Showing posts with label Kadamba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kadamba. Show all posts

Reign of VishnuKundin

The Vishnukundina Empire (Telugu: విష్ణుకుండిన సామ్రాజ్యము) was one of the Middle kingdoms of India, controlling the Deccan, Orissa and parts of South India during the 5th and 6th centuries, carving land out from the Vakataka Empire. It played an important role in the history of the Deccan during the 5th and 6th centuries CE.

With pulikesin II coming to power in South India and Harshavardhana  in North India, Indian chronology becomes very clear. The chronologies of  Earlier dynasties who ruled the country especially south India unclear. Indologists having introduced Satavahanas just before 3rd century AD, have found a number of dynasties ruling at the same place at almost same time. Unable to come to terms with this new realities, Indologists have called these dynasties phantom dynasties. One of the Phantom Dynasties is Vishnukundin. Is it a phantom dynasty, whose period cannot be fixed, whose origin cannot be fixed?
Let us see


Vishnukundina is a Sanskritized name for Vinukonda. Kielhorn suggested a connection of the name of the family with that of the hill-fort and town of Vinukonda in the Krishna district, about 60 miles east of Srmaila and 50 miles south of the Krishna river. Vinukonda, according to Kielhorn, was possibly the early home of the Visnukundins.

Tummalagudern plates describe the members of the Vishnukundi family as Srlparvatlyas. That is of Srisailam. In fact all the grants except Madhavavarman I call themselves as the devotees of sriparvata. So their origin is mainly Sriparvata or Srisailam.

Ayodya Origin
One theory states that they are of Koundinya gotra of Kshatriyas who migrated from Ayodhya (Oudh) during the early 5th century. But we have evidence to back up this theory. Theory deriving the name from 'Vishnukunda' fire-pit-the theories connecting it with the 'Vishnukundi' river.

Western (Karnataka) origin
Madhavavarman II has been described in this inscription as trikuta-malay-adhipati, " lord of Trikuta Malaya. Is this Trikuta refers to Trikutas. Experts say that they may assisted the overloards Vatakatas against Trikutas. But to say Lord of Trikutas puts it beyond their capabilities. Vatakata Narendrasena and Harisena who defeated Trikutas ruled the same time as Madhavavarman and the claim may be due to this relation.
On the basis of Indrapalanagara grants, B.N. Sastri assumes that the earlyrulers of the dynasty migrated to the west in search of employmentand under the Vakatakas they might have attainedfeudatory status with Indrapalanagara in the Nalgonda districtas their capital.

Central Indian Origin
Trikuta is identified as Tagara (Maharastra), Mahendragiri(Ganjam Dist) and Amaroati(MP) and said they are from Central regions. But the evidences are lacking.

Vatakata origin
Madhavavarman I married a Vatakata princess and they occupy the vakataka areas of srisailam after the demise of vatakatas. So this leads to the speculation that they are related to Vatakatas and they are protege of Vatakatas.

We come to the conclusion that the original home of Vishnukundin is Vinukonda in Andhra and they were a local dynasty. They were devotees of Srisailam. Malaya in the inscription can been taken to be the Srisailam hills.

Period of VishnuKundins
Vishnukudin cave temples are similar to Early Pallava , orissan and Kadamba Cave temples.  So VishnuKundins are of Early Pallava Period.

Chalukya Conquest of Vengi
Pulikesin II conquered vengi and went to kalinga , there he appointed Ganga officers for revenue collection and in 615AD his kid brother and Yuvaraja Kubja Vishnvardhan was appointed viceroy in Vengi. After this time there is no other Independent rulers in south India, other than Pallavas and Harshavardhana in North. Chalukya empire stretched West coast to East coast. So 615AD is the last date of ending of Any Independent king who ruled in vengi. So who was ruling vengi before them. Harsha empire did not include Vengi. Harsha empire did not even touch Kalinga coast, then we have Pallavas, but we know pallavas are not ruling in vengi , their empire ruled south of Guntur. That leaves as to the vishnukudins. So the king who was defeated by Pulikesin is Vishnukundins. But we have Kubja vishnuvardhana brother presence around vengi in 609AD. Eventhough Vishnukundins were deposed of their earlier stature by pulikesin, vishnukundins were found ruling as feudatories of Eastern Chalukyas even in 8th century AD. But let us this issue later.

Indrapalanagar grant of Vishnukundin king Vikramednra II , says that he broke the twig of pallavabhoga, that is defeated Pallava king Simha in Saka 488 (566 CE). The Pallava Simha has to be Simhavishnu (550-580). The Amaravati hold of Vishnukudins seems to be a brief one. Since Guntur was held by pallavas throughout vishnukudin era. Again we have to note that Pallava Bhoga is identified as Ananda Gotrikas or Anandas ,but we have no evidence to back up this theory.

