Odisha State Board CHSE Odisha Class 12 History Solutions Unit 2 Religious Movements of Sixth Century BC Long Answer Questions.
CHSE Odisha 12th Class History Unit 2 Religious Movements of Sixth Century BC Long Answer Questions
Long Questions With Answers
Give an analysis regarding the rise of Jainism and the life of Mahavira Jina.
Mahavira Jina preached Jainism in the 6th century B.C. But long before his time, there was a desire among the wise men of India to search for real spiritual values. According to the belief of the Jainas, as many as 23 Tirthankaras, or religious prophets were bom in India before Mahavira Jina. Mahavira was the 24 and the last Tirthankara. He is regarded as the founder of historical Jainism.
The history of the early Tirthankaras is unknown the 23rd Tirthankara, Parsvantha is said to have lived 250 years before Mahavira. He was born in the Kshatriya princely family of kasha. At the age of 30, he became a sannyasi in search of Truth. At last, be got the supreme knowledge. He preached four vows for men, namely to practice non-violence, to speak truth not to steal, and not to possess properly. Many years after Maranatha, the last of the Tirthankaras were born.
Mahavira Jina his life :
There was a kingdom named Videha in ancient India. Its capital was Vaisali. Near that city, there was a village named Kundagrama. A Kshatriya clan called jnantrika lived there. The ruler of that clan was Siddhartha. His wife’s name was Trishala. She was the sister of the ruler of Vaisali. A son was born to Siddhartha and Trishala and was named Vardhamana.
In the future, he became famous as Mahavira Jina. The year of the birth of Vardhamana is not definitely known. According to some sources, he was bom in 618 B.C. and lived for 72 years. Accordingly, to some other sources, he was born in 540 B.C. and died in 468 B.C. after a life of 72 years. Many historians have accepted this latter view.
Vardhamana was a contemporary of Goutam Buddha. Born in an aristocratic family, Vardhamana began a life of worldly pleasures. He got married in time. The name of his wife was Yoshida. A daughter was also bom to him. But as he advanced in years. Vardhamana gradually lost attraction toward worldly life. At last, at the age of 30, he left his name and family as a Sannyasi in search of Truth.
For long twelve years thereafter Vardhamana traveled as a homeless wanderer. He practiced hard penance and put his body in extreme pain. He did not care for the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter. He lived without food or water for a long time. He moved from place to place without putting any clothes on his body which people attached to him at many places.
But like a hero, he suffered pain or punishment without signs of sorrow. Suffering the hardship of nature and cruelty from human hands, he continued his meditations to reach the Truth. At last, in the thirteenth year of his wandering life as a monk, he got the supreme knowledge of the Kevala Jnana. At that moment of bliss, Vardhamana became the Mahavira, or the Great hero, and the Jina, or the conqueror.
From that time when he was 42 years in his age, Mahavira Jina began to preach his doctrines. His preaching continued for long 30 years till his death. He went from place to place and attracted countless people wherever he went. He visited Mithila, Sravasti Champa, Vaisali, Rajagriha, and several other places.
It is known from the Jaina sources that he came as for as Kalinga and preached his doctrines from the Kumari Hill (the Udayagiri Hill near Bhubaneswar) to the people of Odisha. Everywhere, the common people as well as the kings listened to him. He was venerated, as a great prophet. Mahavira Jina died at the age of 72 at a place named Pava near Rajagriha. The followers of Mahavira Jina came to be known as the Jain as. The religion which he preached became famous as Jainism.
Five is an analysis of the essence of Jainism and its impact on life.
Parsvanatha, who preached before Mahavira had given four principles for a pure life. Those were non-violence, truth, non-stealing, and non-possession. Mahavira Jina added another principle namely brahmacharya or celibacy. According to him, these five qualities were necessary for leading a life toward perfection and crossing the stream of existence. Mahavira gave up all attachments to worldly things. He even gave up the use of clothes.
Jina asked his disciples to follow three conditions for a nobler life. Those were Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Action. These conditions are known as the Tri- Ratna or the Three Jewels. In Jainism, man is required to regulate his life under those conditions. It was through faith, knowledge, and action that man could realize his own soul. In the Jaina faith, the perfection of the soul was regarded as the real purpose of life. There was no need to worship God or Gods or to offer prayers or sacrifices. A pure soul could surely reach salvation without such things.
