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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namely, Chichito or Zajoti in what is row Bundelkhand
the capital being probably at Eran and Mahesvarapura
which has been identified by many with Gwalior (or per-
haps Narwar). All these three kingdoms go by the name
of their capitals and were ruled by Brahmin kings who
may well be originally only Gupta governors subsequently
assuming kingly status.*

We have thus far noticed the'|important kingdoms in
the west and south of the empire of Harsha and mentioned
the names and other [particulars of the kings who ruled
them. They were, to ' repeat, the kingdoms of Kabul»

1. The kin»; in Chichito mightl have -been a descendant of the Brahmin king San-
kshobha of the Parivrajaka family whose inscription :is given at 25 in the Corp. Ins., Vol.
Ill, p. 1 15, or he may have been a descendant of Dhyanavishu whose inscription has
been found at- Eran.


Kashmir, Tekka (Panjab), Sind, Valabhi, Gurjara, Broach,
Malwa, Uijain, Bundelkhand and Gwalior. Durlabhavar-
dhana ruled in Kashmir and SahasillinSind. At Valabhi
the premier Kshatriya king Dhruvabhata ruled and he was
the son-in-law of Harsha- In Gurjara north or Rajputana
and in Gurjara south or Broach ruled two Kshatriya
kings, viz., a son of Vyaghramukha and Dadda II, respec-
tively. In what is Central India as constituted at present
three kingdoms, named Ujjain, Zajoti, and Mahesvarapura,
besides Molapo or Western Malwa, were ruled by three
Brahmin kings. All these were probably actually inclu-
ued in Harsha's empire and Valabhi and Broach were
practically so, while Gurjara, Sind, Kashmir and Tekka
were nominally under Harsha's suzerainty. In Molapo.
which was also practically under the rule of Harsha, a
grandson of a Siladitya ruled with certainty.

Before going on to describe the kingdoms of Mid-India
we must notice a small kingdom not visited by Hiuen
Tsang, the ruler of which in the beginning of the next or
8th century laid the foundation of the Mewad kingdom so
noted in modern history for its great heroism and its cons-
tancy to Rajput traditions. This was the small kingdom
of Eder in the south-west of Mewad, founded by a son of
Guhaditya of the Valabhi family of Kshatriyas, in the
middle of the sixth century. At this time, ?'. e., in the first
half of the seventh century, the ruler in this family
was named Nagaditya Siladitya who is mentioned in an
inscription dated 646 A. D. (see Rajputana Gazetteer,
Mewad Agency, Vol. II ) In this family is said to
have been born Bappa Rawal who in the beginning
of the 8th century seized Chitod and inaugurated the
Mewad family of Rajputs as we shall have to relate here-
after. The origin of the Mewad family thus traced to the
Valabhi kings is doubted by many historians, for reasons
which we shall have to discuss in our second volume.

We now come to Mid-India or what is practically
the present United Provinces. The valley of the Ganges
and the Jumna has been the seat of Indo-Aryan civili-


zation from ancient times. Indo-Aryan mental and
physical power was developed here and from here the
Aryans dominated so to speak Northern India or Hindus-
tan as it is usually called. This part in ancient times was
called the MadhyaDesa from which Sri Krishna says in the
Mahabharata (Sabha parva) "the Yadavas were so sorry to
be ousted and whither they pined so vehemently to return."
The same name continued down to the time of Hiuen
Tsang who also calls it Mid-India and Varahamihira also
makes this part the central division of India. The climate
of this part of the country is or rather was remarkably
dry and healthy in those days, when it was not cut up by
numerous canals taken out from the Jumna and the
Ganges, which while they have added to the fertility of
the land and insured it against famine, have created a
malarial climate and detracted much from its salubrity.
The country then was and still is very fertile and hence
numerous peoples or kingdoms flourished in this very
compact territory and rose to pre-eminence in ancient
times. The principal kingdoms here at this time were
Thanesar and Kanauj both ruled by one and the same
king Harsha. These two kingdoms were in fact the ancient
Kuru and Panchala kingdoms united again as they once
were under Janamejaya and the combination was natur-
ally so powerful that Harsha like Janamejaya easily
became the emperor of Hindustan. As Harsha usually
lived at Kanauj that city now rose to the importance, and
assumed the status, of the capital of India. This status it
retained throughout tbo mediaeval period of Indian history
of which we are treating. It had already risen into some
importance during the days of the Maukhari kings Isana,
Sarva and Avantivarma who ruled there during the latter
half of the sixth century and who established overlordship
over the eastern portion of the Gangetic valley, while the
Vardhanas of Thanesar established overlordship over the
western. The union of Thanesar and Kanauj at once raised
Kanauj • to the position of the capital of India now lost