We get geneology of kings from these Vishnukundin inscriptions
1. Tummalagudem Plates (Set I) of Govindavarman Year 37
2. Velpuru Pillar Inscription of Madhavavarman , Year 33
3. Ipur Plates (Set I) of Madhavavarman, Year 37
4. Khanapur Plates of the Time of Madhavavarman
5. Ipur Plates (Set II) of Madhavavarman Year 47
6. Ramatirtham Plates of Indravarman, Year 27
7. Chikkulla Plates of Vikramendravarman , Year 10
8. Tummalagudem Plates (Set II) of Vikramendravarman , Year 11, Saka 488
9. Kundulapalem Plates of Vikramendravarman , Year 14
10. Polamuru Plates (Sot I) of Madhavavarman

Here is the kings list based on Velpuru pillar, Ipur I, Ipur II, Ramatirtham, Chikkulla and Godavari Grants,Khanapur plates(Identification with Rastrakuta),Tumma-lagudem plates, set II,Kandulapalem plates
Madhavavarman (Sainyabhitta)(Extended kingdom to coast) (Husband of Vatakata)
Madhavavarman Janakaya (First Vishnukudin king of Vengi)(Destoryed Salankayana)
vikramahendravarman (Defeated by Prithvimula of Kalinga)
IndraBhattaraka (Defeated Simha of Pallava)(Crosses the Godavari )
Vikramahendravarman uttamaraya
Madhavavarman (Janasraya)(Becomes Indpendent)

Constructing Geneology
Now the reign of last known ruler of Vishnukudin is Vikramahendra Varma II has to start 11 years before the Tummalagudem Plates(Saka 488 - 566AD) that is 555AD.

So Indravarman reign father of Vikramahendravarman.
Ramathirtham plates are issued 27th year of his reign, his reign cannot start later than 528AD(555AD-27). Even assuming short reign of 10 years after this plate, puts his accession to 517-518AD.

Now to Vikramahendravarman I father of Indravarman
He did not give any Inscriptions, Assuming minimum 10 years to his reign we come to 508-518 for this rule.

Now coming to his father Madhavavarman I, his Polamaru plates(Eighth Year of Reign) cannot be dated before 478AD or his accession 470AD. Now Ipur plates are issued in 37th year of his regime. Ajaya Mitra Shastri says that Madhavavarman I reign is between 487-528AD. We can deduce that Madhavavarman regime to be between 470-507AD. We know Madhavavarman extended the kingdom to the coast(Vengi). But we don't have any evidence to back the theory he defeated Salankyana's. So cannot link him to dating of Salankyana's.

Not much achievement is given by inscriptions on Devavarman father of Madhavavarman, except he is respected as mularaja(founder) and his crown queen is held in high esteem. So giving him a minimum decade or two , we can say the Vishnukundins started their regime in 455AD.

Let us go to the pain (Problem) points
Trivara and Madhavavarma
Madhavavarman Janasraya gives in his inscription both in Ipur Plates and Polamuru Plates.

Meaning The Delighter of the hearts of the young ladies in the palace(Palaces) of Trivaranagara. Scholars point out that Madhavavarman did not undertake any military expedition to trivarnagara, but only resided there. one of the scholar identifies Tiruvuru to be in krishna Dist. Some scholars identify Trivara to be three cities and it refers to Madhavavarman capturing three cities or simply it refers to three affluent cities of his kingdom,where he had palaces full of girls. We will go Traivaranagara and Trivaradeva in another article. The term does not seem to hold any significance in the present context.

Fall of Vatakatas
One more question that Vishnukudins comes into play is fall of vatakatas. The theory is Madhavavarman I became too powerful and occupied the vatakata empire. This theory is based on the khanapur plates, where one madhavavarman is said to have made elevan asvamedha 's and thousand Agnistomas etc. As this is plate is given in Maharastra, And Madhavavarman of this plate is identified with Vishnukudin Madhavavarman and the conclusion drawn that Vishnukudins gave death blow to Vatakatas. However scholars dimiss this Madhavavarman to be different and they say that no other record of vishnukudin is found Maharastram, And Also Chikkulla plates of vishnukudin say Madhavavarman(535AD) is son in law of Vishnukudin. But one possibility may be Madhavavarman might have defeated Vatkatas and also got the daughter of vatakata in marriage as a peace proposal, Another possibility may be, He married vatakata princess and inherited the kingdom. But we have see that Vatatakata Prithvisena II's Mother is Kadamba origin, so any usurping of rule from Prthvisena or his successor would have got the kadamba wrath. So defeat of Vatakata by Vishnukundin is just a myth.

After the death of Prithvisena II (main branch of vatakatas), Harisena of Basim(Western) branch of vatakatas became king of all vatakatas, as prithvisena II did not leave any heir. Now we have to see madhavavarman in this context. The Vatakata princess may been married to him to keep peace on the eastern side. Prithvisena II is dated to 460-480AD,based on this Madhavavarman can be dated to 470-507AD.

Madhavavarman I regime
Now Prithvisena II date is confusion when he ruled, as Harisena of Basim branch ruled from 475 to 510AD and Prithivisena II died soon after Harisena ascended throne. And we have Harisena replacing the main line of vatakatas. We do not hear Harisena or his successors having marital relations with Visnukundins. So the Vatakata princess has to be daughter of Prithivisena II(Prithvisena II mother Kadamba). If there were any Son to Prithivisena II , kadambas may have come to their aid, if Madhavavarman I has defeated vatakatas. Based on this date and dates from the plates. let us take Madhavavarman I regime to be 470-507AD.