Karma and Rebirth :
In Jainism faith in the theory of karma and rebirth was absolute. Man has to work in order to live. His soul, therefore, is engaged in various works. But a man should also know the difference between good and work. Because he has to face the results of his work. If one does good work in life, the results will be good.
If one does evil work, bad results will follow. The results of the action or the karma are inevitable. No one can escape karma. Because it is the eternal law of existence. It is this karma that results in rebirth. Birth and rebirth are like an unending cycle. Man is bom again only to suffer for the sins of the previous life.
Jainism showed the path to escape from the cycle of rebirth. By Right Faith, the right knowledge, and the Right Action that man can avoid the sins of life by escaping sins, one can escape the pain of rebirth. By giving up attachment to worldly things, one can escape the sins of greed.
Last and possession:
According to the Yains, no one can escape the results of sins by offering prayers to the gods. It is only by right conduct and action that one can do so.
Absolute faith in Ahimsa or non-violence received the highest place in Jainism. The life of every living being was regarded as sacred. The smallest of the small creatures also possessed life as did the human being. It was therefore a supreme sin that man should destroy the lives of other creatures as the man himself does not want to be injured or killed, so also no creature would like to be injured or killed. According to Jainism, it was the duty of man to protect and preserve the life of every living creature.
To Mahavira Jina, the practice of Ahimsa was like the highest duty of every man. Jainism carried non-violence to its extreme extent. The Jainas did not cook food after an evening in fear that even the smallest of the insects might fall into the fare. No other religion paid so much respect to live beings as Jainism. Kindness towards all kinds of life was a cardinal feature of Jainism.
Mahavira Jina taught his disciples to realize the absolute Truth of existence. Man is mortal. His physical body is unreality. Worldly attractions are meaning less. Karma or action leads to sins when a man is attached to worldly pleasures. It is for the sins that there is rebirth in an endless cycle. Unless one attempts to escape the rebirth, there will be no end to his sufferings.
Jina showed the path for man to escape rebirth. In order to realize that the Atma or the soul is real while the body is unreal, Jina advised to give up all attachment to the body. By putting the body in pain, showing no desire for anything, by giving up all possessions, and even inviting death by starvation a man can prove that he has no desire for worldly existence. It is by such detachment that man can finally realize the Real Knowledge or the kevalin. By destroying karma.
He can Liberate his soul and escape rebirth. The liberated soul can at last reach the eternal abode of peace or the Siddha Sila. That is the salvation or Kaivalya. There will be no rebirth and no return to sufferings on earth once the salvations was reached. In Jainism, the supreme goal of life was salvation.
Jainism rose as a new religion. Side by side, it challenged many existing evils of the Brahmanic faith. Mahavira Jina was one of the greatest reformers of ancient India. He raised his voice against many social and religious systems of his time. In an age when religion mainly meant the worship of many deities practice of meaningless ceremonies and the sacrifice of animals, Jina drew the attention of man towards higher spiritual goals.
According to him sins of life cannot be washed away by worship or prayers. Man can avoid sins by virtuous conduct. By denying worship and prayers. Jina gave a blow to the supremacy of the priestly class. The Jain did not believe in the Vedas. They denounced blind beliefs and superstitions.
White preaching the value of non-violence, condemned the practice of animal sacrifice. Jainism believed in human equality. As such the Jainas, criticized the caste system. The rise and spread of Jainism resulted in a new socio-religious consciousness among the people. Its impact on Indian Society and culture became deep and wide.
Analyze the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
The religion of Gautama Buddha is famous as Buddhism. The teachings of Buddha were simple. They were meant both for the masses as well as for the most learned and the wise. Buddha did not lay emphasis on the Fatherhood of God. His emphasis was on the brotherhood of men. He did not preach dogmas. He preached ethics.
Four Noble Truths or Arya Satya:
Buddha got his enlightenment with the knowledge of four things. They were life is suffering due to desire, suffering ends with the end of desires, desires end with Nobel thoughts and actions. Buddhism developed its philosophy on these truths. To Buddha, the material existence of everything is momentary.
