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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: post gupta period   Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:52 pm

After the fall of the Guptas, in their home provinces we find a long line of rulers. All of them except one had their names ending in Gupta. Hence the family is known in history as the ‘Later Guptas of Magadha.’ It is not possible to determine whether they were connected in any way with the Imperial Guptas. In the post Gupta period there arose some important dynasties in northern India , viz. The Maukharis of Kanauj, the Varmanas of Kamarupa, the Pushyabhutis of Thaneswar etc.

The Maukharis
The Maukharis of Kanauj rose into prominence under their ruler Ishana Varman. He followed the policy of expansion and was the first Maukhari ruler to assume the title of Maharajadhiraja. He defeated the Andhras and the Cholas. He also came into conflict with the Later Gupta ruler Kumara Gupta. He probably checked further advance of the Hunas to the east. He was followed by at least three other princes viz. Sarva varman, Avanti Varman and Graha Varman. Graha Varman married Rajyashree of the Pushyabhuti dynasty of Thaneswar. Rajyashree was the sister of Harshavardhan. Have you heard about Harshavardhan? We will discuss the Pushyabhuti family and Harshavardhan in the next section. Graha varman was killed by Deva Gupta of Malwa and later on the kingdom of Kanauj was combined with that of Thaneswar.
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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: Re: post gupta period   Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:55 pm

The Pushyabhuties
Several sources inform us about the rise of the Pushyabhuti dynasty. These sources include the accounts of Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, the Harshacharita of Banabhatta and some inscriptions and coins etc. The Pushyabhutis first ruled from Thaneswar (Haryana) and later from Kanauj (Uttar Pradesh).


Banabhatta has informed us that the first ruler of this dynasty was Pushyabhuti. The early three rulers i.e. Naravardhan, Rajyavardhan-I and Adityavardhan assumed the title of Maharaja. Most probably these rulers were initially feudal lords under the Gupta kingdom. Adityavardhan’s son Prabhakar vardhan was the first important ruler of the dynasty. He assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja. He defeated the Hunas, the Gurjara king and the king of Malwa. Matrimonial relation was established during his rule with the powerful Maukharis. We have already discussed that Prabhakarvardhan gave in marriage his daughter Rajyashree to the Maukhari ruler Graha Varman. But Grahavarman was killed by Deva Gupta, the king of Malwa. Pravakar Vardhan was succeeded by his elder son Rajya vardhan in 605 A.D. who defeated Devagupta in a battle. But after ruling for a sort period he was killed by Sasanka of Gauda (Bengal).

On the death of Rajyavardhan the Mantri Parishad (Council of ministers) offered the throne to his younger brother Harsha Vardhan. Harsha united two important kingdoms, Thaneswar and Kanauj and ruled from Kanauj. He ascended the throne in 606 A.D and immediately led a great army against Sasanka of Bengal to avenge his elder brother’s death and to rescue his sister Rajyashree. He also entered into an alliance with Bhaskar Varman, king of Kamarupa. He was successful in his military enterprise and conquered a great part of northern India.

Harsha ruled a vast territory. He ruled over eastern Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, parts of West Bengal and also Orissa which were under his direct control. But his sphere of influence spread over a much wider area. Though Kashmir does not seem to be included in his territory, yet he is reported to have led an expedition to Kashmir from where he carried away the tooth relic of Buddha. Harsha Vardhan attempted to extend his empire beyond the Narmada. From the Aihole Inscription we come to know that he was defeated by the Chalukyan king Pulakeshi II. This inscription refers to Harsha as ‘Lord of Uttarapatha’ or Northern India.

Harsha was not only a patron of learning but also a great author. He wrote three Sanskrit plays namely Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarshika. Harsha was a Saiva in faith and his emblem was Nandi, the bull of Siva. He was very tolerant and devoted to other religious sects as well.

