Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pataliputra Empire -- The Gupta Emporers - Part 1

Kali 2775-3020 : B.C. 327-82 : Total 245 years.

S.NoName of the EmperorYears reignedKaliB.C.Gupta Era
1Chandra Gupta I72775-2782327-3201 – 7
2Samudra Gupta512792-2833320-2697 – 58
3Chandra Gupta II362833-2869269-23358 – 94
4Kumara Gupta I42869-2911233-19194 – 136
5Skanda Gupta252911-2936191-166136 – 161
6Narasimhagupta being minor by gaurdian Stiragupta … 5 years Narasimha Gupta himself after attaining majority402936-2976166-126161 – 201
7Kumara Gupta II442976-3020126-82201 – 245

From the account of the Great Gupta Dynasty as given in Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta(K.R.V), it is clear that the Gupta Dynasty consisted of only seven kings, and every one of them had a title ending with the word "Aaditya", and that they reigned as Emperors of India for a total period of 245 years from 327 B.C. to 82 B.C.
(Vide: Age of Sankara Part I B. Ed. 191 by T.S. Narayana Sastry, B.A.B.L., High Court Vakil, Madras.)

1. Chandragupta I, otherwise known as ‘Vijayaditya’ on account of his valour, founded the mighty Empire of the Guptas, annexed a part of Magadha to his own territory (Tirhut and Ayodhya) having Pataliputra as his capital. He was the son of Ghatotkacha Gupta and grandson of Sri Gupta, from whom the Dynasty founded by Chandra Gupta took its name. The Great Guptas originally belonged to the Surya Vamsi Kshatriya caste, who settled themselves as locai chiefs at Sri Parvata near Nepal, from which circumstance they come to be known in history as Parvatiyas. These and the Lichchavis of Vaisali were associated with the kings of Nepal. They were Kshatriyas of the Aryan Descent of Nepal. Both of them belonged to a warlike caste. The Lichchavis were chiefly noted for the beauty of their girls, and kings were proud to have them as queens. Some of the later kings of the Aandhra Dynasty had taken their daughters for their wives and many of the Lichchavis had settled themselves in the big cities of Magadha such as Girivraja and Pataliputra etc., as officers of state under the Aandhra kings, and Sri Gupta and Ghatotkacha Gupta had already entered into the service of Sivasri Satakarni, the 27th king of the Aandhra Dynasty as his generals, and won many great victories in battles for him and his succession to the throne was effected by most violent means of regicide. Chandrapupta, the grandson of Sri Gupta, by his personal valo`r added greatly to the dominions of the Aandhra kings, and his political importance as commander-in-chief of Yajnasri Saatakarni and Vijaya Sri Saatakarni, won for him the hand of Kumaradevi, the daughter of the king of Nepal, by whom he got a most brave and warlike son by name ‘Samudragupta’. It is said that Chandragupta had already married a princess of the Lichchavis, whose sister was given in marriage to Chandra Sri Satakarni. By his Lichchavi princes Chandra Gupta had another son by name ‘Kacha’ or ‘Ghatotkacha Gupta’ and certain it is that this Lichchavi connection elevated him from the rank of a general as enjoyed by his father and grand—father to the rank of commander- in-chief, and Chandra Gupta, the king’s syala (Rashtriya Syala) as he was called, seems to have controlled the state even during the life time of his nominal master Chandra Sri, who was completely in the hands of his Rashtriya Syala. It is stated that the queen of Chandra Sri had fallen in love with her sister’s husband; and Chandragupta had by some stratagem murdered the king Chandrasri and under the pretext of acting as guardian to his minor son Puloman III, and in the course of seven years, Chandragupta made himself master of the whole situation, put to death the last scion of the Aandhra kings and proclaimed himself as Emperor of Magadha in the year Kali 2775 or 2811 from the Great Mahabharata battle i.e., in B.C. 327. He is said to have established an Era known after his name, as the Gupta Era (327 B.C.). Oriental scholars, on the supposed synchronism of Saudrocottus of the Greeks with Chandragupta Maurya, wrongly state that the first year of the Gupta Era, which continued in use for several centuries, ran from 319-320 AD., although there is absolutely nothing to support their assumption.

Chandragupta, designated as the First, to distinguish him from his grandson of the same name, is described to have extended his own dominion along the Gangetic valley as far as the junction of the Ganges and Jumna, annexing a part of Magadha, a populous and fertile territory which included a greater part of Aryavartha. This king is said to have struck coins in the joint names of himself, his Lichchavi queen and the Lichchavi clan to which he was the chief.

