This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
Having arranged the various genealogies in the Sanskrit charters of these Pallavas in a consolidated table, we might now turn to enquire what exactly it is possible for us to know of the Pallavas from these records and other sources of information available to us. Turning to the the Velurpalaiyam plates we can pass over the document till we come to Ka'abhartr described as the head jewel of his family like (Vishnu) the husband of Indira (Lakshmi). This perhaps give us a hint that he bore the name Kumara Vishnu as the Ongudu plates No. 1 would make us infer. No information of a historical character is given in regard to him. Then follows his son Chutapallava identified in the table with Skandavarman of the Uruvapalli and other grants. Even that name seems to be a mere eponymous name, the later tables giving instead the name merely Pallava. It is in his son Virakurcha that emerges the first historical character. He is said to have grasped the complete insignia of royalty together with the hand of the daughter of "the chief of the serpents" thereby becoming famous. Put in ordinary language this would mean that he married a Naga Princess and thereby acquired title to sovereignty of the region over which he ruled. This obviously has no connection with the birth of Tonclaman-llam-Tiraiyana who, according to the tradition embodied in the classical poem Perumbanarruppadai, was the son of a Chola king by a Naga Princess whose union with him was not exactly what Virakurcha's union as described is intended to be. The former is purely an affair of love which may even be regarded as a liaison. Virakurcha's is a regular marriage to a Princess and, through her, the acquisition of sovereignty. Neither the detail of the marriage nor the acquisition of sovereignty will agree with the story of Ilam-Tiraiyan. The explanation of this apparently is that the Pallava chieftain, whoever he was, contracted a marriage with a more influential Naga chieftain in the neighbourhood and thereby acquired his title to the territory which came to be associated with the Pal lavas. We have; already noted that the Satavahana Viceroy of the region round Adoni was the great commander Skandanaga. We also noted tha even before his time the territory round Chittaldrug, extending westwards to the sea almost, was in the possession of a family which went by the name Cutukula the members of which family sometimes described themselves as Satavahanas also. This would mean that they were a clan of the Satavahanas other than that which held rule over the Dakhan, but connected by blood and perhaps even by alliance with that clan. At one time under the rule of the later Satavahanas these Nagas appear to have extended their authority and even acquired a considerable portion of the kingdom of the Satavahanas themselves. If the Pallava chieftain in the neighbourhood made himself sufficiently distinguished and contracted a marriage alliance with these Nagas from whom came the early Satavahana queen Naganika, it would have been possible for him to have become recognised a feudatory sovereign of the region of either the Satavahanas themselves nominally, or of their successors the Nagas. This hint, vague as it is in the inscription, seems to let us into the secret of the rise of this dynasty of the Pallavas to power, and may give us even a clue to the time when these Pallavas should have risen to the kingly position. This must have happened at a time when the Satavahanas as a ruling dynasty had passed away, and the attempt at the assertion of the Gupta power over this region under Samudra Gupta had in a way shaken the authority of the older dynasties and left the field open for new dynasties to spring up. The character of the invasion of Samudragupta itself makes it clear that the whole of the western portion of the empire of the Andhras was in the hands of a power whom for some good reason Samudragupta did not attack. One such reason might have been that they held possession of the territory with some power. It is likely that their authority was not readily acquiesced in by the smaller chieftains, feudatories of the Sata-vahanas along the east coast. If this surmise should turn out correct it is possible to conceive that the western portion was held by the powerful family of the Nagas, relations of the Sata-vahanas, and the Pallavas were among the feudatories who showed a ready inclination to throw off the Satavahana yoke. When Samudra-gupta had come and gone, the western power, whatever that was, might have entered into a marriage alliance with the Pallavas and recog-nised them in the position to which they had already risen by their own efforts. This state of affairs seems supported from what is said of Virakurcha's successor. Skandasishya, son of Virakurcha succeeded the father and is described as "the moon in the sky of his family"; in other words the most distinguished member of the family. He seized from King Satyasena the "Ghatika" of the Brahmans. We already indicated the possibility that the Satyasena here referred to may be Mahakshatrapa Svami Satyasena of the coins whose time would be the ninth decade of the 4th century A.D. We do not know definitely that the power of the Mahakshatrapas extended as far south as to come into contact with the Pallavas. The probability seems to be the Pallavas co-operated with the dynasty of the Western Dakhan in a war with the Kshatrapas of Malva who might, it is possible, have made an effort to extend their authority southwards into the region of of the Dakhan.