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Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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of Ceylon. A Chalukya inscription of a.d. 1008 says, "The Silara family of the
Simhala kings are descended from Jimuta-vahana, son of Jimuta-ketu, the lord of the
Vidyadharas." (See_/. Bo. Br. K. A. S. No. Y, p. 221.)


of himself, who most closely resembles him. usurps his place and
imposes upon all the ministers. The real Sugriva, being in a fix,
resorts to his friend Hanuman, son of Pavanjaya, king of Hanuvara
or Hanuruha dvipa. Then, hearing about Rama, he visits him at
Patala Lanka, and undertakes to discover Sita's place of confinement
in return for Rama's assistance in regaining his throne. Kishkindha is
accordingly attacked, the false or Maya Sugriva is killed, and Sugriva
restored. News having been received from a neighbouring chief that
he saw Ravana bearing Sita to Lanka,' a council is now held, at which
it is resolved to send to Hanuvara dvipa for Hanuman, as being of
rakshasa descent. The latter arrives, and undertakes to go to Lanka
as a spy and discover the truth of the report. He sets out by way of
Mahendra parvata^ and 1 )adhi-mukha parvata and brings back tokens
from Sita. Forces are at once mustered for the expedition to Lanka
for her recovery. The march of the army to the southern sea leads
them to Velandha-pura, ruled over by Samudra ; to Suvelachala, ruled
over by Suvela ; and lastly to Hamsa dvipa, whose king was Dvipa-

The identity of the places mentioned in the foregoing account it is
perhaps difficult to establish. But it seems not unlikely that Patala
Lanka, evidently, from the name, a city below the Ghats, and belong-
ing to the rakshasa kingdom of Ceylon, was some place in Canara ; for
the dominions of Ravana are said to have extended to Trichinopoly
on the east, and to Gokarna on the west of the peninsula. Honuvara
or Honuruha dvipa again is no doubt one of the islands in the large
lake of Honavar or Honore" in the Gersoppa district, near the mouth
of the Sharavati, which forms the Gersoppa Falls. The principal
island in the outer bay was fortified by Sivappa Nayak of Ikkeri, and
is now called Basava Rdja durga. The north-west of Mysore seems
thus pretty clearly connected with an important part of Rama's expedi-
tion. Local traditions, less credible in character, will be found noticed
under the several places where they are current.

Pandavas. — We will therefore proceed to the history of the Pandus,

' An inscription on the Jatinga-Ranies'vara hill in Molakalnuiru lahu), dated
S'aka 883, stales that the linga there was set up when Ravana had seized Sita and
when Jat.iyu fought and fell there in her behalf.

^ Mahendra is a name applied to some parts of the Eastern Ghats, and also to a
mountain near Cape Comorin.

•* The lake is of great extent and contains many islands, some of which are culti-
vated. It reaches almost to the Ghats, and in the dry season is quite salt ; but it
receives many more streams, which during the rainy monsoon become torrents and
render the whole fresh. By the natives it is connnonly calleil a river, l)Ut lake is a
more proper term. — Buchanan, _/?«/-. II, 279.

28o JlISrOR V

and briefly nolice some of the more important events related in the
Maha Bharata which tradition connects with Mysore. Arjuna, the
third and most attractive of the five brothers, who by his skill in archery
won Draupadi, the princess of Panchala, at her svayatm'ara, after a
time v/ent into exile for twelve years, in order to fulfil a vow. During
his wanderings at this period, it is related that he came to the Mahendra
mountains, and had an interview with Parasu Rama, who gave him
many powerful weapons. Journeying thence he came to Manipura,
where the king's daughter, Chitrangada, fell in love with him, and he
married her and lived there three years, and had by her a son, Babhru-
vahana. The locality of this incident is assigned to the neighbourhood
of Chamrajnagar in the Mysore District, where the site of Manipura,
to which we shall have again to refer, is still pointed out.^