Varmanas of Kamarupa
In the post Gupta period the Varmanas became powerful in Kamarupa (Ancient Assam). The first six kings of the Varmana dynasty acknowledged the supremacy of the Guptas. Most probably the seventh ruler of this dynasty who claims to have performed two horse-sacrifices threw off the yoke. Under the next king Bhuti Varman, who flourished in the middle of the 6th century A.D., Kamarupa extended to the west as far as the Karatoya River. The most powerful ruler of this dynasty was Bhaskar Varman who ascended the throne towards the end of the sixth century A.D. He sent an ambassador to Harshavardhana with a view to establishing friendly relations between these two kingdoms. The neighbouring kingdom of Gauda rose under Sasanka and Bhaskar varman wanted to secure his position by establishing a friendly relation with Harsha. There was thus the combination of Thaneswar, Kanauj and Kamarupa against that of Bengal and Malwa. The results we have already discussed. The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang visited Kamarupa during the time of Bhaskar Varmana. Bhaskar Varman also attended the religious assembly at Prayag and Kanauj as a guest of Harsha. After the Varmanas the Salastambha dynasty came to the power.
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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: Re: post gupta period   Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:59 pm

The Chalukyas
The end of the Vakatakas almost synchronized with the rise of the Chalukyas in the Deccan. The Chalukyas began with a base in northern Mysore at Vatapi or Badami. From there they moved northwards and annexed the former kingdom of the Vakatakas which was centred around Nasik and the upper Godavari. Pulakesin I(550-566) was the real founder of the Chalukya dynasty. He was succeeded by his son Kirtivarman I. The most notable king of the dynasty was Pulakesin II (609-642 A.D.). A long inscription on the walls of a Jaina tample at Aihole dated 643 A.D. gives an account of his reign. He defeated the Kadambas of Banavasi, the Gangas of Mysore and the Moriyas of Northern Konkan in the South. From the Aihole inscription and Hiuen Tsang’s account we come to know that Pulakesin II checked the forces of Harshavardhan on the banks of the Narmada river. His first expedition against the Pallava Kingdom was a complete success. He defeated the Pallava ruler Mahendravarman and occupied the territory lying between the mouths of Krishna and Godavari and placed them under his brother Vishnuvardhana as governor. This was the beginning of the eastern Chalukyas or the Chalukyas of Vengi. However, the second expedition of Pulakesin II against the Pallavas ended in failure. The Pallava king Narasimhavarman I(630-668 A.D.) occupied the Chalukyan capital Vatapi and Pulakesin II was probably killed. However, Vikramaditya I, the son of Pulakesin II was successful in re-establishing his authority over the whole kingdom. He inflicted a crushing defeat on Pallavas and captured the Pallava capital Kanchi. The Chalukyan king Vikramaditya II is said to have overrun Kanchi three times. In 740 A.D. he completely routed the Pallavas. Thus the Pallava supremacy ended in the south. The most notable event of his reign is the repulsion of the invasion of the Arabs of south Gujarat. The last Chalukyan ruler was defeated by one of their feudatories, Dantidurga. He founded a new dynasty known as the Rastrakuta dynasty.

The Pallavas
After the fall of the Satavahanas, the Pallavas made themselves masters of the entire region from Krishna to the Palar river with their capital at Kanchi. Their genealogy and chronology are highly disputed. The term Pallava means creeper, and is a Sanskrit version of the Tamil word tondai, which also carries the same meaning. The Pallavas were possibly a local tribe who established their authority in the Tondainadu or the land of creepers.

The earliest records of the Pallavas are inscriptions in Prakrit followed by inscriptions in Sanskrit and subsequently both Sanskrit and Tamil.
Simhavisnu , the Pallava king during the last quarter of the 6th century A.D. extended his power up to the Kaveri river. His son and successor


Mahendravarman I (600 630 A.D.) was famous for his literary activity and knowledge of music and architecture. During his reign the Pallavas became involved in a conflict with the Chalukyas of Badami which continued with varying results till 8th century A.D. King Narasimhavarman II (700-728 A.D.) , who ruled in comparative peace , is chiefly remembered for his architechtural activity. The famous Kailashnath temple was built by him. He also built the shore temple at Mamallapuram. Dravidian temple architecture reached its height during the Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II is said to have sent embassies to China and maritime trade that flourished during his reign. Nandivarman II who was elected king at the age of twelve by the chief citizens of the state,(A.D.713) ruled for sixty five years. His successors were weak and were overthrown by the imperial Cholas.

Cholas
The emergence of the imperial Cholas during the 9th century marked a climax in the history of south India. It was after the decline of the Pallavas that the Cholas came into prominence. Vijayalaya was the founder of the Chola dynasty. In 850 A.D. Vijayalaya defeated the Pallavas and captured Tanjore. His son Adityachola I defeated the Pallava Aparajita about 903 A.D. and occupied a greater portion of the Pallava kingdom. Aditya’s son Parantaka I enhanced the prestige of the dynasty by defeating the Pandya rular Rajasimha and captured Madurai. But he was routed by the Rastrakuta ruler Krishna III. Parantaka II defeated the Rastrakutas and wrested Tondaimandalam. The conflict gave a set back to the dynasty from which they could not recover for quite sometime.

