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MAURYAS TO GUPTAS

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FA-HIEN'S ACCOUNT (CHINESE TRAVELLER) THE GUPTA EMPIRE. THE GOLDEN AGE ? CLASSICAL ELOQUENCE ... music, dance, astronomy, astrology and other sciences are ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MAURYAS TO GUPTAS


1
MAURYAS TO GUPTAS
  • THE MAURYA DYNASTY
  • 4TH- 2ND CENT. BCE
  • THE GUPTA DYNASTY 300-500 CE

2
THE MAURYAS
  • ORIGINS BELONGED TO A MORIYA TRIBE AND VAISYA
    CASTE
  • PRIMARY SOURCES
  • JAINA SOURCES
  • BUDDHIST SOURCES
  • GREEK SOURCES
  • ASOKAN INSCRIPTIONS
  • KAUTILYAS ARTHASHASTRA

3
THE MAURYAS CHRONOLOGY
  • CHANDRA GUPTA MAURYA
  • ( 321 BCE TO 297 BCE)
  • BINDUSARA
  • (297 BCE TO 272 BCE)
  • ASOKA PIYADASI (BELOVED OF GODS)
  • (273-BCE TO 232 BCE)
  • BRIHADRATHA (THE LAST MAURYAN KING)
  • (194-187 BCE)

4
BOUNDARIES OF THE EMPIRE
  • IN THE NORTH KASHMIR AND KHOTAN.
  • IN THE NORTH EAST NEPAL
  • IN THE NORTH WEST GANDHARA
  • IN THE SOUTH MYSORE
  • CONTACTS AND RELATIONS
  • THE BACTRIAN GREEKS (NORTH WEST), AND THE CHOLAS,
    PANDYAS, AND CEYLON (SOUTH).

5
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6
IDEA OF AN EMPIRE
  • The Mauryan Empire was the culminating epoch of
    a few centuries of rational enquiry and cultural
    advance Romila Thapar (Asoka and Decline of the
    Mauryas).
  • The permanent settlements near the Ganges river
    revolutionalized the economic patterns of those
    times (from the later Vedic period). The
    commercial classes began to assert themselves

7
IDEA OF AN EMPIRE (CONTD.)
  • but they were denied social status and this
    resentment was expressed in many schools of
    thought. These schools boasted of empirical
    knowledge as oppose to revealed knowledge of the
    Brahmans.
  • Sixth century urban culture brought these
    tensions to the forefront and it became necessary
    to revise the existing social and cultural norms.

8
IDEA OF AN EMPIRE (CONTD.)
  • The teachings of Buddha offered some solutions to
    the existing situation by developing social
    ethics and placed the responsibility in the hands
    of the each individual member of the society.
  • With the change of economy (from pastorialism to
    agrarian) the old political ties began to change,
    as well.

9
IDEA OF AN EMPIRE (CONTD.)
  • The primitive democracy of the sabha and samiti
    had to give way to the concentration of power in
    the hands of a small centralized body, which
    controlled and co-ordinated the working of the
    new society.
  • Thus the confederacies and republics gave way to
    larger units, until the peak was reached in the
    Mauryan Empire.

10
ASOKA
  • At the death of Bindusara, the whole
    sub-continent was under the sway of the Mauryas
    except one hostile kingdom of Kalinga (modern
    Orissa).
  • Asoka led a successful campaign against this
    kingdom and made the Mauryan Empire the biggest
    empire India will ever see (till the 19th century
    under British colonialism).

11
POLITICAL IDEOLOGY OF THE MAURYAS
  • The political ideology of the Mauryas was
    basically derived from the Arthashastra, the
    treatise on government, is said to have been
    written by the prime minister of Chandragupta
    Maurya. Although often compared to Machiavelli's
    Prince because of its sometimes ruthless approach
    to practical politics, Kautilya's work is far
    more varied--and entertaining--than usual
    accounts of it indicates.

12
POLITICAL IDEOLOGY
  • He mixes the harsh pragmatism for which he is
    famed with compassion for the poor, for slaves,
    and for women. He reveals the imagination of a
    romancer in imagining all types of scenarios
    which hardly would have been a commonplace in
    real life.