It is said Chandragupta, before his death selected as his successor Kacha, or more fully Ghatotkacha; his son by the Lichchavi princes and Samudra Gupta, his eldest son by Kumaradevi, the daughter of the king of Nepal, who had already distinguished himself in many adventures against Mlechcha invaders who attacked his maternal grandfather’s territories, coming to know of the treachery intended to be practised by his unscrupulous father, collected large bands of warriors from Nepal and from the Mleccha sects of North-west India, marched against his father’s capital, and by putting to death his father and his half brother Kacha succeeded to the throne of Pataliputra to which he was rightly entitled in the year Kali 2782 or 320 B.C.

2. Samudra Gupta, son of Chandra-Gupta I by his wife Kumaradevi, known also as Asokaditya reigned Magadha Empire with Pataliputra as his capital as the supreme Emperor of India for a long period of 51 years from Kali 2782 to Kali 2833 or from B.C. 320 to 269. B.C. The account given of him by his poet laureate Harisena makes him no doubt the greatest of all Indian Emperors, and he most fairly and fittingly claims the title of ‘Indian Napolean’ given to him by Mr. V A. Smith. Source: http://www.cngcoins.com Samudragupta.1.Left: AV Dinar (7.71 gm). Lyrist Type. seated left, playing lyre set on his knees; footstool below / The goddess Laksmi, seated left on wicker stool, holding diadem and cornucopiae. 2.Right AV Dinar (7.61 gm). Standard Type. Samudragupta, nimbate, standing left, holding standard; Garuda standard behind, crescent above / The goddess Laksmi seated facing on throne, holding diadem. MACW 4779.

He was a most aggressive and ambitious monarch and resolved to increase his dominions at the expense of his neighbors. When his fighting days were over, he employed a learned poet to compose an account of his achievements which he caused to be engraved on one of the stone-pillars set up more than a thousand years ago by Asoka, king of Kashmir, wrongly now ascribed by oriental scholars to Asokavardhana, the grandson of Chandra-Gupta Maurya. In that pillar inscription at Allahabad, Samudra Gupta is said to have uprooted Achyuta and Nagasena, to have captured and liberated Mahendra of Kosala. Vyaghra Raja of Mahakanthara, Mantaraja of Kerala, Mahendra of Pishtapura, Swamidatta of Kottara, Damana of Erandapalla, Vishnugopa of Kanchi, Nilaraja of Avamukta, Hastivarman of Vengi, Ugrasena of Palakka, Kubera of Devarashtra, Dhananjaya of Kusthalapura, and all the other kings of the region of the South; to have exterminated Rudradeva, Matila, Nagadatta. Chandravarman, Ganapatinaga, Nandin, Balavarman, and many other kings of Aryavarta; and to have overthrown the Devaputras, Sahis, Shahanushahis, Sakas, Marundas, Yavanas, and the people of Simhala and all other dwellers in islands.

Harishena classifies his lord’s compaigns geographically under four heads: as those directed against 1. eleven kings of the south; 2. nine named kings of Aryavartha, besides many others not specified, 3. the chiefs of the wild forest tribes, and 4. the rulers of the frontier kingdoms and republics. He also explains Samudra Gupta’s relation with various Indigenous powers who settled themselves in the western parts of India from the frontiers of Persia, such as the Sakas, the Tusharas, the Yavanas who were Yavana Kshatriyas of Abhisara, Ursa etc., and who were degraded as Mlechchas by discarding the Vedic Dharma, but not the Greeks as the modern historians think, the Marundas who began to pour into the country from the north-western parts of India crossing the Indus, almost from the beginning of the Aandhra Dynasty. It is said that the kingdoms of Samataata, Kaamarupa and Davaka and other border countries in the East, as well as those of Malava and Khandesa acknowledged his supremacy, and even the Sakas of Sakastan,Yavanas of modern Afganistan and Devaputras, submitted to him. Only the kingdom of Nepal, then, as now retained its autonamy under the suzerainty of the paramount Power; and perhaps, out of his regard for his maternal grandfather and meternal uncles, who were most attached to him, Samudra·Gupta did not attempt to subdue that mountainous kingdom. At his time, the Yaudheyas occupied the banks of the Sutlej. the Malavas occupied Guzerat, Madrakas the central parts of Paunjab, and Pauravas, the Northern parts of Punjab. The reader may remember in Alexander’s time these regions were similarly occupied by autonomous Kshatriya sects then _ called Malloi, Kathaloi, Paurae and so forth. We are distinctly told that Samudra Gupta maintained diplomatic relations with the kings of Gandhara and Kabul, with Sakas, and Yavanas (who were Hindu Mlechcha sects); and the greater sovereign of the same race who ruled on the banks of the oxus, as well as with Ceylon and other distant islands. Speaking about the limits of his Empire Mr. V. A. Smith says :-
"The dominion under the direct Government of Samudragupta in the middle of the fourth century thus comprised all the most populous and fertile countries of Northern India. It extended from the Hooghly on the East, to the Jumna and the Chambal on the west, and from the foot of tie Himalays on the North to the Narmada on the South."
"Beyond these wide limits the frontier kingdoms of Assam and the Gangetic delta, as well as those on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, and the free tribes of Rajaputana and Malwa, were attached to the empire by bonds of subordinate alliance; while almost all the kingdoms of the South had been overrun by the emperor’s armies and compelled to acknowledge his irresistble might."

