Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pataliputra Empire -- The Gupta Emporers - Part 2

3. Chandragupta II: Son of the Great Emperor Samudragupta by his senior queen Dattadevi, called after his grand father in accordance with the Hindu custom and who had been already as crown prince with his noble father in the cares of Government, came to the throne peacefully and without contest under the title of Vikramaditya—(Sun in prowess) in the year 58 of the Gupta Era, founded by his grandfather, corresponding to Kali 2833 or 269 B.C. and ruled the Pataliputra Empire for 36 years from 2869-2905 A.Y, 2833-2869 Kali or 269 to 233 B.C. (Vide K.R.V.).

Chandragupta II was a man of mature age at the time of his accession and found himself in a position to undertake the extension of the wide dominion bequeathed to him by his ever victorious father. His chief military achievement was his advance to the Arabian sea through Malva and Guzarat, and his subjugation of the peninsula of Saurashtra or Kathiawar, which had been ruled for more than a century by the Sakas or the Persians known to European scholars as the western Satraps. Our knowledge of his campaign in the Vanga countries (modern Bengal) is confined to the assertion made in the elegant poetical description on the celebrated iron pillar of Delhi which states ‘when warring in the Vanga countries, he (Chandra Gupta II) breasted and destroyed the enemies confederate against him. The same document also states that he "crossed the Seven mouths of the Sindhu and vanquished in battle a nation called Bahlika", which apparently occupied part of Punjab at that time.

4. Kumara gupta I, son of Chandragupta II by his queen Dhruvadevi, came to the throne of his father under the title of Mahendraditya in the 94 of the Gupta Era, corresponding Kali 2869 or 233 BC. He ruled the Pataliputra Empire for 42 years from 2905 to 2947 A.Y,, 2869 to 2911 or Gupta Era 94 to 136 or B.C. 233 to 191. (Vide K.R.V.). He, like his grandfather, is said to have celebrated the Horse Sacrifice, as an assertion of his paramount sovereignty and to have successfully driven out the Huna hoards who began to burst through the north-western passes.

5. Skanda Gupta, son of Kumara Gupta I by the senior queen Ananta Devi assumed the title of Paraakramaaditya and came to the throne of his father in the year Kali 2911 or Gupta Era 136 or B.C. 191. He ruled the Pataliputra Empire for 25 years, from 2947 to 2972 A.Y., Kali 2911 to 2936 or Gupta Era 136 to 161 or B.C. 191 to 166 B.C. The year of his succession is said to have been marked by the bursting of the embankment of the Sudarsana lake, which is said to have been repaired by Chakrapaalita, son of Parnadatta, who had been appointed as Governor of Saurashtra in the year 137 of the Gupta Era. The Hunas, in his time, appear to have spread in a destructive flood all over western India and Skanda Gupta is said to have restored the falling fortunes of his family, to have conquered the Pushyamitras and faught successfully with the Hunas. Skanda Gupta had no heir of his own, and adopted Narasimha Gupta, son of his half brother ‘Stira Gupta’ (or Pura Gupta as Mr. V.A· Smith calls him), the son of Kumara Gupta I by the junior queen Anandadevi, and breathed his last in the year 161 of the Gupta Era corresponding to 2972 A.Y., Kali 2936 or 166 B.C. When he passed away, the Great Gupta Empire practically perished, though the Great dynasty continued to remain for 2or 3 more generations.

6. Narasimha Gupta, the nephew and adopted son of Skanda Gupta and the natural son of Stira Guapta by his queen Vatsadevi, came to the throne of his adopted father Skanda Gupta in the year 161 of the Gupta Era, corresponding to 2972 A.Y. 2936 Kali or 166 B.C. As he was a minor at the time of his appointment to the throne, his father ruled the Empire as guardian of his minor son for a brief period of 5 years under the title of Sri Prakaasaaditya from 2972 to 2977 A.Y., 2936 to 2941 Kali or 166 to 161 B.C. He is said to have restored the purity of the coinage which suffered a decline in the amount of pure gold or Suvarna, on account of the difficulty which the treasury of Skanda Gupta experienced in
meeting the cost of the Huna war. Narasimha Gupta, who attained his age in the year 166 of the Gupta Era, actually came to the throne in that year, and reigned Pataliputra for a further period of 35 years from 2977 to 3012 A.Y., 166 to 201 G.E., 2941 Kali to 2976 Kali or 181 to 126 B.C., under the title of ‘Baalaaditya’. But as Stiragupta or Sri Prakaasaaditya reigned only as a guardian to his minor son, the Kaliyuga Rajavrittanta does not count Stira gupta as seperate king, and assigns to Narasimhagupta or Balaaditya a total period of (5+35) 40 years for his reign.

Narasimha gupta is said to have removed his capital to Ayodhya. He built a brick stupa more than 300 ft. for Buddhists at Nalanda, in Magadha, which was remarkable for the delicacy of its decorations and inscriptions and the lavish use of gold and gems in its furniture. He is said to have rigorously resisted the tyranny of the Hunas, and to have successfully put down the pride of the Kalingas who had risen against him. In all his victories Narasimha gupta, Baalaaditya, is associated with one Yasodharman, a petty Raja of Central India who is a subordinate to the Gupta Emperors.

7. Kumara Gupta II, son of Narasimha Gupta by his queen Mahadevi or Srimatidevi, came to the throne of his father in the year 201 of the Gupta Era, corresponding to 3012 A.Y, 2976 Kali or 126 B.C. He is said to have reigned for 44 years from 3012 to 3056 A.Y., 201 to 245 G.E., Kali 2976 to 3020 Kali or 126 B.C. to 82 B.C. (Vide K.R.V.). In an Aphsad inscription of Adityasena, Isanavarman is said to be a contemporary of Kumaara Gupta II, who is said to have defeated him in the year 245 of the Gupta Era, which shows that his death must have taken place either in that year, corresponding to 3020 Kali or 82 B.C, or subsequent to that period. According to K R.V. Kumaara Gupta’s death took place in that very year; which tallies with the number of years of reign` assigned to him. He assumed, like his predecessors, the tltle of Kramaaditya and he seemed to have had a hard task in resisting the Hunas who came like swarms of locusts and utterly destroyed the Gupta Empire about 82 B.C.

So, far as is known the line of the Imperial Guptas or Sri Guptas terminates with kumaara Gupta II. Bhatarka, one of his generals is said to have conqured Guzarat and held it as a dependency of the Gupta Empire. After the over-throw of the Great Gupta Dynasty, three different dynasties of Guptas, known as the later Guptas seem to have retained power in three different parts of the empire, in Eastern Malva, Eastern Magadha and Oudh. Though they all claimed imperial dignity, yet none possessed any very great extent of territories. The most notable member of the later Gupta Dynasty founded by Krishna Gupta, was Adityasena, the 8th king of that dynasty, who asserted his independence after the death of the paramount sovereign Harsha or Harsbavardhana Silaaditya of Kanyakubja--the patron of Bana--in 648 A.D., and even presumed to celebrate the Horse Sacrifice in token of his claim to supreme rank. The last known Raja of the Dynasty was Jivita Gupta, who reigned early in the 8th century after Christ about the end of that century, or in 863 A.D. Magadha passed under the sway of the Pala kings of Bengal.

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