13
KAUTILYAS PRAGMATISM
  • Kautilya prescribed four principles of conquest
    Sam, the primary principle, implies the use of
    rationalization but if this technique does not
    work then the second element is Kam i.e. bribery.
    If this does not produce the desired result, then
    the tertiary principle is Dand or the vehement
    use of violence.

14
KAUTILYAS PRAGMATISM
  • If all three fail then the last machination is
    Bheet or sowing seeds of dissension and discord.

15
KAUTILYAS PRAGMATISM
  • Arthashastra remains unique in all of Indian
    literature because of its total absence of
    specious reasoning, or its unabashed advocacy of
    realpolitik. Espionage and the liberal use of
    provocative agents is recommended on a large
    scale. Murder and false accusations were to be
    used by a king's secret agents without any
    thoughts to morals or ethics..

16
THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCIES
  • The nucleus of the Mauryan empire was the king,
    and the increasing power of the king was
    accompanied by a similar increase in the power of
    the chief priest (purohita), who by now had begun
    to assume the function of the chief minister, his
    religious status receded in the background
    (example Kautilya).

17
THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCIES
  • The two key central officials were the Treasurer
    and the Chief Collector.
  • The treasurer was responsible for keeping the
    account of the income in cash and for storing the
    income in kind.
  • The chief collector, assisted by a body of
    clerks, kept records of taxes which came from
    various parts of the empire.

18
THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCIES
  • The Mauryan empire was divided into four
    provinces each under a prince or a member of the
    royal family.
  • Governors administrating smaller units were
    selected from amongst the local people.
  • Each province was sub-divided into districts,
    each of these into groups of villages, and the
    final unit of administration was the village.

19
THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCIES
  • The urban centres had their own hierarchy of
    officers.
  • Megesthenes describes the administration of
    Pataliputra (capital) in detail. According to
    him, the city was run by 30 officials, divided
    into 6 committees of 5. Each committee supervised
    one of the following functions questions
    relating to industrial arts, matters

20
THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCIES
  • relating to trade and commerce, law and order,
    welfare of the foreigners, supervision of the
    public sale of manufactured goods and collection
    of tax on articles sold (the tax was one tenth of
    the purchase price).

21
THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCIES
  • Espionage system was the fundamental aspect of
    the Mauryan administration.
  • Arthashastra advocates the frequent use of spies,
    and recommends that they should work in the guise
    of recluses, householders, merchants, ascetics,
    students, mendicants, women, and prostitutes.

22
ASOKAS DHAMMA A NEW POLITICAL ORDER?
  • Asokas dhamma should be studied against this
    background, the extension of the empire,
    centralized bureaucracy, prosperous industries,
    the commercial activities, and the agrarian
    economy.
  • What was Asokas Dhamma?
  • Literal translation Universal Law
  • Dhamma is Prakrit form of Sanskrit word Dharma.

23
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • Was Asoka an exception or a visionary or a
    prophet of some sort, or he was too advanced for
    his age?
  • Interpreting his dhamma can lead to some answer?
  • Equally important is the question why Asoka
    adopted the policy of Dhamma and what purpose did
    it serve?

24
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • The people of the Mauryan empire needed a common
    perspective to face all the divergent forces the
    power of mercantile community, the influence of
    urban guilds, the strain of centralized political
    system, the multiplicity of races, cultures and
    languages in the empire.
  • The adoption of a new faith and its active
    propagation acted as a cementing force.

25
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • Examples of this policy can be seen in the
    histories of other civilizations.
  • Charlemagne conquered the Saxons and then used
    Christianity as a cementing factor.
  • A new religion can be used as an emblem or a
    symbol of new unity.

26
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • What were the political implications of this
    policy?
  • Was it an early attempt for Chakravartin idea
    (the universal emperor)?
  • Or was there a contractual based argument that
    early Buddhism had taught in the theory of
    Mahamsammata elected king by the populace?

27
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • Asoka did not regard himself as a Great Elect in
    his relations with his subjects, but rather a
    father figure.
  • All men are my children, and just as I desire
    for my children that they should obtain welfare
    and happiness, both in this world and the next,
    so do I desire (the same) for all men.

28
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • A centralized monarchy demanded more dependence
    on the part of the population. The monarch is now
    regarded as the paternal benefactor and not as
    the servant of the state.
  • Asokas dhamma was his own invention and in
    essence an attempt to suggest a way of life which
    was both practical, and convenient, as well as
    highly moral.

