Religious Changes Both Brahmanism                    and the heterodox religions
through the proliferation of various schools and the emergence of Mahayanist
thought marked a departure from the earlier pattern. To some extent, the
changes in Buddhism were related to the expansion of its territorial base: it
started spreading not only beyond the frontiers of India, but within India
itself, where it had to contend with numerous local cults, such as those of the
Nagas, Yakshas, etc., which it had incorporated within its fold. In fact,
Buddhism revealed many features which were similar to those of Puranic
religion which began to emerge in this period. Image worship was common
to both. While the concept of Bodhisattva was crucial to Buddhism, in
Puranic religion, the concept of bhakti or personal devotion had its subtlest
exposition in this period in the Bhagavad Gita.
State Formation and Urbanisation in the Deccan The Satavahanas, who
ruled over the Deccan, were equipped with all those material components
which the Mauryas possessed in the earlier period in north India, namely the
profuse use of coins and iron tools. They also used tiles and baked bricks as
building material, as was the case in the north. Further, they benefited from
the megalithic legacy which had created military, artisanal and agricultural
preconditions for the formation of the Satavahana state, society and economy.
What further distinguished their rule was the enormous trade with the
Mediterranean region and the influx of the Roman money, coupled with the
rise of urban settlements in the Deccan on a large scale. All these conditions
facilitated the state formation in the Peninsula.
    A non-Aryan people with matrilineal traces, the Satavahanas were one of
the earliest Deccan dynasties to be brahmanised. As new converts, they came
forward as the zealous champions of the varna system which could organise
production relations in their settlement in a non-tribal manner. Inscriptions
represent them as the earliest rulers making grants in cash and land to the
Buddhist monks and brahmins, which made both elements equally important
in the Satavahana polity and society. Profiting from the experience of the
Mauryan rule, the Satavahanas imposed themselves on fairly settled areas,
studded with several lesser princes and chieftains. The system of
administration they evolved was indigenous in contrast to the polity
developed by the Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Parthians and Kushanas.
    In contrast to the Mauryan period the period between 200 BC and 300
AD was an age of small kingdoms,          many of them foreign in origin. Hence