■ Kanauj is row a mere Tahsil or Taluka town in the Farukhabad District, U. P. and
iiothinft but debris remains to attest its former greatness.


completely by Pataliputra. The latter city when Hiuen
Tsang visited it was in ruins and almost deserted. It
had finished its role. Chandragupta Maurya had raised it
to the position of the capital of India and Asoka had con-
firmed it. Subsequent dynasties of emperors down to the
Guptas respected that position, but when the Guptas moved
out of it for the first time to Ayodhya for a sort of change,
its decline began, and when Harsha established the court
of his empire at Kanauj, that position was finally lost
by it after having thus retained it for about 800 years, i. e.
from 300 B.C. to 500 A.D. Kanauj remained the acknowledged
capital of India during the rest of the period of the early
history of India. Delhi was almost a village at this time.
It had shone once only during the brief reign of thePanda-
vas in the beginning of Indian history and had then retired
into shade. It came into view again in the 10th century A.D.
with Anangapala who claimed to be a descendant of the
Pandavas but remained inferior to Kanauj till the 12th
century when it threw Kanauj into shade with the victory
of Prithviraja over Jayachand. The Mahomedans who
finally conquered Prithviraja made Delhi the chief seat of
their rule and Delhi has since remained the capital of the
Indian empire down to this day.

This short account of the shifting of the centre of
political gravity westward along the Gangetic valley from
Pataliputra to Kanauj and from Kanauj to Delhi will be
found interesting. In the interval between 600 and 1200
A. D., Kanauj was the accepted capital of India as Arab
historians of this time also testify ; for when they speak
of the capital of Hind they always refer to Kanauj. The
halo of the empire of Harsha hovered long over the city
and induced each successive aspirant to imperial power
to establish his dynasty there during this period as had
happened at Pataliputra during the centuries preceding and
as happened at Delhi during the centuries following. The
city of Kanauj consequently acquired grandeur and accu-
mulated riches commensurate with its dignity. It was at
the height of its splendour in the time of Mahmud of


Ghazni, who himself observed that it could justly boast to
have no equal and that it was full of palaces and temples
built of marble. Even when Hiuen Tsang visited it, it
was already a great city. It was, says he, five miles long
and one mile broad, was very strongly defended and had
lofty structures everywhere. "There were beautiful gar-
dens and tanks of clear water and in it were collected
rarities from strange lands." Kanauj was so grand in the
8th century that the Chachanama uses (Trans, p. 52) "You
want Kanauj" as a proverb meaning you want the im^

In this city reigned Harsha the patron of Bana and
Hiuen Tsang. Thanesar or Srikantha as the country is
called by Bana, and Kanauj were kingdoms directly under
Harsha. Hiuen Tsang mentions many kingdoms in the
Gangetic valley besides these two and most of them also
must have been directly under Harsha's rule. Pariyatra
or modern Alwar was however under a king of the Vaisya
caste as also Srughna (about Hardwar) and Matipura
where a Sudra king ruled, and Brahmapura or modern
Garhwal. But Ahicchatra and Pilosana, Sankasya and
Ayodhya, Allahabad and Kausambi where no kings are
mentioned by Hiuen Tsang were probably under the direct
sway of Harsha. Along the foot of the Himalayas were
small kingdoms like Sravasti and Kapilvastu, Ramagrama
and Kusinagara where petty chiefs ruled, These places
were places of Buddhist worship and hence kept up some
population ; otherwise strangely enough the country was
desolate. Many cultivable and fertile parts of India were
indeed in ancient times under jungles which have been
cleared only under the British rule. Civilization and
prosperity followed in ancient days the course of the
Ganges and the Jumna, and away from them were jungles
infested by elephants. The incessant internecine fights
between opposing kings prevented the growth of overflow-
ing population and the means of communication being
limited, the export of grain from India must then have
been almost nil. Hence the need for extension of cultiva-


tion was not felt and it is no wonder that even the empire
of Harsha was bordered, so to speak, on both sides by wide
fringes of jungles along the Himalayas on the north and
the Vindhyas on the south. These jungles provided the
immense number of elephants required for the armies of
contending kings. Considering this state of the country,
therefore, we need not be surprised that there were 60,000
elephants in the army of the emperor Harsha alone, while
there must have been thousands more in those of other

