20a1bb2bfc0d937856a867bcf67ba17e

eBooks

Member Articles

               In the previous article I have talked about the peculiar aspect of ‘Dharmik Continuum’ that prevailed throughout the existence of Vijayanagara Empire. Actually, that write-up was my impulsive reaction, so to say, about this strange feature of maintaining and upholding the Dharmik values. I feel that no historian of any denomination has touched upon this topic and has ever mentioned it in his/her research!

                I am making such strong claim as I have found yet another great example of this Dharmik Continuum phenomenon and I am sure that the readers too shall acknowledge my feelings. The Belur inscriptions that would be presented in this articles can stand tall in showcasing the Dharmik side of Hindu kings. The inscription of Harihara II can be considered as the ‘crest jewel’ of these Belur inscriptions.

 

Battle of Talikota as dipicted in a 16th century miniature art

Image courtesy: Wikimedia.org

26th of January is not only the occasion to celebrate Republic Day but also to recall a historical event that triggered the final showdown of a mighty South Indian Dharmik Empire. This date must be kept in mind not only to rejoice the introduction of the Constitution of India but also to repent the vanquishing of a greatest city of the [then] known world. This was the day on which the narratives of South India have taken a different turn…a turn that could never be traveled back.

I am referring to the Battle of Rakkasi-Tangadi (also called as Battle of Talikota) in which the Vijayanagara forces faced all-out routing thus causing the complete downfall of magnificent city of Hampi. It was on 26th of January, 1565 that this fateful battle was fought between the Vijayanagara and a confederacy of four Muslim Sultanates i.e. Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Bidar and Golconda. It was on this day’s afternoon that the fate of both Ramaraya and Hampi were decided forever. Today, it is the 451st anniversary of Talikota Battle and this small write-up is nothing but a gist of the events that have occurred on this rueful day.

[Two dates have been given to this event i.e. (1) 23rd of January and (2) 26th of January. There are equal numbers of citations for both the dates. I have considered 26th of January.]

Recently there came a write-up which has been introduced to the public as ‘official statement from UM.’ 

Following are my observations on the said official statement & these observations are limited to the historical antecedents mentioned therein.

ANTIQUITY OF ‘DISPUTED’ STORY & ITS REFERENCES:

As there were few allegations that the present subject-matter i.e. the ‘disputed’ story that went viral has been woven by a present pontiff of a particular Matha. In order to reject such allegations, the official statement of the said Matha tried to prove that the story is quite old and dates back to 1970s or even before that. Following references have been cited in the write-up:

  1. ‘Madhusudana Saraswati Charitam’ by an Advaita scholar Damodaraashrama. Published in 1994 by Delhi Sahitya Academy.
  2. ‘Vyasacharitre mattu Vimarshe’ (History of Vyasa & Its Criticism/Review) by V.N. Deshikacharya. Published in 1971.
  3. Mahamahopadhyaya Abhyankara Vasudeva Sastry who mentioned the story in one of his writings.
  4. ‘Kaashi kaa Panditya Paramparaa’ (Literary Lineage of Kashi) a Hindi book by Acharya Baladeva Upadhyaya. Published in 1983 by Varanasi University.

According to the author of the ‘official statement’ all the above works carry the ‘disputed’ story albeit with some alterations here & there. 

For the benefit of non-Kannada readers, let me present the gist of each reference in English.

[As told by Sri Vidya Vijaya Tirtha Sripadaru of Sri Vyasaraja Matha-Sosale]

The Bell in Hanuman's tail - is an interesting feature that can be seen not just in Vyasa-Anjaneya pratima-s but also in many pratima-s across Bharata bhUmi. I have learnt one legend associated with it from elders.

Here is the legend...

           The mighty Vijayanagara Empire that flourished from c.1336 to c.1646 has been held and ruled by four dynasties – (1) Sangama (2) Saluva (3) Tulu and (4) Aravidu.

        We can read some blood curdling stories from Vijayanagara history on how the successive dynasties snatched the power from the outgoing one. Sometimes, the members of the ruling royal family have seem to be committing heinous murders of their kith and kin only to plant themselves on the royal seat. I have borrowed the following passage from Robert Sewell to describe this horrification saga:

“It will be seen farther on that in almost every case the kingdom was racked with dissension on the demise of the sovereign, and that year after year the members of the reigning family were subjected to violence and murder in order that one or other of them might establish himself as head of the State.”

[Vijayanagara - Forgotten Empire by R. Sewell]