The world is full of sorrows. Life is unreal sorrows, sickness, old age, and death are inevitable. It is necessary to escape all suffering. He searched for means to escape worldly sufferings. He discovered the causes of suffering. Most causes were man’s desires. He wanted the destruction of worldly desires. For that purpose, he discovered the “Noble Eightfold path”.
Noble Eightfold path :
Buddha saw haw life rested on hopes and desires. He also knew how hopes and desires were the root causes of sorrows and suffering. He discovered the path to come out of those miseries. That path is famous as the Noble Eightfold path. They were Right view, Right Aspiration, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, and Right.
Mindfulness and Right contemplation. This Noble Eightfold path is also called the ‘Middle path’ Buddha knew that it was impossible and undesirable for all men to renowned the world and become Sannyasis. At the same time, he wanted that men should not to be too attached to worldly affairs and pleasures.
Therefore, he gave a code of conduct that was possible for a man to follow. Between a Sannyasi and an extremely worldly man, Buddha’s code of conduct was like the middle path. One could remain in the world without being worldly. The Noble Eightfold path was meant for that kind of life.
The Karma :
The desires lead men to karma. Bad desires lead to views. Man cannot escape the results of his karma. There is no escape even in death. After death, life will again take a new shape to suffer the karma of the last life. Transmigration of the soul will continue. Thus, kama leads to the cycle of many births. To the same world of sorrows and sufferings, life returns again and again. To Buddha, it was essential to put an end to such eternal suffering. He discovered the path at last. It was the Nirvana.
The Nirav was considered the supreme goal of life. It was an escape forever, the extinction. It was possible to attain Nirvana by putting an end to the desire for life, for the world for birth, and for existence. When all desires and all cavings are extinguished are for all life enters into a state of eternal peace. When it leaves the body, it does not take a re-birth.
In Buddhist philosophy, the idea of Nirvana had a deep root. In order to achieve that Nirvana a Buddhist was required to regulate his entire conduct. The conduct of Nirvana was moral conduct. A man should give up violence, killing of animals, falsehood, luxury, stealing desire for wealth, and many such immoral acts. Thereafter he should try for Samadhi or mediation and try to attain prajna or insight.
Finally, he should aspire for enlightenment and salvation, that is, Nirvana. In substance, salvation was possible through moral and ethical practices. With salvation, there was to be neither thirst nor desire, neither sorrow nor decay, and above all, neither life nor death. While Buddhism emphasized such faiths, it also stood to reform the existing Indian religion and society. Buddha was, in fact, the greatest reformer in Indian history.
Emphasize the impact of Jainism and Buddhism on Indian Society.
At a time when the early Vedic society was on its path toward degeneration. Jainism and Buddhism appeared to halt that process. The caste system and inequality of men were denounced. Society fought for the values of equality. The people were advised to develop the ethics of kindness towards all men.
By opening the doors to the lower casts to come to their fold. Jainism and Buddhism created a new hope for them for their honorable social existence. The higher castes were brought under a spirit of liberation. Jainism and Buddhism taught the people to practice non-violence towards each and all.
Both religions presented to men new codes of moral conduct. People were advised to lead a better and purer life. Higher spiritual goals were put before all men. In brief, Jainism and Buddhism created a new awareness in Indian Society for change for good.
Impact of Jainism and Buddhism on Literate:
The rise of Jainism and Buddhism opened the path for great literacy activities in ancient India. Mahavira Jina and Gautama Buddha were great prophets of the ancient world. Enough of literature, therefore, grew up around those two remarkable personalities. Their teaching was of unique value. Enormous literature, therefore, came up around their doctrines and sayings.
The most important of the Jaina literature were Anga, Upanga, and the mula sutra. The Buddhist religious literature became famous as the Tripitaka. In course of time, many philosophers and thinkers were born to enrich the Jaina and Buddhist literature. Knowledge of ancient history, philosophy, science astronomy, and various other subjects found a place in that religious literature. The literature of both those religions became the storehouse of ancient knowledge.
Influence on Architecture Art and Sculpture :
Both Jainism and Buddhism greatly enriched the art and architecture of India. Numberless religious shrines, monuments, monasteries, viharas, and stupas were constructed for religious purposes. The caves of Khandagiri – Udayahgiri in Odisha the temples of Elora, Junagarh, and mount Abu in Rajasthan are some of the examples of Jaina architecture that have survived till today.