We will now proceed to describe the kingdoms to
the east of Mid-India, or in what are now the provinces of
Behar and Bengal. The first kingdom to notice was that
of Magadha. Hiuen Tsang relates that before his time
a king named Purnavarma who was supposed to be a de-
scendant of Asoka ruled in Magadha where he had rebuilt
the wall round the Bodhi tree which had been thrown
down by Sasanka king of Karnasuvarna. Magadha was
the chief place of Buddhist worship. It contained the
Bodhi tree and Buddha's footprint stone. Besides, the
Nalanda monastery, the chief seat of Buddhist learning
was in Magadha. Beyond Magadha were Hiranyaparvata
or Monghyr and Champa or Bhagalpur, Kajugal or Raj-
mahal and Paundravardhana or Rangpur ruled by kings,
of whom we have no information. Beyond was Kamarupa
or Assam which was ruled at this time by Bhaskaravarm.a
whose other name was Kumara. He was a friend and
ally of Harsha from the first as we have already described.
Strangely enough the accounts of this king given by
Hiuen Tsang and Bana, two contemporary witnesses
agree almost to the last detail. At page 186 of the Re-
cords, Vol. II, (Watters) we read, "The reigning king who
was a Brahmin by caste and a descendant of Narayana
Deva was named Bhaskaravarma, his other name was
Kumara. The sovereignty had been transmitted in the
family for 1,000 generations. His Majesty was a lover
of learning. Men of ability came from afar to study here.
The king though not a Buddhist respected accomplished


Sramanas," Bana at page 294, H. C, says. — Jr|T^?#f^-

^PTT^: ^fPT^' Although the name Bhaskaravarma sounds as
that of a Kshatriya his being a Brahmin as mentioned
by Hiuen Tsang may be accepted to be correct. Brahmins
who followed the Kshatriya profession often took a
Kshatriya name and those who followed Vaisya professions
took a Vaisya name. The fame of Assam for learning
continued for some centuries more down to the days of
Sankara. The legendary origin of the family is, of course,
unhistorical, but that it was a long-continued family
may be believed as Assam, being out of the way, must
have remained undisturbed by the ambitions of con-
quering heroes. We shall have to speak of this Kumara
again as we have spoken of him before.

AVe now come to the three kingdoms into which
Bengal proper was then divided, namely, Karnasuvarna
(Murshidabad), Samatata (Eastern Bengal) and Tamralipti
(Midnapur). These were prosperous countries even in
Hiuen Tsang's time. The king in Karnasuvarna before
Hiuen Tsang visited it was Sasanka or Narendragupta
already mentioned as the man who treacherously murdered
Rajyavardhana and was a persecutor of Buddhism. Pro-
bably he was pardoned by Harsha, as he is shown by
a Ganjam inscription to be alive and reigning in 619
A. D. But after his death his kingdom seems to have
been given to the Kumararaja of Assam. For an undated
inscription of Bhaskaravarma, published in the Dacca
Review 1913 (noted by V. Smith), was issued from Karna-
suvarna. Hiuen Tsang does not mention the king ruling
in Karnasuvarna when he visited it ; but the above
surmise is supportable also from the statement of Bana,
that Harsha anointed Kumararaja a king ( sr^T^^ 3Tt'^!%tS:
^ffl^: H. C, p. 139 ). In Samatata or Eastern Bengal
a Brahmin family ruled to which belonged a great Bud-
dhist saint visited by Hiuen Tsang. No particulars of the


king at Tamralipti are mentioned. All these kingdoms
were, of course, subordinate to Harsha. It is to be noticed
that Hiuen Tsang does not asssign the name of Gauda
to any of these kingdoms, though the king of Karnasuvarna,
Sasanka, is described by Bana as the king of Gauda.
Gauda is a noted name in Sanskrit literature for the learned
men of Gauda have always maintained a peculiar style
and school of thought of their own. Probably the name
Gauda applied to all these three kingdoms, as also the
name Vanga which is still more ancient and which is
not noted by Hiuen Tsang.

Lastly in Northern India and in subordination to
Harsha we have to mention the kingdom of Odra or Orissa
and the kingdom of Kongadu or Ganjam along the coast
of the Bay of Bengal. These were Indo-Aryan kingdoms
on the border of the Dravidian Kalinga kingdom to the
south. With Kongadu Hiuen Tsang notices the change
in language. (Curiously enough their written language
was the same as that of India.) With Kalinga the change
in the language was complete. "In talk and manners they
differed from Mid-India" (Watters, Vol. II, p. 198). The
kings in these two countries are not mentioned by Hiuen
Tsang, nor can we find them out with certainty. Ac-
cording to the palm leaf chronicles of the temple of
Jagannath in Cuttuck, Orissa was under the Kesari
dynasty from the 7th to the 12th Century A. D., but it
is probable that that dynasty established itself there after
the time of Harsha. (See Cuttuck Gazetteer.)

