Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya.

History of mediæval Hindu India (being a history of India from 600 to 1200 A.D.) .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 20 of 38)
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runi from Kalhana and the tirst three Brahmin kings were 1 Lalliya
2 Samanta (some relative of Lalliya) and 3 Kamaluka (originally called
Toramana). Coins of all the three have also been found as shown in the
body of the look.



26



CHAPTER V

THE KARKOTAKAS OF KASHMIR,

i For the history of Kashmir we have, as for Sind, a reliable history,
not indeed written by outsiders, but by a native historian in Sanskrit.
Kalhana wrote the well-known RajataranginT in Saka 1070 or A. D. 1148.
He mentions in the introduction many previous authors on the same
subject as Suvrati, Kshemendra, Nilamata, Chhavillakara and Helaraja-
Unfortunately their works are unavailable at present probably because
the RajataranginT supplanted them, But as Kalhana has given up their
versions in several places it would have been most useful for us to see
what their version was and how far that version corresponds with other
facts and with modern views. However, regret is of no avail and we
have to rely upon Kalhana unless it is impossible to do so. Stein who
has studied the work most carefully opines that Kalhana's history frora
our period onward is reliable. Kalhana says he has got his statements
verified by grants, inscriptions and other records. He appears to have
been a state ofl&cer himself. We may, therefore, safely follow him
assisted by Hiuen Tsang, Chacha-nama and such historical data as may
elsewhere be available. )

We know from Kalhana that the mediaeval period of
Indianhistory actually commenced in Kashmir in the very
beginning of the 7th century A. D. by the establishment of
a new dynasty of kings. The ancient mythical Gonardiya
dynasty came to end inLaukika era 3677. This era com-
menced 25 or 26 years after Kaliyuga which in the opinion
of all begins in 3101 B. C. Thus the Laukika era which
obtained in Kashmir down to Kalhana's days begins with
3075 B. C. This Gonardiya ancient dynansty accord-
ingly ended in (3677-3075) 602 A. D. The last king Bala-
ditya had no son, nor probably any other male heir. In
order to preserve the kingdom in his own line through a
female, he gave his sole daughter in marriage, not as usual
to a king ruling elsewhere in India but to an officer of
his own named Durlabhavardhana. After the death of
Baladitya, Durlabhavardhana ascended the throne in
602 A. D. His dynasty is called the Karkotaka dynasty,
inasmuch as it was protected by the mythical serpant



THE KARKOTAKAS OF KASHMIR 203-

Karkotaka mentioned in the Mahabhslrata. Probably of
obscure origin, Durlabhavardhana allowed court poets to
create the myth of his descent from the Karkotaka serpent.
Or perhaps he was born in a Naga or aboriginal family
and hence this natural myth. Whatever the explana-
tion, this belief did obtain in his time a« Hiuen Tsang also
notices it and says that the kings of Kashmir crowed over
other kings, because they were protected by a dragon-
The Tarangini represents Durlabhavardhana as a Kayas-
tha. It is difficult to believe that Baladitya would con-
descend to give his daughter to a Kayastha. He was
probably a local chief of Naga descent and his name-end-
ing, Vardhana, clearly indicates that he was a Vaisya and
and not a Kayastha and a supplier of grass to the state
cavalry. He was certainly a discreet and careful man
and governed his kingdom successfully for 36 years. He
founded a line of kings capable and energetic, called by the
name of the Karkota dynasty which according to the
Tarangini ruled for 254 years i. e. from 602 to 856 A. D.
through 17 kings.

It may be noted here that the kings of this line were, like
the Vardhanas of Thanesar, worshippers of Siva. That
was the usual worship among the Hindus at that time.
They were also in addition worshippers of Vishi u and
Aditya. The Buddhistic religion had already fallen into
disfavour in Kashmir. The days of Meghavahana were lonz
gone by. Slaughter of animals was no longer prohibited
by the state nor " were the butchers by profession com-
pensated for their loss of work by grants from the state
treasury" as in his days. The penalty of the profession of
ft religion of non-slaughter had already been paid dearly
by Kashmir when the Huns under Mihirakula had enslaved
the people for a time. Pravarasena a remnant of the
Gonardiya line had established Hindu sovereignty again
in Kashmir with Siva worship about a hundred years or
so before Durlabhavardhana. The kings of this dynasty
were therefore powerful owing to the revival of the orthodor
sacrificial religion. They built temples chiefly to Siva and



504 THE FIRST HINDU KINGDOMS

often to Vishiitt and to Aditya which are mentioned in
detail in each reign by Kalhana but which we may pass
over as not being of much importance to the general
history of India.

