Sanskrit sources of Kerala history

by Suma Parappattoli | 2010 | 88,327 words

This study deals with the history of Kerala based on ancient Sanskrit sources, such as the Keralamahatmyam. The modern state known as Keralam or Kerala is situated on the Malabar Coast of India. The first chapter of this study discusses the historical details from the inscriptions. The second chapter deals with the historical points from the Mahatm...

This book contains Sanskrit text which you should never take for granted as transcription mistakes are always possible. Always confer with the final source and/or manuscript.

1.5. The settlements of Kerala with people

After the formation of the 64 villages Parasurama peopled the land first of all with Brahmins from various regions out side Kerala. Kerala Mahatmya mentions this point very clearly. According to the work the Brahmins in Kerala were not among the original inhabitants, but they were bought by Parasurama from various places outside Kerala. Most of them were brought from the Northern region. Parasurama is said to have, first of all, brought a poor Brahmin and his family is in the bank of river Krsna, a brahmin of great Sancity, well versed in Vedic love, and in the practice of Yoga. His wife and 8 sons were also no less learned than the vernerable parents. The father was installed as Yogatripad Yogiar or perceptor of all the Namboodiri Brahmin and was authorised to pronounce final judjent on the religion questions referred to him. A house was built for him at Vrsapuri ‘Trichur’[1].

The work further states that Parasurama next fetched more Brahmins from the families of Bharadvaja and Kasyapa in the Chola country[2]. Among those brahmins there was one, who was perceptor of the Vedas at Madhyarjuna Mahakshetra of the Chola country[3]. Parasuram built a school in order to teach the Vedas. His next step was to bring more brahmin from the city of Madhura and locate them in twelve Illams in order to adopts laws of Mantras and Tantras[4]. Finally he brought five families of brahmin who were well versed in Dharmaveda from the shores of the river Godavari[5].

Later ships with all species of seeds and animals came followed by 28 Samantas, Vaisyas and Sudras and the low castes—

aṣṭāviṃśati sāmantān paṅktiyuktān saputrakān
  gṛhītvā bhārgavo rāmo nāvamāropayadvibhuḥ |
vaṇijo vaiśya saṃbhūtān śūdrānapi ca nīcajān
  svarṇakārā nayaskārāṃ sūrucchedakarānapi |
mūṣākāraścarmakārāṃstāmrakārānapi
  śilākārāṃścaṇḍālān kuḍumbasamanvitān

(Kerala Mahatmya 16, Slokas 12-14)

The families of the native chieftains were mostly, of the Samanta castes, by they were classed as Sudras. According to the leagendary accounts current in Kerala Parasurama is credited with the settlement of Brahmins and other castes in Kerala.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Kerala Mahatmya -12 -Slokas 14 -36

[2]:

ṛgvedine brāhmaṇāya dadau tasmai kuḍumbine |
kāśyapānvaya saṃbhūtān bhāradvājasya gotrajān ||
(Kerala Mahatmya -13-Sl 8)

[3]:

sarveṣāñca dvijātīnāṃ śreṣṭhāyūyaṃ hi kerale
  saṅkalpaivaṃ tato rāmaścoladeśe cacāraḥ ||
madhyārjune mahākṣetre brāhmaṇo brahmavittamaḥ
  ṛgvedināmupādhyāyaḥ kaścidāsīdakiñcanaḥ
|| (Kerala Mahatmya -13-Slokas 5-6)

[4]:

śrīmūlasthanamāgatya punaśca madhurāpurīṃ
  praviśya kāśyapān viprān tasmādānīya bhārgavaḥ |
ālayān kārayitvātha tebhyastān pradadau prabhuḥ
  aṣṭaiśvaryañca hṛṣṭātmā viśeṣaṇa dadau punaḥ ||
(Kerala Mahatmya -15-Slokas 1-2)

[5]:

godāvarīṃ tato gatvā vāyumārgeṇa bhārgavaḥ |
  dhanurveda vidastatra dadarśa ca mahīsurān |
tasmācca pañcabhūdevān kuḍumbena samanvitān
  punaścānyān mahīdevānānayāmāsa bhārgavaḥ ||
(Kerala Mahatmya -15 -Slokas 5-6)

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