Pre-eminent among the kings of Karnataka is the Kalyani Chalukya emperor, Vikramaditya VI. He was the son of Someshwara I. Fortunately, he had the poet Vidyapati Bilhana in his court and so his achievements have become immortal.
Age of GloryIn the recent writings on Indian history, there are several episodes and events that have been given undue respect and importance. Several details that are not found in honest treatises of history have been presented to us and we are misguided and cheated; these also come in the way of our pursuit for the vision of truth. Almost all our history textbooks of today fall under this category of deceitful writing.
The Shield of the SenasRamapala was the last of the Pala emperors and he was overthrown by the rise of the Senas, who were kshatriyas from Karnataka. The foremost kings of this dynasty, which can be said to have come from the Chalukya royal family of Karnataka, were Vijayasena and Lakshmanasena.
Any Empire that firmly sustains for at least 220-250 years can be called a successful Empire. A protracted and vigorous rule over a geographical spread roughly equivalent to the size of four average states of today’s India was considered to be a powerful Empire. Using this yardstick, we find some royal dynasties in India such as the Mauryas, Guptas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Pratiharas and Vijayanagara. After the demise of the grand Gupta Era, several kings attempted to recreate the same grandeur.
After Krishnadevaraya’s death, Achyutaraya just managed to run the kingdom. He wasn’t particularly competent. And by the time of Ramaraya, the kingdom had completely declined. In this context, we must recall the Mahābhārata’s Daṇḍanīti (Principles of Governance).
An emperor as powerful as Pulakeshi II had to face numerous struggles during his last days. His brother “Kubja” [Short] Vishnuvardhana would repeatedly rise in rebellion, Pulakeshi would quell it and forgive him—this seemed to have become the norm. However, what we notice in each such instance is simply Pulakeshi’s weakness. The younger brother fully exploited his sibling’s sentimentality. Pulikeshi had four children. He justifiably displayed greater affection towards his third son, Vikramaditya.
The fact that Shiladitya Harshavardhana developed greater fondness towards Buddhism in his later years is evident from his own writings. Three Rupakas whose authorship can be attributed to Harshavardhana are extant. He has also written a few Stotras (loosely, “hymns”) and a collection of independent verses. His Rupakas, “Priyadarshika,” “Ratnavali,” and “Nagananda” continue to remain popular amid lay persons and scholars alike. “Priyadarshika” and “Ratnavali” belong to the “Natika” genre of “Drishyakavya” (dramatic poetry enacted on stage).