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KHARVELA

The Return of The Holy Idol

Again Kharavela moved to the north to continue and complete the unfinished task. He marched on Uttarapatha, the capital of Takshashila and annexed it. His army then marched towards Magadha.

This news reached Brihaspathimitra, the king of Magadha. He knew Kharavela’s valor and rage, and began to tremble with fear. The news spread among the people of Magadha, too. They knew Kharavela well as a man of extraordinary prowess; a warrior who had not been frightened by the fame of Shathakarni and had, in fact, humbled him; they knew Kharavela as the great hero who had driven backDemetrius, the Greek King who had dreamt of conquering the world and who had entered India and looted several parts of this country as he pleased. Moreover, they had heard not only of his prowess but also of his terrible rage. They trembled as they remembered the fate of Pithunda, which had been razed to the ground.

So the news of his invasion created panic among the people of Magadha. They realized that they had no choice and had to surrender. The king and his subjects unanimously decided this was the right course. There could be now two opinions at all on this question.

They knew full well why Kharavela was so angry with Magadha. Their ancestors had brought the idol of Sheethalanatha Jina from Kalinga. Kharavela and his people considered this as a great humiliation. It was evident to the people of Magadha that unless this humiliation was wiped out, Kharavela’s anger would not subside. Therefore it was decided to hand over the idol to the king, Kharavela, with all honor. They rightly thought that such a course of action would satisfy him and besides, earn his friendship.

Brihaspathimitra sent word to Kharavela that he wished to meet him. Kharavela agreed to this. Brihaspathimitra went to Kharavela with all his ministers and generals. He said to Kharavela, "Kalinga and Magadha have been opposed to each other for quite a long time. As a result, the people of both the states have suffered seriously. Soldiers have died in large numbers. Let us stop this human sacrifice and the destruction of crops and cattle. We, of Magadha, know the fault of ours. Our forefathers brought the holy idol from Kalinga. What we did is wrong. You and your subjects have naturally been displeased and unhappy. Please be magnanimous and forgive us. Forget the past errors. Let us live in friendship and peace."

Kharavela was a terror to his enemies on the battlefield. But he was also generous. It was not his desire to wage war unnecessarily. He did not love to make war. So he was happy at the suggestion of Brihaspathimitra, and accepted the holy idol.

The fire that had been burning in the hearts of the Kalingas, ever since the Nandas carried their idol away was now put out.

At the same time, the King of Anga, situated to the east of Magadha, also wished to avoid war with Kalinga. He, too, surrendered to Kharavela and offered him tributes and gifts.

Kharavela returned to his country with the idol of Sheethalanatha. Hundreds of sculptors started building a splendid temple for their deity. The deity was duly installed. All over the land there was great rejoicing. Kharavela's praise was on everyone's lips. He had wiped out the disgrace that had for long stuck to them. The banner of his fame flew high. His ancestors had not been able to achieve all this. He had not used his power only to extend his kingdom or to extract huge subsidies from the defeated. He had dedicated all his might to the welfare and happiness of his people. He had used it to uphold the honour of Kalinga and to end the disgrace inflicted on his people. The people, who had the good fortune of having Kharavela as their king, were in every way happy.

Again Kharavela turned his attention to the South. Unless the King of Pandya, a state situated at the southernmost part of India, was defeated, the power of the Kings of Dravida would not diminish. Kharavela defeated the Pandya King in a battle. The defeated king offered the victor countless gems and ornaments as tributes. Kharavela now became an emperor.

The Kalingas, who had Kharavela for their rulers were indeed blessed. What was once a- small, humble, poor and disgraced state had now become a strong, powerful and vast empire. It now extended from Takshashila and Nepal in the North to Kanyakumari in the South. Kharavela's fame spread across the length and breadth of India. This was indeed a golden age in the history of Kalinga.

Kharavela's mighty conquests spread his fame far and wide. What the astrologers had foretold when he was but a tender baby had literally come true.

The name his parents had chosen for him was fully justified. 'Kharavela' means' the swift moving wind', 'the storm incarnate'. Soon after coming to the throne, he moved with his mighty army with astonishing swiftness. And his enemies who had witnessed this must have felt that he was the God of Wind himself.

Kharavela who had now earned the status of an emperor thought of strengthening Jainism. It was about to disappear. From the time Emperor Ashoka had embraced Buddhism, the power and influence of Buddhism rose everywhere in India.

Kharavela convned a great conference of all Jain Sanyasis (hermits) of Kumariparvatha; this place had been made sacred by the touch of the hole feet of Mahavira Jina. Over three thousand and five hundred Jain Sanyasis attended the conference. They were all treated with great hospitality befitting the king. Huts (Ashramas) were put up on the hills for them. The Agamas were sacred to the Jains; but these holy books had been lost. These learned sanyasis were requested to reconstruct those volumes, and they were given all the facilities they needed. Once again bright days dawned for Jainism. But Kharavela respected the other religions. He did not trouble the followers of other religions in any way.

Such was Kharavela! A great hero, one who looked upon all religions alike, one who kept his subject perfectly happy, one who lifted his kingdom from the depths of hellish misery to the heights of sublime glory and happiness; one who had the wisdom to distinguish between his own countryman and a foreigner; a great conqueror, an emperor and champion of Jainism.

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Kharvela - A Great King Of Kalinga who ruled twenty-one centuries ago
About Kharvela
Introduction
But Why The War?
Ashoka - Kalinga
Free Once Again
The Prince - A New Hope For The State
Young Kharvela
Maharaja Kharvela
Towards A New Era
A Challenge
A King Who Loved His Subjects
A Plunderer From Outside
The Dravida Kings
You are Here! The Return Of The Holy Idol
His Family
The Stone Edicts Sing His Glory
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