Confusion in Indrapur Plates.
Indrapura Plates I by vikramahendravarman give the geneology of vishnukundinas Govindavarman , his son Madhavavarman (Eleven Asvamedhas,several sacrifices such as Bahusuvarna, pundarika,vajpeya etc and husband of vatakata), his son vikramahendra (Devout follower of Buddha and great poet) , his son Indrabhattarkavarman(Lord of chakravartishetram by his victories over many four tusked elephants),his son vikramahendrabhattaarakavarman(Has Several Samantas) and he treated one Madhavaraja(forcibly ousted many kings , handsome and has several qualities like political wisdom and valour) as his own son, also we get paramabhattarikamahadevi (Crowned queen) of Govindaraja was born in the famous royal family of Prithvimula

Indrapura Plate II , was issued by Govindavarman. The Indrapura plates II gives the geneology as Maharaja Indaravarman, his son Maharaja Madhavavarman, his son maharaja govindavarman (Made several grants to temples and viharas), the last king of the grant is dvarvembadala also known as penka, to the paramamahadevivihara at the instance of the crowned queen

Now these plates gives the following problems in genology.
1. Who is this madhavaraja and what part he played in making this grant.
2. How do the kings mentioned in Second grant relate to kings mentioned in First plates chronologically.
3. Were both Govindaraja's identical or same.
4. How was prithvimula related to Vishnukundins

Let us try to solve this problem. Scholar Mirashi says that Madhavavarman of First plate is kid brother of Vikramahendravarman of Second plates. This madhavavarman succeeded his brother after his death as he was without children and he is the madhavaraja of first plate. Madhavavarman II also served as the Yuvaraja of Vikramahendravarman II and won many battles and deposed many kings.

In Jaunpur Inscription Isvaravarman describes himself who estinguished the spark of fire coming from dhara. Yasodharman is also of same period. So Spark of Malwa is Yasodharman and he was defeated by Isvaravarman. Yasodharman defeated Huns in 515AD, so the date of defeat of Yasodharman to Mukharis has to be post 515AD.
Now how Mukharis and Malwa Guptas(Not connected to Imperial Guptas) fight is legendary. Kumara gupta of Malwa(Son of Jivita Gupta) defeated Gaudas as per Damodurpur grant(543-544AD). Isnavarman won victory over Huns between (560-590AD).
Haraha Inscription(Vikrama 611 or 554AD) is as follows.

Jitv-Andhr- Adhipatim sahasra-ganita-tredha-ksharad-varanam
vyavalgan-niyut-ati-samkhya-turangan-bhanktva rane sulikan
kritvach-ayati-mau(mo)chita-sthalo-bhuvo Gaudan smudr-asraya
n-adhyasishta nata- kshitisa-charanah singha(mha) sanam yo jiti.

He also defeated Andhra king(Vishnu kudin) as per the Haraha inscription. One more king he defeated is Sulikas, who identity is under dispute. Fleet believes Sulikas are Mulikas of Northwest Frontier, H.N Shastri Says they belong to Kalinga and Vidharba, Raychaudhari correctly identifies sulikas as branch of Chalukyas. Mahakuta inscription says Kirtivarman I (566 - 597AD) obtained victories over Anga , Vanga and Magadha. So it has to be Chalukyas.

Now Isnaravarman defeated Andhra king before his accession that is during the rule of his father isvaravarman. Now the date of Accession of Isnavarman is 550AD, so the the victory over Andhra king should have been before 550AD. Now the Indrapalanagara or Tummalagadem plates (Saka 488 or 566AD) given at 11th year of Vikramahendra varman II, Since the Andhra rules at the time of clash was not Vikramahendravarman, the clash should have taken place before 555AD. Now his father Indravarman ruled for atleast 27years as per Ramathirtham plates(given at 27th year of accession). Even assuming just 27years as the reign , the date of accession cannot be earlier than 528AD. Indravarman's Father Vikramamahendravarman I often described as Maharaja left no inscriptions and if we assume the 10 years for his reign, he could have came to power 518AD that is before reign Isnavarman father Isvaravarman. So Madhavarman date preceding Vikramahendra I cannot have been defeated by Isnavarman.
This is a sticky point. Did Isnavarman defeated the Andhra king or is it just a raid. If it was a raid than Isnavarman would have been beaten back and the Vishnukundins would have blown the trumphet as victory. So we have to take that Isnavarman did defeat Andhra king and It could have occurred during the reign of Indravarman. Whom I have conveniently named as Madhavavarman II, though we have no evidence that the Isnavarman defeated Andhra king.

Not going to any other arguments we get the genology as follows.

Govindavarman I (Founder) (455-470AD)
Madhavavarman I (470-507AD)(Extended Kingdom to Vengi)(Marital Alliance with Vatakatas)(Title Lord of Dakshin Chakravartishethram)
his son vikramahendra I (508-518AD)(Title Maharaja)(Ornament of Vakataka and Vishnukundin Dynasties)
his son Madhavavarman Indrabhattarkavarman (Madhavavarman II)(518-554AD)(Contemproary of Mukhari Isvaravarman)
his son vikramahendra bhattaarakavarman (vikramahendra II) (555- 567AD)(Raided Pallavas of Guntur)

his brother Madhavavarman III (567-578AD)
his son Govindavarman II (578-615AD) deposed by Pulikesin II