They contain fine specimens of Jaina art and Sculpture. Examples of architecture are seen at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Sanchi, Barhat, Amaravati, and Ratnagiri. Countless Buddhist monuments have perished in course of time. The gigantic architectural works of the Kushan period are no more.
The descriptions of many works of architecture are seen in Buddhist literature but most of them have disappeared from the surface of the earth. Some examples of the cave architecture of the Buddhists are to be found today in Nagarjuna and Barabar hills. The finest examples of Buddhist sculpture are to be seen on the gateway and railings of the Sanchi Stupa.
The Buddhist stone pillars, as to be seen in some places, were works of fine sculpture. When the Mahayana form of Buddhism began to spread, the images of Buddha were required all over the country. Some of those images represent the excellence of the Indian art of sculpture. Jainism and Buddhism also encouraged the art of painting.
The Jaina painters made wonderful contributions to Indian art. Unfortunately, most of them perished due to the ravages of time. The Buddhists too developed the art of painting towards perfection. The world-famous paintings of the Ajanta Caves were the work of Buddhist painters. In brief, Jainism and Buddhism made immense contributions to Indian civilization during their key day.
In every sphere of culture, those two religions marked their impact deeply. Though Buddhism disappeared as a religion from India in course of time yet Buddha and his teachings found a permanent place in Indian thought. No historic figure has been worshipped as God as the Buddha in India. That proves the depth of the Buddhist impact on Indian history. Jainism thrives on the soil of this land as one of India’s great religions.
Kalinga war and its impact on the life of Ashoka live a description?
In the 12th year of his reign and the 8th year of his coronation, Ashoka invaded Kalinga. It was in 261 B.C. Ashoka’s Kalinga war was the greatest political event of his rule and one of the greatest events of all history. From very ancient times Kalinga was a famous state. Its power rested on internal prosperity and maritime activities.
Modern Odisha roughly covers the territories of ancient Kalinga. When Chandragupta Maurya was conquering far and wide to unite India, Kalinga was seen as independent and strong. The Greek Ambassador Megasthenes who lived at Pataliputra at that time indirectly referred to the power of Kalinga.
It was surprising that the Maurya army which conquered lands from Hindukush to the Ganges and the Himalayas to Mysore did not try to conquer a nearer country like Kalinga. The next Maurya Emperor, Bindusara, was also a powerful ruler. But he too did not venture a war with Kalinga. It was left for the third Maurya, Ashoka, to conquer that unconquered country.
Unfortunately, nothing is known regarding the ruler or rulers who ruled Kalinga at that time. It is also not the republic of the ancient model. Only this, much is known that the people of Kalinga offered a relentless resistance to the invader. They fought for their freedom. The army of Ashoka was no doubt big From the Greek accounts it is known that Chandragupta Mourya maintained an army of 6 lakhs.
It is probable that by the time of Ashoka the army was still bigger. In any case, Ashoka invaded Kalinga with the resources and military strength of the Indian empire. The people of Kalinga fought, but at length, they lost. How desperate was the battle, how bitterly was it fought, and how terrible were the results, are known from Ashoka’s own descriptions? This is what he wrote about the Kalinga war in his Thirteenth Rock Edict.
“The country of Kalinga was conquered when king Priyadarsine, beloved of the Gods, had been anointed eight years. One hundred and fifty thousand therefore captured, one hundred were thousand were there slain, and many times as many died”. These were losses on Kalinga’s side.
On Ashoka’s side too, many many thousands died in the battle. It was indeed a horrible war. Examples are rare in ancient history when so many people died in a single contest. It is, however, not the war that became unique but the result of the war which brought about a turning point in history.
The change of Ashoka :
The Kalinga war was Ashoka’s first and last war. He did not fight, therefore. He made no more conquests. The horrors of war evolved a storm in his mind. His heart was moved to see the misery of men. There was pain and remorse. And, there came a complete change. It was as if the conquered Kalinga conquered her conqueror.
The change which came in Ashoka has been described thus: “Therefore, now when the country of Kalinga has been acquired the beloved of the Gods has Zeahous compliance with Dhamma love of Dhamma and teaching of Dhamma, is the remorse of the beloved of the Gods on having conquered Kalinga.
