Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya.

History of mediæval Hindu India (being a history of India from 600 to 1200 A.D.) .. (Volume 1) online

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families between half-brothers, and in royal families in India such
brothers are usually at deadly enmity. By this suggestion is also
removed the difficulty of explaining why the sons of a king were given
as companions of the sons of another king. Kumara and Madhava had
no right to the throne being younger sons and their presence in Malava



* If we take this, to mean "fight" with Harsha, he is stlU Harsha's contemporary,



36 HARSHA AND HIS TIMES

"wj,s not very palatable to the eldest son and heir-apparent Deva Gupta
who was most likely an impetuous man. In fine the story of the
Malavaraja in connection with Harsha may be told thus. A Gupta
family starting from Krishna Gupta reigned at Ujjain or some other
place in Malava and were the hereditary enemies of the Maukharis of
Kanauj. They were connected by marriage with the Vardhana family
of Thanesar, Prabhakaravardhana's mother Mahasena Gupta (mention-
ed in the Sonpat seal of Harsha) being a sister of Mahasena Gupta of
Malwa. The last had a long reign and had his eldest son Deva Gupta by
one wife and two younger sons Kuniara and Madhava by another wife.
These he sent to his sister's son Prabhakara to seek their fortune.
Mahasena Gupta died a little before^ Prabhakara and Deva Gupta be-
came king of Malwa. When Prabhakara died suddenly and Rajya and
Harsha and Grahavarma were left young and inexperienced,Deva Gupta,
as usual with his family, suddenly attacked Grahavarma and killed him,
Rajya with Bhandi and Kumara, half-brother of Deva Gupta; attacked
Deva Gupta and defeated him and seized all his treasure and put his inen
and family in chains for his dastardly treatment of Rajyashrl. Rajya
and Kumara both being subsequently killed treach^fously by Sasanka
Harsha became king of Thanesar and came and took from Bhandi the
charge of the booty and prisoners and the army of elephants of the Malava
king. It seems probable that for the great crime of Deva Gupta the
kingdom of Malava was seized by Harsha for a time at least and not
given to Madhava to whom it properly belonged. It appears so clearly*
from the Harsha-Charita where Bana says : aryrgt^^r cfF^Ti^wPl'JId: ^^^5
3-;!rrfWRiTIT'?t^^T^: (H. C. pp. 200 and 252)
seems to indicate that the Maukharis of Kanauj were a powerful family
and the seal found at Ashirgad and the inscriptions found at Jaunpur and
Deo Barnak show that they held sway over a large extent of territory
southwards upto the Vindhya, northwards upto Jaunpur, and eastwards
upto the Brahmaputra. In fact I would give the political history of
India in the latter half of the sixth century as follows : — When the
Imperial Gupta line ended in 538 A. D. with Kumara Gupta II ( V.Smith
page 152 3rd edition), many of their provinces came under the sway of
the Maukharis of Kanauj. With the overthrow of the Huns by a con-
federacy led by Yasodharma and Baladitya several new kingdoms came
into importance in different parts of the Gupta empire and among
them the Vardhanas of Thanesar and the Maukharis of Kanauj who
had also their share of the fights with the Huns were the two promi-
nent. The latter extended their sway north, south and east and for a
time the eastern provinces were under their direct sway. We can only
thus exph-in the confirmation of the grant at Deo Barnak made or-



40 HAR8HA AND HIS TIMES

ginally by Baladitya, by Sarvavarma and again by Avantivarma. It
was after Harsha's death that this sway of the Maukharis of Kanauj
in Bengal was substituted by that of the'later Guptas of Magadha as'
they are called by Archaeologists. This part of my theory about the
Maukharis seems to me to be well founded and strong. As to my
surmise that the later Gupta line originally came from Malwa, I cannot
speak with the same certainty. If Madhava of the Aphsad inscription
is a brother of Devagupta, then he came undoubtedly from Malwa. But
if not we may treat his line as ruling from before in some portion of
Magadha. All the same Devagupta who killed Grahavarma and who
was killed by Rajya certainly belongs to Malwa. We may well ima-
gine that a Gupta line set itself up in Malwa after the disruption of the
Gupta empire and always fought with the Maukharis of Kanauj for
supremacy. Devagupta may also be, with fitness, assigned to the line
of Gupta princes of whom Bhavagupta of 580 A. D. was one. Madhava
andKumara the companions of Harsha and Rajya must in that case be
taken to belong to this line of Malwa kings, that is the Madhava of
Harsha-Charita must be taken to be different from the Madhava of the
Aphsad inscription. These Guptas of the Aphsad inscription even if
assigned to Magadha may also have had fights with the Maukharis of
Kanauj who were as we have said above the overlords of the eastern
portion of the Gupta empire.

We must lastly take into consideration the fact noted in the account
given by Mr. Burn of " some coins of the Maukharis " in J. R. A. S. 1906
at page 843 referred to by Sir V. A. Smith in a foot-note here. These
coins were found in a village named Bhitaura in the Zilla of Fyzabad
in Oudh. They are coins of Isanavarma, Sarvavarma and Avantivarma
and of Harsha, Pratapasila and Siladitya as deciphered from the legends.
They also contain dates which w^ith dates on coins previously found are
for Isanavarma 54, 55 for Sarva 58 (formerly found) 234, 23 ( now found )
and 57 which may be read as 67 and 71 (formerly found) and 250 (now found)
for Avantivarma. On the coins of Harsha, Pratapasila and Siladitya
the figures in the opinion of Mr. Burn " stand for regnal years. " The
three digit figures on the Varma coins now found are clearly Gupta
years. The previous figures are not well explained and Mr. Burn seeks
to explain them by reference to a supposed era started by Brahmagupta
in 499 A. D. when exactly 3600 years had expired from the begnining of
the Kali age. Whatever that era may be, the dates extending over
three digits, now found, are clearly Gupta era figures and in the opinion
of Mr. Burn this use of the Gupta era may indicate a temporary subjec-
tion to, or alliance with Guptas. But it seems to me that no such in-
ference is necessary. Indeed independent kings use the era of an empire
which has just passed away, simply because the people are accustomed
to use that era. The Valabhis used the Gupta era not because they
were subject to the Guptas, but because they established their kingdom
in a part of the country whence the Gupta empire had just passed away