Ganga Era
The dates of Early Eastern Ganga Dynasty has been always questioned. Nadagam plates of Vajrahasta state that Ganga rule was established by destorying Baladitya(467AD). But we have no evidence to support this date or theory. There are two inscriptions of Early Eastern Ganga Dynasty. Hastivarma dated 80th year of Ganga Era is first king (Adhiraja) and Indravarman dated 80th year of Ganga Era. Both are styled as the founders of Early Eastern Ganga Dynasty and devotees of Gokarna in comforts of kalinganagara. Both grants are given by VinayaChandra son of Bhanuchandra. who is enemy of IndraBhattaraka How do you date this era.
Mr.Ramadas dates to 350AD found on Salankyana Pedda Vegi. But the lettering and other things dont match.
Mr. Subba Rao of Rajamundary dates it to 450AD, based on the contention Indra varman of Achyuthapuram same as Indravarman Bhattaraka.But Visnukundins were ruling Kalinga at that time. We cannot date this to 540AD, because where will you place Prithvimula and Mukharis.
So the IndraBhattaraka has to be a Eastern Chalukya IndraBhattaraka. So Early Eastern Gangas came as Revenue Administrators to orissa under Chalukya Command is valid.

Vishnukundinas are Local Andhra origin. Their Geneology has been given. Vishnukundins ruled from 450 to 615AD and during that time they were a force to reckon with. The vishnukundins are successors of Ikshavakus. They allied with Vakatakas and successfully fought with Pallavas and Salankayanas to expand the territories.

Buddhist remains in Āndhra and the history of Āndhra between 224 & 610 A.D.By K. R. Subramanian
Inscriptions of the Śarabhapurīyas, Pāṇḍuvaṁśins, and Somavaṁśins: IntroductionBy Ajay Mitra Shastri
Some early dynasties of South India By S. Chattopadhyaya
Vakataka - Gupta Age Circa 200-550 A.D. By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Anant Sadashiv Altekar
Literary and historical studies in indology By Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi
Cultural contours of India: Dr. Satya Prakash felicitation volume By Satya Prakash, Vijai Shankar Śrivastava
The Vishnukundis and Their Times by S. Sankaranarayanan, T.V Mahalingam

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Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth

Kalidasa most renowned classical Sanskrit scholar is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the classical history. His period has not been dated to precise. Most likely falls in Gupta period in 5th century AD. This is a wikipedia introduction, you will mostly come across the same in many places as well. There is very little is known about kalidasa apart from his literature. But let us not go into other questions. Stay to main question: Date of Kalidasa.  Let us see what the scholars say.

Kalidasa Works
Four poetic works, Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava, Meghaduta, and Ritusamhara, and three dramas, Vikramorvasiya, Malavikagnimitra, and Abhijnanasakuntala are attibuted to him, in addition to these, Indian tradition attributes to him several other works(around 30) in diverse disciplines, ranging from poetics and astrology to mathematics and astronomy. It goes without saying that he had more than a little mastery of all these disciplines.

Kalidasa was clearly closely associated with, or lived in Ujjain, the capital of Vikramarka; his love for this city and the Malwa country is particularly apparent in the Meghaduta, from the way he holds forth lovingly on this city in the poem. The Yaksha's request to the cloud messenger to make a detour to visit Ujjain, the description of the dance of the devadasis in the Mahakaleswara Temple, and the incomparable descriptions of the city and of the river Sipra leave no one in doubt of this.

Kalidasa Life
Almost nothing definite is known about Kalidasa's life, although legends abound. What one can definitely infer from his works is that he was a Brahman, a devotee of Siva but no fanatic of any Hindu sect, was widely travelled and very well versed in the arts, sciences and philosophy of his day. He lived in a city in affluent circumstances, and was well acquainted with royal courts and court politics, almost certainly because he was patronised by a powerful king.

BanaBhatta of Harsha Charita
Banabhatta, court poet of Harsavardhana (AD 606-647) in Harsacaritaoffers prefatory salutations to Kalidasa.

Aihole Inscription of Chalukya pulikesin II(634AD)
Talks about poet Ravikirti who was in the court of Chalukya Satyasraya(pulikesi II )whose poetic skills have attained the fame of Kalidasa(Sanskrit) and Bharavi(Kannada)(520AD). This inscription does not give any date of Kalidasa. But the inscription shows the kalidasa fame has reached the courts of karnataka kings and held in high esteem.

Yasodharman who is believed to have assumed the title Sakari Vikramaditya after routing the Huns (Toramana at Malva in 528 AD). Kashmir Kalhana says that Kalidasa was the court poet of Vikramaditya.

Mandasor Inscription (473AD)
Mandasor inscription 5 dated to 473 AD which names Kumaragupta, has verses borrowed from Kalidasa and imitating his style by the poet Vatsabhatti.

Hero of Kumarasambhavam  Kumaragupta son of Chandragupta-II  (Vikramaditya) is the places him in 5th century AD.