When Yudhishthira resolved to perform the royal sacrifice called the
Rajasiiya, by which he proclaimed himself paramount sovereign, it
was first necessary to subdue the kings who would not acknowledge
him. Accordingly four expeditions were despatched, one towards each
of the cardinal points. The one to the south was commanded by
Sahadeva. After various conquests he crosses the Tungabhadra and
encamps on the Kishkindha hill, w^here Sushena and Vrishasena, the
chiefs of the monkey race, make friendship with him. Thence he
goes to the Kaveri, and passing over to Mahishmati (Mahishur,
My.sore), attacks Nila its king, whom he conquers and plunders of
great wealth.^ After this he goes to the Sahyadri or Western Ghats,

1 Manipur in Eastern Bengal, it appears, also lays claim to the story, but evidently
on scanty grounds. — Wheeler, Hist. Ind. I, 149, 425, notes.

^ The Maha Bharata in this place (Sabha Parva) makes some singular statements
regarding the women of Mahishmati. The king Nila Raja, it is said, had a most
lovely daughter, of whom the god Agni (Fire) became enamoured. He contrived to
pay her many secret visits in the disguise of a Brahman. One day he was discovered
and seized by the guards, who brought him before the king. When about to be
condemned to punishment, he blazed forth and revealed himself as the god Agni.
The Council hastened !o appease him, and he granted the boon that the women of
Mahishmati should thenceforth be free from the bonds of marriage in order that no
adultery might exist in the land, and that he would befriend the king in time of
danger. This description of "free love" would apply to the Nairs and Xamburi
Brahmans of Malabar, but seems misplaced in reference to Mysore. It may, how-
ever, indicate that a chief of Malabar origin had at that time established himself in
power in the south-west ; and possibly refer to some stratagem attempted against him
by Jamad-agni, which ended in an alliance. Sahadeva was forced to conciliate Agni
before he could take Mahishmati.

It may here be stated that, according to traditions of :he Haihayas in the Central
Provinces, Nila Dhvaja, a descendant of Sudhyumna, got the throne of Mahishmati
(Mandla) ; Hamsa Dhvaja, another son, became monarch of Chandrapur (supposed
to be Chanda) ; and a third received the kingdom of Ratanpur. The two former
kingdoms, after the lapse of some generations, were overthrown by the Gonds, and


subdues many hill chiefs, and, descending to the coast, overruns
Konkana, Gaula and Kerala.

The fate of the great gambling match which followed the Rajasuya,
and the exile of the Pandavas for thirteen years, during the last of
which they were to live incognito, need not be related here, as they are
generally well known. But an inscription at Belagami in Shikarpur
taluq expressly says that the Pandavas came there after the performance
of the Rajasuya. In the course of their farther wanderings, the brothers
are related to have lived in the Kamyaka forest, and this is claimed to
be the wild tract surrounding Kavale-durga in the Shimoga District.
The erection of the massive fortifications on that hill is ascribed to the
Pandus, as well as the Bhimankatte thrown across the Tunga above
Tirthahalli. The thirteenth year of exile was spent at the court of the
king of \'irata, in various disguises, — Bhima as a cook, Arjuna as a
eunuch, Draupadi as a waiting-maid, &c. The varied incidents of this
year are fully given in the published abstracts of the poem. It is only
necessary here to state that Virata-nagara is more than once mentioned
in the Chdlukya inscriptions, and is by tradition identified with Hanagal,
a few miles north of the Sorab frontier.^

^^'e pass on to the great asvamedha, or horse sacrifice, undertaken
by Yudhishthira, which forms the subject of one of the most admired
Kannada poems, the Jaimini Bharata. Among the conditions of this
regal ceremony, it was required that the horse appointed for sacrifice
should be loosed and allowed to wander free for the period of one year.
Wheresoever it went it was followed by an army, and if the king into
whose territories it chanced to wander seized and refused to let it go,
war was at once declared and his submission enforced. In accordance
with these rules, Arjuna was appointed to command the escort which
guarded the horse. Among the places to which it strayed, three are by
tradition connected with Mysore.

the Raianpur kingdom alone survived till the advent of the Mahraltas. — C. P.
Gaz. 159.