29
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • The policy of Dhamma was the exposition of his
    personal relationship with Buddhism and his role
    as the emperor of the Mauryan empire.
  • He used certain aspects of Buddhism to further
    his own ideas, thus treating this religion not
    merely a religious philosophy but also as a
    social and intellectual force upon society.
  • The Edicts gave him the opportunity to expound
    his dhamma to its fullest context.

30
ASOKAS DHAMMA
  • Was this a political order too advanced for its
    age?
  • The examination of his proclamations in his
    Edicts is the best way to determine that

31
ROCK INSCRIPTION GIRNAR
32
ROCK EDICTS 1
  • PROHIBITION OF ANIMAL SACRIFICES AND FESTIVE
    GATHERINGS
  • Arthashastra has listed the killing of animals as
    an inviolable punishable act. And Asokas order
    was the continuation of the same policy.

33
ROCK EDICT 2
  • MEASURES OF SOCIAL
  • WELFARE
  • Medical centres for men and animals.
  • Construction of roads and highways.
  • Plantation of trees and herbs on the roads.
  • It is interesting to note that these measures
    facilitated trade, commerce and communications,
    and were recommended in Arthashastra.

34
ROCK EDICT 3 4
  • SHOWING RESPECT TO BRAHMANAS AND SHRAMANAS IS A
    VIRTUE
  • There was lack of civility and morality in the
    empire by showing disrespect to Brahmans, and
    relatives, killings of the animals and other
    forms of immoral practices.

35
ROCK EDICT 5
  • INSTITUTION OF DHAMMA-MAHAMATTAS
  • The special cadre of officials were appointed by
    Asoka who were directly responsible for the
    practical working of Dhamma.
  • A centralized administration
  • is always more efficient if social welfare at all
    levels is well attended to and Asokas
    centralization included the welfare of his
    subjects.

36
ROCK EDICT 6
  • THE MAHA-MAHATTAS ARE TOLD TO REPORT TO THE KING
    ANY TIME
  • The availability of the king was regarded as an
    important characteristic of a good monarch and
    was stressed in
  • all theoretical sources.
  • Arthashastra prescribes this in his chapter on
    Duties of the Kings.
  • Megestheness statement about Chandra Gupta that
    he attended the matters of state while being
    massaged and giving audiences.

37
ROCK EDICT 7, 8, 9 10
  • PLEADING FOR TOLERENCE FOR ALL SECTS
  • DESCRIPTION OF SYSTEM OF DHAMMA-YATRAS
  • THE VALUE OF PRACTISED CEREMONIES IS QUESTIONED
    AND ATTACKED
  • ASOKA DENOUNCES FAME AND GLORY AND DESIRES THAT
    HIS SUBJECTS SHOULD FOLLOW THE DHAMMA

38
EDICT 11 12
  • CONQUEST BY DHAMMA
  • The idea of conquest through Dhamma is a logical
    development of the theory of Dhamma. It is
    opposed to conquest by force and thus eliminates
    aggressive warfare. The use of term conquest
    implies the adoption of these principles.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EDICTS BEING INSCRIBED THROUGHOUT
    THE EMPIRE
  • Asoka Dhamma was promulgated to consolidate the
    achievements of his ancestors and to fulfill his
    moral obligations and to achieve an unparallel
    place in the annals of history.

39
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40
PILLAR AT VAISHALI
41
PILLAR AT ALLAHABAD
42
FOUR LIONS (ASOKAN PILLAR)
43
ASOKA PIYADASI THE BELOVED OF GODS
44
THE GUPTA DYNASTY
  • PRIMARY SOURCES
  • INSCRIPTIONS
  • SANSKRIT LITERARY WORKS
  • JAINA LITERATURE
  • BUDDHIST LITERATURE
  • FA-HIENS ACCOUNT (CHINESE TRAVELLER)

45
THE GUPTA EMPIRE
46
THE GOLDEN AGE ?
47
CLASSICAL ELOQUENCE
48
BRAHMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • The Guptas who ruled in northern India from third
    century onwards were ardent followers of Vedic
    religion and rituals.
  • Does it mean that only the Vedic gods were
    reified in this period?
  • OR ASCENDENCE OF SHRAMANIC TRADITIONS
  • The best Buddhist and Jaina art was produced
    during this time