According to Kshemendra in Auchityavicharacharcha says, An envoy sent as to kuntala king capital and he was not properly received and was made to stand. King Boja of Dhara(11century AD) in Sringaraprakasa says  kalidasa was sent as envoy from court of Vikramaditya to Kuntaleshwara. There is a conflicting  reports on who is the kuntaleshwara  the envoy met . Kadamba king Kakusthavarman says Guptas sent the envoy at the time of Kadamba Bhagiratha.  Some scholars say the envoy visited Vatakata court. But Vatakata's never called themselves kuntaleshwara's , eventhough they raided kuntala few times, they never ruled kuntala. There is scribe called kalidasa in one of vatakata inscriptions, but it is not kalidasa. Some point to another royal clan in the infancy, Rastrakutas of manapura also had conflict with Vatakatas. Mananka , founder of Rastrakuta dynasty called himself Lord of Kuntala. There is one more dynasty Chutus satakarnis apart from Satavahans who called themselves kuntaleshwaras. But as far as envoy there is only one claim kadambas, so the Gupta envoy should have visited kadamba kingdom.

Astronomical Data
There are two schools of thought on the astronomical evidence.
Sengupta's discussion on astronomical evidence places Kalida sa at the middle of the 6th  century AD, between AD 525-575 during the rein of Budhagupta.
Dasgupta has quoted Jacobi's demonstration of astronomical evidence vis-à-vis influence of Greek astronomy of the period around 350 AD.

Some Say that the work Meghasandesa is the communication that Kalidasa addressed to Prabhavati, sister of Chandragupta-II when the great poet was banished to Ramagiri by the Emperor. Prabhavati Gupta, widow of Rudrasena-II who died in 390 AD and mother of Pravarasena-II who is believed to be have authored Setubandhanam and Saundaryalahari.  Popular legends say that Malavikagnimitram was written for staging on the occasion of the marrigae of Prabhavati Gupt a at Ujjayini. The Drama was staged at the wedding.

Chandragupta II
This date is propounded by Dr. A.B. Keith. According to him, Kālidāsa flourished during the reign of king Candragupta 2nd (380-413) who made Ujjainī second capital, who crushed Hūnas and as a result, assumed the title ‘Vikramāditya'. The poet expresses in his works his deep sense of gratitude for his Gupta patrons. Smith and MacDonnell support Dr. Keith. On the basis of astronomical calculations Jacobi places Kālidāsa after 3rd century A.D. Dr. Bűhler is of opinion that he should placed before 472 A.D. Sircar admits that the earliest historical Vikramāditya is Candragupta 2nd of imperil Gupta dynasty who defeated Śakas, conquered western India and made Ujjainī, as the capital of his empire. This theory founded by Dr. Keith has received support from Winternitz, Konow, Liebich, Bloch and many other scholars

Gathasapthasati mentions Kalidasa to be court poet of Vikramaditya.  Hala's Sapthasati gives glowing accounts of Vikramaditya.

Aśvaghosa, the Buddhist poet, has prepared the ground for Kālidāsa by his compositions in the field of poetry and drama. Kālidāsa took clue from this great poet and presented his own poetry and drama in polished and refined manner. The date of Aśvaghosa is definite. He enjoyed the patronage of Kusāna king Kaniska who ruled in 1st century AD.

Vikaramaditya(1st century BC)
Most of the scholars including Baladev Upaddhyaya, William Jones, Peterson, M.R. Kale, and R.N. Apte  say that kalidasa lived during King Vikramaditya of Ujjain who ruled in 1st century BC. After whom the Vikram era is known.  After he defeated  sakas. Kalidasa has consistently called Pururavas "Vikrama" in the drama Vikramorvasiya. It is generally conjuctured that Kalidasa did this to honour his patron. He included the name in the title of the drama itself to ensure propagation of his patron's name. In addition, the name Mahendra is mentioned together with Vikrama several times in the Vikramorvasiya; we know from the Kathasaritsagara that Vikramaditya's father was known by this name. Since Vikramaditya father was Mahendraditya. It suits fine.

Kalidasa mentions three historical persons, Pushyamitra(conducts horse sacrifice to pronounce supreme soverignity) his son Agnimitra (governor of vidisa and hero of the story Malavikagnimitra and vidarba princess who disguises as maid) and lastly his grandson vasumitra   the brave guardian of horse, who returns triumphantly defeating the yavanas. These are historical incidents. According to Dr. C. Kunhan Raja, on the basis of Bharatvākya of the ‘Malvikagnimitra' Kālidāsa' was the contemporary of king Agnimitra of Sunga dynasty and flourished in the 2nd century B.C. Kalidasa talks about the vasumitra grandson of pushyamitra who defeated Yavanas. This is the upper limit of the kalidasa date. Kalidasa gives lot of intimate details of pushyamitra  and sungas ,which only the closest can give.

Raghu Dynasty.
800 B.C.- Mr. Hippolyte Fauche places Kālidāsa in the 8th century B.C., on assumption that he was contemporary of Agnivarna, the last king of Raghu dynasty. Hippolyte thought Ramayana to be this date.

Having seen the scholars opinions ,Let us bring in more material to discuss.

Basic of discussion
  1. All the sources say Kalidasa was in the Royal court of King Vikramaditya
  2. Kalidas widely travelled was based out of Ujjain in malwa. He Praises  vidisha capital of 3.sungas. Kalidasa speaks of defeat of Yavanas by Pushyamitra grandson vasumitra.
  3. kalidasa knew Huns.
  4. Historical person mentioned by Kalidasa was Agnimitra of Sunga Dynasty who ruled in 2nd century BC.
  5. Guptas employed  his literary works in Inscriptions and functions.
  6. There is a close resemblances between the works of kalidasa and Avagosha's Buddha charita
  7. kumargupta is called Mahendra and father of Vikramaditya is also called Mahendra.
  8. Vikrama - Many of the Guptas have titles vikrama Chandragupta, samudragupta etc.