Sudhanva, a son of Ilamsa Dhvaja, is also said in the traditions of Mysore to have
l)een the founder of Champaka-nagara, now represented l)y the village of Sampige,
near Kadaha, in Gubbi taluq.

The only actual record hitherto found of a Nila Raja in the south is in the
Samudra Gupta inscription at Allahabad, in which he is assigned to an unknown
country called Avamukta (signifying freed or liberated, a curious coincidence with the
story above given), and is mentioned between \'ishnug6pa bi Kanchi and Harti-
varman of Vengi. His period, according to this, would lie the fourtii century. (See
Fleet's Early Gupta Kings, p. 13.)

' Sir Walter Elliot says, " The remains of enormous fortifications, enclosing a
great extent, are still visible. I have got a plan distinctly showing the circuit of
seven walls and ditches on the side not covered by the river. '—Mad. J. iS, 216.
Also see Int. Ant. V, 177.


'I'lu- first of these is Manipur, near Chamrajnagar, previously men-
tioned.' Babliruvahana, the son here born to Arjuna, had now grown
up and succeeded to the throne. His kingdom was also in a state of
the highest prosperity. It was pre-eminently " a land of beauty, valour,
virtue, truth : " its wealth was fabulous,'- and its happiness that of
paradise : it was filled with people, and not a single measure of land
was unoccui)ied or waste. A\'hen the horse came near this enchanting
spot the Raja was informed of it ; and, on his return from the chase in
the evening, he commanded it to be brought before him. The scene is
thus described : —

" Now the whole ground where the Raja held his council was covered with
gold ; and at the entrance to the council chamber were a hundred pillars of
gold, each forty or fifty cubits high ; and the top of each pillar was made of
fine gold and inlaid with jewels ; and on the summits of the pillars and on
the walls were many thousand artificial birds, made so exact that all who
saw them thought them to be alive ; and there were precious stones that
shone like lamps, so that there was no need of any other light in the
assembly ; and there also were placed the figures of fishes inlaid with rubies
and cornelians, which appeared to be alive and in motion. All round the
council hall were sticks of sandal, wound round with fine cloth which had
been steeped in sweet-scented oils ; and these were burnt to give light to the
place instead of lamps, so that the whole company were perfumed with the
odour. And before each one of the principal persons in the assembly was
placed a vessel, ornamented with jewels, containing various perfumes ; and
on every side and corner of the hall were beautiful damsels, who sprinkled
rose-water and other odoriferous liquors. And when the horse was brought

* There appear to be several reasons for accepting this as the locality in preference
to Manipur in Eastern Bengal. In the version given by Wheeler, Vol. I, it is stated
(396) that the horse when loosed went towards the south, and that its return was in a
northerly direction (414) ; these directions would not lead it to and from E. Bengal,
but to and from S. Mysore they would. It is also said (406) that sticks of sandal-
wood were burnt in the council hall of Manipur, and also (408) that elephants were
very excellent in that country. Now Mysore is the well-known home of the sandal-
tree, and the region I have assigned as the site of Manipur is peculiarly the resort of
elephants : within ten miles of that very site were made the remarkably successful
captures of elephants described on p. 179. The sequence of places visited by the
horse after Manipur is also, as shown in the text, consistent with the identification
here proposed. From the notes (149, 425) it appears that the application of the stor}-
to Manipur in Bengal is of very recent date.

