During his travels, Sadhguru makes a stop in Hampi, the historic capitol of the Vijayanagar Empire. Surrounded by magnificent stones, cave carvings over 4000 years old, and exuding an aura of fascination, this city was once described as “far bigger and greater than Rome”.
Sadhguru: Here we are at Hampi - historically this has been one of the greatest cities that ever happened in India. And many travelers, Portuguese, Italians, Chinese and people from Arabia - many travelers have described this city as ‘the greatest city of the time in the world.’ An Italian traveler comes down to say that ‘it is far bigger and greater than Rome.’ The city covered over sixty miles of circumference; among these beautiful rocks, which still remains and exudes an aura of fascination, an aura of magical presence, I…I cannot wonder why they would’ve chosen a place to set up a city like this in these rocks because in terms of defenses and the magical presence of these rocks - the place is full of rocks, probably we will show you some shots later. It's a rocky, rocky place - magnificent rocks, a whole lot of them have been broken to build structures and temples but still the live rocks which are just sitting all over the place creates such a magical atmosphere even today.
This place has a historicity, which goes back into 4000 year BC. There are caves where, even today there are images and carvings in the caves which are over 4000 years old. And Agastyamuni himself seems to have come. We can say in many ways because he stepped in here and did something significant here, from then on there’s been no looking for this place. There’s been rise and fall, rise and fall but it rose to its height, true heights during thirteenth, fourteenth century during the great Krishnadevaraya Era, when it was called as the Vijayanagar Empire.
Somewhere in early fourteenth century, two brothers who are known as Hakka and Bukka or Harihara and Bukka, who were governors in the Kakatiya Empire learned the art of administration and stuff and then they decided to come here and set up their own kingdom. This region was continuously in warfare between the Vellals of the Karnataka and the Brahmani (Bahmani) Sultanate, where the northern mogul emperors were trying to go south. In many ways - for two hundred plus years the Vijayanagar Empire became a bulwark to stop the flow of Islamic invasions into the south.
That is one reason that the influence and the dominance of Islam remained minimal in the south and Vijayanagar Empire was mainly responsible for making that happen because they organized their armies and this is one empire, probably the only one in the country which controlled both the coasts for a period of time. From coast to coast, from east coast to west coast entirely they controlled the territory.
So, the sea-trade was dominated by these people. Probably no other Indian king or emperor ever controlled the sea-trade as Vijayanagar did, and they dominated the place and they brought in European and Arabic… Arabian goods into the country and they traded extensively with Asia, Arabia and Europe So this whole empire existed in such a phenomenal way at that time. The glory of it we still cannot miss it One thing is, there is a story about how this happened - these two brothers came and they were captured by the Islamic sultanate and taken to Delhi. And they were… they converted themselves to Islam. For over fifteen years they lived as Muslim… devout Muslims because that was the only way for them to survive.
Then they were brought back here to take charge of this place and rule this place as representatives of Delhi sultanate and then they met Sage Vidyaranya. and they formed the first step… the first foundation stone for the Vijayanagar Empire was laid like this. How they chose this place is interesting. This place called Anegundi - we are just little off that place right now. Here, when Vidyaranya and the two brothers came, they went hunting with their dogs and there were five dogs and a hare- there…there was a hare - these five dogs, the king’s dogs attacked him. The strange thing that they saw was - normally a hare would be killed in moments if these five dogs go at him but this particular hare stood up and fought the five dogs and kind of the dogs backed off looking at the fierceness of the hare. Then they decided that this is the place where they should establish their kingdom, and from that basis and from that kind of symbolism that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re willing to stand up and make these things happen, you can fight back and build it. From that basis they built this great empire, which stretched across the southern peninsula, covering the whole of Deccan - coast to coast.