Durlabhavardhana

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Durlabhavardhana (दुर्लभवर्धन) was a king of Kashmir. He reigned from 598-634 AD.[1]

History

Rajatarangini[2] tells us that Durlabhavardhana had many children. The queen built a monastery named Anangabhavana. An astrologer predicted that Mahlana, one of the sons of the king, would not live long, so the boy raised a god Mahlanasvami. The king bestowed a village named Chandra near the hill Vishokakota, upon the Brahmanas. He also set up a Hari named Durlabhasvami at Shrinagara, and died after a reign of thirty-six year.

His son Durlabhaka by queen Ananga then reigned. He assumed the name of Pratapaditya after the title of the dynasty of his maternal grandfather by whom he was adopted as his son.

Rajatarangini[3] further tells Last, though not the least, is the testimony of the history of Kashmir. Kalhana Pandita, the writer of the history, lived in 1148 A.D. and his dates are perfectly reliable, and have rightly been accepted by Mr. H. H. Wilson, up to five or six centuries previous to the time of the historian. Indeed there can be no doubt as to the correctness of Kalhana's dates up to the reign of Durlabhabardhana, who ascended the throne in 598 A. D.

Story of Ananggalekha, daughter of Baladitya

Rajatarangini[4] tells that king Baladitya (561-598 AD) had a daughter named Ananggalekha ; an astrologer seeing her one day with her father prophesied to the king that his son-in-law would reign here- after, and that the line of Gonanda would end in Baladitya. The king not wishing that the kingdom would pass away from his line through his daughter, tried to oppose fate ; and instead of marrying her to a king he married her to a beautiful man named Durlabhavardhana, of the Ashvagharoā Kayastha caste, thinking that as his daughter was not married to one of the royal family she would not be able to inherit the kingdom. This Durlabhavardhana was the illegitimate son of Naga Karkota, begotten for getting the kingdom, but the king was not aware of the fact. What the wise neglect, Fate


[p.58]:makes it great. He fortunately became beloved of all on account of his just actions and good intellect, and his father-in-law named him Prajngaditya because of his great intellect, and bestowed ranch riches on him.

On the other hand the princess being the favourite of her parents, and filled with youthful pride, alighted her husband. Her association with the desolate, her luxurious habits, the frequent visitation by young men, her abode in her father's house, and the mildness of her husband; all these corrupted her. Having frequent opportunities of seeing the minister Kharga she fell in love with him, and abandoned herself to him. This amour secretly gratified gradually wore off her shams, fear, and dignity, and she gradually became exceedingly shameless. The minister bribed the servants with gifts and honors, and had free access to her apartments, and gratified his passion for the princess to the fulness of his heart. Her husband by her constant neglect of him, came at last to suspect of her bad character. The thoughts of his wife's misconduct reduced him in body. One night he suddenly entered her apartment in order to ascertain the truth. He found her fast asleep in the embrace of her paramour, her bosoms heaving with long breathings. He burnt with anger at seeing her in this state of unpardonable guilt — a sight that would have enraged even others than husband. And swayed alternately by anger and grief, he with great difficulty, and after much deliberation, controlled his anger. The woman, whose


[p.59]:passion gets the better of her sense is very pleasant among her female companions in private ; looks into the streets ; dislikes the bight of her husband and of men like him ; Blights the anger of her husband ; and attends when her husband is ill spoken of ; speaks with her female companions when her husband wants her; and praises those who are against him ; and turns away from his kisses and cannot bear his embraces, nor feel any pleasure in them ; and pretend to sleep when in bed with her husband. They are miserable, thought Durlabhavardhana, who follow love, for men of little wit are undone by it. Who has better control over his passion than he who has duly subdued jealousy which is like spasmodic cholera. " The woman" he continued " is for the gratification of passion, and like other things, can be enjoyed in common ; wherefore then a man whose feelings are disciplined, be angry on such account? Women are naturally fickle, and who can keep them under rules? Or what is the use of keeping them so? If the meeting of two persons to gratify a passion is an honorable act, what then is dishonorable? And since one's own body can-not be proved to be his, how can a woman be called " mine?" If she deserves death because she gives me pain, why do I not first kill love which is the prime root of all? And to destroy love, I must destroy jealousy, first, for he who has destroyed jealousy, has totally destroyed affection within half a minute." Thus he thought, and wrote on Kharga's cloth the following words,


[p.60]: "Though you ought to have been killed, yet have I spared you; this you should remember." When Durlabhavardhana had gone out of the room unperceived the minister awoke, and read the writings in his cloth. This moderation of Durlabhavardhana won the minister to his side. He forgot his last and the princess, and meditated how to repay the goodness by which his life was saved, in so much that he did not sleep well being buried in thoughts as how to repay the goodness of the injured husband.

Now after a reign of thirty-seven years and four months Valaditya died, and with him the Gonanda dynasty became extinct. And while the chief ministers neglected the affairs of the kingdom, the grateful Kharga duly crowned the late king's son-in-law, bathing him with, the waters collected from holy places and poured from a golden vessel; and the kingdom thus passed from the Gonanda dynasty to that of Karkota Naga as passed the Ganges from heaven to the head of Shiva.

Extent of rule

In the 2nd century CE, a mythical Hindu king Raja Risalu, son of Raja Salbahan of Sialkot, brought the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area under his control. The local people consider him as their hero and, even today, parents tell their children the stories of Raja Risalu and his wife Rani Konklan on winter nights. When a Chinese pilgrim, Hiun-Tsang, visited this area, it was under the control of Durlabhavardhana, the ruler of Kashmir.

References


Back to The Rulers/List of Rulers from Kashmir