- Of Solomon in all his glory it is stated that " he made silver and gold at Jerusalem
as plenteous as stones." So here " many thousands of chariots, elephants and horses
were employed in bringing the revenue, in gold and silver, to a thousand treasuries ;
and the officers sat day and night to receive it ; but so great was the treasure that the
people who brought it had to wait ten or twelve years before their turn came to
account for tlie money, obtain their acquittal and return home ! " One Raja confessed
that he sent a thousand carl-loads of gold and silver every year merely for leave to
remain quietly in his own kingdom.


into the assembly, all present were astonished at its beauty and excellence ;
and they saw round its neck a necklace of excellent jewels, and a golden
plate hanging upon its forehead. Then Raja Babhruvahana bade his
minister read the writing on the plate ; and the minister rose up and read
aloud, that Raja Yudhishthira had let loose the horse and appointed Arjuna
to be its guardian."

It was resolved that Babhruvahana, being Arjuna's son, should go
forth to meet huii in a splendid procession and restore the horse ; but
Arjuna, under some evil influence, refused to acknowledge the Raja as
his son : he even kicked him, and taunted him with inventing a story
because he was afraid to fight. Babhruvahana was then forced to
change his demeanour, which he did with great dignity. A desperate
battle ensued, in which Arjuna w-as killed, and all his chieftains were
either slain or taken prisoners. Congratulations were showered upon
the victor, but his mother, Chitrangada, swooned and declared her
intention of burning herself on Arjuna's funeral pile. In this dilemma,
Ulupi, a daughter of Vasuki, the Xaga or serpent raja, whom Arjuna
had formerly married, and who had afterwards entered the service of
Chitrangada, resolved to get from her father a jewel which was in the
possession of the serpents, and which would restore Arjuna to life.
She accordingly sent a kinsman to her father with the request. His
council, however, being afraid of losing the jewel, refused to give it up.
On learning this, 15abhruvahana made war upon the serpents and com-
pelled them to give it up. Arjuna was by its means restored to life and
reconciled to his son.

The horse then entered the territory of Ratnapura, a city of which
name, it will be seen, was situated near Lakvalli in Kadur District.
The animal was here seized, but rescued by Arjuna. It next wandered
into Kuntala, the country of Chandrahasa, whose capital we shall find
was at Kubattur in Shimoga District. Here also the king was com-
pelled to release it.

The story of Chandrahdsa is a pleasing and favourite romance. He was
the son of a king of Kerala, and was born with six toes. While an infant,
his father was killed in battle, and his mother perished on her husband's
funeral pile. His nurse then fled with him to Kuntala, and when she died,
he was left destitute and forced to subsist by begging. While doing so one
day at the house of the minister, who is appropriately named Dushta buddhi,
or evil counsel, some astrologers noted that the boy had signs of greatness
upon him, indicating that he would one day become ruler of the country.
The minister, hearing of it, took secret measures to have him murdered in a
forest ; but the assassins relented, and contented themselves with cutting
off his sixth toe, which they produced as the evidence of having carried out

284 mSTORY

their instructions. Meanwhile, Kuhnda, an officer of the court, hunting
in that direction, heard the boy's cry ; and, pleased with his appearance,
having no son of his own, took him home to Chandan.-ivati and adopted

He grew up to be very useful and, by defeating some rebellious chieftains,
obtained great praise and wealth for his adopted father, which e.xcited the
jealousy of the minister. The latter, resolved to see for himself, paid a visit
to Kulinda, when, to his astonishment, he learnt that all this prosperity was
due to an adopted son, Chandrahdsa, who had been picked up in the forest
years ago bleeding from the loss of a si.xth toe. The truth at once broke
upon him that it was the boy he had thought to murder. Resolved more
than ever to get rid of him, he dissimulates and proposes to send him on an
errand to court, which was gladly enough undertaken. A letter was accord-
ingly sent by him to Madana, the minister's son, who was holding office
during his father's absence, directing that poison {inshd) should be at
once given to the bearer as he valued his own advancement. For the
minister had secretly resolved, as there was no male heir to the throne, to
marry Madana to the king's daughter and thus secure the kingdom to his
own family. Chandrahdsa, bearing the letter, arrived near the city, where
he saw a charming garden. Being weary, he tied his horse to a tree and lay
down to rest, when he fell asleep.