Hiuen Tsang visited the country in the reign of this
king and notices the downfall or rather decline of his reli-
gion in Kashmir. There were still many monasteries then
and the Chinese traveller resided in one of them while in
Kashmir. Viharas are doubtless often mentioned by
Kalhana as built by queens of the Karkota dynasty. But
these were probably not Buddhist Viharas, though the
name sounds Buddhistic. Saivas and Vaishnavas also had
Viharas of their own in which their Sanyasis or recluses
dwelt as is evidenced by Hiuen Tsang himself. It seems
therefore that Buddhism was not only not the sta*te reli-
gion during this dynasty but also was not much professed
hy the people. The kings and even the queens were
rigidly othodox and were devoted to Siva or Vishnu or
Aditya. The religion of pure sacrifice also flourished
but apparently the bloody sacrifices of the Vedas had
fallen into desuetude. For none of the powerful kings of
this dynasty performed the much-honoured Asvamedha
performed by ancient Kashmir kings and even by kings of
the Gupta Udc. Probably Hindu orthodox sentiment had
changed. For the non-performance of Asvamedha even
in the case of Lalitaditya who made a digvijaya throughout
India like Samudra Gupta as we shall have to relate fur-
ther on, cannot be explained on the ground that the Karko-
ta kings were not Kshatriyas. The Guptas indeed were
most probably not Kshatriyas but Vaisyas and yet they
performed the Asvamedha. Surely the Brahmins of
Lalitaditya would have found ways to enable him to per-
form a horse sacrifice if he had wished it But it seems
general sentiment amongst the orthodox Hindus had by
this time set in against the more horrid animal sacrifices
of the Vedic ritual and thus the Buddhistic religion pro-
fessed by Kashmir so long had by that time triumphed at
least in Kashmir and put a period to these bloody sacrifices-



THE KARKOTAKAS OF KASHMIR 205

Tha people of Kashmir appear to have been, in the
lower strata, aboriginies. They were called Damaras a
name which still survives. The upper layers of the
population were the three Aryan castes, Brahmins,
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas with the mixed castes Kayasthas
and others. The Brahmins were of course ministers
of religion as also the conservers of learning sacred and
profane, i. e. Vaidikas and Pandits, but they were also
generally as a class, government servants evei> as now.
From the ministers downwards to the revenue collectors
and accountants the public servants were Brahmins in
Kashmir as in Sind where as we have already seen in the
last chapter even Mahomed Kasim had to retain their
services for revenue administration. The ministers were
indeed usually Brahmins ( as in Sind and elsewhere, wit-
ness Chacha himself). The Kshatriyas were usually in the
military service but the same was open to Brah-
mins and to Vaisyas also like the warlike Guptas.
Unlike Sind and the, Panjab, however, agriculture was in
the hands of the Sudras or the aboriginal Damaras. In
Sind and the Panjab the Jats and the Gujars were the
true Vaisyas of the Aryan ancient social arrangement, the
persons in charge of krishi and gorakshya of the Bhaga-
vadgita. The Panjab was par excellence the land of the
Aryans and Sind followed it closely. Kashmir was half
non-Aryan. We have already described the Kashmir
Aryans as they appeared to Hiuen Tsang in those days.
viz: handsome, learned, yet deceitful.

Having described the social and religious condition
of Kashmir at this time we may return to its political
condition in the 7th century A. D. A new dynasty, as
usual strong, energetic and as yet not depraved had begun to
rule. Durlabhavardhana appears to have extended the sway
of the kingdom, chiefly by conquering smaller kingdoms in
the Panjab such as Taxila (which Hiuen Tsang expressly
declares to have come under Kashmir), Sinhapura and
Urasa. Various hill states such as Punach and Rajaouri
are also mentioned by Hiuen Tsang as under the rule of



-206 THE FIRST HINDU KINGDOMS

Kashmir. The sub-montane part of the Paniab down
to the Salt Range was thus reduced to subjection by Dur-
labhavardhana. The modern Panjab in its east and
south parts only was under a separate line of kings by the
name of Tekka but the rest was either under Kashmir or
under Sind, the boundaries of which, as the Chacha-nama
relates, were then conterminous- Harsha was the Emperor
of Northern India at this time and he is said to have
defeated Kashmir, which perhaps nominally acknowledged
his supremacy. Bana says Harsha exacted trilute while
Hiuen Tsang relates that Harsha obtained by force a valu-
able relic viz. a tooth of Buddha which was triumphantly
conveyed to Kanauj. Durlabhavardhana not a Buddhist
himself was probably not very averse to part with that
precious relic.

Durlabhavardhana died in 637 A. D. having ruled for
36 years. He was succeeded by Durlabhaka or the
younger Durlabha. As grandson of the old dynasty king
Baladitya, he assumed the name of Pratapaditya. He is
said to have reigned for 50 years which coming after a long
reign is not quite probable, He was a most meritorious
king and many stories of his justice and solicitude for the
welfare of his people are related by Kalhana. He esta-
blished a Matha called Nona Matha for Brahmins of the
Rohitaka country. When he built the temple ofTribhuvana
"Svami a shoemaker refused to give up his hut which
stood in the way of the building. Durlabhaka declined
ro oust him by force whereon the tanner, moved by the
king's high sense of justice, delivered up the land of his
own free will. His queen Prakasadevi built a Vihara.
called Prakasika Vihara, perhaps a Buddhist monastery-
She was a Vaisya lady and Vaisyas have throughout
Indian history usually shown a predilection for the
religion of mercy unA non-slaughter, that is t



Online LibraryChintaman Vinayak VaidyaHistory of mediæval Hindu India (being a history of India from 600 to 1200 A.D.) .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 38)