Chandragupta II

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Author of this article is Laxman Burdak लक्ष्मण बुरड़क
Vikramaditya

Chandragupta II(380- 414 AD) (चन्द्रगुप्त द्वितीय) was ruler of Gupta Empire and successor of Ramgupta (375-380 AD). Chandragupta II, the Sun of Power (Vikramaditya), ruled until 413. It is said that his reign was preceded by a five year rule of his elder brother Ramgupta (375-380 AD), who suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of the Saka rulers. It forced Chandragupta to set aside his brother and capture the reign of the empire in his own hands in 380 AD. Chandragupta ruled for a period of about 34-35 years from 380 AD to 415 AD. He married his daughter Prabhavatigupta to Rudrasena II, the Vakataka king of Deccan, and gained a valuable ally. Only marginally less war-like than his father, he expanded his realm westwards, defeating the Saka Western Kshatrapas of Malwa, Gujarat and Saurashtra in a campaign lasting until 409, but with his main opponent Rudrasimha III defeated by 395, and crushing the Bengal (Vanga) chiefdoms. This extended his control from coast-to-coast, established a second (trading) capital at Ujjain and was the high point of the empire.

Despite the creation of the empire through war, the reign is remembered for its very influential style of Hindu art, literature, culture and science, especially during the reign of Chandra Gupta II. Some excellent works of Hindu art such as the panels at the Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh serve to illustrate the magnificence of Gupta art. Above all it was the synthesis of the sacred and sensual elements that gave Gupta art its distinctive flavour. During this period, the Guptas were supportive of thriving Buddhist and Jain cultures as well, and for this reason there is also a long history of non-Hindu Gupta period art. In particular, Gupta period Buddhist art was to be influential in most of East and Southeast Asia. Much of advances was recorded by the Chinese scholar and traveller Fa-hsien in his diary and published afterwards.

The court of Chandragupta was made even more illustrious by the fact that it was graced by the navaratna, a group of nine who excelled in the literary arts. Amongst these men was the immortal Kalidasa whose works dwarfed the works of many other literary geniuses, not only in his own age but in the ages to come. Kalidasa was particularly known for his fine exploitation of the sringara (erotic) element in his verse.

Chandragupta II was succeeded by his son Kumaragupta I.

Mathura Inscription of Chandragupta II

II. Mathura stone pillar inscription of Chandragupta II, year 61 (ASI)
  • (Line 8.)-By him who is the son,-accepted by him, (and) begotten on the Mahâdêvî Dattadêvî,- of the Mahârâjâdhirâja, [the glorious] Samudragupta,-
  • (L. I.)-[Who was the exterminator of all kings; who had no antagonist (of equal power)] in the world; [whose fame was] tasted [by the waters of the four oceans]; who was equal to (the gods) [Dhanada and Varuna and Indra and Antaka]; who was [the very axe] of (the god) Kritânta; who was the giver of [many] millions of [lawfully acquired cows] and gold; [who was the restorer of the ashvamêdha-sacrifice, that had been long in abeyance];-
  • (L. 5.)-Who was the son of the son's son of the Mahârâja the illustrious Gupta; the son's son of [the mahârâja, the illustrious] Ghatôtkacha; (and) the son of the Mahârâjâdhirâja [the glorious Chandragupta (I.)], (and) the daughter's son of Lichchhavi, begotten on the Mahâdêvî Kumâradêvî;-
  • (L. 11.)-[By him, the most devout worshipper of the Divine One, the Mahârâjâdhirâja, the glorious Chandragupta (II.)], . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,
(The rest of the inscription is entirely broken away and lost.)

From: Fleet, John F. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Vol. III. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, 1888, 27-28.