Now it so happened that this garden belonged to the minister, and that
morning his daughter Vishaya (to whom, before leaving, he had jestingly
promised to send a husband), had come there with the daughter of the Raja
and all their maids and companions to take their pleasure ; and they all
sported about in the garden and did not fail to jest each other about being
married. Presently Vishaya wandered away from the others and came to
the tank, where she saw the handsome young Chandrahasa lying asleep on
the bank, and at once fell in love with him. She now noticed a letter half
falling from his bosom, and, to her great surprise, saw it was in the hand-
writing of her father, and addressed to her brother. Remembering what
had been said about sending her a husband, she gently drew out the letter
and, opening it, read it. One slight alteration she saw would accomplish
her wishes ; she accordingly changed the word z//V//(ZT'(Z, poison, into vishaya,
her own name, resealed it with a copy of her father's seal which she had
with her, and replaced it in the young man's bosom.

When Madana received the letter he w^as greatly surprised, but as the
message was urgent, at once proceeded with arrangements for marrying his
beautiful sister to the handsome stranger. The ceremony had just been
concluded with all manner of pomp and rejoicing, when the minister
returned. Seeing what had happened, he was struck dumb with amaze-
ment. The production of the letter further convinced him that through
fate the mistake must have been his own. Suffice it to say that he makes
another attempt to get rid of Chandrahasa, but it so chances that his own
son Madana is killed instead .: and Chandrahasa, taking the fancy of the
king, is adopted as heir to the throne and married to the princess. Whereon
the minister, driven to desperation, kills himself.

/A NAME/ A YA 285

Janamejaya. — Before quitting the legendary period, there is yet one
tradition demanding notice. During the first twelve years' exile of
Arjuna, before visiting Manipur, he had married Subhadra, the sister of
Krishna. By her he had a son named Abhimanyu. When, at the
conclusion of the thirteenth year of the second period of exile, the
Pandavas threw ofi" their incognito at the court of Virata, the raia
offered his daughter Uttara to Arjuna. But the latter declining her for
himself, on the ground that he had acted as her music and dancing-
master, and she had trusted him as a father, accepted her for his son
Abhimanyu, from which union sprung Parikshit,^ whose son was
Janamejaya. This is the monarch to whom the Maha Bharata is
recited. There is a professed grant by him at Bhimankatte matha,'-
now Tirthahalli, dated in the year 89 of the Yudhishthira era, which
would be 3012 B.C., but, if for no other reason, it is quite discredited
by the signature being in comparatively modern Kannada characters.
The grant itself is in Sanskrit, and in Nagari characters. Janamejaya is
represented in it as ruling in Kishkindha, and making a gift, in the
presence of the god Harihara, of the place on the Tungabhadra in
which his great-grandfather Yudhishthira had rested.

Parikshit, according to a curse, died from the bite of a serpent f in
revenge for which it was that Janamejaya performed his celebrated
sat-pa ydga or serpent sacrifice. This ceremony, according to tradition,
took place at Hiremugalur in the Kadur District, and three agraharas
in the Shimoga District, — Gauj, Kuppagadde and Begur — possess
inscriptions on copper plates, also written in Sanskrit, and in Nagari
characters, professing to be grants made by Janamejaya to the officiating
Brahmans on the occasion of the sar/>a ydi::;a. The genuineness of the
first of these, which is the one best known,'' has been a subject of much
controversy : but all three are almost identical in the historical portion.
They describe the donor as the son of the emperor Parikshit ; of the
Soma va/ns'a and Pdndava kiila ; having a golden lioar on his flag, and
ruling in Hastinapura. The grants are made during an expedition to
the south, in the presence of the god Harihara, at the confluence of the
Tungabhadra and Haridra. The inscriptions are no doubt of some
antiquity, but to accept them as dating from the commonly-received

' He was a i)osthiini

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 98)