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

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Mauryas. — The authentic history of India begins with the invasion
of the Greelcs under Alexander the (ireat in 327 v..c., and when the
Sandrakottos^ of the Greek writers was identified with Chandra Gupta,
a secure basis was established on which to found the chronology of
events in India itself. From the little wc know of Chandra Gupta, he
first appears as an adventurer in the camp of Alexander, from which,
owing to some quarrel, he had to flee. Collecting bands of followers,
he contrived to overthrow the dynasty of the Nandas' in Magadha, or
Behar, and made himself supreme sovereign throughout northern
India, with his capital at Pataliputra (Palimbothra in the Greek version),
the modern Patna, on the Ganges. On the other hand, after the death
of Alexander in 323, Baktria and (the Greek provinces in) India had
fallen to the share of Seleukos Nikator, the founder of the Syrian
monarchy. But it was not till he had recovered Babylon in 312 that
the latter was at leisure to turn his attention to India. He then found
himself unable to cope with Chanda Gupta, and therefore entered into
alliance with him, ceding the Greek settlements in the Punjab and the
Kabul valley in return for a present of 500 elephants, and giving him
his daughter in marriage. He also appointed to the court at l\ataliputra
an ambassador named Megasthenes, from whose accounts the Greeks
obtained much of their information about India. The reign of Chandra
Gupta lasted for twenty-four years, from about 316 to 292 B.C., and the
line of kings originating with him are known as the Mauryas.

The earliest event in the annals of Mysore that may be regarded as
historical is connected with Chandra Gupta. According to the accounts
of the Jains, Bhadrabahu, the last of the s'rutakei'alis, or hearers of
the first masters, foretold the occurrence in Ujjayini of a dreadful
famine which would last for twelve years. On its approach the main
body of the Jains there forsook the northern regions and migrated to
the south under his guidance. When they had journeyed as far as
S'ravana JJelgola, Bhadrabahu, feeling that his end was drawing nigh,
sent on the rest of the pilgrims, under the leadership of Vi.s'akha, to
the Chola and Pandya countries, and remained behind at the smaller
hill (called Katavapra in Sanskrit and Kalbappira or Kalbappu in

1 AlheiiKus writes the name Sandrakoptus.— Wilson, Theatre of the Hindus^ II, 132.

- In the play called Mtidra-nikshasa he is represented as having effected this with
the aid of Chanakya (the Indian Machiavelli), who is also called Vishnu Cupta and


Kannacja), to die, nllcnded by only a single di.scii)lc. That disciple, it
is alleged, was ncj other than the Maurya emperor Chandra Gupta.

In accordance with the obligations of the Jaina faith he had abdi-
cated towards the close of life, and renounced the world in order to
prei)are for death by acts of penance performed under the direction of
a spiritual guide. For this purpose he had attached himself to iJhad-
rabahu, the most distinguished professor of the faith at that time living,
and had accompanied him to the south. He continued to minister to
the wants of this his guru to the last, and was the only witness of his
death. According to tradition, Chandra Gupta survived for twelve
years, which he spent in ascetic rites at the same place and died there,
after welcoming the emigrants on their return journey from the south
when the great famine was over which had driven them from their homes.

In testimony of these events not only is Bhadrabahu's cave, in
which he expired, pointed out on the hill at S'ravana Be]gola, but the
hill itself is called Chandra-giri after Chandra Gupta : while on its
summit, surrounded with temples, is the Chandra Gupta basti, the
oldest there, having its fagade minutely sculptured with ninety scenes
from the lives of Bhadrabahu and Chandra Gupta, though these may
be more modern. Additional evidence is contained in the ancient rock
inscriptions on the hill. The oldest of them relates the migration of
the Jains and the other events above mentioned, while a second asso-
ciates Bhadrabahu with Chandra Gupta as the two great munis who
gave the hill its distinction.^ Similar testimony is borne by two inscrip-
tions of about 900 A.D. found near Seringapatam.- Furthermore, stone
inscriptions at S'ravana Belgola dated in the twelfth and fifteenth
centuries confirm the same traditions.^ That Chandra Gupta was a
Jain by creed may be inferred from the statements of Megasthenes,
who, writing of the Sarmanes (or S'ravanas) distinguishing them both
from the Brachmanes (or Brahmans) and from the followers of Boutta
(or the Buddhists), says : — " They communicate with the kings, who
consult them by messengers regarding the causes of things, and who
through them worship and supplicate the deity. "•■ That Bhadrabahu
was contemporary with Chandra Gupta is not denied.