SMITH ON MAUKHARIS. 41

and where the people were accustomed to use the Gupta era. As tbey
were not powerful enough to found an era of their own, they used the
Gupta era in use among the people. We may cite an instance quite
near our own times. The Marathas used the Fasli era and even the
Fasli and Mahomedan months, though they were independent and even
after the Mogul power at Delhi was reduced to a phantom, because the
people were accustomed to that era and those months. Even the British
used that era for some time. These remarks apply also to the form of
the coins. A succeeding rule generally copies the form, the weight and
even the legends or appearance of the coins of a preceding rule because
the people are accustomed to the sight of such coins. The rupee of the
British is formed after the fashion of the Mogul coin rather than of
their own coins in Britain. I offer these remarks, of course, with diffi-
dence but I may contend that the use of the Gupta era does not
necessarily indicate subjection to the Guptas. In fact, in the time of
the Maukharis, the Gupta empire and rule had passed away. To my
mind, these coins support the theoi'y already propounded, namely, that
the Maukharis succeeded to the rule of the Guptas in the Gangetic
provinces. The finding of the coin in the Fyzabad District, like the
. Jaunpur inscription of Isanavarma shows the extent of their sway. The
genealogy disclosed in the seal of Sarvavarma found at Ashirgad is also
well supported by the coins, and Isanavarma, Sarvavarma and Avanti-
varma seem to be the three powerful kings of this family. And the
dates of the coins now fouud are not inconsistent with our theory, as
the coin of Avantivarma can well make him a contemporary of Pra-
bhakaravardhana of Thanssar, and his son Grahavarma a son-in-law
of the latter. For if we take 250, certainly a Gupta era figure, we have
250 + 319 = 569 for Avantivarma. Supposing it to be a date of Avauti-
varma's rule we have Grahavarma seated on the throne of Kanuaj in
606 A. D., i. e. about 37 years after this, which is not at all improbable.
234 G. E. for Sarvavarma again means 234 + 319=553 A. D., a date
consistent with the Varma family tree and also with the genf ral history
of India as sketched above. Whatever era the two digit dates may
be in, we think, considering the other dates, that these coins support
practically the theory propounded here about the Varmas and there is
nothing inconsistent with their having ruled in Kanauj, as Bana makes
them do.

4.— The date of Harsha's Birth.

The date of the birth of Harsha can be definitely determined from
data given by Bana in his Harsha-Charita. Being given by a person,
who was himself at the court of Harsha, these data may be looked upon
as reliable. At page 183 H. C, we find rTfTST ar'^ ^^STi;??!^ JTITfl" ^^r^ ^fc?"-
7^-g[r?^ eq?fi^ srfnnTJ^^ ^rirr^^^ft ?tti^> ^«^r^:St ^H^rf^ ^j^i^-
wnJpr?^. This shows that Harsha was born in the month of Jyestha, on
the 12th of the dark fortnight, when the moon was in the Krittikas, and
6



42 HARSHA AND HIS TIMES

at the hour when night was entering on her youth (?. e., about 10 p. m.)
Astronomical calculations made on the basis of these data, by my friend
Professor Apte of the Victoria College. Lashkar, show that the moon
was at 10 p. m., in the Krittikas on the 12th of Jyestha Vadya Saka 511
(589 A. D.) as also on the 12th of Jyestha Vadya Saka 512 (590 A. D.)
The latter year seems the more probable of the two, as in the former the
Dvadashl set in after sunrise. If we accept the latter year Harsha was
16 years complete in October 606 a. D. when he ascended the throne of
Thanesarandftomwhichdatehis era is believed to have commenced. The
month Jyestha mentioned by Bana must here be taken to be an Amanta
month, i. e., month ending with the new moon ; which seems somewhat
strange as Bana coming from Northern India should have used the
northern reckoning with the Purnimanta months ending with the full
moon. But the Purnimanta ^lonth Jyestha Vadya would be Amanta
Vaishakha Vadya 12, on which day neither in 58S nor in 590 A. D. as
Professor Apte has found the moon was in the Krittikas. There is
another point also rather suspicious as neither in 589 nor in 590 A. D. on
Jyestha Vadya 12 were all the planets in their Uccha or Ascendant as
Bana says they were (See J7Fvn?rr f^%tf%'^ ^TcfrTrffltt^N^r'sflT^'tnTff^ fl^l^^^
?«TPTr?y^'stt ii%is:CrT^S'Sr'i?"iT ^'^ page 184, H. C). Perhaps this was the
exaggeration of the court astrologer or else when Harsha was born his
future greatness was not known and only when his subsequent greatness
entitled him to a good horoscope was one manufactured for him by the
court astrologer. The position of the planets as calculated for Jyestha
Vadya 12, 589 and 590 A. D. are as follows, according to Professor
Apte's cakulations : —

Jyestha Vadya 12, 589 A. D. Jyestha Vadya 12, 590 A. D.

(4o ghati) 10 P. M., Tuesday, (4o ghati) 10 P. M. Sunday.

'



Online LibraryChintaman Vinayak VaidyaHistory of mediæval Hindu India (being a history of India from 600 to 1200 A.D.) .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 5 of 38)