Ancient Indian History

 

Pre-Harappan Period

Lower Paleolithic

(600,000 – 60,000 BC)

Hand axe & cleaver industries 

Pahalgam, Belan valley (U.P),

Bhimbetka, Adamgarh, 16 R Singi Talav

Middle Paleolithic

(150,000 – 40,000 BC)

Tools made on flakes

Bhimbetka, Nevasa, Pushkar, Rohiri hills of upper sind

Upper Paleolithic

(45,000 – 10,000 BC)

Tools made on flakes & blades

Rajasthan, Parts of Belan & Ganga Valley (U.P).

Mesolithic/ Microlithic 

(10,000 – 7000 BC)

Parallel sided blades of chert, chalcedony, jasper, agate

Bagor (Raj), Langhnaj (Guj), Sarai Nahar Rai, Chaopani Mando, Mahdaha,

Damdama (U.P), Bhimbetka, Adamgarh.

Neolithic

(8000 BC – 2000 BC)

Earthern pots 

Mehrgarh (Pak) Gufkral & Burzahom

(J&K), Mahgara, Chopani Mando, Kodihwa in Belan Valley (U.P.) Chirand (Bihar).

Chalcolithic

(3000-900 B.C.)

Distinct painted pottery

Fire worship widespread.

Cultures: Ahar culture (oldest), Kayatha,

Malwa culture, Salvada culture, , Prabhas culture, Rangpur culture & Jorwe culture (newest).

Copper Hoard Culture

Harpoons, Antennae swords,

Anthromorphs

Gungeria (M.P-largest)

OCP Culture

(Ochre coloured pottery)

Pottery with bright red slip & painted in black. 

All over gangetic plain with same regions as that of copper hoard culture. 

•                Ahar people (Aravalli region) – distinctive black & red ware decorated with white designs. 

•                Prabhas & Rangpur wares have a glossy suface due to which they are called lusturous red ware. 

•                Jorwe culture (Maharashtra) – painted black on red but has a matt surface treated with a wash.

 

Select Harrapan Cities (Chalcolithic Age)

1.  

Harappa

[Dayaram Sahni]

Great granary, 40 % of total seals found here; Seals usually made of steatite depicting elephant, bull, unicorn, rhinoceros; figurines – torso

2.  

Mohenjodaro

[R.D Banerjee]

“Mound of the dead”; largest of all cities; Great Bath; granary; city was flooded occasionally, figurines of yogi, bronze dancing girl, seal bearing Pashupati.

3.  

Lothal

[S.R. Rao]. Earliest cultivation of rice; Fire altars

4.  

Kalibangan

[A. Ghosh]. Fire Altars showing cult sacrifice;

5.  

Dholavira, 

[R.S. Bisht]

6.  

Banwali

[R.S. Bisht] Fire Altars;

7.  

Mehrgarh

Evidences of cotton;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indus Valley Civilization

Indian Religious Books

Puranas 

Divided into sarga, pratisarga, manvantantar, vamsa (genealogical list of kings) & vamsanucharita. 18 main puranas & 18 subsidiary puranas. 

Vedas 

Meaning “knowledge”. Rigveda (hymns), Yajurveda (sacrificial formulae), Atharvaveda (magical charms & spell), Samveda. Vedas are called aparusheya (not created by man) & nity

Upanishads

About 200 in number. Deal with philosophy. Oldest & most important are Chhandogya & Brihadranyaka. Other important are Kathak, Isa, Mundaka, Prasna etc. Do not believe in sacrificial ceremonies. 

Brahmanas

Talks about vedic hymns, their application, stories of their origin. Each Brahmana is associated with one of the four VedasAitareya brahmana is associated with Rig Veda & Satapatha Brahmana with Yajur veda.

Aranyakas

Meaning ‘the forest books’. They discuss philosophical meditation  & sacrifice. 

Vedangas 

Evolved for proper understanding of the Vedas. Six in all: Siksha (phonetics), Kalpa (rituals), Vyakarna, Nirukta (Etymology) Chhanda (metrics) & Jyotisha. 

Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta of Adi Sankara. 

 

 

Ancient Books & Authors

1.  

Mudrakshasha (Chandragupta Maurya defeating the Nandas); Devichandraguptam

Vishakhadatta

2.  

Malavikagnimitram (Pushyamitra Sunga)

Kalidas

3.  

Gudavaho (Yasovarman of Kannauj)

Vakpati

4.  

Vikramanakadevacharita (Chalukya king Vikramaditya)

Bilhana

5.  

Kumarapalacharita

Jayasimha

6.  

Hammirakavya

Nyayachandra

7.  

Dvayashraya Mahakavya; Sapta Sadhana

Hemchandra

8.  

Navashasankacharita

Padmagupta

9.  

Bhojaprabandha

Billal

10.  

