A rock epigraph of King Ashoka found at Girnar, written in Prakrit language describes several states of southern India under the control of Ashoka the Great. There is mention of Satiyaputto along with Ketalaputto. The Satiyaputto has widely been considered as the ancient Tulunad or Karavali since it is found associated with Ketalaputto (Kerala).
Timeline: ca.250 BC.Ashoka
Original of second rock inscription of Priyadarshi Ashoka in Prakrit is as follows:
“Sarvatra vijitammi devanam priyasa priyadasino raajno evamapi prachantesu yatha choDa paaDa satiyaputto ketalaputto aatamba paraNi antiyako yonaraajaye vaapi tasa antiya kasa saameepam raajano sarvatra devanam priyasa priyadasino dvechikeechakataa manusachikeechaa chapasu chiki chaacha osaDaani chayani manusopagaanicha pasopagaani chayata naasti saravatra haarapitani cha ropapiatni cha moolaani cha falaani cha yata yata naasti sarvatra haarapitani cha ropapiatni cha pandesu koopa khaanapita”
Translation of above(from an online source):
“Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi's domain, and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni and where the Greek king Antiochos rules, and among the kings who are neighbors of Antiochos, everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.”
In the original it has been written as Satiyaputto. Putto in Prakrit is same as putra (as in Patali putra) or ‘pura’ in Sanskrit.
Hence, the word Satiyaputto can be considered as Satiyaputra or Satyapura.It follows that the Karavali/Tulunad was known as ‘Satyapura’ during Ashoka’s period ca.250 BC. The nature and origin of this epithet Satiyaputto has been discussed by many investigators.
The Tulu Spirit-Gods are generally referred to as ‘Satyolu’ (in the sense of ‘real, supreme powers’ or ‘supreme faiths’). From this line of usage, the place/State name ‘Satiyaputto’ may have been derived. Similar line of opinion has been expressed by Dr. Vamana Nandavar in his thesis on twin heroes ‘Koti –Chennaya’.
The word ‘Satyo’(=supreme power) might have originally been derived from the Early Munda languages, as was the words ‘Karam’ and ‘Dharam’.
The nearest reference to Satyapura occurs in Tulunada Siri PaDdana. The folklore (paDdana) of Siri revolves around the palace of Satyanapura. The exact historical time of Siri is not known, but reference to Satyanapura which corresponds with King Ashoka’s Satiyaputto is notable.
It seems the Satyanapura was a major landmark in the history of Karavali since the time of Ashoka (ca.250 BC), even though it is difficult at this juncture to decipher the original location of the Satyapura or the Satyanapura. The theme, apparently, was further repeated through the history for several centuries in the oral tradition of paDdanas.
Satyadevata - Satya-narayana
Theme of Satyolu was revived further along the timeline in the mainstream worship of Gods. Evolution of special Satya deities such as Satya- devata and Satyanarayana may be the byproducts of this saga of ancient ‘Satylou’.
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