Verily the slaughter, death, and captivity of the people, that occurs, when an unconquered country is being conquered, is looked upon as extremely, painful and regrettable by the Beloved of the Gods. Even one hundredth or one-thousandth part of those who are stain died, or were captured in Kalinga is today considered regrettable by the Beloved of the Gods.
The Beloved of the Gods desires for all beings non-injury, self-control, equable conduct, and gentleness”. The change that the Kalinga war brought to him led Ashoka to become a Buddhist. He gave up violence once and for all and became a disciple of that Great Apostle of Non-violence, Gautama Buddha.
It was the conquest of heart that he thereafter aimed at. Because the conquest by the sword was no real conquest. The conversion of Chand Ashoka into Dharmashoka is considered as an epoch-making event in world history. His new role made him the greatest monarch of mankind.
Evaluate the kind, Ashoka, as a missionary and his promotion towards the upliftment of Buddhism.
Monarchs of men are known for political activities. Only a very few of them had a religious mission to perform. Among those few Ashoka was the foremost. No monarch was able to do for any religion what Ashoka did for Buddhism. The role of Ashoka as a missionary was manifold. He preached Buddhism as a code of ethics.
He wanted his moral elevation of his. subjects, of the officers of the state, and of the people of neighboring countries. In fact, it was a spiritual mission for the benefit of mankind. He adopted the following means for the propagation of the Dharma or the eternal law.
The Emporer decided to travel to various corners of his country to propagate Dharma. In the past, the kings used to go out on Vihara-yatra or pleasure tours. Those were meant for hunting, games, and spots. But Ashoka gave up Vihar-Yatra. Instead, he took up Dharma-Yatra. That is to say, Ashoka became a moving missionary himself. He went to such places as Bodhgaya where Buddha got enlightenment and the Lumbini Garden where Buddha was born.
He traveled with Buddhist bhikshus, met people everywhere, came into close contact with them, and personally taught them the rules of Dharma. Two results came out of his Dharma-Yatra. First, the Buddhist places that Ashoka visited received special veneration from the people. Secondly, the religious discourages of the emperor drew countless men towards Buddhism.
Ashoka erected Dharma Stambhas at different places in his for-flung empire to draw the pillars. The noble principle of conduct and ethics were inscribed on the pillars. Those writings were the Dharma-lipids, containing valuable thoughts about Dharma. They were meant to be preserved on imperishable stone for generations of men to see and follow. No ordinary missionary could have erected that costly pillar. It was a royal missionary like Asoka who could do it. And the stamp has a permanent value.
For the propagation and promotion of Dharma Ashoka appointed a set of officers named as Dharma Mahamatras. They were to work for the material and spiritual benefit of men. In the vast empire of Ashoka there lived people of many sects and many faiths. Ashoka wanted that they should all live together happily as well as practice their faith rightly.
Dharma Mahamatras were required to regulate cordial relations among various sets and to keep them on the right path. They were also to work on charity and philanthropy. The work of those officers roused a religious and spiritual awakening in the minds of men.
Asoka wanted that people should hear the meaning of Dharma. He, therefore, ordered the officers of the state such as Rajukas, pradesikas, and Yuktas to go out four every five years to preach religious doctrines among the people. Such doctrines were the rules of this and morality for a higher and better life. When the high officers of the Government taught Dharma, people in large numbers became attracted to it. Thus, Ashoka was not only a missionary himself, but they made the officers missionaries as well.
Inside Ashoka’s empire, there were many turbulent tribes who lived in a dense dangerous forest. On the outskirts of his empire, there also lived such people. Besides, outside the immediate frontiers of the Maurya empire, there were hostile people all around. Previous monarchs terrified such people inside and outside by the Bherighosha.
It was the “Reverberation of the war Durm”. In other words, it was the conquest by force of arms. Ashok gave up that traditional mode of conquest. Instead, he wanted to conquer them by Dharma Ghost. It was the Reverberation of Dharma or law. In other words, it was a conquest by force of love non¬violence, peace, and morality.
