mahendra varma pallava

Ravi msr at COMCO.COM
Tue Jun 15 13:44:54 CDT 1999

1) mahendra varma pallava ruled during 600 ad and was one of
the famous pallava kings. He ruled with kAnchi as capital.
Mamallapuram which is on the coast of Bay of Bengal was due
to him. His son narasimha varma pallava was even greater

2) mahendra varma pallava was a jain initially and converted
later to shaiva. He was converted by the famous nAyanmAr
thirunAvukkarasar. Of course, thirunAvukkarasar was
subjected to quite a torture before the king could realize
the greatness of Lord shiva.*

3) He did write works in sanskrit (pallavas did not do much
for the tamil language, but one of the last pallavas was
great lover of tamil and died hearing a kalambagam sung on
him). The works by mahendra varma, if I remember correctly
made fun of jainism (and/or buddhism).

4) Whether shankara was before or after mahendra varma is an
open question. But mahendra varma had enough reasons to
attack the two nAstika traditions (buddhism and jainism). It
should be noted that kAnchi was so famous, it was called
nagareshu kAnchi. It was a great center of learning during
pallava dynasty (which I think lasted till the advent of
later chozhas). Kanchi had the presence of four major
schools of thought (shaiva, vaishNava, bauddha and jaina).
Hence, there were clashes and debates among them all the
time.  Kanchi was so important in this regard for anyone to

 mahendra varma was a convert, he had all the more
reasons to attack the nAstika tradition. One of the easiest
way to discount the opponent is to claim that they anyway
copied from us. I think people who are converted are quite
hyperactive in attacking the other traditions and supporting
the adopted tradition.

Since Mahendra varma's works were in sanskrit, we did not
study in our schools, otherwise we would have.

I will close this with famous song of thirunAvukkarasar
which he sang in praise lord shiva. This he sang when he was
immersed in a chunnaambu kaaLavaay (burning lime bath). This
in gist says, when mind is immersed in bhakti towards shiva,
even this worst condition will be like,

On the side of a pond, filled with flowers haunted by honey
loving bees, when the cool moon is shining, with a sound of
flawless veeNa for accompaniment and with a nice cool
breeze, during the spring season; compare this comfort and
joy, you mind will be in that state of joy always when your
mind has sought refuge in the lotus feet of Lord shiva (no
matter what the external conditions are).

mAsil vINaiyum mAlai mathiyamum
vIsu thenRalum vIngiLaveNilum
mUsuvaNDarai poygaiyum pOnRathe
Isan endai iNaiyadi nIzhale

By the grace of the lord, saint nAvukkarasar was protected
and emerged out the boiling lime bath without any harm.

AUM namaH shivAya

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list