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Kuvalayamala –A source of Social and Cultural History of

Kuvalayamala –A source of Social and Cultural History of

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Published by IJRRR
Jain Literature in the form of manuscripts
and publication during the 8th century A.D. is very rich.
For the social and cultural history of Rajasthan the Jain
sources literary as well as Archeology are important
and immense valuable. Uddyotana Suri’s work on
Kuvalayamala Kaha is very exhaustive work on social
and cultural history of the people during the period
under study. The Kuvalayamala mentioned the social,
cultural, political and economic condition of the people.
This paper shows that the people were sincere to their
religion and dedicated in the social activities fixed by
the dharmas.
Jain Literature in the form of manuscripts
and publication during the 8th century A.D. is very rich.
For the social and cultural history of Rajasthan the Jain
sources literary as well as Archeology are important
and immense valuable. Uddyotana Suri’s work on
Kuvalayamala Kaha is very exhaustive work on social
and cultural history of the people during the period
under study. The Kuvalayamala mentioned the social,
cultural, political and economic condition of the people.
This paper shows that the people were sincere to their
religion and dedicated in the social activities fixed by
the dharmas.

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Published by: IJRRR on Mar 15, 2012
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 International Journal of Recent Research and Review, Vol. I, March 2012
Kuvalayamala –A source of Social and Cultural History of Rajasthan
H. J Manglani
 Ex- Head, Department of History, Govt. P.G. College, Dausa, Rajasthan, India
Email: drhjm@gmail.com
 Abstract
- Jain Literature in the form of manuscriptsand publication during the 8
th
century A.D. is very rich.For the social and cultural history of Rajasthan the Jainsources literary as well as Archeology are importantand immense valuable. Uddyotana Suri’s work onKuvalayamala Kaha is very exhaustive work on socialand cultural history of the people during the periodunder study. The Kuvalayamala mentioned the social,cultural, political and economic condition of the people.This paper shows that the people were sincere to theirreligion and dedicated in the social activities fixed bythe dharmas.
 Keywords
- Kuvalayamala, Eight Century A.D., JainLiterature, Social and cultural History of Rajasthan,History of Rajasthan
 
I.
 
INTRODUCTIONJain Literature in the form of manuscripts andpublications during the period under review is verywide. A large number of literary works written by theJain writers are found preserved in the JainaSastrabhandaras of Rajasthan. The manuscripts arealso in the Anup Library, Bikaner, Saraswati BhanderLibrary, Udaipur and the Pustak Prakash, Jodhpur [1].For the social, economic, political and cultural historyof Rajasthan, the Jaina sources Literary as well asArchaeology are important. Of the literary works, theKuvalayamala Kaha complied by Uddyotana suri isextremely useful. Jalore during the 8
th
century A.D.was a famous seat of learning. The scholars of thisplace were famous for their learning & scholarshipand their fame spread far and wide [2]. Uddyotanasuri studies there under the guidance of virabhadraSuri and Haribhadra Suri and wrote the Kuvalayamalain 778 A.D. during the reign of Vatsaraja Pratihar [3].It is a religious tale narrated in Prakrit prose and verseon the pattern of the Sanskrit Champukavya. Some of its passages throw some light on the contemporaryhistory of this region [4]. While making comparisonof Kuvalayamala with samaraiccakaha, the former isbetter than later [5]. Although the manuscript ismainly concerned with religion, yet it also throws aflood of light on the various aspects of the society.It tell us that sivachmda Gani, a spiritual ancestorof Uddyotana Suri came to Bhinmal from Punjab forpilgrimage and his disciple Yakshadatta and otheradorned the Gurjara land with temples [6]. It is of interest to note that the earliest reference to the word,Gurjara, is found in the Kuvalayamala. It says that theGurjaras were differentiated from the Saindhvas,Latas, Malavas and Meravas as described devotees of dharma and they were clever in matters of peace andwar. Obviously, the differentia here is provided by thegeographical location of these people. If the Latas,Saindhavas, Maravas and Malvas are the people of Late, Sindh, Marwar, and Malwa respectively then theword Gurjara should naturally stand for the people of the territory known as Gurjara [7].II.
 