Sanchi Inscription of Chandragupta II

  • Perfection has been attained! To the community of the faithful in the holy great vihâra of Kâkanâdabôta, -in which the organs of sense (of the members of it) have been subdued by the virtues of (good) character, religious meditation, and wisdom; which . . . . . . . . . . . . deeds of the very highest religious merit; which has come together from the four quarters of the world; (and) which is the abode of most excellent Shramanas,-having prostrated himself in an assembly of five persons, Amrakârdava the son of Undâna,-whose means of subsistence have been made comfortable by the favour of the feet of the Mahârâjâdhirâja, the glorious Chandragupta (II.); who is publishing in the world the amiable behaviour of the virtuous people who are the dependents (of the king); who has acquired banners of victory and fame in many battles; (and) who is an inhabitant of (the town of) Nashtî . . . . . . in the Sukuli dêsha,-gives (the village or allotment of) Îshvaravâsaka ……..purchased with the endowment of Maja and Sharabhanga and Amrarâta of the royal household, and (also gives) twenty-five dînâras.
  • (Line 7.)-From [the interest of the dînâras] given by him,- with half, as long as the moon and the sun (endure), let five Bhikshus be fed, and let a lamp burn in the jewel-house, for the perfection of all the virtues of….the familiar name of Dêvarâja, ……. Of the Mahârâjâdhirâja, the glorious Chandragupta (II.); and with the other half, which is mine, let the same number of five Bhikshus be fed, and (let) a lamp (burn) in the jewel-house.
  • (L. 10.)-Whosoever shall interfere with this his arrangement,- he shall become invested with (the guilt of) the slaughter of a cow or of a Brâhman, and with (the guilt of) the five sins that entail immediate retribution!
  • (L. 11.)-The year 90 (and) 3; (the month) Bhâdrapada; the day 4.
  • From: Fleet, John F. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Vol. III. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, 1888, 32-34.

Udayagiri Cave Inscription of Chandragupta II

  • Perfection has been attained! . . . . . . . . . . . . which shines like the sun, radiant with internal light, . . . . . . . upon the earth . . . . . . . . ., pervades . . . . . . . . . . (and) has the appellation of Chandragupta (II.), (and is) wonderful;-
  • (Line 2.)-Bought by the purchase-money of [whose] prowess, [the earth], in which (all other) princes are humiliated by the slavery (imposed on them by him), . . . . . . . gratified by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . religion.
  • (L. 3.)-He who holds the position, acquired by hereditary descent, of being a minister of that same saintly sovereign, possessed of inconceivable . . . . . . . . , (and) [has been appointed to] (the office of arranging) peace and war; (viz.)-
  • (L. 4.)-He who, belonging to the Kautsa (gôtra) is well-known under the name of Shâba, (but is called) Vîrasêna by (his) family-appellation;-who knows the meanings of words, and logic, and (the ways of) mankind;-who is a poet;-and who belongs to (the city of ) Pâtaliputra,-
  • (L. 5.)-He came here, accompanied by the king in person, who was seeking to conquer the whole world; and, through devotion towards the divine (god) Shambhu, he caused this cave to be made.
  • From: Fleet, John F. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Vol. III. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, 1888, 35-36.

Udayagiri Cave Inscription of Chandragupta II (401-402 CE)

  • Perfection has been attained! In the year 80 (and) 2, on the eleventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month Âshâdha,— this (is) the appropriate religious gift of the Sanakânika, the Mahârâja . . dhala (?),— the son’s son of the Mahârâja Chhagalaga; (and) the son of the Mahârâja Vishnudâsa,— who meditates on the feet of the Paramabhattâraka and Mahârâjâdhirâja, the glorious Chandragupta (II.)
  • From: Fleet, John F. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Vol. III. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, 1888, 25.

Gadhwa Stone Inscription of Chandragupta II (407-408 CE)

First Part.
  • [In the reign of the most devout worshipper of the Divine One, the Mahârâjâdhirâja the glorious Chandragupta (II.); in the year] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ; [on this] (lunar day), (specified) as above by the day (&c.):—
  • (Line 3.)— . . . . . . . . . . . . headed by Mâtridâsa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . for the purpose of increasing [the religious merit] . . . . . . . . . fashioned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the Brâhmans of the community of a perpetual almshouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by ten dînâras, (or in figures) 10.
  • (L. 8.)— And whosoever [shall interfere with] this branch of religion,— [he] shall become invested [with (the guilt of) the five great sins]!
Second Part.
  • (L. 10.)— In the reign of the most devout worshipper of the Divine One, the Mahârâjâdhirâja, the glorious Chandragupta (II.)]; in the year 8o (and) 8; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [on this] (lunar day), (specified) as above [by the day, (&c.)] :—
  • (L. 12.)— . . . . . . Pâtaliputra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the wife of the householder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [for the purpose] of adding to (her) own religious merit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the Brâhmans of the community of a perpetual almshouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . ten dinâras, (or in figures) 10.
  • (L. 16.)— [And whosoever] shall interfere with [this] branch of religion,— [he shall become invested with (the guilt of) the five great sins]!
  • From: Fleet, John F. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Vol. III. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, 1888, 38-39.

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