According to the Greek accounts Chandra Gupta was succeeded by
Amitrachades (probably Amitraghata, one of the king's titles), and
Deimachos was the ambassador appointed to his court. But the
Vishnu Purana gives the following list of the Maurya kings: —

' See my Inscriptions at Sravana Belgola, Nos. 1,17, loS, 54, 40.

- See my Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. I, Sr. 147, 14S.

;t ggg McCrindle's Indika of Megastheues, Ind. Ant. W, 244 : also Thomas, The
Early Faith of Asoka, 23 ; Colebrooke, Essays, II, 203 ; Lassen, Indische Alter-
thumsknndc, II, 700, 710.


Chandra Gupta. Sangata.

Bindusara. S'alis'iika.

As'oka-vardhana. Somas'arman.

Suyas'as. S'as'adharman.

Das'aratha. Brihadratha.

Bindusara reigned for twenty-eight years, say 292 to 264 B.C., but in
Mysore the next record we have carries us to the reign of As'oka, the
grandson of Chandra Gupta. The discovery by me (in 1892) of three
of his inscriptions in the Molkalmuru taluq, dating perhaps from
258 i;.c., has put it beyond doubt that the Mysore country, or at any
rate the northern part of it, was included in his dominions. All that
was previously known of his connection with Mysore was contained in
the statement in the Mahawanso that after the third convocation (^244
B.C.) he despatched missionaries to foreign parts to establish the religion
of Buddha ; among whom " he deputed the thera Majjhantika to
Kasmira-Gandhara, and the thera Mahadeva to Mahisa-mandala
(Mysore). He deputed the thera Rakkhita to Vanavasi" (Banavasi
on the Sorab frontier), &:c. These places would seem therefore to
have been just beyond the limits of his territories. An inscription of
the twelfth century^ describes Ivuntala as the province governed by the
Mauryas. This, roughly speaking, would be the country between the
rivers Bhima and Vedavati, bounded on the west by the Ghats, includ-
ing Shimoga, Chitaldroog, Bellary, Dharwar, I'ijapur, and adjacent
parts to the north in Bombay and the Nizam's Dominions.

The remarkable Edicts of As'oka, engraved on rocks and pillars, are,
as is well known, the earliest specimens of writing that have been found
in India. \\\\h the exception of those at Mansahra and Shahbazgarhi
in the Yusufzai country, in the extreme north-west of the Punjab,
which are in the Baktrian-Pali characters,- written from right to left; all
the others are in the Indo-Pali characters,'' written from left to right.
lUit a singular circumstance about the Edicts found in Mysore is that
although, as was to be expected, they are in the Indo-Pali characters,
the scribe who wrote them has introduced the Baktrian-Pali at the end
in dcscril)ing his profession. '' This character a])pears in no other
inscriptions throughout India, except those in Yusufzai hrst mentioned.
The inference is that the scribe may have been an official transferred
from the extreme north to the extreme south of the empire, which
implies a freer inter-communication than has been generally supposed
to exist at tliat period.

As'oka was governor of Ujjain, under his father, l)cfore he came to the

' At Bandanikkc, Shikarpur lalucp - Also called Arian-l'ali and Kharoshli.