JUDICIARY AND LOCAL SELFGOVERMENTAnother important feature of Kuvalayamala is that itgives description of 34 Janpads, 47 towns, 7 villages,21 mountains, 8 rivers, 2 seas and 20 states of India.Ujjani, Ayodhayay, Kamand, Kanchi, Kashambhi,Taxila, Pataliputra, Prayog, Bhinmal, Mathura,
 
34
 
Makand Rajgarth, Varanasi, Saket, Hastinapur etc.were famous chief cities and towns of India, whichattracted many merchants and peace loving citizens tocome down to these places and settle [8].So far as the political life is concerned, theKuvalayamala yields important information duringthe regin of Vatsraja Pratihar, who gave royalpatronage to the Brahmins, Jain Acharyas andmerchants for their security of trade and commerce[9]. The ruler enjoyed various powers with theassistance of a chief minister and other ministers. Thepost of the chief Minister was hereditary and highlyrespected. All the other ministers and samants(nobles) addressed him respectfully as a Mahamantrin[10]. Besides Mahamantrin, there was a cabinet called‘Vatsav Sabha’ to assist the ruler. The judicial systemof the period has also been described in theKuvalayamala. It describes that theft was a seriouscrime for which an individual could be subjected totorture. The court was presided over by the rulerhimself, who had the right to fine a criminal andcertain circumstance to confiscate the guilty person’sproperty [11].There were dharmasatrapathakas and judicialofficers called the Karanikas, who asked the questionsfrom the accused about the charges, thereaftersubmitted their report to the ruler. It is of interest tonote that formulation of charges required thecooperation of the representation of the peoplemahallakas in the Kuvalayamala. The nagar –mahallakas had to play their important role in the judicial functions. They used to call the figures with judicial matters form the towns and villages [12]. Invillages direct democracy operated even moreeffectively than in towns. An interesting examplecomes corm the Kuvalayamala, where one Mayadityabrings together the grammahattaras and tries tocommit suicide, after telling them as follows:
“ I havecommitted the greatest crime of doing ill to a friend. Hence, I shall enter a burning fire. Kindly give me as fuel and fire.”
The mahattaras gave their opinionsabout the character of the sin suggesting variousmeans by which he could expiate it and when thechief mahamattara advised Mayaditya to enter thesacred waters of the Ganga, all of them echoed theformer’s words by advising the latter to go to theGanga river, bathe in it, and give up his body bystarving himself to death [13].III.
 
CASTES AND THEIR ACTIVITIESThe Prasastis of the Kuvalayamala mentions variouscastes and gotras of social hierarchy. The Brahamanasof this period had maintained their influential positionin society, not only on account of their birth, but alsotheir learning and character [14]. Among theKshatriyas, the main castes were the Pratiharas,Chauhans, Parmars, Chalukyas, Guhilas & Yadavas.Besides , there were also sub – castes among theKshatriyas such as Thakur, Ikshvaku, etc. the peopleborn in Ikshwaku caste were called Kshatriyas, butduring this period the Kushans, Sakas, Palavas andmany other people, Aryans, as well as Non – Aryansalso joined the Kshatriyas varna [15].Of the Vaisyas, a very large numbers gave upagricultural activities because they found trade andcommerce much more lucrative less laborious andmore in consonance with their idea of dharma, whichsensed himself in the highly agricultural operations.The doors of the Vaisyas were opened to every newcomer who took up the profession of trade; eventhrough the incomers generally fell into sub – castetheir own. Dhan Dev of Kuvalayamala was originallysudra was welcomed by the trade ‘Mandal’ of vaisyasand he was called vaisya. It shows that the vaisyacaste was being formed according to the profession[16]. The position of the sudra during this period hadimproved a good deal. As a very large number of vaisyas gave up agricultural activities, the sudrasbecome the true vaisyas. The agriculture, pasturageand handicrafts were their monopoly. They also took part in trade and commerce and thus improved theireconomic conditions [17].Very often the people standing outside the castesystem were called mleccha or mlecchjati. Butindigenous people i.e. the shabar, kirata, khas , orda,gonda , polinda, kocha, bharruya, bhilla were also
 
35
 
termed mleccha because they too stood outside thepale of Aryan culture. They had their ownorganization and their own way of living whichdiffered markedly from that of orthodox Aryans [18].IV.
 