"To proclaim the universality of his dominions, Samudragupta is said to have revived the ancient rite of the Horse Sacrifice (Aswamedha) which had remained long in abeyance since the time of Yudhishtira, and which was only performed at the time of Pushpamitra, the contemporary of Patanjali (13 th century B.C.). The ceremony was duly carried out with appropriate splendour, and acccmpanied by lavish gifts to Brahmans, comprising it is said, millions of coins and gold pieces. "Specimens of the gold medals struck for this purpose", says Mr V. A. Smith, “bearing a suitable legend and the effigy of the doomed horse standing before the altar; have been found in small numbers."

Speaking of the personal accomplishments of Samudragupta, the learned writer of the "Early History of 1ndia" states:-

"Although the courtly phrases of the oflicial eulogist cannot be accepted without a certain amount of reservation, it is clear that Samudragupta was a ruler of exceptional capacity, and unusually varied gifts. The laureate’s commemoration of his hero’s proficiency in song and music is curiously confirmed by the existence a few rare gold coins which depict his majesty comfortably seated on a high backed couch, engaged in playing the Indian lyre. The allied art of poetry was also reckoned among the accomplishments of this versatile monarch, who is said to have been reputed a king of poets; and to have composed numerous metrical works worthy of the reputation of a professional author. We are further informed that the king took much delight in the society of the learned, and loved to employ his acute and polished _ intellect in the study and the defence of the sacred scriptures, as well as in the lighter arts music and poetry,"

It is only Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta that has continued to narrate the history of the various Hindu Dynasties upto the Muhammadan conquest, and it ends with the description of Arjuna Bhoja or Arjunavarma Deva, the 7th successor of Bhojaraja Deva the famous Bhoja of Samskrit Literature belonging to the family of Paramara Parameswara Sri Krishnaraja Deva-who reigned from 4250 A.Y. to 4299 A.Y. or in other words from 1112 A.D. to 1161 A.D. The Bhavishya Mahapurana gives another line of Paramara Dynasty, beginning from the founder Paramara, Kali 1710 or 392 B.C. Vikramaditya, Kali 3000 or B.C. 101 to Gangasimha, the last king who fought in the battle of Kurukshetra with Muhammud Gori in Kali 4295 or 1193 A.D.

We entirely agree with the following remarks made by Mr. Vincent A. Smith, regarding the recovery of the history of Samudra Gupta:-
"By a strange irony of fate this great king- Warrior, poet, and musician——who conquered nearly all India, and whose alliance extended from the Oxus to ceylon, is unknown even by name to the historians of India. His lost fame has been slowly recovered by the minute and laborious study of inscriptions and coins during the last 70 years; and the fact that it is now possible to write a long narrative of the events of his memorable reign is perhaps the most conspicuous illustration of the success gained by patient archaelogical research in piecing together the fragments from which alone the chart of the authentic early history of lndia can be constructed."

We only regret to note that the learned writer and his numerous collegues in India and elsewhere, even after the recovery of the complete account of Samudragupta, should not have directed their attention to the so-called identification of Sandrocottus with Chandragupta Maurya and come to a conclusion by an unprejudiccd and impartial comparison of the two accounts, in the light of the new materials furnished to them by archaelogy, though not by a comparative study of the Puranas which furnish them meterials from which alone the chart of the authentic history of Ancient India can be safely constructed and acted upon. We have discussed more fully about this vexed point in the previous chapters of this book.(Ancient Hindu History by Pandit Kota Venkata Chelam)

1 comment:

  1. The Allahbad inscription of Samudragupta mentions a number of kings whom he defeats and also those
    he kills.Among them to take an example is Vishnugopa of Kanchi who is a contemporary of Kadamba king Mayuravarma dated to about 345 A.D. which matches the generally accepted date of Samudragupta of about 330A.D.Also Alberuni refers to a well known calendar by name Guptakala, starting 320A.D. (although
    he obtains no clear information on who starts it).All this information can be verified through Google.
    So, it is hard to accept a 320 B.C. date for Samudragupta.(600 years earlier!)