Prithvirajcharita

Chandrabardai

11.  

Meghaduta; Raghuvamsa; Kumarasambhava; Vikramorvasiyam

Abhijnanashakuntalam (Drama);

Kalidas

12.  

Mrichakatika

Sudraka

13.  

Uttarama-Charita; Malati Madhava

Bhavbhuti

14.  

Amarakosha

Amarasimha

15.  

Si-yu-Ki

Hiuen Tsang

16.  

Brahmasiddhanta; Khandakhadya

Brahmagupta

17.  

Dasakumaracharita

Dandin

18.  

Astanga-Sangraha; Astanga-Hirdaya-Samhita

Vagabhatta

19.  

Panchsiddhantika; Suryasiddhanta; Brihatsamhita

Varahamihira

20.  

Karpuramanjari; Bala Ramayana; Bala Bharata; Kavyamimamsa;

Bhuvana Kosha; Haravilasa

Rajshekhara

21.  

Adinathacharita (Jaina Narrative)

Vardhamana

22.  

Shantinathacharita (Jaina Narrative)

Devachandra

23.  

Parsvanathacharita (Jaina Narrative)

Devabhadra

24.  

Prithviraja Vijay

Jayanka

25.  

Karnasundari

Bilhana

26.  

Saraswati Kanthabharana

Bhoja

27.  

Dasharupa

Dhananjaya

28.  

Harikeli Nataka

Visaladeva

29.  

Prasannaraghava

Jayadeva

30.  

Siddhanta Shiromani [4 parts – Lilavati, Bijaganita, Grahaganita &

Gola (on Astronomy)]

Bhaskaracharya

31.  

Rajmariganka (On Astronomy)

King Bhoja

32.  

Chikitsakalika or Yogamala

Tisata-Vagbhatta’s Son

33.  

Mitakasara

Vijnanaeshvara

34.  

Nitishastra (On Polity)

Mathara

35.  

Nitisara  (On Polity)

Kamandaka

36.  

Sushruta Samhita (encyclopedia on surgery)

Sushruta

37.  

Charaka Samhita (Teachings of Atreya)

Charaka

38.  

Buddhacharita, Vajrasuchi, Suandarananda

Asvaghosha

39.  

Mahabhasya

Patanjali

40.  

Harshacharita, Kadambari

Banabhatta

41.  

Ravan Vadha

 Bhattin

 

Famous Inscriptions

Inscription

King

Aspect

Junagarh Rock 

Rudradaman (Saka)

Sanskrit. Says that a dam on the sudarshana lake was constructed by Pushyagupta a governor of Chandragupta Maurya

Allahabad Pillar

Samudragupta

Sanskrit. Composed by Harisena 

Aihole Inscription

Pulakeshin II

Mentions Harsha defeat by Pulakeshin II.

Composed by Ravikriti Vishnuvardan son of King.

Gwalior Inscription

Bhoja

Most famous Pratihara king.

Hathigumpha 

Kharvela

 

Boghaz koi

[1400 B.C.]

Proves Rig Veda to be more than 1400 BC old.

Indra, Varuna, Mitra, two Nasatyas mentioned

Nanaghat Inscription

Satkarni I

[Satvahana king]

Achievements of the king

Nasik Inscription

Gautamiputra Satkarni

Achievements of the king.

Mehrauli Iron Pillar

Chandragupta II

 

Mandsor Inscription

Kumaragupta I

Composed by Vatsabhatti.

Bhitari Stone pillar

Skandagupta

 

Tiruvalangadu

Rajendra I (Chola)

His conquests (annexed whole of SriLanka)

Uttaramerur 

Cholar Period

Chola village assemblies

Besnagar Inscription

Near Vidisa (MP). Mentions Heliodorus the ambassador of king Antialcidas called himself Bhagvata & erected garudadhvaja in his honour of Vasudev.

 

Buddhist Councils

I Buddhist Council

500 BC at

Rajgaha 

Ajatsataru .

Presided by

Mahakasyapa

Record the Buddha’s sayings (sutra) and codify monastic rules (vinaya). Rajgaha is today’s Rajgir

II Buddhist Council

383 BC at

Vaishali

Kalasoka

The conservative schools insisted on monastic rules (vinaya). The secessionist Mahasangikas argued for more relaxed monastic rules.Rejection of the Mahasanghikas

III Buddhist Council

250 BC

Pataliputra

Ashoka..

Purpose was to reconcile the different schools of

Buddhism. Presided by Moggaliputta Tissa

IV Buddhist Council

100 AD

Kashmir

Kanishka

Presided by

Vasumitra &

Asvaghosha

Division into Hinayana & Mahayana. Theravada Buddhism does not recognize the authenticity of this council, and it is sometimes called the “council of heretical monks”.

