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Jain Kingdoms
The Rashtrakut Kings  The Shilahar Dynasty Mourya Dynasty Kharvel
The Gang Dynasty

The Rashtrakuta Kings

                                                                                      -Dr. Yashwant Malaiya, Colorado

Among the Rashtrakuta kings, Amoghavarsh was the first follower of Jainism.He ascended the throne in 821 AD He was a learned person. Acharya Jinasen,author of Adipuran, was his learned preceptor. Amoghavarsh was considered one of the four mightiest emperors of the world, His capital was Manyakhet.

'Ganit Sar Sangrah' states that Amoghavarsh was follower of  the religion of non-absolutism. He left the throne and practised the religion of non-possession for several years. Amoghavarsh requested Acharya Gunabhadra,the main disciple
of Acharya Jinasen, to teach his son Krishna II.Gunabhadra has been the writer of the last five chapters of Adipuran, Uttarpuran and Atmanushashan. Krishnaraj was follower of  Jainism. He offered gifts for the temple of Mulagund. Krishnarai III also patronised Jainism and Jain scholars. The inscription of Danavulapatu states that king Nityavarsh (Indra IIIrd) constructed a dais for the anointment of  Arhant-deva for gaining bliss. The last Rashtrakuta king Indra IV was a devoted Jain. He adopted Sallekhana vow for a peaceful death.

Many warrior ministers and commanders of Rashtrakuta were followers of Jainism. The first representative administratorof Amoghavarsha, whose name was Vankeya, was Jain. He was the ruler of Varanasi. He ordered to give a village to the Jain temples of his capital as a gift. Lokaditya, the son of Vankcya was also supporter of Jainism. Sriivijaya, the commander of Indra IIIrd, was Jain and he patronised Jain literature. About 250 years period of Rashtrakuta rulers was the golden period for creation of Jain literature. At that time about two third population was Jain. Several Jain institutions were establibsed.About 100 Digamber Jain authors wrote 200 books,
Commentaries on Digamber canonical texts, Dhavala and Jaya Dhavala, were written during this period .

The great mathematician Mahaviracharya composed his Ganit SAR sangrah. Amogbvarsh himself wrote Prashnottar Ratnamala in Sanskrit and Kaviraj Marg in Kannad. Amoghavarsh had become a Jain ascetic. During the period of Akalavarsh, the son of Amoghavarsh, Gunbhadra completed his Uttarpuran.

Krishnadevaraj (IIIrd Krishna) was a powerful Rashtrakut king. He was the son of Akalavarsh III. The period of his rule has been decided as Shaka era 867-894. Bravely, he ruled in the south.

The eulogy "Yashastilak Champu" describes that Krishnaraj defeated the kings of Singhal, Chola, Pandya and Cher. During his period Ponn, the great Kannad poet, composed Shantinath Puran. Krishnadevaraj honoured him by giving him
the title of "Ubhayabhasha Kavichakravartin" (The poet emperor of both the languages viz.-Sanskrit and Kannada)

Shilahar Dynasty:
                                   -Dr. Yashwant Malaiya, Colorado

One of the rulers of this dynasty was Gonka. An inscription at Teradal
mentions that Gonka was healed from snakebite by a Jain monk and Gonk
had built a temple of Lord Neminath. Many Jain temples in that region
build in the next couple of century are called Gonka-Jinalya after
him. During the reign of Bhoja I, a dynamic Acharya Maghanandi helped
establish an institute at Rupanarayana-Basadi. Several of the kings
and nobles of the dynasty were disciples of Maghanandi. Maghanandi is
often called Siddhanta-chakravarti ie the great master of the scriptures. He is sometimes called "Kolapuriya" to distinguish him from many other Acharyas with the name Maghanandi.

Maghanandi belonged to a distinguised lineage of Acharayas of Deshiya-
Gana Pustaka Gachchha. One of his predecessors of Gollachaya, who was
once a king. The Bhattarakas of Shravenbelgola and Mudabidri belong
to the same lineage [4].

Just like pairs Hemachandra Suri and king Kumarpal, Nemichandra
Acharya and Chamundaraya. Kolhapur has a famous Acharya-devotee pair.
A legendary account of Maghanadi and Shilahara king Gandraaditya of
Kolhapur occurs in "Jainacharya Parampara Mahima". It mentions 770
Jain shrines being built by Gandaditya and 770 disciple monks of
Maghanadi. Many of the inscriptions in Kolhapur and nearby places
attest to this relationship. Gandaraditya had built a temple "Tribhuvan Tilak" for Lord Nemi at Arjurika, where Somadeva composed "ShabdarNava-Chandrika" (guide to a lexicon). Like Ashoka Maurya, El Kharvel etc, he was supported all religions. In one
inscription he is called "sarva-darshan-chakshuha" i.e. viewer of all points of view. His general Nimbadeva was also a devoted Jain. A Kolhapura inscription at the MahaLakshmi temple (it has 72 Jinas carved on the shikhar) mentions a Jain temple made by Nimbadeva.

