the continuation of the five great sacrifices viz. bali, caru, vaiśvānara rituals and for gratifying the guests.

In another inscription of Śilāditya -yuvarāja titled as Navsārī Plates of Śryāśraya Śilāditya (c. 671 CE)[4] records a grant of the village Āsaṭṭi for securing and augmentation of merit and glory to (their) parents and self. While residing at Navasārikā, he donated the said village to Mātṟiśvara who belongs from an adhvaryu family.

In Surat Plates of Yuvarāja Śryāśraya Śilāditya” (c. 693 CE)[5] we will see the repetition of purpose as it records, for the enhancement of the merit and fame of his parents and self, and to perform pañchamahāyajña and others. The King granted the field included in the territorial division (viṣaya) of Karmmaṇe-yāhāra again to Dikshita Mātrīśvara, of kāṇva (school) of Adhvaryu (Yajurveda) and who was familiar in or alumni of the school for (teaching) the four vidyās (Vedas) in Kārmmaṇeya. The inscription further records about the Aśvamedha sacrifice which was performed by the former ruler Atyāśraya-Śrīpula-keŚivallabha-Mahārājạ.

Again in an inscription issued by the same King titled as Navasāri Plates of Pulakesirāja (c. 739 CE)[6] records another grant of a village Padraka to Kānchala, a well versed in two Vedas, taittiriya school (migrated from vanavāsi) for the same purpose for the increase of merit of his parents and self as well as for the outstanding performance of the daily routine rituals, bali, caru, vaiśvadeva, Agnihotra and among others.

The Cālukyas (of Navasārika) ruled parts of present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra during 7th and 8th centuries, they are also known as the “Early Cālukyas of Gujarat” (as opposed to the later Cālukyas of Gujarat), and their territory subsequently came under the control of the contemporary Rāṣṭrakūṭa dynasty. The Kings Vijayarāja, Śryāśraya ŚrīŚīlāadiya-yuvarāja, etc. supported the prevalent religions at that time along with the traditional vedic Brahmanical religion. So there was also a sense of religious tolerance.

During their rule, Jainism developed in the Deccan. Many Cālukyan kings granted villages to well known Jain scholars. However, there is no information about Buddhism during the early period of this dynasty. There arrived the Bhāgavata and Paśupati (Śiva) creeds with the growing influence of purāṇic culture. In honor of the triad of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara, temples were built up at some places like Vātāpi.

Apart from the above, the sacrificial form of worship was also composed at that time. Chinese traveler, Xuan zang visited India during the reign of Pulakesin II. He described the rulers supported all the religions and did not load restrictions on the social and religious practices of ordinary people. This policy helped in the spread of Buddhism (later period) and Jainism. The lands were given to Jaina and Buddhist Monks, and the vedic Brahmins, as we experienced in the inscriptions, as mentioned above, issued from the places of Northern India. vedic culture reached its zenith as they performed many religious sacrifices (vedic). Finally, we may conclude thus, that the sacrificial form of worship was prevailing, and the purāṇic deities rose into prominence. Therefore the spirit of religious tolerance was there in the Cālukya rule.

Footnotes and references:


Ibid., pp. 538-547.


Sukla Das, Crime and Punishment in Ancient India, p. 21.


USVAE, vol. IV, part II, pp. 363-369.


Ibid., pp. 270-274.


Ibid., pp. 546-553.


Ibid., vol. V, pp. 200-209.

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