The prestige of this dynasty was regained by Rajaraja I. He defeated the Chera , Pandyas and also Chalukyas of Vengi. He annexed Mysore and Tanjore to his empire. He possessed a powerful navy. He also built a beautiful temple at Tanjore. He was succeeded by his son Rajendra (1015-1035). With his naval authority, Rajendra exercised control over Andaman, Nicobar and Malaya. Rajendra was succeeded by his son Rajadhiraja. He was the last able ruler of the dynasty. Last of the Chola ruler Rajendra III was defeated by the Pandya ruler Jain Varman and his territory was annexed. Thus the Chola dynasty came to an end.

The whole Chola empire was divided into mandalam or provinces. Further, they were divided into valanadudus(divisions), nadus(districts), and kurrams(villages). Village was the basic unit of administration. The Cholas were best known for their local self government at village level. Each village had an assembly to look after the affairs of the village. We hear of three assemblies called the Ur, Sabha and Mahasabha and Nagaram. Ur was the general assembly of the village consisting of the tax paying residents. Sabha or Mahasabha consisted of a gathering of the adult persons of Brahmana village called brahmadeya village. Nagaram was the assembly of the merchants and found more commonly in the trading centres. There was a close contact between the central authority and the village assemblies.
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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: Re: post gupta period   Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:32 pm

Society
So far we have discussed the political condition. The present section will deal with society and economic condition of post Gupta period. A number of important changes took place in Indian society in the post Gupta period. The land grants paved the way for feudal development in India from the fifth century onwards. The peasants were asked to remain in the land granted

to the beneficiaries. The villages transferred to the grantees were called sthana-jana-sahita and janata samriddha. All these worked for a close economy which contributed to the decline of trade and commerce in the post Gupta period.

The growth of the feudal society in India had far reaching effects. It weakened the position of the king and made him more dependent on the feudal chiefs. Most of them maintained their own military forces. The domination of the feudal chiefs also weakened the village self-government.

This period witnessed the ascendancy of varnashramadharma. Hiuen Tsang writes about the existence of four varnas in the society. Both Bana and Hiuen Tsang inform us about the existence of many sub castes. The position of women seems to have suffered a further decline during this period. Sati and dowry were prevalent. As for marriage, the smriti writers state that girls were to be given away by their parents between the ages of six and eight years. In general women were distrusted. They were to be kept in seclusion. Their lives were dominated by the male relations like father, brother, husband and son. However, various stories point to the skill of princesses in the fine arts, specially in painting and in music.

Economy
By now you have devoloped and idea about the society of the post Gupta period. Let us discuss the economic condition of that period.During the post Harsha period the literary and inscriptional evidences show the advanced state of agriculture, trade and economy. The early Arab writers also refer to the fertility of the soil and the rich cultivation. Literature like Abhidhanaratnamala mentions that the soil was classified variously as fertile, barren, desert, excellent etc. It is also mentioned that different kinds of fields were selected for different classes of crops.
In the field of industry the oldest one is that of textile. The profession of weavers, dyers, tailors etc. are mentioned by the contemporary literature. Working in metal was also very popular during that period. Some centres of metal industry were famous. Saurastra (Gujarat) was famous for its bell metal industry while Vanga (Bengal) was known for its tin industry.

The trade with South East Asia increased enormously during this period. The Arab, Chinese and Indian sources mention the flow of trade between east and west via India. Indian exports consisted of cotton, sandal wood, camphor, metals, precious and semi precious stones, pearls etc. In the list of imported items, horses were the most important. The best breed of horses were imported from Central and Western Asia.

The Shrenis or guilds played an important role during that period. Contemporary inscriptions mention not only about the different classes of guilds, but also their constitution and functions.
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Golden Egale

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PostSubject: Re: post gupta period   Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:35 pm

It is interesting to note that almost all religions in India underwent several changes during the post Gupta period.

Buddhism
Buddhism had lost its popularity and was limited to a few places. Towards the close of the fifth century A.D. the Huna invasion dealt a death blow to Buddhism in North- Western India. The Hunas destroyed Buddhist temples and monasteries and massacred the Buddhist monks.

