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The wars of virtue and morality

war on terror, rogue kingdoms

The warriors of truth and virtue

One of the primary duties of a virtuous human being is to contribute in accordance with his capacity to any effort aimed at combating the wicked and evil forces that can take many forms. The ones who take refuge at the feet of almighty without any selfish intentions or wishful thinking are blessed with that rare instinct which enables them to distinguish the right and true from the wicked and cunning. The one who is willing to compromise on the above rule is more of a self-centred, business minded individual than a shrewd diplomat.

A more satisfactory explanation for the concept of time is found in ancient Indian spiritual literature. Puranas (history), which were essentially documentations of millenniums of years of life on earth, relate that the time is divided into four epochal periods called krita, treta, dwapara and kali ages. The Krita age, the first of the epochal ages was the noblest and hence it had the highest number of years. The next epochal age namely treta age saw the decline in human character to a very noticeable extent. This period witnessed violent crimes and those acts of greed and rapacity which was not known in the previous age. The number years of this age was very much less than the previous age. The subsequent dwapara age saw the evil tendencies take to a much higher level. Kings, even those who were born in prominent royal dynasties abused power and turned treacherous. As a result of that the number of years in that age got further dwindled. The present age of kali is the last of epochal ages. The total number of years in this age would be very much lesser than the previous three. In this age the human virtue would be at its lowest ebb. There would be utter disregard for seeking truth. Rulers will not consider it their job to dispense justice. Professional planning will make way to machiavellian conspiracies and cunning ways of achieving results. Thereby any one who follows the above analysis is likely to agree that during 100 A.D, the human beings led far more virtuous, pious, honest, truthful life than they do during twentieth century. For all the marvels of technology, that great pillar called faith in god that is ultimate truth has almost completely collapsed. We have to accept that we are living in an age where genuine virtue, honesty, and fairness are an exception rather than a commonality and succeed only after pyrrhic efforts.

We may however reconcile that this is not a sudden change. The evil has been steadily and continuously trying to take the stage over the past few centuries. There have been magnificent and brilliant efforts at destroying the same which were successful enough eventhough they did so with a great drain of resources. They however succeeded in preventing the evil from taking absolute control which it dearly desires and which has so far alluded it.

In this context, a study of the history of the ancient chola clan during medieval ages reveals that for centuries during that age, they led a spirited, serious, determined, purposeful and largely successful wars against evil forces. The numerous wars waged by them during medieval ages can be termed as a previous instance of a war on terror. It was not without consequences. There is no living sample of their period in this century. There are but a handful of literary works available from arguably the most productive period in the medieval history.

with the end of the cholas,a civilization that could most favourably identify itself with the civilization described in the puranic literature came to an end. The life during chola times continued unbroken from the previous epochal ages. It is possible that almost every subject and skill that is mentioned in the ancient literature like ramayana and mahabharatha was very much in existence during the chola period. This also included all the ancient recensions of vedas, of which the sama veda is supposed to have had the highest number at 3000. Presently, not many vedic recensions are alive and of samaveda there is only one recension which is currently available in a very vague form, with very few scholars who could claim some kind of authority over the same.

The chola domination of the medieval ages can be seen from a spiritual stand point. The clan of cholas was a vedic royalty. According to the hoary tradition, the princes of such clans had to assume kinship after the traditional coronation ceremony at the ancient temple ritual halls as chants from vedas reverberated the air. The process symbolically implied that the person under question was truthful enough and would discharge the royal duties to satisfaction.

The eternal antiquity of the chola clan is further established by their available inscriptions, grants and of course sangam literature. Some of the available grants provide a detailed geneology consisting of upto 65 kings who ruled during the previous epochal ages to the current one and excluding the same. The objective of including a genealogical account is seemingly to give a brief introduction to the dynasty while asserting that they were not elevated to kingship because of a good socio-economic status and ofcourse connections.

The chola grants and sangam classics praise them for their piety and martial courage. The medieval grants of this dynasty describe the brave acts of its several ancient kings. One of the kings belonging to this clan is said to have destroyed an army of powerful demons while fighting seated on back of lord vishnu who had taken the form of a bull. A descendent of his we are told, was so perseverant that he could keep himself awake for years together as he fought and destroyed a powerful army of swift moving demons. Another king in this line was such a compassionate and just ruler that he was applauded even by gods for having satisfactorily demonstrated his judicial wisdom to them. The hymns of nayanmar and alwar saints of 1ST millennium C.E, refer to great acts of piety and munificence of the kings of this dynasty particularly to the ancient shrines at chidambaram and srirangam.