Buddhist monks were sent to preach among the different people to bring them to the path of law. Ashoka announced a policy of peace toward all. He called Upon the dwellers of forests and others not to fear any show of force from him. Instead, he advised them to come nearer to Dharma Ashok, dharma Ghosa, no doubt, was a markable missionary of eating.
Finally, Ashoka thought of a much more ambitious mission. It was a tradition with powerful monarchs to think of conquests. It could be the conquest of far-away countries across continents. Ashoka gave up such ideas. Instead, he thought of the widest conquest through Dharma. Accordingly, he sent names mentioned in his rock inscriptions.
They were kinged Antiochos Theos of Syria, Ptolemy philosophes of Egypt, Antigonos Gonatas of Macedonia, mages of Cyrene, and Alexandar of Epirus – Ashoka’s Spiritual mission in the Greek world, in Egypt and Syria bore inevitable results. The first lessons of Buddhism made an entry into western Asia and beyond.
In the south, the conquest was more definite. In this regard, the emperor showed a remarkable personal example of sacrifice for a cause. He sent his own son Mahendra to Ceylon to preach Buddhism there. And, Mahendra was preceded as a Buddhism Bhikshu, not as the son of the richest emperor of the world. In those days, the sea routes were unsafe.
The ships were small Ceylon sent his son to that distant, dangerous, and unknown place. Next, he sent his daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon with a branch of the Bodhi tree. Sanghamitra went as a Bhikshuni and stayed there for many years till her death. The people of Ceylon embraced Buddhism because of her discussion efforts.
It was a supreme achievement of Ashok as a missionary to have converted the people of an entire country outside India to the religion of Buddha. The people of Srilanka, that is Ceylon, are Buddhists fill today. Ashoka also sent missionaries to Suvamabhumi or Burma. Among them were Sona and Uttar whose names have survived till now.
Through Burma, Buddhism made its way to Southeast Asian countries which in course of time became Buddhist. Ashoka was praised for his Dharma Vijaya outside. He proclaimed in his rock Edict. “But this conquest is considered to be the chiefest by the Beloved of the Gods, which is conquest through Dharma. And that again has been achieved by the Beloved of the Gods here and in his bordering dominions, even as far as six hundred Yojanas”.
The missionary emperor was also confident that the influence of the dharma would spread beyond his neighboring countries. Therefore, he said, “Even where the envoys of the Beloved of the Gods do not go, they, having heard the utterances of Dharma the ordinances, and the teaching of Dharma by the beloved of the Gods practice Dhamma and will such practice.”
Such were the achievements of Ashoka a missionary. In this zeal for the propagation of religion, both inside his empire and outside, Ashoka is without a rival, or a parallel, among the monarchs of men.
Give an account of the Mauryan Administration and its impact on society.
Literacy sources such as the Indika and the Arthasastra and the various rock and pillar edicts of Ashoka give us a detailed account of the Mauryan administration. The administration can be studied under far heads of central provincial, district and village. The capital city of Pataliputra was administered separately.
The king was the supreme authority. He took all important decisions concerning the empire. He was assisted by a council of ministers Mantri Parishad. The various branches of the administration were under officials called ‘Amatyas”.
The empire was divided into provinces. Each province was headed by a prince. He ruled the province as a representative of the king. He was assisted by many officials.
Each province was divided into a number of districts. The ‘Pradeshta’ was the head of the district. He was assisted by Junior officials such as ‘Yaktas’ and ‘Rajkas’. Their functions included the survey and assessment of land, collection of revenue, and maintenance of law and order.
Each district consisted of many villages. Villages assisted government officials in marking the boundaries of the village, maintaining land records, and collecting taxes.
City of Pataliputra :
Pataliputra was the capital of the empire. It was also a most around the city to protect it from enemy attacks. A committee of 30 members looked after the city. This committee of 30 members looked after the city. This committee was divided into six boards, each consisting of five members. Each board looked after a specific department, such as the comforts and security of foreigners, registration of births and deaths, industry and trade and commerce, an inspection of manufactured goods, and collection of taxes.
The Mauryans had a large army which included infantry, cavalry, elephants, chariots, and a navy. Senapati was the head of the army. The army was equipped with bows, arrows, swords, armor shields, etc. The army defended the kingdom from enemy attacks. The officers and soldiers were well-trained and regularly paid.