This completes the list of important kingdoms'^ in
Northern India which constituted the empire of Harsha.
As we have already remarked, contemporaneous with
this northern empire of Harsha, there was at this
time the southern empire of Satyasraya Pulakesin II
of Maharashtra, which included all the kingdoms in the
Deccan and South India. These kingdoms were, most of
them, visited by Hiuen Tsang and have been described by

' Nepal is omitted as at this time, it Was subordinate to Tibet and it does not cicarU
appear that it was subordinate to Harsha.


hiiij. They were Kalinga or Rajamahendri, Kosaia or
Raipur, Andhra or Warangal, Dhanakakata or Vengi»
Chola or Nellore, Dravida or Kanshi, Malayakuta^
or Madura, Konkanapura or part of Mysore and northern
part of the western coast (the capital being probably
Banavasi above the Ghats) and lasty Maharashtra with its
capital at Badami, whose king Pulakesin appears to have
subdued all the other kingdoms noted above, (see Aihole
and other inscriptions.) The Pallavas ruled in Kanchi or
Chola and Dravida, their king at this time being Nara-
sinha Varman. In Malayakfita or Pandya country (Madura
and Tinnevelly) ruled the line of kings, called the Pandyas
who like the kings of Assam, ruled therefrom of old. In
Vengi was Vishnu Vardhana, brother of Satyasraya Pula-
kesin. Who the king of Banavasi was we cannot discover-
Probably a prince of the Kadamba family ruled there.
These kingdoms of the south were all tributaries of and
subordinate to the empire of Pulakesin II who conquered
them between about 610 and 620 A. D. By a strange coin-
cidence this southern empire of Pulakesin which came into
being at about the same time as that of Harsha in the
north, also came to an end like its northern rival about
the middle of the 7th century, Narsinha Varman of Kanchi
conquering and devastating Badami.


1— The Maukharis of Kanauj.

Corp. Ins. Vol. Ill, Asirgad Seal, No. 47 (page 219), gives us a seal
inscription ol Sarvavarma and this contains, in my view, the genealogy,
of the kings of Kanauj. Unfortunately in these records the recorders never
trouble themselves to mention the kingdom where the particular kings
ruled. Perhaps they omit the name of the kingdom because they think
it so well known, but this omission causes us at this distance of time
a great deal of doubt and difficulty. It is from the Harsha-Charita
that we know that the Maukharis ruled in Kanauj ; for Grahavarma
came from there and was killed there and Eajyashri was also imprisoned
there. This seal gives the following genealogy:—!. Maharaja
Harivarma;2. Maharaja Adityavarma; 3 Maharaja Isvaravarma, born
of Harsha Gupta; 4. Maharujadhiruja Isanavarma, born of Upagupta ;
5. Parama Mahesvara Maharajadhiraja Sarvavarma Maukhari. This
line of the seal may be continued by the help of the Aphsad inscription
of the later Guptas (p. 203, Corp. Ins., Vol, III); 6. Susthitavarma, and by
the aid of the Deo Barnak inscription (p. 217 ditto) ; 7 Avantivarma.
This Deo Barnak inscription is of one JIvita Gupta and mentions the
confirmation of the grant of the village of Varunika (now Deo Barnak),
u village about 25 miles south-west of Arrah, the chief town of the
Shahabad district of Bengal to a sun-worshipper, first made by Baladitya
and subsequently confirmed by Sarvavarma and again by Avantivarma
both styled Paramesvara. These two are evidently the kings of the
Maukhari line of Kanauj. We may by the help of these inscriptions,
give the Maukhari line of kings with the Gupta line as follows: —

The Maukharis. The Guptas.

1. Harivarma 1. Krishna Gupta.

2. Adityavarma, married 2. Harsha Gupta.

Harsha Gupta.

3. Isvaravarma, married 3. Jivita Gupta.


4. Isanavarma 4. Kumara Gupta, fought

with Isanvarama.

5. Sarvavarma Maukhari. 5. Damodara Gupta, killed in

fight with Maukhari.

6. Susthitavarma. C. Mahasena Gupta, fought

with Susthita.