49
LORD VISHNU
50
BUDDHIST PAINTINGS
51
JAINA SCULPTURES
52
MOTHER GODDESSES
53
THE CLASSICAL ELOQUENCE
54
DEFINITION OF A CLASSICAL AGE
  • The convention definition of a classical age is
    one where literature, architecture, and the fine
    arts reach a high level of excellence to form a
    standard for later times. (Romila Thapar)
  • What was achieved during this period as far as
    literature, music, dance, astronomy, astrology
    and other sciences are concerned ?

55
THE CLASSICAL AGE LITERATURE
  • All forms of literary traditions were encouraged
    and patronized during this period.
  • The masterpieces in Sanskrit literature were
    produced by Kalidasa and Shudraka. The fables of
    Panchatantra were elaborated and stories from
    this collection became a nucleus for further
    anthologies.
  • In Sanksrit plays the high caste people spoke
    Sanskrit, and all other (including women spoke
    Prakrit).

56
EXCERPTS OF SHAKUNTALA
  • KING Yes, yes, you have made a right guess. May
    I ask you yet another question?
  • PRIYAMVADA Please feel free to ask, Sir. Ashrama
    girls may be asked questions freely.
  • KING What I wish to ask is this--
  • Should she observe, until betrothal,Her ascetic
    vow that resists love and marriage,Or is she
    condemned to living forever the lifeOf a hermit
    in this Grove of Righteousness,With those small
    antelopes so dear to her,Whose lovely eyes only
    parallel the beautyOf her own eyes.

57
THE CLASSICAL AGE MUSIC
  • The works on history of dance and music were
    formalized by Bharata Muni. There is discussion
    on the seven notes or saptavaras
    (sa-re-ga-ma-pa-dhi-na), muscial instruments
    (cymbals, drums, lutes and flutes). The
    techniques of performances, tunings, scales and
    modals are described in detail.

58
THE CLASSICAL AGE THEATRE
  • Theatrical entertainment was popular both in
    court circles and outside. Dance performances and
    music concerts were held mainly in the homes of
    the wealth and the upper classes. General
    festivals were also celebrated on a large scale,
    especially, the festival of spring (went on for
    days which included dancing, performances,
    dining, and different rituals).

59
THE CLASSICAL AGE TECHNOLOGY
  • The technological advancement of the Guptas was
    unparallel for its time. The handling of metal
    work can be seen at its best on coins and seals
    of the time, the emphasis was on details,
    craftsmanship and technology.

60
THE GOLD COINS
61
THE CLASSICAL AGE METALLURGY
  • The most spectacular example of this period is
    the iron pillar at Delhi. It is twenty three feet
    high and remains in perfect condition (no rust)
    after spending nearly 1500 years in sun, heat and
    humidity.
  • There is also a life size standing image of
    Buddha in copper (now in Birmingham museum).

62
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63
THE CLASSICAL AGE SPECIALIZATION
  • Shrenis continued to dominate the technological
    and specialization knowledge in the period as
    well. They had become fully institutionalized by
    this time and even the state had to abide by
    their rules. These centres had little contact
    with formal Brahmanical and Buddhist centres and
    lived in their own world. Only the study of
    mathematics bridged the gap between them.

64
THE CLASSICAL AGE MATHEMATICAL INNOVATIONS
  • The decimal system was in regular use and it was
    borrowed by the Arabs in the seventh century.
  • Astronomy became a separate disciple from
    mathematics by the efforts of Aryabhatta.
  • His calculations about the pi and solar year were
    almost accurate and he also believed that the
    earth was a sphere which rotated on its axis.

65
THE CLASSICAL AGE PHILOSOPHICAL SCHOOLS OF
THOUGHT
  • This was a time of high culture which gave way to
    tantalizing intellectual debates and inquiries,
    particularly between the Brahmans and the
    shramanic sects.
  • Some of the fundamental principles of Hindu
    philosophical schools were laid out during this
    period.