•' rroperly the Brahmi lipi. * As discovered by Dr Biihler.



throne. He reigned for forty-one years, about 264 to 223 u.c, or
thirty-seven if counted from his coronation-anointing. During those
previous four years he was engaged in struggles with his brothers.
That he was at first a Jain has been deduced^ from his Edicts, and also
from the statement by Akbar's minister, Abul Fazl, in the Ain-i-Akhari,
that As'oka introduced Jainism into Kashmir, which is confirmed by the
Rdja-tarangini or Brahmanical history of Kashmir, recording that
As'oka " brought in the Jina s'asana." Others, however, consider
that he followed the Brahman creed. At any rate, he eventually
embraced Buddhism, and made it the State religion, doing for that
faith what the emperor Constantine at a later period did for Christianity.
In the 13th Rock Edict he informs us that his conversion was due to
the remorse he felt on account of the slaughter and devastation which
attended his conquest of Kalinga, in the ninth year after his coronation.
Henceforward he resolved to maintain peace and devote himself to
religion. He thus gradually came to appoint officials {inahdmdtras and
others) to watch over morality, and by teaching and persuasion alone
to extend the knowledge of dhamma or moral duties. The slaughter of
animals was to a great extent stopped ; he had wells dug and avenues
of trees planted along the roads ; made arrangements for dispensing
medical aid in all parts of the empire ; and taught that the attainment
of future happiness was open to all classes, and dependent, not on the
ministration of priests, but on personal right conduct and humanity.

The Edicts in Mysore- are issued in the name of Devanam Piye
(the beloved of the gods), a royal title of the Maurya kings, and are
addressed by the Prince (ayaputa) and mahamatras in Tachchannugiri
and S'ivannugiri'' to the mahamatras in Isila, places which have not
been identified. The contents run as follows : —

The Beloved of the gods (thus) commands : — For more than two years and
a half, when I was an upd^aka (or lay-disciple), I did not take much trouble.
For one year'' (I took) immense trouble ; the year that I went to the sangha
(or assembly of clerics) I put forth great exertion. And in this time the
men who were (considered) true in Jambudvipa (were shown to be) false,
together with the gods.'^ This, indeed, is the result of exertion. But this
can not be attained only by the great. For in any case, even to the lowly

' By Ed. Thomas, y«/;/ww, or the Early Faith of Asoka. His grandson Samprati
was certainly a Jain.

- Translations have been published by Dr. Blihler in Epigraphia ludka. III, 140 ;
and by M. Senart, in French, in (he Journal Asiatique for 1892.

^ The reading of these names is not quite clear : Dr. Biihler proposes Suvannagiri
for both. * Or, according to another version, " for one period of six years."

* This difficult passage also reads in other versions as "The men who were really
equal to gods in Jambudvipa (were proved to be) falsely (so regarded)."

yiAURYAS 291

by effort hi.?h hccaven {svarga) is possible, and may be attained. To this
end has this exhortation been dehvered :— Both humble and great should so
exert themselves : and the neighbouring countries should know this ; and
this exertion should be of long continuance. Then will this matter increase ;
it will increase greatly ; it will increase to at least as much again. And
this exhortation has been delivered by the vyutha 256.'

Thus says the Beloved of the gods : — Obedience should be rendered to
mother and father. So also regard for living creatures should be made
firm. Truth should be spoken. These and the like virtues of the dhainma
should be practised. So also the disciple should honour his teacher. And
due respect should be paid to kindred. This is the ancient natural way.
This also tends to long life, and this should thus be done. Written by Pada
the scribe.

The above will suffice to .show the earnestness and high moral tone
of these singular and interesting inscriptions, so unlike any others met
with in the country. The sentence about the men who were regarded
as gods in Jambudvipa or India is considered to refer to the Brahmans,
and to their being now deprived of the almost divine prestige they had
arrogated. At the same time, the duty of reverence to them and the
bestowal of alms both upon Brahmanas and S'ramanas is more than
once inculcated. Toleration was denied only to their false claims.