The effects of Huna invasion can be clearly perceived from the account of HiuenTsang. When Hiuen Tsang visited India (629-645 A.D.) Harshavardhan’s patronage of Buddhism gave a temporary lease of life to the decaying religion in North India. The facts recorded by him are sufficient to show that Buddhism had lost its strong hold except in Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

In the previous unit we have already discussed that Buddfhism was divided into two sects viz. Hinayana and Mahayana. In Mahayana form of Buddhism Buddha was worshipped as god. In the post Gupta period, this worship became more and more elaborate with devotional songs and was accompanied by rites and ceremonies. Tantricism had a great hold on Mahayana form of Buddhism. Tantricism advocated that a person could attain supernatural power through secret rituals and by uttering magical words called mantras. This encouraged superstition. The association of Buddhism with magical cults was a confusing development, since much of its original ethical teaching was now submerged in rituals.

In South India Kanchi was a great centre of Buddhism. The Chola kings also gave donations to the Buddhist. In the north, the Pala rulers of Bengal were great patron of Buddhism. But with the decline of the Palas in the later part of the twelfth century, Buddhism also declined in Bengal. The Buddhist were now confined in the enclave of Bihar. However, when this province was conquered by the Mohammedans about 1198 A.D., Buddhism as a force in the society vanished from India.
It is said that Buddhism began to decline in India mainly because of the lack of royal patronage and foreign invasion.

Hinduism
Hinduism remained the dominant religion in India. It was patronized by most of the rulers. The prevalent forms of Hinduism were Vaishnavism and Saivism. Two characteristics of the religious life of the preceding period viz. toleration and worship of images continued in full force.

The worship of Siva seems to have been a general practice in early days. Great rulers like Sasanka and Harshavardhana, great poets like Kalidasa, Bhababhuti etc. all were ardent worshippers of Siva without probably belonging to any particular sect. By the 6th century A.D. Saivism had spread to the extreme south . Saiva sects also developed very rapidly. In the seventh century B.C. Hiuen Tsang found ‘Many professed Pasupatas’ as far west as Baluchistan. Varanasi was also a strong hold of the Saivas. It was adorned with many temples. In South India Saivism became very popular in 500 A.D. There were a large number of saiva saints, called Nayanars who greatly contributed to the growth of Saivism in South India. There were two other important Saiva sects, viz. Virasaivas and Lingayats, who gave great prominence to the Linga (phallus) and the Nandin or the Bull which is said to the vahana (vehicle) of Siva. The Saiva religion became popular in South India under the patronage of the Cholas. Magnificent temples and monastic establishments testify to its former grandeur. Even the Buddhist Pala kings of Bengal established Saiva temples. The Sena kings were professed Saivas.

Vaishnavism too made rapid progress in the post Gupta period. The incarnations (avatara) of Vishnu became very popular. The number and nature of these avatara are variously given in different treaties. Even Rishava (the first Tirthankara of Jainas) and Buddha came to be looked upon as avataras of Visnu. Of the other avataras Rama and Krishna alone still command a large number of followers. Another great change in the Vaishnava religion was the addition of two new chapters in the life of Vasudeva Krishna. The first is the story of child Krishna brought up among the cowherds and the second is his amorous dalliance with the gopis or cowherd girls. The power and influence of Vaishnavism was developed in South India by a group of saints called Alvars. They held the same position as the Nayanars among the Saivas.

Jainism
Jainism gained popularity among the trading classes in north and west India. In south India Jainism was patronized by the Chalukyas, Gangas and the Rastrakuta rulers. But from the 7th century A.D. Jainism began to decline in south India on account of the influence of Saivism and Vaishnavism. The Cholas and the Pandyas were bigoted Saivas and they are said to have persecuted the Jainas. However, unlike Buddhists, the Jainas had not disappeared in the land of their birth. Gujarat and Rajputana, their stong hold had suffered less from the invasions of Mohammedans.

Several Jain temples were built during the post Gupta period. The Jain doctrine of the four gifts (learning, food, medicine and shelter) helped to make Jainism popular among the people.

Tantricism
Tantricism became very popular during this period. Tantricism became stronger from the eight century onwards. It was strongest in eastern India. Tantric practice centred on prayers, mystical formulae, magical diagrams and symbols and the worship of a particular deity. The worship of Mother Goddess occupied an important position in Tantricism.
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