Spy system :
The Mauryan kings maintained an efficient spy system. They informed the kind about the development within the kingdom and outside.
Write a note on the Development of Literature and science during the Gupta period.
The Gupta age was an age of high culture and many scientific achievements.
The Gupta kings were great patrons of Sanskrit Literature. Some of the finest poetry and dramas in Sanskrit were written during his time. Kalidasa lived during the reign of Chandragupta II. It is famous works include Meghaduta, Raghavamsha, Ritusamhara, Kumara Sambhava, and the famous play, Abhijnana Shankuntalam.
There were other great writers too. Sukruta wrote Mrich Chhakatika. Vishakhadutta authored. Mudrakshasa and Devichandra Gupta – Panini’s Ashtadhyagi was an excellent work in Sanskrit Grammar. Another popular work today, the Panchatantra was also written during the Gupta period.
All branches of science made rapid progress during this period. The science of mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, and medicine was very advanced.
Two well-known mathematicians and astronomers of the time were Aryabhata and Varahamihira. Aryabhata said that the earth moves around the sun and at the same time moves on its own axis. His theory was not believed at that time. However, now he knows that it is true. He wrote Aryabhatiyam, in which he gave solutions to many mathematical problems. Varahmihira was another leading scientist. He wrote Brihat Samhita which is an encyclopedia of science.
The numeral system was also very advanced. The Arabic numbers were first used by the Indians. This system was later adopted by the Arabs and then by the Europeans. Indian mathematicians knew the use of the zero. They used the decimal system extensively.
Metallurgy was also very advanced. This is clear from the iron pillar at Mehrauli, in Delhi, built in the fourth century. As it has remained exposed to sun and rain for over to centuries. However, the dust has formed over it. The gold coins of the Guptas were also excellently designed.
In the field of medicine too, there was great progress. Doctors attended to patients in the many hospitals which were built during the Gupta period. Many books on medicine were written. Dhanvantari was the greatest physician of this time. Veterinary science also developed.
The Gupta age is still remembered for its achievements in the field of literature and science.
Why Gupta Age is known as the classical Age in Sanskrit literature.
The Sanskrit Language was patronized during the Gupta period. It was recognized as the court language and was used in their inscriptions. Gradually it became the lingua franca of India. Even Buddhist scholars began writing their scriptures in Sanskrit. The Jain writers too, who had been writing in Pali and Prakrit, switched over the Sanskrit which gradually became the literary language of northern India. Great poets, dramatists, grammarians, and playwrights lived in the period. Some of the well-known scholars who flourished during the period are mentioned below.
He was the greatest Sanskrit poet and playwright of this age. Meghaduta, Ritu Sambhar, Kumar Sambhava, Raghu-vans, Shakuntala, Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Vikramorvashi & Malavikagnimitram were his important contribution to Sanskrit literature.
He was a great poet & playwright of the Gupta period. His two great historical plays are Mudra-Rakshasa & Devi Chandragupta Mudra Rakshasa (seal of Rakshasa) was the story of how Chandragupta Maurya managed to get the throne of Magadha. Devi Chandra Gupta is a historical play dealing with the early life of Chandragupta II.
Sudhakar wrote the famous play Mrichhakatika which throws light on the social-cultural conditions of the Gupta period. Bhargavi wrote the great Kirataijuniya. This epic describes the battle between Arjuna & Lord Shiva disguised as Kirata. Dandin was a Versatile writer. His Das Kumar Charita (Tales of the ten princes) describes the adventures of ten princes.
These adventures give us information on the Sociocultural conditions of that period. Sudhanshu was a prose writer. In his famous work Vasavadatta, he narrates the story of the heroine Vasavadatta and prince Kandarpaketu.
It was during the Gupta period that the Panchatantra, a collection of tables was written. In these stories, animals and birds play the part of the king’s ministers and common men. These animal stories were a help in instructing children in moral values. The famous work Hitopadesa is based on Panchatantra. The Panchatantra has been translated into many languages.
The book is a treasure house of people’s feelings and emotions in human relations. The stories contain wisdom and common sense needed for daily living. During the Gupta period, Sanskrit grammar was systematically written by such grammarians as Panini and Patanjali. Thus it is rightly called the Gupta age as the classical Age is Sanskrit languages.