Asoka's son Mahindo and his daughter Sanghamitta entered the holy
order and introduced Buddhism into Ceylon, It may be noted here
tliat Asoka never calls himself by that name in his inscriptions, but
always Piyadasi or Devanam Piye. Of his grandson Dasaratha (in
Prakrit called Dashalatha) some inscriptions have been found at the
Nagarjuni hill caves.~

According to the Puranas the Maurya dynasty continued in power for
137 years, and Brihadratha, the last king, was murdered by his general
Pushyamitra, who founded the S'unga dynasty. Agnimitra is mentioned
as the son of Pushyamitra in the play called Malavikagnimitra, and as
reigning at Vidisa, identified with Bhilsa in Central India. An inscrip-
tion of the time of the S'ungas was found by General Cunningham in
the Stupa at Bharhut in Central India.'' They are said to have ruled
for 112 years, but for the latter part of that period were superseded by
the Kanva family, who were supreme for 45 years. These may have
been at first subordinates, as they are called in one place S'unga-
bhrityas. Sus'arman, the last Kanva king, was overthrown by Simuka,
described as a servant of the race of A'ndhras,^ and he was the

' The signification of this term and of the numerals is much dis]Duted.
- Ind. Ant., XX, 364. 3 /^.^ xiV, 13S.

^ The A'ndhras are described by I'tolemy as a powerful nation, under the name of
Andane. They are also mentioned in Pliny.

U 2

2Q2 ///STORY

founder of the line of kings thence called in the Puranas the

Satavahanas. -Put from iiiscrii)tion.s it seems more correct to call
thcni the S';iiavahana dynasty, a name corrupted in Prakrit to S'aliva-
hana. 'I'heir chief capita! appears to have been at Dhanakataka, in the
east (Dharanikolta on the Krishna, in (iuntur taluq), but their chief
city in the west was Paithan on the Oodavari. Inscriptions found at
Nasik and Nanaghat'-' provide us with the following names (in their
Prakrit form) and succession. The peculiarity that the name of his
mother always appears with that of the king may be also remarked in
the Sunga inscription, and is a Rajput custom due to polygamy. Thus
we have Gotamiputra Satakani, Wisithiputra l^ulumayi, and so forth.''

Siiiuika. A. 1).

Kanha (Krishna) reigned at least

S'atakani, son of Gotami ... ... ... 24 years — I37?

IHilumayi, son of Vasithi ... ... ... 24 ,,

Sirisena, son of Madhari ... ... ... 8 ,,

Chaturapana S'atakani, son of \'asithi ... 13 ,, — 182?

Siriyana S'atakani,'' .son of Gotami ... ... 27 ,,

Kharavela's inscription in Kalinga tells us of a Satakani in the
2nd century e.g., but these kings are assigned to the 2nd century .\.d.
on the dates of the contemporary Kshatrapas or Satraps of Surashtra
in Kathiawar, and other coincidences. Thus, the first Satakani was
victorious over Nahapana, and destroyed the dynasty of the Khaharatas
or Khakharatas. Rudradaman, grandson of Chashtana, was the con-
queror of a Satakani, perhaps Chaturapana.'^ Again, Ptolemy, who
wrote his Geography soon after 150 .\.d., describes Ozene (Ujjayini) as
the royal seat of Tiastenes, Baithan (Paithan) as that of Siri Polemaios,
and Hippokoura, in the south of Ariake (Maharashtra), as that of
Baleokouros.'' In these names it is not difficult to recognize Chashtana,
Siri Pulumayi, and \'ilivayakura, who are known to us from inscrip-
tions and coins. Chashtana was the founder of the dynasty of
Kshatrapa Senas,' which succeeded that of the Kshaharatas, ending with
Nahapana. Siri Pulumayi was the S'atavahana king, the son of Vasithi,
given in the list above. 'N'ilivayakura was the viceroy of the Satava-
hanas, governing the southern provinces.^

' Bhandarkar, Early Hist, of the Dc'khan. - Arch. Sun: W. Ind., iv, v.