Strange are the ways of god. For, It looked as if this brave clan was chosen by the almighty himself, after duly evaluating the great deeds of its ancient members, to combat the evil which during middle ages was multiplying at an alarming speed. Greed, rapacity, jealousy and envy had given birth to a plethora of rogue kingdoms. Some of them were little more than a horde of vandals. Combating this evil meant destroying the tyrannical ladder consisting of wicked regimes. This is metaphorically described in their inscriptions which refer to their wars as the ones being conducted to crush the excessive pride and conceit of the age of kali. The task demanded the dedication, wisdom, courage and the strength of character that had been a hall mark of many cholas in the past.

It seems as though the ever graceful Lord Siva would certainly take his abode in the temples constructed by cholas. A visit to any of the shrines constructed by them fills with devotion, tranquility and peace in even the most fragile of minds. Several inscriptions describe in great detail the wars fought by successive chola kings. Among these, emperor Raja Raja’s inscriptions are most elaborate. They describe in detail the numerous regiments of the cholas and the expeditions that they undertook. The king’s regnal year and a brief geneology of cholas is also included in these inscriptions. The engraving of these details in the walls and pillars of the shrine was a symbolic act of reporting to the almighty the great progress that they had made in subjugating the evil forces of the kali age, while thanking him for his blessings. Out of the several expeditions undertaken by Raja Raja two of them are outstanding for the display of great vision by the king. The first one is the occupation of “Maldives and 12000 other islands” that was undertaken during the 11th year of his reign. The 12000 islands that are referred to in the inscriptions have not still been identified. However, the occupation of maldives did take place. Though the actual motive of this war is not mentioned in the inscriptions available to us, it is understood that it was conducted to prevent the colonization of that island by mohammedan kingdoms from west asia, the very abode of evil. These mohammedan kingdoms had established trade contacts with some deccan kingdoms during that period and these kingdoms had also employed mohammedans in their services.

One other expedition, which the king attached a lot of importance to is the conquest and destruction of the deccan kingdom of chalukyas, who were for years inveterate foes of cholas and their natural enemies. The cholas demonstrated their military strength and tenacity in routing their enemy completely, killing anything that moved. Man, woman, child or animal. The occupation forces were withdrawn only after the opposing ruler accepted the chola overlordship and agreed to pay a yearly tribute. Much booty was collected from this war, and most of it was donated to the temple at tanjore. On his return from this conquest, King Raja Raja, worshipped Lord Siva with thousand golden flowers and took title ‘sivapadasekhara’ or the one who owes servitorship to Lord Siva. The king probably desired to compare his role with that of lord vishnu who protects the world from the wicked, and who during a day long ago had exhibited extraordinary devotion by worshipping Lord siva with thousand lotus flowers, the last of which was one of his eyes and thus earning the name kamalakshan (The lotus(kamalam) eyed (aksha) one).

God does not distinguish between a prince and a pauper. But he chooses his servitors. If the pantheon of nayanmars and alwars, not to mention the great sankaracharya were chosen to arrest the growth of false doctrines, the clan of cholas was chosen by him to destroy the excessive wickedness and pride of age of kali, manifesting itself in the form of insidious kingdoms, that were the very abode of untruth and evil. We may conclude that the cholas did the job assigned to them with exceptional merit and displayed in entirety the fiery elegance that was a characteristic of their clan.

10 miles to the south west of the city of kanchipuram, is a small village called tirumakaral, which houses an ancient temple of Lord Siva. The puranic literature mentions that at this place Lord Indra, the king of gods offered worship to lord sivan. During the days of cholas this place was held to be a great center. It is said that at tirumakaral during those days, virtuous brahmins who performed the six duties*(refer foot notes) of their clan to perfection, chanted vedas flawlessly before the deity. It is at this place that we are told that, lord sivan, as though to indicate his satisfaction at the stupendous chola efforts aimed at destroying the extreme darkness of kali age, appeared in the form of a giant golden lizard to the illustrious rajendra chola who out of devotion had put up a dreary emaciated appearance and had come to worship him.

The different chola grants available to us inform that most of the wars that they fought were aimed at destroying the evil and the entire civilization that they presided upon was involved in the same. A study of their history reveals how the war against terror was waged by a previous civilization.


* The six duties that brahmins have to perform are: learning and teaching vedas, conducting sacrifices and having sacrifices conducted by others, giving and receiving alms.
Published: 2008-01-08
Author: K.Sethumadhavan

About the author or the publisher
A management professional with eight years experience in telecommunications industry, I have written a lot of articles in subjects related to management and strategic information analysis.

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