66
THE CLASSICAL AGE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
  • Formal education was offered by both Brahmanical
    and Buddhist institutions.
  • The Buddhist university at Nalanda (Bihar) was
    the biggest and most respected university of
    Ancient India and attracted lot of foreign
    students especially from Central Asia (Fa-Hien
    and Huang- Tsang).Nalanda was supported by huge
    land grants and became very influential by the
    end of fifth century.

67
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68
THE CLASSICAL AGE SCIENTIFIC ACHEIVEMENTS
  • Indian medical sciences at this time were at the
    peak of advancement and their reputation had
    reached as far as West Asia. Students from
    Persia, China and other places came to study
    medicine.
  • The Indian doctors could perform plastic surgery,
    eye surgery, implants, cosmetic surgery, and at
    the same time there was development of veterinary
    science as well.

69
THE CLASSICAL AGEART ARCHITECTURE
  • The Gupta art was developed on the pattern of
    Mathura school of art. The incarnations of Vishnu
    were the main Vedic gods represented in art,
    whereas the worship of Shiva was represented by
    the symbols.
  • The caves of Ajanta and Ellora came to adorned
    with murals and frescoes mostly depicting
    Buddhist stories, but gradually main Hindu and
    Jaina deities were represented as well.

70
THE CLASSICAL AGE ARCHITECTURE
  • The Guptas did not invest in massive
    architectural projects and very few structures
    belong to that period.
  • The most famous temple of this period, still
    surviving is Deogarh (Jhansi) of Vishnu.
  • The main complex of the temple was the shrine
    room (garbha grihawomb house), where the image
    of god was placed, this was

71
THE CLASSICAL AGE ARCHITECTURE
  • approached through a vestibule, which in turn was
    entered through a hall which opened in a porch.
    The complex was enclosed by a courtyard (they
    were later on became more elaborate to house more
    shrines).
  • The temples were built of stone and free standing
    temples became a necessity with the growth of
    idol worship.

72
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73
AJANTA CAVES
74
BRAHMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • The major aspects of Hinduism were formalized in
    the age of the Guptas. The characteristics
    acquired at this point became the centre features
    of Hinduism. Practising Hindus were divided into
    two main sects, Vaishnavas (worshippers of
    Vishnu) and Shaivas (worshippers of Shiva).
    Buddhism had adopted so many rituals from
    Brahmanism that it came to be regarded as a sect
    of Hinduism.

75
BRAHAMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • The form of worship was crystallized by this
    point as well.
  • The idol worship became a central feature
    superseding the Vedic rituals.
  • The emphasis was on devotion (bhakti) and not on
    sacrifices.
  • The worshipping of gods became the concern of the
    individuals but the ordering of social

76
BRAHMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • social behaviour still remain the concern of the
    priests.
  • By conceding their dominance in place of worship,
    the Brahmans maintained their power by rigid
    man-made Social Laws and excluded everyone who
    did not conform.
  • They expressed themselves in defining the Four
    Ends (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) and the
    correct balance of three led to the fourth end
    Moksha.

77
BRAHMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • The caste laws became codified in the legal codes
    and the term dwija (twice born) was now beginning
    to be used for Brahmans, only. There was great
    stress on the purity of Brahmans and the greater
    stress was on the impurity of the outcastes
    (untouchables). Fa-Hsien refers to the fear of
    pollution, that if the outcaste came within close
    range of a Brahman, the latter had to perform
    ritual

78
BRAHMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • ablution to purify themselves.
  • Most of the professional classes (working with
    hands tanner, carpenter, funeral pyre workers,
    etc) came to be regarded as the outcastes
    (achuta).
  • But the position of the shudras was improved and
    they were recognized as the agriculturists and
    not as slaves.

79
BRAHAMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • Women were idealized in literature and art but in
    practice had a distinctly subordinate position.
    Education was limited to the women of upper
    classes, but that was merely to enable them to
    converse intelligently, and not to play any role
    in the public sphere.
  • Certain practices emerged in this period which
    became characteristic of the status of women

80
BRAHMANICAL RENAISSANCE
  • in later centuries. Early marriages were
    advocated and it was also suggested that the
    widows should not only live in strict celibacy,
    but preferably should burn herself on the funeral
    pyre of her husband. The earliest evidence of
    sati practice dates from 510 C E, when it was
    commemorated in an inscription at Eran. But this
    practice was confined to upper classes of central
    and eastern India.
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