His son Vijayaditya was a disciple of Manikyanandi, the successor of Acharya Maghanandi. Several inscriptions mention donations by Vijayaditya and his generals to Jain institutions.A brahmin Vasudeva, a dependant of a general Kamadeva of Vijayaditya, had built a temple to Lord Parshvanath [5].


The glory of Jainism in Kolhapur declined after the Shilaharas. Still Kolhapur
has a unique place in the Jain society. It is the only place in India today with not one but two functioning Bhattaraka seats, that of Lakshmisena Swami and of Jinasena Swami which has shifted from Nandni to Kolhapura. The Lakshmisena Matha is an active publisher of books and a periodical "Ratnatryaya". There is famous 9
meter high idols in the matha temple. It is said that height of the gate of the Math was chosen to match the height of the gate of the local king, such was the significance the Bhattaraka seat. In 1871 the maha-mastakabhisheka of Lord Gommateshvar at Shravanbelgola was entirely organized by the then Lakshmisena of Kolhapura.

You can read a little about current Bhattaraka Lakshmisena in "The Assembly of Listeners" by Carrithers and Humphry (Cambridge University Press, 1991). Incidentally Prof. Sangave, the well know author of "Jaina Community: A Social Survey" is from Kolhapur [6].


[4] See

[6] In this region, many Brahmins have been following Jainism since
times. Even now there is a Jain Brahmin community there.

[6] Several famous Jain Acharyas of this century have been from
Karnataka borger region, including Acharyas Shantisagar, Vidyanada and

More about Kolhapur

At the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka, that is a region that has been an ancient center of Jainism. We can perhaps term the region Konkan, although the term Konkan is used with different meanings. Such was the influence of jainism here in ancient times that the vaishnava "Bhagavat Purana" mentiones that lord Rishabha had wandered in the Konka (Konkana), Venka (Vengi) and Kutaka region and a king of this region had spreadJainism due to his influence.

There is still a large Jain population in this region. In fact you will be surprised to know that Belgaum (across the border in Karnataka) , Kolhapur and Sangli (both in Maharashtra) are among the top 5 districts in India in terms of the Jain population. There were many kings in this area that followed or supported Jainism. The most glorious among them were the Rashtrakuta who originated from Latur and had their capital at Mayurkhandi (near Nasik) and later at Manyakhet [1] During their reign numerous famous Jain texts were composed, including Dhavala, Jayadhavala, Mahapurana, Uttarapurana and Ganita-sara-samgraha. They ruled from about 752 AD to 972 AD. The last Rashtrakuta king, Indra the fourth retired to Shravanbelgola and passed away in smadhi-marana in 904 [2].

In the first century AD, a king Nahapan (of non-Indian origin) ruled region near Nasik. According to "Shrutavatar" of Vibudh Shridhar, Nahpan became a Jain monk Bhutabali. Bhuytabali and Pushpadnata later studied under Dharasena who live in a cave in Junagarh. They togeter later wrote the famous "Shat-khandagam".

Here I will briefly mention about Kolhapurand nearby places.

In the first century AD, at Mahimanagari, near Kolhapur a gathering of monks was held. This assembly decided to send Bhutabali and Pushpadnata to Mt. Girnar to study under Dharasena. Some say that part of Shat-Khandagam was composed at Kolhapur.

Kolhapur bcame a major Jain center duuring the rule of Shilahar kings in the 11th century. Kolhapura was also known as Kshullakapur (because of the presence of a large number of Junior Jain monks[3]) or Padmalaya, after the deity Padmavati who is now worshipped there
as Mahalakshmi and is the tutelary goddess of Kolhapura.


[1]Several Jain institutions in this region are somehow connected
with the Rashtrakuta dynasty. Both Latura and Manyakhet (Malakheda)
have been Bhattaraka seats. Malakheda seat became empty in the early
part of this century.

[2] But that was not the end of Rashtrakutas. The Rathor Rajputs of
Rajsthan/North India are descendants of ancient Rashtrakutas.

[3] Kshullaka means a junior Jain monk.