A Maternity home established by A Hindu Queen of 13th Cent.
By Dr. R. Nagaswamy-The First Vice Chancellor of the Kanchipuram University & Renowned Archaeologist
A Maternity Home
A healthy and clean maternity home for the birth of babies is a necessity in rural areas, was felt by a Hindu Queen, in the mid 13th cent. for which purpose, she gifted a land. She also patronised the building of a hospital and a hostel for feeding teachers and students in the same village. It is recorded in an inscription in Sanskrit language written in Telugu script. The interesting part of the record is that Queen ruled as an independent King of Andhra desa, showing that even women had the right to rule Kingdoms, though in most cases it was men who were crowned.
The name of the queen is Rudramba, also known as Rudra Devi, the daughter of the King Ganapati of the Kakatiya dynasty, ruling with Warangal as the Capital. The said grant issued in 1261 consisted of a village was gifted in the hand of great Saiva saint, named Visvesvara Siva. The record praises the Queen’s prowess and states that many opponent kings fell at her feet, and that she was ruling the country by herself.
“Sarva urvisa kireta kuttimatadi vinyasta Padambuja
sasti yesha cateerambu rasi rasanam sri rudra devi bhuvam”
Saivacharya Visvesvara Sambhu
She was the ruler of Andhra desa, and gifted a village, Velanga pundi with an istand in the middle of the Krishna river gifted to one Saivacharya – Visvesvara sambhu by her father, King Kakatiya Ganapati. The gifted village Mandara was situated at the place where the river Krishna turns to wards the north in the Velivadi veshiya , in the territorial division of Kandravadi. Ganapati gifted this village to the same Visvesvara siva who was his Rajaguru, and whom the record calls him Diksha guru one who iniated him into Siva puja.
Visvesvara Siva was a Gauda (Bangali) hailing from Purvagrama in Dakshina Rada. Visvesvara Sambhu was a great scholar performing severe austerities (ugratapasvi), a great exponent of all vidyas (learnings), Mahasantah, Dantah and wearing matted locks of hairs; and was an ocean of Saivagamas (Saiva agama he is also called Saiva agama (ambonidhih) and so he was saluted by the King Ganapati, as diksha guru; what is more important was that this Acharya was so famous that he served as Rajaguru for the Chola King, Malava King, and also the Kalacuri rulers. It is interesting to see one Rajaguru for four great dynasties. He belonged to the “Golaki Matha santana”, and so established the “Golaki Matha” in the village Mandara on the banks of Krishan, gifted by Ganapati.
Prasuti Sala, Aarogya Sala and Vedic College
Where the Queen Rudramabha gifted another village in the same region, (in 1261), the guru, settled Sixty Dravida Brahmanas in the village and named it Golaki village. He obviously built a Siva temple there named Visvesvara temple for which he apportioned one share. One share was allotted for students (Vidyarties) and one share for a Saiva matha (the Golaki Matha) which was called Suddha Saiva Matha. It is in this village, a Maternity home (Prasuti Sala) and a hospital (Aarogya sala) were established. These were apportioned by the Acharya, who also provided for three teachers of Vedas (one for each) Rik, Yajus and Samavedas; The vedic teachers were called very good teachers (Samyak adhyapakas). Also were appointed in the college, exponents of Pada, Vakya Pramana, Sahitya and Agama. One expert physician (Vaidya) and one expert Kayasthas (serve) were also appointed.
Artists and Artisans
The Achrya appointed ten dancing girls (Nartakyah) for performing dance during Puja in the Visvesrava deva temple, two players of Mukhari and 8 players of Maddalams. One from Kashmir and fourteen women singers (Gayanyas), six players of Karada, etc. two Brahmin cooks and four Paricarakas, six Brahmanas, hailing from Chola desa were attached to the Matha and Sattra. There were the soldiers belonging to all four Castes to protect ten village. These solders were called Virabhadras, “who were terrific solders, who could cut off Heads cut off abdomen and testedes of evil doers. (Sierac ceda, Kukshicidan Bijacheda). There were other craftsmen - like workers in gold (goldsmith), copper (coppersmith), stone worker, ayas iron smith, kumbha karas (potters) and there were also Sthapati, Carpenters, Barbers, and Silpins, altogether twenty in number and also soldiers, a total of 73, each given on puttika of land. The Acharya also settled some Samaveda Brahmanas from Purvagrama his native place in Dakshina Rada of Gauda desa to whom he allotted 300 putti land. He also set apart so puttika towards collecting taxes, and look after expenses of the village.
Each one of these allottee, should do the works allotted to them and enjoy the land and gardens. The property will pass on from father to son (heriditarily) and in the event of no male issues, the girls of the family will inherit the property. An interesting stipulation was that all these service temures, and ownership, inheritance etc., should be well documented in writing.
This is a sterling example of how a new Agrahara village was formed in ancient times with all services.
Constitution of an Agrahara
The village consisted of learned Brahmanas, a Siva temple, Maternity home, a Hospital, a Vedic college to teach the three Vedas, exponents of Pada Vakya, Pramana, Sahitya, Agamas, a doctor, a Registrar (Kayastha) Dancers, Musicians, Instrument players, Cooks and Servants for feeding teachers and students (hospitals). Different metal works (Goldsmith, Copper smith, Stone masons, Iron smith, Carpenter, Sthapati , Silpins, Barber, Solders to execute Judicial punishments, Guards of the village etc., and village Accountants for collecting taxes and overseeing expenses etc.) All these categories settled were gifted each with a cultivable land and also a garden, with powers to enjoy the produce, which passed on a hereditary basis from father to son and in the case where there was no male descendant the daughters, were given the right to inherit the same. Further, the emphasis on well written documents for (samyak lekhana purvakam) each, shows, it was an intelligent society settled and each was expected to do their service prescribed, that the village was gifted by a woman who ruled the Andhra desa, deserve special notice. This was the time when the Islamic rule was established in Delhi, but had not shattered the Hindu tradition yet. The Hindu Kings have bestowed attention to Education, Public health, Judiciary, documentation, music and dance, art and architecture, crafts, policing, (law & order), and village accounts, in a comprehensively is borne our more variedly and this has been done by a religious head, Acharya shows religious work did not confine to worship alone. Another interesting factor is that the same acharya served as Rajaguru to four powerful ruling dynasties suggest that he could have brought in a greater unity among the rulers and also the society as a whole.
The Matha established by him was to feed all people. The Saiva system did not exclude the so called low caste, from the society. It must be remembered that these great Saivacharyas, who were Rajagurus, were great Vedic scholars, which did not consider Vedic tradition as outside Agamic Saivam, as is being suggested by some modern writers.
The inscription is found on a stone pillar at Malkapuram, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh and published by J. Ramayya, in the Journal of Andhra Historical Research Society, IV earlier, and by D.C. Sarcar in select Inscriptions.
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