In the light of a certain long note around the rushing of Ramanuja westward, did my fair share of restudy. The following is a brief response, not including the entire work.
If one considers Bitti Deva to have already been ruling, Bhandarkar’s dating fails. General records place his ascension at at least 6 years post the conversion. Bhandarkar’s own numbers, would put it at 12.
One could attempt to relegate Bhandarkar’s in favour of hagiology driven dates. But, that makes it a thorn in the flesh, given the former depending on inscriptions. The latter, in contrast, depends on traditions passed down, prone to interpolations. Even with religious fervour, such interpolations have already stood out.
Coelho, though without backing, puts the conversion at circa 1116CE. The fervour and favouritism both Coelho and Srikantaiya report, don’t add up though. More, later during the course of discussion.
The problem with hagiology texts becomes more than evident in cases such as these. Was Bitti Deva controlling, as an appointed Governor, during his brother Ballala’s reign? Or, was he a full crown monarch, at the helm, post his brother?
With situations as these, traditional texts of hagiology face miserable failures. With statements as ruled over, they fail to discern and propagate poor placement.
Back working on these numbers, it would also be a bigger question of when did Ramanuja move. The move through the Kongu-Nilagiri tract has on equal terms, poor documentation.
That would raise the natural question of when he force moved out of SrirRanga. Addendum, questions about the political/cultural climate.
The conversion of Bitti Deva, along with the earlier question, would open new views. Leaving aside the Chola temperaments, Ramanuja’s own warrant a rethought. In the light of history and his converts, a non-bigoted Ramanuja emerges. Contrasting personal and general space is a pre-requisite in such cases.
Post conversion, the architectural activities of Bitti Deva, now Vishnuvardhana, get recorded well. Among others, he commissioned Veeranarayana*, Keerthinarayana, and more important, Hoysaleswara. Veeranarayana and Keerthinarayana situated at Belur and Talakad, Hoysaleswara belongs to Halebidu.
Local traditions noted by Mr Settar place the financing of Hoysaleswara on locals. Inscriptions tie the naming to the Hoysala ruler of the time, Vishnuvardhana. By all records, the fervour in favour of his new-found faith has not given a different shade to views. Coleho advances the new faith as a reason for vigorous conquests against neighbours. Changalvas/Kongalvas both Jains, the Cholas Saivite by persuasion, he calls renewed enemies.
The Hoysaleswara tradition, does not warrant such extrapolated assumptions, basing on faith. More so, given the preceptor’s own history, though anecdotal at places. Supposed inscriptions that haven’t gone to end or the other, show transfer of funds. This, after rebuilding of Melukote complex to a Saiva complex, make a remark.
Assumed bigotry of Ramanuja based on personal persuasion and practice, gets poor light. This seeming dichotomous stance needs proper treatment in itself; a work for later.
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