[Advaita-l] In the lineage of Ashwatthama

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Nov 14 12:37:58 EST 2017

Narasimhavarman II (r. 700 - 728 CE), popularly known as Rajasimha Pallava,
was a ruler of the Pallava kingdom. Sen states Narasimhavarman, or
Rajamalla, reigned from 695 to 722 AD. Rajasimha is credited with the
construction of the Shore Temple, Isvara and Mukunda Temples in
Mahabalipuram, the Panamalai Temple in South Arcot, plus the Kailasanathar
Temple and Vaikuntha-Perumal Temples in Kanchipuram. Rajasimha's reign was
period of great literary and architectural advancements and he is often
grouped by historians with Mahendravarman I and Narasimhavarman I as one of
the greatest Pallava rulers.
By the time Rajasimha ascended the throne, the Pallavas were by the large
most powerful military force in the subcontinent. His father
Parameswaravarman I was among the greatest of warrior kings of ancient
India, the Amaravati Pallava inscription praises him of being: "As vigorous
and strong as lord sambhu (siva)". Parameswaravarman I had subdued all his
formidable enemies to extend the Pallava empire far and away. Rajasimha
followed up very well.The Vayalur inscription of Pallavas issued on the eve
of the coronation of Rajasimha (695.C.E-728.C.E), gives a lineage of 54
rulers through the epochs of Krita, Dwapara and Kali Yuga up to emperor
Rajasimha, this includes 47 kings after Aswattama, the great Brahmana
warrior ancestor of the Pallavas.
Rajasimha, like of most of Pallava kings before him, was a great
militarist. That the Pallavas were recognized as a major power during his
period is testified by the fact that he exchanged ambassadors with China.
In general his period was relatively free from major wars and Pallava
domination of south east Asia continued.
Rajasimha was a skilled dramatist and poet. He wrote many works in
Sanskrit.His Sanskrit plays had themes from Ramayana, Mahabharatha and
Puranas. Kutiyattam, which is considered as the most ancient available form
of dance drama and is still in vogue in Kerala, uses some of his plays
(like Kailasodharanam) for subject matter and so does Chakyar Koothu
another ancient Tamil dramatized worship service. another play called
"Kamsavadham" dealing with lord Krishna's killing of Kamsa also was written
by the king.Narasimhavarman II wrote Bhagavadajjukiya, farces concerning
the rivalry between Kapalikas and Buddhists.The Sanskrit litterateur Dandin
spent several years in his court and was patronized by the king, but we do
not know about his standing as the inscriptions denote considerable level
of erudition . Rajasimha himself was a great devotee who was credited for
having mastered the great agamic worship rituals" like preceptor Drona".
For all his accomplishments, Rajasimha is mainly remembered as a foremost
devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is famously known to have appeared in the
king's dream and ordered him to adjourn his coronation because he wanted to
first bless an impoverished saint Poosalar. This event is very well
described in most Pallava grants of Rajasimha as well as the ones after him.
Rajasimha was a great devotee of Shiva and constructed the Kailasanathar
Temple at Kanchipuram.
Rajasimha is generally identified with as Kalarsinga Nayanar ( meaning "one
who is lion to crowd of evil kings") Nayanar. one of the 63 Shaiva saints
and also a contemporary to many Nayanmar saints like Sundarar, Dandi,
Poosalar and his great queen Rangapataka who was known to be a pious queen.
Rajasimha is greatly admired for valor. He took many titles like
"Ranajaya", and "Sivachudamani". Rajasimha also famously declared before
lord Shiva in Tiruvarur alongside Serruthunai a Nayanmar saint that he
considered himself not as a king but a sincere servant of lord Shiva.
Rajasimha's reign was marked by peace and prosperity, and he constructed
several beautiful temples.Apart from the Kailasanatha Temple at
Kanchipuram, Rajasimha also built several other temples, including the
Vaikuntha Perumal Temple at Kanchi, Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram. He is
also credited with building the Airavatesvara temple at Kanchipuram and the
Talagirisvara Temple at Panamalai.
Rajasimha's had two sons - Mahendravarman and Paramesvaravarman II.
However, Mahendravarman III predeceased his father, and Paramesvaravarman
II succeeded to the throne in 728 CE.
In picture -The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram built by Narasimhavarman II


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