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Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 11:10:01 PDT

Dear Vaishnavas,

Our tradition states that a ruler called Krimikantha persecuted Sri 
Ramanuja and his disciples. He is said to have got the eyes of Shri 
Kuresha plucked out. Are there any publications which identify this 
king conclusively? Is his bigotry attested from alternate sources? I 
ask because recently, I read an account which casts aspersions on the 
traditional understanding of these events. I am reproducing selected 
statements from the text (see reference at the end). Any help will be 
highly appreciated. I hope I am not offending anyone.

Persecution of Sri Vaisnavas by Krimikantha

The very details of the incident are doubted by Rao [Ref. 1, pg.
59-61]. He says: "Though it is correct to say that the Chola monarchs 
were ardent patrons of Saivism, it need not be conlcuded from this, 
nor from the account of the persecution of Ramanuja that there was a 
general persecution of the Vaisnvavas and the Vaisnava temples in the 
Chola period. From the Chola inscriptions, we know that they extended 
their patrongage to both the Saiva and the Vaisnava temples". Rao 
identifies the king Krimikantha mentioned in Sri Vaisnava 
hagiographies as Kulottuga I (1070-1120 CE) and then states: "There 
are several inscriptions of Kulottunga I in the Srirangam temple". 
Rao then lists all these inscriptions, which make it clear that 
numerous generals of the king made lavish grants to the temple,
which was the center of the Sri Vaisnava community, and then 
concludes: "It is significant that a number of generals and officers 
of Kulottuga I figure as the donors of the Srirangam temple. This is 
unlikely if the king had been a Saiva fanatic." Hari further 
says: "In the present state of our knowledge and with the tradition 
account of the Guruparamparai as the basis, we can only conclude that 
the persecutor of Ramanuja was not Adhirarajendra but Kulottunga I. 
It was the audacious statement of Kurattalvan, who made a joke
of the dictum of the king, viz. 'Sivat parataram nasti' that was 
perhaps responsible for the blinding order. Ramanuja felt himself 
unsafe and so he left the Chola territory altogether. For aught we 
know even the blinding of Kuruttalvan might have been a 
hagiographical invention, for the Guruparamaparai tells us that Alvan 
regained his eyesight later through divine beneficence. There is a 
good reason to believe that the account of persecution is highly 

1. V. N. Hari Rao; History of the Sritangam Temple; Sri Venkateswara
Universtity; Tirupati; 1976 

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