Short Essay on the Personality of Samudragupta

It is quite clear from the above that the Gi empire, az built by Samudragupta, consisted ‘central’ or ‘core’ zone in North India under) direct rule of the emperor, and a number of trib states, both monarchical and non-monarchical.

Gupta emperor had, under his direct control, extensive area which reached the boundaries of Bengal and Assam in the east and the foothill the Himalayas in the north. In the west it exten; upto Punjab and, in the south, an inscription at Eran proves that the Sagar district in MP included in Samudragupta’s dominions. Thus was able to build an extensive empire.

This, however, does not show that apart from being a military genius, a consummate general a far-sighted statesman he had, in additi remarkable qualities of head and heart to with the poet has made copious references. We are told that the great emperor was endowed with poetic skills and musical accomplishments of a high order.

Although no poetical work has survived the king, on one type of gold coins, has been represented as seated on a high-backed couch playing on a vina (lyre or lute) which lies on his knees. On account of these he is also known as Kaviraja. A poetical work called the Krishna Charitam is attributed to Samudragupta.

Undue stress need not be laid on the general virtues and accomplishments of the emperor mentioned by the poet such as wisdom and high intellect, knowledge of scriptures, kindness, especially to the poor and the helpless, and tenderness of heart. He is said to be a shining example of philanthropy. He is said to have given many hundreds of thousands of cows, evidently as gifts to brahmanas, on the occasions of religious observances.

Apart from Harishena we have only one very doubtful instance of Samudragupta’s patronage of literary men. According to the great rhetorician Vamana, Chandraprakasha, son of Chandragupta, was a great patron of letters and appointed the famous Buddhist scholar Vasubandhu as his minister.

Samudragupta is also said to have performed the ashvamedha sacrifice as a symbol of his imperial power as also of the dominant position regained by Brahmanical religion. It is also believed that the decline of Buddhism and Jainism was heralded by the ashvamedha sacrifice performed by Samudragupta.

The gold coins issued by Samudragupta are of a large variety. On some types of coins Samudragupta is represented as holding a bow and arrow, sometimes shooting at a tiger, or armed with an axe and a sword. On others we find him sprinkling incense on an alter or playing on a lyre or Veena. The coins bear appropriate legends. The king is also exhibited in a variety of dresses suitable to the occasions. Usually, he wears a close-fitting cap, coat and trousers, earrings, necklace, bracelets and armlets. But when playing on a lyre he wears only a piece of waistcloth.

It was perhaps the brilliance of the reign of Samudragupta that earned for him the title Vikramaditya which was later assumed by several of his successors. This may reasonably be inferred from shrivikramah found on a coin of Samudragupta. But many scholars do not accept this view and say that it was Chandragupta II who assumed this title.

Samudragupta was regarded as equal to the gods Kubera, Varuna, Indra and Yama. It has been suggested, however, that as the four gods were guardians of the four directions, the comparison of Samudragupta with them possibly refers not only to his conquests in all directions, but to his possession of immense wealth (like Kubera), suzerainty over the seas (like Varuna), the spread of the fame to celestial regions (like Indra) and his extirpation of enemies (like Yama the god of death).

According to Goyal ‘he proved to be the real founder of the second great empire of the country and evolved a system which produced a galaxy of emperors, not much less brilliant than him.’ His usual title was Parakrama which towards the close of his reign was changed into Vikrama. Later, the title Vikrama or Vikramaditya was adopted by a number of Gupta kings including Chandragupta II and Skandagupta, so that the age of the Guptas is usually called the Age of the Vikramadityas.