The Pallavas political history covering four centuries is tortous and complex but their contribution to society is singnificant in two ways - comletion of Aryanisation of southern India, and consmation of traditional or indigenous art.
The Aryanisation of south India as completed during the period of the Pallavas. Their grants show that the Aryan structure of society has gained frim hold on the south by the sixth century. Grants to brahmins are specifically mentioned which show that the north Indian Dharma Sastras had acquired authority in the Pallava kingdom. Sanskrit had established its sway. The university of Kanchi played to doubt a great part in India, and we know from Hiuen-Tsang that it was the greatest center of education in the south. Vatsyayana, the logician, the author of Nyaya Bhashya who lived in the fourth century. A.D, seems tohave been Pandit of Kanchi. Denage the famous Buddhist dialectian is also said to have had his training in the souther capital. In the fifth century we have epigraphic record of Nayurrasarman of the Kadamba family going for higher studies to Kanchi. In fact it can ligtimately be calimed that Kanchi of the Paalvas was the great center from which the Sanksritisation of the south as well as the Indian colonies in the far-east proceeded.
Pallavas were orthdox Hindus and they patronized the great reformation of the medival ages. Most of the kings ere brahminical Hindus devoted to the worship of Shiva. Mahendravarman was the first, who about the middle of his reign, adopted the worship of Siva and he was influenced by the famous saints of the age. He showed reverence to other Hindu gods also. But, he was intolerant of Jainism and destroyed some Jain monastries. Some Vaishnava and Saiva saints lived during his time. In general, the Pallavas were tolerant to other sects. Buddhism and Jainism lost their appeal. Indeed Hiuen-Tsang saw at Kanchi one hundred Buddhist monastries and 10,000 priests belonging to the Mahayana school but this has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
In general, the vedic tradition was super imposed on the local traditions, As brahmins were custodians of Vedic tradition, they automaticalldy enjoyed privillages. The Vedic tradition, a little later, received stimulus because of Sankarcharya. The Temples were the focal points. The out-castes were not permitted to enter the precincts of the temple.
Even then, Tamil saints of the 6th and 7th centuries, who were the progenitors of the bhakti movement, mostly belonged to the lower castes. The hymns and sermonsof the nayanaras (Shaivism) and the slvars (vaishnavism) continued the tradition. Amongst the Shaiva saints the important were Appar (supposed to have converted Mahendravarman) Sambandar, Manikkawasagar, and Sundarar. The most ………………………….. about them was the presence of women, Saints, such as Andal. This Bhakti cult was derived from the ideas in the Upanishads and also from the heterodox doctrines. Dr. Thapar opines that the concepts of comapassonate God was a resultant of the impact of Buddhist ideas particularly the bodhisttava concept, although the chirstians in malabar might have provided a new perception of religion. What the bhakti movement contributed was great. The religious hymns and music as popularized by Tamil saints were sung during temple rituals. Dancing was also included. From the Pallavi period onwards dancers were maintained by all the prosperous temples.
Regarding education, in the early days, education was imparted by Jains and Buddhists. The Jaina institutions were located at Madurai and Kanchi. Soon brahminical institutions superseded them. Ghatkias or Hindu colleges were attached to the temples. They were primarily Brahmin institutions are mostly confined themselves to advanced studies. And in the 8th century the maths also became popular, which was an ominous institutions because of its being a rest-house, a feeding center and an education center. In all these colleges Sanskrit was the medium of instruction which was also the official language. Kanchi, the capital, was a great cencentre of Sanskrit learning. The scientific works of Varahmihira and the poetry of Kalidasa and Bhairvi were-known in the Pallava country. And Parameshvaravarman I granted the Kurran copper-plate that was made for the recitation of the Mahabharata in a mandapa at the village of Kurram, near Conjeevaram.
By the beginning of the 7th century the Pallavas of Kanchi, the Chalukyas of Badami and the Pandyas of Madurai emerged as the three major states. By the time the political rule of these dynasties came to an end, an event known as the revolt of the Kalabharas took place. The Pallavas, the Kadambas (North Canara in Karnataka) and the Chalukyas of Badami along with along with a large number of their contemporaries were the protage of vedic sacrifices. Logically, the brahmins emerged as an important segment of society but at the expense of the peasantry. Possibly, this predominance was oppressive leading to the revoltof the kalabhars in the 6th century. A.D. It is also said that they overthrew in numberable kings and established their old inTamilnadu. They ended the Brahmadeva rights earlier granted to brahmins in numerous villages. It is also said that the Kalabhras patronized Buddhism. In the end, the revolt of the kalabhras could be ended only by the Joint efforts of the Pandays, the Pallavas and the Chalukays.