Raghu Victory of Hunas
The cheeks of huNa women glowed with embarrassment by the action of raghu in waging war with their husbands and that flush itself appeared as an index to raghu's valour. Now the context has to be known, he is talking about Raghu(Legendary father of Ram) and also mentions Raghu Conqured Parasikas, Kambojas,Yavanas.  Reached Oxus river. Did chandragupta II defeated these kings. Huns are there , but Parasikas, Kambojas or yavanas.

now the principal difficulty in the identification of this river has arisen by the fact that Mallinatha, the most brilliant commentator on the works of Kalidasa has chosen to read Sindhu for Vanksu. But in view of some very important reasons, given below, Mallinatha's reading is evidently erroneous. It is to be borne in mind that six manuscripts of the mallinatha, out of nine, with their commentaries read vankS (four of these) or vanksu (two). There hardly seems an occasion for Mallinatha to adopt the reading Sindhu. This reading has landed him in obvious difficulties which he has sought to explain away. The unsuitability of his reading is so patent in his own explanation that, thinking that his readers would easily confuse Sindhu with the great river Indus.

Huns Locations
The history of the Huna expansion in Central Asia is very interesting.  During the reign of Pou-non-tanjou (A. D. 46) the Huna country and their  empire suffered from severe famine. While they were yet in difficulties the  Eastern Tartars and the Chinese drove them out of their land and pushed them to  west and south. In the middle of 5th century AD, Huns formed a powerful army and starts invading far of lands. The defeated the persian empire in 225AD. The First invasion of India took place during Skandagupta time, they were soundly defeated. The second invasion during Yasovarman. So until 46AD, Huns were in Oxus basin.

Kalidasa was in the royal court of vikramaditya , that  is confirmed by everybody. The  vikramorvisya mentions Vikramaditya to be son of Mahendraditya. There are two sets Mahendraditya - vikramaditya(2-1century BC) and Gupta dynasty Kumaragupta Mahendraditya - Skandagupta Vikramaditya. So who is the vikramaditya we are speaking.

Vikramaditya the Legend.
The tales of the vampire (Vetala) tell twenty-five stories in which the king tries to capture and hold on to a vampire that tells a puzzling tale and ends it with a question for the king. In fact, earlier the king was approached by a Sadhu to bring the vampire to him but without uttering a word, otherwise the vampire would fly back to its place. The king can be quiet only if he does not know the answer, else his head would burst open. Unfortunately, the king discovers that he knows the answer to every question; therefore the cycle of catching the vampire and letting it escape continues for twenty-four times till the last question puzzles Vikramaditya. A version of these tales can be found embedded in the Katha-Saritsagara.

Bhoja and Vikramaditya
The tales of the throne are linked to the throne of Vikramaditya that is lost and recovered by king Bhoja, the Paramara king of Dhar, after many centuries. The latter king is himself famous and this set of tales are about his attempts to sit on the throne. This throne is adorned by 32 female statues who, being able to speak, challenge him to ascend the throne only if he is as magnanimous as Vikramaditya is depicted in the tale she is about to narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Vikramaditya and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility. This is story created in 11th century AD by Bhoja paramara king after he declared indepndence from chalukyas.

Vikramaditya of Ujjain
Kalakacharyakathanaka a jain works says that at the instance of Kalaka ( jain teacher whose sister was abducted by Garadabilla, king of ujjain), the shakas invaded ujjain and took Garadabilla prisoner. They ruled for sometime and was overthrown by vikramaditya , king of malwa. vikramaditya started his own era. Brihatkatha of Gunadaya and kathasaritsagara endorse this event. And Gathasaptasati of Hala Satavahana also describes the event. The works say vikramaditya also called vikramasila son of mahendraditya was the founder of vikrama samvat. According to Bhavishya Purana. Vikram era started in 57 BC by Vikramaditya the Great as a commemoration of his victory upon the Shakas. There is plentiful literature on Vikramaditya, and in the Bhavishya Puran itself there are descriptions of Vikramaditya in more than 40 chapters between Pratisarg Parv I and IV. Bhavishya Purana (Pratisarg Parv I, chapter 7) says that, "After the elapse of a full 3,000 years in kali yuga (3102 - 3000 = 102 BC), a dynamic Divine personality was born who was named Vikramaditya.  Bhavishya Puran further says that  the great King Vikramaditya ruled for one hundred years. Then his son Deobhakt ruled for ten years and his grandson Shalivahan, who established Shalivahan Shaka era (in 78 AD), defeated the Shaks and ruled for sixty years."  Alberuni also mentions about Vikram era (57 BC) and also the Shalivahan Shaka era which starts 135 years after the Vikram era.

One poet quoting another

Brihat katha by Gunadaya(1st century AD)

This work is lost but there are several versions available.The story is brihat katha manjari has lot in common with kathasarit sagara  of  kalidasa.