■^ See Dr. Buhler's explanation in Cunningham's Stiipa of Bharhuf, p. 129. These
do not give us the actual names of the mothers, but the latter, as in the case of Rajas
too, are called after the gotra of their family priest.

■• In Sanskrit, S'ri Vajna Satakarni. * Senart, lud. Ant., XXI, 206.

« McCrindle, Ptolemy s Geog., id., XIII, 359, 366.

' The following are the early names : — Chashtana, Jayadaman, Rudradaman,
Rudrasimha, Rudrasena. 8 Bhandarkar, o/. cit.


To revert to the kingdoms which arose out of Alexanders empire.
We know that Egypt under the Ptolemies and Syria under the
Seleukidie were eventually conquered by Rome. But the Greek
kingdom of Baktria was overthrown by a people from the north, called
the Tochari (whence its name of Tocharistan), who next advanced
westward against the kingdom of Parthia, founded in 250 B.C. by
Arsakes, who had revolted agamst the Seleukida;. Arlabanus, king of
Parthia, fell fighting against the Tochari, but his son Mithridates II.
(124 i!.c.) drove them back towards Kabul and India. Meanwhile,
Saka or Turushka tribes from Central Asia had poured into Baktria,
and by about 24 i!.c. had firmly established themselves in the north-
west of India.

From coins and other sources we obtain various names of kings,
such as Heraiis, Ciondophares and others, but the best known are the
Saka kings Kanishka, Huvishka, and Vasudeva, or, as they are called
on their coins, Kanerki, Ooerki, and Bazodeo. They belonged to
the Kushana family, and Kashmir was the chief seat of their power.
But Kanishka's empire extended from Yarkand and Khokand in
the north to Agra and Sindh in the south. The last great Buddhist
council was held in his reign. The best authorities are of opinion
with Dr. Oldenberg that the Saka era, reckoned from 78 a.d., dates
from his coronation. But the word Saka after some centuries came
to be misunderstood as itself meaning " era," and therefore, to dis-
tinguish it, was at length, more than a thousand years after its origin,
called the S'alivahana S'aka, a reminiscence of the fact that it had been
adopted by the Satavahanas. This is the era still in common use
throughout the south of India, as well as in Bengal. ^

W'q may now return to the S'atavahanas. Their rule in the northern
parts of Mysore is proved both by inscrii)tions and coins. There was a
find of Buddhist leaden coins a few years ago- at the site of an ancient
city whose name, according to tradition, was Chandravali, situated
immediately to the west of Chitaldroog, and among these was one
bearing the name of Pulomayi. Again, an inscription of Satakanni,
son of Hariti, was found some time ago'' at Banavasi on the Sorab
frontier. And recently I have found one also of Satakanni, son of
Hariti, at Malavalli in Shikarpur taluq. Both the Satakarnis above
mentioned are described as "joy of the \'inhuka(jdavutu family,"' but the

• The era of \'ikram;ulilya, recUoneil from 56 B.C., seems to he ecjuallya misnomer.
No instance of its use with such a name has Ijeen found for 500 years after thai dale.
Hut Dr. Fleet identifies it with the Malava era.^/;w. of the Early Gupta Kings.

"■' By Mr. Mervyn Smith, a mining engineer, prospecting for gold.

^ By Dr. Burgess : for Dr. Biihler's translation see Iiid. Ant., XI\', 331.


irrsTOR Y

Banavasi inscription is in characters which appear to be of a somewhat
earlier type than those of Malavalli, and corresponding with the alphabet
of Siriyana Satakarni's inscription at Nasik. On this ground, and also
on account of the dates, though they are both in the same Pali or
Prakrit language, it is possible that they may belong to the time of
different kings of the same name. Their relationship to the S'atava-
hanas before mentioned does not appear, but they probably represent
a branch of the dynasty.' At Malavalli, Satakarni is called king of
Vaijayanti, or Banavasi, and the inscription at the latter place implies
the same.