7. Avantivarma

8. Grahavarma. 7. Madhava Gupta.

Three generations of the Guptas Kumara, Damodara and Mahasena
;.iu ciplicitly said in the Aphsad inscription to -have fought with three


generations of the Maukharis, Isana, Sarva and Susthita; the first two
names of which we find in the Ashirgad seal inscription of Sarva also.
Adityavarma is said, in the seal, to have married Harsha rJupta,
and she appears to have been a sister of the contemporaneous Harsha
Gupta. Mahasena Gupta must be taken to have lived long or Susthita
to have a short reign, hence his generation covers two of the Varmas
which is not improbable, Grahavarma and Madhava Gupta, son of
Mahasena being contemporaneous with and almost of the same age as

It is possible to deduce a few salient facts aboutthe history of this line
of Maukhari kings from these three records, namely the Aphsad inscrip-
tion, the Ashirgad seal and the Deo Barnak inscription (Corp. Ins., Vol.
Ill, Nos. 42,47 and 46). In the first place this line of kings became
7)0werful in the days of Isanavarma who for the first time is called
Maharajadhiraja, the three before him being called Maharajas only in
the Ashirgad seal. The seal assigns the title Maukhari for the first time
to his son Sarvavarma. In the Aphsad inscription also while his father
Isanavarma is mentioned by name, his son is called by the simple name
of the Maukhari. Thus Sarvavarma appears to have been a greater
king than his father and he and probably his father also fought with the
Huns. His dominions or rather overlordship extended south upto
Ashirad where his seal was discovered and also efest as far as Bengal
where as stated in the Deo Barnak inscription he confirmed a grant
given by Baladitya of Magadha to a sun-temple which indicates that
the dominion of Baladitya's successors had been substituted by that of
Sarvavarma of Kanauj. The same grant was confirmed by the grandson of
Sarvavarma named Avantivarma, the father of Grahavarma brother-in-
law of Harsha.

We have now to consider the inscriptions of the Maukhari king
named Anantavarma given in Corp. Ins. Vol. III. In these the pedigree
given extends only over three names and these are Yajfiavarma, Sardula-
varma and Anantavarma. These seem to be a branch of the same
family, for they call themselves Maukharis. But they are distinct from
the Kanauj family aiid are of much less importance. For the greatest
of the three Sardula is no more than a Mahasamanta (see Corp. Ins.,
Vol. Ill, No. 48: ^-^sj 5T^ ^rwfefT^'T^r: ^m^dl'^rmoT:) while Sarvavarma
and isanavarma are styled in the seal Maharajadhiraja (see No.47 ibid).
These Maukharis appear to be a later branch established in the
Gaya district, where their inscriptions have been found and probably
belong to a date later than that of Harsha.

2.— Devagupta of Malwa.

We have next to determine who Deva Gupta or rather the Malava
king was who attacked Grahavarma of Kanauj and who was killed in the
battle with Rajya. The difficulties in this connection are numerous and


troublesome. In the first place Bana in the Harsha Charita distincily
says that it was a king of Malava who attacked Kanauj : ^r ^To^n?:
fTIffFrr JTIcTWTi:^ #5i^nfr f^ri^: (H. C, p. -251) ; also TW I 'J ^ M ir^'%3Jr? rf^-
t^.(u|j£Trg- ff^.g HM'XMcJY ^q' (H. C, p. 303). Clearly therefore a king of
Malava attacked Grahavarraa, and Bhandi showed Harsha the people of
that Malava king enchained (the king himself being probably killed
after his defeat by Rajya.) Now in the Madhubana inscription of Harsha
Rajya is said to have punished kings like Deva Gupta. Rajya in, his
short life fought only two battles, one with the Huns and the other with
the Malava king who had murdered Grahavarma. Putting the two to-
gether the name of this Malava king, therefore, was clearly Deva
Gupta. Now in the Aphsad inscription above mentioned, we have the
names of members of a Gupta family who were the hereditary enemies
of the Varmas of Kanauj and it contains also the name of Madhava, the
companion of Harsha. This family may, therefore, be taken to be the
family of the Guptas of Malava though in this inscription the country of
the Guptas is not mentioned, nor unfortunately the name of Deva Gupta-
And we may accept the ingenious guess made by Dr. Hoernle (J. R. A. S.
1904) that Deva Gupta was Madhava's brother, with some changes to be
noted further on.

The fact is there is no other explanation possible. The Harsha-
Charita plainly states that the two princes, Kumara and Madhava,
called Guptas who were given by Prabhakaravardhana to his sons,
Rajya and Harsha, to be their companions were jtw^

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