V Buddhist Council

1871 Myanmar

King Mindon

recite all the teachings of the Buddha and examine them in minute detail to see if any of them had been altered

VI Buddhist Council

1954

Yangoon

P.M. U Nu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nastika Shools of Indian System of Philosophy

Charvaka 

Believes only in materialism. No life beyond death, no soul no god.

Jaina

540 BC

The names of two tirthankaras, Rishabhanath & Aristhanemia finds mention in Rig Veda. Twenty third was Parsva, son of Ishvaku king Asvasena. Said to have flourished 300 yrs before Mahavira. Mahavira, the last Tirthankara  born in Kundagrama near Vaisali. His father Siddhartha was the head of Jnatrika clan & mother Trisala was the sister of Chetaka, a Lichchhavi noble. Chetaka’s dauthter was married to Bimbisara the king of Magadha. Mahavira was married to Yasoda. Left home at 30 & attained Kaivalya at 42.  He accepted 4 doctrines of Parsava & added celibacy to it.  Chandragupta Maurya patronized it. Passed away at Pawapuri. 

Buddha

566 B.C.

Gautama (known as Siddhartha as prince) was born in Lumbini near Kapilvastu to

Suddhodhana, the king of Sakya republic & Mayadevi who died seven days after his birth. Gautama was married to Yasodhara from whom he had a son Rahul. 6 years of meditation led to enlightenment. First sermon in Sarnath known as ‘Set in motion the wheel of law’.

Eight fold paths. Buddhism denies efficacy of vedic rituals & superiority of brahmanas.

Followers were upasakas & bhikshus. Died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar.

 

Astika Schools of Indian System of Philosophy

Vaisesika

Five elements – Earth, water, air, fire, Ether.

Nyaya

Accepts all categories of Vaisesika & adds one Abhava (negation). 

Samkhya

Oldest of all. Twenty five basic principles first being ‘Prakriti’. Gives doctrine of 3 qualities – virtue (sattva), passion (rajas) & dullness (tamas)

Yoga

Salvation through: Yama (self control), Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara (restrain), Dharana (steady mind), Dhyana & Samadhi.

Mimamsa

Recognises Vedas as final authority.

Vedanta

Adi Sankara is protagonist. Ultimate reality ‘Brahma’ is one. Highest level of truth is that the whole world that exists is Maya. Ramanuja (founder of Sri Vaishnavism) differed from Sankara on his commentaries on Upanishads & Gita. 

 

Forms of Marriage

1.  

Brahma

Duly dowered girl to a man of the same class

2.  

Daiva

Father gives daughter to a sacrificial priest as a part of his fee

3.  

Arsa

A token bride price of a cow & a bull is given in place of the dowry

4.  

Prajapatya

Father gives girl without dowry & without demanding the bride price

5.  

Gandharva

Love Marriage

6.  

Asura

In which bride was bought from her father

7.  

Rakshasa

Marriage by capture, practiced especially by warriors.

8.  

Paishacha

Marriage by seduction

Daiva marriage was considered ideal 7 paisacha the worst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dynasties of Ancient Northern India

Dynasty

King

Description

Haryanka

Bimbisara*

Founded after overthrowing the Brihadrathas. He also annexed Anga

Ajatasatru

Conquered Lichhavis of Vaisali. Also defeated Prasenajit of Kosala. Succeded by Udayani who founded Pataliputra.

Sisunga

Sisunga

People elected Sisunga as Udayani & his 3 successors were unworthy

Nanda

Mahapadma

Nanda*

Barber but a great military genius. Defeated many dynasties. 

Alexander’s

Campaign

Alexander

Defeated Persian King Darius III & marched to India through Khyber pass. King of Taxila offered help.

Mauryas

Chandragupta

Maurya*

[324-300 BC]

Educated by Chanakya at Taxila. ‘Parisistha Parvam’ a jain text describes that he defeated the Nanda king & became ruler of Magadha empire. Defeated Greek, Selecus who had succeded Alexander in the eastern part. Selecus sent Megasthenes to his court.

Bindusara

[300-273 BC]

He appointed his two sons, Sumana at Taxila & Ashoka at Ujjain. Ptolemy Philadelphous of Egypt sent Dionysius to his court.

Ashoka

Known as devanampiya & piyadasi. Edicts were in Greek &

Aramaic in Afghanistan, Prakrit language & Kharosthi script in

Pakistan. Prakrit language & Brahmi script in other areas. Rock

Edict XIII (Kalinga war) Bhabru Edict (Buddhism as his religion) VII (all sects desire self control & purity) XII (equal respect to all religion) II (Dhamma – Common code of conduct). Succeded by 6 Mauryan kings from Dasaratha to Brihadratha. 

Sunga

Pushyamitra

Sunga

Army chief of Maurya king Brihadratha killed him while he was reviewing the army. Succeded by Agnimitra, Jethmitra & Vasumitra. Last king was Devabhuiti.