The Banavasi inscription is dated in the twelfth year, the first day
of the seventh winter fortnight, and records a gift by the king's daughter,
the Mahabhoji Sivakhada-Nagasiri. The Malavalli inscription begins
with ascriptions of victory to the holy Mattapatti deva, evidently the
god of Malavalli. At the present time this is a most ordinary linga,
called Kalles'vara, in a most insignificant village temple, nor are there
any indications about the place of former grandeur except the inscrip-
tion. It is dated in the first year, and the first day of the second
summer fortnight. In it the king Satakarni issues an order to the
Mahavalabham S'ungakam. If the reading of this last name be corrects
it looks like an interesting link with the S'ungas, previously mentioned.
The grant consists of certain villages for the Mattapatti god. There is
a second inscription on the same stone pillar, in similar characters and
language. It is dated in the fourth year, on the second day of the first
autumn fortnight, and records a fresh grant for the same god by a
Kadamba king, name defaced, and was engraved by Vis'vakamma.
A fine Kadamba inscription at Talgunda also names Satakarni as one
of the great kings who had visited the temple there.

The Satakarnis were undoubtedly succeeded by the Kadambas in the
north-west of Mysore. From this time, the third century, we enter
upon a period more amply elucidated by authentic records.

While the north-west was, as stated, in the possession of the
Kadambas, part of the north was under the rule of the Rashtrakutas,
or Rattas. The east was held by the Mahavalis and the Pallavas, and
the centre and south came to be occupied by the Gangas, who partially
subdued the Mahavalis. In the fifth century the Chalukyas from the
north reduced the Rattas and the Kadambas to the condition of
feudatories and prevailed against the Pallavas, who were also attacked
by the Gangas. Early in the ninth century the Rattas regained power

' Similar])-, in the Jaggayyapeta stupa was found an inscription of another branch,
of the time of Turisadatta, son of Madhari, in which he is said to be of the Ikhaku
Ikshvalivi) family. — Arch. Stiti: S. Iiid., No. 3, p. 56.


over the Chalukyas, and for a short time took possession of the Ganga
kingdom, but restored it and formed an aUiance with the Gangas, with
whom also were allied the Nolambas, a branch of the Pallavas,
established in the north-east of Mysore. In the tenth century the
Rattas with the Gangas gained great success over the Cholas, but the
close of that century saw the Chalukyas once more in the ascendant,
bringing the rule of the Rattas to a final end, while the Nolambas
were uprooted by the Gangas. The eleventh century began with a
powerful invasion of the Cholas from the south, in which the Gangas
and the Pallavas were overthrown ; but from the ruins of the Ganga
empire arose the Hoysalas, who drove out the Cholas from Mysore and
established a firm dominion. In the twelfth century the Chalukya
power was subverted by the Kalachuryas, in whom the Haihayas
reappear ; and they, in their turn, were shortly dispossessed on the north
by the Yadavas and in the south by the Hoysalas, who also before long
subdued the Cholas. But both Yadavas and Hoysalas were overthrown
in the middle of the fourteenth century by the Musalmans. The
Vijayanagar empire, however, then arose, which held sway over the
whole of South India till the latter half of the sixteenth century, when
It was subverted by a confederacy of Musalman powers. Of these,
Bijapur secured a great part of Mysore, but was overcome in the
seventeenth century by the Mughals, who took possession of the north
and east of the country. Meanwhile the Mysore Rajas gained power
in the south, during the contests which raged between the Mahrattas
and the Mughals, and between rival claimants on the death of
Aurangzeb. Haidar Ah extended the Mysore dominion over the
Mughal provinces in the east and north, and over Bednur in the west,
usurping supreme power in 1761. On the capture of Seringapatam by
the British and the downfall of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the country
included within the present limits was granted to the representative of the
Hindu Rajas. In 1S32 it was placed under British Commissioners, but
restored to native rule in 1881. Such is an outline of the changes of

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