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Thursday, October 13, 2016



·         According to Harsha-Charita, a royal line was founded by Pushyabhuti, a devout Saivite, somewhere near Thaneswar in the Karnal district of Haraya.
·         The important ruler of this dynasty was Prabhakaravardhana (580 – 605 AD) who assumed the title Maharajadhiraj.
·         A few details of Prabhkarvardhana are to be found in Harshacharita. He was the great General, who possibly defeated the Hunas also. Bana also mentions that he was the devotee of the sun.
·         Prabhakaravardhana had two sons, Rajhavardhan and Harshavardhana and one daughter, Rajyasri. Grahavarman of the Maukhari dynasty was married to Rajyasri.
·         After the death of Prabhakaravardhan, Rajyavardhan ascended the throne in 605 AD. When Grahavarman was killed by the Malwa ruler Deva Gupta, Rajyavardhan went after the Malwa army. The Malwa king was defeated and possibly killed.
·         On his return Rajyavardhana was confronted by Sasanka (ruler of Gaud). Rajyavardhana was killed by Sasanka.
·         After his death, Harshavardhana succeeded to the throne of Kanauj. He was also known as Siladitya.


·         Harsha on coming to the throne set himself to bring the whole of Aryavarta under his sway, which he did in some cases by conquest, in some cases by alliance as with Madhava-Gupta of Magadha and Kumara of Kamarupa. Nepal and Kashmir were also within his empire.
·         While his authority north of the Vindhyas was complete, he suffered setback when he advanced towards the south. He was opposed and defeated on the banks of the Tapti by Pulakesin II, the monarch of Chalukyas.
·         Himself a dramatist and a poet of great distinction, Harsha's court attracted the greatest writers of the day, like Bana, Mayura, Hardatta and Jayasena. The Chinese pilgrim lived at his court.
·         It is important to note that Harsha's empire was one which was composed of powerful independent monarchs, who accepted the suzerainty of Harsha more as a personal homage than as subordination to an empire.
·         The chief source for assessing Harsha's achievement is the Harsha Charitra of Bana.
·         Harsha was undoubtedly a great monarch. The ruller of Kashmir, Sind, Sallabhi and Kamarupa feared and also respected him. Sasanka was forced to withdraw, leaving Kanauj alone.


·         Harsha's interest indirect supervision of administration is one plus point. Hiuen-tsang writes that if there was any irregularity in the manners of the people in the cities, he went amidst them.
·         Hiuen-Tsang also writes that the king's day was divided into three periods of which one was given to the affairs of government, and two were devoted to religious work.
·         The emperor appointed provincial governors known as Lokapalas who were posted at chosen centers in different quarters. The provinces were known as Bhuktia, districats as Vishayas, sub-divisions of districts as Patakas and Villages as gramas.
·         Next to the king was the chief minister and the mantriparishad. According to Bhandi, a cousin of Rajayavardhana, Harsha's accession to throne was approved by the parishad. This account is corroborated by the Chinese pilgrim.
·         Avanti was the supreme minister of war and peace, according to Bana.
·         Simhanada was Harsha's senapati. Harsha treated him with great respect as he was a scholarly man.
·         According to Hiuen-Tsang, both ministers and officials received land grants instead of salaries.
·         In general, the country was not entirely free from brigands who made traveling very risky. Hiuen-Tsang himself twice had narrow escapes from the clutches of bandits.
·         The Madhuban plate by Harsha (grant of an agrahara to some persons) states that the grants were made in the presence of all chief officers and the resident people were summoned as witnesses.
·         Land was surveyed measured and divided into holdings with well-defined boundaries. The holdings were of different sizes.
·         Taxation was light-revenue from crown lands amounted to only one -sixth of the crop.
·         Harsha made tours of inspection throughout his kingdom, and promoted benevolent activities like construction and maintenance of roads, sarais, hospitals, etc.

·         Hiuen-Tsang mentions four chief castes and also innumerable sub-castes. But Bana mentions that castes mixed freely.
·         Hiuen-Tsang also refers to prohibition of widow-remarriage and the custom of sati. Yet, women were not regarded as inferior to men.
·         Hiuen-Tsang also notes the simplicity of brahmins and kshatriyas; the luxuries of king's nobels and rich men; honesty and morality of the people.
·         The country was prosperous. Vegetables and minerals were abundant.

·         Harsh wrote the three dramas Ratnavali, Priadarshika and Nagananda in Sanskrit.
·         Hiuen-Tsang recorded that Harsh versified the story of Jimutayahana in Nagananda and extremely fond of literature.
·         Banskhera and Madhuban copper-plate inscriptions were probably composed by Harsha himself.
·         Besides Harsha, Bana was the Chief poet who wrote Hadembari and also supposed to have written the 'Parvati-parinay' and the Chandiskata.
·         A writer Mayura was a master of erotic poetry. Another literary figure was Matanga Divakara.
·         Bana records a detailed account of the ashrama of the Buddhist saga Divakaramitra in the Vindhyas.
·         Children were taught the five subjects of grammar, mechanical arts, medicine, logic and philosophy from the seventh year onwards.
·         Among educational centers the most famous was the Nalanda university. It attained international repute. It was patronized by Kumaragupta I, and also by Harsha. The famous teachers of the university were Dignaga, Dharmapala and Shilabhara. It was during the time of Shilabhadra that Hiuen-Tsang visited Nalanda.

·         Gupta style was continued. Hiuen-Tsang refers to a copper statute of the Buddha.
·         The brick temple of Laxmana at Surpur is one of the most beautiful in India.



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