Some of the situations and Ideas are common to both asvagosha and kalidasa plays. But the big argument is waste because we can never say that the one copied from other. The ideas and situations seems to be borrowed from the situations and ideas common at that time frame. But indologist scholars(Kowell and Keith) will say kalidasa copied and Indian scholars say Asvagosha copied. But in concluding verses of  saundarananda . The Humble Asvaghosa says he is not poet of eminence. The Subject of interest for Asvaghosa is religion and philosophy. He is monk first and then a author. He wants to preach the his ideals through a kavya, So he sets himself after famous Kavyas of his time. Hence the resemblences and similarities to kalidasa kavyas. The Master kavya writer is of course kalidasa. That gives atleast a century or more earlier to asvagosha, which puts kalidasa in 1century BC.

Yajnasri Satakarni (2nd century AD
Yajna sri satakarni releases a coins with king on one side and  with crescent on hill, crescent on ujjain symbols, zig zag lines and cirle of dots. The meaning can be found in kalidasa verses in raghu vamsa. The king's fame ascended the mountains(symbolized by the moon on hill), crossed the oceans(figured by the four circles of the ujjain symbol and crescent), penetrated into the subterrannean abode of vasuki(zig zag line) and went up to the most high(as represented by dots representing sttary heaven).

Also kamasutra of Vatsyayana has similar styles to sakuntala.

Bhita Medallion
The terrocota medallion recovered from Allahabad  depicting the scene from sakuntala, has gateways like sanchi  dated to 1st century BC. But scholars say it Buddha in kapilavastu.

Astronomical observances
The astronomical references by ketki  like dakshinayana (summer solistice) cannot be taken to be conclusive as they can go each side 100 to 200 years.
Sengupta observations based on ashada month references cannot be taken as kalidasa mention lunar months ,not solar months. The works clearly show that that Gupta system  is not followed by kalidasa.
The term Jamitra in kumarasambhava has been mischeviously  interpreted as Greek diametron and claimed that kalidasa lived in the ideas of Greek astronomy and also claiming Greek astronomy has become popular in India. In Hindu Astrology Jamitra simply means seventh zodiacal sign from the natal(lagna).
And kalidasa knew lot  about Astronomy ,but he is basically a  poet not astronomer.

yavanas were defeated in persia, which fits the time frame of 1century BC and pallavas are absent in kalidasa account. kalidasa talks about Independent Anga , which is impossible in Gupta age. Kalidasa speaks about ruler in madura again not possible during gupta period.

Pushyamitra capital was Pataliputra, his son agnimitra was governor of vidisha, when pushyamitra was the senatipati and when the capital was shifted to vidisha, it remained the capital until 57BC, Later he shifted to Ujjain.  In Megaduta and Malvakiagnimitra the scenes of the city are vidisha, not pataliputra , not ujjain. Vikramovisaya completed after the victory of vikramaditya over sakas. why he does not tell about pataliputra or Ayodhya Imperial capital of Guptas, because he has come to a independent kingdom in Ujjain.


The Dharma(Law)  followed in Kalidasa works  like  " widow cannot inherit the property"  is of the times of Apastamba and Baudhayana. Brhaspati, vyasa,sankha and likita  belonging to Gupta period rule that the widow has the right to succeed in Husband's property. In Sakuntala there is capital punishment for theft. In the days of Brhaspati, this was relaxed and a heavy fine was introduced. So clearly kalidasa is not of Gupta times.

Several revisions of the Kalidasa works has taken place and many authors have included their current events in their works. For example there is an argument between Dinnaga(6th century AD) and Kalidasa, which looks unlike kalidasa. While Dinnaga was critic of kalidasa , Nicula is friend in megaduta. Since Dinnaga cannot be dated earlier, Kalidasa is brought down. We do not know who is Nicula. Another is refrerence to kalachuri dynasty ( 6th century AD).  For some commentators Dinnaga becomes Nagarjuna
D.C.Sircar draws attention to Tibetan passage in early 18th century AD , which says kalidasa was contemproary of King Bhagabadra of Sunga Dynasty ruling from vidisha,Wima kusala Khadphises  and king savti satavahana of dakshinatya and Aparanta. He Married daughter of Khadphises by name vasanti.

In Tenth Century AD Sanskrit scholar Rajashekara gives three great kalidasa who are renowned authors and masters of aesthetic language. There are many kalidasa's and more than dozen vikramadityas, Western scholars have done what they do best to confuse and combine everybody to one kalidasa and some vikramadityas to one vikramaditya. In effect they have hit two mangoes in one. Denying kalidasa antiquity and also stricking off the glorious vikramaditya(1century BC)  from history to mythical ruler.  For the time being we can go with Puranic account and say Kalidasa lived in the era of Vikramaditya (son of Mahendraditya) around 57BC. Vikramaditya who established vikram era in 57BC.

My Theory
Now the date is settled , All our problems are solved right?
No, we have only one problem. Panini talks about Pushyamitra. Panini cannot be dated later than 4th century BC. How can Panini talk about pushyamitra who is two centuries later. We  have to see pushyamitra dated to Mauryas. But keeping Mauryas in 3rd century BC, Indologists have brought pushyamitra to that date. But Panini is struck at 4 century BC . If Mauryas are dated in 15-14century BC, how come his Senapati dated in 2nd century BC. Indology Scholar Vogel equated Bruhaspatimitra of Magada with Pushyamitra and scholars like K P Jaiswal followed suit. We have one more mythical king pushyamitra.