SOCIAL FEATURESFrom the Kuvalayamala we have the names of manirasana, marakatamanikanthika, amuktavali andornaments of pearl and gold. In summer, the richladies used camphor powder and garlands of patalaand mollika. In winter they put their faces andcollyrium for their eyes. Poor village wives bedeckedthemselves with sankha bangles and ornaments set notwith jewels but with shining glass pieces. For theirface they used turmeric instead of the rich lady’ssaffron [19].Although the birth of the son was supposed tobe considered to save his parents from hell, yet thebirth of daughter was not considered as curse. Formthe Kuvalayamala itself it is known that at the time of her birth, she was not only welcomed with joy by herfamily members, but after 12 days her birthdayceremony was also performed with great enthuse. Shewas given the education of various arts, but it is a rareexample the status of women, otherwise the status of women seems to have deteriorated. The evils of polygamy and sat considerably reduced her status[20].Apart form the social history, the Kuvalayamalaalso throws a light on the religious condition of thepeople. It mentions that the festivals held by the Jainaon the days of the ‘diksha’ or initiation, promotion tohigher in spiritual line and succession to theAcharyapada [21].V.
 
RELIGION OF THE PEOPLEDuring this period the three sects, namelyVaisnavism, Savism and Saktism remained inflourishing condition in Rajasthan. Jainism was alsoin flourishing condition. It is known from the Prasastiof the katha that Uddyotana Suri composed theKuvalayamala in the temple of Adinatha (construedby Virbhadra in the town of Jabalipura (Jalor.) Thefamous Jaina temples of Jalore i.e. Adinatha,Mahavir, Parsvanath and Santinatha were repairedfrom time to time. Images were placed and charitieswere given to them by the Sravakas. The ruling chiefshowever, gave royal patronage to the Brahmans, JainaAcharyas and security of trade and commerce to themerchants. Temples were assigned land of a part of itsrevenue for their maintenance. The Panchayats,Acharyas and other notable persons of the royalfamily were appointed to look after thesearrangements on the festive occasions [22]. Itmentions the superstitious practice of ‘purta dharma’which was popular in the eighth and succeedingcenturies. It included in the excavation of deep wellsand tanks, distribution of food, maintenance of publicgardens and charitable endowments [23]. Similarly,Tirthayatras and Tirthas was the another institutionwhich has bee described in the Kuvalayamala. TheOrthodox Hindus of the period genuinely believedthat a visit to a sacred loosened the bond of Karma,offered one an opportunity of coming into contactwith spiritual great people. The Kuvalyamala furthermentions the example of Mayaditya who isrepresented as going to the highly sacred river of theGods (Ganga) which was respected even by divinebeings and removed all sins. It also mentions a sinneradvised by mahattaras to gift away all his property,store of gain, clothes, cash, bedding, seat, sticks,quadrupeds etc. to the Brahmanas to save of this hairand to visit Gangadavara, Virbhadra and Puskara,dressed a beggar [24].Another interesting feature of the Kuvalayamalais that it refers to the education system prevalent inRajasthan during this period. On the auspicious dayfixed by the astrologers, the boy was taken (generallyin his eight year) to the Kulacharya, a guru orUupadhaya to be taught the various subjects. Themain subjects were philosophy, theology, grammar,metrics, music etc. a brief description the students of Vijaipuri Math has been given by the Kuvalayamala.VI.
 
CONCLUSION

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