Meghavahanas

Kharavela

Hathigumpha inscription on Udaigiri hills near Bhubneshwar refers his achievement till 13th year. Ruled Kalinga.

Satvahanas of

Deccan

Simuka*

[235-213 BC]

Satvahanas also known as Andhras. Succeeded by Krishna, Satkarni I, Satakarni II, Gautamiputra Satakarni, Pulmavi II, Sri Yajna Satakarni.

Indo Greeks

Menander

Ruled in Pakistan region. Converted to Buddhism by Nagasena. Milindapanho is related to their conversation. 

Sakas

Nahapana

Sakas also known as Scythians were driven out of their original home land by Yueh Chi who later came to be known as Kushanas. 

Nahapana ruled in western India. 

Rudradaman

130-150 AD

Junagarh Rock Inscription talks about him. He undertook the repairs of the Sudarsan dam built by Pushyagupta, governor of Chandra Gupta Maurya. Ujjaynii was capital. Dynasty came to an end with the last king being defeated by Chandragupta II in 390

AD

Kushanas

Kadphises I

Also called Kujula Kadphises.  Kadphises I was succeded by his son Wema Kadphises or Kadphises II – devotee of Shiva.

Kanishka

73 – 101 AD

Succeded Kadphises II. Capital of his vast empire was Purushapur or modern Peshawar.

The Guptas & Later Period

Guptas

Chandragupta I

AD 320 AD

Sri Gupta was the first Gupta king followed by Ghatotkacha. Chadragupta I was Ghatotkacha’s son. 

Samudragupta

Son of Chandragupta I. Undertook south India campaign. Meghavarna, King of Srilanka sent an embassy to his court to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya. 

Chandragupta II

380-413 AD

Son of Samudtragupta & Duttadevi. Married his daughter Prabhavatigupta to Rudrasena II of Vataka dynasty. Defeated Sakas & took the title of Vikramaditya. 

Later Guptas

Kumaragupta I, Skandagupta (Inflicted a crushing defeat on the Hunas; repair of the dam on Sudarsana lake built by chandragupta maurya & earlier repared by Rudradaman I. 

Post Gupta

Peiod

From the decline of Gupta & the rise of Harsha there flourished four major kingdoms in north India: Guptas of Magadha, Maukharis (around Kanauj), Maitrakas

(Saurashtra – Vallabhi as capital), Pushyabhutis of Thaneshwar (Uttaranchal).

Pushyabhuti

 

Harshavardhana

606 – 647 AD

Son of Prabhakarvardhana of Pushyabhuti of Thaneshwar. Brother of Rajyavardhana & Rajyasri (sister married to Maukhari king, Grahavarman of Kanauj, later killed by Sasanka of Gauda). Also known as Siladitya. Gauda was later divided between him & Bhaskarvarman, the king of Kamarupa.

Deccan &

South India

Vatakas (Deccan) – Vindhyasakti*, *Pravarasena*. Replaced by Chalukyas. Rashtrakutas – Dantidurga I*. They succeded Chalukyas of Badami.

Western Gangas (Mysore) – Konkanivarman Dharmamahadhiraja*

Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi – Mayursarman*, *Kakusthavarman*

Pallavas of Kanchipuram – Simhavishnu, Mahendravarman , *Narsimhavarman*

Later Kanauj was ruled by Yashovarman (discussed in Vakpati’s Gaudavaho)

Gurjara

Pratiharas

Nagabhatta I*

After Nagabhatta I came Vatsaraja who defeated Dharmapala but was in turn defeated by Rashtrakuta king Dhruva. Dhramapala taking advantage installed his nominee chakrayudha at Kanauj

Nagabhatta II

Defeated Chakrayudha & captured Kanuaj & defeated

Dharmapala. Ramabhadra succeded him

Bhoja

Succeded his father Ramabhadra. Defeated Rashtrakuta king

Krishna II. He was devotee of Vishnu & took the title of

Adivaraha.  He was followed by great ruler Mahendrapala I

Palas

Gopala*

Elected by people to end Matsyanyaya (internal disorder). Next was Dharmapala who installed Chakrayudha at Kanauj but was defeated by Dhruva.

 

Devapala

Most mighty pala king. 

Rashtrakutas

Dantidurga*

Dantidurga was succeded by his uncle Krishna I (built Kailasha)

 

Dhruva

Defeated both the Pratihara king Vatsaraja & Pala  Dharampala. Was succeded by Govinda III & later Amoghavarsha I. Later came Indra III (defeated pratihara Mahipala I) & Krishna III

Kamarupa

Bhaskarvarama

Ruled by single dynasty from the time of Mahabharata upto middle 7th century till Bhaskaravarma (ally of Harsha). Dynasty came to an end after his death.