I feel Gupta Emperors Chandragupta I and Samundragupta are the rulers in 3rd century BC. The Raghu in Raghuvamsa  campaign eeringly follows samudragupta campaign.There are several mitras ruling in many places in North India  as per inscriptions in 2nd century BC.   Kalidasa reads samudragupta campaign into Raghu campaign. And reads Sunga rulers  Pushyamitra, Agnimitra and vasumitra tales in to local mitra tales. And we have a big confusion.  Kalidasa says Agnimitra to be kasyapa lineage and belonging to Baimbika family, According to Panini Sungas belong to Bramhana family of Bharadvaja. The Vikramaditya son of Mahendraditya are the rulers whose time kalidasa lived that is 1 century BC. But with new additional information the things will change

Giravani  by desiraju hanumanta rao
Definitive Astronomical Evidence for the Date of Kalidasa  by K. Chandra Hari
The Role of Kālidāsa in the Development of Indian Literature by Parmeshwar Gangawat
Kalidasa and Ancient India by Chhattisgarh - Ambikapur
Numismatic parallels of kalidasa by sri c.sivaramamurti
Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works by  V.V. MIRASHI N.R NAVALEKAR
The Gupta polity By V. P. Ramachandra Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar
Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions By B.M. Barua

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Myths of Pallava Granta Script

Pallava Granta script is touted as script from 300AD to 10 century AD to write Sanskrit , It is also spread overseas and used by locals to derive their own script. Let us analyze the facts.

Pallava Dynasty
Though Pallava history is analysed by scholars for a long time, there are still gaps in knowledge. This is especially the case with the first period of Pallava history, the period ranging from the middle of the 3rd to the end of the 6th century A.D. The sources for the history of this period being limited, very little is known about its rulers beyond their names. The genealogy of these Pallava sovereigns and the actual duration of their reigns are still unsettled. Whether all the members mentioned in the charters actually ruled as kings is itself doubtful. We, however, get a clearer view of the dynasty during the second period, extending from the 7th to the 9th century A.D., as the epigraphs are distributed over a wide region with the advantage of some sidelights being thrown from the records of other dynasties. The Granta and Vetteluthu variations are evident from 8th century onwards until then, we find only Kadamba script. Moreover Granta and Vetteluthu are variations of Kadamba script and they evolved from kadamba script.

Pallava plates
The Earliest Pallava inscription is Mayidavolu, Hirahadagalli copper plate grants(4th century AD) uses Kadamba script, But after that we have a gap of inscriptions from 4th to 6th century AD. Even during vunnuguruvayapalem of paramesvaravarman I(669-700AD) and Reyuru plates of Narasimhavarman I (630-668AD) Kadamba script is used. The kurram plates of Narasimhavarman II (Raja Simha ) (700-28), Kasakudi and tandantottam plates of Nandivarman II pallavamalla (730 -96AD) and Bahur plates of Nirpatungavarman 9th century AD show variations from kadamba script , we can see first apperance of variations which latter evolved into Granta script around 11th century AD.

Pallava Granta Overseas
  • There is a tendency among scholars to describe early inscriptions in Indonesia and Indo-china as pallava granta and speak of expansion of pallava culture and influence. These views are wrong because of following reasons
  • The Script used in pallava inscriptions from 4th to 7th century AD and early epigraphs belong to Kadamba script which was widely used in south and western India.
  • Early writing in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sulawesi were written in Verse like records of kadamba kannada speaking areas unlike Pallava script.
  • Boxheaded alphabet used in epigraphs of King Bhadravarman of campa(south Annam) is not characteristic of pallava inscriptions, but is generally found in central and upper Deccan as well as Kannada speaking areas of western India.
  • Saka era introduced around 6th century AD in Indo-china and Indonesia is never used by Pallavas but chalukyas of Badami popular now in Kannada and marathi speaking areas.
  • Number inscriptions early ruling families such as Arakan(Burma), Sailendras of srivijya(palembang , sumatra) are written in kadamba and siddhamaka script of Eastern India.
  • The names of cities generally localised names of Vedic cities. Seventh Records indicate all India contact The city of Prom was also known as Vanadesi, similar to capital of the Kadambas Banawasi also the script is similar to kadamba script.
  • The Name ending varman found in East Asian dyansities is not exclusive to pallavas ,but also used by Kadambas,Alikuars, Salankayanas,Gangas, Maukharis, Matharas ,Pitrbaktas also have varman ending.
  • Many of Chronicles of South east asia are chronicles of Kalinga( orissa) and Sinhala.
  • Pallavas except a brief period in 7th century were feudataries of Satavahana , Kadambas, Chalukyas Rastrakuta and Cholas, they never took titles such as Maharaja and Rajadiraja which denote the rulers of Empires
So we can see the Truth in relation to myths floated around about Pallava Granta scripts.
  1. The Pallavas also used kadamba script and variations developed due to application of the script for writing local vernaculars tamil and malayalam
  2. Scripts used overseas are based on Kadamba script not pallava granta script, though Pallava script influenced them in the later period.
  3. Pallava Granta script developed after 8th century AD and previous inscriptions are in kadamba script only

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